A General Solution to Poverty

Undercutting the War for Power

By on November 17, 2013 6:32:02 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Phil Osborn

Join Date 12/2003
+1

A Solution – The Shorter Version

Phil Osborn  07/06/12, 11/16/13, 12/28/13, 06/30/14, 07/17/14

Note: I DO appreciate the ~200 comments so far, but how can I possibly read them all?  I have tried to skim or sample from the existing logjam of comments, but it will clearly take most of a day to sort through.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with this so that important information is not lost and spam or completely new threads can be bypassed?  Thanks...  

If someone were to actually carefully read all 200, then they might well learn a few things about different economic perspectives, but nothing that I spotted in the way of a flaw in my post or anything that I was not already personally aware of, at least as a principle.  If there were a way to separate out the thread diversions without deleting someone's otherewise good effort, it might be nice, but I don't so far see any point in my intervention.  Most of the time, the critiques of my post were answered by someone else or were clearly based on imposing unjustified assumptions on top of what I actually said.  So, I stand with my original analysis.  Thanks, people.)

My own comments on some random issues raised by other people here:

Nobody paid much attention to my subtitle.  Most attempts to deal with poverty have wallowed in corruption as various middlemen have taken their cut and ensured that the problem continues.  That's an inherent danger in any "need-based" system.  The more you "need," the more you get.  Police get bigger budgets when crime increases.  When you add in the factor of detailed analysis of how much any particular individual "needs," as in most U.S. welfare programs, you end up spending huge amounts of energy on a political football.  As Milton Friedman recognized, the beauty of a guaranteed minimum is that it undercuts a big chunk of the political transaction costs.  The "Give Directly" people have been demonstrating that elimiinating the "need" analysis and simply giving works pretty well in comparison to most of the NGO efforts.  And, of course, I recognize the differences between my own worldwide plan and Friedman's. The world could not afford what I suggested back around early 2008 - giving everybody $10,000, twice a year, similar to Friedman.  The U.S. and the rest of the comparitively wealthy Ist World could do it, but the limit for the entire planetary population is probably between $500 and $1,000, which would save about a billion people from useless lives and miserable deaths.

I will end up repeating my original post here, if I'm not careful:   My plan is grounded in natural law and the inherent obligations that we inherit as the product of our history and evolution.  "Privilege" in general is a violation of the implicit social contract, setting us against each other as predator and prey.  The opposite of "privilege" is the Commons, to which each human has an equal right.  But this is nowhere similar to "communism."  Free markets and capitalism are natural social technology that are fully consistent with the Commons.  We have to have some method of "proprietorship" in order to organize long term efforts, such as farming.  "Property" and markets are a brilliant solution to the need to be able to act long-term in a social context.  However, they are derivatives of the Commons.  There is no "unclaimed" property to mix ones labor with.  And Locke didn't mean it that way anyway.  See my even longer article on Property. 

So, the long term idea is that we establish legal mechanisms by which a bundle of rights called a lease allows the accumulation of property, wealth, capital and trade, while at the same time requiring that the lease-holder compensate the Commons for privatizing and forbidding the property owner from imposing externalities on his neighbors.  Under that system, that part of the lease fees over and above what was required to maintain the Commons itself, its infrastructure, etc., would be paid back directly to the people of the Commons, equally, as their rightful due. 

But, since we are not in that mode, or only partially so, having inherited a motley conglomeration of different legal/property systems, usually based on conquest or corruption, the best we can do is an approximation - what I call a planetary dividend, based in part - I hate to admit - on an assessment of global "need."  I.e., given that this is at best an approximation, what level of dividend can we afford that would have the maximum impact?  We don't need to be killing incentive or ignoring critical global infrastructural problems such as climate changes.  We definitely need to deal with 1/7 of population living on the edge of survival.  But we don't need any more "need" contests and political chicanery, which means that EVERYONE gets the dividend.   And, BTW, we are running a global shortage of children to take care of the growing bulge of elderly.  Children are included in that "EVERYONE."  And, of course this can be seen as an "inflation tax."  Is there a better way?  

If you have a specific bone to pick that you think was not covered, of course feel free to comment further...   Meanwhile, I will attempt to come up with a better way to deal with an overload of information here.

