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Maybe just maybe, they should think about increasing economic freedoms. Singapore does not seem to have problems feeding their people even though they could never hope to feed all the people that live there with their little spec of an island.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2008 at 01:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Singapore is a city state. A joke economy. City states can get by on all kinds of shit. Lichtenstein, for instance, finances virtually its entire economy by protecting affluent tax cheats. This is clearly not a scalable model (or even, as the tax cheats in question will hopefully learn to their regret, necessarily a sustainable one).

Better luck with your next example.

And if you wouldn't mind, I'd like you to summarise what criteria Freedom House use when assigning scores for political and economic freedom. And what do they measure those criteria against? The laws on the books? The reality on the ground? Something in between?

Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to hear the reason why Freedom House's ranking of political freedom doesn't seem to match Amnesty International's?

Specifically, try comparing the reports on Colombia and Venezuela. Compare and contrast your results with Freedom House's rankings.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2008 at 03:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny all that high tech industries they have in Singapore and their high standard of living (check where your hard drive is made). Computers and high tech industries seem to scale pretty easily up. Their commercial airline industry was the best I last checked. Actually if you notice Freedom House rates the freedoms there pretty low. I only wanted to point out that small nations can benefit from trade and commerce as well as large nations. Maybe Haiti will not be allowed to rely on their ecosystem so much in the next generation or so. Maybe they will have to find other comparative advantage items to excel at.

Thanks for your invitation to explore those avenues of intellectual thought. I have enough on my plate now. Maybe you can start a thread with what information you have accumulated so far. Might be interesting.

I have found some reports from Amnesty International of some validity but other times there seems to not know between genocide and limited rights of people. And lastly Jake, I do not see any ranking from AI. Is there a section that contains quantitative data for comparison purposes?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2008 at 05:52:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny all that high tech industries they have in Singapore and their high standard of living (check where your hard drive is made).

The producers are incorporated in California. I can't see where it's physically assembled without getting at the drive itself, but if I had to place a bet, I'd wager South Korea or Taiwan.

I only wanted to point out that small nations can benefit from trade and commerce as well as large nations.

It's funny how Singapore and Hong Kong are the two examples repeatedly trotted out by free-market-enthusiasts. The only two examples. Sure "do like Singapore" is a good prescription for wealth - assuming that you're located smack dab in the middle of one of the most highly trafficked straits in the world. Oh, and assuming that you're a city-state that doesn't have to worry about a rural population.

Thanks for your invitation to explore those avenues of intellectual thought. I have enough on my plate now. Maybe you can start a thread with what information you have accumulated so far. Might be interesting.

I have a couple of diaries on a back burner that I consider more interesting and informative than comparing and contrasting Amnesty International with some two-bit think thank operating out of the US State Department.

I have found some reports from Amnesty International of some validity but other times there seems to not know between genocide and limited rights of people.

They report, you decide. But they report everything, to the best of their ability.

And lastly Jake, I do not see any ranking from AI. Is there a section that contains quantitative data for comparison purposes?

Maybe I'll see about finding it if and when you explain what criteria Freedom House use to derive their numbers. For all I know, they could have pulled them out of their ass.

Until then, I suggest that you look at the number and severity of incidents reported by Amnesty and make an informed judgement. I'll give you a very broad hint: For three out of four concerns about Venezuela, the entry for Colombia raises equal or greater concern about the very same issues. Add to that the laundry list of offences by the Colombian government that has no match whatsoever in the Venezuelan entry.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 02:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, I am  glad that we can discuss these issues in such a civil matter. Let me address just a couple of your good points you have made.
It's funny how Singapore and Hong Kong are the two examples repeatedly trotted out by free-market-enthusiasts. The only two examples. Sure "do like Singapore" is a good prescription for wealth - assuming that you're located smack dab in the middle of one of the most highly trafficked straits in the world. Oh, and assuming that you're a city-state that doesn't have to worry about a rural population.
I am not even saying this is an example of "free-markets" and I already noted that the people of Singapore lack many freedoms that you and I enjoy. I provide this as only that a country that engages in the world and tries to find its comparative nitch can succeed without natural resources. I also pointed out the industries that are not necessarily dependent on location. Thus no reason that Haiti could not benefit from its close relationship with the US and the proximity to large North American markets.

I have a friend that was engaged in some tourism development in Haiti in the early 80s. Well instead of these projects going to Haiti they ended up in Dominican Republic. Much to do with attitude.

True they could have pulled them out of the arse. At times other reporting agencies seem to do that also, but for a look at something that might be of interest:
Survey Methodology
And more information at here for some PDFs:
Freedom in the World 2008 Survey Release

Carry on and I look forward to seeing some diaries from you on these subjects.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 04:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The plural of "anecdote" is "anecdotes" not "data."

The list of standards and methods sounds good (except that they have a rather one-eyed focus on government propaganda, and seem to completely exclude oligarchic control of the press from the list of indicators).

However, when I compare them with the list of rankings, I find that they have clearly not been consistently applied.

Under the criteria provided, for example, the USA is only partly free.

  • There is no genuine multi-party system, and oligarchic interests completely dominate both parties.

  • There are not equal campaigning opportunities for all parties, since the opportunity to campaign is intimately tied to the campaign budget, which again tilts the playing field in favour of the oligarchs.

  • There is no rotation of power among parties representing different interests - because both parties represent broadly the same interests.

  • There are no serious attempts to curtail the influence of oligarchs upon the political process.

  • People's political choices are completely dominated by economic oligarchies.

  • Civil servants are employed and promoted chiefly based on political affiliation.

  • The federal authorities routinely and openly discriminate against minorities.

  • The United States torture with impunity. Both in the military system and in civilian prisons.

  • US prisons are notorious for their lack of concern for basic human rights and dignity.

  • The US arbitrarily arrests and detains without trial.

I didn't keeps accurate score, but my guesstimate is that on at least two thirds of the bullets being evaluated in the first half of the list, the USA would score less than half points. I could probably go on through the second half of the list as well, but frankly I have more interesting things to do with my time.

None of the points I raise are particularly controversial. Except perhaps the claim that the parties are largely indistinguishable. But that is documented to excess here on ET: If either party didn't represent the moneyed interests, it would be making noises about cutting off Wall Street's and K Street's balls and hanging them from the nearest streetlight.

And yet the USA gets a perfect score in Freedom House's assessment. That really ought to tell you everything you need to know about them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 04:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This avenue of discussion has been very interesting but I have to say I disagree with your assessments of the USA. And under the 6 sigma standards most European countries would do badly also.

Let us talk latter, seems that this thread has gone off stream to a degree.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Apr 19th, 2008 at 05:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which parts of my assessment do you disagree with?

Does the US torture, according to you? Does it treat its prisoners inhumanely? Does it arbitrarily arrest and detain without trial both its own citizens and foreign nationals?

If you answer no to any of these, how do you explain the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which fulfils all these criteria and is long-standing policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 02:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess it would depend on what you define as torture.
No, not any more than FRANCE, no. Guantanamo Bay is not a concentration camp, only a prison detention facility off shores.

I use the six sigma to signify that if you find a trace of something negative then the whole is corrupt. But we are not judging against a perfect God like powers but humans. As noted above Asylum and immigration has some interesting information to peruse. Also HRW has some interesting things to say about France also: Insufficient safeguards in national security removals.

And the British have some nasty immigration "centres". Hell they seem to be more like concentration camps...

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 04:42:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tu Quoque.

- Jake

PS: I don't define torture. The international treaties that forbid it do. If you have an alternate definition, then let's hear it.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 06:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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