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Call for Global Taxation

Steven Bell
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from here.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

The US government existed for a significant amount of time (many decades) without extorting an income tax or sales tax from its populace. While there were various tariffs and excise taxes, nothing at all, in terms of scope or magnitude, that we moderns would consider significant taxation to any degree whatsoever.

But wasn't this fairly early on in the history of the US? Would anyone like to go back to the days where the government didn't support any medical services, national policing, national defence etc? Without taxation at a national level this would fall to the States to provide, which would be a lot less efficient (due to the lack of economies of scale and co-ordination).

Admittedly, I suspect most acceptable voluntary revenue solutions to replace taxation will fall short in generating an amount equivalent to modern taxation. Certainly the modern welfare State could not be sustained. But this would be the choice of free people and the government has no moral right to forcefully take from some people to give to others .


This is the crux of the problem with voluntary donations in place of taxation. I'd love to see a society where people give their money voluntarily to help nation issues, but I can't see it happening. I too suspect that a voluntary collection would be no where near enough to provide many of the services that people expect from a modern government, especially expensive wars abroad.


You are correct that "manipulating the econonmy" is hard to do without a vast hoard of money/capital. Manipulating an economy is fraught with danger however; witness what happened because of government meddling in the economy - the Great Depression, which spread world wide, later preparing the soil for the geneal holocaust of WWII. Its hard to imagine a government causing a greater catrastrophe even intentionally. Free markets should remain free. This means no government manipulation.

I completely disagree. During and before the Great Depression, most western governments followed the Laissez-faire strategies of not interfering with the market. It wasn't until after the war that the large social projects, labour movements and rebuilding efforts lead to more government intervention in the running of the economy. While its true that there hasn't ever really been a market totally free of government intervention (except perhaps in chaotic places like Somalia), the pre-war economies of Europe and America would be seen as incredibly capitalist and free-market orientated in comparison to economies today.

It was the failures of the free-market strategies, combined with the failure of Germany to pay large war reparations, that lead to the troubles in Germany... but despite this, I doubt that economic strategy of any kind was the key factor behind the holocaust. [The main reasons are probably a little out of the scope of this thread (and MD in general). Besides, isn't there a rule about threads being over when a certain German political movement is mentioned? ]


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Driving is dangerous, yet we don't classify it as high risk together with sky diving. Same thing with overeating.


I wonder if time plays a factor here. With sky diving all the risk is crammed together in a small window, but with overeating the risk is a bit more spread out, leading to a lack of awareness of the threat. I'd bet that more people die from overeating then from sky diving, so overeating could be seen as more risky.... but on the other hand perhaps more people overeat then sky dive

---

Isn't it a little sad that so many people have health problems from overeating when so many more other people are dying of hunger? Something to think about while eating the mid-morning chocolate-chip biscuit.
Jeroen Wenting
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THE major problem with combatting the spread of HIV infection is the anti-contraceptive stance of the church (who are responsible for most education and healthcare in Africa) and the position of the African governments who often don't acknowledge that AIDS is transmitted through sexual contact.

Also remember that there's no cure for any viral disease!
All you can do is help alleviate the symptoms which, while worthwhile where it allows the body to start curing itself, might be counterproductive in the case of HIV in that it helps spreading the disease further.
[ January 28, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]

42
Max Habibi
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Also remember that there's no cure for any viral disease!

In my opinion, this makes AIDs research that much more important. There a strong possibilities that cracking the AIDs problem will have significant contingency benefits, one of which is the cracking of other viral diseases.

M


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Jeroen Wenting
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Maybe, but remember people have been trying to cure the common flu (which causes more deaths than does HIV...) for over a century without success.
For decades they've been trying to cure Ebola, again without success.

And remember that billions each year are being poured into HIV related research.


Maybe a first step should be to make the availability of aid in this subject to governments actively stimulating preventative measures.
As has been shown in most of the world the rate of infection can be reduced massively by prevention alone.

This would mean more money that now goes towards supplying medication to keep victims alive longer (and able to infect others longer...) could become available towards finding a vaccine and maybe even basic research into actually curing viral diseases.

[Edited for imflamatory content: MH].
[ January 28, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Maybe, but remember people have been trying to cure the common flu (which causes more deaths than does HIV...) for over a century without success.
For decades they've been trying to cure Ebola, again without success.



This is a valid point. OTOH, we may never have reached the Moon if we had not put a concentrated effort into it. For that matter, think about how long we've come since the automobile was invented. I think this is solvable problem: we just need to commit to the solution. I sincerely believe in human ingenuity, and I sincerely believe that AIDs victims deserve our support.

M
frank davis
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

During and before the Great Depression, most western governments followed the Laissez-faire strategies of not interfering with the market.


A debunked myth. What turned an ordinary recession into The Great Depression was inept government intervention.

The US Federal Reserve tightened the money supply (to reduce stock market buying) starting in 1928 and which had the intended effect of doing exactly that, and then some (reducing captial available for business expansion as well). This precipated the recession in the US which also affected the rest of the world. More bungling of monetary policy deepend and prolonged the pain in following years.

Feeling left out, our legislative public servants jumped in, passing the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of June 1930 which raised U.S. tariffs to unprecedented levels setting off a global trade war that caused world trade to nearly collapse.

On Monetary policy :
http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm



It was the failures of the free-market strategies, combined with the failure of Germany to pay large war reparations, that lead to the troubles in Germany... but despite this, I doubt that economic strategy of any kind was the key factor behind the holocaust.


It was the failures of governmental policies, leading to severe wordlwide economic collapse, that helped prepare the soil of Germany for a new type of leader, which brought on the holocaust of WWII. "holocaust" (as opposed to "The Holocaust") being used in the general sense, which is the most appropriate word to sum up all of WWII.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
THE major problem with combatting the spread of HIV infection is the anti-contraceptive stance of the church (who are responsible for most education and healthcare in Africa) and the position of the African governments who often don't acknowledge that AIDS is transmitted through sexual contact.


This is probably, and unfortunately, true.... but what can be done about it? Its not really possible to ask the church to change its position, as for them the issue is morally simple - contraception is wrong, no room for negotiation. The governments, OTOH, are a different thing altogether, and maybe they can be persuaded to offer more education on the subject.

Education is probably the best way of going about reducing HIV, far more then medical research (although the best thing would be to do both). One of the most frustrating thing about HIV is that it should be easy to stop it spreading much - reducing unprotected sex, reducing rape, using clean needles etc. Unfortunately there are cultural barriers against it - in some parts of Africa people feel a great shame if they are infected with HIV, and are unlikely to want to discuss the issue - its almost a taboo.

There are cultural barriers against stopping HIV in the not so badly effected parts of the world as well. In the west there is sometimes a feeling that a lot of people infected deserve it in some fashion - people say things like "Its their fault, they must be gay/have raped someone/not used protection/be a drug user" etc. This blame game means that many people don't feel like they should put much effort into helping to reduce the problem. I expect that the vast number of people who are infected have become so because they just didn't understand how it spreads, so education could make a real difference.

How we deal with organisation such as some churches and governments who are apposed to this education is a tricky problem though.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:


Education is probably the best way of going about reducing HIV, far more then medical research (although the best thing would be to do both).



Education can't be the answer, at least in the US, since AIDS education has been pervasive in San Francisco (and most US cities) for over 10 years, yet :

http://pub.ucsf.edu/newsservices/releases/2004010710/
http://www.aegis.com/news/afp/2001/AF010219.html


"It seems obvious but there would be no global Aids pandemic were it not for multiple sexual partnerships," they said.
"The rate of change of sexual partners - especially concurrent partners - is a crucial determinant in the spread of sexually transmitted infections."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3610487.stm



[/QB]
Steven Bell
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Actually the 'churces' stance on abstenance has shown to have an effect in many developing countries in reducing AIDS infection.

But of course AIDS isn't a problem of personal lifestyle, their all just victims. :roll:

bug chasers
Max Habibi
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I see several problems with the conclusions you're drawing here.
  • One report you cited is four years out of date.
  • Another report you cited is six years out of date.
  • As the number AIDs survivors increases, the total number of people inflicted with AIDs increases. If there were 2 last year, and they both lived, then of course the number of people with AIDs this year will increase.


