Random Politics 2

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-24, 20:10

Saim wrote:There's been a political crisis going on for a while.

*opens link in new tab*
*sees the title of the article and the picture*
Brain: Okay I'm too terrified to even read this. :shock: It's the independence thing, isn't it? I knew it was going to be about the independence thing.
*closes tab*
Most recently protests shut down El Prat airport and a bunch of people got seriously injured by the police who have been using rubber bullets.

*opens link in new tab*
*sees something about bullets in the tab*
Brain: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
*hurriedly closes tab*

Goddammit. And it's all our fault, too. :?
:x
:evil:
Okay, I'm done now. Sorry.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby Saim » 2019-10-25, 8:12

vijayjohn wrote:*sees something about bullets in the tab*


Rubber bullets (bales de goma), if that’s any consolation.

Brain: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
*hurriedly closes tab*


I wish I had the moral fortitude to ignore the news sometimes, haha.

And it's all our fault, too. :?


Who’s „us”?

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 11:33

Saim wrote:
Brain: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
*hurriedly closes tab*


I wish I had the moral fortitude to ignore the news sometimes, haha.

Really? Why? I wish I had the psychological fortitude to read it. :? (And I did eventually after distracting myself and calming down a bit, or at least I tried. I'm pretty sure that whole situation is too complicated for me to really get, though. I feel like I should read the news in order to know what's going on, but I'm too terrified to actually do it these days and usually also too busy especially since I want to read it in as many languages as possible :P).
And it's all our fault, too. :?


Who’s „us”?

Murkans
Subprime mortgage crisis -> global financial crisis -> Spanish financial crisis -> escalation in Catalonia

Also I just have an unfortunate tendency towards self-blame even though I can't really do anything about shit anyway. :oops:

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 14:10

vijayjohn wrote:Murkans
Subprime mortgage crisis -> global financial crisis -> Spanish financial crisis -> escalation in Catalonia

Not everything is about us, you know. Even if they are just dumb furriners, I'd like to think they have some agency.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 14:30

linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Murkans
Subprime mortgage crisis -> global financial crisis -> Spanish financial crisis -> escalation in Catalonia

Not everything is about us, you know.

But we seem to make it that way, you know.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 14:41

vijayjohn wrote:But we seem to make it that way, you know.

Which I think is a fault. Growing up and having access only to US-based news sources, I got very frustrated with the way every foreign news story was presented through the filter of how this affects us. I know if they didn't, most readers would have simply ignored these stories entirely, but it's a very distorting lens.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby Antea » 2019-10-25, 15:27

Why do you think Americans have something to do with it? It’s the first time I heard of this theory :hmm: And I’ve heard a lot things about this matter :roll: But it fact this issue is kind of historical, more than 300 years old, so...

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 15:43

linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:But we seem to make it that way, you know.

Which I think is a fault. Growing up and having access only to US-based news sources, I got very frustrated with the way every foreign news story was presented through the filter of how this affects us. I know if they didn't, most readers would have simply ignored these stories entirely, but it's a very distorting lens.

Yes, but what I'm trying to say is that I think we're at least partially responsible for the situation being as bad as it is now. I know I said "all"; that was an emotional exaggeration. I could be wrong; I know all three of you know more about all of this than I do.
Antea wrote:Why do you think Americans have something to do with it? It’s the first time I heard of this theory :hmm:

Because from what I've read about it, I get the impression that it was exacerbated by the Spanish economic crisis, and I think we (Americans) are ultimately responsible for that. For example, this says:
The 2008 financial crash and Spanish public spending cuts fuelled local resentment and separatism.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 16:12

vijayjohn wrote:Yes, but what I'm trying to say is that I think we're at least partially responsible for the situation being as bad as it is now.

I still think this really overstates the degree of the USA's responsibility. Structural problems in the EU--which we really had no role in constructing--exacerbated a credit crunch into a full-blown debt crisis. The USA wasn't the only country where a property bubble in the 00s enticed bankers to make risky lending decisions; Spain had its own, which for various reasons was worse than ours. Moreover, nobody forced European banks to take these kinds of risks. You can blame the globalised nature of the financial industry, but international banking is huge business in the Middle East and the Arab countries came through the crisis just fine.