    **************************************************************************************************

The problem:  People are starving while the disparity between rich and poor is growing.  Meanwhile, class, ethnic, religious, etc. divisions are created, nurtured and exacerbated for the profit and power of people who are fundamentally sociopaths, and profit from misery.  While the planet heats up, due to our failure to incorporate externaities into our economic decisions, more and more of our available resources are wasted in political battles based on and resulting in a limited planetary pie of wealth and productivity, at the same time that our actual capabilities for positive production are on a steep exponential curve.

A solution: Give everyone money, the same amount to every man, woman & child, to the tune of at least $500, but no more than $1,000, going – with U.N. supervision – directly and solely to the individuals, untaxed and secured against private or state confiscation.  And keep doing it, on an annual basis, so that everyone can make rational economic decisions based on it.

Impact:  The 1.1 billion people barely surviving on less than $1 per day would suddenly be able to purchase reasonably healthy basic food, cheap multi-vitamins, basic medicine and vaccinations, school books, seeds and a plow perhaps and a cheap cell phone.  I.e., they would have the capacity to be productive, instead of a net drag on the planetary production, existing only through charities that generally go to the most needy, thereby incentivizing failure and setting class against class. 

The 2nd world, such as Mexico, would see a minor windfall that would help boost their struggling economy.  In the 1st World, the lowest income rung – who are still richer than most of the world’s population – would have a significant chunk of cash to repair their car or go to the doctor, etc.  The working class would about break even with the inevitable inflation of 5~10%.  The middle class would suffer a slight loss.  And the 1% would experience it as perhaps a 5% drop in net worth.

(Note that the middle class – the home owning class – in theU.S. has suffered a 40% decline in their average net worth since 2007.  Another measure of this is to look at the $3~6 trillion of bailouts and divide by the population.  That’s $10,000~$20,000 per man, woman and child that was given largely to the very crooks who caused the mess, in hopes that they would reform and give it back to us in the form of legitimate investments and jobs…  Still waiting… What would have happened if the fed had simply printed the money and given the same amount - ~$10,000 – to every individual U.S. citizen?  They would have kept their homes in most cases, bought cars, etc., anything but sit on it, because they would have known that inflation was coming and their dollars would be worth 5~15% less in a year or so.  Of course the major state creditors – such as the Chinese – would not have been pleased.  Too bad.)

By the numbers:

Justice - is it fundamentally fair? – We KNOW that much of the money and assets held by the ultra-rich and the banksters, etc., was stolen and there is no practical way to get it back in most cases.  In the case of long-standing disputes such as natives vs. colonizers, often the property in dispute was stolen repeatedly by waves of aggressors.  So, let’s make a reasonable assumption that some portion of the planetary wealth rightfully belongs predominantly to the people at the bottom, as the disparity in wealth is often provably the result of theft of the poor and powerless by the wealthy and powerful.  People are generally pretty productive, given half a chance, so a lot of the poorest of the poor are there through no real fault of their own.  See the Drunkard's Walk for a clear, cogent eye-opener on the basic issue of just how much of our lives are subject to random influences - and how we systematically mis-asign causes to random events.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Drunkards-Walk-Randomness-Rules/dp/0307275175

Practicality - can we physically/economically do it?  -  The planetary net income is on the order of at least  $70 trillion.  Paying everyone $1,000 would cost one-tenth of that.  However, the money would be going mostly to people who would spend it, rather than sitting on it in hopes of deflation, as in our banking system.  That spending and inflation would have the impact of forcing the money that is just sitting now back into investing.

Alternatives - after all other considerations, are there alternatives that might be better?  Maybe…  Let’s hear them! 

(The Progressive Left to whom I’ve marketed this likes it up to a point.  Of course, what they want is more like having a bureaucracy of sociologists design a system that evaluates what people “should” need – food, housing, medical care, etc. - and then target the “needy” with those items that they “ought to” value. 

An alternate solution, however, is providing a very nice counter example.  Check out http://www.givedirectly.org/. This NGO has demonstrated that very low income people actually make generally good decisions when simply given a lump sum of cash.  Give Directly was interviewed at length on NPR.  They are financed by some of the major players – Google, for example – with the goal, not to provide succor to the needy as such, but rather to do exhaustive research on actual policy and its outcomes.  They are currently analyzing the data from a comparison project in which they matched up recipients of cash with people who had received a cow or goats, etc., via the well-known and well-respected “Heifer Project.”  So far, my understanding is that the data indicate that simple cash is at least about as good in long-term relief of poverty as the targeted planning that Heifer engages in, which seriously undercuts the Progressive Left’s objections to my proposal.)