  • "as a result of combination antiretroviral therapy, an increasing number of persons are living with HIV."
  • The study's sample size is limited to 510 men. In my opinion, this is not enough of a random sample to draw global conclusions from, one way or the other.
  • The first report, from the BBC, is arguing about what materials to teach(abstinance & condoms seem to be edging out monogyny). No one in the article is doubting the effects of Education.


  • They said encouraging people to have fewer partners would result in fewer HIV infections.Writing in the British Medical Journal, they said little effort has gone in to tackling the issue in recent years.

    They said the message appears to have been lost, as campaigns put the emphasis on abstaining from sex or using condoms.

    The experts, who include officials from the Global Fund for Aids, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US Agency for International Development, said efforts in some countries to address the issue had paid off.

    It does not seem that these articles support your position.
    Max Habibi
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    Originally posted by Steven Bell:
    Actually the 'churces' stance on abstenance has shown to have an effect in many developing countries in reducing AIDS infection.


    What evidence leads you to this conclusion?

    M
    Steven Bell
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    Here's One.

    similar
    Jason Menard
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    Originally posted by Max Habibi:


    What evidence leads you to this conclusion?

    M


    The Church, at least the Catholic Church, preaches marriage, fidelity in marriage (and monogamy in general), and abstinence prior to marriage. It is clear that those practices limit spread of the disease.
    Jeroen Wenting
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    Originally posted by Jason Menard:


    The Church, at least the Catholic Church, preaches marriage, fidelity in marriage (and monogamy in general), and abstinence prior to marriage. It is clear that those practices limit spread of the disease.


    in practice though people heed their call to not use contraceptives but not the ban on sex outside of marriage leading to many infections as well as a lot of babies (often infected at birth) born out of wedlock.
    Steven Bell
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


    in practice though people heed their call to not use contraceptives but not the ban on sex outside of marriage leading to many infections as well as a lot of babies (often infected at birth) born out of wedlock.


    What evidence leads you to that conclusion?
    Jason Menard
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    in practice though people heed their call to not use contraceptives but not the ban on sex outside of marriage leading to many infections as well as a lot of babies (often infected at birth) born out of wedlock.


    And if that is the common practice (evidence?), then in what way is that the Church's fault. They gave their people information on how to control the spread of the disease. If they do not want to heed that sound advice then the Church certainly isn't at fault.

    Contraception is not the only method to control the spread of the disease, nor is it necessarily any more effective. The Church presents viable alternatives that are in accordance with their doctrine, and are likely in fact even more effective at controlling the spread of the disease for people who choose to follow their advice.

    People are being given tools to stem the spread of HIV. The problem, in general, is that people are not using the tools being provided. As this is the case, it is likely that the only way to really put the clamp on AIDS is to find an effective way to kill the virus.
    Max Habibi
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    And if that is the common practice (evidence?), then in what way is that the Church's fault. They gave their people information on how to control the spread of the disease. If they do not want to heed that sound advice then the Church certainly isn't at fault.


    I don't think it's fair to blame the Christian organizations in any way: they provide services and help in an area where any people do nothing. But that does not mean they have done the most effective thing in teaching only abstinence. Teaching only abstinence is a self-imposed limitation due to the mainstream Christian doctrine, but it's not the only source of preventative available. It is argueable(but probably not here), that it's not the most effective way.



    The Church, at least the Catholic Church, preaches marriage, fidelity in marriage (and monogamy in general), and abstinence prior to marriage. It is clear that those practices limit spread of the disease.

    I'm curious: what distinction are you drawing between fidelity in marriage and monogyny in general. Does Christian doctrine address monogamy outside of marriage?

    The original question was this: what evidence leads you to believe that abstinence-only programs are effective methods of stemming the spread of AIDs, in practice? Where have such programs demonstrated their effectiveness? I'm inclined to think that countries, such as the United State, where both abstinence and safe-sex techniques are taught, are more effective.