There are a lot of problems in the world that poor US policy decisions have created or worsened, but we're not some all-powerful puppetmaster. This is one mess where I don't think you can call our contribution significant.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 17:01

I completely disagree, except for the "all-powerful" part. No one is all-powerful, but I really think the financial crisis is almost entirely our fault. I don't expect to ever see eye-to-eye with you on that, though.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 17:30

vijayjohn wrote:No one is all-powerful, but I really think the financial crisis is almost entirely our fault.

Do you care to explain why?

You say you "completely disagree" with my last post does this mean you believe:
  • The EU's structure as a currency union without fiscal union is not a structural flaw?
  • The USA was the only country with a property bubble in the 00s?
  • The US forced European banks to take on risky obligations (and forced EU member countries to bail them out when those obligations came due)?

I'm honestly puzzled as to how you analyse the EU debt crisis (or the weaknesses in the Spanish economic and financial system) in such a way as to make it "almost entirely" the fault of the USA.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 18:22

I disagree with your entire analysis because I think you're missing the forest for the trees.

Here, let's look at the Wikipedia article on the European debt crisis. What does it say the causes were? Here's how it begins:
The eurozone crisis resulted from the structural problem of the eurozone and a combination of complex factors, including the globalisation of finance; easy credit conditions during the 2002–2008 period that encouraged high-risk lending and borrowing practices; the financial crisis of 2007–08; international trade imbalances; real estate bubbles that have since burst; the Great Recession of 2008–2012; fiscal policy choices related to government revenues and expenses; and approaches used by states to bail out troubled banking industries and private bondholders, assuming private debt burdens or socializing losses.

Who is responsible for the globalization of finance? The US is.
Who is responsible for encouraging high-risk lending and borrowing? The US is.
What started the Great Recession? The global financial crisis.
Who started the global financial crisis? The US did.
Who is responsible for the international trade imbalances? The US is.

Furthermore, can you really say that the real estate bubbles, states bailing out banks, bad fiscal policies, and the structural problem of the eurozone have nothing to do with the US at all? Were Americans not involved in the real estate market in Europe? Did the European governments bailing out banks have nothing to do with American governments bailing out banks? Did Europeans not follow American fiscal policies and/or use them as a model? (Blaming Europeans for doing this really seems like victim-blaming given how hard Americans insisted on these policies!).

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 20:04

vijayjohn wrote:Who is responsible for the globalization of finance? The US is.

Something tells me the Swiss and Brits might have a thing or two to say about that.

vijayjohn wrote:Who is responsible for encouraging high-risk lending and borrowing? The US is.

US mortgage lenders encouraged high-risk lending and borrowing, but nothing made lenders elsewhere follow suit. Nothing in global finance agreements requires them to adopt the same poor standards of risk assessment which deregulation made possible in the USA.

vijayjohn wrote:What started the Great Recession? The global financial crisis.
Who started the global financial crisis? The US did.

The subprime mortgage crisis in the USA was the precipitating event. But--as I've already pointed out--the crisis didn't spread everywhere and it was much more severe in some countries than others. It revealed the weaknesses of some countries' financial regulation and economic systems, but it didn't cause those weaknesses. If it hadn't happened, some other crisis would have come along and done so. After all, look at the Asian financial crisis. That started in Thailand of all places (again due to poor regulation and speculation).

vijayjohn wrote:Who is responsible for the international trade imbalances? The US is.

And this has what to do with international finance exactly?

vijayjohn wrote:Furthermore, can you really say that the real estate bubbles, states bailing out banks, bad fiscal policies, and the structural problem of the eurozone have nothing to do with the US at all?

Yeah, I feel pretty confident saying this. As I said, I have this odd habit of ascribing full agency to educated adult human beings, even when they're foreigners.

vijayjohn wrote:Were Americans not involved in the real estate market in Europe?

Of course they were. So were other North Americans, South Americans, and Asians. Why put all the blame on US investors?

Let's take a look at Spain for instance, which--as I've pointed out already--they had one of the worst property bubbles prior to the EU debt crisis. There's a lot of foreign investment in real estate there, but USA isn't even in the top ten by value. Who is? Well, mostly other Europeans--which is exactly as you'd expect given that there are seven times as many UK nationals living there as US nationals. Even among non-EU investors, we're way behind Russia, China, Morocco, and other countries. So it hardly makes sense to blame Americans for distorting their real estate market and causing the conditions which made their experience of the crisis so painful.

vijayjohn wrote:Did the European governments bailing out banks have nothing to do with American governments bailing out banks?

