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Subject: When and why is "collective punishment" justified? rss

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Steve Fitt
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Collective punishment is defined for this thread as --

a punishment [negative action] or withholding of a positive action from a group of people because some of the people in the group did something that deserves punishment. Generally, the offenders are assumed to be a small or fairly small fraction of the total of the group.

There are 2 cases in the news at this time.

1] The poor people of several European nations are being squeezed by austerity [mandated by the ECB] because of actions of their government or even just criminals in their nation [tax dodgers or real estate speculators].

2] It is suggested that fewer Muslims be allowed into Europe each year and the refugees be dealt with in some other way somewhere else . This is suggested because some Muslims do not assimilate or fit into modern Western culture. The literal Islam is 180 degrees away from modern Western culture. And also, because some Muslims are criminals. And, like the Sicilians in the US formed the Mafia and organized crime became a much bigger problem, it is feared that Muslims have already done this in Europe.

Generally, Western culture has moved away from collective punishment and this is why it resists the idea of doing it to Muslims.

The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?

If it is ok to punish actual citizens for the actions of others, why is it not OK to withhold immigration rights from Muslims because in the very recent past some of them have done very bad things and because the ideal future culture for Europe in their eyes [well, over half of their eyes] is 180 degrees away from the vision of the native non-Muslims of Europe?

I want to demand that one standard be applied to all. That either there can be no collective punishment or there can be collective punishment.

 
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The austerity in Greece came out of long negotiations and in return for a rather large amount of money that Greece could have rejected.

Personally I do think the terms were too harsh and possibly counter-productive in the long term, but calling the deal a punishment is rather misleading. That Greece was in a position where it had to make some deal deal was largely due various economic mismanagements in Greece. They were negotiations where Greece didn't have much bargaining power, and largely had to rely on the international good will of the rest of the EU. Which, as we also see with the refugees, Brexit and so forth, is far from being at an all time high.

So if we were to offer many billions of euros to the refugees in return for them agreeing to go somewhere else, I'd agree that the situations were comparable.
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Steve Fitt
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
The austerity in Greece came out of long negotiations and in return for a rather large amount of money that Greece could have rejected.

Personally I do think the terms were too harsh and possibly counter-productive in the long term, but calling the deal a punishment is rather misleading. That Greece was in a position where it had to make some deal deal was largely due various economic mismanagements in Greece. They were negotiations where Greece didn't have much bargaining power, and largely had to rely on the international good will of the rest of the EU. Which, as we also see with the refugees, Brexit and so forth, is far from being at an all time high.

So if we were to offer many billions of euros to the refugees in return for them agreeing to go somewhere else, I'd agree that the situations were comparable.

Well, that is your opinion.

It is still collective punishment of the poor in Greece, who had done nothing wrong; and were powerless to have gotten the Greek Gov. to have not made the mistakes it made.

When a bank fails in the US does the AFDIC punish the depositors because the bank officers ran it into the ground? No, they pay off the depositors and punish the stockholders and officers of the bank.

The Billions of euros didn't go to the Greek poor did they, so how is that comparable to giving Billions to the refugees? Comparable would be giving the cash to the Gov. of the refugees [Syria and ISIL?].

At least this is how I see it.

BTW thanks for the reply.
 
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Steve1501 wrote:


The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?




Simple, it's not punishment.

It's the only way smart people see Greece even having a chance of getting out of this in an acceptable way.

"Punishment" doesn't mean "bad things happen to you".

Edit: Your bank parallel is poor, most banks need to have at least a plan to get out of their hole.
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Steve1501 wrote:
It is still collective punishment of the poor in Greece, who had done nothing wrong; and were powerless to have gotten the Greek Gov. to have not made the mistakes it made.


If so, then it's collective punishment by Greece's own government, not the ECB. And, since Greece is a democracy, the people of Greece are as much to blame for their government as the citizens any other democracy.

And sure, the poor will be punished for the bad economic decisions of their government. A country's government makes bad economic choices then the poor suffer the most, as always. This is not unusual and is certainly a bad thing. However, describing this as collective punishment, other than via metaphor, is misleading. It's not as if the people making those decisions were trying to punish the poor, it's just a bad outcome of their bad decisions.

Steve1501 wrote:
The Billions of euros didn't go to the Greek poor did they, so how is that comparable to giving Billions to the refugees? Comparable would be giving the cash to the Gov. of the refugees [Syria and ISIL?].


If you like. To some governing body of the refugees. Such a thing doesn't really exist of course, which is another reason why the situations don't have all that much in common.
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windsagio wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:


The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?




Simple, it's not punishment.

It's the only way smart people see Greece even having a chance of getting out of this in an acceptable way.

"Punishment" doesn't mean "bad things happen to you".

Edit: Your bank parallel is poor, most banks need to have at least a plan to get out of their hole.

Everyone knew that Greece didn't remotely meet the convergence criteria for joining the Euro. The Greek people voted for politicians who lied to them and told them it would be fine. They could have voted to not join the Euro. Who is responsible?
 
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Who's punishing the refugees?

The warring parties or the nations taking them in?

Is it punishment to not let your brother in law live in your basement when his old lady throws his shit out and changes the lock?
 
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Steve Fitt
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:
It is still collective punishment of the poor in Greece, who had done nothing wrong; and were powerless to have gotten the Greek Gov. to have not made the mistakes it made.


If so, then it's collective punishment by Greece's own government, not the ECB. And, since Greece is a democracy, the people of Greece are as much to blame for their government as the citizens any other democracy.

And sure, the poor will be punished for the bad economic decisions of their government. A country's government makes bad economic choices then the poor suffer the most, as always. This is not unusual and is certainly a bad thing. However, describing this as collective punishment, other than via metaphor, is misleading. It's not as if the people making those decisions were trying to punish the poor, it's just a bad outcome of their bad decisions.

Steve1501 wrote:
The Billions of euros didn't go to the Greek poor did they, so how is that comparable to giving Billions to the refugees? Comparable would be giving the cash to the Gov. of the refugees [Syria and ISIL?].


If you like. To some governing body of the refugees. Such a thing doesn't really exist of course, which is another reason why the situations don't have all that much in common.

So, the ECB held a gun to the head of the leaders of Greece and demanded that they impose austerity and cut spending by cutting the payments to retirees, and this is NOT the ECB doing it. Give me a break.

Last I heard Syria still has a recognized gov. and a seat in the UN. So, what if the money doesn't get to the refugees, it didn't get to the Greek Poor, did it?

 
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Steve1501 wrote:
So, the ECB held a gun to the head of the leaders of Greece and demanded that they impose austerity and cut spending by cutting the payments to retirees, and this is NOT the ECB doing it. Give me a break.


The ECB did not have a gun to the head to the leaders of Greece. The economic situation Greece was in was the gun to the head.

The ECB came to a deal with Greece that was far from what Greece wanted. But the ECB didn't force them to take the deal, the economic situation forced Greece to make the deal.

The thing you keep ignoring is that the ECB demanded they impose austerity in return for the bailout deal they offered.

Steve1501 wrote:
Last I heard Syria still has a recognized gov. and a seat in the UN. So, what if the money doesn't get to the refugees, it didn't get to the Greek Poor, did it?


I don't think the situation would be comparable, but since we're not offering the Syrian government that money anyway it doesn't seem to relevant.

I also think the Greek poor would be in a far worse situation without the bailout. Do you? I'm curious as to what exactly you think the ECB should have done?

1) Nothing. No offer of a bailout.

2) A bailout with different conditions.

3) A bailout with no conditions.

(1) would have certainly been popular with a large noisy section of the EU populous, but I think it would have been very bad for the Greek poor. (2) is my preferred option, but is obviously very vague as written. (3) was a political impossibility, and probably not a very good idea.
 
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Steve Fitt
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DavidDearlove wrote:
windsagio wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:


The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?




Simple, it's not punishment.

It's the only way smart people see Greece even having a chance of getting out of this in an acceptable way.

"Punishment" doesn't mean "bad things happen to you".

Edit: Your bank parallel is poor, most banks need to have at least a plan to get out of their hole.

Everyone knew that Greece didn't remotely meet the convergence criteria for joining the Euro. The Greek people voted for politicians who lied to them and told them it would be fine. They could have voted to not join the Euro. Who is responsible?

OK, the question is -- "Who is responsible?"

List of possible parties and why the might be responsible.

1] The EU or the ECB which decided to over look the [according to you] obvious fact that Greece didn't remotely meet the convergence criteria for joining the Euro.

2] The Greek Gov. leaders who lied to the Greek people that it would be OK and also didn't change their ways to avoid the problems.

3] The people of the EU who let Greece join and didn't find a way to stop it.

4] The Greek people who were not informed enough about what the current situation was and especially the secret stuff that their Gov. held back from them.

Of these 4 groups if I had to pick just 1, I would pick the EU and the ECB for setting aside the rules and letting Greece even vote on the question. Of course, there can be shared guilt also. I base this opinion on a] The EN & ECB had the most info and b] the least to gain in the short term, so they were the least blinded by greed. Or c] maybe they did it because they saw how their greed could be satisfied. Either way it is their mostly their fault.

So, solving the problem with a gift of Billions of euros and then enforcing the rules on the Greek Gov. or forcing them out because there is no way to make Greece change seems like all Europeans are each hurt just a little if there is inflation as a result. But, not just give them the cash and hope they change and it will not happen again.

 
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Steve Fitt
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windsagio wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:


The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?




Simple, it's not punishment.

It's the only way smart people see Greece even having a chance of getting out of this in an acceptable way.

"Punishment" doesn't mean "bad things happen to you".

Edit: Your bank parallel is poor, most banks need to have at least a plan to get out of their hole.

If the FDIC pays off the depositors, I think that always means that the bank is seized and sold to another bank. The officers are fired and the shareholders get nothing or pennies on the dollar. IIRC, this is always true.

 
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DavidDearlove wrote:
The Greek people voted for politicians who lied to them and told them it would be fine.

Sounds remarkably like Brexit

Tho' in the Greek case the population knew the politicians were lying but had no effective choice.

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Well. Plenty of blame to go all round, especially for Greece getting in the eurozone in the first place.

But, post crisis:

Greek government went down and the Greeks elected a right wing NeoDymokratia government which set off brokering a deal with the Trojka.

New elections were called after widespread protests and dissatisfaction.

Now Syrizia came to power and, in the end, had to accept a more or less similar deal.

After which Tsipras called for another election to see if the deal had enough popular support. He won that one.


From which we may conclude that the Demos has spoken, and the will of the people is done, even if no one is happy about it.

Like DolphinAndrew, I would have liked the Trojka to be more lenient, especially with the counterproductive austerity measures which even the IMF regretted.

I still think in the end the EU/ ECB will cut some of the debt Greece owns it. But that is such an unpopular message in the rest of Europe they wil try their best to keep it under the radar.

There are many valid viewpoints of this clusterfuck, and plenty f bklame to go around, but it has nothing to do with collective punishment, and the paralel with the refugee crisis is extremely tortured.
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One answer I can confidently offer on the more theoretical question of when collective punishment is justified is when it's impossible to avoid. There may be other times, but surely we can agree on that much. In the case of Greece, thecalternative seems to have been taxing the rest of Europe more to give that money to Greece. That seems like collective punishment of them.
 
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I want to demand that one standard be applied to all. That either there can be no collective punishment or there can be collective punishment.


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I can't decide if this would count as false equivalence or dumb equivalence.
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When voters collectively elect a government, all the people of the country suffer or are rewarded. That's the nature of a democracy (or republic, etc.)

I think the real problem of the EU is that a country can join, go into debt, and the EU will bail them out. So why not go into debt? The countries have no individual responsibility for their actions.
 
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Tall_Walt wrote:
When voters collectively elect a government, all the people of the country suffer or are rewarded. That's the nature of a democracy (or republic, etc.)

I think the real problem of the EU is that a country can join, go into debt, and the EU will bail them out. So why not go into debt? The countries have no individual responsibility for their actions.


I ask this earnestly - can the EU terminate a nation's membership in the EU for any reason? Could the EU parliament vote to kick Greece out, and if so, should they have done so? Just wondering.
 
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Steve1501 wrote:
Collective punishment is defined for this thread as --

a punishment [negative action] or withholding of a positive action from a group of people because some of the people in the group did something that deserves punishment. Generally, the offenders are assumed to be a small or fairly small fraction of the total of the group.

There are 2 cases in the news at this time.

1] The poor people of several European nations are being squeezed by austerity [mandated by the ECB] because of actions of their government or even just criminals in their nation [tax dodgers or real estate speculators].

2] It is suggested that fewer Muslims be allowed into Europe each year and the refugees be dealt with in some other way somewhere else . This is suggested because some Muslims do not assimilate or fit into modern Western culture. The literal Islam is 180 degrees away from modern Western culture. And also, because some Muslims are criminals. And, like the Sicilians in the US formed the Mafia and organized crime became a much bigger problem, it is feared that Muslims have already done this in Europe.

Generally, Western culture has moved away from collective punishment and this is why it resists the idea of doing it to Muslims.

The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?

If it is ok to punish actual citizens for the actions of others, why is it not OK to withhold immigration rights from Muslims because in the very recent past some of them have done very bad things and because the ideal future culture for Europe in their eyes [well, over half of their eyes] is 180 degrees away from the vision of the native non-Muslims of Europe?

I want to demand that one standard be applied to all. That either there can be no collective punishment or there can be collective punishment.



Ignoring the greek issue for a second.

Collective punishment is warranted when others are assisting and aiding the actual actors.

Say we have a group of people A-Z. A total population of 26 people.

Trivial example.
A says, "I need a gun to kill B."
C says, "Okay, here's a gun."


C will be held liable criminally if this can be proven. It's a crime.


Then a little further away
A says, "I need a gun to kill B."
C says, "Okay, here's money to buy a gun."


I think this is still a crime but I'm not sure.

Then a little further away
A says, "I need a gun to kill B."
C,D,E,F,G,W,Z say, "Okay, here's money to buy a gun."


This is the muddy middle where we find ourselves often. We shouldn't punish HIJKLMNO... etc. Especially if JKLM try to stop A, call the police, say "A- Don't do it!".

And this case or the one below is what most people mean when they say collective punishment.

Then a little further away
A says, "I need a gun to kill B."
C-Z except M says, "Okay, here's money to buy a gun."

M isn't culpable. In the real world we might say, "Well M you need to get the hell out of there if you don't want to be collectively punished" or even "Sorry M. You are at the wrong place at the wrong time."



And finally
A says, "I need a gun to kill B."
C-Z says, "Okay, here's money to buy a gun."

If the entire population is helping A to kill B, then they are collectively culpable.


While this almost never happens in the real world, collective punishment would be justified.
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Steve1501 wrote:
Collective punishment is defined for this thread as --

a punishment [negative action] or withholding of a positive action from a group of people because some of the people in the group did something that deserves punishment. Generally, the offenders are assumed to be a small or fairly small fraction of the total of the group.

There are 2 cases in the news at this time.

1] The poor people of several European nations are being squeezed by austerity [mandated by the ECB] because of actions of their government or even just criminals in their nation [tax dodgers or real estate speculators].

2] It is suggested that fewer Muslims be allowed into Europe each year and the refugees be dealt with in some other way somewhere else . This is suggested because some Muslims do not assimilate or fit into modern Western culture. The literal Islam is 180 degrees away from modern Western culture. And also, because some Muslims are criminals. And, like the Sicilians in the US formed the Mafia and organized crime became a much bigger problem, it is feared that Muslims have already done this in Europe.

Generally, Western culture has moved away from collective punishment and this is why it resists the idea of doing it to Muslims.

The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?

If it is ok to punish actual citizens for the actions of others, why is it not OK to withhold immigration rights from Muslims because in the very recent past some of them have done very bad things and because the ideal future culture for Europe in their eyes [well, over half of their eyes] is 180 degrees away from the vision of the native non-Muslims of Europe?

I want to demand that one standard be applied to all. That either there can be no collective punishment or there can be collective punishment.



I think immigration from any one group should be limited to less than .1% of the total population per year.

Otherwise, those immigrating will not be able to assimilate. In the obvious counter case, if immigration was a very high rate, like 10% of the population per year, it would swamp the local culture.

---

On the greek situation,
a) Not everyone feels it's punishment. For one thing the greeks are free to leave (and it would be even worse for a while than austerity). Some legitimately feel that the greeks have abused and taken advantage of all the easier ways out of the mess they built and that only harsh methods are left to fix things.

b) That said, some have definately made hostile comments implying or outright statements calling for punishment. Partly because they feel the greeks collectively have taken them for suckers.

c) I think they are losing sight of the fact that the EU is really an anti-war structure.

d) What's lost in this is the fact that the EU is set up to benefit Germany and others by allowing poorer, less industrial countries to easily borrow to buy german products and get deeply into debt. This is like when banks loan an 18 year old high school student $40,000 of unforgivable debt to go to college for a year. It's on the banks as much as it is on the high school student. The banks (and Germany & France) are preying on the high school student (and the greeks).

 
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Steve1501 wrote:

Generally, Western culture has moved away from collective punishment and this is why it resists the idea of doing it to Muslims.

The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?



Greece runs a severe budget deficit, of 7.2% of GDP. In normal circumstances, a government can run a budget deficit financed by the private sector. But the Greek government would have to pay crippling rates of interest to finance its debt in the private sector given the high rate of default. So they go to the ECB for a loan. Given the ECB is taking on substantial risk of default or writedown without a commensurate increase in interest paid, it's not unreasonable or immoral for the ECB to ask for the Greek government to converge expenses with spending.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
When voters collectively elect a government, all the people of the country suffer or are rewarded. That's the nature of a democracy (or republic, etc.)

I think the real problem of the EU is that a country can join, go into debt, and the EU will bail them out. So why not go into debt? The countries have no individual responsibility for their actions.

I ask this earnestly - can the EU terminate a nation's membership in the EU for any reason? Could the EU parliament vote to kick Greece out, and if so, should they have done so? Just wondering.

Obviously a nation can leave: Brexit. Since so many in the EU wanted Britain to get on with it but couldn't force them, I'd say the answer is no, but I'm uncertain.

I consider the EU extremely important, both as insurance against another European war and as a counterbalance to Russian. I don't think Brussels gets that Brexit is just a symptom of much larger problems. Greece is taking the headlines now, but other EU countries have had problems before.

The more stable the EU is, the more stable the US is. (And vice versa.)
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Steve1501 wrote:
windsagio wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:


The why is it OK to do it to poor Greek people?




Simple, it's not punishment.

It's the only way smart people see Greece even having a chance of getting out of this in an acceptable way.

"Punishment" doesn't mean "bad things happen to you".

Edit: Your bank parallel is poor, most banks need to have at least a plan to get out of their hole.

If the FDIC pays off the depositors, I think that always means that the bank is seized and sold to another bank. The officers are fired and the shareholders get nothing or pennies on the dollar. IIRC, this is always true.



Not what happened in the 2008/2009 bailouts though.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
When voters collectively elect a government, all the people of the country suffer or are rewarded. That's the nature of a democracy (or republic, etc.)

I think the real problem of the EU is that a country can join, go into debt, and the EU will bail them out. So why not go into debt? The countries have no individual responsibility for their actions.


I ask this earnestly - can the EU terminate a nation's membership in the EU for any reason? Could the EU parliament vote to kick Greece out, and if so, should they have done so? Just wondering.


Nope. I remember an editorial article in The Economist back around 1992, when the Greeks were single-handedly blocking several EU initiatives with Macedonia over the name "Macedonia", and the editorial complained the EU had a fatal flaw: no way to kick out a member state.
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1) How exactly is austerity punishment? When you go to bankruptcy court, relief from your creditors often comes with conditions on how you behave going forward. Should a bankrupt company be given debt relief only to have free hands to continue practices which are inefficient and wasteful. If so, why not simply let them fail and sell off their assets to satisfy the creditors as best they can? The EU could have let Greece simply fail as a state which would have been the responsibility of Greece. Would those people be better off than to have a Greek economy bailed out but still functioning?

2) As to your second point, no state should be obligated to take in refugees. Once they do, their policies should not single out groups based on race, religion, sex or other similar characteristic.
 
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