    M
    [ January 30, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
    Dave Lenton
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    Originally posted by herb slocomb:


    A debunked myth. What turned an ordinary recession into The Great Depression was inept government intervention.
    [...]
    On Monetary policy :
    http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm


    Not so. There was some governmental intervention in the US at the time, but this was while the Depression was already under way. Despite that, the level of governmental intervention at the time was vastly smaller then the government intervention now.

    While most economists agree that Laissez faire was rife in the pre-war era, there are a small group who do not agree. One of the main people in this group is Alan Greenspan, who would have considerable influence over the articles produced by the site you linked to

    "holocaust" (as opposed to "The Holocaust") being used in the general sense, which is the most appropriate word to sum up all of WWII.


    This bit, however, I do agree with. Whatever the cause, WWII was a terrible mistake which we will hopefully avoid making again. I'm not that hopeful though - humanity has a strange lust for violence.
    [ February 01, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
    Dave Lenton
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    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    And if that is the common practice (evidence?), then in what way is that the Church's fault. They gave their people information on how to control the spread of the disease. If they do not want to heed that sound advice then the Church certainly isn't at fault.


    Unfortunately that "sound advice" is not always correct:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3843797.stm


    The European Union has condemned Catholic Church "bigotry" over the use of condoms to fight HIV.

    European Commissioner Poul Nielsen made his comments on the BBC's Panorama programme, broadcast on Sunday.

    The Vatican says there is no such thing as safe sex
    Mr Nielsen said: "They are hurting and bringing into great danger the lives of millions out there."

    His comments were in response to a Vatican paper that claimed the HIV virus - which leads to Aids - can pass through latex condoms and cause infection.


    While abstinence may be one way of halting the spread of the disease, telling un-truths in relation to alternative methods is not that helpful.
    Jason Menard
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    Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
    While abstinence may be one way of halting the spread of the disease, telling un-truths in relation to alternative methods is not that helpful.


    I don't see anything in the article that states that any untruths were told. There is nothing in the article that refutes what the Cardinal said. Honestly, this seems more to be just another instance of secular extremism and intolerance for anything religious. I'm not sure at all that it's the Cardinal who is being the bigot.

    Everybody knows that condoms aren't foolproof (unless part of the secular extremist agenda is to insinuate that they are). That said, I personally believe that condoms should be part of any education program, as should monogamy and abstinence. But, while I have my beliefs, I can understand and have no problem with the Church's approach as their advice is also inarguably sound.
    Dave Lenton
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    Originally posted by Jason Menard:

    I don't see anything in the article that states that any untruths were told. There is nothing in the article that refutes what the Cardinal said. Honestly, this seems more to be just another instance of secular extremism and intolerance for anything religious. I'm not sure at all that it's the Cardinal who is being the bigot.

    Everybody knows that condoms aren't foolproof (unless part of the secular extremist agenda is to insinuate that they are). That said, I personally believe that condoms should be part of any education program, as should monogamy and abstinence. But, while I have my beliefs, I can understand and have no problem with the Church's approach as their advice is also inarguably sound.


    Indeed condoms aren't foolproof, but the cardinal was insinuating that they are a lot more risky then they actually are. He said:


    Scientists realise that there is a degree of uncertainty - it might be 15%, 18%, or 20%.

    He also said:
    The Church is a mother. What mother would allow her son to go on a plane if she knew there was a 15% chance it would crash?

    Both of these statements imply that condoms are very risky, with a high failure rate. Given that in reality their percentage success rate at blocking viruses like HIV is in the high 90s, his statements are bordering on inaccurate scare mongering.... and "un-truth".

    The article isn't about "secular extremism and intolerance for anything religious", its about how parts of the catholic church is telling people that condoms are less safe then they really are, and in doing so reducing the chance of them being used.

    Now certainly monogamy and reduction in the number of sexual partners that a person has are a good way of reducing the spread of HIV, but so are condoms. Given how widespread HIV is, and how many people die because of it, it seems a bad idea to try and dissuade people from using something that could reduce this threat.
    Jason Menard
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    Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
    Both of these statements imply that condoms are very risky, with a high failure rate. Given that in reality their percentage success rate at blocking viruses like HIV is in the high 90s, his statements are bordering on inaccurate scare mongering.... and "un-truth".


