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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:32 am 
Smeric
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Or you could have a semi-parliamentary system. Also, parliamentary to me suggests some of the conventions in parliamentary systems as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:33 am 
Avisaru
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mèþru wrote:
Or you could have a semi-parliamentary system. Also, parliamentary to me suggests some of the conventions in parliamentary systems as well.


It's sort of like what we have in France. Basically, it's a parliamentary system. The president is elected separately, but elections are synced so that the president gets a majority in the Assemblée Nationale.

The current election is interesting. It's probable that the next president will not be from one of the two mainstream parties; so getting a majority in parliament will be a challenge.
(The FN doesn't do well in the legislative elections; Macron - the current favorite - has started his own party just last year. The far left doesn't do that well in the legislative elections either, so Mélenchon would have trouble too).

Personally, I think our system isn't that great - I'd much rather have a German-like parliamentary system with proportional representation. I can't complain, though; I wouldn't like the British system with its dictatorial Prime Minister and FPTP elections.

Getting back on presidential system,

French history provides two examples of presidential systems not being stable:

Our early attempts at constitutional monarchy weren't very far from the US system. (Basically, remove the Senate, replace the president with the King, and you've got our very first constitution.) We ended up killing that king, cue Reign of Terror. I suppose that counts as a failure.

In 1848 France tried a presidential system. The president ended up proclaiming himself emperor a few years later. (On the other hand, we should have seen it coming electing Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I)


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:24 am 
Smeric
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Basically, I think parliament should use STV unless if it is a small country with little to no regionalism (like Israel)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:40 am 
Smeric
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http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2017031 ... osexuality

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:19 pm 
Sanno
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Ars Lande wrote:
Getting back on presidential system,

French history provides two examples of presidential systems not being stable:


To be fair, French history also offers the world's premier example* of an unstable parliamentary system too, in the Fourth Republic. (the Third wasn't that great either, but it was at least relatively long-lived by French standards). 21 Prime Ministers in 10 years. So possibly the message there is just that France isn't stable.


*OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years). But for political students it's either the French Fourth or the Italian First (40 Prime Ministers in 40 years, from the fall of de Gasperi to the rise of Berlusconi - less intense but longer; on the other hand a lot of that chaos was due to Italians, rather than the system per se (eg a huge number of PMs were brought down by corruption charges, one was murdered, etc); the title in Italy goes to Fanfani's sixth administration, which last three months, narrowly beating Tambroni's four-month long fascist-backed attempt).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:23 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?

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Last edited by Frislander on Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:27 pm 
Sanno
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Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.



...er, yes, that's what "the consequences" referred to there; I thought the context was well-enough known that I didn't have to spell out the details. (cf. WWII, Holocaust, etc).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:38 pm 
Smeric
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I think any French or Italian democratic governing system is going to be chaotic due to culture.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:43 pm 
Avisaru
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Things did not get to Hitler-levels in the French Fourth Republic, but things were pretty dire by the end, though. Arguably it even ended in a coup, albeit a benevolent one, if there is such a thing.

Let's be fair though, the Third Republic didn't do that bad. And the Fifth Republic has done well till then - no worse than elsewhere in any case. So we can do stable when we want.
Since 1958 things have been remarkably stable. Perhaps that's a bad thing; I wouldn't mind a little more chaos.

But we'll see after the election if Salmoneus and mèþru are correct and France is, indeed, unstable. (I read somewhere the current socialist government plans to hold on until the legislature passes a motion of no confidence if Le Pen wins the presidency; which is contrary to the established custom but apparently constitutional. While I have no particular desire to watch that particular train wrecks, it'll be fun to watch from a safe distance.)


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:58 pm 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
To be fair, French history also offers the world's premier example* of an unstable parliamentary system too, in the Fourth Republic. (the Third wasn't that great either, but it was at least relatively long-lived by French standards). 21 Prime Ministers in 10 years. So possibly the message there is just that France isn't stable.

*OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years). But for political students it's either the French Fourth or the Italian First (40 Prime Ministers in 40 years, from the fall of de Gasperi to the rise of Berlusconi […]).

