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The US system isn't Socialism by a standard definition of the social ownership of the means of production. From wikipedia's definition of Socialism:

"Socialism is a social and economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy,[1][2] as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system."

Cuba and North Korea are properly Socialist.

The US is a market, welfare Democracy like the rest of the developed world.

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Unless you envision some other form of "social ownership" than what the US government already exercises[1], I don't follow your objection. The wikipedia article has thirty-two thousand words, describing eight varieties of socialism, and its introductory paragraph mentions:

> There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allodial_title

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If the US of today is "socialist", the word has lost all meaning. They can't even increase health care coverage without ensuring that corporations profit off of it, never mind the economic waste.

The wikipedia article also contains this apt observation:

"The term socialist has also been used by some politicians on the political right as an epithet against certain individuals who do not consider themselves to be socialists, and against policies that are not considered socialist by their proponents."

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In reply to biehl.

Finland has been falling on the PISA tests and on other rankings does not do that well.

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21591195-fall-fo...

The answer is clear from the international results. If you want a high performing school have big classes, high stakes tests and loads of repetition like the high performing Asian schools do.

Or you could ponder why with such great schools why developed Asian countries like Korea and Japan don't run rings around the US in, say, software development and if, in the end, average school rankings don't really matter that much.

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I love how they use Shanghai to represent the whole of China. A few rich cities don't make for very interesting data points. Education in most of Asia is even more dysfunctional than in the states and definitely europe. Even Japan and Korea have mostly horrible schools focused on high stakes testing, outdated teaching methods, and suppressing as much creative thinking as possible.

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To add to what you're saying there are also government departments and giant companies out there that do your tax, pay for the roads, handle your insurance and handle your banking where somebody 20 years ago chose a technology that wasn't boring.

These entities are now having huge problems trying to get off 1980s or 1990s non-boring non-standard technologies that are no longer supported.

There are places that have bought the company that was going insolvent that built their non-standard database or framework....

"Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" had good reason behind it.

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Subcontract.

Live the dream!

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Doctors, lawyers, academics are just as bad.

"Illusory superiority" applies to a lot of things. Most people think they are 'good drivers' and that is where it starts.

For most cognitive tasks the people who do them probably did fairly well at school, possibly the top 5 or 10 percent and so assume they are smarter than 19/20 or 9/10 people...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority

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The US has better housing affordability than pretty much any other developed country:

http://www.numbeo.com/property-investment/rankings.jsp

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I'm really not sure you can call the cities at the top of that index "developed". i.e. Detroit.

Those cities have stats that make people from actual developed countries gasp in horror.

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To be fair, that's mostly because people on average don't understand statistics.

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Fair point.

However, places like Sacramento, Denver, Houston, Austin and other large cities with quite a lot of jobs have great housing affordability compared to most places.

Find the first Australian city....

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It gets even more fascinating when you dig deeper.

In Australia, your income covers your healthcare, education, etc. etc.

In that states, you have to pay for that yourself.. so if you take that off "income", you have a good chunk less to spend on a mortgage.

(I'm not saying houses in Australia are anything close to affordable, I'm saying it's much more complex and nuanced than "income vs. mortgage")

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In Australia, your income covers your healthcare, education, etc. etc.

You mean the income tax (taken out of your income) pays for healthcare, education, etc, etc?

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[flagged]

Given you are pretentious enough to use words like pleb, you may also have the wit to be aware that none of that in any way supports your initial claim.

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Given that you are so offended by being called a pleb, I'm sure you won't mind putting solar panels on your new affordable home in less crime ridden areas like Somalia or Sing Sing. Solidarity with the poor for all!

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There is a lot of things they say that are not valid. The idea that we are running out of resources in general is wrong.

The Simon-Ehrlich Wager showed how wrong this idea is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager

There is an excellent book 'The Bet' about the wager. Over the course of the 20th century despite global population increasing by at least 200% and global GDP increasing even more prices of a bundle of metals decreased overall between 1900 and 2000.

Since 1950 the world has extracted more than the known reserves of tin, copper, iron ore, lead and zinc and yet known reserves are bigger than in 1950! http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/NaturalResources.html

There is an energy problem. Fossil fuels are getting more expensive and anthropogenic global warming is a concern. However, Europe already has big taxes on fossil fuels.

What Europe, and the rest of the developed world don't do is spend enough on researching better forms of nuclear energy. ITER and others are something, but it's not enough. A better approach would be to increase funding on energy research.

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>Since 1950 the world has extracted more than the known reserves of tin, copper, iron ore, lead and zinc and yet known reserves are bigger than in 1950!

So, you propose that because we keep improving extraction methods / keep finding new deposits of non-renewable resources, that these resources are infinite?

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By almost any measure, we ran out of copper a long time ago. We used to find copper in almost pure form, yet now a modern copper mine processes ore that is only a bit more than 1000 parts per million copper, which isn't a lot higher than random earth.

We're not going to run out of earth any time soon.

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The parent is very clearly not suggesting anything of the sort.

They're pointing out that the hysteria focused on resource scarcity is unfounded, has been proven to be unfounded over and over again for the past century, and will likely continue to be shown to be unfounded for the next century.

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The author makes this point at the end:

"In the end, though, Mr McFate tends to overstate his case. Private armies may indeed play a role in failed and failing states, but it is unlikely that modern mercenaries will become more important than the standing armies of NATO or China soon."

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And that should be obvious, too. Mercenaries aren't supported explicitly by any state, so they only fight where they're guaranteed to win, and they tend to be prosecuted for offenses official soldiers will not be prosecuted. They're not covered under most of the Geneva conventions, either.

Also, most of the people being labeled mercenaries these days aren't mercenaries. There's a big difference between people you hire to fight a battle and people you hire for base or convoy security.

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Can you go part time at your main job?

Also, if you're in Hobart there are people around who are doing similar things. Surely there are lectures at UTas or something. Perhaps a system admin job at UTas might be a better option as well.

CSIRO robotics have people in Hobart as well. Have a look and see if there is something there.

Plenty of people work dull jobs to support their family.

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Assange is explicitly and deliberately a politician.

He stood as a candidate for the Australian Senate and used the brand 'wikileaks' for his party.

http://www.wikileaksparty.org.au/

They performed very poorly, getting only 0.62% of the vote.

Assange was popular as someone who enabled information to be available. As a politician with his own agenda he is not.

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Actually 0.62% is not too bad for a candidate that got very little coverage. If he is a politician then he is not a very good one as the person who won the last senate seat Ricky Muir (we have 12 senators for each state) in Victoria (the state Assange was running in) only got 0.51% [1].

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Muir

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