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[-] [email protected] 30 points 2 months ago

I just don't think this argument really tracks. If we were hunter/gatherers, we would have no choice but to hunt and gather for food. No it's not consensual, you have to do it, but would we really say we were being coerced? By who? Nature?

You can say there is bad stuff about Capitalism, and better ideas or systems we should do instead, without this coercion claim.

[-] [email protected] 61 points 2 months ago

In the case of capitalism, we are actually speaking about coercion, though. The concept of "primitive accumulation" (or "primary accumulation"), as introduced by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy, refers to the historical process that led to the formation of capitalism by separating the producer from the means of production. This separation is what ultimately pushed people into the capitalist labor market, making them dependent on selling their labor to survive. The coercive forces that pressured people into capitalism and the labor market can be understood through several key mechanisms:

  1. Enclosure of the Commons: In England and elsewhere in Europe, land that was previously held in common for collective use by peasants was enclosed, privatized, and turned into private property. This process forced many peasants off the land, depriving them of their traditional means of subsistence and making them dependent on wage labor.

  2. Colonialism and Slavery: The expansion of European powers into the Americas, Africa, and Asia involved the appropriation of land and resources, often through violent means. Indigenous peoples were displaced or enslaved, and their resources were extracted for the benefit of European capitalist economies. This not only facilitated the accumulation of capital but also integrated various regions into the global capitalist system.

  3. Legislation: Laws and regulations played a crucial role in this process. For example, the series of laws known as the "Poor Laws" in England were designed to coerce the unemployed and poor into working for wages. These laws restricted the movement of labor and made it illegal to refuse work, effectively pushing people into the labor market.

  4. Destruction of Alternative Economies: Pre-capitalist forms of production and exchange, such as feudalism, communal living, or barter systems, were systematically destroyed or undermined. This was not only through direct coercion but also through economic policies and practices that favored capitalist modes of production and exchange.

  5. Industrial Revolution: The technological advancements of the Industrial Revolution created a demand for labor in factories. The rural populations, already dispossessed by the enclosure movements, migrated to urban centers in search of work, further entrenching the wage labor system.

Marx argued that primitive accumulation was not a one-time historical event but an ongoing process that sustains capitalism. It involves continuous dislocation and dispossession to maintain a labor force that has no other choice but to sell its labor power. This process ensures a supply of workers for the capitalist system and maintains the conditions necessary for capital accumulation.

In essence, the transition to capitalism, fueled by these coercive forces, created a society where the majority must sell their labor to a minority who owns the means of production, thereby establishing the capitalist labor market and perpetuating the cycle of capital accumulation.

[-] RabbePompano 13 points 2 months ago

Thanks for taking the time to do this informative write-up.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago

Yes, that is very well gathered, and something people don't intuitively understand how it shapes us over (only a few) generations.

[-] [email protected] 0 points 2 months ago
[-] UnderpantsWeevil 31 points 2 months ago

If we were hunter/gatherers, we would have no choice but to hunt and gather for food.

The argument is not that people are forced to labor, but that people are forced to labor on behalf of others. Which is to say, its the difference between a Hunter/Gatherer living off the land and a King's Huntsman, who is distinguished from a Poacher, in that he has duties and privileges assigned to him by another guy.

You can say there is bad stuff about Capitalism, and better ideas or systems we should do instead, without this coercion claim.

The nature of the Capitalist system is to lay claim to physical property with some threat of violence. It is inherently a dictatorial system, in which a handful of people are afforded the right to claim surplus to sustain and enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors.

The "bad stuff" is what makes Capitalism a system at all. It is - to crib a joke from Monty Python - the violence that is inherent within the system. If you don't pay your dues to the King, he gets to beat them out of you.

How can you even discuss Capitalism without talking about this innate coercive mechanic?

[-] HappycamperNZ -1 points 2 months ago

I cant agree with you, by the simple fact that no one says you have to work for someone else.

You could argue that even if you own the company you still have to work for someone else to get paid, but likewise everything you need to survive needs to be made or produced by someone.

