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Old 06-17-2019, 09:48 AM
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Bad ideas that are bad, versus good ideas that are/were poorly executed


With regards to fascism and Nazism, the vast majority of people can agree that those are simply bad ideas that are inherently bad. With regards to socialism, though, there are a significant number of people who feel that it isn't bad, but rather, a good idea that was poorly executed - perhaps even the same for Communism.


I am not trying to make this into a debate about socialism (we've had numerous threads about that,) but rather, about the broader concept of - what things are bad ideas that are simply bad, and what are good ideas that just weren't done the right way?

Is prevention of illegal immigration a good thing, but locking them up in cages is the wrong way of doing it? Is gun ownership a good thing, but done the wrong way in America? Etc. etc.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:02 AM
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This seems like a recipe for having multiple discussions on contentious topics at the same time and both your examples are of a completely different nature than socialism and fascism.

Regarding "prevention of illegal immigration" for instance there are those who considers the right solution to be "make all immigration legal", but it's a different kind of philosophical discussion whether "prevention of illegal immigration" is inherently bad, given the current laws, so even those might not be entirely in that camp.

Trying to define the premises of such a sub-discussion, while doing the same for "gun ownership" and "etc. etc.", does not seem like a worthwhile endeavor.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:14 AM
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I think private health insurance would fit.

In many nations with UHC they either rely on private insurance as a major insurer if not the sole insurer, or they have private insurance as an option to supplement public insurance. In those systems people have affordable health care, nobody goes bankrupt and nobody gets surprise bills in the mail.

But private insurance in the US is a nightmare. There are endless ways they can avoid paying the bills. Because the public sector underpays, private insurance overpays resulting in higher premiums. The private insurance death spiral means prices spin out of control and are only kept under control by making insurance more and more evil, cruel and unreliable.

Done right, private insurance has a positive role in a universal health care system. In America private insurance is run with such evil and cruelty that many people are calling for a full ban and just a single public payer system.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:30 AM
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With regards to fascism and Nazism, the vast majority of people can agree that those are simply bad ideas that are inherently bad. With regards to socialism, though, there are a significant number of people who feel that it isn't bad, but rather, a good idea that was poorly executed - perhaps even the same for Communism.


I am not trying to make this into a debate about socialism (we've had numerous threads about that,) but rather, about the broader concept of - what things are bad ideas that are simply bad, and what are good ideas that just weren't done the right way?

Is prevention of illegal immigration a good thing, but locking them up in cages is the wrong way of doing it? Is gun ownership a good thing, but done the wrong way in America? Etc. etc.
"Socialism" is a word we need to get rid of.

Socialism and Communism describes a type of authoritarian government where people dont even have the freedom to get rich. It was a horrible, no good, bad idea. Except perhaps in small voluntary communes.

"Democratic Socialism" is a government where taking care of it's citizens comes first, where much tax is funneled into social programs. Nordic model nations are a great example. The USA has many socialist programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_model

Illegal Immigration is a bad thing, because it's based upon racism and Xenophobia. We could fix it (for example) by having a free and easy guest worker system, allowing farmworkers to come and work where needed. This doesnt mean open borders.

Gun ownership is America isnt a bad thing, and this will quickly degenerate into another gun debate.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:35 AM
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This seems like a recipe for having multiple discussions on contentious topics at the same time
Yeah, that was my reaction.

So I'm going to offer a more meta observation: It may well be that some "good ideas that are/were poorly executed" may be "good ideas" in theory; but human nature being what it is, they don't have any real chance of being well-executed. In which case I don't think they really count as good ideas after all.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:23 AM
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With regards to fascism and Nazism, the vast majority of people can agree that those are simply bad ideas that are inherently bad.
I'm not even sure I can agree with the premise. When I was growing up I remember hearing more than once, "At least Mussolini made the trains run on time." Even Snopes discussed it.

As for Nazis, aka National Socialists, for a pop culture discussion of whether the idea itself is corrupt or the people who implemented it, I'd suggest watching the Star Trek (original series) episode "Patterns of Force."

