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erco415
08-13-2010, 05:54 PM
Was out in LA, and had the pleasure of having dinner with my software-writing cousin and his lovely wife. After dinner conversation turned to work, and I discovered that his team of 6 people is assigned 8 government overseers, inspectors, auditors, etc- this is the cost of doing business with the DOD.

This brings to mind a biography of Kelly Johnson, the famed Lockheed aero-engineer, in which he pointed out that the Skunk Works, without any oversight whatsoever, turned out the U-2 early and under budget; with some government oversight, the SR-71 on time and on budget; and with a great deal of oversight, the F-117 over cost and late.

People who think government oversight makes everything better, have never worked under government oversight.

Messaschnitzel
08-13-2010, 09:14 PM
Sometimes there is a reason for this. I have a relative who is a compliance officer for a defense contractor that does R&D for the government. His job is to see that all internal security protocols are followed to prevent sensitive materials from leaving the site in whatever form. He was telling me about how lax and forgetful the employees are sometimes. For instance, he asked an employee about the current status on some sensitive material that he was responsible for, and the person said that he couldn't account for it, but most likely threw it away in the trash the week before by accident. So the real question is, was it thrown away by accident or intentionally taken offsite? For example, consider the potential of someone who is privy to information and is at the same time having financial difficulties might be willing to part with that info for a price. Apparently the government takes it seriously enough about tech info security that one of the requirements and responsibility of the contractor is that the employees are watched if they, being U.S. citizens take too many trips outside the U.S., also now have to hand over their foreign passports if they have dual citizenship, and are required to report if they are going into bankruptcy or are about to have their property reposessed. This sort of stuff isn't just a result of paranoia:

http://www.wftv.com/news/5193822/detail.html

Anyway erco, I figure that you already know about the sensitive tech info that has already leaked out or has been stolen or sold over the years from reading or hearing about it in the news, but there is only so much that anyone can do, especially since it appears that the real weakness sometimes are the very people who work on and are responsible for the secrecy of their projects. I think the difference between 40-50 years ago and now could be that back then folks had more of a patriotic and loyal viewpoint, versus what nowadays at times seems to be a tendency of every man for himself. Also consider that there are a lot of foreign nationals who work in sensitive areas of R&D, etc. who potentially may be acting as a conduit for that info to their respective countries, which did not exist as much way back then. Another thing is that international communications are easier with the internet, cell phones, flash drives, etc which weren't available when the U2 and SR71 were developed and built, thus making it easier to carry everything needed on one small flash drive stuck inside they shoe, or taking a bunch of pictures on the cell phone that gets mailed to wherever outside the country for example.

AndyJWest
08-13-2010, 09:18 PM
...the Skunk Works, without any oversight whatsoever, turned out the U-2 early and under budget; with some government oversight, the SR-71 on time and on budget; and with a great deal of oversight, the F-117 over cost and late.
Without going too deeply into the politics of this, can I just point out that the U-2 was designed with a clear purpose. The F-117 seems to have been built to fight an imaginary war against an enemy with advanced radar, but no nuclear capability - run 'stealth' missions to disable the enemy, then hope he decides not to escalate...

I'd say the 'oversight' was needed in the planning stage. Mostly, oversight over the cosy relationship between the military and defence contractors.

GoToAway
08-13-2010, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by erco415:
People who think government oversight makes everything better, have never worked under government oversight. And you've clearly never written a line of code.

Writing code isn't like writing a book. A large, complex project can be very difficult for a third party to decipher even if it is well documented, commented, and there is access to the person who originally wrote it. I know, because I've been down that road.

For an organization like the DoD, it really isn't surprising that they take something like this seriously. They'd certainly want to understand it in case anything needs to be done in-house, they'll certainly want to ensure that it conforms to whatever standards they employ, and I would hope they'd want to verify that it's secure.

I don't think the question here is why they have so many people attached to something like this, but why they've even moved something like this out of house to begin with.

Zeus-cat
08-13-2010, 10:05 PM
I don't think the question here is why they have so many people attached to something like this, but why they've even moved something like this out of house to begin with.

What do you mean moved it out of house? The military doesn't have people who know how to do this kind of stuff. When I was in the military we had contractors doing all the "work". Military officers and senior enlisted people just monitored the contractors and reported on their performance. None of the military people I worked with could have done their job. Besides, there is no way for military people to do this kind of work as you only stay in a job for a few years and then you move on to a new assignment.

GoToAway
08-13-2010, 10:59 PM
Originally posted by Zeus-cat:
What do you mean moved it out of house? The military doesn't have people who know how to do this kind of stuff. Firstly, DoD != military. The DoD employs 700,000 civilians (in addition to 1.4 million military,) so the software engineering capabilities of the military are pretty irrelevant in this case. The DoD isn't the military, it's the bureaucracy that oversees it.

Secondly, doing something like this in-house would save money, improve efficiency, and heighten security.

I appreciate that the military may not have the resources needed to create its own software, but the DoD most certainly does. They're two completely different things.

AndyJWest
08-13-2010, 11:02 PM
The military doesn't have people who know how to do this kind of stuff.
Perhaps they could recruit some? But if they did, someone would complain that there were too many 'back room boys' and not enough front-line troops.

The whole question has little to do with 'regulation', and everything to do with not having defined objectives. Of course, if they defined the objectives, it would often become apparent that the military 'solution' wasn't. Regardless of how well you do it, a waste of time and money is always a waste of time and money - unless it is somebody else's money. Just out of curiosity, how much profit did the contractors make on (a) the U-2, (b) the SR-71, and (c) the F-117? Maybe Lockheed actually found 'oversight' profitable?

WTE_Galway
08-14-2010, 12:10 AM
Government oversight is annoying and inefficient but the big corporations brought it on themselves.

Have a look at NG's recent track history as an example:



http://www.crocodyl.org/wiki/northrop_grumman

The first major scandals in Northrop Grumman’s history came in the early 1970s, when the company, then known as Northrop Corp., was embroiled in controversies over illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign by company chairman Thomas Jones as well as some $30 million in bribes paid to foreign governments to win orders for fighter jets. A few years later, there were revelations that the company regularly entertained Pentagon officials and members of Congress at a hunting lodge on the eastern shore of Maryland. During the 1980s, Northrop was the subject of numerous investigations relating to alleged mismanagement during its work on the MX Missile and the B-2 Stealth bomber.

In 1989, Northrop was indicted on criminal charges of falsifying test results on cruise missiles for the Air Force and Harrier jets for the Marine Corps. Just as the trial in the case was about to begin in 1990, the company agreed to plead guilty to 34 fraud charges and pay a fine of $17 million. Under the plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to end the investigations relating to the MX and the B-2. However, the company agreed in 1992 to pay $4.2 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit—brought without the involvement of the Justice Department—alleging that the company padded its invoices on MX missile guidance system work.

Grumman Corp., acquired by Northrop in 1994, brought with it a history of controversies on issues such as cost overruns in the production of F-14 Tomcat fighters for the Navy, production of defective municipal buses by its Flxible division (sold in 1983) and a bribery scandal involving Iran and Japan.

In 2000 Northrop Grumman paid $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower case alleging that the company overcharged the Air Force for B-2 bomber instruction and repair manuals. In a case inherited through the acquisition of TRW, Northrop Grumman agreed in 2003 to pay $111 million to settle claims that TRW overcharged the Pentagon for work on several space electronics programs in the early 1990s. Also in 2003, Northrop Grumman agreed to pay a total of $80 million to settle two False Claims Act cases, one involving work by Newport News Shipbuilding before Northrop acquired it in 2001 and the other involving the delivery of allegedly defective aerial target drones.

In 2004, Northrop settled for $1.8 million the remaining individual whistleblower case from the late 1980s involving cruise missiles. The following year it paid $62 million to settle the remaining claims relating to overcharging on the B-2 bomber program.

The false claims allegations continue. In March 2008 a whistleblower brought a lawsuit charging that Northrop Grumman’s Melbourne division with hundreds of millions of dollars of overcharges relating to the Joint STARS radar aircraft program.

Not all of Northrop’s performance problems have been related to overcharging. Soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the company’s Vinnell Corp. subsidiary (acquired as part of the purchase of TRW in 2002) was awarded a $48 million contract “to train the nucleus of a new Iraqi army.” It botched the job so badly that the Jordanian Army had to be brought in to take over.

...

In 2007 it was reported that guest workers from India employed by Signal International, a Northrop Grumman subcontractor in Pascagoula, were being held against their will.

GoToAway
08-14-2010, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by WTE_Galway:
Government oversight is annoying and inefficient but the big corporations brought it on themselves. And I think that is the crux of the matter.

I really don't understand how anyone can complain about oversight in a world where corporate greed just caused a global recession.

Gammelpreusse
08-14-2010, 07:25 AM
I'd like to know what this obsession with regulation is. After all everybody is under government regulation. It's called law, enacted by the police. Take that away and see how society acts.

It seriously does not work much different with business.

Zeus-cat
08-14-2010, 10:55 AM
Firstly, DoD != military. The DoD employs 700,000 civilians (in addition to 1.4 million military,) so the software engineering capabilities of the military are pretty irrelevant in this case. The DoD isn't the military, it's the bureaucracy that oversees it.

Secondly, doing something like this in-house would save money, improve efficiency, and heighten security.

I appreciate that the military may not have the resources needed to create its own software, but the DoD most certainly does. They're two completely different things.

I shouldn't post stuff when I am so tired. You are right, there are a lot of civilians in the DoD.

My experience with the DoD is that it is not set up to do manufacturing which is what writing code essentially is. I assume you have never worked for the federal government. On the surface your idea seems logical. However, having worked for the feds and knowing many people who still do the government just wouldn't be a good place to do work like this.

I know from other posts that you are very anti-corporate, but this really is where stuff like this belongs. Large corporations tend to be stupid and bureaucratic (I currently work for one), but the government is even more stupider and more bureaucraticer (I know those aren't real words, but if you ever worked for the feds you would know why they should be).

horseback
08-14-2010, 11:51 AM
Having worked in the defense industry for most of the last 30 years, we need to make a few points.

