Robert Taylor in the Comments Section

Mr. Taylor is ruffling quite a few feathers (Thank God! There is hope for us yet.) in the comments section, which indicates there is yet hope for mankind. When his comments elicit storms of praise, we need to start worrying. A lot.

Most can’t figure out where this extremely pro-capitalist person is coming from.

Robert Taylor is an extremely hardline Libertarian type. More of an anarcho-capitalist. He’s so radical he thinks most of his fellow Libertarians are socialists. Just so you know who you’re dealing with.

Libertarianism is rocket-fueled, turbocharged, Racer’s Edge capitalism on steroids to the nth power. If you’re dubious at all about capitalism as the ultra-wonderful system our parties and media say it is, trust, me Libertarianism is not for you!

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48 thoughts on “Robert Taylor in the Comments Section”

  1. Free education, free health care, free child care, free nursing home care, guaranteed vacation time, and generous unemployment payments? At the expense of the wealthy?

    This is tyranny exemplified, my friends.

    Anyone who is not an economic simpleton should understand the obvious fact that the people of Mississippi are vastly better off than the people of Germany.

  2. Simply put, Libertarianism and Capitalism go hand in hand for a simple reason: Economic Calculation.

    Since capital goods and labor are highly heterogeneous (i.e. they have different characteristics that pertain to physical productivity) economic calculation requires a common basis for comparison for all forms of capital and labor.

    Money, as a means of exchange, allows many different goods to be analyzed in terms of their cost in a very easy way; the cheaper good is a more desirable one to use. This is the signaling function of prices, and the rationing function prevents over-use of any resource.

    Without money to facilitate easy comparisons, Socialism lacks any way to compare different goods and services. Decisions made will therefore be largely arbitrary and without sufficient knowledge, often on the whim of bureaucrats.

    It happens to be that Capitalism as a form of Economic freedom relies on Freedom in General, and thus Libertarianism is implied when it comes to political ideology.

  3. Looks to me like Mr Taylor is simply stringing together humongous, pretentious words that never get used in normal conversation even by economics professors, and trying to make them appear to say something which supports capitalism and reflects negatively on socialism, when in reality they mean gobbledygook. He’s obviously practicing the old adage “if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit.”

    I know Mr. Taylor will reply (if he reads this) that I “simply don’t have the education or intellect to understand it” but even an 11th grader from a school in colored town would recognize this pablum as shinola.

      1. You are arguing against a non-existent position (at least among the mainstream left).

        Nobody argues that centralized economies are more efficient than free market economies (they are not), merely that certain kinds of controlled wealth redistribution provide a higher standard of living for the general population than more laissez-faire systems.

        The argument is not between Socialism and Capitalism, but rather between regulated free markets and unrestrained free markets.

        1. Wealth redistribution = Socialism.

          By definition, and by your own admittance (as well as Robert Lindsay’s), a more efficient economy is one that meets the demands of the masses.

          So….more efficient economy = higher standard of living.

        2. If you wish to define wealth redistribution, then yes, I advocate limited and practical forms of Socialism, as opposed to your Utopian and unreachable form of zero-government Anarcho-Capitalism.

          You are wrong that a more efficient economy = higher standard of living.

          If the excess wealth generated by a more efficient economy is consumed exclusively by a small proportion (around a tenth), and that efficiency also means a sustained decrease in living standards for the majority of the population, the increased efficiency of the economy is not in my view socially desirable.

        3. Anarcho-capitalism is clearly a realist movement. It has nothing to do with Utopia. This is because omniscience is denied to man. Man will always make mistakes in calculation, but with Capitalism, he has economics indicators of profit and loss that signal to him when he is making mistakes.

          On the other hand, your “limited, practical” Socialist system meets all the criteria for empowering elites and increasing the vampiristic welfare state.

          There are only two ways to create wealth: one is through production, aptly called The Economic Means. The other is by taking resources from one group to give to the other, aptly called The Political Means.

          Your excess wealth talk displays a blatant economic illiteracy. You simply don’t know how markets work or how capital is produced. But that won’t stop you from having an opinion on it, now will it?

        4. Man will always make mistakes in calculation, but with Capitalism, he has economics indicators of profit and loss that signal to him when he is making mistakes.

          No disagreements here. Capitalism generates more total wealth in less time. Duh..

