Society/Culture The Big Tech billionaires and their influence

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Gethelred

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Forced nationalisation via hostile takeover?

This would need to happen after a company has floated on the market and the process for considering that company for government takeover will need to be transparent otherwise it's a monstrous avenue for corruption.

See politicans selling their shares right before the covid crash after briefing and others buying bulk tesla shares before the executive order to buy electric cars.

The government intending to buy half a significant shares will be massive demand, every one will seek to buy those shares first so they can profit off the public money amount to be injected into it.

It would be significant market manipulation. The SEC won't be able to look into it.

I agree that businesses that become a part of social fabric need to have some charter or code to operate by once declared as such, but it's messy stuff
I quite agree that it has the potential to be difficult, but difficulty does not make something not worthwhile.

At the moment, the key impediment to this kind of thing is the neoliberal insistence on privatisation of government resources, let alone government business or services. If we elected Coalition governments at any point of procedings, they'd immediately sell off any part share in any business the government owned purely out of ideology.

The problem is that this is not, as I said in my first post, a binary either-or decision. This is a spectrum of choices a government can make, with a full range of differing responses to public-private partnerships., and merely looking at it as an all or nothing scenario isn't productive, IMO.
 

Seeds

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Taking half a billion dollars off every billion amounts to under $20 per person and runs out after one year. So what are we saving here?

I think there are thousands of people working for these billionaires who are happy to have a job and happy their bosses risk has lead to their success.
Where do you get those stats from? Not saying you are wrong but im interestrd to know.
 

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Taylor

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I quite agree that it has the potential to be difficult, but difficulty does not make something not worthwhile.

At the moment, the key impediment to this kind of thing is the neoliberal insistence on privatisation of government resources, let alone government business or services. If we elected Coalition governments at any point of procedings, they'd immediately sell off any part share in any business the government owned purely out of ideology.

The problem is that this is not, as I said in my first post, a binary either-or decision. This is a spectrum of choices a government can make, with a full range of differing responses to public-private partnerships., and merely looking at it as an all or nothing scenario isn't productive, IMO.
I think the best place to start something like this would be with resource extraction since that requires a beaurocratic process already.

The tenement moves from exploration to mining and the government has to sign off on it, along with native title and environmental etc.

If at that point the government were able to tip in a cut of the startup and operational costs then the nation would claim a dividend from the resource.

I expect this would need a feasibility test, currently this is already done but if the government are pouring 50 billion in then it might tip the scales making more viable but that's not really the goal.

That's how I think it could be implemented, once that system functions and returns on public investment then it should be easy to port the model over to less direct investments.
 

sorted

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Where were you guys when "lefty scum uni students" were protesting about big finance, big oil, big media, big pharma, big whatever having too much influence over society.

Welcome to the party. Always room for more.
I previously started a thread on the World Economic Forum. It was immediately shut down because some people might post some conspiracy theory stuff.

It seems that now the billionaires have embraced climate change and made Greta an 'agenda contributor' the lefty scum uni students don't care about the amount of influence the 0.0001% have.
 

Taylor

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If you control everything people see then you control what the truth is.

You can have them rubber stamp your agenda through a faux democracy. The people gladly pull the lever because all they know is what you've told them and once they've cast that only value that have to you then you're able to get on with your business.
 

sorted

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Short answer, yes. Long answer, still yes, but in the same sense that we should be concerned with the ability of any ultra-wealthy individual or corporation to influence politics.
I think it has gone to a new level. Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous modes of communication across the globe. The choices their owners make can block certain opinions, including those by elected leaders. They can influence elections and public opinion in almost any country.

I don't know the answer. Gethelred was proposing some kind of public/private partnership. Maybe they should be treated like a carriage service so that neutrality is ensured?

Also, the wealth of these guys is unprecedented.
 

sorted

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we shouldnt be concerned about their influence. We should be concerned about our economic system that allows people to attribute wealth in the billions.
We should absolutely be concerned about their influence. For example, Bill Gate's billions gives him massive influence on global health policy.

In 2020 he was the largest funder of the WHO. Much of the money is earmarked for projects designated by Bill Gates rather than the decisions of the World Health Assembly. We know he has an obsession with vaccinating the whole world. How much did he influence the WHO changing its definition of immunity to that only acquired by vaccines?