Acceptability - will people actually buy into it? – If people label this as left-wing, socialist, one-world, etc., then the labels may block them from accepting this as a reasonable plan. If it is seen as charity stolen from the productive to subsidize the lazy and unproductive, then the Republicans and everyone to their right will reject it out of hand. But if it is seen as simple fairness, then it may fly.  And if it is sold as a planetary dividend, based on the Law of the Commons, applied to the planet, then the smarter people will realize that it actually gives the entire planetary population a vested interest in productivity.  I.e., this should not encourage people to vote themselves ever more money, but rather to look for how to optimize returns for the planet via public policy, as productivity in general will result in larger dividends for everyone. 

(Imagine if everyone’s income came from a position in Google stock.  Would most people vote for a Board that favored more dividends at a cost of lowered future profits or would they vote for more reinvestment of profits into expanding the income base via marketing, new products, and R & D?  That’s a very different perspective than trying to lobby for more welfare to finance “needs.”  In the first situation, keeping the Golden Goose alive and well has to be a major decision factor, whereas the second position pits every group against every other group in a political battle that eats up the general resources.   Which decision process is preferable?)

Sustainability - is this part of a long-term perspective or just a stop-gap?  (Note: Stop-gaps are better than nothing.)

There’s no apparent reason why this should stop.  I.e., assume that for the future everyone on the planet will expect to get that regular dividend.  Recent studies have indicated that more egalitarian societies, where there is less disparity between rich and poor are also happier and have fewer internal conflicts.  The wealthy also benefit as they are seen as being valuable contributors, rather than class enemies to be taxed. 

Objectivity - are we considering this as far as possible without bias or preconceptions, basing our thinking solely on facts and logic?

So what IS the underlying philosophy of this, beyond the practicalities?  I suggest the Commons model, or Bucky Fuller’s Spaceship Earth.  Under the Law of the Commons,* all land and natural resources are owned in common, equally by everyone.  However, this is a lousy way to get things done.  Privatization and proprietorship are powerful mechanisms by which people invest their energy and talent into long-term projects, such as farms and businesses.  The Common Law handles this by opening up the commons to bidders, who have to bid at least enough to cover the losses to their neighbors of the privatization, and then cover insurance against future damage.  And, once there is a market economy functioning, then would-be entrepreneurs will bid the prices up, and there will be a surplus from the leases coming into the Common treasury.  This surplus from the fees or land rent is used first to deal with infrastructure issues and then the remainder is split equally and paid out to every individual as a dividend. 

The logical sequence of derivations is as follows:  We all owe our existence to the Big Bang or however our universe got started.  As living creatures we also have a debt to the planet earth and to the two billion years of reproduction and evolution that resulted in our generic species – homo.  As humans, we carry with us a specific history of two million or so years of choices and ongoing physical evolution to where we are today.  And, as modern men and women, we owe 99%+ of everything we have or can do to the history, culture, knowledge and organization that enabled us to survive and prosper, not to mention our parents and families.  Of course, we individuals also contribute or detract from that embodied value.  There are Newtons and Hitlers.  Some people make a net positive contribution and some people are parasites or predators.

For most of the 2 million or so years that we could be called human – educable to modern human capability – we lived in small tribes in which everything was held in common and hoarding got you expelled or killed.  When we finally broke through the barriers to larger groups (mostly infectious diseases that rely upon a larger population) and developed specializations and long-term land use for grazing or farming, we had to invent rules for use of the Commons to prevent Garrett Hardin’s  “Tragedy of the Commons.”  The need for proprietorship as a means of protecting long-term investments of labor – raising a crop, for example – lead to the evolution of private property.  However, recall that most of what we own, including our capabilities in every field, were inherited or are acquired from our association today with other human beings, themselves products of eons of effort to survive and prosper.

To claim that an individual then has the capability of owning something absolutely is absurd.  We carry into our every action the claims upon us from our ancestors and family and friends and the culture that supports and protects us.  What we do own as individuals is the moral right to our lives.  And, since we cannot survive on a range of the moment basis, we have the abstract right to physical property, ownership – the right to morally prohibit other people from interfering with our long term actions.  One legal vehicle by which this is accomplished is private property.  However, to get to private property, we must satisfy the moral obligations I have sketched above.  We must specify a moral route by which that which is owned in common – the Commons – can be held privately.  That route consists of a binding contract with the rest of humanity (in practice, a court or title agency), in which every member of the Commons is compensated for real or potential losses from the removal of that property from common use.