          On the other hand, your “limited, practical” Socialist system meets all the criteria for empowering elites and increasing the vampiristic welfare state.

          All rhetoric, no data, no argumentation. Just like pretty much all anarcho-capitalists and extremist libertarians.

          I am actually rather interested in having a rational discussion with you on the basis of objective data, but this doesn’t seem to be a mutual interest.

          There are only two ways to create wealth: one is through production, aptly called The Economic Means. The other is by taking resources from one group to give to the other, aptly called The Political Means.

          What are you talking about? Wealth redistribution does not create wealth by definition. It redistributes it. Wealth is only created by economic activity.

          Your excess wealth talk displays a blatant economic illiteracy. You simply don’t know how markets work or how capital is produced. But that won’t stop you from having an opinion on it, now will it?

          All rhetoric, no bite, what a surprise.

          I am not using the word “excess” in a Marxist manner, because I am not a Marxist.

          I am agreeing with you that capitalism and free markets are more efficient at producing maximum gross economic output. Nobody disputes this. Even hard-core Communists do not dispute this. The US has a higher per capita GDP than every Western European and Scandinavian nations (excluding Norway (I guess that means Norway isn’t socialist?)).

          What I am disputing is your assertion that having a higher average income in all cases and under all circumstances provides a better standard of living for the population as a whole.

          Why does the US among the Western nations, despite it’s extremely high level of total wealth, lag in objective measures of population wellbeing such as life expectancy, health care access, educational achievement, infant mortality?

        5. America is a global hegemon with the largest defense budget and overseas bases, whereas the cushy European welfare states can afford to be generous because Uncle Sam protects them and so, little military spending and they have no global ambitions.

        6. David, I’m glad you actually want to discuss economics. I’m going to try to keep things in laymans terms but for that I’m going to have to address fallacies you bring up point by point and that might get lengthy given that you want complete analysis instead of just the implications of my statements: first off your use of GDP is a complete fallacy.

          GDP is a bogus way of measuring the state of an economy precisely because of what you agreed is necessary to create wealth: production. GDP measures consumption. The GDP framework gives the impression that it is not the activities of individuals that produce goods and services, but something else outside these activities called the “economy.” However, at no stage does the so-called “economy” have a life of its own independent of individuals. The so-called economy is a metaphor—it doesn’t exist.

          Secondly your raising of “standard of living” works as I used it in a rhetorical sense, but can in no way be proven objectively using your criteria. Let’s get serious here. Correlation does not equal causation. Economic growth is the only sign of the rise in standard of living.

          That’s why I addressed your Economic illiteracy. I don’t mean it condescendingly. All these statistics and data are meaningless unless you have set forth a theory from which to measure such data. Clearly you can’t. In fact this historical data is so dense, there’s really not much more than arbitrary use of it for political arguments.

          This is why Economics deals with the a priori, not statistics. Human beings and their interactions cannot be measured using the methods of the natural sciences. Capitalism works because it allows calculation. Now listen, there have been Economists who were Nazis. They understood Economics, but held that something like 100% literacy in the economy is more important. Economics doesn’t dictate what ultimate ends should be.

          I say they should be up to the individual, you say they should be up to a ruling elite.

        7. … your use of GDP is a complete fallacy. GDP is a bogus way of measuring the state of an economy precisely because of what you agreed is necessary to create wealth: production. GDP measures consumption. The GDP framework gives the impression that it is not the activities of individuals that produce goods and services, but something else outside these activities called the “economy.” However, at no stage does the so-called “economy” have a life of its own independent of individuals. The so-called economy is a metaphor—it doesn’t exist.

          Gross Domestic Product is defined as the total market value of all goods and services produced in a nation over a given period of time. I don’t quite understand your differentiation between consumption and production here. How can a good or service be consumed if it does not exist? I’ve never read a convincing argument that the statistical difference between Gross Domestic Product and Gross Domestic Income is meaningful over the long term. The two track each other very closely. Even if GDI were more a “more real” measure, pretty much all statements I have made are still true substituting the term “GDI” for “GDP.”