Not all European governments chose to bail out their banks, and not all that did it did it in the same way as the USA. So clearly they were capable of formulating and instituting their own policies, regardless what the USA chose to do.

vijayjohn wrote:Did Europeans not follow American fiscal policies and/or use them as a model?

To some extent, probably. But these are sovereign countries with their own distinct legal traditions, systems of financial regulation, etc. "We had to do this because the USA did first" is about a valid an excuse for poor decision making as "I only did it because I saw my brother do it first". (Moreover, in this case, it would be the older brother blaming the younger.)

vijayjohn wrote:(Blaming Europeans for doing this really seems like victim-blaming given how hard Americans insisted on these policies!).

And blaming the USA really seems like exonerating the Europeans for their own history of poor decisions.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-25, 20:34

linguoboy wrote:Something tells me the Swiss and Brits might have a thing or two to say about that.

I think there are a lot of countries neither the Swiss nor the Brits have ever touched. Is there any the US hasn't?
US mortgage lenders encouraged high-risk lending and borrowing, but nothing made lenders elsewhere follow suit.

Oh, come on. Everyone in the US encourages high-risk lending and borrowing. Europe is not in a bubble, and no European country is quite as powerful as the US is although some do come relatively close. When Americans keep promoting this exact practice, and Americans fall for it all the time, and Europeans see American media all the time, why wouldn't Europeans fall for it, too?

Next thing you'll be saying all the Americans who committed suicide because they maxed out on their credit cards all had it coming. Yeah, it was all their fault, and it totally had nothing to do with the banks promoting it all the goddamn time.
The subprime mortgage crisis in the USA was the precipitating event. But--as I've already pointed out--the crisis didn't spread everywhere and it was much more severe in some countries than others.

I don't agree that this matters. If it was severe anywhere, that's already a problem.
It revealed the weaknesses of some countries' financial regulation and economic systems, but it didn't cause those weaknesses.

I disagree. It has to have caused lots of weaknesses or else they wouldn't have been impacted negatively. And again, how do you know it didn't cause those weaknesses?
vijayjohn wrote:Who is responsible for the international trade imbalances? The US is.

And this has what to do with international finance exactly?

How does it not?! :shock: How do international trade imbalances have nothing to do with international finance?
Yeah, I feel pretty confident saying this. As I said, I have this odd habit of ascribing full agency to educated adult human beings, even when they're foreigners.

But there's a power differential, and you're ignoring it!
Of course they were. So were other North Americans, South Americans, and Asians. Why put all the blame on US investors?

Again, power differential
Let's take a look at Spain for instance, which--as I've pointed out already--they had one of the worst property bubbles prior to the EU debt crisis.

I don't agree any of this is relevant.
Not all European governments chose to bail out their banks, and not all that did it did it in the same way as the USA. So clearly they were capable of formulating and instituting their own policies, regardless what the USA chose to do.

In other words, the US played a role, and you're ignoring it.
vijayjohn wrote:Did Europeans not follow American fiscal policies and/or use them as a model?

To some extent, probably.

QED.
And blaming the USA really seems like exonerating the Europeans for their own history of poor decisions.

Power differential

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-10-25, 21:01

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Something tells me the Swiss and Brits might have a thing or two to say about that.

I think there are a lot of countries neither the Swiss nor the Brits have ever touched. Is there any the US hasn't?

The Swiss I'll grant you, but the Brits? Name six.

vijayjohn wrote:
US mortgage lenders encouraged high-risk lending and borrowing, but nothing made lenders elsewhere follow suit.

Oh, come on. Everyone in the US encourages high-risk lending and borrowing. Europe is not in a bubble, and no European country is quite as powerful as the US is although some do come relatively close. When Americans keep promoting this exact practice, and Americans fall for it all the time, and Europeans see American media all the time, why wouldn't Europeans fall for it, too?

Next thing you'll be saying all the Americans who committed suicide because they maxed out on their credit cards all had it coming. Yeah, it was all their fault, and it totally had nothing to do with the banks promoting it all the goddamn time.

