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State Killing

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Akolouthos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 04:54
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:



There is one point on which we should have a full discussion... or at least full disclosure. I shall start: I have to admit that I was not familiar with the "towel" expression you used, so I have been faking my banter this whole time. LOL Care to enlighten me as to its meaning and origin?

-Akolouthos

It originated just a few posts back, when I played off your suggestion that I was just spewing foam.

Which I was, to an extent.


I've spewed enough in my day. Earlier in this thread, in fact. Wink

Thanks for the clarification, mate. I thought I was missing something.

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 05:39
Does Bill Gates "deserve" his wealth?
I mean, I think most rich people, if you got right down to it, would admit that it is _not_ a matter of just deserts.  They have both been very lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and they have had the skill, talent, or way of thinking that has allowed them to take advantage of the situation.  They have also often worked very hard, but also they have often loved their work.  To misquote the US Marines, opportunity plus skill equals achievement.  Bill Gates has made himself (a college dropout), extremely rich, but he also made a lot of wealth for the rest of the world.  I am not even talking about the charity he has done.  As far as charity is concerned, he should get credit for choosing wisely, not necessarily the amount.  But seriously, has Bill Gates made the world better through his company or not?
Would the state have managed Microsoft (or for that matter, Apple), better than private individuals?
The radicals are more often in private enterprise, forming google or facebook, or twitter.  

Think of how frugal and how careful in their spending that people would be in each of the following combinations:
Spending your money on what you want. (frugal & careful)
Spending your money on what someone else wants. (frugal, not careful)
Spending someone else's money on what you want. (not frugal, but careful)
Spending someone else's money on what someone else wants. (neither frugal nor careful)

Now where does private enterprise lie in these combinations, and where lies socialist largess?  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 08:08
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Does Bill Gates "deserve" his wealth?

Think of how frugal and how careful in their spending that people would be in each of the following combinations:
Spending your money on what you want. (frugal & careful)
Spending your money on what someone else wants. (frugal, not careful)
Spending someone else's money on what you want. (not frugal, but careful)
Spending someone else's money on what someone else wants. (neither frugal nor careful)

Now where does private enterprise lie in these combinations, and where lies socialist largess?  


The problem is that the same kind of logic demonizes capitalism.


What are the fastest ways to get rich:

  1. Pay a fair wage or use your wealth and power to breakup unions and pay the minimum people will work for.
  2. Build a business that provides the best product or breakup existing businesses you acquired through hostile take overs.
  3. Make lending decisions based on the long term interests of the community or create derivatives based on the housing market and ponzi scheme them into fantastic short term profits.  Then leave the tax payer to float the bill when the market collapses.
I could go on but you get the idea.  


Socialism is communism lite but so what?  We all know how badly communism has failed historically but the analogy is like saying that since salt is bad I will completely remove it from my diet.  It also amuses me that people still quote Marx or for that matter Kant.  I suspect we have learned a bit in the last hundred years or so and should be making use of it.  The true lesson of history is that neither capitalism nor communism seem to work well.  Like salt when it comes to socialism it seems too little or too much will kill you.  

Like religion, political ideology is poisonous to the truth.  The evidence suggests that Marx had no more idea what he was talking about than Aristotle knew about science.  You can throw self regulating economies and the insanity of Ann Rand in there as well.  If we want to make economics a science we need to think like scientist and realize our best efforts will never be able to fully capture the complexity of the reality.  We will always be faced with making decisions on incomplete data but we can certainly do better than relying on political ideology.  The evidence suggest that extensive government regulation is required to make an economy not implode.  

There are two amazingly naive mistakes that socialist make and that is assuming that the government can solve every social problem by redistributing wealth and that there is such a thing as a fair income.  There is no fairness component to income equality but it is rather a measure of economic health.  Income inequality is simple a set of data that measures the potential brake on economic growth and robustness.  The correlative relationship between income inequality and economic health cannot be measure on a fairness scale and their is no need to do so.

Fairness and earned income are abstract ideas best suited for children's games not economics.  The instinct for fairness may be a component of the mental working of all social animals but it is not a suitable measure of anything in a complex society.  Money on the other hand is a real social construct and while it may be manipulated and abused it shouldn't be confused with abstractions that cannot be measured.  There is no reason to believe that any two reasonable people should ever agree on what is fair but two rational people should be able to agree on the historical data that suggest the government must intervene to restore income equality.

The questions related to the needs of the poor and the abuses of the wealthy are side issues related to social stability but those questions are based on abstract ideas based on morality.  They are not primarily economic issues but issues related to the moral foundations of society and cannot be addressed effectively in the absence of a robust economy.  The equal distribution of nothing leaves nothing.  

Humans do not naturally form complex social structures and we should not rely on altruism or other simple instinctual predispositions to guide us.  To build better economies we need to learn how to evolve bottom up social structures that do not rely on chance.  It's a question of balance between social fidelity and mutation.  Too few mutations and you cannot evolve to many and you cannot survive.          




  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 11:40
And all of this has what to do with "State Killing?"
 
 
God created 2nd Lieutenants for the amusement of Senior NCO's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 13:20
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

And all of this has what to do with "State Killing?"
 
 

Not much but the relationship between social status (wealth) and your chance of being executed is something we need to explore.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 13:52
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/05/orange_county_prosecutor_misconduct_judge_goethals_takes_district_attorney.html

Oh these boys just got busted in a big way. The Orange county Prosecutor's office and police implicated in a scheme to get confessions for capital crimes.

What's wrong with that? Well the suspects are in prison and the confessions are being elicited by other inmates! Now, 'hearing' someone confess and making a deal for yourself are common enough. But here we have prisoners actually getting these confessions with information from the Prosecutor's office.

Very bad news. Other articles have cited the same behavior in Baltimore and Detroit and now here in Orange.

"Prosecutorial and police misconduct are often dismissed as just a few bad apples doing a few bad apple-ish things. But what happens when it’s entrenched and systemic and goes unchecked for years? That looks to be the case in Orange County, California, where the situation got so completely out of hand this spring that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals issued an order disqualifying the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office (that’s all 250 prosecutors) from continuing to prosecute a major death penalty case."

Edited by Vanuatu - 01 Jun 2015 at 13:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2015 at 04:19
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


Would the state have managed Microsoft (or for that matter, Apple), better than private individuals?
The radicals are more often in private enterprise, forming google or facebook, or twitter.

They are? Bill Gates was an average, affluent, suburban middle class kid, who had parents with good connections. Many in business inherit they positions due to family wealth, financial advantage, and/or high level connections, whether a "radical" or modestly performing nerd. 

It was "radicals" serving in the public sphere that gave us the original bill of rights, labour laws, gender equality, universal medical care (not quite yet in the US), universal suffrage, and many other things now taken for granted, or in some cases erroneously attributed to unregulated markets. 

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Think of how frugal and how careful in their spending that people would be in each of the following combinations:
Spending your money on what you want. (frugal & careful)

Perhaps, except when one has incomplete knowledge of the product and the market (frequent in today's complex society), is swayed by family, social, cultural, or advertising imperatives (again frequent in today's world), has no choice due to wages and prices ( housing today will eat up most of a young families income where I live, which is not a personal choice, but the result of complex political and economic factors), or is severely limited due to geographic and cultural reality (owning a car today is mandatory in many regions of N America, whether one "wants to" or not.)

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Spending your money on what someone else wants. (frugal, not careful)

I see. And so your handicapped sister needs a new wheelchair, but as it is for her, and not you, you don't give a damn about the quality of said chair. Is that what you are saying?

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Spending someone else's money on what you want. (not frugal, but careful)

So you are not responsible handling funds. Well, many are, and have to be, in banks, credit unions, stores, public agencies, and many others. Yes, there is always graft, theft, and dishonesty, and probably always will be, but we only need look to Wall Street to see that this problem is not solely tied to government.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Spending someone else's money on what someone else wants. (neither frugal nor careful)

Hmmmm. So let's sum this up. Your theory is that if, for example, you were the head of the Alabama Highways Dept, and you received some tax funds for a project, you would pee it up against the wall, quite likely. You may not drive much on the highways, and it is not your money, so you might as well go across the street to the Dew Drop Inn, and buy Jack Daniels for yourself and all comers until your boss comes and drags you back to the office, or the police so up. Is that the way you operate, or are you assigning these characteristics to a lower order of society, one that you do not belong to?

Handling others money is common in today's economy, and there are checks and balances that keep leakage to acceptable levels...for the most part. Yes there is waste- in both the public and private sectors.  Bureaucracy can loom large in government, and greed can lay waste in the business community. Indeed, at top levels administrators often change place between the two like a game of musical chairs. Goldman Sachs executive becomes Treasury Dept employee, and visa versa. Those who hold up the "market" as some sort of golden idol are doomed to cynical disappointment. 


Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Now where does private enterprise lie in these combinations, and where lies socialist largess?  


They both lie in exactly the same place: in human nature. That doesn't change with one's place of employment. Crooks in the private sector become crooks in government. Competent managers are still competent managers in both. 

What does change slightly (although one could barely perceive it today) is transparency. At least in public life, transactions are open to the media and citizen, and, for the interested and informed (again, a segment in low profile today) some retribution is possible through voting. You have no such say on the policies of Wal Mart or Exxon. 

Which in a manner of speaking, is the whole point. The simplistic economic narrative so promoted by the well healed today suites their purpose to a high degree. The private market is where they make their money, and the more unfettered the market, the better. For the great mass of the population, public programs are what provide for the civilized, middle class existence we have come to see as normal. Even in our rich N America, few can be assured of whatever medical care, pensions, education, or other core services needed without wide ranging public programs. Government is a drag on the most affluent; essential for all others.

And so we see the spin put out of an evil "government" stealing and squandering money, and no doubt holding orgies with the livestock, while the "job providers" earnestly toil for our benefit. The sad irony here is that so many have been led to believe it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2015 at 05:00
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Does Bill Gates "deserve" his wealth?

Think of how frugal and how careful in their spending that people would be in each of the following combinations:
Spending your money on what you want. (frugal & careful)
Spending your money on what someone else wants. (frugal, not careful)
Spending someone else's money on what you want. (not frugal, but careful)
Spending someone else's money on what someone else wants. (neither frugal nor careful)

Now where does private enterprise lie in these combinations, and where lies socialist largess?  


The problem is that the same kind of logic demonizes capitalism.


What are the fastest ways to get rich:

  1. Pay a fair wage or use your wealth and power to breakup unions and pay the minimum people will work for.
  2. Build a business that provides the best product or breakup existing businesses you acquired through hostile take overs.
  3. Make lending decisions based on the long term interests of the community or create derivatives based on the housing market and ponzi scheme them into fantastic short term profits.  Then leave the tax payer to float the bill when the market collapses.
I could go on but you get the idea.

Exactly.
 

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Socialism is communism lite but so what?  We all know how badly communism has failed historically but the analogy is like saying that since salt is bad I will completely remove it from my diet.  It also amuses me that people still quote Marx or for that matter Kant.  I suspect we have learned a bit in the last hundred years or so and should be making use of it.  The true lesson of history is that neither capitalism nor communism seem to work well.  Like salt when it comes to socialism it seems too little or too much will kill you.  

Like religion, political ideology is poisonous to the truth.  The evidence suggests that Marx had no more idea what he was talking about than Aristotle knew about science.  You can throw self regulating economies and the insanity of Ann Rand in there as well.  If we want to make economics a science we need to think like scientist and realize our best efforts will never be able to fully capture the complexity of the reality.  We will always be faced with making decisions on incomplete data but we can certainly do better than relying on political ideology.  The evidence suggest that extensive government regulation is required to make an economy not implode.  

Yes, there are continual examples of this, from the Robber Barons, to the Great Depression, the savings and loans scandal, dot com mania, the 2008 meltdown, and many others. The problem is, there is today a segment of the population which includes the affluent, the ideologue, and their credulous followers, who want to downplay history in favour of some mythical market place.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

There are two amazingly naive mistakes that socialist make and that is assuming that the government can solve every social problem by redistributing wealth and that there is such a thing as a fair income.  There is no fairness component to income equality but it is rather a measure of economic health.  Income inequality is simple a set of data that measures the potential brake on economic growth and robustness.  The correlative relationship between income inequality and economic health cannot be measure on a fairness scale and their is no need to do so.

Economic health and fair wages are actually fellow travelers in society. It is a healthy middle class that makes for a well functioning society, and a highly skewed wealth distribution that leads to a decline in living standards and a dysfunctional society. The trick is to keep money in circulation, and being used for at least somewhat pro-social purposes. This doesn't happen in a aristocrat/peon society.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Fairness and earned income are abstract ideas best suited for children's games not economics.  The instinct for fairness may be a component of the mental working of all social animals but it is not a suitable measure of anything in a complex society.  Money on the other hand is a real social construct and while it may be manipulated and abused it shouldn't be confused with abstractions that cannot be measured.  There is no reason to believe that any two reasonable people should ever agree on what is fair but two rational people should be able to agree on the historical data that suggest the government must intervene to restore income equality.

Again, "fair" wages, that is, those not overly skewed by unbridled power within an economy, do indeed have a place in economics, one in sharp focus today. Stagnant wages, the migration of wealth upwards, and the hollowing out of the middle class are core issues today.

As for abstraction, money can be considered just as intangible as the concept of fairness. Money is a method of exchange that is in continual flux, and has different value for different people. Indeed, fairness would probably gather a narrower consensus of meaning in society today, I'd wager.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

The questions related to the needs of the poor and the abuses of the wealthy are side issues related to social stability but those questions are based on abstract ideas based on morality.  They are not primarily economic issues but issues related to the moral foundations of society and cannot be addressed effectively in the absence of a robust economy.  The equal distribution of nothing leaves nothing.  

Humans do not naturally form complex social structures and we should not rely on altruism or other simple instinctual predispositions to guide us.  To build better economies we need to learn how to evolve bottom up social structures that do not rely on chance.  It's a question of balance between social fidelity and mutation.  Too few mutations and you cannot evolve to many and you cannot survive.          

 

Some of the most robust economies in the world today are social democracies, ones with heavy government involvement in their economies. Morality their is not an abstraction, it's policy.

All economic issues are ultimately political issues, because economics only exists to further social aims. There is no immutable market place that, if just left alone, would unfold itself into a perfect form, as libertarian thought urges us to believe today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2015 at 05:01
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

And all of this has what to do with "State Killing?"
 
 

Nothing. Perhaps it's time to start another thread. What do people think?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 03:17
"Some of the most robust economies in the world today are social democracies, ones with heavy government involvement in their economies. Morality their is not an abstraction, it's policy.

All economic issues are ultimately political issues, because economics only exists to further social aims. There is no immutable market place that, if just left alone, would unfold itself into a perfect form, as libertarian thought urges us to believe today."

If we were looking for perfection we would just find a nice quiet place to meditate.  

I think anyone who thinks they can plan an economy is as insane as those who believe in an invisible guiding hand.  It is a question of balance and regulation.  


Edited by wolfhnd - 06 Jun 2015 at 03:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 03:52
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

"Some of the most robust economies in the world today are social democracies, ones with heavy government involvement in their economies. Morality their is not an abstraction, it's policy.

All economic issues are ultimately political issues, because economics only exists to further social aims. There is no immutable market place that, if just left alone, would unfold itself into a perfect form, as libertarian thought urges us to believe today."

If we were looking for perfection we would just find a nice quiet place to meditate.  

I think anyone who thinks they can plan an economy is as insane as those who believe in an invisible guiding hand.  It is a question of balance and regulation.  

Yes, well even quite meditation can have its problems.

I don't think any "left" leaning social democracy today insists it can plan an economy, 1950s Soviet style. Five year plans become five year surprises.

What can be insisted upon, backed by a wealth of academic data, is the notion that a free market is a fantasy in today's world, and to be successful, or even to prevail, societies must take charge of their future. And this has been put more or less into practice, in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other places where the concept of a market has less than religious connotations.

This means an understanding and analysis of the numerous past mistakes and uninformed thinking of past generations, in light of more comprehensive data today. In 1929, for example, the depression was afoot, and few knew, or had the academic background, to see what was ahead or how back it was going to get. In 2008, this sort of event was headed off, because of a more comprehensive understanding of history.

Planning? Yes of course we can plan for the things we want and need- medical care, state pensions, daycare, transportation infrastructure, etc. It is absurd to say, in a society with a per capita GDP of over $50k, that these things cannot be realized or even planned for. During WW2, a society of sh*t poor farmers, poverty wage factory workers, and similar, became a world power within five years, and that was all about planning. All about planning, with the corporate sector trailing in line.

These sort of things are available to us, but today the spin that favours inequality and wealth for the few is in full gear, and has captured the imagination of a dismaying proportion of the populace.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 04:16
No idea what wolf is on about.  The philosophization of economics does not change the economic order in any sense of the word.  There are still principles which are in play such as Malthusian, Nash equilibriums, free market principles, etc.
http://hwyst.hangzhou.com.cn/wmyzh/content/2013-10/09/content_4920423.htm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 04:34
We could get out our numbers and our charts and open the text books and have a legitimate intellectual discussion about economics but I suppose we should just look at the relationship between the execution rates and social classes.  Which I will do if I find the energy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 05:05
Looking at execution rates and social classes would be trying to find an implicative relationship between the two where there is none.  The execution of people has to do with the relationship of the law to the people who had been sentenced to death for crimes that are listed under punishable by death.  What more need be said.
http://hwyst.hangzhou.com.cn/wmyzh/content/2013-10/09/content_4920423.htm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2015 at 06:51
The cover of Time June 8, 2015 is trying to prophetically announce the last execution.
In some ways I like the idea that there are some crimes that are beyond the pale, for which one has to pay with one's life.  In other ways, I kind think that big government is a terrible potential problem, and maybe governments (or rather U.S. government) should not have the power to execute.  The system that we have now of death penalty on the books, but never carried out is the worst of all possible worlds, because it undermines the law.  It is not an effective threat, but at the same time, neither is one giving mercy.  In my view, it sucks all around.

And that, Captain is my conclusion to this thread, I suggest that others make a final concluding statement about the time 'State killing.' and put this thread to rest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2015 at 03:18
I will give a concluding statement, though I will still avidly follow this thread.

As a Christian, my opposition to capital punishment stems from the same place as my opposition to abortion: my belief in the sanctity of life. The difference between abortion and capital punishment is that capital punishment, in theory, can be narrowly justified as a protective -- and, significantly, not as a punitive -- measure. An example would be a criminal who could not be contained and who would throw more lives into danger if he escaped. This is why, throughout history, the death penalty has so often been used against those who could serve as rallying points for traitors and rebels.

In practice, this sort of situation never arises in the modern West. Consequently, while maintaining, in theory, the validity of an extremely narrow application of capital punishment, I think the point is moot in the society in which I find myself. In this society, it is always a grave moral wrong. I would be willing to say that, in every case that has arisen recently in the West, I would condemn the use of capital punishment as an assault on the sanctity of life.

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2015 at 03:40
It appears we have reached the terminal event in this thread. We have beat it to death. Is it time for a lethal injection? Yes...hand me that syringe..

For those still interested in our side tracking here, I've started a new thread titled "Inequality".
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