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In principle, the US government represents the will of the people. Government officials may be corrupt and in the pockets of corporate interests, but clinging to power is an even bigger motivator. If enough voters demand something, they are usually forced into delivering it, at least partly.

The major problem in my view is the systematic and continuous disinformation campaigns regarding climate change and environmental problems in general (financed of course by oil and chemical companies). By keeping voters misinformed and confused, corporate powers ensure they are able to continue their operations without public oversight.

>In principle, the US government represents the will of the people.

Unfortunately that's not really encoded in how you guys and gals do elections.

From gerrymandering, to the stale two-horse race for party-approved candidates, to the emphasis on a single person (the "President") with roman senate undertones as opposed to collaborating MPs (and where are the coalition governments?), to legal lobbying, to the undue role of appointed justices in legislation, to the BS with vote registration (and voting day not being an official holiday)...

It's like everything has been done to distance the governance from the will of the people...

On the other hand, this probably allowed the US to become the superpower it is. I feel the US is the closest example in the modern world to capitalism unchecked - with both the pros and cons that entails.

>On the other hand, this probably allowed the US to become the superpower it is.

Corellation != causation.

I'd say the exhaustion of Europe in WWI and WWII (which the US only participated with its military, whereas the European citizenry had much more direct costs across the whole population (occupation, bombings, ethnic cleansing, brain drain, etc), the post-war influx of European scientists (half of the scientific developments in post-WWII US are from Jewish, German, and other immigrants), the collapse of European colonialism, and an internal 300+ million strong market to try stuff in, plus a strong military to force its market interests globally, were more of a factor in that.

Case in point, China is becoming "the superpower it is" without following the same model as the US of "unchecked capitalism", if anything the opposite.

>I feel the US is the closest example in the modern world to capitalism unchecked - with both the pros and cons that entails.

What pros? If anything, unchecked capitalism tends to also destroy the free market and democracy -- as unchecked capitalists gain political and social power over their puny fellow citizens and lesser businesses.

If you were a Vietnamese born with defects caused by Agent Orange. Or a child in Yemen. Pretty sure these "pros" are not worth anything to you.

>> I feel the US is the closest example in the modern world to capitalism unchecked - with both the pros and cons that entails.

Please enlighten me which parts of the 'pros of capitalism' I'm missing out on as a non-US citizen, because I definitely don't see many, if any at all.

I guess it would be paying $1000 for a $50 medical procedure, because the unchecked health industry wants to make a profit, and can just ramp prices, enforce its dictums, and pay politicians uncheckedly.

"Pros" are subjective, of course. But if you ask an American to describe why US is great, it would be things like:

* Largest economy on the planet

* Biggest and most well known tech companies (or companies in general)

* Majority of the top research universities

* Quality of medical system (if you can pay!)

* And so on

For us in tech, living in the US is no comparison - it's the best place to be an engineer by a long shot, due to much higher wages and opportunities. Not to say you can't find good stuff elsewhere, it's just harder, and you'll get rewarded much less in general.

Increased regulation, labour protections, consumer protections, and so on stifles the economy, at least in the short term. I'm not saying that's bad - there's more to life than money, which I think is an idea that Europe embraces more so than the US.

I don't feel any of these things provide people with more or better opportunities than those I have here, or elsewhere in many western-European or Asian countries.

The universities here are great, and actually rank equal to or better than all but a handful of US ones. The quality and availability of health care is basically the same, for a much lower price. Even for rare treatment options that are only available abroad (e.g. in the US), which are covered through regular health insurance. There are many high-tech companies in countries like the UK, Germany, Scaninavia, Netherlands, etc. Maybe not as many software companies as in Silicon Valley, but those only employ a tiny percentage of people. If you have a university or college degree you can make a great living here, and your standard of living is most definitely a lot better than in Silicon Valley. I know because I travel there regularly for work and have many direct colleagues who live and work there, some who transfered from here, and I know how much they make and what their cost of living is.

Having 'more of X', 'biggest of', 'best of', 'largest economy' have exactly zero meaning in the context of the lives of individual people. Just looking around what we have here, and what you have in the US, there are no 'pros of capitalism unchecked' that are exclusive to the US for the vast majority of people. There are many cons though.

There reason for my somewhat snarky original comment is that I honestly don't think anyone could come up with any factual, comprehensive facts that prove that the US has any exclusive benefits from 'capitalism unchecked'. In fact, most lists (per capita income, poverty, cost of living, education, vertical mobility, health care, and maybe most importantly: happiness) the US is not even near the top.

I live in London so I'm probably biased. Salaries are lower compared to US counterparts. Funding for startups is harder. I think a lot of this is related to stronger labor protection and higher taxes. So I think in terms of economic opportunities for tech, and other in-demand industries, the US is better for individuals and companies. I still wouldn't want to live there though - I spent many years in Chicago, where you could hear gun shootings every couple weeks or so. Homeless people everywhere. It's like a dystopian world, even in "bad parts" of London you don't get anything like it.

In practice however democracy doesn't work in the US. The system allows a duopoly of two parties which have long ago been bought by corporate interests. You actually need laws in a democracy to prevent government from being taken over by special interests.

In Norway we traditionally secured this by strong limitations on the usage of political ads. Hence you could not fund yourself to political popularity. The other mechanism is that starting a new party is very easy in Norway, so as soon as established parties are not representing the interests of people they will get squeezed out by new parties.

I think what helps Norway, is that we don't view our constitution and political system as an immutable document. We have been far more willing to tinker with the system and improve it than in the US. I think this is down to the fact that getting where we are today is a very gradual historical process.

When our constitution was written it was not a full democracy. It still involved a king with considerably political power. In the US, the country begins with a pretty good constitution very early on. This I think has enforced the myth that there is no need for regular updates and improvements.

"In principle, the US government represents the will of the people."

I think US government has always represented mostly the rights and benefits of native capital.

There is nothing wrong with this, IMO, just as long as it is understood that where in Europe the nationalistic movements which picked up their wind from the US and French examples, thus leading to the modern nation states, where fueled by popular sentiment, the US independence was a semi-private project by an oligarchic clique.

Note: taking care of native capital is one of the best recipes for power and independence, which then facilitates all sorts of nice benefits for all around, but it's not everything that is required for building a good life for all.

just even thinking about 'capital' is wrong. we'd be so much in better shape now if we dropped that idea (in all forms incl state capitalism) already.

Dude, all improvements to modern life since the middle ages have been due to capitalist advances. It predates and I would claim was a key factor in scientific revolution as well, in making resources available to clever gentlemen of leisure and learning.

If you don't like capitalism, may I suggest it is not the process of prosperity creation itself, but the lack of percieved fairness that troubles you?

It's called lobbying and it works in favor of the big money/oil companies. I don't want to name names, but "Bush administration".

The planet needs to move away from fuel and turn to sun/wind/waves. It is a slow change, but we can't wait for the oil companies to drain every last dollar/euro/yen/.. from us, before 'they do us a favor' on switching to sun/wind/waves.

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