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Archive for October 2, 2010

Browsing the Internet: 1995 and Today

October 2, 2010 1 comment

This is how it was in 1995. The girl has an interesting wardrobe.. LOL

and this is how it was in late 2008.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Exposing CONservatism: “Living within One’s Means”

October 2, 2010 8 comments

One of most common CONservative meme is as follows:

“One should live within one’s means”

This meme is a favorite of CONservatives of various stripes, from the traditional through Libertarians to the extreme left.

It might, at first glance, appear to be logical and legitimate. But basic follow-on questions destroy its legitimacy and expose its true intent- control.

So, who decides what is within “one’s means”?

CONservatives and Libertarians might say- we should let the “free market” decide. But does the mythical “free market” really exist? Has it EVER existed? At best we have had systems with some oversight which have regulated the worst excesses of monopoly, fraud, cons, legalized fraud and other monopolistic and protectionist behavior. So if the “free market” is a myth, who then can quantify what “one’s means” are?

The extreme left, an often overlooked group of CONservatives, will say- let the “scientists and experts” decide. But what is their track record? Have “renowned scientists and experts” ever been right about the future? Good science fiction writers have a much better track record about predicting the future. In any case, “renowned scientists and experts” are in the current position because they are good politicians not scientists or thinkers. Moreover, even if they were good scientists/thinkers- what are the chances that people with extreme tunnel vision and solipsism can read the future?

So we are back to square one, without an answer to the first basic question- “Who decides what is within one’s means?”

The second follow-on question is:

Are necessities constant, or do they change with time, technology and level of civilization?

Until the late 18th century indoor plumbing, clean drinking water and electricity were either non-existent or a luxury even in western countries. Is that still the case? Even though people lived without them since humans first walked on earth- can YOU live without them?

Prior to the 1950s, antibiotics and vaccines were either non-existent or sparse in number. Most advances in this area occurred between the 1930s and 1970s. Do you consider these to be luxuries? Why not? People did without them until they were discovered- but can YOU?

Prior to the mid-1990s, personal computers were the domain of the upper-middle class or rich in western countries. Everyone else did without them. Can WE still do that? The same goes for cell phones, GPS, FedEx, smartphones and a host of other technological innovations that some old people consider non-essential. The question is- can we do without them now?

So the second question also eludes a clear answer- we do not have a logical way to define necessities, because the luxuries and sci-fi of one generation are the necessities of the next generation.

I will write more about this particular CONservative meme in future posts- depending on feedback, but I will leave you with a troubling question-

Why are CONservatives so enthusiastic about setting limits for others based on ideologies, but have no qualms about violating those guidelines themselves?

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Comic Relief: Ballmer Sells Windows 1.0

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I will let this clip make my point..

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The Inherent Stupidity Of “Retirement Savings”

October 2, 2010 6 comments

In an old post, I had written about the ponzi-like nature of pension schemes. Today I will discuss the reasons why the concept of ‘saving for your retirement’ is moronic.

Consider the average human lifespan- now over 70 years. This is so even in countries with horrible industrial pollution (china), relative poverty (brazil), violence and poverty (jamaica), totalitarian poverty (cuba). Most self-fellating aging white morons do not realize that most of the increase in human lifespan has very little to do with costly drugs and machines. Even if the self-fellators and their progeny were to mysteriously vanish, it would change little for the remaining- because the changes have more to with ideas, concepts and means of production whose existence is now independent of the continued existence of the west.

So it reasonable to assume that baring an asteroid hit, ice age or WW3- the technological base of human civilization will not deteriorate to any substantial degree.

But the speed of history and rate of change has also accelerated in the last 150 years. It is the rate of change that is particularly noteworthy as it has accelerated incessantly since the 1840-1850s. I will write more about this topic in a future post with examples.

Translation: The rate of change is accelerating (second derivative) and its direction is changing in an unpredictable manner, thereby making all specific long-term predictions meaningless at best and suicidal at worst.

Saving for your retirement makes many very specific assumptions. They range from unrealistic long-term rates of returns on investments, specific rate ranges of inflation/deflation, the ability to cash in your investments, the existence of a civil society where that ‘money’ could purchase anything and no major wars/paradigm shifts until then.

I am not saying that people should not save for the short to medium term (upto, say, 5 years). But specific planning for anything beyond 5 years is simply not worth it, as the only people who benefit from such “savings” are the financial shysters who can use your money to enrich themselves.

Ask yourself- Can you really be that sure about your, or someones, ability to predict the future with consistently high accuracy?

Because if you cannot be very sure, saving and investing for your retirement is a scam in which you are the mark. Your other option is- do not save beyond what is necessary for the short-to-medium term. That way- you can at least enjoy your money and paradoxically create more jobs and maybe even a better future.

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NSFW Links: Oct 2, 2010

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized