Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wealth

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addams
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:09 am UTC

ucim wrote:Now if a legislator declares an emergency which increases his wealth or power, when there isn't an emergency, that is abuse of his or her power, and they need to be taken to task for that.
Jose

Quote Snipe, Jose.
I don't mean to be argumentative.

But; Damn it!
We can't take legislators to task for their behavior.
In or fucking Out of office.

Who would do this Taking to Task?
The Common Man?
The Man that Votes his Conscience, after the Radio and TV have told him what that is?

Coke or Pepsi?
Beer is a very good choice, Sir.


Have you seen what those people do and say?
The People of the US in overwhelming numbers Hate nearly everyone.
They tell me they Hate their Government.

It's a big amorphous Hate.
Diffuse enough to carry around easily.
Diffuse enough to get onto everything.

Who is going to bring the Rich and Famous TV people to task?
The TV screen is as close and interactive as most ever get to an elected official.

The Government and Elected Officials are a Safe Target of Hate for Lazy People.
That is one of the saving graces of the US System.

The People are too Lazy to Do much. We get the occasional shooter.
We don't get many people going to meetings and talking to their representatives.

Oh, Dear God; When The People Do talk to their representatives, it is Not pretty.
I have seen it with my own eyes. They ask about stuff they learned from TV.

That stuff had been Framed in a way that made discussion nearly impossible.
I suppose, everyone and their Mother's Brother typing into the Internet has changed the game, some.

I am not sure everyone typing away on FaceBook is helping.
Typing into FaceBook and into Forums does keep us common folk amused while The Ship is Sinking.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:08 am UTC

ucim wrote:You hired Apple to make computers for you so you don't have to make them yourself. You can't do everything. This is the price.

I do not care that much about doing everything. But let us not go there!

ucim wrote:Now if a legislator declares an emergency which increases his wealth or power, when there isn't an emergency, that is abuse of his or her power, and they need to be taken to task for that. Likewise, using your monopoly to bully suppliers into not supporting your competitor's products on their systems is an abuse of monopoly power (encoded into US law). But simply possessing the ability to do so is not itself abusive.

Jose

Who said the emergency is invented to increase the legislator power?
The emergency can be real and the legislator acting for the best in that contigency: if a huge market slice is held by a single competitor (or a few aligned) you are at a certain degree forced to please that competitor in order to save the economy it sustains. What if tomorrow you find products of food industry X (which serves most of fast foods, restaurants, advertises on most of newspapers, tv shows...) has an additive that is toxic above the legal level?
Is it doable to stop the whole system? Or is it more immediate to lever toxicity parameters in order to reduce the visible mess? (this example is actually taken from something happened in Italy a couple of years ago - I'm sure you can come up with a better one).

I'd leave the declarations of hatred against the Government(s), the Rich or whoever to people who enjoy those kinds of feelings.
I don't even think it is that much about the people who are in those roles.
Yes, they all are of a certain kind if they GOT there, but it is more about the roles themselves within the System (the almighty), and their dynamics.
As said, I am simply observing a tendency that to me looks like a fact. It looks as a system which had its own checks and balances is somehow losing many of them and reshaping itself.
The above said roles are becoming more and more entangled with one other, at the same time reducing their overall action span but augmenting the effects of their single actions.
But I admit I haven't been around too long, and maybe things have always been that way despite what I read and imagined. Maybe it is even how they are supposed to be, as someone earlier said (supposed by whom, that'd be an interesting question).


addams wrote:Oh, Dear God; When The People Do talk to their representatives, it is Not pretty.
I have seen it with my own eyes. They ask about stuff they learned from TV.

With so many channels do they all learn and repeat the same things (some Green, some Blue)?

Ok - probably going OT.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:38 am UTC

mat.tia wrote:

addams wrote:Oh, Dear God; When The People Do talk to their representatives, it is Not pretty.
I have seen it with my own eyes. They ask about stuff they learned from TV.

With so many channels do they all learn and repeat the same things (some Green, some Blue)?


500 Channels, Same issues, Framed the same way.
Yes. You may choose between Green or Blue.

Do you want Coke or Pepsi with that?

edit: What if I don't want That?
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:28 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Zamfir wrote:The intruiging part, for me, is that we do NOT expect that most of our very rich people liquidate their assets and spend the proceedings on consumption. They get a legal right to do so, that's a core value of our society that lots of people died for to protect. And some of them exercise that right, and spend fortunes on consumption. But strangely enough, we expect that most of them keep their wealth in the form of financial assets and act as if they were fund managers of their own fund, or act as if they were a director of the company they own. If they didn't, our society would look very different in hard to predict ways.


Precisely. They *could* sell the whole lot and spend the money on hats. But basically nobody does. And anyone who started liquidating his money-generating assets in such a fashion would rapidly stop being wealthy. The very pursuit of further wealth keeps that money locked into productive enterprises. And if they DO sell bits off, they tend to sell them off to other wealthy folks in functional lots, so the end result is merely a trading of places.

I suspect it's partially a self-selection issue. The sort of people who build giant piles of wealth are the sort of folks that, for whatever reason, want to do that. Hoarding instinct or competitive behavior, whichever. They just...keep doing that. Which is useful, sure, but it is interesting indeed.
use this model that rich people self select for generating wealth to account for the 2008 financial crisis or the poppy bubble.


That is unrelated, obviously. Housing bubble didn't happen because business owners sold off the works to spend the money on hats.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr, I'm talking about your claim of self selection. It fails to capture the true nature of market forces. And blindly trusting that belief is what led us to the last crisis.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:35 pm UTC

addams wrote:We can't take legislators to task for their behavior.
In or fucking Out of office.

