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 Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle

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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:20 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
That whiff you get is technocracy not elitism. That whiff has been around for a long time and it's one of the reasons I was opposed to Maastricht and Nice. However I think Lisbon would have let some fresh air in.

I agree that Ireland won't hold up the others if the rest of them want to go ahead. Politically, such obstructionism would be suicidal. Given that we voted No I think we have to seriously consider entering the slow lane of a two speed EU. Whatever the politicians say, it seems to be what the people want.

It might be petty of me but I think the split seemed evident last night on Q&A between Barrett and McGuinness in how McGuinness (and the rest) smirked their way through the show at Barrett. It's a patronising way to deal with someone and given that it's a democracy that's in question it comes across as a form of elitism which says that only a political caste with one aim is allowed to play this game, realpolitically. It's technocracy as you say, something FG have been accused of before.

Is a massive technocracy unavoidable at this point ? A two-speed Europe might not be a bad idea for peripheral states and it would be interesting to see how the make-up of the institutions would pan out in it.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:45 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
What is there on climate change ?

Climate change in the Lisbon treaty is "soft law". That is, general principles that are not precise, not compelling and are used as a fashionable icing on the cake.

Actually, making something an Eu objective has the effect of requiring all EU law to take it into account - ideally to contribute towards the objective, and definitely not to work against it. It cannot be a series of detailed commitments because, first, that limits the objective, and second, we don't know, scientifically, what will need to be done.

That's actually a rather major commitment. Further, perhaps someone can point to any other major bloc that has any commitment to combating climate change. The EU has binding commitments on CO2 reduction. It has a mechanism for doing it. With Lisbon, it would have a commitment to making all EU law take account of climate change.

arnaudherve wrote:
I would have preferred a strong industrial policy of independence from oil, even without a treaty.

Targets for alternative energy use, perhaps?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:53 pm

Boyd Barrett is a decent enough speaker and he did well to stop Bowman and Curran shouting him down for the last comment but at the end of the day I see no concrete suggestions from him. I was not impressed by McGuinness. I think attributing smirks and elitism to her is unjustified. She was out of her depth and trying to hide it.

To be honest, I don't think any pro Lisbon politician can open their mouth without being accused of being a bullying undemocratic arrogant scare-mongerer who turns into a snivelling spineless coward in the face of other EU politicians. Unfortunately, life isn't that exciting or simple.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:14 pm

ibis wrote:
The EU has binding commitments on CO2 reduction. It has a mechanism for doing it. With Lisbon, it would have a commitment to making all EU law take account of climate change.
I don't think any parties in the EU would be against energy and CO2 control. Why do we need QMV and a major Treaty to enact such an EU-wide law?

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Boyd Barrett is a decent enough speaker and he did well to stop Bowman and Curran shouting him down for the last comment but at the end of the day I see no concrete suggestions from him.
He was simply told to drop the 'should' talk by McGuinness and get into the realpolitik instead. The man is fundamentally, ideologically against this treaty for the reasons that to my mind you accurately point to on the other thread in relation to SWP and SF too. How could he make frank suggestions - it would be like asking a committed vegetarian for advice on negotiating your way through your meat diet.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:25 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
ibis wrote:
The EU has binding commitments on CO2 reduction. It has a mechanism for doing it. With Lisbon, it would have a commitment to making all EU law take account of climate change.
I don't think any parties in the EU would be against energy and CO2 control. Why do we need QMV and a major Treaty to enact such an EU-wide law?

Currently, there is no way to amend the EU treaties except by a Treaty and an Inter-Governmental Conference - and by the time you've had one of those, the kitchen sink is in there.


Last edited by ibis on Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:40 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Boyd Barrett is a decent enough speaker and he did well to stop Bowman and Curran shouting him down for the last comment but at the end of the day I see no concrete suggestions from him. I was not impressed by McGuinness. I think attributing smirks and elitism to her is unjustified. She was out of her depth and trying to hide it.

To be honest, I don't think any pro Lisbon politician can open their mouth without being accused of being a bullying undemocratic arrogant scare-mongerer who turns into a snivelling spineless coward in the face of other EU politicians. Unfortunately, life isn't that exciting or simple.

Give me your lunch money NOW!


Or you can't be in my gang
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:54 pm

ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
ibis wrote:
The EU has binding commitments on CO2 reduction. It has a mechanism for doing it. With Lisbon, it would have a commitment to making all EU law take account of climate change.
I don't think any parties in the EU would be against energy and CO2 control. Why do we need QMV and a major Treaty to enact such an EU-wide law?

Currently, there is no way to amend the EU treaties except by a Treaty and an Inter-Governmental Conference - and by the time you've had one of those, the kitchen sink is in there.

