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Louis CK on Consumers and Capitalism

 
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:38 pm    Post subject: Louis CK on Consumers and Capitalism Reply with quote

I like to listen to Louis CK (if you don't know him, he's a famous stand up comic). OK, so he's no Norm Macdonald, but he's a funny and sometimes quite interesting man. Here he complains about modern America. First part of three.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnZCFnuZIcs

"The only good thing that could happen is that it all falls apart."
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spilot101



Joined: 05 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

amen.

his "chewed up" is pretty funny as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxti6ZYrT8U

ps. another funny guy (jimmy carr), if you're up for a laugh:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9tRovGXKxE
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

O&A fan?. Love the show.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I listened briefly to part one, heard the comedian suggest that loyalty should outweigh convenience, and stopped listening, because that's so fundamentally true that I simply don't see what more needs to be said, and I dislike listening to views with which I agree. Convenience is fine, but valuing convenience excessively has broad consequences which are not necessarily immediately apparent. Unfortunately, foregoing personal, immediate benefit for the sake of general, distant results requires real virtue, something not necessarily easy to cultivate even in the best of situations, and almost oppressively difficult to achieve under present cultural circumstances.
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant to link to part 1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N95IMKRkcBw


Last edited by GF on Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
I listened briefly to part one, heard the comedian suggest that loyalty should outweigh convenience, and stopped listening, because that's so fundamentally true that I simply don't see what more needs to be said, and I dislike listening to views with which I agree. Convenience is fine, but valuing convenience excessively has broad consequences which are not necessarily immediately apparent. Unfortunately, foregoing personal, immediate benefit for the sake of general, distant results requires real virtue, something not necessarily easy to cultivate even in the best of situations, and almost oppressively difficult to achieve under present cultural circumstances.


"So you're thinking the whole loyalty thing should outweigh the convenience?"

"Absolutely, because you're supporting somebody who's.. there's a human being, a family who's living off that business, and they give a shit about you."

Did you like this part ?

"I used to have a house up-state, in upstate New York, and there was a town with all these beautiful old diners and general stores, and they all closed one by one because of Walmart. But it wasn't fucking Walmart's fault, it was the people in that town, who don't give a shit about their neighbours. It's the American basic consumer, who's like, 'well, I can spend 13 cents less on a mop, so *beep* my fucking neighbour.'"
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Walmart is acting 'rationally' by undermining its competition, but we are acting 'immorally' if we choose to save 13 cents on a mop rather than support our neighbours? I'm sick of being told to leave everything up to socially responsible consumer choices and leave out socially responsible policies. If it's right to support local businesses at community level - and it is - it's also right to support small business at national policy level.
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:
So Walmart is acting 'rationally' by undermining its competition, but we are acting 'immorally' if we choose to save 13 cents on a mop rather than support our neighbours? I'm sick of being told to leave everything up to socially responsible consumer choices and leave out socially responsible policies. If it's right to support local businesses at community level - and it is - it's also right to support small business at national policy level.


But since the government is elected, you run into the same issue.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GF wrote:
Fox wrote:
I listened briefly to part one, heard the comedian suggest that loyalty should outweigh convenience, and stopped listening, because that's so fundamentally true that I simply don't see what more needs to be said, and I dislike listening to views with which I agree. Convenience is fine, but valuing convenience excessively has broad consequences which are not necessarily immediately apparent. Unfortunately, foregoing personal, immediate benefit for the sake of general, distant results requires real virtue, something not necessarily easy to cultivate even in the best of situations, and almost oppressively difficult to achieve under present cultural circumstances.


"So you're thinking the whole loyalty thing should outweigh the convenience?"

"Absolutely, because you're supporting somebody who's.. there's a human being, a family who's living off that business, and they give a shit about you."

Did you like this part ?

"I used to have a house up-state, in upstate New York, and there was a town with all these beautiful old diners and general stores, and they all closed one by one because of Walmart. But it wasn't fucking Walmart's fault, it was the people in that town, who don't give a shit about their neighbours. It's the American basic consumer, who's like, 'well, I can spend 13 cents less on a mop, so *beep* my fucking neighbour.'"