    Do you have any information to support these claims? I have found plenty of support for the Cardinal's claims:

    The typical use of male condoms, which is the average way most people use them, has a failure rate of 14-15%. This means that 14-15 people out of every 100 will become pregnant during the first year of use. Spermicidal agents increase the effectiveness to over 95% when used correctly and consistently.


    HIV transmission is reduced by approximately 85% when condoms are used correctly 100% of the time.


    So, according to that pro-condom web site, the Cardinal's figure of 15% is completely accurate. Keep in mind that in the third world, people aren't using the latest ultra-sleek Trojan ribbed with spermacidal. In the third-world, the spermacidal is often not present, if the condom is even latex.

    The article isn't about "secular extremism and intolerance for anything religious", its about how parts of the catholic church is telling people that condoms are less safe then they really are, and in doing so reducing the chance of them being used.

    Well, if we accept that the pro-condom site I linked to is telling the truth, the Church is quite correct in their figures (which according to the article they even cited research). And if the Church is correct, and I've seen no evidence that they aren't, then it is the individual making the accusations who is in all likelihood the bigot, not the Church. Organizations of his type often seem to promote a secular extremist agenda, and this doesn't seem to be any different.

    Now certainly monogamy and reduction in the number of sexual partners that a person has are a good way of reducing the spread of HIV, but so are condoms. Given how widespread HIV is, and how many people die because of it, it seems a bad idea to try and dissuade people from using something that could reduce this threat.

    Again, the Church has provided a method of dealing with the threat that is fully in line with their beliefs and doctrine. They are taking the issue head on and trying to do something about it while remaining true to themselves. Asking the Church to sanction condoms would be akin to asking them to sanction abortion. It's not likely to happen.
    Jeroen Wenting
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    the doctrine promoted by the catholic church (no sex at all) would indeed work if people only kept to it (which most don't).
    But in the practice of people not strictly following their doctrine the church's policy of agitating against any use of condoms at all is counterproductive.

    I know full well that their ideal is that sex should be used only for procreation and never for anything else (meaning that only married couples should engage in the practice and then only for the minimal number of times and duration needed to ensure enough offspring to fill the church benches and the monasteries).
    But if the church is to be taken seriously it's time they realised that that theory is as far from reality as it can get and that other measures are needed.
    Jason Menard
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    But if the church is to be taken seriously it's time they realised that that theory is as far from reality as it can get and that other measures are needed.


    I'm sure most people would find it more convenient if the Church sanctioned immorality.
    Warren Dew
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    Max Habibi:

    I'm curious: what distinction are you drawing between fidelity in marriage and monogyny in general. Does Christian doctrine address monogamy outside of marriage?

    One could be polygamous and still practice fidelity to one's spouses. Perhaps the distinction being made was that the Catholic Church doesn't approve of that, even though it would still be "fidelity in marriage"?
    Axel Janssen
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    Originally posted by Jason Menard:

    Why is it that the idea of any global tax just makes me cringe. While the cause is certainly worthy, if that were to pass for some reason, I can only imagine a whole host of things that some might feel require a global tax. And who exactly levies and collects this global tax? Who enforces it? Last I checked, there's no global government that has sovereignty over anyone. Bleh! Can you say taxation without representation?

    While I know the concept of global taxation would receive a generally violent reaction in the US, I guess such a thing probably wouldn't seem that bad to your average European?

    Trying to respond to the first statement.
    I still believe that your ideas regarding europeans as being overly socialistic or pro-redistributionists doesn't reflect the reality very well.
    On the other hand I agree on another issue. A lot of Europeans think that there could exist something like a "fair world government" and only the "imperialistic US" does hinder the emergence of such a mutual happy understanding of all people. Though I am big friend of mutual happy understanding, I don't consider it very realistic as a stable option.
    Your pragmatic question regarding who levies, collects or enforces such taxes (especially in time of crisis) makes lot of sense to me and I wonder too why a lot of people here doesn't have such sane doubt.
    All this issue has deep roots. I. Kant, who is currently seen as the most important of our pre-industrial philosphers, wrote about such a world government in quite idealistic way.

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