Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

As if the US hadn't sold their soul already? :/ I'm not trying to downplay the horrors of China, but let's not act like the US had clean hands before importing bulk electronics.



I'm not sure the average American benefited as directly to the atrocites of the past. The U.S. simply cannot change course without a serious alteration of the the ethos of the country.


"I'm not sure the average American benefited as directly to the atrocites of the past. "

We live on a continent taken from a people by violence, betrayal, and disease -- some of it intentionally spread through government policies. Sorry, the average American are direct beneficiaries of the atrocities of the past. Some of us don't know or chose to ignore it.

Update: I didn't say this to justify terrible things people are doing. We can't play this game of "only the most moral of us can criticize". Something is immoral in and of itself, it doesn't matter who calls it out.


> Sorry, the average American are direct beneficiaries of the atrocities of the past

This is true for most humans alive in nearly all nation-states today. At some point in the linear chain of humanity that allows my existence today, atrocities were committed. Whether an ancient ancestor strangling a potential threat with their bare hands, or the nation-state I was born in acquiring land through militaristic expansion.


Of course but I think the point is that we can stop supporting the continued benefit of these. Money talks and both people and corporations can talk the talk by not supporting these countries and not caving to them.


I do not support the atrocities that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committing against the people of Yemen (civilian death toll closing in on 100,000 [0]) with American purchased F-35 jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

How can I, as a person, talk with my money to prevent this? How can Lockheed Martin, a corporation whose fiduciary obligation is to generate profit for its shareholders, prevent this? How can the US government, who benefits greatly from a prosperous diplomatic relationship with the Monarch, prevent this?

> not caving to them

Fundamentally what I am saying is these institutions are not "caving in" - they are doing what they are doing because, from an emotionless game-theoretical perspective, it is beneficial to the success and longevity of the institution.

Apple benefits from an increasingly strong business relationship (the new diplomacy of the multinational) with mainland China - not just for their supply chain, but also for their marketshare.

These benefits have cost. For US-KSA the cost is tens of thousands of Yemeni civilian lives; for Apple the cost is decreased mindshare of the sovereign nationstate of Taiwan.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jun/20/h...


> How can I, as a person, talk with my money to prevent this?

With your personal money? You can't. Can you convince extremely wealthy people to spend their money in a way that will ultimately lose them money? Possible, but still losing odds.

See Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins for an example of what this fight looks like. (he was one of the guys who paved way for the original deals between the US and Saudi Arabia that you mention)


Thanks for that book recommendation - really appreciate it. I have been looking for a solid critical reference regarding the World Bank (and IMF, for that matter) for some time now. There were some allusions in Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine that set me down this rabbit hole.


> See Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Or, for a far less conspiratorial take on the same phenomenon, read "Globalization and its Discontents" by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

In it you'll learn how institutions like the IMF treated open markets and no currency flow restrictions as a religion regardless of whether they made sense for the stage of development of the countries on which they imposed those as terms of their loans.


That's a huge straw man and not at all what I was referring to.

Stop buying goods that support these policies. Stop supporting politicians that support these policies. Stop patronizing companies that lobby for these things. Use apps like "Goods Unite Us" to find out where your money is going.

The only way to do anything as an individual is to vote with your wallet, your feet, and your actual vote. When that cumulative change affects the bottom line of these companies, they'll have no choice but to change.


> I'm not sure the average American benefited as directly to the atrocites of the past.

This is a joke right?


Oh we definitely have, everyone benefitted massively from the "manifest destiny" attitude behind the many atrocities committed against the native Americans.

It's also not our fault, infar as we didn't literally pull any triggers. We're probably still complicit to some degree, however, by our general lack of support for reparation actions.


We all pay taxes that buy triggers and pay to have them pulled. You can argue this is compelled, but I personally have more respect for those who refuse to pay taxes and face the wrath of the US government than I have for my own cowardly position of paying taxes and continuing to complain about the horrors committed using that money.


The Good Place actually deals with this, "you can't be good and participate in society anymore because of globalization" idea pretty well IMO.


If no one paid taxes, then the governments capacity to do bad things would certainly go down. However, then there also probably would be no government and everyone would be worse off.