1) NOTHING is done "in-house" an more; any major contract or project is carefully divided up so that everyone gets a piece of the pie. This allows a company that doesn't win contracts to at least make a little money and survive, preserving a critical bit of diversity in terms of corporate culture and engineering point of view (for lack of a better term) that may be very important later. There's also the minor aspect of making sure that there are jobs created or maintained in Congressman X's district, and if one of your 'partners' is based there...

So the DoD forces everyone to team up with other major and minor players in what are basically shotgun weddings to prevent the eventual emergence of One Big Defense Company with no competition and NO imagination or scruples. In the long term, that's a good thing.

In the short term though, it means that although you've won the 'lead' on a contract (and should get a major share of the profits), you have to let a bunch of vipers in your house who have a potential interest in your failure. You have limited control over them, you have to maintain extra security measures to protect your company's proprietary intellectual properties, and there seem to always be an excess of 'miscommunications' and mismatches that would be inexcusable from an internal source (not to mention more easily monitored and prevented).

It is incredibly difficult to rid yourself of an uncooperative or incompetent 'partner'. All too often, you are forced to do their work for them without hope of repayment.

That adds a great deal to your costs right there.

2) Government oversight. Gevernment employees seem to fall into two major groups: those who love the work, who are competent and consistantly conscientious, and those who wore down or were always just filling in the time, didn't care about anything but their own pay and benefits, and particularly that their retirement, unlike those in the private sector, are absolutely guarenteed.

Guess which group is larger by a factor of 10.

Working with the latter group ALWAYS costs you more; their CYA instincts are very strong, and they always expect you to do their research and a lot of their paperwork for them. They are also very aware of their own privileges and prerogatives. Bear in mind that no matter how much extra work you have to do, they never get tired or hungry.

If you are coming long distances to do a site survey or installation, you can pretty much bet that not everyone affected by your efforts, or whose cooperation you need to get the job done on time and within budget will be informed in a timely manner. People who have been inconvenienced rarely cooperate with you fully, and that will cost you, unless you can produce buckets of charm (and at least donuts and coffee) at a moment's notice.

A final note on government representatives: a competent person can sometimes have unrealistic expectations, but they can be shown the practical realities and adjust to them. An incompetent person often cannot, and will insist on the impossible, because "...it's in the Statement of Work."

3) Government budgeting for defense is often changed at a moment's notice: Project A is suspended so that an extra brigade of Marines can be sent to Afghanistan, or so that the overruns in more sensitive (or better politically connected) Project B can be covered.

No one seems to appreciate that the people who worked on Project A will then be dispersed to other programs or let go, and that when Project A is re-funded, it will NOT start at the point it was at when suspended and will take (much) longer to reach its next scheduled milestone. In short, it will usually be behind schedule and over budget for the rest of its life unless heroic (and usually) unfunded efforts are expended (by the way, those unfunded efforts are usually provided by individual employees, not by the company).

I've been called in to work on projects set aside eight and ten years prior by people who worked for a subsidiary group that used to be an independent company or was closed and quite often, the key propietary information is either lost in packing and movement or was sold to somebody else.

You cannot make money that way.

cheers

horseback

GoToAway
08-14-2010, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by Zeus-cat:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Firstly, DoD != military. The DoD employs 700,000 civilians (in addition to 1.4 million military,) so the software engineering capabilities of the military are pretty irrelevant in this case. The DoD isn't the military, it's the bureaucracy that oversees it.

Secondly, doing something like this in-house would save money, improve efficiency, and heighten security.

I appreciate that the military may not have the resources needed to create its own software, but the DoD most certainly does. They're two completely different things. My experience with the DoD is that it is not set up to do manufacturing which is what writing code essentially is. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>That may well be the case, but it probably should be.

Their business is defense. Outsourcing defense projects makes about as much sense as Ford outsourcing the design of next year's Mustang model.


I know from other posts that you are very anti-corporate, but this really is where stuff like this belongs. Large corporations tend to be stupid and bureaucratic (I currently work for one), but the government is even more stupider and more bureaucraticer (I know those aren't real words, but if you ever worked for the feds you would know why they should be). I agree with you that the federal government is an inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare. It's enormous and bloated beyond belief.

But given its size and capabilities, I think it's inexcusable that things like this can't be done in-house. It's just another example of the culture of wastefulness that pervades bureaucracies (both corporate and governmental.)


I just find society very frustrating. The resources are there to do so much, but they're constantly squandered and mismanaged.

Zeus-cat
08-14-2010, 07:53 PM
But given its size and capabilities, I think it's inexcusable that things like this can't be done in-house. It's just another example of the culture of wastefulness that pervades bureaucracies (both corporate and governmental.)

Large organizations are by nature inefficient. This is in large part because they are run by people. Get rid of the people and they would be run much better. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

If you think about it, if the government and companies were run extremely efficiently then far fewer people would have jobs. A certain amount of inefficiency is actually good; at least for employment. Just like a certain amount of inflation is better than no inflation or deflation.

Since corporations have a profit motive they tend to be more efficient than government and set u to adapt to change better. The governemnt is far slower to change and adapt. That is why defene projects should be managed by the government (something they do fairly well) and the private industries should projects develop weapon systems (something they do fairly well). The government is far more prone to people developing centers of power and holding on to them for years and decades. My wife's old office is run like that. These things are much harder to do in private industries; especially large ones.

WTE_Galway
08-14-2010, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by GoToAway:
But given its size and capabilities, I think it's inexcusable that things like this can't be done in-house. It's just another example of the culture of wastefulness that pervades bureaucracies (both corporate and governmental.)


To some extent you can blame the gutter press for this. In-house projects with even the slightest cost over-runs become a political mine field once the press get their teeth into it.

The same project out-sourced at even double the cost of doing it in-house attracts barely a murmur from the journos.

MB_Avro_UK
08-15-2010, 02:24 PM
Hi all,


This is interesting:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38536

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-15-2010, 02:45 PM
This is interesting:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38536

Firstly, whether it is 'interesting', or merely more of the same old random Obama-bashing that the US right engages in when it has nothing constructive to offer is a matter of opinion, though I note that at least this article has the decency to admit that the problems (real or not) are inherited from the Bush era.

Personally, I think that comparison of the pay scales of the public and private sectors is utterly meaningless, unless you also compare hours, qualifications, etc, etc, etc... It doesn't make for simple-minded arguments though.

Zeus-cat
08-15-2010, 03:01 PM
I skimmed the article by Buchanan. I won't disagree that federal employees are well paid. My wife is a federal employee and works for the Air Force. She is paid very well, but she is also one of the top employees where she works.

Several years ago she was actually given the highest rating she could get from her supervisor and the next level of management signed agreed and off on it. It got up 3 or 4 levels and they downgraded her evaluation. They wouldn't allow someone new to the division as well as someone from the "wrong" department to get such a high evaluation. She had to be knocked down or the rest of them would have looked bad. Her boss still managed to get her the bonus she deserved.

DoD employee raises are tied to military pay raises; and the governemtn has been throwing money at soldiers for a number of years. Google 2010 military pay and you may very well be shocked at what they pay military officers.

In addition, a lot of blue collar and low level white collar employees have been let go from military bases. Civil Engineering is woefully short of people where my wife works. Civil Engineering is responsible for all sorts of things like road and building maintenance, plowing roads, etc. In her old office she had to go wash the office truck on occasion as there was no one else to do it. Not a good use of someone making better than $30/hour.

As AndyJWest has pointed out, looking at average wages means nothing. You need to look at the jobs these people are doing.

Pirschjaeger
08-15-2010, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by erco415:
my software-writing cousin.....

.....his team of 6 people is assigned 8 government overseers, inspectors, auditors, etc- this is the cost of doing business with the DOD.


How many times has it been mentioned that the web will be used as a weapon in future wars? Whole nations have already been attacked and still no one knows exactly who did it.

web = communications and infrastructure

To add, it wasn't even mentioned what sort of project he is working on.

Perhaps after the next election the sky will stop falling. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

MB_Avro_UK
08-16-2010, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">This is interesting:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38536

Firstly, whether it is 'interesting', or merely more of the same old random Obama-bashing that the US right engages in when it has nothing constructive to offer is a matter of opinion, though I note that at least this article has the decency to admit that the problems (real or not) are inherited from the Bush era.

Personally, I think that comparison of the pay scales of the public and private sectors is utterly meaningless, unless you also compare hours, qualifications, etc, etc, etc... It doesn't make for simple-minded arguments though. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ok I'll bite again http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Why is it 'random Obama bashing' as in your words? What is Random Obama Bashing anyway? Nice terminology but meaningless. Is it the same as Random Bush Bashing?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-16-2010, 04:16 PM
Why is it 'random Obama bashing' as in your words?

If you read what I said, I suggested that what it was or wasn't was a matter of opinion. Are you suggesting I'm wrong?

It wasn't particularly pertinent to the thread topic anyway, at least as I see it...

GoToAway
08-16-2010, 04:23 PM
I really don't understand how people on the far right can constantly act as though they represent the majority ("the majority of Americans oppose Obama" or, "we represent 'real America,'") yet act as though they are a persecuted minority whenever it suits them.

They seem to want it both ways. It's quite fascinating. I'm sure all manner of sociological and psychological papers have been written on the subject.

Pirschjaeger
08-16-2010, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by GoToAway:
I'm sure all manner of sociological and psychological papers have been written on the subject.

Many linguists have become particularly interested in this phenomenon. Perhaps when I get some time I'll sift through my emails and post some articles here. I would have posted them before but I receive them before their publishing date.

WTE_Galway
08-16-2010, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by GoToAway:
I really don't understand how people on the far right can constantly act as though they represent the majority ("the majority of Americans oppose Obama" or, "we represent 'real America,'") yet act as though they are a persecuted minority whenever it suits them.