          Unless you are not even talking about GDP/GDI distinction and instead take philosophical issue with the word “gross,” as a collectivist metaphor for an impersonal economy, rather than an economy of individuals. I see what you are saying about the metaphor, but GDP as a statistic doesn’t have anything implicit to say about the underlying mechanisms of economics or wealth creation; it’s only purpose is to tabulate a sum of the total amount of wealth that is created.

          …raising of “standard of living” … can in no way be proven objectively using your criteria … Economic growth is the only sign of the rise in standard of living.

          I am going to have to seriously dispute your assertion that the “standard of living,” or social wellbeing, of a given nation cannot be defined or measured with any objective reliability. In addition to gross creation of new goods and services (economic growth), factors such as income inequality, access to healthcare, health outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality, death rates from individual diseases), malnutrition rates, literacy and educational achiement rates, and both relative and absolute poverty rates can all be measured with a good deal of accuracy.

          This is why Economics deals with the a priori, not statistics. Human beings and their interactions cannot be measured using the methods of the natural sciences.

          I have read this argument made before about economics being a philosophy rather than a natural science. It makes zero sense to me. If you want your discipline to be ungrounded in real world facts, then don’t go on to make prescriptive claims about how the real world ought to be run.

          All natural sciences have axiomatic assumptions. Upon observation of facts (statistical or otherwise), these axioms are periodically tested, revised, or dismissed entirely in favor of new assumptions that fit the data. We don’t conclude that capitalism is an efficient wealth generator because it is a nice idea that we can deduce from contemplation, the conclusion is made because we observe (statistically) that (comparatively) de-centralized and free economies as a whole generate wealth at a faster rate than (comparatively) centralized economies.

          Likewise, we can observe indicators such as the Gini coefficient, and standard of living data, and make conclusions about which types of capitalistic systems deliver the greatest net benefit to their populations.

          Economics doesn’t dictate what ultimate ends should be.

          Their are a number of ends, for example as avoidance of bad health and death for yourself and your children, avoidance of malnutrition, and avoidance of squalor, which can be safely generalized for over 99% of the population and as such considered universal or ultimate ends.

          I say they should be up to the individual, you say they should be up to a ruling elite.

          We are differing on who the ruling elite should be, not whether or not there should be one. I am an advocate of power being in the hands of a constitutionally restrained democratically elected government with certain limited powers (one of them being, yes, wealth redistribution). You are an advocate of power and capital being in the hands of an extremely tiny clique of the ultra-rich. I am a democrat (small d), you are a plutocrat.

          Additionally, you are creating a false dichotomy that, in my opinion, exposes your political position (anarcho-capitalism) as an extremist and unpragmatic one to take.

          You set up the choice as one between zero government (anarchy) and a totalitarian government with control of all capital. This has never been the choice. The choice is rather between an unrestrained free market and a generally free market in which limited amounts of wealth redistribution are taking place. That’s it.

        8. Additionally, you are creating a false dichotomy that, in my opinion, exposes your political position (anarcho-capitalism) as an extremist and unpragmatic one to take.

          You set up the choice as one between zero government (anarchy) and a totalitarian government with control of all capital. This has never been the choice. The choice is rather between an unrestrained free market and a generally free market in which limited amounts of wealth redistribution are taking place. That’s it.

          The Hobbesian nightmare the anarcho-capitalist crazies would institute if they had their way would be every bit as bad as Stalinism, if not worse.

          AnCaps want to privatize all bodies of water. If socialism is wealth redistribution, what would selling Lake Superior to a private party amount to besides an extreme, inhumane form of wealth redistribution? The Great Lakes belong to the people of the US and Canada represented by their governments, and the people would never consent to privatizing them. Privatizing the commons of the Great Lakes and the oceans would amount to theft. Who on earth would receive the payment for an ocean, if you could even put a price on it? Also, if the so-called “thieving state” is illegitimate, who has the authority to sell or receive payment for Lake Superior in the first place?

          http://mises.org/journals/scholar/waterprivate.pdf

          This article contains the amusing vision of technological breakthroughs enabling electrified fences (!) in the oceans to keep fish in their proper place.

          The public policy recommendation stemming from this analysis is merely that the law should now be changed so as to recognize fish ownership in a given cubic area of ocean when and if such an act becomes technically viable.

          I guess whales and dolphins will have to stay put, or buy EZ-Passes or something.

          Not that any of this is going to matter by 2050. Oh wait, I forgot, demand creates supply. If tuna was $1800 a can, no one would be able to afford it, so the fish will never run out.

          In the anarcho-capitalist world even the clouds will dangle price tags like Minnie Pearl’s hat:

          If the oceans and the air, from which and in which these disasters emanate, were allowed by law to be owned by firms or individuals, at least in principle, this might well set up the first steps in mankind’s long journey to quelling these “natural” disasters.

          So much for the “Non-Aggression Axiom”. You can hardly get more aggressive or coercive than redistributing ownership of every inch of the biosphere to a tiny plutocracy. The Enclosures were a pajama party compared to this.

          I can’t believe this guy teaches at Loyola in New Orleans. The Jesuits used to have standards.

        9. AnCaps want to privatize all bodies of water.

          One of the more peculiar aspects of the anarcho-capitalist mode of thought is that, in their fundamentalist worship of the free market, they deny the existence of both externalities in economic transactions as well as public goods. What makes this queer is that essentially all non-Austrian school economists acknowledge these rather mundane concepts, including Milton Friedman (who incidentally Murray Rothbard denounced a Venomous Big Government Statist Interventionist Socialist, further attesting to the weirdness of the Anarcho-Capitalist school).

          The physical fact of the matter is that the atmospheric system of the planet is interconnected, as are the oceans. What you dump into one part of the system affects the entire system by definition. When you have an economic transaction that generates a net increase in wealth for the individual participants, yet possesses negative externalities affecting public goods such as the air or ocean (for example, pollution), you have a prototypical situation of market failure (another fairly pedestrian and widely acknowledged concept in mainstream economics that Austrians deny the existence of). The sole purpose of government really (in my view) is to correct the environmental and societal failures of pure market tendencies (which really are manifold) through a combination of (controlled) wealth redistribution and regulation.

        10. dangle price tags like Minnie Pearl’s hat

          Lol! I was at this girl’s apartment a few months ago (she’s either a Kentucky or a Tennessee girl, I forget which) who was smoking weed and watching Youtube clips of Minnie Pearl. I’d never heard of her before. She is pretty funny.

      2. Here’s an answer that’s grounded in…reality.
        France is a socialist country.
        I own 12 acres of undeveloped farmland that was bequeathed to me by my grandparents.
        It’s smack-dab in the middle of a medium-sized industrial city that’s grown around it.
        I’ve been in negotiations for a price from a half dozen different developers for 3 yrs.
        When I say “OK”, I’ll make alot of capitalisty moolah. Alot.
        They will then build.
        Socialism has veddy good to me.

        1. Lol, France has a capitalist economy like the rest of Europe, based on private ownership, free enterprise and free markets.

          They just have higher taxes in general (and much higher taxes for the wealthy and ultra-wealthy in particular) to provide healthcare, education, and generous work/retirement benefits for the population at large.

  4. lol David, I can’t figure out if your joking or not, but unfortunately it seems to be the latter.

    In another post you lampoon the fact that Swedes aren’t lusting after the prospect of living in US Black ghettos, LOL! fecking brilliant! These ghettos are presumably bad only because they’re “capitalist,” not Black eh? And now you’re choosing the state with a highest percentage of Blacks to compare with Germany.

    Since you’re on a race realist (albeit a liberal one) blog, presumably you’re aware of some of these issues.

    Perhaps socialism works better Whiter (or Asianer) countries. Perhaps regardless of economic systems, higher IQ people tend to do better.

    These thoughts never occurred to you before choosing “Mississippi and Black ghettos” versus “Germany and Sweden” as the best examples of socialism vs capitalism or left vs right?

    1. Exchange West Virginia (96% white) or Kentucky (91% white) for Mississippi, the argument is unchanged.

      I am acutely aware of the racial issues you point out, and they occurred to me. I simply thought it was amusing Robert Taylor made the claim that, due to the fact that blacks in America have a higher average income than Sweden (I haven’t found the data, but there is a good chance they do), this by definition means they have a higher average standard of living or quality of life than Sweden. It’s a ludicrous argument.

      1. Yeah, why are you posting this shit, fpy? You actually believe this clown Friedman? He’s a liar. Just about everything he says is a lie. Worse, his lies sold millions of books and took over the entire field of Economics, and hold sway there to this very day. But it’s all lies, all of it. This Friedman is just another lying Jew.