Who would do this Taking to Task?
The Common Man?
The Man that Votes his Conscience, after the Radio and TV have told him what that is?
Yes, that man. And that woman. They can choose to take the legislator to task. However, they can also choose not to. Sometimes they need a little encouragement.

addams wrote:Typing into FaceBook and into Forums does keep us common folk amused while The Ship is Sinking.
Alas, that is usually true. You have to type where people read... where people who will do, read. Sometimes that is facebook. Or twitter. But you cannot control everyone's actions, only your own.

mat.tia wrote:Who said the emergency is invented to increase the legislator power?
The emergency can be real and the legislator acting for the best in that contigency:
In that case, this is not an abuse of power. It is what we are paying them to do. That it's problematic is a natural outcome of the evolution of whatever system is faltering, be it the concentrated food industry, the Takita airbag thing, the "too big to fail" issues with the banks... the flaw is not with the politician who is handling the emergency. It is in allowing the system to get that way in the first place.

That's harder to deal with, because it has to be dealt with before it happens.
Spoiler:
mat.tia wrote:Or is it more immediate to lever toxicity parameters in order to reduce the visible mess?
That depends whether the toxicity parameters were appropriate to begin with, and thus, whether the emergency was real (health-related) or virtual (paperwork-related).
mat.tia wrote:It looks as a system which had its own checks and balances is somehow losing many of them and reshaping itself.
The above said roles are becoming more and more entangled with one other, at the same time reducing their overall action span but augmenting the effects of their single actions.
Yes, I think that is happening. It's been happening pretty much since the dawn of industrialization, and is accelerating as the information infrastructure expands its tentacles.

In the US at least there are the conflicting ideals of "I can do what I want with my property" (including exercise monopoly power if I have it), and "monopolies imply a responsibility to society because of the power they wield" (leading to the various anti-monopoly laws in the US). Ideologically this comes (in part) from the idea that society has helped you attain your wealth and power, and thus it is not 100% yours. You owe society.

Just what, and how much, is the question. And since things are moving faster, the question is more urgent. Google and Facebook pretty much own your personal information, and they are learning how to abuse it. Will we be able to find the right balance before they tell us what it is?

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:38 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Yes, that man. And that woman. They can choose to take the legislator to task. However, they can also choose not to. Sometimes they need a little encouragement.
[...] not to.

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:Who said the emergency is invented to increase the legislator power?
The emergency can be real and the legislator acting for the best in that contigency:

In that case, this is not an abuse of power. It is what we are paying them to do. That it's problematic is a natural outcome of the evolution of whatever system is faltering, be it the concentrated food industry, the Takita airbag thing, the "too big to fail" issues with the banks... the flaw is not with the politician who is handling the emergency. It is in allowing the system to get that way in the first place.
That's harder to deal with, because it has to be dealt with before it happens.

Yay!! I think I finally made my point clear. I never said it was the legislator that was perpetuating an abuse.
I said that such concentration of wealth and its deriving concentration of power are an abuse. Because of their possible consequences.
And if it is not an abuse yet, the symptom should be taken into consideration, firing a debate about whether we want to get into a kind of situation that is very hard to get out of - as you suggest.

ucim wrote:In the US at least there are the conflicting ideals of "I can do what I want with my property" (including exercise monopoly power if I have it), and "monopolies imply a responsibility to society because of the power they wield" (leading to the various anti-monopoly laws in the US). Ideologically this comes (in part) from the idea that society has helped you attain your wealth and power, and thus it is not 100% yours. You owe society.

Just what, and how much, is the question. And since things are moving faster, the question is more urgent. Google and Facebook pretty much own your personal information, and they are learning how to abuse it. Will we be able to find the right balance before they tell us what it is?

Jose

I agree. Things must be addressed before it's late.
Let me go back to my initial deal of a quantity change that makes a quality change - I like it very much.
One thing is criticizing liberalism and meritocracy; I am personally ok saying that a person that works more or produces more can have some more material goods. I'd have better (to me) ideas about it, but I can settle with that.
Another thing is saying a man can be worth and influence 1000000000000000 other men because he's good at making money . Leaving aside the whole deal about whether it was actual ability or otherwise.
I am not sure where to draw a line between a man that is losing some hair and one that is bald, but hey, I can tell the difference.
And if I cared about it, when I started losing "too much" hair, I would have started some cure, because it was clear where I was heading.
I don't know where the line of "too much" wealth inequality lays, but personally I see we passed it. If not, we are going towards it. What is your opinion on the matter?

Spoiler:
ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:Or is it more immediate to lever toxicity parameters in order to reduce the visible mess?
That depends whether the toxicity parameters were appropriate to begin with, and thus, whether the emergency was real (health-related) or virtual (paperwork-related).

What settles if it were a real (health-related) emergency but more paperwork? : D


Spoiler:
Another thing that strikes me is that I can understand that in the US, as in any other part of the world, there are conflicting ideals of what one has the right to do with his property.
But looking at the chart the "bottom" (read: poor) area is not small.
People that eat well and often enjoy discussing ideas, doing philosophy and such. So I could imagine some of this discussion going on in the top area and some having ideals again their interests. (It's hard, but if you fool yourself enough, you can make it). But they are a few.
Although I find it slightly easier, it is still way too hard for me to believe that the "bottom" people are saying "no man, it's like, totally they're right to own the majority of the country! We're better off like this! I know we could change things because we, poorer, are the majority and we are in a democracy, but this is just how things are supposed to be. For the better!!".


[edit: small rephrasal of a sentence]

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:35 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Tyndmyr, I'm talking about your claim of self selection. It fails to capture the true nature of market forces. And blindly trusting that belief is what led us to the last crisis.


When did I ever claim that this explains everything about market forces, instead of, yknow, the specific behavior we were discussing?

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:When did I ever claim that this explains everything about market forces, instead of, yknow, the specific behavior we were discussing?