Similarly, it's been debated for nearly a century whether the Soviet Union would have been better if the Mensheviks had succeeded Kerensky's government rather than the Bolsheviks.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:56 AM
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Law enforcement. Punishment. Putting the "good people" in charge and letting them make the decisions that the rest of us must obey. These all appear to be excellent ideas for which there have been really unfortunate implementation problems, but I think they have fatal flaws at their core and are therefore bad ideas to start with.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:22 PM
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I'm not even sure I can agree with the premise. When I was growing up I remember hearing more than once, "At least Mussolini made the trains run on time." Even Snopes discussed it.

As for Nazis, aka National Socialists, for a pop culture discussion of whether the idea itself is corrupt or the people who implemented it, I'd suggest watching the Star Trek (original series) episode "Patterns of Force."

Similarly, it's been debated for nearly a century whether the Soviet Union would have been better if the Mensheviks had succeeded Kerensky's government rather than the Bolsheviks.
How would the mensheviks being in charge be anything other than good compared to the bolsheviks? It seems they would've avoided all of the excesses and ineptitude of Stalin and their moderate policies would've worked better long term.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:44 PM
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Law enforcement. Punishment. Putting the "good people" in charge and letting them make the decisions that the rest of us must obey. These all appear to be excellent ideas for which there have been really unfortunate implementation problems, but I think they have fatal flaws at their core and are therefore bad ideas to start with.
But is there any alternative that isn't worse?
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:21 PM
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The death penalty. I have no problem with executing monsters, but the way it is implemented in the US lets the guilty privileged escape the death penalty and the poor face it even if innocent. Better to have none at all than to execute the innocent.
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:45 PM
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The death penalty. I have no problem with executing monsters, but the way it is implemented in the US lets the guilty privileged escape the death penalty and the poor face it even if innocent. Better to have none at all than to execute the innocent.
Lets rather say "the way it is implemented in Texas". CA does it right.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:22 PM
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Lets rather say "the way it is implemented in Texas". CA does it right.
We do it better. Gavin has more or less eliminated it for the moment, so if you are counting that as doing it right, I agree. I'd have to do a lot of research to be convinced we've done it right when we actually were executing people, though.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:25 PM
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We do it better. Gavin has more or less eliminated it for the moment, so if you are counting that as doing it right, I agree. I'd have to do a lot of research to be convinced we've done it right when we actually were executing people, though.
Well, only the worst of the worst are put on death row here.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:45 PM
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How would the mensheviks being in charge be anything other than good compared to the bolsheviks? It seems they would've avoided all of the excesses and ineptitude of Stalin and their moderate policies would've worked better long term.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton) Who knows, maybe the Mensheviks would have found their own Stalin.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:12 PM
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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton) Who knows, maybe the Mensheviks would have found their own Stalin.
There has never been a communist nation that wasnt autocratic and repressive. They go hand in hand. Communism doesnt work on a national scale.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:14 PM
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There's nothing inherently wrong with socialism. The basic idea is that some things are better off being provided by the government as a public service (and paid for by taxes) rather than through private entities that are seeking to generate profits.

Good examples are public schools, police and fire departments, highways and bridges, mail delivery, and prisons. In many countries, you'd also have hospitals and clinics on the list.

I feel that socialism doesn't work as well when it comes to developing new forms of business and in sectors of the economy where customer choices are a key factor.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:34 AM
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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton) Who knows, maybe the Mensheviks would have found their own Stalin.
That's possible, but things got better in the ussr after Stalin died just as they got better in China after Mao was gone. Not perfect but one person can fuck a lot of things up even in an autocracy.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:17 AM
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Well, only the worst of the worst are put on death row here.
Or, perhaps, the poorest of the worst.