What about interwar Poland — 20 PMs and 29 cabinets in 18 years (with the last three years before WWII having only one PM and cabinet due to a movement towards presidential system)?

Quote:
I think any French or Italian democratic governing system is going to be chaotic due to culture.

At least they are not Africans… /s

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:05 pm 
Smeric
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Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?
I have heard this idea many a time before, but I don't buy it: by 1933, the other countries in Europe were unfortunately mostly authoritarian governments themselves, and half of those that weren't, were colonial empires. Oh and a civil war resulting later in a dictatorship. So the real question is not "how did Germany fall to fascism?" but rather "how did Switzerland and Scandinavia not succumb? And Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia and Romania so late?".


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:32 pm 
Avisaru
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jmcd wrote:
Frislander wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=


I mean it doesn't take much to see why that is: it was the weaknesses of Weimar which enabled Hitler's rise to power.

EDIT: Why did I have to be Captain obvious here?
I have heard this idea many a time before, but I don't buy it: by 1933, the other countries in Europe were unfortunately mostly authoritarian governments themselves, and half of those that weren't, were colonial empires. Oh and a civil war resulting later in a dictatorship. So the real question is not "how did Germany fall to fascism?" but rather "how did Switzerland and Scandinavia not succumb? And Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia and Romania so late?".


I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:32 pm 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=

Frislander wrote:
I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

I feel that's exactly what Sal had in mind in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:28 am 
Avisaru
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Pole, the wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
OK, in the public mind the premier example is Weimar, but that's more for the consequences than the process. (14 chancellors in 14 years).=

Frislander wrote:
I agree: we only remember Germany because of what followed (and because it's been a staple of history curricula in this country for decades now), and we remain mosly ignorant of the rest of Europe.

I feel that's exactly what Sal had in mind in the first place.


Oh the circularity!

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:54 pm 
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I feel very stupid right now, but I can't figure out how "credit cards" work, as I'm used to debit cards. I tried to read the article on Wikipedia, but it talks a lot about the network and the banks, without conveying how people actually use them. So, can American people explain to me how you use credit cards in your day-to-day life?

Here's what I'm used to in France. When I open a bank account, I get a card (theoretically it's optional, but in practice it's too useful to decline). In French, I call it a "carte bleue", even though they haven't been blue for a long time (and the actual Carte Bleue scheme is now obsolete); you'd probably call that a "debit card".

I can:
- Go to a bank, enter my card and input my secret code into a cash machine, and withdraw some money.[$] Within 2 to 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the corresponding amount.
- Go to a shop, and buy something using my card and my secret code. Again, within 2 or 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the amount.
- Use the numbers on the card to order something online. That's basically the only way to use a card if you don't know its secret code.

There's little point in having several cards for a single person, as the money will come from the same account anyway (Edit: unless you own several bank accounts) (of course, two people who have a joint account can get one card each). There's a limit to how much you can pay or withdraw in a week, but it's as much a security as an annoyance (if someone steals your card and somehow manages to use it, they can't take too much money from you). And if your bank account gets too negative, your card can be blocked.

Can someone tell me a comparable story about your experience with credit cards?

[$] Incidentally, when I went to the US, it came as a surprise that every dinky little shop has its own ATM. In France, you see ATMs mostly in banks or post offices, and occasionally in large malls.


Last edited by Ryusenshi on Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:33 pm 
Smeric
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Quote:
- Go to a bank, enter my card and input my secret code into a cash machine, and withdraw some money.[$] Within 2 to 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the corresponding amount.
- Go to a shop, and buy something using my card and my secret code. Again, within 2 or 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the amount.

2 to 3 business days? That seems quite slow. But maybe it depends on the bank.

But anyway, I have never used a credit card either.

In Poland, contactless debit cards seem common. I have got one and I use it for most of my payments — to the degree I use almost no cash and I haven't had a real need for an ATM for several months, if not longer. There is also a limit (e.g. 50 PLN) below which you don't need to input your PIN.

I also use my debit card for online payments, but I prefer to pay directly via my bank's website — for a convenience of not having to type the card's number. In most cases, paying with a card requires logging to the bank's website anyway and then typing in an SMS code.

Quote:
There's little point in having several cards for a single person, as the money will come from the same account anyway (of course, two people who have a joint account can get one card each).

