Isn’t Capitalism Wonderful 51


Shell made a profit of $5 billion in the last three months, while bank bonuses in the City of London have bounded back to $17 billion. You see, everything is perfect. Why are you all complaining? Shut up, peasants!

UPDATE

Just had a very upset email from Jim in Malta who has a low sarcasm detector. More seriously, looking at the above juxtaposed with the attacks on invalidity benefit and state sector benefits, the world has takn on an unreal feeling, like living in a satirical novel


51 thoughts on “Isn’t Capitalism Wonderful

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  • Derek

    Clark To me Bitcoin looks too much like a Ponzi scheme. With a finite limit to the number of coins that can exist and new coins mined only slowly Bitcoins must inevitably appreciate in value and be subdivided as people start to use them. Early adopters with a large number of bitcoins will become immensely (bitcoin) wealthy. The rest of us wont.
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  • Clark

    Uzbek In The UK, you wrote: “I have had received firsthand experience from alternative to capitalism. And it is even uglier”.
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    I don’t think we’ve seen how ugly capitalism can get yet, or at least, not since 1929 ie. barely in living memory.
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    John Goss, thanks. There are a lot of good people that come to this site, which is what keeps me coming back.
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    Yes, the number of Bitcoins is limited to 21 million, but the smallest denomination (at present) is 1 Satoshi (pronounced sa-toh-shee), which is ten billionths of one bitcoin. One Bitcoin currently exchanges with about £8.33 or 9.50 Euro, so I suppose Bitcoins are expected to rise relative to the normal currencies.

  • Clark

    Derek, the maximum number of Bitcoins is declared. I though that Ponzi schemes worked on pretending that acquisition could be unlimited? Anyway, about a third of the total Bitcoins have been generated so far, if that helps.

  • John Goss

    Sorry about the misinformation. It was the phone of the mother of Sarah Payne. Mistakes like that come from half listening while writing; and everyone knows men cannot multi-task.

    If Derek’s right Clark then there is something of a pyramid to the scheme which benefits those first involved. In which case I’m out.

  • Derek

    There is another aspect of bitcoins that make me uneasy, and that is the concept of ‘mining’.
    New bitcoins are created by running an algorithm on your computer. Coins are generated very slowly and require a LOT of processing power. Individuals with the most processing power get the most coins.
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    Who has the most processing power at their disposal?…
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    Answer: Botnet herders.
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    (For the non geeks out there a botnet is a collection of 100’s of PC which have been hacked and are under the control of criminals without their owners realising it. A botnet has traditionally been used to send billions of spam emails. Now they are being put to work mining bitcoins)
    http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/bitcoin-botnet-mining

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Clarke,
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    Not to argue with you, but I think you have not seen how ugly socialism/communism can get. It can stagnate economy for decades, eradicating any type of economic activity from the minds of people. Who will be convinced to work and produce goods and services if there is not much reward for these type of activities. The most powerful driving force of the progress is, whether we like it or not, greed. But the level to which greed in modern capitalism has achieved is clearly dangerous. So, regulating and controlling greed, rather than eradicating it, would seem to be more practical, do not you think?

  • John Goss

    Clark, wanting an alternative to the status quo, is what good people have sought for centuries. Samuel Jackson Pratt (under the pseudonym Courtney Melmoth) wrote a novel ‘Shenstone Green’ (1779) in which a commune was set up as an alternative system. It did not work. Robert Bage (the subject of my thesis) called his first novel ‘Mount Henneth (1782) which aimed to be a workable alternative to Shenstone Green. In the novel a community is set up in Wales with a model constitution which involves hand-picked members working together for the common good. Bage virtually disowned this novel by the time he wrote his sixth ‘Hermsprong’ (1796). External influences like the Revolution in France, and nearer home, the Birmingham Riots of 1791, made him realise it would eventually develop into ‘a hierarchical society, with a sophisticated legal and governmental structure and thus open to pressure-group power, external influences and bribes.’ I quote myself.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    John Goss,
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    Whether in novels or in life communism is not going to work. It did not and it will not. What does it mean ‘common good’? In the community there will always be those who will want to work lees but earn more or at least the same. Every community will have to regulated (governed if a community is nation). Will not these governors be corrupt and interested in maximising their own gain in the expenses of communal? And again the main reason of ‘common good’ failure is well known greed. In order for communal good to be achieved greed has to be eradicated and this will be much harder than enlightenment in medieval Europe.