The DP is one of those potentially good ideas that is so difficult to manage in a non-discriminatory way one has to wonder if it's just a bad idea.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:07 AM
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The death penalty. I have no problem with executing monsters, but the way it is implemented in the US lets the guilty privileged escape the death penalty and the poor face it even if innocent. Better to have none at all than to execute the innocent.
Or how about, in the name of avoiding cruel and unusual punishment, going out of their way to make sure it is both.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:12 AM
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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton) Who knows, maybe the Mensheviks would have found their own Stalin.
It is not that power corrupts but that it attracts the corruptible - Frank Herbert
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:45 AM
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A lot of what people are talking about are perfectly good ideas, IF they're implemented and executed by good, conscientious people. The problem is that over time, you can't guarantee that you'll always have those people executing those programs, or implementing the new ones.

And yeah, I think Frank Herbert had it right- I think that most people who seek power more than likely don't have the best motives. I mean, the only reason I'd want power myself, would be so others don't have it over me. But I have no desire to be responsible for anyone else, or tell them what to do, etc... And I'd really look askance at someone who does- it's either a power trip, or it's sketchy self-enrichment.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:24 AM
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IMHO, reparations for slavery or discrimination isn't such a bad thing in concept/theory: There is an arguable line of causation that slavery or discrimination from decades ago (or in the present-day) can have a continuous ripple effect that can result in Person A being worse off than Person B.

The problem is that there is virtually no practical way to do reparations for slavery or discrimination (for entire ethnic or other similarly large groups, as opposed to a small specific category such as interned Japanese-Americans) in a way that 1) won't trigger enormous resentment and anger, and 2) won't invite a bunch of people trying to freeload in on money they aren't actually entitled to (i.e., "hey, I'm a tiny fraction black!"), and 3) won't cause financial mayhem due to the immense sums that would have to be raised somehow and paid out and 4) won't create a huge bureaucratic headache due to deciding who is truly deserving and who does not qualify.

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Old 06-19-2019, 11:34 AM
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Or, perhaps, the poorest of the worst.

The DP is one of those potentially good ideas that is so difficult to manage in a non-discriminatory way one has to wonder if it's just a bad idea.
Nope, not in CA.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:37 AM
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IMHO, reparations for slavery or discrimination isn't such a bad thing in concept/theory: There is an arguable line of causation that slavery or discrimination from decades ago (or in the present-day) can have a continuous ripple effect that can result in Person A being worse off than Person B.

The problem is that there is virtually no practical way to do reparations for slavery or discrimination (for entire ethnic or other similarly large groups, as opposed to a small specific category such as interned Japanese-Americans) in a way that 1) won't trigger enormous resentment and anger, and 2) won't invite a bunch of people trying to freeload in on money they aren't actually entitled to (i.e., "hey, I'm a tiny fraction black!"), and 3) won't cause financial mayhem due to the immense sums that would have to be raised somehow and paid out and 4) won't create a huge bureaucratic headache due to deciding who is truly deserving and who does not qualify.
You dont even have to say "hey, I'm a tiny fraction black!" you just have to self identify as black. And for those that think that is silly, how do we judge and where do we put the cut off? DNA tests wont do it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:39 PM
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Or how about, in the name of avoiding cruel and unusual punishment, going out of their way to make sure it is both.
Huh? Both what?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:45 PM
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Huh? Both what?
I'm speculating but I think he's talking about electrocution as a means of executing people. It was originally promoted as being more modern and humane than traditional methods like firing squads or hanging. But it turned out that being electrocuted often caused more suffering than being shot or hung.

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Old 06-19-2019, 01:20 PM
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Huh? Both what?
The chair, the gas chamber, lethal injection. All three are unique and two for sure (arguably all three) induce demonstrably more cruelty than say, hanging (long not short drop) or beheading.

Since they are unique forms that ought to qualify them as "unusual."

And setting someone on fire (literally for the chair and figuratively for lethal injection) or forcing them to actively participate in their own execution or be subjected to extended torture (gas chamber) would be deemed "cruel" in any civilized country.

So a country that is constitutionally opposed to cruel and unusual punishment went out of their way to invent and implement systems that are clearly both cruel and unusual.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:04 PM
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The chair, the gas chamber, lethal injection. All three are unique and two for sure (arguably all three) induce demonstrably more cruelty than say, hanging (long not short drop) or beheading.