I have got three bank accounts at two different banks (it's a long story) and two debit cards, one of them contactless. If I had to visit some place in the Eurozone in the near future, I'd probably take a third debit card, connected to a EUR account.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:51 pm 
Lebom
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Pole, the wrote:
2 to 3 business days? That seems quite slow. But maybe it depends on the bank.

Probably. But I notice the delay when I check my bank account online.

Contactless paying is getting more and more common in France. But my card is getting old and doesn't offer this.

Pole, the wrote:
I have got three bank accounts at two different banks (it's a long story) and two debit cards, one of them contactless.

You're right, I should have mentioned the case where one person has several bank accounts.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:29 am 
Avisaru
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Ryusenshi wrote:
Can someone tell me a comparable story about your experience with credit cards?


For my first credit card, my father and I went to a bank, we filled out some paperwork, and I got a shiny card. Since then, I've acquired them generally via mail/online.

I think of credit cards as being debit cards, except that instead of the money being deducted from my account at the time of purchase, all of my purchases for a month are lumped together and I pay all of them at once, after I've had a chance to look over my statement and make sure that the list of payments is right. And, if I really really really need to, for a fee, I can avoid paying all of it this month, and instead pay it next month (I've only actually done this once in 15 years, I think, and that was because of a particularly large purchase).

At a higher level, what happens when I make a "payment" with a credit card is that my credit card issuer (e.g. Discover) immediately pays (like a debit card) the merchant say, 15 bucks, and receives implicitly from me a signed contract saying "Axiem will pay Discover 15 bucks in the future". This shifts some of the risk around e.g. stolen credentials away from me as a user, and onto the big, scary finance company. And I don't have to try to remember my PIN just to make a purchase. On the other hand, Discover will only let me get away with so much of this (my "credit limit", which is basically a function of how much money I make and whether or not I pay my credit card bill monthly), but I rarely get anywhere up there in practice, so it's a bit moot.

There's more complexity to it (in terms of how merchants are charged, and how risk gets mitigated, and how credit cards can get away with 5–10% back schemes), but that's the nutshell.

Though these days, I do it through Apple Pay when I can, but that's just using my phone instead of a card.

My spouse and I have 5 cards between us:
- A shared bank debit card for ATMs the one time every year we actually need cash (and for those rare places that only take debit)
- A shared credit card that is our primary purchaser, mostly because it has a good rewards program
- My spouse has their own credit card that they never use, but it's tied to the mortgage account and could theoretically be used for gifts and things that I can't see
- I have my own credit card that is paid out of my personal allowance bank account, and largely is my lunches and gifts and things
- I have my own debit card that's attached to my personal allowance bank account, but it doesn't live in my wallet so in practice, I don't have it

We used to have a 6th specifically for gasoline, but they stopped giving you the rewards for it if you didn't actually use it for anything else, so we went to our shared one because it has decent rewards on gas.


In terms of day-to-day life, somewhere close to 100% of our purchases are done by credit card; for me, I choose between personal or shared based on the context; my spouse always uses the shared card. I imagine it's pretty similar to using a debit card for everything, but we don't have any PINs to deal with, and we look at the statement monthly and pay it (and/or contest anything strange that shows up on there). Whether it's a physical card, Apple Pay, or typing numbers into a webpage depends on the context, but is functionally the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:49 am 
Avisaru
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Actually, let me run through a scenario. Let's say I go to lunch (while at work) at a wait-staffed restaurant. At the end of the meal, my server brings me the "check", which generally gives me a list of what I ordered and then a total amount owed (cost of everything plus sales tax).