The hunter gatherers would get food, but they don't make their own Healthcare. Doctor's don't make their own food or houses, and builders don't work the land. Bet you didn't make the device you typed that comment on.

Capitalism allows people to work in one aspect, and trade for what else they need. You could easily argue that late stage is exploitive, more regulation is needed and people are greedy, but that's a whole different arguement.

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 7 points 2 months ago

no one says you have to work for someone else

Primary accumulation says you have to work for someone else. You never got to be there when all the free land was handed out.

You could argue that even if you own the company you still have to work for someone else to get paid

"Everyone works for someone" is a going line in modern business. But this ignores the folks that are legacies of the fortunes of prior generations. The British Royal Family gets to fuck around however they please. The Vanderbilts and Hiltons and Kennedys and Bushs have no economic obligations, just enormous trust funds fueled by the labors of their peers.

The hunter gatherers would get food, but they don’t make their own Healthcare.

The primitive hunter gatherer worked 3-5 hours a day with the rest reserved for leisure. What this amounted to over time was the explosion of art, language, and culture that formed the foundation of the modern scientific movement.

For millennia, the information primitive people accumulated - understanding of seasonal cycles, crop cultivation strategies, navigational techniques, linguistic techniques, the development of simple tools - was passed down and matured, until we could enjoy a life better than any other species on the planet. That absolutely included health care. Greek and Chinese physicians were doing surgeries 4000 years ago. Egyptians and Persians were mastering anatomy. We've got evidence of dentists dating back to 10,000 BCE.

What we've developed in the modern era is an accumulation of historical knowledge that's accelerated thanks to a boom in population and a period of relative global peace. But we wouldn't have been in the position to capitalize on a population boom / peace dividend if we'd never had the leisure time to make those original scientific discoveries.

Capitalism allows people to work in one aspect, and trade for what else they need.

It does not. It forces one (large) group of people to surrender their surplus gains to another (significantly smaller) set. It prevents people from working for themselves and saps them of resources to trade with one another.

You could easily argue that late stage is exploitive

Every stage is exploitive. The Late Stage of Capitalism just happens to be the one where the folks closest to the imperial core begin to suffer a fraction of what folks on the periphery endured.

[-] HappycamperNZ -1 points 2 months ago

You have raised a number of points here, and unfortunately I don't have the time to debate all of them.

The key takeaway i have from your comments is that your only focus is on those who succeed. You've ignored all of those who took the same risks and didn't make it. You see the success, but you don't see the time and history they (originally) put in to make it happen.

The company I currently own started off with the equivalent of about 8 hours minimum wage in assets, and one contract for 1 hour a week - I technically now no longer need to work and can sit on my ass and take minimum wage. What you, and my staff didn't see was the number of sleepless nights I had, how many weekends and public holidays I missed, how many times I worked a 10 hour day, then got up again at midnight because more work came up. You don't see the extra 20 hours a week I take on unpaid to build or invest for the next thing. I am considering passing on a contract for 15% annual growth not because I am too tired, but because there is physically not enough hours to do everything between 5pm and 8am when our work needs to be finished by, and that's before I start the next days work.

If you want to be upset about those who are at the top, who get trust funds, literally put your money and body where your mouth is. I can tell you right now that you won't benefit from it, you will suffer immensely, and it could be all for nothing, but your kids might have it easier.

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 4 points 2 months ago

What you, and my staff didn’t see was the number of sleepless nights I had

My guy, you're not the only one who has ever had a sleepless night. You don't think I've pulled all-nighters for my assorted employers? You don't think I've driven overnight in the rain to an office in a different city to fix a machine that went down in the storm, so my boss could keep collecting on a contract? You don't think I pulled all-nighters preparing for job interviews in anticipation of proving myself to assholes like you?

Idfk if you cut yourself in the bathtub between meetings with investors. That's not something I think anyone should have to do, but I'm not the one running JP Morgan Chase likes its my own piggy bank. I'd just like equity in what I got my hands dirty building. And that's one thing no employer seems to want to offer.

My boss and I can be side-by-side in the trenches, trying to keep the lights on. But at the end of the day, he's the owner and I'm an "at-will" employee. My work goes into his pocket first and he pays me back a fraction of what I earned.

If you want to be upset about those who are at the top, who get trust funds, literally put your money and body where your mouth is.

What do you think every employee does every fucking day?

[-] CosmicCleric 2 points 2 months ago

You blew right past his final point.

[-] HappycamperNZ -3 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Im at the point where I wonder both "what is the world coming to" and "am I turning into a boomer"?

In what reality does an employee turn up to work in a building they didn't lease, use equipment they didn't pay for, inputs they didn't buy, logistics they didn't develop, to fill contracts they didn't aquire, done through loans they aren't responsible for and a business plan they didn't back, and expect the lions share of the profit from utalising this, ironically being paid by someone they didn't hire and with money they didn't collect?

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

The negative product isn't the employees' problem. That is part of the problem. The workers are jointly de facto responsible for using up the inputs. By the tenet that legal and de facto responsibility should match, they should jointly appropriate the negative product and be the party that makes the contracts with the input suppliers. The workers are jointly de facto responsible for producing the output, so should jointly own 100% of the output. Workers have a right to the fruits of their labor

[-] HappycamperNZ -3 points 2 months ago

So, if im reading this right - I make this, therefore I should get all the profit from it? So then who buys the equipment you used to make it?

Should every banker receive all the interest from money, that is not theirs, that they loan out?

Likewise, the employee isn't responsible for the output, the business is. Does the employee bear the cost of warranty repairs, refunds, products recalls and complaints? Does them employee pay the fine if it doesn't preform as advertised, or legally responsible if it injured someone? If i make a burger at a restaurant and the order is wrong, do i now have to pay for the burger myself? If the customer refuses to pay, do I then have to foot the bill?

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Not necessarily that you should get all the profit. You should get the whole (positive and negative) product. The workers would have to jointly buy or lease the equipment as they're responsible for using up its services in production.

Banks should be structured as democratic worker coops.

The workers are jointly de facto responsible, the "who did the deed" sense of responsibility, for the output. The pure application of the tenet I mentioned is to purposeful results of deliberate actions

[-] HappycamperNZ 1 points 2 months ago

Ah, so in order to have a job you have to buy a place in the company and partial ownership along with all the risks that entails. It would be fairer once you are employed, but can you see the issues that would result is? Do employees get to vet new employees as their investment would also be at risk, what you you get when you leave the company, especially if its value is rising or falling rapidly, what if some want to invest in a core piece of equipment and others don't, how much does each role require you to buy and how do skills increase or decrease this amount? What happens if you get fired?

On banks, co-op and joint ownership banks do exist.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Vetting new workers can occur during the interview process.

It would depend on the particulars of your membership contract. The law would mandate loss of voting rights for fired and leaving workers.

Each worker coop would have a system of internal capital accounts giving each worker a recoupable claim on their investments into the firm. Workers can invest different amounts.

1 worker 1 vote is the principle. Non-voting preferred stock can be free floating property rights as is the case today

[-] HappycamperNZ -3 points 2 months ago

Then stop arguing with internet strangers and go out and do it yourself. I can't make this any clearer - if you think its unfair, that they take a disproportionate amount, that you work soo much harder, quit bitching and quit. Because I can guarantee you won't - the job security, less responsibility and ability to let someone else worry if you have work or not is far too comfortable. At will works both ways.

~95% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Have fun.

[-] CosmicCleric 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Because I can guarantee you won’t - the job security, less responsibility and ability to let someone else worry if you have work or not is far too comfortable.

~95% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Have fun.

You are right about some people being too comfortable (or not knowledgeable on how) to start their own business, but that's not the whole story.

A business will always fail if it doesn't have the quality employees to run it. A business cannot function without employees.

Just because one side has more risk upfront doesn't mean they should keep the vast majority of the profits for themselves, forever. Long-term it's still a team effort.