The position that the group [people who have lots of X] tends to be made up of people who don't tend to sell of their [X] isn't that controversial.
Thing is, humans aren't immortal so it also tends to select for the children of people who have a lot of X... no matter how inbred and stupid.

which goes a little further towards explaining occasional bouts of financial madness.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:07 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:Yay!! I think I finally made my point clear. I never said it was the legislator that was perpetuating an abuse.
I said that such concentration of wealth and its deriving concentration of power are an abuse. Because of their possible consequences.
No, such concentrations of power are not an abuse in and of themselves. They are problematic in that they invite abuse, and that is worth discussing. However, power is not abuse unless it is abused. To see it any other way is to put an emotional charge on your argument that ultimately weakens it.

Yes, sometimes a quantity change makes a quality change. There are many such examples (which can lead us way off topic!) The solution is a form of "If you have more than this much X, you have a responsibility to society to not abuse your position of dominance." How to define and enforce this responsibility is the tricky part, and enforcement requires an independent "system" to do so.

I don't think wealth inequality itself is the problem. Sure, it's "a" problem for those that don't have much money, but that's always going to be the case. The problem is that, because wealth buys influence, enough wealth buys "too much" influence. Without delving into how much is "too much" (also an important question), the solution (if there is one) would IMHO involve making influence more immune to money. There are several ways of doing that, none particularly satisfying. And a problem underlying this is that politicians are self-selected for traits that do not make good leaders.

There are other ways for money to influence besides politics. Marketing turns money into popularity, which turns into dominance and control of the options we have. OTOH, it also gives us options we would otherwise not have. Without large companies to make computer chips, there wouldn't be a cell phone network at all. But whoever makes the network controls it. Is that bad? Is the alternative worse?

mat.tia wrote:I am personally ok saying that a person that works more or produces more can have some more material goods.
(emphasis mine)

Money buys more than material goods. It buys better health. It buys opportunities. It buys education. It buys marketing. It buys image. It buys influence (directly and indirectly). It buys all these things because all these things are for sale. I'd say that if you want to address the issue, that's the side to address it on.

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby elasto » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:29 am UTC

So you don't believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? You think that checks and balances are useful but not essential for the long term health of a liberal democracy? You don't think that powers such as the Patriot Act act on a 'ratchet effect' whereby they are easy to pass but almost impossible to revoke?

You seem have an awful lot of faith in human nature that a glance at history does not seem to justify...

(As for myself, I'd say that the easiest way to prevent the abuses that are almost bound to come from a concentration of wealth and power is to slow down the process of concentration itself. Because that works as a ratchet effect also...

So, yes, I'd argue the direction of travel of your country is a problem in and of itself even if the current tier of power-brokers were angels (which obviously they are not) - just as a country with a dictatorship is troublesome even if the current leader is benevolent and wise)

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:40 am UTC

elasto wrote:So you don't believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? You think that checks and balances are useful but not essential for the long term health of a liberal democracy? You don't think that powers such as the Patriot Act act on a 'ratchet effect' whereby they are easy to pass but almost impossible to revoke?
You would make a mistake to infer that of me by what I wrote.

Checks and balances are essential. But they have to be the right checks and balances.

Imagine for a moment a country in which nobody was permitted to have more than a million dollars. Now a million dollars is plenty of money to live on. There's no real need for more than that. If you work enough to earn more than that, you cannot accept payment. If your investments appreciate to more than that, you must give it to charity. (Approved charities, of course).

Would this solve the problem of income inequality? Would it solve the problem of purchasing influence? Do you foresee any unforeseen problems?

Got a better idea? (Other than changing the monetary threshold)

elasto wrote:a country with a dictatorship is troublesome even if the current leader is benevolent and wise
Very true. But such a dictator would not be abusive. That's my point - that the word "abuse" is being abused.

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby elasto » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:06 am UTC

ucim wrote:You would make a mistake to infer that of me by what I wrote.

Checks and balances are essential. But they have to be the right checks and balances.

Imagine for a moment a country in which nobody was permitted to have more than a million dollars. Now a million dollars is plenty of money to live on. There's no real need for more than that. If you work enough to earn more than that, you cannot accept payment. If your investments appreciate to more than that, you must give it to charity. (Approved charities, of course).

Would this solve the problem of income inequality? Would it solve the problem of purchasing influence? Do you foresee any unforeseen problems?

Got a better idea? (Other than changing the monetary threshold)

Yes. Rather than coming up with such an extreme unworkable suggestion how about doing it in a way that has been demonstrated to be successful over the long term: how the Scandinavian countries operate; High and progressive taxation but a large investment in education and social safety nets. Seems expensive at first glance but things like lower crime rates, higher rehabilitation rates and greater social cohesion partly counter that. More importantly, happiness indexes are higher both for the poor and for the rich.

elasto wrote:a country with a dictatorship is troublesome even if the current leader is benevolent and wise
Very true. But such a dictator would not be abusive. That's my point - that the word "abuse" is being abused.

Such a dictator would not be abusive but the system would be: Even if the abuses are not currently in evidence they are an inevitability and can be considered intrinsic to the setup.

(I agree it's not a perfect choice of word for the situation but it's splitting hairs a little to quibble imo)

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:13 am UTC

elasto wrote:...how about doing it in a way that has been demonstrated to be successful over the long term: how the Scandinavian countries operate; High and progressive taxation but a large investment in education and social safety nets.
How much game-changing innovation (by whatever definition) has come from and been commercialized in Scandinavia? I can only think of Ikea and Linus Torvalis, but I am not familiar with Scandinavia. Both swords cut both ways.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Thesh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:15 am UTC

They consistently beat out the US in R&D (although the US has more patents):

http://www.citylab.com/tech/2011/10/wor ... ology/224/

EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?

EDIT2: Also, for tech companies, how about Nokia which was, until recently, the world's number one mobile phone manufacturer for years? Or Skype, which is still huge, same with Spotify.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:11 am UTC

ucim wrote:No, such concentrations of power are not an abuse in and of themselves. They are problematic in that they invite abuse, and that is worth discussing. However, power is not abuse unless it is abused. To see it any other way is to put an emotional charge on your argument that ultimately weakens it.