Is it really that cumbersome though ? I don't believe it has to be. Some areas like energy and environment are so common to all that they should have emerged five years ago and been put to an EU-wide vote, as much to enlighten people and keep them up to date as anything. The principle of subsidiarity we highlighted yesterday allowing the Union to take over from where smaller states could not erect policies alone would be seen as very benign in the areas of environment, energy, education. Why these areas weren't introduced first is a failure of authority and must be taken seriously.

There was a comment yesterday from a Yes voter on the CLR which certainly spoke for me. It's very wise in my humble opinion.

Quote :
The main problem in the EU is not so much that there is a democratic deficit. The demoratic deficit is neither as wide nor as sinister as many people fear. Besides, Lisbon offered an improvement in many areas. The real issue is both a deficit in understanding and a deficit of trust.

Deficit in understanding: citizens know the EU is no longer an economic community. It is political. It deepened and enlarged very quickly. But the Union and national governments didn’t take people along in explaining how the Union works and what is the rational for its increasing areas of competence.

This is interlinked with the next issue: Deficit in trust. It is not easy to connect with electorates that are often apathetic towards their own national political elites. Indeed the general disconnection between the governed and the governing everywhere is a particular problem in a structure the size of the EU and which is recent and in many ways experimental.

But one way or another, the Union will continue to stumble until some effort is made to address the twin deficits in understanding and trust.

But here’s quesiton: is it possible to address these concerns without first building or enhancing the notion of a European identity?

In any case. Here’s what I think should happen but which I believe will certainly not happen. The leaders of the Union should acknowledge the problems that I’m trying to articulate about and which began to emerge since the last enlargement, most notably with the Dutch and French referenda. Then re-articulate over a sustained period why the various strands of Lisbon are necessary. Then break Lisbon into three or four seperate chunks (which is arguably the way this package should have been done from the start). And argue the case for each on its separate merits and re-run the ratification process. Slow and cumbersone - yes, totally. But it would enhance the trust and understand in the Union a thousand fold.
Tomaltach, CLR
http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/where-next-after-lisbon-your-thoughts/
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:20 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
What if the juggernaut decides that it won't steamroll us? What if it decides that it will respect our decision and so will go around us?

The Irish people have a right to reject the Lisbon Treaty. Do people think they have a right to stop the rest of the EU signing up to an EU-esque Treaty?

I think we should back calls in other Eu countries for referenda. The idea that we should not comment on anything going on outside Ireland seems anti european in some way. We are after all EU citizens and are part of a collective entity.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:41 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:

Assuming he means CCCTB rather than Closed Circuit Television...no, every expert opinion (including some honest ones on the No side!) up to and including the Irish Institute of Taxation have agreed that it's a veto area.

Then how come Ray Kinsella of UCD thinks that this Treaty will lead to a CCCTB within the next few years?
Years?!
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:01 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:

Assuming he means CCCTB rather than Closed Circuit Television...no, every expert opinion (including some honest ones on the No side!) up to and including the Irish Institute of Taxation have agreed that it's a veto area.

Then how come Ray Kinsella of UCD thinks that this Treaty will lead to a CCCTB within the next few years?
Years?!

It's been due for September 2009 since about 2005/6, according to the CCCTB working group. It was entirely unaffected by Lisbon, as was pointed out repeatedly during the campaign. The very fact that it was due to come up in the French Presidency, which was, in turn, due, and known to be due, before Lisbon kicked in, was proof enough of that (for all but the conspiracy theorists).
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:59 am

Auditor #9 wrote:

Ireland won't stop the EU going ahead with whatever it wants to do but isn't it at all worrying that there is a deep whiff of elitism and democratic neglect about how this has been managed all along ? The trouble for the EU is that it might start to be seen widely for what it seems to be shaping up to becoming: Authoritarian rather than Authoritative.

....Is a massive technocracy unavoidable at this point ? A two-speed Europe might not be a bad idea for peripheral states and it would be interesting to see how the make-up of the institutions would pan out in it....

For You A#9:

Jacques Ellul - the Technological Society, p.162 wrote:

Technique as a general phenomenon (as we shall see when we study the political milieu) always gives rise to an aristocracy of technicians who guard secrets to which no outsider has access. Decisions which have a serious basis take on the appearance of arbitrary and incomprehensible decrees. A cleavage like this, which is inevitable in the advance of technique, is decisive for the future of the democracies. Economic life, not in its content but in its direction, will henceforth entirely elude popular control. No democracy is possible in the face of a perfected economic technique. The decisions of the voters, and even of the elected, are oversimplified,incoherent, and technically inadmissible. It is a grave illusion to believe that democratic control or decision-making can be reconciled by economic technique. Little by little the elements necessary for the creation of this technique are taking shape; and soon they will be perfected.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:14 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:

Ireland won't stop the EU going ahead with whatever it wants to do but isn't it at all worrying that there is a deep whiff of elitism and democratic neglect about how this has been managed all along ? The trouble for the EU is that it might start to be seen widely for what it seems to be shaping up to becoming: Authoritarian rather than Authoritative.