I'm sure lots of tax money is wasted, or used for bad things, but also a lot of good as well. Roads, police (that keep the peace), firefighters, education, foreign aid, etc.


Given all those other countries we've been bombing based on false pretenses I'd say a lack of US government funding would be a net positive. I'll take lawless anarchy over a relatively well organized state that bombs children to secure foreign oil production facilities and prop up the petro-dollar.


Children dying is always a tragedy, or any civilians really.

Here's a question for you: If the US were to collapse into anarchy, and there was suddenly a void in the world where the US military used to exist, do you think would there be more or fewer civilian/child deaths (in total, from other forces) and why?


I betting more short term but fewer long term. The immediate bloodbaths would be in America's client states that Russia and China move in on, but some of those would probably manage independence. Long term, one less bully dropping bombs on children should result in fewer deaths. The power vacuum is real, but I don't think it be entirely filled with other international bullies. A collapse of the military would probably result in some pretty dope weapon systems switching hands, as it did during the collapse of the Soviet Union. This would cause bloodshed, sure, but it also means some of those prior client states might have a better shot at independence than one might first imagine. I'll also point out that those power vacuum dynamics exhibit themselves at multiple levels of supervenience, and the US is often responsible for their disruption on smaller scales.


> I'll take lawless anarchy over a relatively well organized state that bombs children to secure foreign oil production facilities and prop up the petro-dollar.

Those are hardly the only two options.


There are parts of US history where terrible things happened. It's important to acknowledge that, and be compassionate towards those it has affected.

However, now that the US exists, it does a lot of good for many, many people. As a first generation immigrant, I'm glad that I was able to come here, as I think conditions are much better than my country of origin.

That being said, am I complicit in everything bad that has happened here simply because I'm living here now? What amount of reparations are appropriate for me to give, considering neither I nor my ancestors likely had any involvement with any of those things.

Can any amount of money even make up for what happened?


Yeah I totally agree, it's impossible to accurately split out all of the consequences of merely existing in a society, especially a global one like ours. Ooh, I walked on a street paid for by federal funding, am I now guilty of supporting the Bay of Pigs?

It's insane. The Native American example was just the first one that came to my mind that demonstrates that the "average" American of today does indeed benefit from atrocities committed hundreds of years ago.

Though I don't think it's a boolean, "Well you did it, you made up for the damage your ancestors caused" situation, but more of a, "Well now we are better equipped than we were before to handle the fallout of the damage your ancestors caused". And it's not just money (though money does fund everything), there's a lot more that the US government could be doing for the Native American people. Am I a bad person for not doing more? No. Could I probably do a bit more to help? Yeah.


> Can any amount of money even make up for what happened?

maybe not, but that is hardly a reason to do nothing instead


I wasn't trying to say do nothing, but that just giving a bunch of money just seems somewhat patronizing and wouldn't really make that big of a difference.


Money is a catch all term for investment in human capital. Paying for better schools, post-secondary training/education, healthcare for those who continue to struggle under the yoke of history would be a good place to start. And really, we ought to do that for everyone.


The average American benefited a great deal from violence toward South America in exactly the same way.

For the partisans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic (ever noticed that bananas are the cheapest fruit?)


The atrocities of the US are not strictly in the past, though our biggest and boldest known atrocities are. That being said I would say that we have benefitted from the atrocities of the past; the land I live on was once populated by people that my government participated in the genocide of. More importantly, I said nothing about people. Does the average Chinese citizen benefit directly from the atrocities of the Chinese government? Is the answer to that question even relevant to whether your prior condemnation of China was fair? Why shift to examining citizens in the case of the US but not in the case of China?


Always this same comment when anyone points the finger at China.


The comment is just pointing out to the OP that any moral bankruptcy of the US can most certainly not be blamed on China.


The comment I was replying to implicitly suggested the US had a "soul" prior to engaging in business with China, I wasn't the one who brought up the US. If I had brought up the US out of the blue I'd agree that it was an irrelevant whataboutism, but in this context I feel it was entirely appropriate and on topic.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: