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lspooner

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Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« on: April 17, 2009, 05:05:06 PM »

I was having a discussion (argument) with a acquaintance recently.  The main topic was socialism vs. the free market.  He hurled a lot of stats.  One example wasthat some European and Scandinavian countries are per capita wealthier than the U.S. and therefore socialism creates more prosperity that what he erroneously believes is the free market in the U.S.  Granted, the U.S. has a  heavily fascistic/socialistic economy but the tax and regulatory burden in Europe has to be higher.  Does anyone have any stats that I can counter with?  I tried a moral argument but he thinks its OK for the "poor" to steal from the "rich" if they need it.
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Ecolitan

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2009, 05:12:48 PM »

Quote
some European and Scandinavian countries are per capita wealthier than the U.S. and therefore socialism creates more prosperity

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LordMarius

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2009, 05:41:00 PM »

He's right. And wrong. If you look at the stats from orgs like the UN, you'll find the Scandinavian countries on the top of a lot of positive statistics. But at the same time, you'll find the US on the top of a lot of other statistics. No one in Norway is without health insurance, because the state practically has a monopoly on health care. But at the same time, we have long waiting lines, where people from time to time actually die waiting for necessary surgery. If you need something like orthopedic surgery, you may find yourself being home from work for months before a hospital can find the resources to do it. My fiance has a heart condition that is not too serious, but gives her rythmic problems she avoids with medication. It's treatable once and for all with surgery. She had her file sent from a heart specialist physician to the hospital that would do the surgery, and two months later she recieved a letter from the hospital that she'd been put on a waiting list. Would that happen in the US? Probably not, as far as I know there are no waiting in lines over there if you're insured. In the statistics you'll find that the customer satisfaction percentage is much higher in the US than in the Scandinavian countries. You'll find issues like this in all aspects of the Scandinavian welfare states.

A fun example to pull out of the hat is the employment rate of Somali refugees. The Scandinavian welfare states makes sure that none of the refugees that have gotten to stay are without money or shelter. But at the same time it totally cripples them, and they are turned into lifelong clients of the state. The employment rate is the lowest of any "group". Compared to the US, where the welfare state is not as generous as in Scandinavia, the employment rate of Somalis is significantly higher. State welfare is extremely expensive and destructive to those it's meant to help.
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lspooner

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2009, 08:17:53 AM »

He's right. And wrong. If you look at the stats from orgs like the UN, you'll find the Scandinavian countries on the top of a lot of positive statistics. But at the same time, you'll find the US on the top of a lot of other statistics. No one in Norway is without health insurance, because the state practically has a monopoly on health care. But at the same time, we have long waiting lines, where people from time to time actually die waiting for necessary surgery. If you need something like orthopedic surgery, you may find yourself being home from work for months before a hospital can find the resources to do it. My fiance has a heart condition that is not too serious, but gives her rythmic problems she avoids with medication. It's treatable once and for all with surgery. She had her file sent from a heart specialist physician to the hospital that would do the surgery, and two months later she recieved a letter from the hospital that she'd been put on a waiting list. Would that happen in the US? Probably not, as far as I know there are no waiting in lines over there if you're insured. In the statistics you'll find that the customer satisfaction percentage is much higher in the US than in the Scandinavian countries. You'll find issues like this in all aspects of the Scandinavian welfare states.

A fun example to pull out of the hat is the employment rate of Somali refugees. The Scandinavian welfare states makes sure that none of the refugees that have gotten to stay are without money or shelter. But at the same time it totally cripples them, and they are turned into lifelong clients of the state. The employment rate is the lowest of any "group". Compared to the US, where the welfare state is not as generous as in Scandinavia, the employment rate of Somalis is significantly higher. State welfare is extremely expensive and destructive to those it's meant to help.

Do you live in Norway now?  What are the tax rates?  What is the average income?
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LordMarius

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 09:49:02 AM »

Yeah, I've lived here all my life. As an average person you'll make between 44-50K USD, and will pay a progressive income tax starting at about 30% for an average income. On top of that, your employer pay 14% employment tax, and you'll pay a value added tax at 8% for public transportation,14% for food, and 25% for everything else. If you are self employed, you'll pay roughly half of your result as tax, corporations pay 28% of the profit, and owners and stockholders pay another 28% of the money they take out.
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Alex Libman

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2009, 10:47:08 AM »

[...] some European and Scandinavian countries are per capita wealthier than the U.S. [...]

