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This Week in Anime - No Guns Life Takes Aim at Real-World Corruption


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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:05 pm Reply with quote
It's an excellent show about how the materialism inherent in Marxism commodifies everything; you can see in the official responses to the Hong Kong protests how the CCP can't imagine that people would be motivated by abstract things like civil rights as opposed to material comfort. (Hong Kongers, having been raised in a form of liberal capitalist, even if an imperfect democracy, have a lot more interest in things money can't buy than Communists.) It's also quite an excellent attack on totalitarianism and late communism as well. Easy to see it as a portrayal of China, and to think about debates involving protestor tactics in Hong Kong, or against a variety of other governments of different orientations from Chile to Venezuela. (Not all peaceful protests are as successful as the recent ones in Puerto Rico.)

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America has a long, despicable legacy of using marginalized people as test subjects without their knowledge and with no recompense.


Yes, and well taken, though Japan has its own history in that area with Unit 731 (and of course the present day PRC is currently doing all of this against its minorities), so it's possible that the Japanese writers of the show were thinking of that as well. It's always interesting to see how Americans can make anything about themselves.
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MrSatyre



Joined: 25 May 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Ahh, the "heartless capitalists" trope. The same people who make indulgent anime and sites like this possible. As opposed to the "benevolent Socialists" no one says ever.
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lossthief



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:38 pm Reply with quote
MrSatyre wrote:
Ahh, the "heartless capitalists" trope. The same people who make indulgent anime and sites like this possible. As opposed to the "benevolent Socialists" no one says ever.


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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:46 pm Reply with quote
I mean, "anything I do should not only be not criticized, but should in fact be lauded because of how I bring our people peace and prosperity" is literally the justification for totalitarian control in communist countries. The only countries that have organized and legal criticism of such ideas are the capitalist ones. Essentially, the cyberpunk "supercorporations are evil" criticism is trying to raise the idea that even capitalist countries could reach the levels of depravity and injustice that the non-capitalist ones have enshrined in their governmental systems. It's a warning of a future that could happen, but with so many real-world examples of the horrors the alternatives have wrought, I don't blame people for rolling their eyes at it.
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AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:49 pm Reply with quote
MrSatyre wrote:
Ahh, the "heartless capitalists" trope. The same people who make indulgent anime and sites like this possible. As opposed to the "benevolent Socialists" no one says ever.


I've come to believe that the phrase "late stage capitalism" is a just a roundabout way of saying "I don't really know much about economics, but I'll parrot this phrase I read online". As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side...

@losstheif
I'm curious what that comic is supposed to even imply. It doesn't make any sense, even on an ironic or satirical level.
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FinalVentCard



Joined: 28 Oct 2018
Posts: 92
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:11 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:
. (Not all peaceful protests are as successful as the recent ones in Puerto Rico.)

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America has a long, despicable legacy of using marginalized people as test subjects without their knowledge and with no recompense.


[...]

It's always interesting to see how Americans can make anything about themselves.


Hi, I'm from Puerto Rico. (No, my family still isn't in the dark from the hurricane.)

I feel the need to point something out: our protests were not "peaceful". I don't know what you think happened back home when my people took to the streets, but it's not what you think. We got shot at with rubber bullets and tear gas. Cops and the media tried to frame us for "throwing fireworks" at cops. People were arrested, kicking and screaming, for demanding justice for the almost-4000 people that were left to die in the same of Hurricane Maria while food and water was left to spoil. Our protests weren't "peaceful", our protests were protests. Just like the ones in Hong Kong and Venezuela and anywhere else people March for their rights, window breaking or not.

Also, being Puerto Rican, I think we do need to talk about No Gun Life and it's relevant themes of marginalized populations being used as test subjects in relation to American history. The US imposed forced sterilization upon Puerto Rican women for 40 years. There are women alive right now who had to have hysterectomies or suffer from cancer courtesy of those progroms.

I'm gonna have to ask you to rethink just what kind of point you were trying to make and why you felt the need to use my people to try and prop it up.
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Rentwo



Joined: 05 Oct 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:46 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:
Yes, and well taken, though Japan has its own history in that area with Unit 731 (and of course the present day PRC is currently doing all of this against its minorities), so it's possible that the Japanese writers of the show were thinking of that as well. It's always interesting to see how Americans can make anything about themselves.