That easy ... just translate "the majority of Americans oppose Obama" as actually meaning "the majority of white non-hippy non-commo non-illegal-immigrant non-drug-taking Americans oppose Obama". http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

It comes from the "people like us" attitude. The idea is there are proper people who are "people like us" who are sane decent and know whats right and moral and correct ... and then there are "that other lot" whose opinions do not count as they are not "people like us".

MB_Avro_UK
08-17-2010, 02:39 AM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Why is it 'random Obama bashing' as in your words?

If you read what I said, I suggested that what it was or wasn't was a matter of opinion. Are you suggesting I'm wrong?

It wasn't particularly pertinent to the thread topic anyway, at least as I see it... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

My question to you was what you mean by saying my link is 'Obama Bashing'? I didn't suggest you were wrong.

It's just a question to you. Would you mind answering this time without a sidestep?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-17-2010, 08:47 AM
Ok, MB_Avro, since you seem incapable of grasping a perfectly simple concept, I'll repeat it all. You gave a link to an article you described as 'interesting'. I read it, and thought it wasn't particularly pertinent to the thread topic, contained little factual information, and was typical of much of the propaganda pushed by the US political right wing - more obsessed with 'proving' the Obama administration's evil intent in anything he does (or anything he doesn't do) than actually providing real evidence that such intent exists, or offering a sensible alternative. As an outsider, I find such articles totally unenlightening. Given my assessment I described it as 'random Obama-bashing' - I expressed an opinion, contrary to yours. Now what exactly is it you don't understand?

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2010, 09:09 AM
Faith and rational thought are like oil and water.

They just don't mix.

JZG_Thiem
08-17-2010, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
Faith and rational thought are like oil and water.

They just don't mix.

You forgot to mention the working temperature of of that emulsion (= when they *meet* each other).
Usually its >>100C (212F)

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2010, 09:47 AM
@ Thiem,

how true. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

@ GTA,

since this thread is going south fast I decided to sort through some of my emails and remembered one I am pretty sure you and others will enjoy reading. Just as some tend to divert from the original issue I will divert from the diversion. I'll have to do it in two posts: the first about a study and the second, and much longer, an opinion.

The study as reported in the NY Times:

February 14, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist
Our Politics May Be All in Our Head
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

We all know that liberals and conservatives are far apart on health care. But in the way their brains work? Even in automatic reflexes, like blinking? Or the way their glands secrete moisture?

That’s the suggestion of some recent research. It hints that the roots of political judgments may lie partly in fundamental personality types and even in the hard-wiring of our brains.

Researchers have found, for example, that some humans are particularly alert to threats, particularly primed to feel vulnerable and perceive danger. Those people are more likely to be conservatives.

One experiment used electrodes to measure the startle blink reflex, the way we flinch and blink when startled by a possible danger. A flash of noise was unexpectedly broadcast into the research subjects’ earphones, and the response was measured.

The researchers, led by Kevin B. Smith of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found that those who had a stronger blink reflex at the noise were more likely to take such conservative positions as favoring gun rights, supporting warrantless searches, and opposing foreign aid.

That makes intuitive sense: If you are more acutely sensitive to risks and more fearful of attack, you also may be more aggressive in arming yourself and more wary of foreigners.

Scholars also measured changes in the electrical conductance of research subjects’ skin, after they were shown images meant to trigger disgust — like a person eating a mouthful of worms. Our bodies have evolved so that when we’re upset, glands secrete moisture to cool us down, and that increases conductance.

Liberals released only slightly more moisture in reaction to disgusting images than to photos of fruit. But conservatives’ glands went into overdrive.

(Interestingly, women say that they feel more disgusted on average when they see such images, but they do not secrete more skin moisture than men do. One possibility is that women are raised to affect more revulsion than they feel, because it is considered feminine, while men are socialized to pretend that they are never grossed out.)

This research is tentative and needs to be confirmed, but it fits into a fascinating framework of the role of personality types in politics, explored in a recent book, “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics,” by two political scientists, Marc J. Hetherington of Vanderbilt University and Jonathan D. Weiler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They start by exploring data showing a remarkably strong correlation between state attitudes toward spanking children and voting patterns. Essentially, spanking states go Republican, while those with more timeouts go Democratic.

Professors Hetherington and Weiler contend that the differences stem from profound differences in cognitive styles. Spankers tend to see the world in stark, black-and-white terms, perceive the social order as vulnerable or under attack, tend to make strong distinctions between “us” and “them,” and emphasize order and muscular responses to threats. Parents favoring timeouts feel more comfortable with ambiguities, sense less threat, embrace minority groups — and are less prone to disgust when they see a man eating worms.

We shouldn’t take this too far. It’s not as if people in rural America, who overwhelmingly favor gun rights, invariably have a greater startle reflex than city dwellers. And the electorate undergoes big political shifts over time, even if human reflexes don’t. Professor Hetherington says that electoral shifts sometimes reflect shocks, like 9/11, that leave middle-of-the-roaders feeling vulnerable and more authoritarian in their worldview.

I moaned to the scholars that their research was utterly dispiriting for those of us in the opinion business. After all, it’s extra challenging to try to change people’s minds if they may not even share our hard-wiring. Are people who are “wrong” on the issues beyond redemption, because of their physiological inability to help themselves?

Professors Hetherington and Smith dismissed my whining and were more sanguine. For starters, they note that physiological differences are probably found among the extremes on each side, while political battles are fought in the middle. Indeed, these studies may be useful in determining what arguments to deploy against the other side.

“What research like ours may help with is in figuring out how to construct an argument in a way that is going to meaningfully connect with those on the other side,” Dr. Smith said.

Conservatives may be more responsive to health reform, he suggested, if it is framed as a national security argument. For example, American companies complain about the difficulty of competing with foreign companies that don’t have to pay for employee medical coverage. In that sense, our existing health care system leaves us vulnerable.

That foreign threat might make conservatives sweat so much that maybe, just maybe, they’d consider revisiting the issue.

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2010, 09:49 AM
.... and from an email on the topic:

• In one experiment, the strength of blink reflexes to unexpected noises was measured and correlated with degrees of reactions to external threats. Conservatives reacted considerably more strongly than liberals.
• Another experiment was based on the fact that disgust reactions create glandular secretions that change skin conductance. Subjects were shown disgusting images (like some eating a handful of worms). Liberals reacted mildly, but conservative reactions went off the charts.
• A third study showed a strong correlation between attitudes toward spanking and voting patterns: spanking states tend to go Republican. The experimenters correlated spanking preferences with what they called "cognitive styles." As Kristof reports it, "Spankers tend to see the world in stark, black-and-white terms, perceive the social order as vulnerable and under attack, tend to make strong distinctions between "us" and "them," and emphasize order and muscular responses to threats. Parents favoring timeouts feel more comfortable with ambiguities, sense less threat, embrace minority groups -- and are less prone to disgust when they see a man eating worms."

All three results follow from a cognitive science study called Moral Politics, which I published in 1996 and was reprinted in 2002. There I observed that conservatives and liberals had opposite moral worldviews structured by metaphor around two profoundly different models of the ideal family, a strict father family for conservatives and a nurturant parent family for liberals. In the ideal strict father family, the world is seen as a dangerous place and the father functions as protector from "others" and the parent who teaches children absolute right from wrong by punishing them physically (painful spanking or worse) when they do wrong. The father is the ultimate authority, children are to obey, and immoral practices are seen as disgusting.

Ideal liberal families are based on nurturance, which breaks down into empathy, responsibility -- for both oneself and others, and excellence: doing as well as one can to make oneself better and one's family and community better. Parents are to practice these things and children are to learn them by example.

Because our first experience with being governed in is our families, we all learn a basic metaphor: A Governing Institution Is A Family, where the governing institution can be a church, a school, a team, or a nation. The Nation-as-Family version gives us the idea of founding fathers, Mother India and Mother Russia, the Fatherland, homeland security, etc.

Apply these monolithically to our politics and you get extreme conservative and progressive moral systems, defining what is right and wrong to each side.

There is no moral system of the moderate or the middle. Because of a neural phenomenon called "mutual inhibition," two opposing moral systems can live in brain circuits that inhibit each other and are active in different contexts. For a nonpolitical example, consider Saturday night and Sunday morning moral systems, which coexist in the brains of many Americans. The same is true of "moderates," who are conservative on some issues and progressive on others, though there may be variations from person to person.

Kristof doesn't mention Moral Politics, though he got a copy at a Democratic Senate retreat in 2003, at which we both spoke. If Moral Politics is still on his bookshelf, I suggest he take a look. I also recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the difference between conservative and progressive moral systems.

Conservative Populism and Tea Partyers

After the Goldwater defeat of 1964, conservatism was a dirty word and most Americans wanted to be liberals, especially working people who were highly unionized. Lee A****er and colleagues, working for the 1968 Nixon campaign, had a problem: How to get a significant number of working people to become conservative enough to vote for Nixon.

They intuited what I have since called "biconceptualism" (see The Political Mind) -- the fact that many Americans have both conservative and progressive views, but in different contexts and on different issues. Mutual inhibition in brain circuitry means the strengthening of one weakens the other. They found a way to both strengthen conservative views and weaken liberal views, creating a conservative populism. Here's how they did it.

They realized that by the late 60's many working people were disturbed by the anti-war demonstrations; so Nixon ran on anti-communism. They noticed that many working men were upset by radical feminists. So they pushed traditional family values. And they realized that, after the civil rights legislation, many working men, especially in the South, were threatened by blacks. So they ran Nixon on law and order. At the same time, they created the concept of "the liberal elite" -- the tax and spend liberals, the liberal media, the Hollywood liberals, the limosine liberals, and so on. They created language for all these ideas and have been repeating it ever since.

Even though liberals have worked tirelessly for the material benefit of working people, the repetition of conservative populist frames over more than 40 years has had an effect. Conservative ideas have spread in the brains of conservative populists. The current Tea Party movement is an attempt to spread conservative populism further.