I admit the emotional charge as well as the possibility it can weaken the argument in the eyes of a listener; but I do not think my reasoning is biased by that in this case.
I understand having a huge power does not necessarily mean abusing it.
In a regime such as a Democracy though, trusting powerful people not to abuse their powers is not the way things are regulated: powers are legislated in order to prevent concentrations that can lead to an abuse. That is the whole point of a Constitution.
Laws are made not to fight crime (ie defend the rich against the poor). The rich&powerful would already have, by definition, the money&power to defend their wealth.
Laws, strange as it sounds, are meant for the opposite reason: to create a system that is balanced and prevents the rich (read powerful) abusing the not so powerful.

Spoiler:
Strange how most people will trust rich&powerful people to behave ('Don't be evil!') but won't trust the average person seen on the road.


I do not think money is the root of evil: it just comes with it. People are not powerful and dominating and so on becuase they have money: power, money, influence... just things that go together, one being the concause of the other. So I would not tackle this trying to reduce the amount of money people have (how would you do that in any case?). I would approach the issue trying to find a way to adjust the balance of these powers altogether.

In some cases a concentration of money is necessary: as you say, if you need to manufacture electronic chips you need lots of it. But that doesn't mean that that money needs to be owned by a single person/society and correspond to a single person's decisional power.
Personally, I like to think we could apply a "distributed approach" : very big systems made up of parts, cooperating, with decentralized powers.

I think the problem comes down to being in a game and facing a situation that was not foreseen by people who wrote the rules: I don't think it is in any Founding Father spirit the fact that a person can have a power as big as the one we are discussing; at that time, things were different and it was impossible to reach such a situation.
The problem is, that we need rules to prevent a couple of people writing their own. We must get there first! Otherwise we'll find the rules, one day: but who will be the author?

In any other context, when a flaw is found in a system, it is usually addressed. Just think of computer science, as you mentioned javascript earlier on: once you understand stack overflow is a real threat, you design a language that prevents you from such an error and you try to embody this design feature in all future languages.
When you find out that many people are not angels and try to sniff other people's conversations, you just do not start trusting most of them not doing so: you introduce encryption.

ucim wrote:Money buys more than material goods. It buys better health. It buys opportunities. It buys education. It buys marketing. It buys image. It buys influence (directly and indirectly). It buys all these things because all these things are for sale. I'd say that if you want to address the issue, that's the side to address it on

This is a very interesting issue but I think that despite having a lot to do with what we are discussing, I am afraid it belongs to a different area of thought and should be taken for granted in this discussion.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:52 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:[The Scandinavian contries] consistently beat out the US in R&D (although the US has more patents):
Interesting. I will look further. For one thing it's not clear which way the correlation/causation goes (if there is one). There's also a danger in porting something that works in a small homogeneous culture into a large, widely varied one, to find that it doesn't fit. Bear in mind also that these countries exist in a world in which the other countries also exist. Despite wanting to live in [system Z], it doesn't necessarily follow that every country should be [system Z].

What are the downsides to this model? Specifically as it applies to a large heterogeneous culture?

Thesh wrote:EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than [X] in the first place?
No, not necessarily. Tempting though it seems, it's important to also consider just what it is that brings "quality of life and happiness". For the most part I'd rather make my own decisions and risk the consequences, than to be protected from myself by an outside entity "for my own good".

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:...It buys all these things because all these things are for sale....
This is a very interesting issue but I think that despite having a lot to do with what we are discussing, I am afraid it belongs to a different area of thought and should be taken for granted in this discussion.
Actually I think it's fundamental to the point. To complain that "they" have too much money without dealing with the fact that "we" gave it to them is just whining. It's the kind of thing that differentiates "equal outcomes" from "equal opportunities" (which, while laudable, is problematic if examined too closely).

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby jseah » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:25 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:So no, the statement is not 'because you are earning money you are at fault.' It is instead, you are earning money by screwing lots of people over and even when caught doing it the people you have wronged at getting very little relatively to the harm you caused and the gains you made. All the while you are actively at best stifling political solutions and are at worst using your political influence (which is so much greater than the workers that they basically have none) to gain more from the work of others and give them less for their work.

Eh, isn't the problem there that political influence can be bought?

I could get behind a direct democracy proposal. Proof of identity required for voting on issues at libraries/town council/post office. Issues open when raised, given a time limit (minimum 1 week) and are open for voting / change of votes until the closing date. Current score deliberately not tallied until closed.

Zcorp wrote:
Now however, with instant worldwide market making, ability to harvest, produce and design in completely separate corners of the world, ability to outsource just about anything and discover previously untapped markets/resources, the market is turning into "the best product wins and only the best product wins, everyone else loses".

The absurdity of this is baffling to me.
To go into great detail about this would take a long time, so lets just have you explain how this what you are seeing with American Telecoms and ISPs.

First mover advantage, network effects and high barrier to entry.

My preferred solution would be to regulate the industry by separating infrastructure provider from service provider (and for the internet, content providers from utility providers). With additional oversight to prevent collusion, for example by preventing the same people being on the board for companies which cross one of those regulatory lines.

Thesh wrote:EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?

I would disagree with this sentence, but then again, I tend to "save" alot by putting off current quality of life for future benefits (perhaps even too much?).
On the other hand, I'm not convinced that concentration of wealth beyond a certain point in private ownership is better for R&D than if it belonged to the government. All the major R&D initiatives are government or partly-government funded.

-> Corporations function alot like a mini-government however; I don't count large corporations as privately owned. Still, the R&D and infrastructure they do isn't the same sort as the government ones, primarily due to tragedy of the commons-type payoffs.