It's fairly common for Americans to think anime is about them, or is saying something about their society. People were insisting the Japanese anime film Promare was a direct defiant response to America's immigration and customs enforcement. It took Imaishi to come out and say in an interview that was not the intention at all. Which seemed a bit obvious to me given Japan's immigration policy is far more strict than America's is.

AkumaChef wrote:
I'm curious what that comic is supposed to even imply. It doesn't make any sense, even on an ironic or satirical level.


Politic comics are often strawman arguments that do not hold up to any kind of close scrutiny. It does not help lossthief removed a number of panels from it as well. The argument Matt Bors' often posted comic is attempting to make is that the idea of calling someone hypocritical for criticizing someone for participating in an act they disapprove of is wrong. What the argument fails to do is established that the amount of participation varies, so it's not really hypocritical if you actively do things that rank highly on the complicity scale. People who post that comic often try to turn it into a "c'est la vie" argument to deflect blame from themselves. So the idea that people who buy Starbucks in disposable cups and at the same time complain about all the waste people generate are free to do so without being labeled a hypocrite. Or perhaps in this case to say it's okay to exploit workers in bad animation studios conditions because other companies do so and it's the only way to make aniime, perhaps.

Although I'm in the realm that people over-analyze anime a bit too much and most "anti-capitalism" messages in anime are not actually there so much as the bad guy just so happens to be an evil business man or company. Much like the ICE thing in Promare, people will often just see what they want to see.
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AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:23 pm Reply with quote
Rentwo wrote:

Politic comics are often strawman arguments that do not hold up to any kind of close scrutiny.

Indeed, I am quite familiar. But I can usually tell the point which the comic is attempting to make, even if it falls apart under scrutiny. In this case I can't even tell the point which the comic is trying to make, and even moreso: I have no idea how it even applies to the topic at hand.

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It does not help lossthief removed a number of panels from it as well.

Thank you, that explains a lot. I have since looked at the whole image.

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The argument Matt Bors' often posted comic is attempting to make is that the idea of calling someone hypocritical for criticizing someone for participating in an act they disapprove of is wrong.

That point is nonsensical, and we both agree as to why.

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Or perhaps in this case to say it's okay to exploit workers in bad animation studios conditions because other companies do so and it's the only way to make aniime, perhaps.

Yeah, I was wondering how it was relevant here too. I thought maybe it was supposed to be some kind of statement on economic systems, such as Socialism vs. Capitalism, but that also falls flat.

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Although I'm in the realm that people over-analyze anime a bit too much and most "anti-capitalism" messages in anime are not actually there so much as the bad guy just so happens to be an evil business man or company. Much like the ICE thing in Promare, people will often just see what they want to see.

Agreed. And it doesn't help things when some details are easily misunderstood for one another. If a show involves a corrupt government official is the point to make a statement about government? Or about corruption? Or perhaps neither, and it was simply a convenient but irrelevant backstory.
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Hellsoldier



Joined: 21 Jun 2013
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Location: Porto,Portugal,Europe,Earth,Sol
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:57 pm Reply with quote
AH, that moment when people can-t take criticism over their pet socioeconomic model, nor realize that these problems are global... I just love it. (Not that Socialism is exactly an answer either).

I stopped watching No Guns Life after the fourth episode, but I may pick it up again soon. Seems to be going some pretty interesting directions.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:15 pm Reply with quote
Responding to criticism is not the same as 'can't take criticism.' You seem to be of the opinion that anyone should be able to criticism our economic system without having to address pushback regarding those criticisms. Indeed, if you think these are global problems, you agree that it makes no sense to say these are criticisms specifically of capitalism, as opposed to the way humans respond to power.
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AkumaChef



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:13 pm Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
Responding to criticism is not the same as 'can't take criticism.'


Indeed.
And while there are legitmate criciticisms to be made against all economic models as well as all economic systems, not all criticisms are valid and not all critics actually understand their position or the words they speak (or type).

I enjoy discussing politics and economics. I've met plenty of people who are fond of the phrase "late stage capitalism" yet in my experience no two of them, let alone all of them can agree on what that phrase actually means. None of them have read or understood Marx, Mises, Keynes, Smith, Rothbard, etc. I would argue that the phrase is actually meaningless, but it makes a convenient scapegoat for one side of the political fence, the same way that the other side loves to blame "immigrants" for all sorts of ills. In reality there is no scapegoat for anybody, and socioeconomic problems are far more complext than most would admit.