Which brings us back to where we started.  If we had a Common Law society, then there would BE a net dividend from the leasing of the commons, unless we were totally destitute.  That is clearly not the case today.  Whatever our common problems, we are incredibly wealthy as a species, at least 100 times as wealthy per capita as our ancestors only a few generations ago, and there is no end in sight, unless we destroy the planet.

So, how is it that we are in the process of destroying the planet, anyway?  Maybe one reason is that we are using an invalid concept of property, namely the Lockean idea of creating property by mixing your labor with the land.  Not a bad idea, as a moral theory, but it actually does not provide a basis for the reality that everyone has multiple claims on the commons.  There is no “un-owned” land to mix one’s labor with.  Instead there is a legal process, one that we have largely abandoned in favor of the law of conquest.  A process based on fairness that sets out a reasonable method by which property can be legitimate and responsible, instead of the corporate practice of simply off-loading ones externalities…

So, what I’m suggesting is not a perfect solution, but I haven’t seen many of those anywhere else, either.  A planetary dividend can be justified as reflecting the known practical and moral realities that I outlined above.  It won’t solve a lot of the problems facing us, but it should substantially improve things, and it is the fair thing to do.  It doesn’t suffer from the problems endemic to “need-based” give-aways.  It makes no claim that mere “need” can constitute a moral claim on the lives of other people.  It is simply based on an approximation of rightful claims for how things should be done.  And, supplying the bottom 15% or so of the global population with the means to survive means reducing the power and the struggles for the power of all the brokers who use extreme need as a stepping stone and support for their predations.  People whose daily bread is assured are much less likely to join some warlord's army just to eat - and much more likely to oppose such a person and act to reduce and eliminate that position of power.

We don’t have the capability practically to charge each individual for his or her use of the common resources.  That would be an enormous effort fraught with enormous resistance.  It could never fly in today’s world.  But by simply printing the money and giving everyone an equal share, we can offset the worst results of not doing things better to begin with, and, by and large the beneficiaries and those who are net losers will probably roughly approximate what would have been the results of a complete overhaul under the Law of the Commons.  We have higher priorities today – such as survival.  In some far tomorrow perhaps we will have the luxury of a more precise accounting.

12/29/13  Recent commentary and developments:

1) Still trying to locate that NPR site that interviewed or reported on an NGO or business called something like "Pays," or "Paze," or something similar - shareholder investments in young people, as I understood it.  Nicely synergistic to what I proposed and in-line with a similar idea that I tried to market several decades ago, running head on into the NIH syndrome.  The typical response was of the form, "If it's any good, the market will decide."  Imagine a prospective investor saying that to Henry Ford.  Imagine if Ford had listened and given up.  Anyone have a connection for us?

2) Also in the news in the past few days a story about  a stone age tribe that had been studied to assess the relative level of support for "sharing" vs. personal property.  The language used by the researcher was so close to my own in this blog as well as my piece "On Property" here at JU. that I seriously wonder if my work that might not have been an incidental input.  Gist was to the effect that someone who didn't share with the group would soon find himself an outcast and be unable to share with the successful hunter of tomorrrow.  Thus, personal property was nearly non-existent.

3) A clip from Bucky Fuller on one of the Occupy FB sites that I responded to:  Fuller was arguing that only sheer ignorance kept people from realizing their birthright - that we are all effectively billionaires.  Instead we are maintained in a state of artificial scarcity via that ignorance...  Posted by Ryan Firebrand.
 
My comment: "Except for sheer ignorance part.  That's not the only factor.  Sheer ignorance doesn't explain wars and pogroms very well.  Most wars are not fought for food or any tangible objective physical asset, but rather because war is the natural state when people are hypnotized and sociopaths are running society via neurotic memes.

People are taught in virtually every existing society that everything they naturally want is suspect or downright sinful and that God or the State or some similar abstraction is their highest value.  And only we of the "In group" who know the Truth are worth listening to or treating well anyway, so make sure to prevent others from speaking out or defying the natural order of things - as defined by the sociopaths.  So kids starve while we pay thousands of dollars for an SUV with a V8 because it sounds louder and meaner than our neighbor's, never challenging the memes that tell us how to measure ourselves and our tribe."