Sarah Palin may not know history or economics, but she does know strict father morality and conservative populist frames. Frank Rich, in his February 14 NY Times column, denied David Broder's description of Palin as "perfect pitch populism" and called it "deceptive faux populism" and a "populist masquerade." What Rich is missing is that Palin has a perfect pitch for conservative populism -- which is very different from liberal populism. What she can do is strengthen the conservative side of bi-conceptual undecided populists, helping to move them to conservative populists. She is dangerous that way.

Frank Rich, another of my heroes, is a perfect pitch liberal. He assumes that nurturant values (empathy, social and personal responsibility, making yourself and the world better) are the only objective values. I think they are right values, values that define democracy, but unfortunately far from the only values. Starting with those values, Rich correctly points out that Palin's views contradict liberal populism and that her conservative positions won't materially help the poor and middle class. All true, but ... that does not contradict conservative populism or conservatism in general.

This is a grand liberal mistake. The highest value in the conservative moral system (see Moral Politics, Chapter 9) is the perpetuation and strengthening of the conservative moral system itself!! This is not liberal materialism. Liberals decry it as "ideology," and it is. But it is real, it has the structure of moral system, and it is physically part of the brains of both Washington conservatives and conservative populists. The conservative surge is not merely electoral. It is an idea surge. It is an attempt to spread conservatism via the spread of conservative populism. That is what the Tea Party movement is doing.

False Reason and Real Reason: The Obama Mistake

It was entirely predictable a year ago that the conservatives would hold firm against Obama's attempts at "bipartisanship" -- finding occasional conservatives who were biconceptual, that is, shared some views acceptable to Obama on some issues, while keeping an overall liberal agenda.

The conservatives are not fools. Because their highest value is protecting and extending the conservative moral system itself, giving Obama any victory at all would strengthen Obama and weaken the hold of their moral system. Of course they were going to vote against every proposal and delay and filibuster as often as possible. Protecting and extending their worldview demands it.

Obama seems not to have understood this -- or wants to appear that way.

We saw this when Obama attended the Republican caucus. He kept pointing out that they voted against proposals that Republicans had made and that he had incorporated, acting as if this were a contradiction. But that was to be expected, since a particular proposal that strengthens Obama and hence weakens their moral view violates their highest moral principle.

Such conservative logic explains why conservatives in Congress first proposed a bipartisan committee to study the deficit, and then voted against it.

That is why I don't expect much from the President's summit with Republicans on February 25. Why should they do anything to strengthen Obama's hand, when it would violate their highest moral principle, as well as weakening themselves electorally. If Obama thinks he can shame them in front of their voters, he is mistaken again. Conservative voters think the same way they do.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama used framing perfectly and articulated the progressive moral system (empathy, individual and social responsibility, making oneself and the world better) as well as it has ever been done.

But he changed after the election. Obama moved from real reason, how people really think, to false reason, a traditional view coming out of the Enlightenment and favored by all too many liberals.

We now (finally!) come to the point of going through all those experiments in the cognitive and brain sciences. Here are the basic differences between real and false reason, and the ways in which all too many liberals, including Obama during the past year, are wed to false reason.

Real reason is embodied in two ways. It is physical, in our brain circuitry. And it is based on our bodies as the function in the everyday world, using thought that arises from embodied metaphors. And it is mostly unconscious. False reason sees reason as fully conscious, as literal, disembodied, yet somehow fitting the world directly, and working not via frame-based, metaphorical, narrative and emotional logic, but via the logic of logicians alone.

Empathy is physical, arising from mirror neurons systems tied to emotional circuitry. Self-interest is real as well, and both play their roles in real reason. False reason is supposed to serve material self-interest alone. It's supposed to answer the question, "What's in it for me?,"which President Obama assumed that all populists were asking. While Frank Luntz told conservatives to frame health care in terms of the moral concepts of freedom (a "government takeover") and life ("death panels"), Obama was talking about policy minutia that could not be understood by most people.

Real reason is inexplicably tied up with emotion; you cannot be rational without being emotional. False reason thinks that emotion is the enemy of reason, that it is unscrupulous to call on emotion. Yet people with brain damage who cannot feel emotion cannot make rational decisions because they do not know what to want, since like and not like mean nothing. "Rational" decisions are based on a long history of emotional responses by oneself and others. Real reason requires emotion.

Obama assumed that Republicans would act "rationally" where "rationality" was defined by false reason -- on the logic of material self-interest. But conservatives understood that their electoral chances matched their highest moral principle, strengthening their moral system itself without compromise.

It is a basic principle of false reason that every human being has the same reason governed by logic -- and that if you just tell people the truth, they will reason to the right conclusion. The President kept saying, throughout Tea Party summer, that he would just keep telling the truth about policy details -- details that most people could not make moral sense of. And so he did, to the detriment of all of us.

All politics is moral. Political leaders all make proposals they say are "right." No one proposes a policy that they say is wrong. But there are two opposing moral systems at work in America. What moral system you are using governs how you will see the world and reason about politics. That is the lesson of the cognitive science behind Moral Politics and all the experiments since then. It is the lesson of all the research on embodied metaphor. Metaphorical thought is central to politics.

Finally, there is the lesson of how language works in the brain. Every word is neurally connected to a neural circuit characterizing a frame, which in turn is part of a system of frames linked to a moral system. In political discourse, words activate frames, which in turn activate moral systems. This mechanism is not conscious. It is automatic, and it is acquired through repetition. As the language of conservative morality is repeated, frames are activated repeatedly that in turn activate and strengthen the conservative system of thought -- unconsciously and automatically. Thus conservative talk radio and the national conservative messaging system are powerful unconscious forces. They work via principles of real reason.

But many liberals, assuming a false view of reason, think that such a messaging system for ideas they believe in would be illegitimate -- doing the things that the conservatives do that they consider underhanded. Appealing honestly to the way people really think is seen as emotional and hence irrational and immoral. Liberals, clinging to false reason, simply resist paying attention to real reason.

Take Paul Krugman, one of my heroes, whose economic sense I find impeccable. Here is a quote from a recent column:

"Republicans who hate Medicare, tried to slash Medicare in the past, and still aim to dismantle the program over time, have been scoring political points by denouncing proposals for modest cost savings -- savings that are substantially smaller than the spending cuts buried in their own proposals."

He is following traditional liberal logic, and pointing out a literal contradiction: they denounce "cuts in Medicare" while wanting to eliminate Medicare and have proposed bigger cuts themselves.

But, from the perspective of real reason as conservatives use it, there is no contradiction. The highest conservative value is preserving and empowering their moral system itself. Medicare is anathema to their moral system -- a fundamental insult. It violates free market principles and gives people things they haven't all earned. It is a system where some people are paying --God forbid! -- for the medical care of others. For them, Medicare itself is immoral on a grand scale, a fundamental moral issue far more important than any minor proposal for "modest cost savings." I'm sorry to report it, but that is how conservatives are making use of real reason, and exploiting the fact that so many liberals think it's contradictory.

Indeed, one of the major findings of real reason is that negating a frame activates that frame in the brain and reinforces it -- like Nixon saying that he was not a crook. Dan Pfeiffer, writing on the White House blog, posted an article called "Still not a 'Government Takeover'," which activates the conservative idea of a government takeover and hence reinforces the idea. Every time a liberal goes over a conservative proposal giving evidence negating conservative ideas one by one, he or she is activating the conservative ideas in the brains of his audience. The proper response is to start with your own ideas, framed to fit what you really believe. Facts matter. But they have to be framed properly and their moral significance must be made manifest. That is what we learn from real reason.

The NY Times is home to a lot of traditional reason, often based on false principles of how people think. That is why the reporting of those experiments brightened my day. Perhaps the best way to the NY Times mind is through the science of mind.

Kudos once more to the Times' science reporting on those experiments.

Von_Rat
08-17-2010, 10:12 AM
thats all very intertesting pirsch. there even may be some truth in it.

but it does'nt explain people like myself. i was pretty conservative when i was younger, now im getting much more liberal as i get older.

or even better, people like leit. who started off liberal and turned into,,,, well you know. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2010, 10:33 AM
I've considered just what you mentioned VR and even thought of Leit. In a previous thread, or two, he mentioned his change of views.

But I somehow doubt either of you are or ever were extreme but perhaps rather rock back and forth on the fence.

MB_Avro_UK
08-17-2010, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
Ok, MB_Avro, since you seem incapable of grasping a perfectly simple concept, I'll repeat it all. You gave a link to an article you described as 'interesting'. I read it, and thought it wasn't particularly pertinent to the thread topic, contained little factual information, and was typical of much of the propaganda pushed by the US political right wing - more obsessed with 'proving' the Obama administration's evil intent in anything he does (or anything he doesn't do) than actually providing real evidence that such intent exists, or offering a sensible alternative. As an outsider, I find such articles totally unenlightening. Given my assessment I described it as 'random Obama-bashing' - I expressed an opinion, contrary to yours. Now what exactly is it you don't understand?

Thanks for taking the trouble to answer http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Just because it doesn't fit your political views, it doesn't mean automatically that the content is rubbish. Some of it may be, some of it may not be. Just as in an article that criticises G.Bush may or may not be rubbish.

You have personally insulted me again. Can you not debate?

And I take offence by you stating that I am 'incapable of grasping a simple concept'. That is an uncalled for public insult.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-17-2010, 03:05 PM
MB_Avro, if you have a problem with my response to your question, I suggest you take it up with the moderators.

MB_Avro_UK
08-17-2010, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
MB_Avro, if you have a problem with my response to your question, I suggest you take it up with the moderators.

You describe yourself as an 'outsider' in your previous post in relation to the link I posted.

What is an outsider? Is it a reasonable person? Or a person who is not reasonable? I am sooo confused.

On this forum as I have mentioned before, there is a strong tendency for those of Left wing allegiance to personally denegrate anyone who may dare to suggest that there is an alternative political view e.g. centre-ground.

Without the cemtre-ground of politics, there is the danger of the abyss.

God help us if we plunge into the abyss http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Your move AndyJWest. I'm sure your response won't be a personal attack again http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-17-2010, 04:02 PM
As a UK citizen (or more accurately, UK subject, unfortunately http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), I am an 'outsider' in regard to US politics. I fail to see the need for confusion.