Since they are unique forms that ought to qualify them as "unusual."

And setting someone on fire (literally for the chair and figuratively for lethal injection) or forcing them to actively participate in their own execution or be subjected to extended torture (gas chamber) would be deemed "cruel" in any civilized country.

So a country that is constitutionally opposed to cruel and unusual punishment went out of their way to invent and implement systems that are clearly both cruel and unusual.
Supposedly, the true suffering of the death penalty isn't so much the physical aspect of the execution itself, but rather, the psychological torment of waiting years for the dreaded day to come, and knowing that the days/hours/minutes are steadily ticking down, all alone and unable to stop it.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:11 PM
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I'll certainly concede the horror that that entails, but I was speaking of the more immediate and direct cruelty of the methods themselves.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:09 PM
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I'm speculating but I think he's talking about electrocution as a means of executing people. It was originally promoted as being more modern and humane than traditional methods like firing squads or hanging. But it turned out that being electrocuted often caused more suffering than being shot or hung.
I sure didn't get that out of your post!
I don't think how a criminal is killed matters nearly as much as if he should be killed. Killing an innocent man humanely does not give me the warm fuzzies.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:48 AM
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That's possible, but things got better in the ussr after Stalin died just as they got better in China after Mao was gone. Not perfect but one person can fuck a lot of things up even in an autocracy.
Maybe, but one can also make the argument that things got better in the USSR post-Stalin as a deliberate reaction to Stalin's rule and his excesses, and that if he hadn't been quite so thorough of an asshole, there would have been no Khrushchev Thaw. (Khrushchev, of course, was no angel; he had been involved in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s too.)
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:52 AM
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So I'm going to offer a more meta observation: It may well be that some "good ideas that are/were poorly executed" may be "good ideas" in theory; but human nature being what it is, they don't have any real chance of being well-executed. In which case I don't think they really count as good ideas after all.
My current client has designs which are over-engineered into unusability. Initial designs are already ridiculously complicated, then someone realized they didn't really cover every case (since each factory does things in multiple ways, and each factory's ways are different from those of every other factory*) and added patches, upon patches, upon patches… and ended up with an extremely complicated system where most people use only that functionality they're not allowed to keep in Excel (so, financial stuff; everything else, Excel).

I see it as a showcase for, on one hand, why it's important to be willing to homogenize where possible, and on the other, why it's important to remember that the list of "business needs" must always, always, include "must be useful and usable" at the very top.




* Sometimes the difference is along the lines of "we round 5 up" vs "we round 5 down". Or different people who didn't understand the math they're supposed to apply "felt" that different modifications would be better, because as we all know, math is all about giving warm fuzzy feelings to people who shouldn't have been granted those degrees they hold. This last one is an example of several things that are bad ideas: giving STEM degrees to people who don't understand math at all, and a belief that how you feel is the correct way to define your math.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:15 AM
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As always, "any virtue taken to extremes becomes a vice".

For example, preventing the spread of an invariably deadly disease is a good idea.
Immediately executing anyone who shows symptoms of said disease is not, even though that on itself would be the perfect solution to the problem (the death person will certainly not infect another) the real world consequence would be that people who show signs of the disease would, more often than not, seek to hide it thus increasing the likelihood of the disease spreading.