I pull my personal credit card out and put it in the check-and-card holder thing and put it visible on my table. The server picks up the holder and goes and runs the card through the machine, and then brings it out to me with my credit card and (generally) three pieces of paper:
1. the original check. I tend to leave this at the restaurant.
2. a Merchant Copy, on which I write down the tip amount and sum up the owed amount and tip amount and write that, and then sign my name at the bottom (come to think of it, I'm pretty sure the thing I sign here is a contract saying "I as the cardholder agree to pay this much to the credit card company per my cardholder agreement"). This is what theoretically actually matters (though since they've already run the card and are holding onto it to know how much tip to input, if I neglect to sign/return it they'll probably just throw on a 15–20% tip, but it probably depends on the place)
3. a Customer Copy, on which you can write the tip and/or final sum, and keep for your records. In practice, at restaurants, I never keep this; at other retail places, I might depending on what I'm buying and what I think the chance of needing to return it is, as this is theoretically the receipt that indicates that you purchased the thing. Though at non-wait-staffed-restaurants, this flow is a little different because there's no tip)

Variations exist based on a variety of factors, but the basic flow is: my credit card is run, I sign one place (sometimes a piece of paper, other times on a screen; assuming the person even has me sign, since smaller purchases tend to ignore it) and potentially get a Customer Copy of the receipt (sometimes a piece of paper, sometimes an email) for my own records.

Does this make sense? Am I likely omitting any details that would un-confusify it?


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:17 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
First, presidential democracy is considered inherently unstable. Other than the US, and until the last ten years, no presidential system had ever remained democratic longer than 25 years - and the strong relationship between presidentialism and democratic failure has been demonstrated to hold good statistically even controlling for many other potentially relevent variables. [however, Zompist is likely to jump in here and argue about that again]
Second, parliamentary systems are associated with British rule, which is in turn associated with greater democratic stability and educational attainment, both of which are associated with greater economic success.


Oh sure, some argument. I'll say that Juan Linz is looking pretty good right now, for a dead man. In a nutshell, the problem is that presidential systems have competing sources of legitimacy. If there is a conflict between president and legislature, there is no constitutional or democratic way to resolve it. In Latin America this usually drags the military in; Venezuela right now is a textbook case for the problem (and lack of a solution).

You forgot Chile-- presidential for 41 years from 1932 to 1973. And the thing is, the system was ended by US intervention... one of dozens of US interventions in Latin America. I don't think you can just statistically aggregate Latin American and US experiences. In effect the real system in Latin America was an unconstitutional veto operated by the elite and another by the US.

Your own mention of British rule suggest how contingent political history can be. The success of a system is never just due to the choice of president or parliament. (Also, what do you mean by British rule? Are you including nations formed by British settlement, like Canada and Australia? Doesn't quite seem fair, since very few other imperial powers had such a thing. If you just look at the empires, I would think that Spanish rule has a better record than British-- Latin America is generally more prosperous than Africa + India-- but maybe that just shows that the earlier the decolonization the better.)

Besides, 2017 is not making either the US system or yours look good. The advantage of the UK parliamentary system is that the majority party can get things done (i.e. there's a single source of legitimacy). That's not so attractive when what the majority party wants to get done is execute a major disaster and possibly tear the country apart. In the US we can be thankful for a little gridlock, but worried that it was so easy for a dangerous buffoon to take power.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:25 am 
Sumerul
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Ryusenshi wrote:
I feel very stupid right now, but I can't figure out how "credit cards" work, as I'm used to debit cards. I tried to read the article on Wikipedia, but it talks a lot about the network and the banks, without conveying how people actually use them. So, can American people explain to me how you use credit cards in your day-to-day life?

Here's what I'm used to in France. When I open a bank account, I get a card (theoretically it's optional, but in practice it's too useful to decline). In French, I call it a "carte bleue", even though they haven't been blue for a long time (and the actual Carte Bleue scheme is now obsolete); you'd probably call that a "debit card".

I can:
- Go to a bank, enter my card and input my secret code into a cash machine, and withdraw some money.[$] Within 2 to 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the corresponding amount.
- Go to a shop, and buy something using my card and my secret code. Again, within 2 or 3 business days, my bank account is debited of the amount.
- Use the numbers on the card to order something online. That's basically the only way to use a card if you don't know its secret code.

There's little point in having several cards for a single person, as the money will come from the same account anyway (Edit: unless you own several bank accounts) (of course, two people who have a joint account can get one card each). There's a limit to how much you can pay or withdraw in a week, but it's as much a security as an annoyance (if someone steals your card and somehow manages to use it, they can't take too much money from you). And if your bank account gets too negative, your card can be blocked.

Can someone tell me a comparable story about your experience with credit cards?