As for 'personally denigrating' people, I wasn't aware that I had, except possibly in response to your apparent inability to grasp what an 'opinion' was, though if you wish to claim that it is only the left that engages in such tactics on this forum, I'd beg to differ. It seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to feel insulted over the merest comment. Perhaps this could be seen as a confirmation of the article Pirschjaeger quoted regarding the conservative mind-set, though personally I'm of the opinion that political ideology is acquired, rather than being inherited...

MB_Avro_UK
08-17-2010, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
As a UK citizen (or more accurately, UK subject, unfortunately http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), I am an 'outsider' in regard to US politics. I fail to see the need for confusion.

As for 'personally denigrating' people, I wasn't aware that I had, except possibly in response to your apparent inability to grasp what an 'opinion' was, though if you wish to claim that it is only the left that engages in such tactics on this forum, I'd beg to differ. It seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to feel insulted over the merest comment. Perhaps this could be seen as a confirmation of the article Pirschjaeger quoted regarding the conservative mind-set, though personally I'm of the opinion that political ideology is acquired, rather than being inherited...

Why do you quote PJ?

What is Left Wing to you? I'd be interested to hear.

I am centre-ground. Left and Right are not for me.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

WTE_Galway
08-17-2010, 05:29 PM
Pirch's posted stuff is just commonsense really.

Most people are predisposed to a certain point of view virtually from birth and then shop around for a political and religious stance that endorses what they already believe (It has even shown up in those famous longitudinal twin studies popular back in the sixties whenever researchers were struggling for a topic to get a grant for) http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Of course their are exceptions but generally by late teen years the majority of people's life long stance is already fixed, they then move about within that framework (even occasionally voting for the "other side").

An interesting development in Australian politics recently is both sides have become so terrified of media criticism neither will commit to anything at all and the whole current election is based around both conservative (liberal party in Australia) and liberal (labor party) sniping at the other side and stating which policies they will "cut" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

AndyJWest
08-17-2010, 07:16 PM
Most people are predisposed to a certain point of view virtually from birth...



When all night long a chap remains
On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
That is, assuming that he's got any.
Though never nurtured in the lap
Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
I am an intellectual chap,
And think of things that would astonish you.
I often think it's comical – Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive – Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal, lal, la!

When in that House M.P.'s divide,
If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too,
They’ve got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
But then the prospect of a lot
Of dull M. P.’s in close proximity,
All thinking for themselves, is what
No man can face with equanimity.
Then let’s rejoice with loud Fal la – Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive – Fal lal la!
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal lal la!

Gilbert and Sullivan: Iolanthe - "Whe all night long a chap remains"
http://math.boisestate.edu/gas...he/web_op/iol14.html (http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/iolanthe/web_op/iol14.html)

GoToAway
08-17-2010, 08:00 PM
@PJ

Interesting post. Not unexpected, but still interesting. If one reads between the lines, then it's pretty apparent that conservatism is a fear response. It makes a lot of sense when viewed from that perspective: insularity, violent responses, a propensity to strong religious beliefs, etc.

@WTE

Most people are predisposed to a certain point of view virtually from birth and then shop around for a political and religious stance that endorses what they already believe

I agree with that. Although it explains much about human history (from the Third Reich through the thoroughly depressing debate re: evolution in Southern classrooms,) it's rather distressing in that it suggests that the majority of the human populace is indoctrinated into a belief system.

Though, I have to wonder if there aren't two types of people: those who can and cannot change.

I was fairly conservative through my teens. Not because I was indoctrinated (I grew up in New England with completely apolitical, secular parents,) but probably because I had a difficult childhood. Not a neo-con or a modern "Republican" by any means, but I believed in small (but strong) government, an insular foreign policy, and the need to maintain the status quo.

As I got older and saw more of the world, I moved away from that viewpoint. I became disgusted by what I saw and experienced. Now well into my 20s, I'd describe myself a few hairs shy of Marxist. I loathe the far right and everything it stands for. Ironically (in the eyes of the Rushophiles, anyway) I hate the Democrats almost as much if not more. The Republicans at least wear their quasi-fascist ideology on their sleeves--the Democrats pretend to be everything they aren't.

If Obama did half of what he promised, I'd like him. I never expected him to, though. He's just another in an endless line of career politicians. Still, I'd rather have him than Bush.

I've come to accept that America is a lost cause. Its political system is a cancer that cannot be excised. The far right, religious extremists, and neo-cons have all conspired to capitalize upon this fact, and they're slowly killing everything that was this country. The so-called "centrists" and Democrats are party to it all in that their concern isn't to right the course of the ship, but to profit as much as possible as the ship sinks.

There's nothing anyone can do.

BillSwagger
08-17-2010, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by GoToAway:


I agree with a lot of what you have said. I'm not sure where i fall politically, and I find it difficult to make a distinction on such black and white terms. I've never held really polarizing views, but i'm probably more liberal only because of the location i live in.
I really don't see too many differences between liberal or conservatives, only that perhaps the defining factors seem to be at what pace "change" occurs. Liberals tend to promote change or new policies, while conservatives, would rather take things one step at a time.
I found the article posted to be a bit loaded, and trying to make distinctions between conservative and liberal agendas beyond the pace of change is always more polarizing than the actual differences between them. Its intended that way because it makes it easier to separate candidates and point fingers.

I really think America's politically system has become more subservient to a world governing body run by corporations.
Most career politicians are aware of this, and if not, holding office probably suddenly makes them more aware of this fact.
Bush or Obama, i'm highly critical of. I see no difference if both have a hand up their *ss telling them what to say.

I still love this country, but i hope people understand what running an economy on low bank rates for a good part of the decade means for them.
Obama promises to fix things, but how? He has a four year term, in which it seems like only so much can be done before elections start to influence political decisions. So really, his term is reduced to about two years of useful change then he has to fall in line as to not look too liberal or conservative or what ever.
BTW, his advisors should start to advise him to eat out at a fast but healthy, food chain, like Subway or ToGos, and make sure there are lots of cameras there.
Actually, my perception is that Obama has been pretty active. It seems like he gets around and does lots of stuff but i see no immediate political change.
His four year term has really been stunted by the fact that the media can make or break the next election for him.

It would be healthy for our democracy to limit when campaigning starts prior to primaries.
I seem to remember 2006, and already seeing Clinton ads, long before most of us even knew who Obama was.

oops i kind of ranted a bit.

Bill

Zeus-cat
08-17-2010, 09:40 PM
I've come to accept that America is a lost cause. Its political system is a cancer that cannot be excised. The far right, religious extremists, and neo-cons have all conspired to capitalize upon this fact, and they're slowly killing everything that was this country. The so-called "centrists" and Democrats are party to it all in that their concern isn't to right the course of the ship, but to profit as much as possible as the ship sinks.

There's nothing anyone can do.

So why do you stay here? Move to Cuba. It's reasonably close. You can probably get in. You'd have to learn Spanish if you don't know it. It is one of the few surviving communist countries that seems committed to communism. China and Vietnam (did you know that Vietnam is more or less one of our allies now?) seem to be slowly transitioning to capitalism. I am not saying this to be mean or one of those "America, love it or leave it" people, but if you truly despise this country's political system and how it functions why stay. There are other options.

I find it hard to believe that an educated person embraces Marxism. The only countries in the world that have implemented that system have done so by force and usually extreme brutality. I have visited a number of eastern European countries that have thrown off Marxism and you can tell they are much better places to live now than they were under communism. I looked around those countries and saw what the communists built and much of it has been abandoned. I admit capitalism and democracy have their problems, but the problems they have are minor compared to the ones that totalitarian regimes create.

I think it would be interesting to see if a country could really function under communism/Marxism without violence. Given the track record it seems unlikely, but on paper the system should work.

You are in your 20's and you are disillusioned that everything didn't go your way? Get used to it; that's life. If you go around pi$$ed at the world that everything didn't turn out the way you wanted you will never be happy. You need to accept that once in a while the other guy wins.

GoToAway
08-17-2010, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by Zeus-cat:
So why do you stay here? Because I don't subscribe to the "love it or leave it" nonsense.

I am objective. I don't have an irrational love of the US, but I don't hate it either. I don't believe that there's a "perfect" state anywhere.


Move to Cuba. It's reasonably close. It's also a military dictatorship.


but if you truly despise this country's political system I despise all political systems. Why? Because they're inherently divisive. All societies ultimately put power in the hands of a few, and those few always succumb to corruption. History shows it time and time again, from the Roman senate through the Soviet politburo. When men are given power and little accountability, they abuse it.

I am angry about what became of the US' political system because it was the most carefully constructed and crafted government in history. It was under assault from nearly the moment it was founded. True, there were altruistic visionaries involved with its creation (Adams and Jefferson come to mind despite being on opposite sides of the aisle,) but it was immediately beset from within by would-be tyrants and despots. In the ensuing centuries, it has been willfully subverted by Congress. It has become a shadow of what it was supposed to be.

I don't "hate" the US, as you in your black and white world view insist. I hate what petty men have made it.


I find it hard to believe that an educated person embraces Marxism. The only countries in the world that have implemented that system have done so by force and usually extreme brutality. And they haven't truly embraced it. The so-called "communist" countries of the world were in actuality various flavors of Stalinism. Stalin created a brutal and oppressive form of quasi-socialism.

The world has never seen a true Marxist society.



I have visited a number of eastern European countries that have thrown off Marxism They threw off Stalinism.


but the problems they have are minor compared to the ones that totalitarian regimes create. And such a thing is not a prerequisite of a Marxist society. Nor is a cult of personality is a requirement.

What you're doing is tantamount to judging all western political systems on the tenets of the NSDAP.


I think it would be interesting to see if a country could really function under communism/Marxism without violence. They could, but not in this world. Not so much because of inherent problems with Marxism, but because capitalist societies will constantly attempt to debase it.