I did like it, although it's not exactly how I'd have phrased it. It's not that what Wal-Mart does is "okay," it's that what Wal-Mart does is inevitable if such practices are not opposed on a broadly cultural level. That doesn't exonerate the vicious mammonists who run the organization in question, but it does mean that they need to be understood as symptoms rather than primary causes.

Privateer wrote:
I'm sick of being told to leave everything up to socially responsible consumer choices and leave out socially responsible policies.


The ultimate core of both consumer behavior and governmental policies is the character and culture of the common citizen. You want to promote policies to keep Wal-Martesque behavior in check? Okay, but unless you're prepared to step up and become Tyrant-King Privateer starting tomorrow, you will need to garner political support for your policies, and in order to achieve that, you're going to need a citizen base which is inline with, as you put it, the values of "socially responsible consumer choices." The virtue of the common man is primary.
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cj1976



Joined: 26 Oct 2005

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to be noble and say support the smaller business, but the policy of closing the supermarkets here is annoying. I would happily pay a few pennies extra if the smaller stores had the same goods, but most of the stuff I buy is only available in the supermarkets. Closing Emart doesn't make me shop at the small places - it just makes me wait another day for the supermarket to reopen.
Maybe this belongs in another thread, but I am feeling bitchy because I couldn't buy plain, unsweetened yoghurt yesterday as Emart was closed. First world problems, indeed.
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GF wrote:
But since the government is elected, you run into the same issue.


Fox wrote:
Privateer wrote:
I'm sick of being told to leave everything up to socially responsible consumer choices and leave out socially responsible policies.


The ultimate core of both consumer behavior and governmental policies is the character and culture of the common citizen. You want to promote policies to keep Wal-Martesque behavior in check? Okay, but unless you're prepared to step up and become Tyrant-King Privateer starting tomorrow, you will need to garner political support for your policies, and in order to achieve that, you're going to need a citizen base which is inline with, as you put it, the values of "socially responsible consumer choices." The virtue of the common man is primary.


Tyrant-King Privateer? I like the sound of that.

But I think both you and GF overestimate the degree to which our system represents the common man and his wishes. The average person does or would support socially responsible policies, but our elected representatives are too busy listening to the lobbyists to care.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:

But I think both you and GF overestimate the degree to which our system represents the common man and his wishes.


But the wishes of the common man are only a part of his character. His indifferences, his prejudices, his ignorances, his fears, his lusts, and so forth are all important as well. Three men may all wish something, but if the former wishes only with indifference, the second wishes sincerely yet is unwilling to sacrifice for his wish, and the third is willing to work and/or sacrifice to realize his wish, these three will each influence society differently. You say, "The average person does or would support socially responsible policies..." and that may be true when "support" means "is willing to check 'yes' on a survey box," but life is not a survey. Supporting "socially responsible policy" up until it means you might have to forego plain unsweetened yogurt for the day, for example, is no real support at all.
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liveinkorea316



Joined: 20 Aug 2010
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's called the "prisoner;s dilemma". It was developed in economic theory to explain why people will in a group situation make worse choices than they would have been wiling to make individually.

The problem is that you only get the payoff from your sacrifice (eg carbon taxes or shopping locally or caring for the environment) if others in your area do too. If they don't then you are left paying while they enjoy for free and you will in fact over pay so you will soon stop paying and in the end no-one pays....when in the beginning EVERYONE was willing to pay a little.

This is why and where legislation is useful to help people to work together when they otherwise would be afraid to for the common good for fear others would not.
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
Privateer wrote:

But I think both you and GF overestimate the degree to which our system represents the common man and his wishes.


But the wishes of the common man are only a part of his character. His indifferences, his prejudices, his ignorances, his fears, his lusts, and so forth are all important as well. Three men may all wish something, but if the former wishes only with indifference, the second wishes sincerely yet is unwilling to sacrifice for his wish, and the third is willing to work and/or sacrifice to realize his wish, these three will each influence society differently. You say, "The average person does or would support socially responsible policies..." and that may be true when "support" means "is willing to check 'yes' on a survey box," but life is not a survey. Supporting "socially responsible policy" up until it means you might have to forego plain unsweetened yogurt for the day, for example, is no real support at all.