This type of situation arises whenever a "Good Idea" becomes the moral cornerstone of people and groups, in the example people who would object to the summary executions would be labelled to be against the "Good Idea" (after all, killing people with the disease is, as said, the perfect solution), therefore immoral and to be ignored, shunned, or worse.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:45 AM
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I'm not sure the OP had this kind of example in mind, but I think it's a shame that most people have thrown out the idea of ever electing a successful businessperson again because of Trump (though his level of success is certainly questionable). A successful CEO is generally an excellent executive, and the Presidency is an executive position. While a knowledge gained from years of politicking regarding what the important issues are to individual members of congress (and therefore potential avenues to compromise) is critical, that information can be applied by advisors. I'd take a successful CEO with a history of surrounding themselves with the right people and an ability to delegate over most senators. CEO's can often successfully switch to a completely different industry because executiveship (prob not a word) is the key skill.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:55 AM
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I'm not sure the OP had this kind of example in mind, but I think it's a shame that most people have thrown out the idea of ever electing a successful businessperson again because of Trump (though his level of success is certainly questionable).
Well, President George W. Bush was a businessman (with a debatable level of success), and his terms in office didn't seem to prevent the eventual election of Trump.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:16 PM
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I'm not sure the OP had this kind of example in mind, but I think it's a shame that most people have thrown out the idea of ever electing a successful businessperson again because of Trump (though his level of success is certainly questionable). A successful CEO is generally an excellent executive, and the Presidency is an executive position.
I'll go so far as to agree that we shouldn't rule out ever electing a successful businessperson ever again. But are there any examples of CEO's who went on to become good, effective governmental executives?
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:22 PM
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I'm not sure the OP had this kind of example in mind, but I think it's a shame that most people have thrown out the idea of ever electing a successful businessperson again because of Trump (though his level of success is certainly questionable). A successful CEO is generally an excellent executive, and the Presidency is an executive position. While a knowledge gained from years of politicking regarding what the important issues are to individual members of congress (and therefore potential avenues to compromise) is critical, that information can be applied by advisors. I'd take a successful CEO with a history of surrounding themselves with the right people and an ability to delegate over most senators. CEO's can often successfully switch to a completely different industry because executiveship (prob not a word) is the key skill.

With Herbert Hoover an excellent example.
CEOs are used to dealing with executives and boards which they eventually get to pick. They seem to have trouble with a Congress which they don't get to pick.
Eisenhower, who had to deal with leaders and generals from various power centers, had much better experience for being president than any CEO I can think of.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:49 PM
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I'll go so far as to agree that we shouldn't rule out ever electing a successful businessperson ever again. But are there any examples of CEO's who went on to become good, effective governmental executives?
I'm a NYer and think Bloomberg was an incredibly effective administrator. He made a number of innovations in city admin that have been adopted in dozens of cities. While the bloom may have fallen off the rose in his third term, NYers were still willing to change the laws to allow him to serve one. I don't want to get into a debate over individual policies because I'll concede now he had his problems, but I think it's safe to say his executive skills transitioned in tact.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:33 PM
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With Herbert Hoover an excellent example.
CEOs are used to dealing with executives and boards which they eventually get to pick. They seem to have trouble with a Congress which they don't get to pick.
Eisenhower, who had to deal with leaders and generals from various power centers, had much better experience for being president than any CEO I can think of.
I might be inclined to argue your point about boards of directors, but instead I'll just happily concede that Congress would be a new challenge. The skill set of a senator doesn't translate perfectly to the presidency either.

I want to make clear that I don't think a successful business person is necessarily a good executive. And it's not that I'm pushing for the election of business leaders to government office, so much as reacting to what lately seems like a reflexive dismissal of businesspeople from candidacy because "we've already tried that."

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Old 06-20-2019, 04:36 PM
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I might be inclined to argue your point about boards of directors, but instead I'll just happily concede that Congress would be a new challenge. The skill set of a senator doesn't translate perfectly to the presidency either.

I want to make clear that I don't think a successful business person is necessarily a good executive. And it's not that I'm pushing for the election of business leaders to government office, so much as reacting to what lately seems like a reflexive dismissal of businesspeople from candidacy because "we've already tried that."
I'd be much happier with someone who went from business to the cabinet, say where he had to deal with Congress and where he found out how Washington worked. Not that this is a guarantee of success. Hoover was in the Cabinet and Bush was governor. Straight from business to the presidency is a red flag. Fiorina would have been no more competent than Trump. Notice that she was a CEO, but a really bad one. Even before she was fired all my friends at HP hated her guts.
  #41  
Old 06-29-2019, 10:39 PM
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Regardless of one's opinion of Socialism/Communism in its political or social aspects, I think most people today would agree that command economies have proven to be a dismal failure at providing prosperity.
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:39 AM
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Going back to the OP's theme, I can think of several businesses from the dot.com boom that were potentially good ideas that failed because they were executed very poorly, or alternatively they were un-executable with the technology that existed at the time. Yahoo stands out; it still exists, but compared to Google it is minuscule because it was managed by people who had no vision. Ditto every other search engine from the period.

