the reason I called it a staw man is because you keep calling me a socialist when I merely pointed out that there might be a negative side to one aspect of capitalism. If you can't see how you're jumping to wild conclusions to make your point then there's no reason for anyone to attempt logical discourse with you.
@Mcsruff...I'd agree with you entirely, but you can substitute "Politicians" for "Socialists". ANY politicians I have seen anywhere think they know better than their electors. You seem to know a bit about Aussie politics. How was it that John Howard - one of the best leaders Australia has had - was voted out? Answer - because he got arrogant and tried to give his business mates too much power over their workforce. He lost the balance.
Politicians seem to be the only workers who cannot be held to account by their employers (us). Can you imagine a business that could only get rid of poorly performing workers every 3 years? I don't say all politicians are bad, but a better way of holding them to account is badly needed.
Dear Caleb Kraft , regarding 'low-hanging fruit' & 'straw-man' see my previous post on Australia below. The problem with socialists is their blind faith that there is a group of wise men somewhere that know what is good for the rest of us plebeians. What's more, these wise men feel free to try out their social experiments using not their own money, but using the tax-payers' money. As Margaret Thatcher said, 'Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money to spend'. Australia recently made the electoral decision that socialism is not the way to go. Other nations (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) are now finding out what happens when the socialist dream eventually meets reality (as did Russia in the 1990s). The big-brother attitude of socialist governments in giving out tax-payer funded handouts to their favourite dreams leads to a weakening of the people and the reduction of freedom (as was happening in Australia). Don't allow your government (wherever you may be) do that to you.
The digital revolution in all its aspects is not entrirely unprecedented. Widespread adoption of Railroad technologies in the mid to late nineteenth century led to similar progress, social disruptions and concentration of wealth and power, abuse of the common folk by the robber barons. However there were variations from one industrializing nation to another.
Within England, the home till today of unrepentant feudalism cloaked in sham Parliamentary democracy and the seat of a ruthless extractive Empire that fed Anglo - Zionist Capitalism ( Globalization v1.0 ), marginal farmers were evicted from their lands to become wage slaves in "satanic mills" with consequent development of huge income disparities.
In Germany, the honest home of Lutheran Protestantism, on the other hand Entrepreneurs took care of their workers as family members and in case of mega Inventors like Krupp or Siemens even toiled in the Shops / Mills alongside them. German Chancellor Bismarck introduced the first universal social security system in the 1860s that became the template for the world including, though much later, the US itself.
Though the US had become independent of British Colonialism there was far too much nefarious influence here of British style Capitalism. US industries ran on the poor immigrants from So. and E. Europe. Native born citizens and better off immigrants would have nothing to do with the Lowells or Carnegies and migrated West which provided a safety valve.
Its only after Republican Teddy Roosevelt's anti - Trust Laws in 1905 that some form of balance started to return to the US society. This was only temporarily disrupted by the Great Depression which however strengthened the hands of sincere reformers and intelligent re-balancers ( "New Deal" ) leading to the general prosperity in the US till the advent of Reagan.
Even in his last term Obama lacks the political capital or the will a la Teddy to rein in Wall St. or the Outsourcers. He is having far too much trouble implementing even "Obamacare" in spite if it being a settled Law now.
The backward South ( the hard core of Red states ) is still re-fighting the Civil War under the guise of Free Market and the US Constitution and has been holding the rest of the US back with the primitive feudalism / racism inherited from their English ancestors.
There is enough evidence that renewed contact with the UK, thanks to the Jet plane and now the Internet, is further undermining US prosperity and democracy.
It is so easy to argue extremes. To say North Korea's method is bad is extremely low hanging fruit.
Can you agree, at least a tiny bit, that some programs that would do us, as a race, some good are held back because they can't get funding? Could you agree, if only a little, that sometimes the priority to get money supercedes the desire to put out a product that improves society?
That's all I'm saying. No need to pull a strawman out just for that.
I am not saying that capitalism is evil and that we need to all jump to a socialist platform. I think the solution is so much more complicated than that.
However, it is very easy to see that when your primary goal is getting money, all of your progress will be focused on that. It is this reason that things like clean energy and space travel tend to go at a slower rate. There isn't as much easy money to be had.
The bad news is as you say. Technology does play into the hands of the wealthy, who are a particularly immoral lot. In the hands of regular people, technology plays a positive role, as one commenter noted, saying he was working to apply technology to local use for education and the rapid spread of best practices.
Were you thinking of the open source Voices of Humanity (amongst others) when you referred to "anarchic utopian hacks"? I hope not. VoH is the opposite of anarchic tho it may seem utopian, and it is exactly the use of technology we need to empower from the bottom up and create a global consciousness so humanity can find a more coherent direction.
Not so fast. The new government so far have started suppressing information about how many "boat people" are arriving, and having promised not to increasee the GST are now talking about it....the state government in Queensland is about to allow wholesale vandalism of the great barrier reef.....etc. Labour tends to look after the workers and the environment and alienate business and stuff up the economy. The Libs look after the economy and business but don't give a stuff about the workers and the environment. Generalisations, but generally true. Either way those in the middle (most of us) get screwed. Hence the general frustration with politics and politicians here, no matter who you support.
Goes back to what I said about rights and responsibilities. The two major parties here are as bad as each other, they both have different strenghts and weaknesses. The one thing in common is that once they are in, they reckon they have a right to do what they want and no responsibility to consult the people on anything. So we end up with 3-year dictatorships. If they are fairly benevolent and don't throw their weight around too much they might get in the next time, as the lesser of 2 evils. If not they get chucked out, again as the greater of 2 evils. It's a hell of a way to run a country. As far as I can see, the US works much the same.
My solution: force referendums on any big issues (using the $ value or the number of people affected) or if there are a certain percentage of people protest about an issue. Everyone says "Oh, that would cost too much" but compared to the amount any government spends on keeping itself in power, it wouldn't be that much. The quality of your representatives would then matter more than which party they are in, and independents, if they are good, would be effective.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.