....Is a massive technocracy unavoidable at this point ? A two-speed Europe might not be a bad idea for peripheral states and it would be interesting to see how the make-up of the institutions would pan out in it....

For You A#9:

Jacques Ellul - the Technological Society, p.162 wrote:

Technique as a general phenomenon (as we shall see when we study the political milieu) always gives rise to an aristocracy of technicians who guard secrets to which no outsider has access. Decisions which have a serious basis take on the appearance of arbitrary and incomprehensible decrees. A cleavage like this, which is inevitable in the advance of technique, is decisive for the future of the democracies. Economic life, not in its content but in its direction, will henceforth entirely elude popular control. No democracy is possible in the face of a perfected economic technique. The decisions of the voters, and even of the elected, are oversimplified,incoherent, and technically inadmissible. It is a grave illusion to believe that democratic control or decision-making can be reconciled by economic technique. Little by little the elements necessary for the creation of this technique are taking shape; and soon they will be perfected.

Fascinating Zhou. The problem is as we can see all around us economic technique is not perfect and the economy is in a chaotic condition, with formerly pro-open market advocates begging for a random range of market controls of the finger-in-dyke type.

Democracy, which allows for the introduction into the equation of the new, the immediate, and also of preference, priority and choice, as well as consideration of technique, is superior. "Collapse" showed us that detailed local knowledge and adaptation were the human capacities that allowed some societies to survive whilst others collapsed. Democracy lets local knowledge in, and allows us to adapt.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:22 pm

Interesting quote Zhou - gives me the shivers. Brave New World came to mind. Also Demolition Man made a mental appearance, with Denis Leary smoking a cigar the size of Cincinnati. I'm reading Stiglitz globalisation and discontents and he is saying what i've been saying here - for vital feedback the public nature of information is crucial in the survival of systems - any systems.

If your bowels can't communicate to your brain what they need to do then you could have problems (luckily some of those functions are automatic)
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:31 pm

Ellul agrees that the methods of technique ("the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of adaptation) in every field of human activity") vary only with location in that the most efficient result might demand different measures in different parts of the globe.

In relation to economic matters, Ellul's view is that the normative approach to economics (where everything is linked to everything else on foot of research and measurement) means that when an economic crisis is sparked (by one part of the system becoming out of synch by getting too far ahead or behind of the system) intervention becomes imperative. This intervention is not based on morality or ideology but on the imperative of keeping the economic model running smoothly to serve its social and efficiency ends. I am not clear but as far as I can see social ends are subsidiary to efficiency in that eventually they are just a branch of criteria to keep the economic model running. Ellul feels that a fully managed economy is the inevitable outcome.

He points to the fact that wants and choices must be kept uniform and I think his point is proven by the increasing homogenity of all cultures. He says that public opinion must be managed and monitored by the modern methods of analysing investigating and manipulating such public opinion because of the huge investment in creating and launching new products. It is his deduction that the technical society demands that public opinion fit the products rather than the other way around. I suppose a current example might be the creation of a market for the iPhone.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:33 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Interesting quote Zhou - gives me the shivers. Brave New World came to mind. Also Demolition Man made a mental appearance, with Denis Leary smoking a cigar the size of Cincinnati. I'm reading Stiglitz globalisation and discontents and he is saying what i've been saying here - for vital feedback the public nature of information is crucial in the survival of systems - any systems.

If your bowels can't communicate to your brain what they need to do then you could have problems (luckily some of those functions are automatic)

Indeed:

1932 Aldous Huxley


Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't.... People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the soverign gods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years' War. That made them change their tune all right. What's the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are dropping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled -- after the Nine Years' War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We've gone on controlling ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But it's been good for happiness.
-- controller Mustafa Mand in Brave New World



1946 Aldous Huxley
The result [of atomic power], pretty obviously, will be a series of economic and social changes unprecedented in rapidity and completeness. All the existing patterns of human life will be disrupted and new patterns will have to improvised to conform with the nonhuman fact of atomic power. Procrustes in modern dress, the nuclear scientist will prepare the bed on which mankind must lie; and if mankind doesn't fit -- well, that will be just too bad for mankind.
-- foreward to the 1946 edition of A Brave New World
By the way, it was Alduous Huxley who recommended Ellul's "The Technological Society" as the one book he would recommend to a US Goernment think tank on the future of the country.


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Huxley/Ellul link tidbit)
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:44 pm

The poor man must have lived his whole life in monasteries or universities he is so far off the ball.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:46 pm

cactus flower wrote:
The poor man must have lived his whole life in monasteries or universities he is so far off the ball.