You are in your 20's and you are disillusioned that everything didn't go your way? Get used to it; that's life. I am used to it. That doesn't mean that I can't be disgusted by a society of "haves" and "have nots" that is so deeply entrenched that it can never be changed.

Von_Rat
08-18-2010, 02:31 AM
every society since the dawn of time has had "haves and have nots.

in the western world the ratio of haves to have nots has slowly been getting better over the century's.

the rest of the world is slowly improving too. but its going to take several more centurys for most of them just to get up to todays western nations ratio of haves to have nots.

as far as totally eliminating haves and have nots, good luck with that. it aint going to happen any time soon.

Gammelpreusse
08-18-2010, 03:37 AM
Originally posted by GoToAway:

I despise all political systems. Why? Because they're inherently divisive. All societies ultimately put power in the hands of a few, and those few always succumb to corruption. History shows it time and time again, from the Roman senate through the Soviet politburo. When men are given power and little accountability, they abuse it.

One of the very few times I have to disagree to you in a post you make. There always will be a need for some kind of ruling body in any given society. It simply is required to bring a certain kind of stability to people that else would predominately busy with fighting for ressources. Such a body always will develop, either by democratic means, or by individuals hunger for power and their followers. And such people will always exist, as much there always will be people that want to be lead, for better or worse. In an ideal case, such a governing body will try to, in cooperation with the ppl within the responsebility of the governing body, create as much common ground as possible. For this to work it requires a lot of tolerance towards emerging opinions. But there always will be others that fall out of that basic common ground. To that I count people like psychopaths, ppl that get a hard on by looking at children, mass killers, or even folks with extreme political views, intolerant towards those of others. Most of the time these folks lack the willpower (or motivation, why change when no new perspectives are opened up just for the convinience of others?) to overcome these genetical or expirience based urges to connect with the majority, even a minority, or lack the emphathy or tolerance for other's lifestyle, suffering or inhibitions. Btw, during the Bush years, from an outside view, it appeared that exactly this was taking place, religious rightwing extremists that attempted (and in many ways succeeded)to shape the US in their own way, destroying much of the reputation the US enjoyed in regards to tolerance of lifestyles (the whole gay marriage thing is a perfect example, another one the percied threat of illegal aliens, notwithstanding tha tthe whole fundaments of the US developed upon illegal aliens). The US developed from an including society to an excluding one. (this has many paraleles with many european developments over the course of history as well, especially in regards to the development of nationalism. It also is becoming appearant in Asia these days).

The problem in this does not lie with the governmental body itself. Any government, no matter where or when, is just an expression of the ppl living within it's responsebility. Political classes can only become corrupt and egoistic if the society they develop within already provides the grounds for such behaviours. And a certain degree of corruption will always be there no matter what anyways. Man is not a computer, man naturally is not even a morale or ethical beeing. Sticking to the rules requires a lot of self discipline and idealism, which rquires constant catering to. As such a government, even a fascist or marxist one(and redefining marxists systems of the past and present as simply "stalinist" does not do the whole development justice. Purely marxist systems WILL have problems comparable to those that finally ended communism in the east), in their general approach have their roots in public developments of at least a substantial part of any society.
Only in rare cases does it work the other way around (Prussian reforms in the wake of the french occupation comes to mind)

So do not blame political classes, blame the people that made their development possible. Corrupt governments are a smypton, not a root cause, and will only be adressed by a major change in the mindset of common folks.

Despise as such is not contributing to problem solving..it is part of the problem. It puts emotion above the rational.



They could, but not in this world. Not so much because of inherent problems with Marxism, but because capitalist societies will constantly attempt to debase it.

Disagreed again. Both capitalism and communism cater to basic needs of human existance. The urge for personal development and progress, and the urge for social cohersion and cooperation (Humans are pack animals by their very nature, survival of the group in prehistoric times dependended on mutual support. Loners had no chance.) And yes, healthcare and support of those not able to help themselves are modern incarnations of this, at least as long you consider a countries population and culture as "your own", identifiyng with the ppl around you.

And it is entirely possible to try to incorporate both in exisitng societies, there are enough examples of this. Concentrating on only one aspect, like capitalism in the US or communism in the USSR, both exludes huge portions of any given population from finding their ways, and as such are more damaging in the long run then profitable. But here, again, it is a matter of mindset in regards to what is possible, both system do not inherently exclude the other unless taken to the extremes. It becomes even worse when these extremes become some kind of identity marker, making it dogma. This destroys the possebility of open debate and new ideas and results in stagnantcy, inflexebility. And stagnantcy results in falling back compared to other societies, a fate that already befell the former communist countries and now also threatens the US in their capitalist stances, like many societies, cultures, companies, countries and empires before finding themselves in similiar situations, unable to cope with new realities because they were to busy trying to stick to their old, comfortable, known and as such uncomplicated ways.

The Nazis came to power, btw, in huge parts because their was an overall tiredness of "progress" and modernity. They catered to the urge of ppl to return back to less complicated times in an ever more complex world.

Unluckily such reactionary stances always manifest themselves in movements dedicated to restore old ways. The Congress of Vienna was an european attempt by those in power to restore absolutist Europe to conditions before Napoleon, completly disgregaring the results of the french revolution. This only postponed the ineveitable, however, and caused a lot of social unrest, civil war and unnessecary deaths. The tea party movement is another incarnation of such a drive, this time around by the common people, opposed to the folks in power and against a government that recognized the signs of the time.

As such the success of any given society, in the incarnation of a nation, a corporation, or nay other kind of system where ppl have to work together to succeed, relies on the ability to learn and incroperate new ideas and overall tolerance. This requires a certain kind of bravery. And it is worrying that the US exactly lacks this at the moment, beeing too busy with itself and percieved threats, and instead of trying to find new ways rather tries to return to even older ways currently.

It all comes down to the fact that you will have totehter with ppl sporting differing opinions of yours, and accepting that you will never achieve a system strictly written to your own imaginations. All attempts in this direction will ultimately result in problems, huge ones eventually.

Pirschjaeger
08-18-2010, 03:43 AM
Originally posted by GoToAway:
@PJ

Interesting post. Not unexpected, but still interesting. If one reads between the lines, then it's pretty apparent that conservatism is a fear response. It makes a lot of sense when viewed from that perspective: insularity, violent responses, a propensity to strong religious beliefs, etc.


True but it is nice to see currently there are many studies confirming what many already knew. But what are we to do with this info?

To the lefts the rights, especially the neo-cons, appear to have evil intent. So I think it's safe to assume the rights are genuinely suspicious of the lefts when in fact the only ones with questionable intent are the actual leaders.

A typical left/right discussion:

Right: The sky is falling under the weight of big government.

Left: Sounds like you are a fascist capitalist.

Right: You always disagree with me. You don't like me and I know you are actually involved in making the sky fall because you support big government.

Left: You are delusional.

Right: You are attacking me. You and your lot want to give our freedom away.

Yet the issue of whether or not the sky is really falling, and what can be done, is never actually discussed.

To the left, the right seems nutty and to the right the left seems part of a conspiracy yet neither is nutty nor part of a conspiracy.

Perhaps what I find the scariest is that it appears the neo-cons genuinely believe what they are saying. This, in my opinion, makes them dangerous. History has shown us many times what people/mobs are capable of when defending faith.

BillSwagger
08-18-2010, 04:32 AM
Thats the perception in the media anyway. I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the government and how they are involved in our everyday lives, but debates take that route because it quickly molds and defines sides.

Like being ProChoice or ProLife. If I'm prochoice, that doesn't make me prodeath, and if i'm prolife, it doesn't mean i think you shouldn't have choices. Thats a ripe and easy example.

I think the reality is that generally a conservative person or party is not necessarily more well off, but rather things tend to be going well for them and so changes in government or policies might effect them.
Example would be a business owner who has finally got his business off the ground and began making a profit for him self every year. Suddenly, there is a ballot measure that may impose higher taxes or require him to pay fees that otherwise effect the bottom line of his business. This can be somewhat disruptive to his payroll, and other financial obligations such as business loans, that otherwise are kept in balance by the current policies.

Someone who is liberal is probably someone who would like to see more changes because they aren't so well off.
An example might be a man and/or woman who works a 60 hour work week to support their family, and because of an unforeseen crisis, they've had to borrow against their home to keep their family clothed and fed. They are not able to sock away any savings, and any retirement they had has been cashed in. The equity in the house has steadily been shrinking due to a deflating real estate market, however, they are able to meet current financial obligations. Its just that any future financial goals may never be met or attained unless there is a ballot measure that helps them save more of what they make.

The governments needs to function one way or the other, and so the money has to come from somewhere.
Majority rules, right?

BTW, has there every been such a thing as democratic communism?

I seem to remember that communism was deemed bad, and that democracy was deemed good, and perhaps that's where the attack on socialism has been misleading because it actually had nothing to do with capitalism and it had more to do with liberating people from their dictators. If people were given freedom to choose or vote, could a democratic communism work?

Here's your choices:
Price of bread : 1.99,
price of beans 2.99
price of milk 4.99

-----or-------
Price of bread: 2.99
Price of beans 2.99
Price of milk 3.99

Yeah, that probably would be problematic but a larger world economy probably ends up looking that way.


Bill

Gammelpreusse
08-18-2010, 04:45 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:

I seem to remember that communism was deemed bad, and that democracy was deemed good, and perhaps that's where the attack on socialism has been misleading because it actually had nothing to do with capitalism and it had more to do with liberating people from their dictators. If people were given freedom to choose or vote, could a democratic communism work?

Bill

That is like asking if democracy and capitalism work. The market system (capitalistic or communistic) would dominate the political debate and what to do about it, but again, it depends on the poeple and their acceptance of such a system. Communism in many ways failed not because of communism itself, but because undemocratic political systems that accompanied it, with roots and results I already described in my former post.

Just to put that into context, the ppl in the former eastern german part of this country, or Poland as well, initially did not protest against communism, but against an authoritan political class that made any debate about changes to the system impossible = stagnantcy.

Communism did nnot fail per se, it had as much room for reform and adjustments as any other system. It failed because of poltical dogma and as such suffered a legitimicy crisis.