Your point about distributed power is interesting but you face a coordination problem there. Namely, how to organize large quantities of money, human effort and information in service of a goal, which is essentially what the challenges of a major engineering project or crash R&D program. And government is a particularly poor way of doing that unless you make effectiveness the primary goal of the government and not "taking care of people". (eg. singapore has a government that works very effectively but is not what I would describe as a caring or "kind" one)

Even with the internet and crowdsourcing, it's hard to get things done without a concentration of executive power.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Mambrino » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:...how about doing it in a way that has been demonstrated to be successful over the long term: how the Scandinavian countries operate; High and progressive taxation but a large investment in education and social safety nets.
How much game-changing innovation (by whatever definition) has come from and been commercialized in Scandinavia? I can only think of Ikea and Linus Torvalds, but I am not familiar with Scandinavia. Both swords cut both ways.

Jose


Thesh wrote:They consistently beat out the US in R&D (although the US has more patents):

http://www.citylab.com/tech/2011/10/wor ... ology/224/
c
EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?

EDIT2: Also, for tech companies, how about Nokia which was, until recently, the world's number one mobile phone manufacturer for years? Or Skype, which is still huge, same with Spotify.


Slightly OT:

Spoiler:
In addition to Nokia (Finland), Spotify (Sweden), Skype (originally Swedes in Estonia, which admittedly is not a Nordic country with Nordic welfare model, and now apparently resides on Luxembourg... now I wonder do they pay their taxes), I can think about (well not maybe all game changing technological innovations, but surely major tech companies and stuff):

Birds.
Mojang
Lego
Mr. Stroustrup came up with a programming language
Paradox more games
SoundCloud (originally from Stockholm)
Tetra Pak packages are everywhere
MySQL
Volvo (3-point seatbelt) and there was SAAB, too.
In addition to IKEA, Swedish also have H&M.
ABB was a Swedish company ASEA.
Ball and roller bearings
Usefulness of Xylitol against caries
Ericsson makes electronics, not sure about their truly innovative stuff, and Sweden has a large arms and aerospace industry, too.
I think Finland and Sweden made quite a lot of paper and pulp technology innovations. Also shipyards (like Aker)
Scientific Nobels per capita. Nobel himself, Celcius, Brahe and like tend to predate the Nordic model.


Put in spoiler because list of companies and people merely tells that such companies and people exist (that we're not totally devoid of them). Some statistics would be more useful.

I also suspect that successful scientists might easily ...gravitate towards the top universities which often are US universities, and likewise tech people find themselves in Silicon Valley. Why those places are in US might have something to with the economical and social policies, but also differences in sizes of countries and population (= size of economy), which is an important factor by itself and also might contribute towards things like (for example) how much government is able and willing to invest in military technology etc which might spawn new technologies.

For comparison, I know Finnish military managed to pull off quite clever tricks with artillery tactics and signals intelligence during WW2, but US financed a nuclear bomb and UK had Alan Turing in charge of breaking Enigma; or I don't think major international center of tech business like Silicon Valley would have never popped up in Sweden no matter what kind of taxation scheme they had in place.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:11 pm UTC

jseah wrote:The absurdity of this is baffling to me.

Your point about distributed power is interesting but you face a coordination problem there.

Namely, how to organize large quantities of money, human effort and information in service of a goal.

which is essentially what the challenges of a major engineering project or crash R&D program.


Excuse me.
I wandered in to Quote Snipe.

How? oh, How could a person or committee of persons gain control of Large Quantities of Money and Human effort?
Then bend those resources and all their collective information to the Service of a Goal. How? oh, How?

What about Taking Control of the United States Armed Forces?
If you could do that. You would be Step One, on your way.

Then you might need More Power.
How? How to get More Power?

Create another Agency.
Make it Superior in a the Hierarchy to all other Agencies.

Ta-Da! You are Done!
Now; You and I both know; That is some Fucked Up shit.

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It's a new First Rule. It's better.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:40 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?


No.

Sacrificing future progress by burning resources now is *always* a temptation. People tend to prioritize immediate gains over future ones...sometimes discounting future gains to a very large degree. This sort of logic gets us to places like "lets burn all the coal now, and screw the future!"

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Thesh » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:57 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?


No.

Sacrificing future progress by burning resources now is *always* a temptation. People tend to prioritize immediate gains over future ones...sometimes discounting future gains to a very large degree. This sort of logic gets us to places like "lets burn all the coal now, and screw the future!"


That's just silly. Quality of life being more important than innovation does not mean "Let's never spend money on R&D, and let's burn all the fossil fuels today" it just means that when directing funds, quality of life should get priority. The argument is basically that it's okay for millions of people to be in poverty in a wealthy country, just because innovation is more important - this is a pretty twisted viewpoint. Not to mention, it's just plain wrong in the first place. High inequality does not appear to be a main driver of innovation, education does, and people in poverty don't have the access to education that people outside of poverty do. If future innovation is your main long term goal, then fighting inequality both on a local and a global scale should be your immediate goal. I guarantee you that having an extra million people domestically with access to good education, and especially a billion extra people worldwide with access to good education will result in much faster technological advancement than wealth inequality with the hope that more will be invested in technology.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:55 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:High inequality does not appear to be a main driver of innovation, education does, and people in poverty don't have the access to education that people outside of poverty do. If future innovation is your main long term goal, then fighting inequality both on a local and a global scale should be your immediate goal.
This does not follow, although it seems like it does.

To get innovation, you need education. So, invest in public education.

Income inequality does not cause lack of education. Therefore, income inequality is an inappropriate target. I will concede that poverty and malnutrition prevents uptake of education, so target that, and for those reasons (and with methods that address those reasons). But attitude is also important, and poor attitude comes from many things, and welfare expectation is one of them. People need to aspire - to want to succeed. And that is a big part of quality of life.