  • Clark

    Derek, it is not Bitcoin’s fault that organised crime creates botnets. Bitcoin mining co-operatives are available for people to join voluntarily.
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    Put the blame for botnets where it belongs – the monopolists Microsoft who make an inherently insecure operating system, and our corrupt governments that will not regulate big companies properly.
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    My own view of “Left” and “Right” is that both principles would be manipulated by decent governments to keep the other in check. Monopolies could be opposed by setting up a nationalised industry to undercut them. Nationalised industries that grew into behemoths could be broken up and privatised. The trick is to ignore ideology, and to keep breaking up blockages, whether they come from the Left or the Right.

  • mary

    Crossposting from Media Lens
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    War on Want: Tax havens report
    Posted by The Editors on July 29, 2011, 1:24 pm
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    Tax dodging through tax havens costs the UK exchequer up to £18bn a year, and developing countries many times that. This report from War on Want, PCS and the Tax Justice Network reveals not only the financial cost of tax havens to our economies, but also the challenge such tax dodging poses to society itself.
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    The report was launched at a parliamentary meeting in the House of Commons on 12 July 2011, at which a number of MPs pledged their support to end the scandal of tax havens once and for all.
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    http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/tax-not-cuts/extra/info/inform/17299-tax-havens-report?utm_source=C848&utm_medium=email

  • anon

    “but I think you have not seen how ugly socialism/communism can get.”
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    You just don`t see it, do you Uzbek in the UK, its not the system, its the people who administer the system!. Nothing wrong with socialism/communism on paper, trouble is the same can be said about capitalism, why don`t any of them work ?, they always turn out to be “ugly”!!!.

  • Anon

    “a number of MPs pledged their support to end the scandal of tax havens once and for all.”
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    Yes indeed, about how many ?. There again what they say and what they mean!. Could be that is why they are known as politicians!. Still it all looks so very good, thats the main thing!.

  • Roderick Russell

    Mary/Anon thanks for the media lens reference – “a number of MPs pledged their support to end the scandal of tax havens once and for all.”

    Many of the best known tax havens were set up by the UK. Indeed the Cayman Islands which was once regarded as one of the filthiest (drug money) is a Crown Colony controlled by the UK Government (and Parliament). Our MP’s could shut these havens down in 5 minutes if they wanted to, or rather if the City of London gave them permission to. It will never happen.

  • mary

    Roderick My niece is politically naive and unaware like so many of the younger generation even though they have been to universities. Her husband is in the software industry and earns lots of lolly and spends it. They went to the Cayman Islands for their honeymoon and came back with all these stories of how ecologically friendly it was, rescuing baby turtles and ensuring that they made it to the water, beautifully clean clear seawater etc etc. When I told her of the underlying political and fincancial corruption I knew that she didn’t believe a word of what I was saying. I don’t think she even knew what a tax haven was.

  • guest

    “like living in a satirical novel”
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    like living in the french revolution in reverse.

  • Roderick Russell

    Mary – When one’s on holiday in the Caribbean it’s all about having fun. I have just spent a week in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains, and I wasn’t thinking much beyond scenery, bears, elk (and mosquitoes). Of course, when at home, I would think that tax havens should be of major interest to high income IT experts like your nephew; after all it’s high income earners like him and your niece who are paying the extra taxes to make up for the taxes the very rich have avoided through their use of tax havens. One might think that changing the law on tax havens should be a major political issue; at least for the middle classes. But as Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message” and when it comes to issues like tax havens, or the special privileges of wealthy elites, our MSM seems remarkably silent.

  • evgueni

    Ed Davies,
    I concede the technical point that payment of tax liabilities need not be made in legal tender. I chose the wrong words there. It seems legal tender as a concept has become atrophied. About 3% of money in circulation in the UK now is cash in the form of notes and coins, the rest being electronic. Electronic cash is not legal tender, yet we pay our taxes in this form. The point I was making was that the government gives life to a currency called ‘the pound’ by accepting it in payment of taxes. It can indefinitely marginalise a currency called ‘bitcoin’ by not accepting it in payment of taxes, or it could actively kill it by outlawing it.

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