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Therefore, taxes are necessary to justly redistribute wealth. Circumstances such as the unfair concentration of wealth earned without the provision of commensurate benefit serve as an instance which proves the universal prohibition of taxes on the grounds that they are immoral to be falsely constructed.

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Losing a child, whether it is your own or someone else’s, is one of the deepest tragedies imaginable. It seems unthinkable. And yet, we must think seriously and deeply about it in order to explore just how deep of a tragedy it is. Suppose you were to lose a child, and then a high-tech firm approached you promising they could BOTH reconstruct your child at the moment of death at a molecular level (literally a carbon-copy) AND manipulate your brain so that your memory would return to that of the time before your child's death and you would not remember the anything of the whole ghastly business of losing a child. How much would you be willing to pay the firm? Would you sell everything of value you had to pay the firm?

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Should Jahi McMath be taken off of life support?

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Varmus thinks broadly about basic and applied scientific research as an enterprise. His solutions emphasize cooperation over competition, and free, creative inquiry over narrow methodological and disciplinary commitments. He is an important voice from the golden age of genetic research, and one of the minds who deeply understands the art and politics of science. Hopefully, his voice can help lead us through dark times. I call on everyone to make your voices heard and support medical research in any which way that you can.

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I know how much progressives love language. I share that love of language. It’s too bad that progressives don’t use it as effectively as conservatives. Linguist George Lakoff says that the concept of direct causation is built into our grammar, either syntactically or morphologically. Direct causation works like this: Cause => Effect. The cause is the antecedent, the effect is the consequent; so if the cause happens, then the effect follows. The assumption is that the world is made up of linear systems where effects regularly follow from effects, thus from the presence of a causal event we can predict the realization of an effect event.

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But it doesn’t have to be this way. We could shove the exploiters and parasites out of the periphery, and let them struggle at the impoverished margins of the public that they robbed. And we can put the people that we love and that need our care at the center. We can heal the sick, feed the poor, nurture the young, and keep the elderly in good company at the twilight of their years (we may even be able to extend those years). That’s what we can do. But we have to see capitalism as a hurdle that needs to be overcome in order to do it.

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In America, do we show enough care and empathy to the less fortunate?

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Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 07:29 PM PST

What Communism Means

by Nathan Jaco

Communism means that all income comes in the form of wages and the collective owns the other factors of production collectively and benefits equally from them.

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Should we as a community care about everyone equally?

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There is trouble in Monkeyville. It's about to get bananas...

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How should the Monkey King structure the productive economy of Monkeyville?

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In NYC, the Bloomberg administration banned the selling of sodas over 16 ounces. There has been much ado about this. It brings up questions about what role government has to play in addressing obesity as a public health problem and the relation between government action and individual liberty. It also reminds us of the problem of unintended consequences. Optimizing food production via maximization used to be an imperative for survival. Presently, the cost per calorie is falling, even in developing countries. However, while we may be winning the battle against hunger development may also lead to other problems, namely obesity as a public health crisis (this may be becoming a salient problem in part of Latin America).

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The objectives of the present research are to define the participants of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the broader contracts which have emerged from this effort, as well as to detail the main elements of the plan. The initial development and implementation will be explained, along with continuity and change since the initial adoptions.

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International institutions are extremely complex, networked bureucracies that reflect negotiated settlments between diverse groups. So I came into studying them with an open mind. I have been studying the EU for some time now. I am far from an expert, but I am trying to build expertise. I was somewhat surprised that the underpinnings of the intellectual history of the EU have such a common an unlikely origin. In a way, the history starts around the 12th Century, in Tudor England, when our modern legal conceptions of individual property rights were being formed--because this set the foundation for markets. Another part of the history starts when the Westphalian system of sovereign nation-states first emerged in the 17th Century. The history of the great wars of Europe (WWI and WWII) also has its part. But the modern intellectual history of the European community as a political entity began in a prison camp on the island of Ventotene, when a group of men, most notably Altiero Spinelli, used bits of paper to smuggle out a manifesto which laid the groudwork for a federalist framework. That the international institutions of Europe in their contemporary form and their politics reflect the tensions between individualism and communalism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and technocracy and democracy was anticipated in the first half of the 20th Century by the leading federalist intellectuals of the time.

Europe is made up of IOs, and so is the world community (e.g. NATO, the UN, &c.). But these IOs are leading to greater integration, and are becoming independent legal entities and may become sovereign collective powers in their own right someday. What is striking about this is a possibility of a reversal of the current of history. In the past, sub-national organizations of people metastasized into larger and more complex social organisms, namely nations. This happened for strategic military, political, and economic reasons in many cases and was based on negotiations, treaties, and commitments. In other cases it was just some empire-builder who expanded his territory using force and domination. What is happening now is the opposite, a network of formal organizations and epistemic communities of the elite are breaking down into less global complexity--smaller, more concentrated groups that have a larger mandate and a broader area of legitimate power and authority. The same well-connected individuals snake their way through multiple institutions over time and space (and I do not mean to use "snake" in a pejorative sense here). This is not necessarily a more democratic process. But it has been a more peaceful and rapid process.    

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A very simple argument.

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Capitalists Attempt to Commodify the Products of Nature: Freedom, Privacy, Women’s Rights and Human Misery

There are two important concepts in leftist social theory, perhaps the most important, namely productive forces and social relations. Terry Eagleton states that this double is the core of Marxist thought and is fundamental to the theory of socialism (Why Marx Was Right). Marx posited a one-to-one mapping between an instance of productive forces and an instance of social relations.

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Should a corporation be allowed to treat the building blocks of life as private property?

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