They do not need to be guaranteed success. In fact, that would be counter productive. But success needs to be possible, and they have to be made aware that it is possible through hard work (and sometimes a little luck). There are many components to this. Attempting to counter income inequality (or, the same thing from a different perspective, attempting to impose income equality) is probably counter-productive.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Thesh » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:35 am UTC

What makes you believe that higher income inequality leads to more motivation? Do you see any evidence that today people are working harder to succeed than they were, say in the 1960s when income inequality was significantly lower? If there were fewer billionaires but more millionaires, and more people making six figures, wouldn't that motivate you more just because that success is obtainable? There's just no good reason to believe that having these levels of inequality has any tangible benefits for our society; all we do know is that it comes with the sacrifice of significant quality of life for most of the population. Based on this data, to have the average income distribution for the first 10 years of data (1967-1976), the change in income for each quintile would be as follows:

Quintile: Percent Change (Current mean Income -> Mean income 67-76 distribution)
Bottom 20%: 27.81% ($11,651 -> $14,891)
Second 20%: 26.73% ($30,509 -> $38,665)
Third 20%: 19.54% ($52,322 -> $62,548)
Fourth 20%: 6.70% ($83,519 -> $89,115)
Top 20%: -14.70% ($185,206 -> $157,987)

Now, are you going to tell me with the new scale, it would significantly hurt innovation? You have a significantly improved quality of life for 60% of the population, slightly improved for 20%, and then the next 20% still has a significantly higher quality of life than the group below them. Or hell, even these levels seem quite reasonable:

Bottom 20%: 55.87% ($11,651 -> $18,160)
Second 20%: 48.81% ($30,509 -> $45,400)
Third 20%: 21.48% ($52,322 -> $63,561)
Fourth 20%: 8.72% ($83,519 -> $90,801)
Top 20%: -21.56% ($185,206 -> $145,282)

Your jump from bottom to second quintile is over double, your jump from second to third is 40%, from third to fourth is 43%, your jump from fourth to top is 60%. That's still a huge motivation to do better.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:46 am UTC

Assuming that owning more money is the only drive for everyone to try to succeed in their field (something I doubt*), a distribution of wealth of such iniquity to me seems more dissuading to people than "inspiring" .
Also, in the "bottom class", money is not an opportunity, but a debt; it is something necessary to live stably.
You first need the "Money to be free from Money" - as someone put it - and then you can think of growing on top of it, participating the game in which the best earn the most.
With this I wanted to say that seeing welfare as granting everyone the right to be successfull, and a habit that makes people lazy, seems kind of skewed.

Spoiler:
* I heard about an experiment, I think it was in Psychology class, in which monkeys were instructed to "draw". Some did it freely, with fun and care. Others, instructed to draw for a direct reward (bananas I guess), did it sloppily and just enough to get their prize.
Now, I know this is not very scientific and sounds more like a parable, and most people (are not monkeys and)' jobs are not comparable to drawing, but it gives an idea


[live edit: Thesh got here faster and with the numbers]

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:28 am UTC

mat.tia wrote:Assuming that owning more money is the only drive for everyone to try to succeed in their field (something I doubt*), a distribution of wealth of such iniquity to me seems more dissuading to people than "inspiring" .
Also, in the "bottom class", money is not an opportunity, but a debt; it is something necessary to live stably.
You first need the "Money to be free from Money" - as someone put it - and then you can think of growing on top of it, participating the game in which the best earn the most.
With this I wanted to say that seeing welfare as granting everyone the right to be successfull, and a habit that makes people lazy, seems kind of skewed.

Spoiler:
* I heard about an experiment, I think it was in Psychology class, in which monkeys were instructed to "draw". Some did it freely, with fun and care. Others, instructed to draw for a direct reward (bananas I guess), did it sloppily and just enough to get their prize.
Now, I know this is not very scientific and sounds more like a parable, and most people (are not monkeys and)' jobs are not comparable to drawing, but it gives an idea


[live edit: Thesh got here faster and with the numbers]

Yes.
It's just an idea.

It's an idea that could use some more Thought.
Why do we do The Best Things we do?

For Money?
Some of us do The Best Things we do for Money.
Those are people with Good Jobs.

Most of us pay and pay and pay to do The Best Things.

That group of Psychology Tests and Experiments are very much like The Glass is Half Full/The Glass is Half Empty.
Some people don't have a good time, unless they can Brag or Complain about how much it cost them.

Oh! Oh! One more thing.
A bunch of those tests and experiments are well understood and safe.

(shrug) It's like...Chemisty.
Some fun and not very dangerous stuff is done by little budding "Gott'a fill in the Science Section" Humans.
The Chemist does not have to get the Student's Approval and Written Consent.

I suppose there are similarities.
A person needs a class, before participating in some of those experiments.
A person needs a class, before participating in Chemistry Lab, too.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:26 pm UTC

Honestly I don't think Best Things ever came from money incentives.
Think of all the Best Things that came from people "who were born posthumous" - as someone else called them.
We have plenty of them, both in Arts and Science.

If one has a great idea, usually one wants to pursue it, regardless of how much money he'll get in return.
The possibility of pursuing such an idea is not always granted though: one needs to have the time to do it, but, since time is money... one could argue that a system based solely on money incentives and that doesn't grant everyone enough money to have enough free time to pursue their best ideas, prevents most Best Things to come to life.

Of course money can be a good incentive to do something one would not otherwise do. This mechanism works when one is forced to own money in order to pay taxes.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:EDIT: Besides, isn't overall quality of life and happiness much more important than technological innovation in the first place?


No.

Sacrificing future progress by burning resources now is *always* a temptation. People tend to prioritize immediate gains over future ones...sometimes discounting future gains to a very large degree. This sort of logic gets us to places like "lets burn all the coal now, and screw the future!"


That's just silly. Quality of life being more important than innovation does not mean "Let's never spend money on R&D, and let's burn all the fossil fuels today" it just means that when directing funds, quality of life should get priority. The argument is basically that it's okay for millions of people to be in poverty in a wealthy country, just because innovation is more important - this is a pretty twisted viewpoint. Not to mention, it's just plain wrong in the first place.