There's a whole list of reasons why the Scandinavian countries are in fact less wealthy than they appear, and why that wealth is there in spite of (not because of) their government programs:

  • Scandinavian countries have very low populations and humongous quantities of natural resources relative to those populations.  Norway, for example, has a sea / ocean territory (i.e. fishing, oil & gas, tourism, etc) that's bigger than the landmass of Alaska, but it has fewer people than Colorado.

  • Those Scandinavian countries don't have a poor agricultural south weighting down their per-capita rankings.  (And they've been exporting their "poor, tired, huddled masses yearning to be free" to America for centuries.)  New Hampshire has a state Human Development Index ranking of .958 (tied for #8 among the U.S. states with Minnesota) - the natural resource rich Iceland and Norway are the only European welfare states whose national HDI is higher!

  • Socialists like to pick a particular Potemkin Village out of several different European countries to fit their arguments and then compare it to one big USA.  When talking about life expectancy they'll pick Sweden, when talking about average income they'll pick Norway (even though USA is second!), when talking about gross personal income they'll pick Switzerland (even though USA is #1 when it comes to disposable income!), when talking about student performance they'll pick Finland, and so on.  That's cheating!  As a whole, if comparing all 300 million Americans vs top 300 million Europeans - they wouldn't stand a chance.

  • The Netherlands, for example, had the #1 highest per-capita GDP in 1820, thanks to being the most pro-trade and capitalist country in the world.  Old European countries are still benefiting from being the first to industrialize and colonize the rest of the world, but those advantages are gradually slipping away.  Now the Dutch are behind the more capitalist countries like Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States.

  • They have an unsustainably low birth rate, which artificially inflates the per-capita GDP quite a bit.  Imagine household A which has a husband and wife both working full time and not having any children, together they earn $100K a year so their per-capita GDP is $50K.  In household B husband and wife used to have identical jobs and earn just as much, but then they decided to have 3 children, which caused the wife to reduce her working hours and their income dropped to $80K a year, and since now they are 5 people their per-capita GDP is just $16,000.  Does that mean the first household is that much wealthier than the second?  Heck no, and there is a hidden cost of low birth rates: you can't have a competitive growing economy when your population is shrinking and aging, and unfortunately the latter also means failing to keep up with educational innovations, and so on.

  • A lot of the statistics they cite need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Nominal GDP includes government spending (which produces questionable value at artificial cost) and currency exchange rate manipulation (see next point).  Literacy rate suffers from immigration, but immigration is beneficial in the long term.  Life expectancy benefits from various genetic and cultural factors that existed before those countries became welfare states.  The Gini coefficient is a circular argument.  And so on.

  • Norwegians pay $5.79 for a Big Mac, $6.27 for a gallon of gas, $11 for a beer, $15 for a pack of smokes, $46,000 for a Toyota Prius!  Iceland, a cold and remote island to which most things need to be imported, has even more ridiculous prices and many shortages.  Factor that into the GDP-per-capita numbers, and life ain't so great!

  • Those Scandinavian countries have a homogeneous and brainwashed population that is willing to pay humongous personal taxes, but they're even less socialist than the United States when it comes to attracting corporations.  Their corporate tax rate is much lower than in the United States, and their governments always look for ways to help the specific industries their country has a competitive advantage in.  That's what is keeping them afloat.

  • The cheap shot: those small European countries wouldn't have fared well in the World Wars and the Cold War without a massive transfer of wealth at America's expense.

(I'll edit this post if I think of any more.)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 11:41:01 AM by Alex Libman »
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Steven from Colorado

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2009, 02:59:06 PM »

This is about the best refutation as you are likely to find. I showed it to one statist fuck, and the best retort he could come up with was "Well, GDP isn't the best measurement of the success of a society."

lspooner

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2009, 04:36:19 PM »

This is about the best refutation as you are likely to find. I showed it to one statist fuck, and the best retort he could come up with was "Well, GDP isn't the best measurement of the success of a society."

I didn't read the link yet but the GNP stat. always bothered me.  They put government spending in the stat.  Using that logic, the Soviet economy should have been huge!  If anything, the G in the GNP calculation (I + S + G + (net exports)) should be subtracted.
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Ghost of Alex Libman

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 03:22:58 PM »

Economic productivity isn't everything, but that's where the capital to do everything else comes from.

Economic freedom (including low taxes) is also very important, because that indicates whether that capital is spent fairly or not.

Everything else is subjective.




Oh, and, speaking of Scandinavian fascist scum ...