Fueled by more than $600 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—a previously unheard of amount or an academic research institute—the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has outgrown and overwhelmed its peers and become the global authority for health estimates. It means the IHME can make its own rules about how to track global health, without any accountability.

Gates is the largest private funder of Sars-Cov-2 research. He can choose which studies go ahead and which don't. Studies on Vitamin D supplements don't get a guernsey. A study on Hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients was funded and used to discredit any use of it.

Bill Gates gives large grants to media companies eg $US 3.5 million to the Daily Telegraph, $US5.8 million to The Guardian, $US20 million to the BBC world service. These are significant amounts when media companies have been struggling for a dollar. What does Gates get for his investment?

All this means academics, NGO representatives and media are reluctant to criticize the Gates Foundation for fear of jeopardising their funding. There's even a term for it - “the Bill chill”.
 

owen87

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I think it has gone to a new level. Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous modes of communication across the globe. The choices their owners make can block certain opinions, including those by elected leaders. They can influence elections and public opinion in almost any country.

I don't know the answer. Gethelred was proposing some kind of public/private partnership. Maybe they should be treated like a carriage service so that neutrality is ensured?

Also, the wealth of these guys is unprecedented.
Twitter & Facebook are an unusual case, they're somewhere between traditional media and a carriage service given the role they play in society accessing information. Saying "oh but you can just use <insert niche social media platform> instead doesn't really solve that."

If Twitter was to block the ALP from posting coming up to an election, that could have a very major impact upon the outcome of an election for example.
 

Gethelred

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Twitter & Facebook are an unusual case, they're somewhere between traditional media and a carriage service given the role they play in society accessing information. Saying "oh but you can just use <insert niche social media platform> instead doesn't really solve that."

If Twitter was to block the ALP from posting coming up to an election, that could have a very major impact upon the outcome of an election for example.
The big one is in how your feed can be manipulated to get you to vote in a particular direction.


Leaving this as is cannot be in the interests of democracy, not really. Something needs to be legislated in this particular area, to remove the grey area at the legal level.

Either you are mere transmission of information, or you are held to standards of truthfulness akin to the rest of the media.
 
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Seeds

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We should absolutely be concerned about their influence. For example, Bill Gate's billions gives him massive influence on global health policy.

In 2020 he was the largest funder of the WHO. Much of the money is earmarked for projects designated by Bill Gates rather than the decisions of the World Health Assembly. We know he has an obsession with vaccinating the whole world. How much did he influence the WHO changing its definition of immunity to that only acquired by vaccines?

Fueled by more than $600 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—a previously unheard of amount or an academic research institute—the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has outgrown and overwhelmed its peers and become the global authority for health estimates. It means the IHME can make its own rules about how to track global health, without any accountability.

Gates is the largest private funder of Sars-Cov-2 research. He can choose which studies go ahead and which don't. Studies on Vitamin D supplements don't get a guernsey. A study on Hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients was funded and used to discredit any use of it.

Bill Gates gives large grants to media companies eg $US 3.5 million to the Daily Telegraph, $US5.8 million to The Guardian, $US20 million to the BBC world service. These are significant amounts when media companies have been struggling for a dollar. What does Gates get for his investment?

All this means academics, NGO representatives and media are reluctant to criticize the Gates Foundation for fear of jeopardising their funding. There's even a term for it - “the Bill chill”.
You missed the point. If bill gates wealth was under 500 million he would have no political influence making the point about being concerned about his influence redundant.
 

Seeds

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Half a billion divided by 26 million? Calculator.

Musk quoted the number of employees he directly employs and the number who are contracted.
Yes but there is a lot more then 1 billionaire and some of these billionaires have a lot more than 1 billion. Plus kids dont pay taxes. The workers that pay tax are under 10 million.
 

Taylor

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Yes but there is a lot more then 1 billionaire and some of these billionaires have a lot more than 1 billion. Plus kids dont pay taxes. The workers that pay tax are under 10 million.
So we are talking $80 per person per billion we seize, for a single year.

We sure won't have any billionaires around after one year of that and they won't be motivated to make anything new and nice for society when it will be ripped away because the average Joe working for them wants half a day's extra pay total in a year.

I don't think the nation has any right to take the benefits of someone's work unless there is a national investment in them which lead them to it that isn't already made up for in the increased productivity of the people around.

If I invented 80% efficient solar panels and made them here I'd be a billionaire. If I gave you a job and paid you $1,000,000 a year to handle international sales then why do you deserve anything more from me? Why does the nation deserve more from me and what I built?

I also don't think I have a right to pressure politics into choices that benefit me, but I'd reserve the right to up and leave with all my jobs and productivity if they make choices that hurt my business too. Just like is happening in California with their increasing taxes and regulation.

We don't want a system that only affords a vote to those above a certain net worth and we should drop the charade that it isn't already the case with the rubber stamp of sheep being told what is true voting to make the will of those already in power legitimate.
 

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FireKrakouer

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Yes but there is a lot more then 1 billionaire and some of these billionaires have a lot more than 1 billion. Plus kids dont pay taxes. The workers that pay tax are under 10 million.
Isn't another concern that such a wealth tax would result in the rich moving their assets off shore or finding other loopholes? I'd love to see them pay their fair share btw.
 

owen87

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Yes but there is a lot more then 1 billionaire and some of these billionaires have a lot more than 1 billion. Plus kids dont pay taxes. The workers that pay tax are under 10 million.
How do you tax fluctuating gains (and losses) in share prices, given that's what makes up the wealth of many of these people you're referring to.
 

Seeds

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How do you tax fluctuating gains (and losses) in share prices, given that's what makes up the wealth of many of these people you're referring to.
The same way we do it for pension tests on retirees. the pension given to retirees is based off a calculation of wealth Including shares and property and bonds etc.
 

Seeds

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Wealth =/= income though
Yes but you can liquidise your wealth. Shares are highly liquid.

No one should have more than 98 percent of their wealth in illiquid assets and if they do then they need to sell to cover their annual wealth tax. Wealth taxes wont exceed 2 percent of wealth.

the great advantage of replacing income with wealth taxes is it helps young people who have no wealth get up the ladder much faster. Its only once they have a comfortable life when they are older do they pay most of their life time tax.
 

owen87

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Yes but you can liquidise your wealth. Shares are highly liquid.

No one should have more than 98 percent of their wealth in illiquid assets and if they do then they need to sell to cover their annual wealth tax. Wealth taxes wont exceed 2 percent of wealth.

the great advantage of replacing income with wealth taxes is it helps young people who have no wealth get up the ladder much faster. Its only once they have a comfortable life when they are older do they pay most of their life time tax.
So they should have to sell shares, to reduce their ownership of a business they created, to pay tax, on their nominal wealth at <insert random date> where the share price could drastically move up or down at any given time. And they should have their assets structured in such a way as you deem appropriate?

Who decides "Wealth taxes wont exceed 2 percent of wealth."

Explain how "it helps young people who have no wealth get up the ladder much faster"
 

spinynorman

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Beyond Twitter with the Trump ban and Facebook's skirmish with the Australian media, both worked with the Indian Government to ban the accounts of the individuals and groups organising the farmer protests there. Likewise, Facebook has long cooperated with the Israeli Government in blocking Palestinian activists.

The outliers are the actions taken against governments rather than cooperating with them were the cases of Australia (which was trying to bring in regulations that would be bad for Facebook) and Trump (who only had days left in his presidency, and it's hard to believe they would have taken that action if he'd won a second term).

Just today, Twitter said 100 accounts with Russian ties were removed for amplifying narratives that undermined faith in NATO and targeted the United States and the European Union - a huge stretch to consider that a political thought worthy of banning. Likewise, they have begun adding this warning that means you know the article is going to have good content:

 

Scotland

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The wheel turns quickly.

Wasn't that long ago people were OK with Twitter punting Trump and then Parler being deplatformed.

Big tech censorship and strong-arming is OK when you are on their side, but when you aren't...
 

Chief

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I can only see a problem if they didn't tell the prospective Russian journos something like "we've got government funding to bring you to the UK for a tour to provide training on UK media standards and show you the other side of the stories put out by the Russian government".


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