I agree. It's not enough to want something passively. We have to be active, to organize, and to put pressure on our governments.

That is another reason why I object to the pervasive dogma that everything will be fine if we just act as responsible consumers, rather than responsible citizens.

If everybody chose to support local family-run businesses rather than the Walmarts of this world it would make a difference - although I still doubt whether it would be enough of a difference, because these businesses still rely on a supply chain that's controlled by certain interests. It's not as if, realistically, people are all going to decide to be individual heroes and keep local businesses going by themselves in any case, and liveinkorea316 has just given a good analysis of why.
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mithridates



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: President's office, Korean Space Agency

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Louis CK is wrong for the most part about Starbucks putting other coffee shops out of business:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2007/12/dont_fear_starbucks.html

Starbucks is a completely different business model than Wal-Mart (which does put other stores out of business) - Starbucks attracts people who want a certain kind of product and atmosphere that is pretty easy to replicate, and the customers certainly aren't going there to save as much money as possible.

Quote:
So now that we know Starbucks isn't slaughtering mom and pop, the thorny question remains: Why is Starbucks amplifying their business? It's actually pretty simple. In contrast to so-called "downtown killers" like Home Depot or Wal-Mart, Starbucks doesn't enjoy the kinds of competitive advantages that cut down its local rivals' sales. Look at Wal-Mart. It offers lower prices and a wider array of goods than its small-town rivals, so it acts like a black hole on local consumers, sucking in virtually all of their business. Starbucks, on the other hand, is often more expensive than the local coffeehouse, and it offers a very limited menu; you'll never see discounts or punch cards at Starbucks, nor will you see unique, localized fare (or—let's be honest—fare that doesn't make your tongue feel like it's dying). In other words, a new Starbucks doesn't prevent customers from visiting independents in the same way Wal-Mart does—especially since coffee addicts need a fix every day, yet they don't always need to hit the same place for it. When Starbucks opens a store next to a mom and pop, it creates a sort of coffee nexus where people can go whenever they think "coffee." Local consumers might have a formative experience with a Java Chip Frappuccino, but chances are they'll branch out to the cheaper, less crowded, and often higher-quality independent cafe later on. So when Starbucks blitzed Omaha with six new stores in 2002, for instance, business at all coffeehouses in town immediately went up as much as 25 percent.


Some odd Apple-worship in there too considering they are as much a corporation as Microsoft, and with a much less generous (former) CEO. We're on the verge of eliminating polio much of it thanks to Gates, and malaria is next:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/08/182223233/why-bill-gates-thinks-ending-polio-is-worth-it

Quote:
Why not just settle for the huge drop in polio cases that we've seen over the past decade and then spend money on other things that kill so many more kids, like diarrhea and malnutrition?

"Polio is special," Gates tells NPR's Robert Siegel on All Things Considered. "Once you get it done, you save $2 billion a year that will be applied to those other activities. There's no better deal economically to getting to zero."

And Gates is putting his money — and his effort — where his passion is.

"Polio alone, for the last year, has been the majority of my time because we were having to really decide: Do we double down? Do we do this right?" he says.

In the end, he and his foundation calculated that to do it right and wipe out polio worldwide, it would cost about $5.5 billion over six years.

He's already gotten pledges for $4 billion, including $1.8 billion from his foundation, which also supports NPR. To get the rest, Gates has been out fundraising.

He hopes the U.S. government will beef up its donation to $200 million each year. Throughout the polio campaign, it has been chipping in about $150 million annually...Gates is adamant that wiping out polio is worth the hefty price tag. "Once you get zero, all the expense to protect people goes away," he says. "So you have two choices: You can spend less and have the disease spread back and paralyze lots and lots of kids. Or you can double down and get to zero."

Plus, he says, much of the $5.5 billion spent on polio will go toward building up health care systems in the affected countries.

"Polio is one where the cost savings would be poured into [stopping] diarrhea, pneumonia — the big killers — malaria also," he says. "In fact, we'd love, after polio gets done, to get the world rallied around a malaria eradication plan. But we can't do that until we get the savings and the credibility that will come with this success."
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