There's nothing wrong with sharing the wealth that's produced from the effort which is done by all.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Anti-capitalism does not fail because of the many senses of working *for* someone else. What anti-capitalists means by working for someone else in this case is a specific set of property relations where workers jointlyuse up the inputs to produce the output, but are denied the property rights to the produced outputs and liabilities for the used-up inputs. Having the choice to be individually or jointly self-employed does not undo the violations of inalienable rights of employees

[-] [email protected] -1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

This is falling for the capitalist consent vs. coercion framing. Capitalism doesn't have to be coercive to be wrong. Even some perfectly voluntary capitalism with a UBI would still be wrong because capitalism inherently violates workers' inalienable rights to workplace democracy and to get the fruits of their labor (surplus). The much stronger framing is alienable vs. inalienable rights. An inalienable right is one that the holder can't give up even with consent.

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 7 points 2 months ago

Capitalism doesn’t have to be coercive to be wrong.

Capitalism is, necessarily, coercive. You can find other things wrong with it, but this is an inherent characteristic of reserving ownership to a "landed" class.

Even some perfectly voluntary capitalism with a UBI would still be wrong because capitalism inherently violates workers’ inalienable rights to workplace democracy

But it achieves that end through the process of "Capital Strikes" (ie, lockouts, hiring freezes, speculative hording, etc). And capital strikes are only possible via coercive force (ie, putting a guy with a gun in an industrial site who shoots any worker that tries to enter and engage in production).

The much stronger framing is alienable vs. inalienable rights.

Rights are legal fictions. There is no such thing as an inalienable right in a material sense. You show me a right, I'll show you a guy with a gun who can alienate it.

[-] AutistoMephisto 2 points 2 months ago

Here's the thing: as long as poverty exists, poverty exists as a threat to get people to do things without their full consent. In some cases, like in the case of sex work, that can be actual sex, in which case, it cannot be faithfully said that all sex is fully consensual as long as it's agreed to out of survival fears. In other cases, like for example minimum wage labor, people are accepting minimum wages out of fear of having nothing, and so they accept anything. This complete lack of bargaining power is behind low wages, dangerous conditions, terrible hours, poor treatment, etc.

[-] [email protected] 0 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Alienated ≠ violated
An inalienable right isn't one that should not be alienated, but rather can't be alienated. For labor's rights, responsibility can't be alienated at a material level. Consent isn't sufficient to transfer responsibility to another. For example, a contract to transfer responsibility for a crime is invalid regardless of consent.

Legal rights can be fictions but also can be based on ethics.

Workers consent to employment unlike kings. Inalienability shows it's invalid

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

Consent isn’t sufficient to transfer responsibility to another.

These are legalistic concepts, not materialistic concepts.

For example, a contract to transfer responsibility for a crime is invalid regardless of consent.

A contract is valid when it is enforced. And any cartel boss will tell you how "illegal" contracts are regularly enforced between criminal organizations.

Past that, the very subject of crime and enforcement is subjective, as illustrated by the various states of the drug trade, human trafficking, and stolen property. More than one pawn shop has subsisted primarily on fenced goods. The legality of their stock does not appear to inhibit the success of their business.

Legal rights can be fictions but also can be based on ethics.

Ethics has no material basis.

Workers consent to employment unlike kings.

This doesn't mean anything.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Consent and responsibility are descriptive not legal concepts there.

Opposing coercion is an ethic. Certain material facts logically imply ethics. A brain has finitely many states it can be in. The whole state space is finitely representable. Minds can be mathematically modeled completely in principle. The concept of strong attractors and flows in the space of all possible minds is thus coherent. The transcendent truth about ethics is unknowable, but that doesn't allow denial of moral realism.

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

Consent and responsibility are descriptive not legal concepts there.

When you're discussing contracts and property - which is also a legal concept - they absolutely are legal concepts.