I'd welcome a discussion on the subject. I'd simply prefer we stick to facts instead of cartoons when we do so.
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Minos_Kurumada



Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:41 pm Reply with quote
A HUGE problem I have with these kind of criticism to Capitalism comes from the fact that most people don't know the difference between Keynesianism and Liberalism BUT I am 100% aware it's not their fault, the fact that our governments spend millions of dollars teaching kids how to kick a ball instead of giving basic economics classes it's baffling and some would say made on purpose.

You know somebody doesn't know a lot when their futuristic Capitalistic distopya it's full of Consumerism... yet, Consumerism it's the basis of Keynesian economics (and some would say Socialists) since you NEED the money to keep flowing in order to generate wealth (see Broken Window Fallacy).

Using Puerto Rico as an example, ¿Did you know that the current Economic Minister of Argentina said that Puerto Rico should be happy of the hurricane because the destruction will generate consumerism and create unprecedented wealth?

That it's pure Keynesian BS, and of course, the current Argentine government identifies as "Left Winged" (yet, all of LATAM governments are the same populists BS, their L/R monikers are just buzzwords).

Liberal Economics (proper Capitalism) it's based on SAVING money to invest it on something that generates value, consumerism it's seen as a no-no, you should buy ONLY useful stuff at the best possible price in order to maximise your savings so you can invest them and generate more wealth and to send proper data to those who produce the goods to only create useful stuff and minimise waste of resources.

The problem, it's that most of the Occidental World nowadays it's Keynesian and that's why everything it's going to hell.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:15 pm Reply with quote
I don't find the 'it's not real capitalism' defense any more compelling than the 'it's not real socialism' one. It is real capitalism. It's certainly realer than any economics textbook or anime fantasy.

But looking at it, with warts and all, the idea that somehow it's only captalism that leads to the devaluation of human life in a world where we can still see the ruin and terror spread by those governments which just knew better, where No Guns Life wouldn't even be an exaggeration of their abuse of humanity, just comes across as luxurious whining, not credible criticism. The world simply isn't going to hell. It doesn't matter how much you scream about it, things are, for most, better than they ever have been.
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Minos_Kurumada



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:47 pm Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
I don't find the 'it's not real capitalism' defense any more compelling than the 'it's not real socialism' one. It is real capitalism. It's certainly realer than any economics textbook or anime fantasy.

But looking at it, with warts and all, the idea that somehow it's only captalism that leads to the devaluation of human life in a world where we can still see the ruin and terror spread by those governments which just knew better, where No Guns Life wouldn't even be an exaggeration of their abuse of humanity, just comes across as luxurious whining, not credible criticism. The world simply isn't going to hell. It doesn't matter how much you scream about it, things are, for most, better than they ever have been.


I specifically explained why it's not real Capitalism, Liberal Economics it's based on saving and Keynesianism on spending.

Of course it's a simplification, but that's the crux of the issue, you can consider Keynesianism a form of Capitalism if you wish, a lot of people do.

Milton Friedman considered Keynes a good man who died too soon, others like Huerta de Soto considered Keynes a monster and others like Javier Milei considers Keynes a "Socialist Light".

But well, as they say, "If you have 2 economist in a room you will have 3 opinions".

Anyways, it's not like Socialism, which specifically it's the government "Owning the means of production", if the Government owns or tries to own the means of production it's either Socialism or tries to be.

People who claim "It's not real socialism" it's because their definition it's "Government owning the means of production and unicorns fly on the sky and it rains donuts and every day it's Christmas", since Venezuela it's a disaster, well, it's "Not real Socialism" but it totally was 15 years ago when it worked (it didn't).
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meiam



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:54 pm Reply with quote
Capitalism has tons of flaws, but it also has incredible virtue. These kinds of show focus solely on the flaw and not the virtue and so there discourse comes off as poorly research. Either the writer take all of capitalism virtue as inherent to any system or they don't care and just bash capitalism because they know its always going to be popular.

Also the criticism of the military industrial complex really need to look at actual numbers, the amount of money spent on actual weapon is minuscule compared to almost every other type of spending in society. And that money often goes to program that really aren't bad, like research and development of technology that often end up with tremendous civilian application (computer and the internet would have never gotten where they are today without military backing, and that's only what's immediately relevant, similarly the military are the most enthusiast organisation about developing fully functional prosthetic, if you ever see a kid born without a limb but who get a prosthetic, you can thank the evil military industrial complex). Most country military spending end spend on pension and health care for veteran or non combatant personal.
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