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New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit


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New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn't do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn't used to define us. But now it's becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­-- like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

cont'd at Bill Maher Blogspot

Edited by lily
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Anything to add to the article or are you just quoting it? Do you agree, disagree? Are there parts you find specifically relevant and convincing? Is there some specific aspect of it you would like to see discussed?

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Anything to add to the article or are you just quoting it? Do you agree, disagree? Are there parts you find specifically relevant and convincing? Is there some specific aspect of it you would like to see discussed?

I like the artivle and agree with it... which is why I posted it.

Now, how about yourself?

Do you have anything to add? Do you agree, disagree? Anything catch your iunterest enough to discuss it, or are you just here to rap my knuckles?

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Guest American Woman

There are countless nonprofit organizations in America and war has always turned a profit, and not just for the United States. I don't see how anyone can argue either one of those facts.

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I have two comments...

It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures

To ignore market pressures is to ignore reality. Nothing is immune to market pressures because markets reflect reality. Unless of course the government interfers with them. Which leads me to my second point...

It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures

Hmm, sounds a lot like housing. the government decided that home ownership was too important and should be exempt from market pressures. Which led to Freddie, Fannie, and the no-job, no-income home loan, which we're all paying for now, and have been for the last year or so.

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I like the artivle and agree with it... which is why I posted it.
In some circles, and apparently with you Lily, the word "profit" has negative or pejorative connotations. But I think you would agree that human efforts should create value, not destroy value. We can argue over the meaning of the word "value" but in principle, using 10 eggs to produce 6 eggs is not a good idea (and isn't even sustainable in the long run).

A synonym for "profit" is positive net value. Maher is wrong because he doesn't understand this distinction. His quibble is not with the principle of profit but with how to put value on certain activities.

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Not everything with value is profitable. Maher is talking about a flaw in American thinking in general, one which would never allow something like...say...universal healthcare or other money losing ventures to exist.

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In some circles, and apparently with you Lily, the word "profit" has negative or pejorative connotations.

You're exactly right. The word profit to them is a pejorative term. Even though we owe our stanard of living, on the very profits they despise.

Maher is talking about a flaw in American thinking in general,

Yes, the a flaw which led America from 13 colonies to the world's superpower in a matter of 200 years.

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The title of the article clearly states "Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit".

Not everything. This is a far cry from the word profit having "negative pejorative connotations".

But it did give you two a nifty chance to lump people together so you could talk about "them".

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Not everything with value is profitable.
The problem is not with the idea of "profitability". The problem is with the definition of "value".

It is very easy to claim (as Maher does) that Walter Cronkite was of great value to Americans. Is that really the case? Many of the commenters to Maher's post criticize "profit" but what they really mean is that some activity (typically their pet activity) is of great value to "society" but is seemingly undervalued.

I happen to think that Michael Jackson's oeuvre was of no value to humanity. Other people disagree. OTOH, I am surprised that Kurt Vonnegut's death passed with much less fanfare.

Such is value.

The title of the article clearly states "Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit".
The title is dumb.

Ideally, every activity in the world should have "net positive value", or "make a profit". We can argue about value, but we shouldn't argue about the principle of profit.

Edited by August1991
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The title is dumb.

It's not the catchiest, true, but it's not dumb, in that it has value.

Ideally, every activity in the world should have "net positive value", or "make a profit". We can argue about value, but we shouldn't argue about the principle of profit.

because you say so?

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It's not the catchiest, true, but it's not dumb, in that it has value.
The catchiness has nothing to do without it, and the value of a headline is not great.

One measure of value of something is how much would you give up to get it. Would you sacrifice five minutes more in bed on a Monday morning to read such a headline?

-----

Lily, my egg example apparently didn't work so let me make try another example, closer to our eco-energy world. "Not making a profit" is like a solar panel/generator system that uses 1000 kwh to generate 600 kwh.

The word "profit" is shorthand for the principle of measuring the effort going in and the result coming out.

Now, if you or Maher want to argue about how to measure, that's fine with me. But the principle of profit seems unassailable to me. Who would advocate for an electrical system that requires 1000 kwh to produce 600 kwh? (Someone who receives the 600 kwh while someone else provides the 1000 kwh.)

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Guest American Woman
QUOTE=August1991: The title is dumb.

It's not the catchiest, true, but it's not dumb, in that it has value.

It is dumb in that it's not true. As I already pointed out, there are many non-profit organizations in the U.S. "There are literally hundreds of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) implementing life-changing projects for those people living in countries around the world. We provide a sampling of these organizations [here]."

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The catchiness has nothing to do without it, and the value of a headline is not great.

One measure of value of something is how much would you give up to get it. Would you sacrifice five minutes more in bed on a Monday morning to read such a headline?