[$] Incidentally, when I went to the US, it came as a surprise that every dinky little shop has its own ATM. In France, you see ATMs mostly in banks or post offices, and occasionally in large malls.

That's a debit card. A credit card is used exactly the same way to buy stuff at the point of use (except that you usually can't withdraw cash without a really big fee), but it's actually a loan that you pay back monthly. The way you pay the money is different; instead of automatically/immediately coming out of your account, you pay a bill. So you'd use it for things you want to collate and pay back in one lump sum or one-off high-cost items that you want to spread the cost of over several months.

Like for example if you want to buy a washing machine, it might cost several hundred dollars/euros/whatever, but you don't have that kind of money lying around, so you put it on your credit card and pay off a hundred dollars per month, which you can afford. That's actually the origin of credit cards: a century ago people used to actually go to the bank and authorize a loan in order to buy such items, and the whole process was a bit cumbersome, so someone came up with the idea of an ongoing loan in the form of credit cards.

The problem is when you don't pay the money back the same month, you're in debt. And then there's interest rates and other such things. I had a credit card a few years ago, but I put a few purchases on it and then I was a couple of hundred pounds in debt for quite a long time, because I would just pay the minimum and it would barely change the total amount. Eventually I paid it off and then cancelled the card so I wouldn't put myself in unnecessary debt.

Relatedly, one big beef I have with Japan is that debit cards are not widespread here – and a lot of credit card companies will deny foreigners on principle, so I still don't have a credit card after five years here, and only have a visa debit card with Rakuten bank, which is an online-only bank. My other bank card is only an ATM card. I don't think it even worked when I tried to use it abroad. I've heard Mitsubishi bank has a debit card, but I have no reason to open an account there. Other banks are even more weirdly obsolete - Japan Post still uses bank books instead of cards. I mean, I don't mind so much as cash is widely trusted and accepted here (unlike back home where people will often refuse £50 notes for example), and I can keep a tighter control on what I spend, but occasionally I just want to buy something online or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:12 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru
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Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:35 pm
Posts: 491
Location: Michigan, USA
Using a credit card can also help you build up your credit, which makes you look better when you go to rent an apartment or get a real loan or something of that nature. Essentially, if you use your credit card and pay it off consistently, you build up a record that demonstrates you're capable of paying your bills on time, so lenders/landlords will be more likely to trust you. That's why I got a credit card when I started college, even though I didn't have any intention of using it much, so that by the time I moved out on my own, I'd have good credit.

I have two credit cards, the one I've had since the beginning of college and a store credit card. (Store credit cards are basically regular credit cards, but you open them through a store. The store will have some kind of rewards program or discount if you use the card at the store.) My normal card, I virtually only use for buying gas, because I get 3% of that amount back. My store credit card, I only use when I'm shopping at that store (it's Banana Republic--I buy almost all of my work clothes there), because I can get discounts.

The rest of the time, I avoid using a credit card as much as possible. It is a loan, even if there's no interest if you pay it back the same month, and it doesn't come directly out of my bank account, so it's easy to lose track of spending when you use a credit card. So I stick to my debit card whenever possible.

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I generally forget to say, so if it's relevant and I don't mention it--I'm from Southern Michigan and speak Inland North American English. Yes, I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift; no, I don't have the cot-caught merger; and it is called pop.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:39 pm 
Sumerul
Sumerul

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Location: Milwaukee, US
I always pay for things with a credit card, unless I have absolutely no other choice, because credit cards are more secure than debit cards or checks; if someone compromises it, the money is not coming out of one's account, and the burden is not on oneself to prove that one did not pay for items someone else bought using them, unlike with debit cards, where one has far less recourse in such an event.

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:14 pm 
Smeric
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It's 2017!

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If we don't study the mistakes of the future we're doomed to repeat them for the first time.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:50 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:34 am
Posts: 382
Location: Paris
So the first round of the presidential elections went exactly as predicted. I have that weird feeling of surprise at not being surprised.
(OTOH it'll be immensely enjoyable to see the faces of all of those who've cried 'the polls are all wrong! Brexit Trump! Le Pen will win the first round at 51%" for months.)


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