There was a tonne of fashion and beauty startups in the dot.com years that might have been popular nowadays - fashion is high-margin and easy to send through the post - but they failed at the time because they were badly-run and the market wasn't there. Putting it brutally the internet was not awash with teenage girls in 1998, and furthermore the modern online economy relies on a certain amount of synergy between Instagram, Twitter, and e-commerce, which again didn't exist until relatively recently.

Streaming TV and movies wasn't practical until broadband became widespread. eToys and Pets.com were perhaps overspecialised but if they had been implemented on a smaller scale ten years later they would not have been inherently worthless. The bubble also coincided with the first wave of popular online first person shooters, such as Quake III and Unreal Tournament; from a business point of view they were good ideas executed well, but the huge popularity of e-sports has demonstrated that they could have been executed even more well.

It's debatable whether a good idea that can't be executed with current or near-future technology is a good idea executed poorly, or a bad idea. Then you have things like NASA's NERVA rocket, which was a good idea executed well in a political climate that was hostile to it. Conversely the attempts by both the United States and the Soviet Union to build nuclear-powered bombers were bad ideas executed at least to a functional level.

I can think of a few bad ideas that were executed well. Concorde and the Channel Tunnel spring to mind. They were extremely successful engineering projects that made sense twenty years before they were completed. Concorde made sense when air travel was exclusive and expensive, but in 1976 the mass market wanted a cheap holiday in Benidorm and they didn't care if there was seat-back catering; the Channel Tunnel made sense when people went on the ferry to France, but a year after it opened EasyJet was founded and from that point onwards it was cheaper to fly to Paris than take the train, and easier if you didn't live near London.

Now I shall hit "submit reply" and wait for a Server 504 error.
  #43  
Old 07-01-2019, 03:44 PM
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The hew - unused and unusable Berlin airport needs a mention here, especially since we tend to think of those Germans as being so efficient - read this and laugh

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/n...layed-airport/
  #44  
Old 07-01-2019, 07:13 PM
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Sometimes there are also good ideas, well-executed, that just are unlucky. Sometimes you weigh the probabilities, consider everything, make the best choice . . and something less likely ends up happening.
  #45  
Old 07-01-2019, 10:33 PM
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Star Trek Discovery

"Yum."
  #46  
Old 07-02-2019, 08:31 AM
Wesley Clark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Regardless of one's opinion of Socialism/Communism in its political or social aspects, I think most people today would agree that command economies have proven to be a dismal failure at providing prosperity.
I agree. Of the remaining communist nations, I believe all have abandoned economic communism. Laos, Vietnam and China have market reforms. Cuba is experimenting with them and North Korea has a massive black market economy.

However mixed economic systems do seem to work. Many Asian nations have mixed economic systems and their growth rates are very high.

But once nations abandoned economic communism, their gdp growth tended to explode and start growing at 5-10% a year. That happened in ex soviet states as well as Asian nations when communism was abandoned. Several eastern European nations went from a per capita income of 1-2k at the fall of communism to a per capita gdp of 20k within fifteen years after being able to practice market reforms.

However part of thst growth could be from a legacy due to communism prioritizing investments in education, health care and infrastructure too. All of which encourage growth.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 07-02-2019 at 08:35 AM.
  #47  
Old 07-02-2019, 09:32 AM
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How about the non-working brand new Berlin airport - great idea to have an international hub that symbolises the coming together of a nation - but in practice not so much, especially in a nation that is often seen as a model of efficiency

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-48527308
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