        The West did not make a lot of its money off slavery? WTF.

        The West did not make any money off colonialism? Colonialism was a mutually beneficial arrangement? WTF man. The guy is simply a bastard, a scumbag. The lowest of the low. The corporate media swooned over this bastard every day of his life from 1980 on. When he died, they wrote glorious elegies to his greatness. Sickening.

        Friedman is a pig.

        1. What about his argument that holding colonies cost more for the imperial power than adding any economic benefits? I’m just trying to learn more. I never said I liked this guy.

        2. It’s not clear whether this argument is rhetorical or Friedman has actually analyzed the data involved.

          You would need to locate the studies he is referring to by Jacob Viner and judge for yourself.

        3. Are you aware of the appalling pseudo-historian Niall Ferguson, who gets a lot of media attention by bringing out books in this sort of vein – highlighting all the good the Brit Empire did for the world?

          He did a series for the BBC ” the Ascent of Money” I think it was called. One episode is a love song to Milton Friedman and focuses a lot on Allende’s Chile. Imagine Ferguson’s simpering voice and seedy-priest-enticing-a-little-boy face as he explains ” Allende was about to institute a Marxist totalitarian police state, so the government asked the army to stage a coup…” .

          Then he explained that Friedman was called in to aid the government. Here Ferguson is tormented by a moral conundrum: was Friedman right to co-operate with this government who some had accused of serious human rights infringements? In the balance, yes, he thinks it was right because it set Chile on the road for a stable and prosperous economy and a fair and just society.

          He omits a few details like the tens of thousands of social workers and teachers dropped out of airplanes’ bomb-bays into the Atlantic, and that the Chilean economy, which had been pretty good and improving under Allende, collapsed under Friedman’s tutelage, and they resorted to good old socialism, nationalising the banks, and re-nationalising the mines.

          The banality of evil or the evil of banality?

  5. I’ve spent a lot of time in WV and Kentucky. They are actually pretty nice places.

    But yeah, you’re right about Taylor’s reasoning being faulty in the average income argument; fair enough.

  6. I think I see now some of where Taylor is coming from. He’s just re-visiting the well-worn discussion about the price mechanism versus central planning, and their comparative efficiency in distributing goods and services. Others here seem to also have extracted this much sense from Taylor’s oracular utterances. And yes, we’re all agreed that nearly everyone nowadays is agreed that there’s a definite problem here with central planning, as the Soviet system showed.

    But that doesn’t imply that the opposite extreme is necessarily ideal, or even possible. A genuinely free market has never existed anywhere in any time. Since there have been markets there have been human governments or rulers regulating them – otherwise they would just be a battlefield.

    And there is nothing in the function of the price mechanism that depends on profit going into private rather than communal hands. If it all goes into private hands, then inevitably ( as can be plainly seen now) you get monopolies, and there is no free market.

    Taylor sometimes sounds like he’s been reading Carl Schmitt, the nazis’ legal theorist. These mercenary philosophers always seem to find some inevitability, some fatalism, which somehow alway seems to favour the rich. This is an attempt to trick us into believing we are dumb beasts rather than humans, the animal that can make its own environment. There is no iron law that says the rich must have unbridled power. You will have redistribution one way or the other: one way leads to tyranny and slavery; the other to democracy and a functional market – that is the measure of equitable distribution, the distribution that prevents private wealth growing to the point that it can buy the vote and rig the market.

    So say what you want. Libertarianism is just a cop out. You want private tyranny, the powerful to crush the weak. Everyone sleeping with a gun under the pillow, always watching their back, and trusting and loving no-one. There’s a world worth living in.

    1. These are my thoughts almost exactly on the matter. You beat me to the punch LaFayette, but I’m going to write out a lengthy response of my own, just ’cause I wanna.

    2. Lafayette, I’m glad at least you’re now seeing where I’m coming from.

      Ok, so a truly free market might not be desirable. That’s true. If there was some sort of value in a society that went against the outcomes of the free market, then you might have a case. However, there has never been proven such a thing. Human values are not only different between individuals, they change within those same individuals dependent on the conditions they find themselves in!

      Economics takes this subjective theory of value and tries to find how human action can achieve any of their desired ultimate ends through the best means.