The "value" of the headline is that you have an idea what the article is going to be about. THat's of value to people when deciding what to read or not.

Lily, my egg example apparently didn't work so let me make try another example, closer to our eco-energy world. "Not making a profit" is like a solar panel/generator system that uses 1000 kwh to generate 600 kwh.

The word "profit" is shorthand for the principle of measuring the effort going in and the result coming out.

Now, if you or Maher want to argue about how to measure, that's fine with me. But the principle of profit seems unassailable to me. Who would advocate for an electrical system that requires 1000 kwh to produce 600 kwh? (Someone who receives the 600 kwh while someone else provides the 1000 kwh.)

You think I didn't understand your egg analogy? :lol:

You seem to think the only alternative to making a profit is to lose money. That's not the point here.

It is dumb in that it's not true. As I already pointed out, there are many non-profit organizations in the U.S. "There are literally hundreds of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) implementing life-changing projects for those people living in countries around the world. We provide a sampling of these organizations [here]."

Great!

Bill Maher lists examples of things he doesn't think *need* to make a profit. I have no idea what point you're trying to make here.

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New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn't do for money.

cont'd at Bill Maher Blogspot

This is a seperate question. But, what exactly is Bill Maher referring to? Which services and institutions is he talking about? Because, from what I've seen over the past few decades, is an America going increasingly more socialist, not the other way around. What world is he living in? Not to mention the recent ballooning of government take overs, and bailouts (ie Government Motors).

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Guest American Woman
QUOTE=American Woman :

It is dumb in that it's not true. As I already pointed out, there are many non-profit organizations in the U.S. "There are literally hundreds of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) implementing life-changing projects for those people living in countries around the world. We provide a sampling of these organizations [here]."

Bill Maher lists examples of things he doesn't think *need* to make a profit. I have no idea what point you're trying to make here.

Really? You honestly couldn't understand my point? Let me try walking you through it. The title is "Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit" and I said that I agreed that the title is dumb because obviously not everything in America *does* make a profit. Now please tell me that you are able to understand that. :blink:

Edited by American Woman
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Really? You honestly couldn't understand my point? Let me try walking you through it. The title is "Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit" and I said that I agreed that the title is dumb because obviously not everything in America *does* make a profit. Now please tell me that you are able to understand that. :blink:

Oh, I see. You're arguing the title, not the article itself.

My mistake for assuming you actually read the thing and had some opinion on that.

So what's next... shall we chat about the daily headlines? :lol:

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It is dumb in that it's not true. As I already pointed out, there are many non-profit organizations in the U.S. "There are literally hundreds of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) implementing life-changing projects for those people living in countries around the world. We provide a sampling of these organizations [here]."
IME, non-profits are partly about avoiding taxes but mostly about marketing. Like fair trade coffeee, they appeal to people who don't like the word profit.

Nevertheless, most non profit organizations probably pay close attention to the money coming and the money going out. If they don't, they won't be around for long.

(Note that non-profit has nothing to do with the idea of value.)

You seem to think the only alternative to making a profit is to lose money. That's not the point here.
It is exactly the point. Who would advocate a system that destroys value?
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Guest American Woman
Oh, I see. You're arguing the title, not the article itself.

My mistake for assuming you actually read the thing and had some opinion on that.

So what's next... shall we chat about the daily headlines? :lol:

Since your post was "arguing the title," yes, my response was in response to that.

Thanks for letting me know early on what kind of poster you are. Saves time in the future.

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IME, non-profits are partly about avoiding taxes but mostly about marketing. Like fair trade coffeee, they appeal to people who don't like the word profit.

Maybe the people who like fair trade coffee aqre interested in seeing the growers receive a fair profit too?

(Note that non-profit has nothing to do with the idea of value.)

It is exactly the point. Who would advocate a system that destroys value?

Given your statement in parenthses, it's odd that you'd turn around and ask that.

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Since your post was "arguing the title," yes, my response was in response to that.

My post continued to talk about what Bill Maher mentioned in the article. You chose to ignore that for your own reasons. That doesn't make for valuable insight.

Thanks for letting me know early on what kind of poster you are. Saves time in the future.

I had you figured well before this morning. ;)

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Guest American Woman
Not everything with value is profitable. Maher is talking about a flaw in American thinking in general, one which would never allow something like...say...universal healthcare or other money losing ventures to exist.

You don't think that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. turn a profit, do you? So your claim that there is a "flaw in American thinking in general" is a false one, because it does allow something like "other money losing ventures to exist." Furthermore, "Americans, in general," have been trying to get a universal health care program in place for some time now. An effective one. Too many Americans don't want to trade in their excellent health care benefits for inferior service. That's understandable. We do need to give 'free' health care to everyone, but it can't be at the expense of what already exists, and that takes some time. We'll get there.

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