Seriously? You just conflated professional banking experts with hoi polloi. You really don't expect the former to be one whit more sophisticated in approaching financial decisions than the latter?

Also, kindly take your words out of my mouth.

vijayjohn wrote:
The subprime mortgage crisis in the USA was the precipitating event. But--as I've already pointed out--the crisis didn't spread everywhere and it was much more severe in some countries than others.

I don't agree that this matters. If it was severe anywhere, that's already a problem.
It revealed the weaknesses of some countries' financial regulation and economic systems, but it didn't cause those weaknesses.

I disagree. It has to have caused lots of weaknesses or else they wouldn't have been impacted negatively. And again, how do you know it didn't cause those weaknesses?

And now we have an argument from ignorance!

vijayjohn wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Who is responsible for the international trade imbalances? The US is.

And this has what to do with international finance exactly?

How does it not?! :shock: How do international trade imbalances have nothing to do with international finance?

But what does either have to do with international coffees? CHECKMATE!

vijayjohn wrote:
Yeah, I feel pretty confident saying this. As I said, I have this odd habit of ascribing full agency to educated adult human beings, even when they're foreigners.

But there's a power differential, and you're ignoring it!

Hardly. I'm disputing it's as overweening as you claim it is. So far I've seen you nothing at all to make your case but repeat your original claim. It's getting tiresome.

vijayjohn wrote:
Of course they were. So were other North Americans, South Americans, and Asians. Why put all the blame on US investors?

Again, power differential

See above.

vijayjohn wrote:
Let's take a look at Spain for instance, which--as I've pointed out already--they had one of the worst property bubbles prior to the EU debt crisis.

I don't agree any of this is relevant.

The preexisting property bubble in Spain is not relevant to your argument that the USA precipitated the Catalan crisis by wreaking an economy which would have been perfectly fine otherwise? Um, okay.

vijayjohn wrote:
Not all European governments chose to bail out their banks, and not all that did it did it in the same way as the USA. So clearly they were capable of formulating and instituting their own policies, regardless what the USA chose to do.

In other words, the US played a role, and you're ignoring it.

DEFINE THAT ROLE. You keep making extremely broad assertions about American influence that you fail to back up with any concrete evidence.

vijayjohn wrote:
And blaming the USA really seems like exonerating the Europeans for their own history of poor decisions.

Power differential

If that's all you got, then we're done here.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-26, 3:39

linguoboy wrote:The Swiss I'll grant you, but the Brits? Name six.

Gabon, the Philippines, El Salvador, Uruguay, Estonia, and Palau
Seriously? You just conflated professional banking experts with hoi polloi.

Okay, fair enough, European bankers didn't get the idea from TV. How about this? The US is the most powerful country in the world. European leaders generally try to maintain good (or at least not have bad) relations with the US. Right? And American bankers encourage and engage in high-risk lending and borrowing. Some of their customers are European bankers! Why wouldn't the European bankers also encourage and engage in high-risk lending and borrowing?
Also, kindly take your words out of my mouth.

I wasn't putting them in your mouth; I was trying to tell you how absurd your argument sounds to me. It really sounds as absurd to me as saying that anyone who makes bad financial decisions has only themselves to blame when in fact there are people who have power over them actively encouraging them to do it. (Yes, I know, you don't think Americans have significant power over European bankers, and I think they do).
It revealed the weaknesses of some countries' financial regulation and economic systems, but it didn't cause those weaknesses.

I disagree. It has to have caused lots of weaknesses or else they wouldn't have been impacted negatively. And again, how do you know it didn't cause those weaknesses?

And now we have an argument from ignorance!

No, actually, that wasn't an argument at all. You said the global financial crisis didn't cause certain weaknesses, and I asked you how you know that. That was a request for evidence and nothing more. EDIT: Okay, it was also playing devil's advocate, which admittedly was dumb, but still, I was curious if you had evidence for this. If you don't, that's okay. I obviously don't have evidence to back myself up, either.
And this has what to do with international finance exactly?

How does it not?! :shock: How do international trade imbalances have nothing to do with international finance?

But what does either have to do with international coffees? CHECKMATE!

...What?