Minds can be mathematically modeled completely in principle

https://www.amazon.com/When-We-Cease-Understand-World/dp/1681375664

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

Sure, consent and responsibility can be legal concepts. De facto responsibility, which is the "who did the deed" sense of responsibility, is what can't be transferred even with consent. Responsibility in this sense is descriptive. Property and contract play no role in determining who is de facto responsible for an action

The moral claim is that the de facto responsibility should match legal responsibility. This is why contract to transfer legal responsibility is invalid @microblogmemes

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

De facto responsibility, which is the “who did the deed” sense of responsibility, is what can’t be transferred even with consent.

The process by which de facto responsibility is established is a legal process. The adjudication of blame is a legal decision. Case in point, the current dust up over abortion rights involves states assigning culpability for homicide of a fetus to anyone aiding a pregnant woman in pursuing an abortion.

Everything about this is a legal issue:

  • The legality of the original act

  • The culpability of individual participants

  • The definition surrounding the concept of "aid"

  • The definition surrounding the concept of "pregnant"

  • The definition surrounding the concept of "abortion"

Property and contract play no role in determining who is de facto responsible for an action

Property and contract play a role in determining whether an action is socially permissible.

The moral claim is that the de facto responsibility should match legal responsibility.

Morals aren't objective and the idea of "responsibility" is relative. Parents are considered responsible for the acts of a child, but the legal definition of "parent" and "child" vary by legal jurisdiction. The core concept of "responsibility" is therefore rooted in the legal framework that assigns culpability.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

"Responsibility" has different senses. One must be clear which sense is being discussed. Who is legally culpable for an action is what I am talking about with "legal responsibility." De facto responsibility is a descriptive concept independent of whether there even is a legal system to impute legal responsibility. Property and contract determine the legal consequence of being held culpable. De facto responsibility is about purposeful results of deliberate actions. Morals have an objective part

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

De facto responsibility is a descriptive concept independent of whether there even is a legal system to impute legal responsibility.

Absent a system to impute legal responsibility, this is an entirely subjective question. In fact, the whole reason we have courts and juries is to answer the question relative to the local norms. That's why jury selection is such a pivotal part of the trial process.

Property and contract determine the legal consequence of being held culpable.

They determine the perceived de facto responsibility from the perspective of an outside observer, as well. Law influences public opinion. A country in which smoking is taboo will treat the harms inflicted by second hand smoke as far more material than one in which it is decriminalized or socially encouraged. Same with getting vaxxed/masking up during a pandemic. Or driving while intoxicated.

De facto responsibility is about purposeful results of deliberate actions.

It can just as easily be defined as the neglect of certain actions. But, again, this depends on the social standards of one's neighbors, which are then commonly enshrined into regional laws.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Who is responsible for smoking remains the same. It is just the legal consequences associated with that action that change.

The kind of responsibility being discussed when someone neglects their duties is different from what is being discussed when we are talking about de facto responsibility.

A group of people is de facto responsible for a result if it is a purposeful result of their joint intentional actions. Production is a planned and deliberate process. Workers are de facto responsible

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

Who is responsible for smoking remains the same.

The cigarette manufacturers? The retailers? The smokers themselves? Ad agencies? Nicotine? Workplace anxiety? Who IS responsible?

The kind of responsibility being discussed when someone neglects their duties is different from what is being discussed when we are talking about de facto responsibility.

It is not, because its not objectively certain where the buck stops.

A group of people is de facto responsible for a result if it is a purposeful result of their joint intentional actions.

A group of people can engage in individually virtuous actions while generating a villainous result. The classic example is the "Tragedy of the Commons". Six individual shepherds grazing on a hill that can only support five flocks. Each doing an honest day's work, but collectively destroying each others' livelihoods.

Individuals lack perfect information and cannot be held culpable for unforeseen consequences.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

The smoker is de facto responsible. Other kinds of responsibility could extend some blame to the manufacturers etc. Those are not responsibility in the de facto sense.

For example, someone sells a car to a person that commits a crime using it; the car seller is not involved in the planning or execution of the crime. The car purchaser is solely de facto responsible for the crime. I am using responsibility in the narrow de facto sense.