That's the end of that so Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:50 pm

That Ellul chap doesn't seem so far off in some respects. When was that Techno Society written Zhou ?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:51 pm

Begs the question as to what Ellul's conclusion is - is he advocating for or warning against technocracy ? I doubt if Aldous Huxley would have supported such a trend.

Atomic weapons: the spectre of Mutual Assured Destruction has possibly had the side-effect of a more informed, if nervy society - nerves are good as they alert you to danger. The UK and US are also now telling Iran that sanctions are warranted ... I don't know if I'd agree that the society I live in should be allowed to do that from the heads. That decision is one humdinger of a knife-edge of uncertainty and a seed-bed of division as both points can't be seen without sufficient ... information.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:08 pm

Ellul is warning against the impacts of the technological society. However, he is also dipassionate in saying that the technological society is inevitable as technique is autonomous and self augmenting - he goes into that in depth as they are core conclusions of his analysis.

I am not sure what his solution is as I am only half way through. He appears to be more concerned with Man's intellectual and spiritual freedom than anything else. However, I don't think he is in the solutions business in this book. Rather he is saying that we must first understand what is happening whatever our motives and belief and whether we like it or not. His dispassion is remarkable considering he was a committed Christian and Theologian.

I understand that he might posit a solution in his later book "The Technological Bluff" where he talks about something called the "Paradox of Non-Freedom" but it will be a while before I read that!
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:39 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
The poor man must have lived his whole life in monasteries or universities he is so far off the ball.

That's the end of that so Very Happy

Sorry Zhou, bit busy here, I realise that was not a very well developed post.

I would be unwise to say much more without reading something of his work, which is obviously much valued and must contain some original insights.

Just relying on what you have quoted, and without having read further, I think that we are living with forms of society that are currently running into immense crises and that a very fresh and open look at new solutions is needed. Talk about perfection of existing systems in this context seems very odd to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:21 pm

The above quote in isolation may be misleading. In fairness to him he spends an earlier lengthy chapter explaining how technique constantly evolves but to its own ends.

I don't think he is talking about the perfection of existing systems. Rather I believe he is suggesting that technique will take over the economic sphere such that all future interventions will be guided by technical analysis with a view to avoid economic crises rather than guided by any moral or human concerns. I am confident that is what he means by the perfection of the elements necessary for an all encompassing economic technique rather than the arrival at any final system. The elements he talks about are largely to do with economic analysis and management and he make specific reference to statistics, economic modeling, accounting practices and research on public opinion.

He made the interesting point that in the early 20th century any well educated man could understand economic theory and practice whereas that has become less and less true as economics has made efforts to become more and more scientific.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:28 pm

Quote :
economics has made efforts to become more and more scientific

- without noticeable success.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:31 pm

Jacques Ellul wrote:

At the same time economists feel, as a kind of challenge, the ineffectiveness of their system. Nothing has exposed the vanity of political economy better than their contradictory diagnoses and therapies for economic crises. For some the cause of the crisis is an unsaleable surplus of goods; for others, insufficiency of production. For some it is an excess of savings; for others, a lack of them. And as far as the proposed remedies are concerned some economists would raise the discount rate and other would lower it. Some hold that wages must be stabilised and others demonstrate that they must be lowered. Such contradictions can only arise from a defect of method. And the economists bitterly resent the ironical attitude the public has towards them. One of them recently wrote "The public believes in the physicist, but it has not confidence in the economist." Policymakers absolutely cannot rely on what the economists say, nor follow their contradictory counsels with respect to action. All this, then, made it mandatory to replace the regime of theories, which gave birth to nothing but opinion, with a rigorous methond which "sticks" to facts.

Perhaps Jacques had a bit too much confidence in the economists! Do we have an economist in the house who can give us their view as to whether economics (particularly macro-economics) has become more scientific and fact based and less theory based over the last 60 years or so?


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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers Lisbon Treaty Heckle   Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:53 pm

The point on the topic is that the EU must be adapted to fit into the technological society if we are going to create a sufficiently strong bloc to compete and survive with the Chinese, the Indians, the South Americans and the USA. The core problem facing the countries in the world is overpopulation and a lack of resources. Only those in strong enough blocs will be able to protect themselves from the inevitable instability that will ensure. All others will have to align themselves with one or other strong bloc and will become pawns to them. That is what we have been in Europe during the Cold War and don't want to be again.

Boyd Barrett rebels against this horrible vista of technocratic governance and International intrigue. However, all he does is object. The alternative is to keep in a strong bloc in the hope that we can deal with the pressing global problems that face us in the immediate future (next 50 years) and achieve a better model of freedom and accountability than any other current political sytem on earth.

The problem for Boyd Barrett, Joe Higgins and Sinn Fein is that as socialists they believe in a also regulated economy where technology and methods of production are used to serve the people. Ultimately, their model ends up as a technocracy too.


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