Why is it wrong or twisted? Thanks to innovation, the world is better for even those in relative poverty than in times past. Innovation is HUGE, especially over the long term. Optimize for innovation(which yes, does include good education, obviously). Deprioritizing innovation is a terrible long term strategy. The quality of life gains you seek now are dwarfed by the massive long term quality of life gains that faster innovation drives.

mat.tia wrote:Assuming that owning more money is the only drive for everyone to try to succeed in their field (something I doubt*), a distribution of wealth of such iniquity to me seems more dissuading to people than "inspiring" .


It isn't, of course. But it's still pretty major. And most of us are not artists or whatever...we're folks punching out necessary work that's not necessarily art or anything like it. Art isn't a great analogy for employment in general.

Mostly, going by money, we're incentivising LESS artists, and more people doing boring jobs. You don't use money to convince someone to follow their dreams, but to follow yours.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Vahir » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:54 pm UTC

ucim wrote:People need to aspire - to want to succeed.


Hm, and here I thought EVERYONE wanted to succeed.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:56 pm UTC

Only certain definitions of success are considered to be acceptable.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Mostly, going by money, we're incentivising LESS artists, and more people doing boring jobs

I would say general scientific research that does not have an immediate use gets the same treatment of Arts.
Now you can think that Arts and Science in themselves are to be discouraged; I have an opposite opinion.

Tyndmyr wrote:You don't use money to convince someone to follow their dreams, but to follow yours.

Yep and that is why I don't see how this fits with any Democracy nor the American Constitution in particular, which states everyone has the right to pursue their happines - and I'd say a minimum amount of freedom from money (and people who own it) is necessary to start this pursuing.

Technological innovation is obviously a great thing; that doesn't mean it necessarily and automatically leads to an overall better life quality.
You could innovate creating a drug that cures widespread deseases in poor countries - but you have no money incentives to do so.
You do innovate creating an Iphone6 after an Iphone5, or a toothpaste that better cleans you teeth, or a blazer with 10 blades built in NASA labs; I don't see though how these innovations make any life better.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:What makes you believe that higher income inequality leads to more motivation?
I don't, and I didn't say that.

mat.tia wrote:Also, in the "bottom class", money is not an opportunity, but a debt;
No it isn't. It is (as you say) a necessity rather than a luxury. But it is not itself a debt. That's daft.

in a spoiler, mat.tia wrote:...Other[ monkeys], instructed to draw for a direct reward (bananas I guess), did it sloppily and just enough to get their prize....
You've heard the phrase, spoken from one volunteer to another: "they couldn't pay me to do this!" (meaning "I wouldn't do it for money", not that there wasn't money available) People do things for some sort of reward, often that reward is the accomplishment of some bigger thing they set out to do. They don't spend the day sweeping the floor (for free) for the fun of it, but rather, so that the play their theater is doing will be successful. And they only do it to the extent that they don't feel like they are being taken advantage of. There are (for example) stretches of highway with signs that say "cleanup and mantainance by {some group}"... who may think that a clean highway is nice to have, but also that the sign saying they did it is also nice (for that group) to have. And the "thank you" is nice. But if the town tries to transition to having that group do all the garbage collection, I bet they'd quit in an instant.

Income (in)equality is a result, not a cause.

Vahir wrote:Hm, and here I thought EVERYONE wanted to succeed.
No, there are a lot of people who just want to get by.

mat.tia wrote:... I don't see though how these innovations make any life better.
Lots of other people do though.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:06 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:
ucim wrote:People need to aspire - to want to succeed.


Hm, and here I thought EVERYONE wanted to succeed.


Not necessarily. Sometimes people just give up, for instance. Someone can have a strong drive, be directed down a rough path or hit a patch of bad luck, and have that drive be tested. Sure, a desire to BE successful is common, but sometimes people just give up on pursuing it because they believe it is unacheivable for them or whatever.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Mostly, going by money, we're incentivising LESS artists, and more people doing boring jobs

I would say general scientific research that does not have an immediate use gets the same treatment of Arts.
Now you can think that Arts and Science in themselves are to be discouraged; I have an opposite opinion.


Not entirely. General scientific research is still generally decently compensated and respected. Enough? Well, probably not, no. But a middling artist probably has no job at all or is struggling in another field, while a middling STEM student ends up doing drudge work instead of cutting edge research, and still gets paid solidly. Science is treated significantly different from art by society at present.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You don't use money to convince someone to follow their dreams, but to follow yours.

Yep and that is why I don't see how this fits with any Democracy nor the American Constitution in particular, which states everyone has the right to pursue their happines - and I'd say a minimum amount of freedom from money (and people who own it) is necessary to start this pursuing.


You have the right to pursue whatever. You don't have the right to GET whatever. That's on you. If being a starving artist is your method of pursuing happiness, then cheers, but society is not obligated to pay you to produce art nobody wants. Or at least, it shouldn't be.

mat.tia wrote:Technological innovation is obviously a great thing; that doesn't mean it necessarily and automatically leads to an overall better life quality.
You could innovate creating a drug that cures widespread deseases in poor countries - but you have no money incentives to do so.
You do innovate creating an Iphone6 after an Iphone5, or a toothpaste that better cleans you teeth, or a blazer with 10 blades built in NASA labs; I don't see though how these innovations make any life better.


Poor people in this country(USA) have smartphones by the bucketload, in the past, they didn't. Sure, they got sold to rich folk first, but now, they're stupidly common. Each increment may be small, but today's luxury in the tech market is tomorrow's standard.

A toothpaste that better cleans teeth? You don't see how that helps lives?

Sure, sometimes there are false steps, but in large part, past innovations have become so very commonplace that they are nearly invisible to us now. That's what progress looks like....when people are not talking about access to something because literally everyone has it and it's normal.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:14 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
You have the right to pursue whatever. You don't have the right to GET whatever. That's on you. If being a starving artist is your method of pursuing happiness, then cheers, but society is not obligated to pay you to produce art nobody wants. Or at least, it shouldn't be.