The tragedy of the commons is not a purposeful result

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

The smoker is de facto responsible.

Then why do companies need to spend enormous sums on advertising and marketing?

Those are not responsibility in the de facto sense.

You seem to suggest there is no de facto responsibility for lying.

someone sells a car to a person that commits a crime using it; the car seller is not involved in the planning or execution of the crime

A mob boss throws one of his cronies the keys to his car. "If my rival ends up dead tomorrow, the car is yours. By the way, he's going to be at the corner of 5th and Main tomorrow."

But he's not de facto responsible, because he contracted a third party to handle the dirty work.

The tragedy of the commons is not a purposeful result

The tragedy of the commons is a foreseeable consequence of individual actions.

You can see this play out in a game of Jenga. Everyone is pulling blocks out of the base of the tower. Asserting that the last person to pull a block is "de facto responsible" neglects culpability of each of the other participants.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

What do you mean?

There is de facto responsibility (DFR) associated with any intentional action.

The mob boss situation is different from the car situation I was presenting The mob boss and his crony are both jointly DFR. The mob boss participated in the planning of the crime. Furthermore, the situation is a conspiracy.

Each party is DFR for their contribution to the tragedy of the commons at a bare minimum. DFR doesn't subsume other notions of culpability

[-] UnderpantsWeevil 1 points 2 months ago

There is de facto responsibility (DFR) associated with any intentional action.

An act performed under misinformation isn't intentional.

The mob boss situation is different

Only because the mob boss's intent is made explicit in the example. The same boss who owns a car dealership, and all his gang members just happen to get cheap cars there that they use to commit crimes, we're back to your example.

Each party is DFR for their contribution to the tragedy of the commons

That doesn't mean anything. There's no logical consequence that flows from it.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

It depends on how the misinformation relates to the act. There can be cases where such an act is intentional

That sounds like a conspiracy. There are cases where the DFR party isn't imputed legal responsibility because there isn't enough evidence to determine who is DFR. It means we don't know not that there isn't a fact of the matter.

Natural resources are not fruits of labor. They should be socially owned. Each worker coop DFR for greenhouse gases would be liable to society

[-] surewhynotlem 7 points 2 months ago

It only tracks because you can't get consent from nature. You could have gotten consent from fellow humans. The humans who put this structure in place were people that could be negotiated with and spoken to. Not some blind force.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

Is your argument is that our needs have been imposed by nature rather than society and therefore our society is not coercive? I think this doesn't work because our option to meet our needs in the traditional way has been removed; in most cases living as a hunter-gatherer has been rendered impossible (natural sources of food depopulated/destroyed) and illegal (all land is privately or publicly owned and you can't live on it without meeting expensive requirements).

And even if that coercive situation hadn't been created, it would still be our collective responsibility to remove unnecessary naturally imposed hardships that cannot be efficiently dealt with on an individual level.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

Hunter/gatherers worked less hours and ate better food then those working the land. But the coercion here is meant by one group making others work more then necessary so they can get richer. Just because there are difficulties in nature, doesn't mean it's ok for humans to make it harder for other humans.

[-] Mango 2 points 2 months ago

I can keep a good attitude in bad weather, but when it's a felony conviction because every stage of the process is just people looking to profit, I'm mad about it.

[-] [email protected] -2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

But we aren't hunter & gatherers anymore (not that back then there were capitalist). That age is gone (for now).

Nothing about capital (something someone can own & accumulate) is required to have and sustain cities, technology, services, etc. And it all comes from the propaganda that people are lazy & don't work if they don't have to (the opposite is true, but the distinction is that often what you want to do can't be monetized for various & fairly random bullshit reasons - like, you will always find people that will want to bake/cook/serve, but most of the people that would enjoy that just get a different job that pays better & the ones that don't like it get stuck with it ... and we all get the worst part of that deal, even as consumers, except the people with incentive to maximize sales & minimize wages ... like that is a good long-term goal for society or something).

this post was submitted on 27 Feb 2024
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