BillSwagger
08-18-2010, 04:58 AM
Doesn't the US democracy already incorporate elements of socialism into the system?
Aren't the price oil and gas, and some utilities like water regulated as to not gouge consumers?

I wonder how far that stretches. What if a milk farmer woke up one day and said he wanted to triple the price. Do you think government would step in a regulate since many food products depend on the dairy market.

Its hard for me to think how health care is any different.

Bill

Gammelpreusse
08-18-2010, 05:09 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:
Doesn't the US democracy already incorporate elements of socialism into the system?
Aren't the price oil and gas, and some utilities like water regulated as to not gouge consumers?

I wonder how far that stretches. What if a milk farmer woke up one day and said he wanted to triple the price. Do you think government would step in a regulate since many food products depend on the dairy market.

Its hard for me to think how health care is any different.

Bill

Every western system hs some parts of socialism incorporated, ppl simply do not reconize these as such. Police, firefighters, sometimes electrcity grids or rail networks which are deemed too important for a countries surivial but to give it market rules.

An example: A train station shuts down because the route is deemed unprofitable by the railroad company.

This, however, ignores that though the train station is not profitable, the mere existance of such a train sation may cause investments in business and infrastrcutre in the region dependant on this train station. As a result of the shut down, a bit money may have been saved by that company, but a lot of money is lost in development and business, as such in taxes and reinvestment capabilities.

So a state run train system, though ineffective and possibly waisting money instead of earning it, may have a positive net result in the long run nevertheless.
This thinking is the basic of a lot of european approaches to socialism, born out of centuries of expiriences with all kind of systems.

Healthcare and social security nets work on comprable basics. In Germany, for example, health care and jobless benefits basicly provided a huge stimulus package as public consum did not break down during the downturn, preventing more devastating results in the long run. Socialism as a lot to do with long term plannning and stability, fundamental to propper business planning as well.

It's all about getting the right balance and not overdoing one system.

Regulation is another topic. Regulation in this is not about setting prices. It simply provides the rules and condition under wich the farmer can set his prices. A farmer starting to ise prices in solcial democracy, for example, still is bound to market rules. He will have to give a lot of convincing aguments why ppl should buy milk triple the price of that of his rivals.

I think many folks in the US make the mistake of considering "socialism" a purely good will, alstruistic system which results in nothing but money loss out of pure, naive idealism. And they are right at first glance. However, the whole matter requires a lot more in depths look to grasp all implications.

hop2002
08-18-2010, 05:21 AM
Communism in many ways failed not because of communism itself, but because undemocratic political systems that accompanied it,

Communism can't survive in a democracy. If you take away the profit motive, you have to substitute fear to make people work. No democratic government can survive whilst using fear against its own electorate.


Communism did nnot fail per se, it had as much room for reform and adjustments as any other system

It failed because it lacked the profit motive. It might not be palatable to some people, but the truth is people work harder for themselves and their immediate family than they do for strangers. There's only 1 real exception to that, which is in immediate life and death circumstances, but in general, if you want someone to work hard, don't threaten him, don't ask him nicely, just offer him more money.

Gammelpreusse
08-18-2010, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by hop2002:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Communism in many ways failed not because of communism itself, but because undemocratic political systems that accompanied it,

Communism can't survive in a democracy. If you take away the profit motive, you have to substitute fear to make people work. No democratic government can survive whilst using fear against its own electorate.


Communism did nnot fail per se, it had as much room for reform and adjustments as any other system

It failed because it lacked the profit motive. It might not be palatable to some people, but the truth is people work harder for themselves and their immediate family than they do for strangers. There's only 1 real exception to that, which is in immediate life and death circumstances, but in general, if you want someone to work hard, don't threaten him, don't ask him nicely, just offer him more money. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You are right in regards of a required profit motive, but you implicate that the profit motive is only available through money and economic success as the only indicator of success in general. Thus is the requirement of earning money. In western societies, money simply replaced other symbols of power, achievement and status over the centuries.

But it is entirely possible to replace this by something else in the future again. In Europe, money becomes less and less important in regards to standing. Ppl earning lots of money simply start losing respect. And the drive to mimic them is also falling drastically. Recent polls in Germany suggested that 80 Percent of the ppl here fail to see th elong term positive effects of a free market capitalism if cmmon people can't profit from it, and they don't. The distance between the rich and poor widens ever more, fewer and fewer people actually make a profit. Even in strong growth times no new jobs are created. And a service based economy failed miserably in the US and even more so in the UK. Those are no options for the future. It simply does not lead to inspiration or motivation anymore. There is a tiredness of running behind money in an increasing social darwinist environment all the time. No answer to that problem yet gathered any kind of majority behind it, but answers are available and its only a matter of time until another typical shift in history happens. The only question remains if such a shift happens slowly and under control, or in an explosion due to inflexible intellectual state of minds.


Profit purely defined by money is quickly running out of credebility, and instead of repeating old credos new proposals are required.

GoToAway
08-18-2010, 10:14 AM
I should probably clarify.


Originally posted by Gammelpreusse:
One of the very few times I have to disagree to you in a post you make. There always will be a need for some kind of ruling body in any given society. It simply is required to bring a certain kind of stability to people that else would predominately busy with fighting for ressources. I don't disagree with that at all and I never meant to suggest that anarchy would be a preferable scenario: people are far too animalistic and, frankly, stupid to be left to their own devices.

Government is required to have a functioning society.

My issue is that all governments are inherently corrupt. When men are given power and little accountability, they abuse it for selfish reasons and betray the very people that they're supposed to be governing. It's a story that has played itself out countless times through history.

The reason that I find it so distasteful is that there is no solution to the problem. Men will always be greedy and corruptible. When idealists throw off one corrupt government, it never takes the new one long to succumb to the same corruption that damned the former.

GoToAway
08-18-2010, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:
I think the reality is that generally a conservative person or party is not necessarily more well off, but rather things tend to be going well for them and so changes in government or policies might effect them. That would be logical to assume, but I'm not sure it reflects reality. Remember, much of the conservative power base in the US comes from the poorer areas of the South. Many of these people would actually benefit from more liberal policies, but they actually vote against their own self interests simply so they can be "conservative" because that is that is what they've been mislead to equate with morality.

I think that your sentiment applies for the top of the conservative ladder: the bankers, brokers, and business owners certainly have the most to gain from maintaining the status quo. However, much of the conservative base doesn't fall into those categories...


As for the issue of "democracy" vs. "communism." One has nothing to do with the other as one is an economic system and one is a method of governance. Unfortunately, Cold War propaganda muddled the two so that in most peoples' minds, communism is antithetical to democracy.

It's also worth noting that most people don't understand "democracy" itself. Take former President Bush, for example, who regularly asserted that the US is a "democracy." It's not. It's a republic. In a democracy (like the city-state of Athens,) there are no elected representatives because the populace represents itself. On one hand this certainly cuts down on the potential for corruption, but on the other it encourages mob rule. This makes it unsuitable for a large state (which the founders realized) and explains why the closest thing we have in the world today to a democracy is Switzerland (and even that isn't a "true" democracy. I believe it's usually described as a "half direct democracy.")

In any case, I see no reason why a communist state couldn't be a legitimate republic. There's no need for it to be a dictatorship, and there's nothing that suggests that self-governance is tied exclusively to capitalism.

MB_Avro_UK
08-18-2010, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AndyJWest:
As a UK citizen (or more accurately, UK subject, unfortunately http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), I am an 'outsider' in regard to US politics. I fail to see the need for confusion.

As for 'personally denigrating' people, I wasn't aware that I had, except possibly in response to your apparent inability to grasp what an 'opinion' was, though if you wish to claim that it is only the left that engages in such tactics on this forum, I'd beg to differ. It seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to feel insulted over the merest comment. Perhaps this could be seen as a confirmation of the article Pirschjaeger quoted regarding the conservative mind-set, though personally I'm of the opinion that political ideology is acquired, rather than being inherited...

Why do you quote PJ?

What is Left Wing to you? I'd be interested to hear.

I am centre-ground. Left and Right are not for me.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>



I still await your reponse. And what is Left Wing to you? Or dare you not answer?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

AndyJWest
08-18-2010, 05:02 PM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AndyJWest:
As a UK citizen (or more accurately, UK subject, unfortunately http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), I am an 'outsider' in regard to US politics. I fail to see the need for confusion.

As for 'personally denigrating' people, I wasn't aware that I had, except possibly in response to your apparent inability to grasp what an 'opinion' was, though if you wish to claim that it is only the left that engages in such tactics on this forum, I'd beg to differ. It seems to me that you are looking for an excuse to feel insulted over the merest comment. Perhaps this could be seen as a confirmation of the article Pirschjaeger quoted regarding the conservative mind-set, though personally I'm of the opinion that political ideology is acquired, rather than being inherited...

Why do you quote PJ?

What is Left Wing to you? I'd be interested to hear.

I am centre-ground. Left and Right are not for me.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>



I still await your reponse. And what is Left Wing to you? Or dare you not answer?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was unaware I was under any obligation to answer off-topic questions (or even on-topic ones for that matter). Why do you think my non-response was motivated by fear?


In politics, left-wing, leftist and the Left are generally used to describe support for social change with a view towards creating a more egalitarian society.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_politics

stalkervision
08-18-2010, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by erco415:
Was out in LA, and had the pleasure of having dinner with my software-writing cousin and his lovely wife. After dinner conversation turned to work, and I discovered that his team of 6 people is assigned 8 government overseers, inspectors, auditors, etc- this is the cost of doing business with the DOD.

This brings to mind a biography of Kelly Johnson, the famed Lockheed aero-engineer, in which he pointed out that the Skunk Works, without any oversight whatsoever, turned out the U-2 early and under budget; with some government oversight, the SR-71 on time and on budget; and with a great deal of oversight, the F-117 over cost and late.

People who think government oversight makes everything better, have never worked under government oversight.


Johnson "skunkworks" story can't be used as some kind of huge blanket indictment of big government. It's a very special case indeed.