Finance and trade are almost the same thing. Coffee is not the same thing as either of those. I mentioned international trade imbalances because the Wikipedia article specifically listed that as one of the causes of the European financial crisis.
Hardly. I'm disputing it's as overweening as you claim it is. So far I've seen you nothing at all to make your case but repeat your original claim. It's getting tiresome.

Okay, but I've seen you present nothing to make your case, either, so that makes two of us, and at least I'm not rudely criticizing you for it even though you're the one who picked a fight with me for blaming the US. This is pretty much what I expected all along: We have different opinions on how great the role of the US was in this, and, like I said, I don't think we'll ever agree.
The preexisting property bubble in Spain is not relevant to your argument that the USA precipitated the Catalan crisis by wreaking an economy which would have been perfectly fine otherwise? Um, okay.

I mean I think American interference plays a much bigger role than any of this stuff.
DEFINE THAT ROLE. You keep making extremely broad assertions about American influence that you fail to back up with any concrete evidence.

I don't have evidence, okay? I have an opinion and a weak argument to back it up, and that's it. That's why I tried not to get into an argument over it, to just say "I disagree," and to leave it at that. To me, my opinion makes sense because the US seems to have sweeping influence everywhere these days, and while I can agree that Europe still has significantly more power than most parts of the world, I also think it has significantly less than the US does and the US is thus significantly more privileged than Europe is.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby Saim » 2019-10-26, 9:37

Vijay, the US just happens to be the main military superpower and the largest economy, but at the moment all nation-states are integrated into global capitalism. Not to mention the fact that all these European states are US allies and NATO members. You're making an issue of class and power one about nationality and geography.

the US is thus significantly more privileged than Europe is


What does it mean to be privileged? I don't think the average Texan worker is more "privileged" than the average Parisian worker. In fact, the average Parisian worker has more holidays, better healthcare, less reason to worry about being fired for starting a union...

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-26, 13:42

Saim wrote:Vijay, the US just happens to be the main military superpower and the largest economy, but at the moment all nation-states are integrated into global capitalism. Not to mention the fact that all these European states are US allies and NATO members. You're making an issue of class and power one about nationality and geography.

I don't really understand that. How is it about class and power and not nationality or geography? At least currently, in the realm of international politics, power correlates with nationality and geography! Besides, I think NATO is actually another area where these European states basically just do whatever the US wants, and I don't think being a US ally means all that much because the US sucks at making and keeping alliances. Remember when they pulled a big shit about France not supporting the Iraq War before it started? And later, NATO sent a training mission to Iraq.
What does it mean to be privileged? I don't think the average Texan worker is more "privileged" than the average Parisian worker. In fact, the average Parisian worker has more holidays, better healthcare, less reason to worry about being fired for starting a union...

Geopolitically, though. For example, when a European country - any European country - commits war crimes that aren't in the US's political interest, the US happily criticizes them over it. Yet when the US does worse and Europeans say anything about it, the US threatens to bomb The Hague.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2019-11-19, 19:25

I'm sure most of the Europeans here are familiar with the issues surrounding the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and its popularity as a place for snapshots and selfies, but for those who aren't, here's a brief backgrounder: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38675835. US Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg visited the site in 2016 with his husband Chasten, who snapped a photo of him standing between the stelae and posted it to his Instagram account with the caption "this guy".
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby md0 » 2019-11-19, 19:50

linguoboy wrote:I'm sure most of the Europeans here are familiar with the issues surrounding the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and its popularity as a place for snapshots and selfies, but for those who aren't, here's a brief backgrounder: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38675835. US Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg visited the site in 2016 with his husband Chasten, who snapped a photo of him standing between the stelae and posted it to his Instagram account with the caption "this guy".

Yeah, that sounds a bit like inventing causes. I will side with the people who draw the line on sites of atrocities vs monuments. Silly selfies at a monument are just silly selfies. It's noteworthy if the selfie has a nazi theme to it.

To bring up a somehow related topic, I personally feel uneasy entering active places of worship, at least Orthodox Christian churches, because I know that non-believers such as myself shall not enter churches. Yet, not only every tourist ever enters these churches and takes photos in a touristy way, but most practising Orthodox Christians actually don't mind it, regardless of what their dogma prescribes.
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