      It turns out that political means are very ineffective. This is because a bureaucrat can never know what the changing dynamic values of his jurisdiction are at any given time.

      So would a free market be more desirable than a regulated market? I say yes, because it is more efficient at meeting the values of people.

      Your claim of monopolies is clearly not an attack of the FREE market of which you previously say has never existed. Has it never existed? I’d argue it has.

      Products of spontaneous order such as language serve as proof. No central planner ordered a language to emerge, it simply did, through the social cooperation of human beings realizing that to achieve ends, communication and cooperation are necessary. There are examples of this aplenty in our everyday world.

      But even if a truly free market hasn’t existed, history is still on the side of free markets because as we can plainly see, history shows a continuing positive trend from Authoritarianism to Freedom and Economic hampering to Economic Growth going hand in hand.

      1. Human values are not only different between individuals, they change within those same individuals dependent on the conditions they find themselves in!

        My God, you’re right!

        I wanted to eat, have a functional sewage system and access to healthcare today, but maybe I might not want those things tomorrow!

  7. David wrot:
    “Lol, France has a capitalist economy like the rest of Europe, based on private ownership, free enterprise and free markets.

    They just have higher taxes in general (and much higher taxes for the wealthy and ultra-wealthy in particular) to provide healthcare, education, and generous work/retirement benefits for the population at large.”
    _______________

    Actually, France is socialist..if it ain’t I don’t who is.
    The taxes in France aren’t really higher when compared to ours. Maybe that’s true for the wealthy, but that’s only fair. For the average Joe, the taxes are around the same yet they get so much more for it. They used to have a higher unemployment rate @ 10%, but since they have so many socialist safety nets and protections, it’s not nearly as limiting, and a large part of the unemployment rate for them is students. Also, there are protections for them in the free market system, and there’s regulation, and they don’t have lobbying and special interests interfering in elections and buying politicians.
    There’s no such thing as a pure socialist or communist state.
    Nor do we really have a free market system here.
    In fact, every business, every iconic corporation, every wealthy person owes their success to handouts from the government in one form or another. Many of our largest, oldest and most well-known companies wouldn’t exist today were it not for government intervention or propping-up.
    I originally wanted to draw attention to Mr Taylors use of pretentious big words like “fallacy”, “Rhetorical” and “spontaneous”..who uses those kinds of huge dictionary-words? Why not just use a word like “perfunctory” or “counter-intuitive”? It’s a smokescreen, hubcaps on a rickety tractor.
    Ridiculous.

      1. In this sense all first world nations are socialist more or less. I think a better characterization of countries rather than capitalist/socialist is the degree of socialization present in the country.

        France is more socialized than the United States, but the United States is way more socialized than a place like, say, Hong Kong, what with state owned universities, student grants, subsidized loans, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, 40 hour work weeks, overtime pay, minimum wage, work place safety laws, etc.

        1. Of course all First World nations are socialist to one degree or another. I consider social democracy to be a form of socialism. Our social democracy here in the US is very weak though, and seemingly getting weaker all the time. Most government programs other than police, prisons, courts and military are socialist in some way.

          Any state spending that benefits the ordinary guy is a socialist program. I agree with the Robert Taylor types on this. They characterize most state spending as socialist also.

      2. In the end neither France nor the US is inherently socialist or capitalist, but both are democracies. If the French wanted to toss out all their social protections (lol, right) next election cycle they could simply vote in a party advocating this, or form one that did (it would actually be relatively more straightforward to do this as the French political system is more multi-party oriented rather than a two-party system like ours).

        Likewise, the United States has the option of moving in a more socialist direction, which it has in fact been doing ever since Theodore Roosevelt, only rather more slowly than other nations for various reasons.

        1. It’s true. I agree with the Tea Partiers and Birchers on this. There is some quote from Norman Thomas of the old socialist party in which he said though his party never won an election, much of what they advocated in 1918 eventually came to pass in one form or another later on anyway. The Bircher / Tea Partiers love that quote because it shows we are a socialist country. I agree, but we’re not socialist enough.

          And here in California, we are going backwards lately. It’s fucked up.

  8. @Dano they’re not smoke screens. I just realized David responded to my post with a long post of his own. I have a response but I won’t be able to post it up until later tonight probably…

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