That's what You think.
You are Wrong.

I am Not an Art Major.
I can not quote you Chapter and Verse.

I Do know, better minds than my mind have settled the matter.
You are Wrong.
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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby morriswalters » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:42 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Income (in)equality is a result, not a cause.
Income inequality is inherent in the structure of society. The degree to which that inequality impairs an ongoing stable society is at issue. An it should be controllable.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:... I don't see though how these innovations make any life better.
Lots of other people do though.

Jose, you cannot reply to only half of a sentence...
I guess Iphone6 makes lives of people who had Iphone5 slightly better (how?). But creating and selling drugs at their minimum cost to cure a deadly disease improves life quality in a way that is not comparable. If you think a new Iphone and a person's health are comparable, we will never understand each other I am afraid and we better stop discussing now.
If you agree these improvements are not comparable, you must agree technological innovation driven by money incentive per se is not the best way to imrpove people's lives quality.
The argument of the Invisible Hand was valid before we "killed" god and before we had mathematical arguments to explain why it is actually not valid.
Saying economy and finance have the power to balance out fairly everything is just another form of faith.

On the Arts issue, addams said it.

[edit]
Tyndmyr wrote:You have the right to pursue whatever. You don't have the right to GET whatever. That's on you. If being a starving artist is your method of pursuing happiness, then cheers, but society is not obligated to pay you to produce art nobody wants. Or at least, it shouldn't be.
Nobody said you need to be paid money for pursuing your happines; you just have the right to pursue happiness (which is NOT necessarily money for everyone).
This implies you have the basic rights (time, health, education) to not worry about surviving. You will need a job in your life; but the job should NOT be your life (if you don't want it to).

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addams
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:07 pm UTC

Are we going to be able to write about how Great we can be?
Yes. Our technology is delightful and we are capable of Great things with it.

We are still Human.
Many of us are like the Country Mouse from Assop's Fables.

As someone wrote, "To live a simple life is Man's most complicated task."
It does get complicated.

It is much more complicated to be poor than it is to be rich.
The poor may have i-Phones. Who can they call with them?

Not Cheney's Town Car.
That, I am fairly sure of.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:53 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:Jose, you cannot reply to only half of a sentence...
Your post to which I was replying was directly above mine - there was no need to quote the whole gosh-darned thing; just enough to point to the spot I was referring to. I was replying to the idea that because you happen to not think much of innovations like {list of popular things}, that those things are not important. Enough people think that they are important enough for them to shell out their hard-earned (or government-given) money for them. Are you really proposing that some arbitor of importance should be appointed?

mat.tia wrote:I guess Iphone6 makes lives of people who had Iphone5 slightly better (how?).
Ask the people who bought one.

mat.tia wrote:But creating and selling drugs at their minimum cost to cure a deadly disease...
...also has a very high cost, which somebody has to pay. Lots and lots of workers from research scientists to machinists to floor sweepers to marketers (yes, if you can't market it, you can't pay for it) to glassblowers to animal caretakers to lawyers to computer manufacturers to doctors to... well, lots of people work very hard to make and test these drugs. And a lot of that effort is for nought, because this particular idea did not pan out, and that particular idea is too dangerous, and the other idea looks promising but another drug company has something similar that they have threatened suit about.

Even if the drug costs little to make, who will pay for the research to make the next one? Or do you think people should be drafted, like in the army, to create new drugs?

And when the time comes to give the fifty vials to twelve people, by what manner should those twelve be chosen?

mat.tia wrote:The argument of the Invisible Hand was valid before we "killed" god...
Huh?

mat.ia wrote:Saying economy and finance have the power to balance out fairly everything is just another form of faith.
I'm not saying that. But now that you bring up "fair", how would you define "fair"? Because life is unfair, and any attempt to make it more fair is unfair.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:08 am UTC

Jose!
That's not Fair!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

mat.tia
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:06 am UTC
Location: Torino

Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:41 am UTC

Maybe I wasn't clear, but I have nothing against Iphones and all other popular items, nor I propose any limitations on what people can do and buy with their own money. This is only half of my reasoning that doesn't stand by itself (does the whole reasoning stand? let us discuss it).

My argument was simply to challenge the idea that seeking technological innovation driven by money incentive is the best and most efficient way to make populations' lives better.
I'd say that on this subtopic there can be two different views:
1) let economics laws do their job: they will work out what's best for people.
2) knowing economics laws, try to bend them to peoples' needs.

I would say point 1) corresponds to Smith's theory of the Invisible Hand - or at least how it is taught in a neo-liberal context.
With my expression "killing god" (I don't know if it's actually used in English language, but I guess so) I was referring to the fact that for more than a century, despite individual believes, western societies have acted as if the universe is totally indifferent to human's fate, contrary to previous believes of there being a god. What I find strange is that people that are extremely rational and are used to bend physics laws to their favour, trust in the Invisible Hand (a subset of the physics laws) to do what's best for us all. Maybe that is why US bills say "In God we trust"? (no irony, I am actually curious about it).
The opposite view 2), in my opinion pretty much says "we have a great and powerful engine that can take us very far. it is up to us to build a steering wheel and decide the direction we want to go".

This might be just another form of the Keynesians vs Liberals argument.

I understand your concerns about people making drugs to cure diseases not getting their money back. But:
1) if they can get back the money spent (no extra monetary earning for the company, no huge bonus for the manager, but everyone gets paid for his work), they do not do it either.
2) your concerns are valid in a context in which money incentive is what drives technological innovation. I said "in a context in which all is driven by money incentive you cannot do that" and you replied "you cannot do that, what money incentive would you have"?

ucim wrote:But now that you bring up "fair", how would you define "fair"? Because life is unfair, and any attempt to make it more fair is unfair.
what does this even mean, why do we have laws at all then?


[edit: some spelling and such]


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