Kelly was a VERY special person indeed.

Just read books about Kelly and the skunks works will answer that question real quickly.

WTE_Galway
08-18-2010, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by hop2002:
There's only 1 real exception to that, which is in immediate life and death circumstances, but in general, if you want someone to work hard, don't threaten him, don't ask him nicely, just offer him more money.

Doesn't actually work.

In fact in the industrial revolution the Mill and Mine owners had to CUT wages as they found with high wages people worked just enough to get by and took the rest of the week off.

The only way to get high wages to work as a carrot is if you artificially create needs in the minds of the workers ... "I need a newer car mine looks dated, i simply MUST have a new PC before SOW is released ... I must earn more than John or my life will be hell ... etc" .

Lets use a typical middle aged male IL2 player on this forum as an example:

Assume SOW is out. If working 4 days provided enough money to buy a new PC, pay the mortgage, keep the wife happy, send the kids to a good college and upgrade to a new car every year are they likely to work 6 days a week ?? ... or just 4 days and spend the other two online playing SOW ??

If you really want someone to work hard then get them involved, get them to take the project/business/deal on as a challenge. Help them make it their own project they take pride in. Encourage Esprit de Corp. Communist generally failed abysmally at this. But so do many modern corporate businesses.

Its the old story of the two stone-cutters in the quarry. One believed he was just a laborer cutting stone the other believed he was helping build a great cathedral. Who worked harder and was happier ?

Pirschjaeger
08-18-2010, 07:17 PM
From my experience, having been in the position of manager a few times, a pay raise does not make people work harder. In fact that was my first lesson as a manager. I not only raised the pay but also reduced working hours. So in a sense it was a double raise. But much to my surprise it backfired and the staff became lazier.

I spoke to the previous manager and she told me I was going about it in the wrong way. She suggested I buy everyone an icecream and set the pay and working hours back to what it had been. It sounded crazy to me but I took her advice.

It worked. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

I now understand why it worked.

It was a great lesson for me. People need praise in order to see their own value and that's gold compared to a meaningless pay raise. People also need responsibility for the same reason they need praise.

In a sense you could compare this with gift giving. Imagine for your birthday your parent or someone close to you gives you money rather than a gift. It's kitch. It's meaningless.

Buying ice cream for the staff worked because it was a sacrifice on my part. Changing numbers on paperwork and giving someone else's money is no sacrifice and takes minimal effort. Buying ice creams meant I was considerate and being considerate of someone else shows you value them. Of course money is a priority for survival in today's society but when you have enough it becomes much less important.

My next move was to evaluate the individual's skills and talents. I even went as far as creating new positions and a new department and therefore gave responsibility to those whose skills matched the tasks. People enjoy doing what they do well and having responsibility makes their jobs more meaningful.

I know of no case where more money made people work harder.

Airmail109
08-18-2010, 07:49 PM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
From my experience, having been in the position of manager a few times, a pay raise does not make people work harder. In fact that was my first lesson as a manager. I not only raised the pay but also reduced working hours. So in a sense it was a double raise. But much to my surprise it backfired and the staff became lazier.

I spoke to the previous manager and she told me I was going about it in the wrong way. She suggested I buy everyone an icecream and set the pay and working hours back to what it had been. It sounded crazy to me but I took her advice.

It worked. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

I now understand why it worked.

It was a great lesson for me. People need praise in order to see their own value and that's gold compared to a meaningless pay raise. People also need responsibility for the same reason they need praise.

In a sense you could compare this with gift giving. Imagine for your birthday your parent or someone close to you gives you money rather than a gift. It's kitch. It's meaningless.

Buying ice cream for the staff worked because it was a sacrifice on my part. Changing numbers on paperwork and giving someone else's money is no sacrifice and takes minimal effort. Buying ice creams meant I was considerate and being considerate of someone else shows you value them. Of course money is a priority for survival in today's society but when you have enough it becomes much less important.

My next move was to evaluate the individual's skills and talents. I even went as far as creating new positions and a new department and therefore gave responsibility to those whose skills matched the tasks. People enjoy doing what they do well and having responsibility makes their jobs more meaningful.

I know of no case where more money made people work harder.

Huh, pay me enough and I'll consider doing anything. Some of us are motivated by cold hard money. I'm not going to do medical statistics because it'll make me feel valued..... just to line my pockets. 3 types of people...Sheep, Wolves and Owls. Sheep need external motivation to make them feel valued. Wolves have a goal (in this case make as much money as possible) they pursue that goal with a single mindedness and owls sit on the fence and smoke pot.

However working for Medicine Sans Frontiers would motivate me but not because I wanted co-worker approval, to help people who actually need it. There to do a job to the best of my ability, if I'm not doing that then I expect to get shouted at.

BillSwagger
08-18-2010, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by GoToAway:
That would be logical to assume, but I'm not sure it reflects reality. Remember, much of the conservative power base in the US comes from the poorer areas of the South. Many of these people would actually benefit from more liberal policies, but they actually vote against their own self interests simply so they can be "conservative" because that is that is what they've been mislead to equate with morality.



People are also motivated by morals, but i would say most policies are fiscal related, and that the few that raise moral questions seem to always get the most attention. Thats how some folks get roped into polarizing views that some how detract from the real issues that would effect their every day lives.
That's the reality.



I think that your sentiment applies for the top of the conservative ladder: the bankers, brokers, and business owners certainly have the most to gain from maintaining the status quo. However, much of the conservative base doesn't fall into those categories...

I was actually referring to common every day people. There is no reason to think that the business owner and the family in my previous example could not live in the same neighborhood, or even go to the same church. Heck, they could even be friends.
I think as elections near, platforms are created that shape the base of what parties rely on.
Its because laws and policies aren't as easily understood and so some views are manifested as a way for parties and platforms to identify with.
The mistake is made when a person identifies with a political platform as if it also represents their lifestyle.

Its like betting on a sports team because they are your favorite color.

Bill

Pirschjaeger
08-18-2010, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by Aimail101:
Huh, pay me enough and I'll consider doing anything.


Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
Of course money is a priority for survival in today's society but when you have enough it becomes much less important.


I see you as a very small minority Aimail. As far as I know you are a uni student still living at home. Survival (financially speaking) is not an issue but 'spending' money is.

To be honest I don't think your situation is at all like those of people who are not only in the workforce but have already been there a while. They are for the most part established while you are still building the foundation to establish yourself in the future.

As a language teacher one of the topics I often bring up is work/career. One of the questions I always ask is what is most important to you in a career. Almost all say their work must be meaningful. Those who say money also say they don't like their jobs and are looking for something else. That's from Germans, Chinese, Polish, and Egyptians. From experience and from what I've read regarding north American culture the same hold true.

I'm sure England is no different. When our work is meaningful we are rewarded in knowing we are valuable contributors to both industries and societies.

WTE_Galway
08-18-2010, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Aimail101:
Huh, pay me enough and I'll consider doing anything.


Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
Of course money is a priority for survival in today's society but when you have enough it becomes much less important.


I see you as a very small minority Aimail. As far as I know you are a uni student still living at home. Survival (financially speaking) is not an issue but 'spending' money is.

To be honest I don't think your situation is at all like those of people who are not only in the workforce but have already been there a while. They are for the most part established while you are still building the foundation to establish yourself in the future.

As a language teacher one of the topics I often bring up is work/career. One of the questions I always ask is what is most important to you in a career. Almost all say their work must be meaningful. Those who say money also say they don't like their jobs and are looking for something else. That's from Germans, Chinese, Polish, and Egyptians. From experience and from what I've read regarding north American culture the same hold true.

I'm sure England is no different. When our work is meaningful we are rewarded in knowing we are valuable contributors to both industries and societies. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


I would add to that "obsession with money for its own sake" generally indicates a poor or deprived childhood. Maybe not in Airmails case, I know nothing about him, but as a general rule.

Individuals who have been brought up in a family where money was freely available tend to assume that the money will just keep flowing their way without any special effort on their own part. That can of course lead to problems like the Slacker Sloane syndrome and a disinclination to work amongst the children of the more well off classes of course http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

PhantomKira
08-18-2010, 09:56 PM
I'll second that, Pirschjaeger. Having recently endured the most miserable 6 months of my life, I was ecstatic to leave a fair paying job and be jobless in the middle of this p*ss poor economy. Niether the work nor the work environment suited me.

I've had a heck of a time getting by in the mid term, but have learned that it's far better to be happy with what you do than to make boatloads of money. As long as you have enough to live on and put away enough for retirement, by all means, be happy with your work.

Messaschnitzel
08-18-2010, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
People enjoy doing what they do well and having responsibility makes their jobs more meaningful.

I know of no case where more money made people work harder.

You're right about bringing in the goodies for the crew such as a box of doughnuts in the morning for example to help build workplace esprit de corps. In my experience though, the times I got a pay raise is because I was working to the best of my abilities (which materially showed through the accuracy and quality of my work) and did so not only because I like the work, but because of the belief that I would get a raise eventually. In other words, I had to continually prove myself to justify the raises. I didn't get a raise just for showing up in the morning, doing a mediocre job over a defined period of time to build 'tenure' (like a union member http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif), and I had to keep to that same work standard using skills acquired over the years to maintain why I got a raise(s) in the first place. Otherwise, if I did slack off after getting the raise, I could guarantee that it would probably be on the twelfth of never that I would see my next raise while working for that particular place.

So, at least in my experience, knowing that if I put trust in the knowledge that if I busted my @$$ above and beyond, I would get compensated for it via a raise every so often. If a boss didn't give a raise for a while in spite of the business making out like bandits, then it was time to hit the bricks for another job. I don't know about anybody else, but I always felt the amounts I received were fair in return for the work done. Another thing that spurs folks to work harder is that handy tool known as a 'bonus'. Most of the places I worked at would use this as an incentive to get the work out on time if it was in danger of running past a contract deadline, which would seldom happen due to good work ethic. Also Christmas bonuses come in handy when they are given out before the holidays.

So now you know of at least one person who works harder for more money. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif