Readers both within and outside Europe will know that the continent is enduring what Charles Dickens called hard times. European institutions and governments are seeking to impose austerity measures on a public that is increasingly left-leaning and hostile to such measures.
It seems that that investigation has run its course and European
Commission spokespeople have been saying action is imminent. The result
could be a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's annual sales, which
are running at about $70 billion.
Since 2004 Microsoft has
displayed a pattern of dragging its heels over European Commission
rulings and then paying hefty fines. Since 2004 it has been fined more
than 1.6 billion euros (more than $2 billion) mainly for non-compliance
Meanwhile the European Union has asked the World
Trade Organization to allow the imposition of countermeasures against
the United States over aircraft manufacturer Boeing. EU is looking for
$12 billion per year because the U.S. has not met its obligation to
remove subsidies in the aircraft sector.
The European Union
states that the WTO has clearly ruled that U.S. federal and state
governments have been providing subsidies that are incompatible with the
U.S. commitment to WTO trade agreements and has rejected a U.S. appeal.
it is not clear that the European Union can do very much in the case of
Boeing as it is hedged around with its own commitments to WTO
procedures. The EU has said it won't apply sanctions without prior
approval from the WTO and the process to obtaining that approval is
likely to take up to two years.
But what this does illustrate is
that when the going gets tough the tough thinking turn to fines, tariffs
and the protection of regional interests.
I get your reasoning and it is clear that many western countries...and the west as a whole, needs to live more frugally.
But many people are angry when they see THEIR benefits being cut (the end of final salary pension schemes, the diminuation in real terms of state pension, the increase in retirement age, and so on) when they read anecdotally about soccer players, celebrated personalities, fat cat bankers and politicians who seem to avoid tax and have more money than they know what to do with.
But that's exactly my point. As much as you have to be careful when you design electronic circuits, for effects that might not be immediately intuitively obvious, the economic system is far more complicated.
Facile promises made by politicians to get more votes, which typically means promising more and more benefits over time, for less and less work, are hardly enough to guarantee that this will happen. Instead, we get the stressed out economy we have reached now, for instance.
Ah yes, the Marxist nirvana. Too bad it doesn't work.
Let's say machines made everything. Some members of scoiety would be adding value to the system, perhaps by designing better machines, perhaps by maintaining the machines, perhaps by providing entertainment for the rest.
The economic system would still need to reward those that provide the added value that matters most to the rest of us. In part, these rewards encourage society to produce, to educate, inidviduals that will provide these services in the future.
No matter how you slice it, society will continue to reward most those that do what few people can or will prepare themselves to do. And will reward less those who do what more other people can do just as well.
No, I'm saying the US health care system is MORE efficient, depending how you define efficiency.
If you define efficiency as how quickly you can get a doctor's appointment, or an oppointment to have a hospital procedure performed, or access to the very best medical facilities just about anywhere in the world, then the US system is by far the most efficient.
If you look at efficiency as a measure of what percentage of the population is covered by a medical plan, then that's a different matter.
And yes, this is from someone who has lived in Europe, Africa, and the US.
Ever thought of what should - ideally - be the goal humanity as a whole should strive to achieve?
We live in a blessed age where, finally, thanks to automation, we could all produce enough goods to live an excellent life working less and less. We could solve hunger and cure most epidemics.
Instead, we now all compete worldwide towards the lower denominator, at the delight of a small group of plutocrats, masters of the world.
Does it make sense? Or are we just stupid (and greedy)?
If you think the US healthcare system is anywhere close to efficient, you are delusional. Just saying from somebody who lived both in Europe and US...
I got that, but I'm merely pointing out that this doesn't necessarily result in a "better" health care system.
All depends on how you define efficiency. There's a reason why people from all over the world come to the US for the most difficult medical treatments, after all. And why the waits for treatment in the US are very short, compared to just about anywhere else.
Efficiency takes many guises.
True, you shift labor elsewhere. It becomes a variant of "foreign aid."
However, displaced workers in the "donor" country have a legitimate beef against these practices, at least until the economy readjusts itself to the new reality.
This is the story the world over, the fat cats you describe are also moving labour to poorer countries and mechanising making it more difficult for the lesser educated to get jobs. The problem is that really they should be taxed for any measure that reduce employment that way the government can still balance the books and not have half the population out home, work and food. traditionally governments taxed the middle class but with that shrinking money has to come from somewhere but fat cats have too much influence in government so the funds dry up.
January 2016 Cartoon Caption ContestBob's punishment for missing his deadline was to be tied to his chair tantalizingly close to a disconnected cable, with one hand superglued to his desk and another to his chin, while the pages from his wall calendar were slowly torn away.122 comments