... here's what you append to all your forum posts if you want every person viewing them to hammer maqs.com for ~8MB of bandwidth: 




:twisted:

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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 02:46:35 AM »

I often find myself referring back to my first post on this thread, and I'd like to know if anyone has any comments or additions.
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 03:51:30 AM »

Stats don't do much in this debate because the sticky issue that you will run around in loops is if the nation with wealth has it as a result of the socialist principles, or had the wealth and used it to fund the socialism.

You will end up arguing that the wealth came first, and the socialism afterwards, and he will claim the socialism enabled the wealth.

An easier route is to win the argument by logic. Ask if its fair that a person should be punished for success. Ask him if students would work as hard in school if the students with the highest grades had a percentage of their scores skimmed and handed over to the worse students.

My most common, and most effective tool of argument is to take my opponents jacket off, and give it to a bystander, and ask the opponent if he finds this to be wrong.
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Manuel_OKelly

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 07:46:11 AM »

I was having a discussion (argument) with a acquaintance recently.  The main topic was socialism vs. the free market.  He hurled a lot of stats.  One example wasthat some European and Scandinavian countries are per capita wealthier than the U.S. and therefore socialism creates more prosperity that what he erroneously believes is the free market in the U.S.  Granted, the U.S. has a  heavily fascistic/socialistic economy but the tax and regulatory burden in Europe has to be higher.  Does anyone have any stats that I can counter with?  I tried a moral argument but he thinks its OK for the "poor" to steal from the "rich" if they need it.

The US is paying for their military. It's worthless to compare Europe with US because the US is a hegemonic empire that rushes in whenever the world gets into a tiff. We spend more on our governments and still have a better standard of living. We do not have a free market, and most European states are not socialist having their own stock exchanges. We like to throw the word Socialism around a lot on these boards, but most Austrian economists would not consider a country that has a stock market to be Socialist, it's probably just highly regulated. This is an important point to make because there is going to be economic growth through capital investment in any country that has one. If you compare the relative growth, you will find that the taxation of the markets and businesses directly correlates inversely to standard of living. The Socialist will argue that Europeans have a better standard of living, because poor people are provided with amenities. However this is dependent on everyone continuing to work while dole queues offer a tempting alternative, and regulation restricts free access to business. So the real premise of the argument is going to be, can people overcome their rational self-interest, which would be to stay poor and lead a simple life while not working?

If you want a statistic, then consider that 2% of the population are sociopaths, they would certainly find it hard to understand why they should keep working. However in a capitalist society so long as they keep their lies and aggression in check they can still have a place. Socialism's only answer would be more socialism setting them up in a jail cell.

For further arguments against socialism you can read 'socialism' by Ludwig von mises. In which he uses many arguments, that logically rend asunder the socialist economic mindset.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 06:43:48 PM by Manuel_OKelly »
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 05:19:12 AM »

Correction to the the above comparison:

USA has leapfrogged Norwaystan to become #1 in GDP per hour worked [XLS].

Even the best Potemkin village in Europe can no longer claim to surpass United States as a whole, much less its best portions (i.e. New Hampshire)!
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 09:53:34 AM »

More Scandinavia-worshiping bullshit as a Scandinavian study proclaims that "Sweden beats U.S. to top tech usage ranking"...  Well, no shit, Sherlock!  But what does that even mean?

When you have a government throw its "national confidence" behind a particular benchmark, like Brazil's soccer, it may accomplish its goals on paper, but so what?  Sweden has grandmas who hardly know how to check their e-mail with drool-worthy gigabit connections!  Good for them - but at what cost?  The consumer will never know directly, all-wise all-powerful Mommy Government decides all things, and can steal as much money from you as it sees fit!

And, once again, Sweden cannot be compared to USA without adjusting for some very important things.  Sweden doesn't have a poor historically-agricultural south and high fertility rates weighing down its per-capita numbers, but how is that a good thing overall?  Compare any European country to New Hampshire alone, and our per-capita numbers will blow through any Potemkin Village like a hurricane, ripping away fake cardboard cutouts of happy tech-savvy citizens and exposing it for what it is - a big government-controlled lie!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 10:10:06 AM by Alex Libman »
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: Need help with a "statistics socialist"
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 06:09:06 PM »

My argument would be that it doesnt matter which system makes a country wealthier. Wealth without freedom of choice is worthless in my opinion.

So he can argue all day long about how socialism works in some countries, maybe true, maybe not............ doesnt matter in my opinion because it takes freedom of choice out of the equation. So socialism loses by default.
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