4> The recent robotics challenge from DARPA, which Google won, the idea being to create a roughly humanoid robot with human level sensory/motor skills and the functional intelligence of a two year old child - able to take simple instructions in natural language and implement them naturally as a child might.  Let's see, using Moore's Law...  (year/age equivalent) 2013/2, 2015/4, 2017/8, 2019/16, 2021/32, 2023/64, 2025/128... I.e., by about 2029, we unaugmented humans are history.  And that 1 billion who I targetted with my proposal above will be 2 billion and then 3 billion.

We can let them starve, or we can do something to bootstrap ourselves as a species to the next level of evolution.  If we choose the former, then what kind of treatment can we expect from someone with an effective IQ of 1,000?  Can you say "Termination?"  As in, "These fools aren't worth preserving AND they don't deserve the help to do it."  Or, we could start planning to provide real equity, with a planetary commons and a common dividend that brings the majority of that present 1~2 billion on the edge up to the point of positive productivity and contribution.

As I pointed out in my other blog here "On Morals," we are nearing the tipping point on this, while at the same time, the tech that threatens us also allows for a way out.  As the Boomers age, we will be needing replacements of various bio-systems - artificial retinas, hearing, augmented muscles, etc.  Once we have successful systems that barely make the grade, the door is open to major improvement.  If you are using an electronic retina, then why NOT have a playback function.  Why NOT use your memory chips in the head to access the cloud continuously, spawning search processes as fluidly as we move our biological eyes focus?  I.e., we can integrate ourselves into the next stage.  Or, we can blow it.

01/04/14 And on that note:

If you haven't yet seen "Her," then time's a wastin.  I came out of the theater to find that a group of perhaps 25 people had apparently spontaneously formed a circle, some holding hands, some quiet conversation, but mostly just looking at each other and peacefully, calmly smiling.  Never seen anything quite like it - or re the movie itself, either.  I was thinking, "This is the best film ever."  One of my co-workers who is a Huge movie buff gave it at least best pic for 2013.  The underlying message...  but I'll leave that for the next commenters.

 

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November 17, 2013 9:02:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So you're taking 1/10th of the global economy, or roughly $7 trillion and giving it to everyone evenly, correct?

Leaving aside several of your assumptions that I think are wildly wrong, there are two fundamental problems here that you have to solve before any discussion about the merits of your idea is even worthwhile.

First, where is the money coming from?  You talk AROUND this a bit with vague notions of taking it from bankers who stole it to begin with (a point which I think is overblown).  However, let's stipulate that you convince legislators to work on a law to get you the $7 trillion.  Which countries are you targeting? What's the mechanism for extracting the money?  VAT?  Some sort of super FICA-like tax?  

In other words where is the money coming from?  Presumably out of the economies of the United States & Europe somehow? Combined those two economies are just under half of the global GDP.  So you are essentially taking 20% of the economic output of the major drivers of global economic growth.  I'm not sure what the total national governmental budgets are in the EU, but in the US you are essentially taking as much money out of the economy as the entire US federal government already does.  Do you really think that's possible without harming those economies?  Or do you expect that you'll get the BRIC nations and Japan to chip in as well?  Then you smooth it out some, but not terribly much.  

Second, and this is just as important, how do you propose to get those 3rd world people their money?  We're talking parts of the world where food aid never even reaches it's intended recipients because corrupt governments and tribal warlords confiscate it all.  How on earth do you build, protect and enforce a global welfare program worth, literally, trillions?  As a former soldier, these sort of progressive magic bullet ideas make me cringe because it's never the magic bullet's designers that get sent around the world to carry it out.  Everything else aside, the (faulty) assumptions, the confiscatory logic, forget all of that for the moment, there is no way this program works without sending young American (and probably European and Australian and Canadian) men and women all over the world with weapons to make this happen.  For two reasons:

  1. Even on the off chance you got the US, EU, Australian, Canada, and New Zealand to go along and contribute towards the $7 trillion you'll need to forcefully confiscate money from  the other major economies.  That is unless you're sticking the countries who voluntarily join the program or you have some serious magic to get the BRIC nations (and other developed and semi-developed nations) on board.  So you either place huge burden on a select few economies or you go the forceful confiscation route which means nothing short of World War 3. 
  2. On the other end you're deploying units of soldiers around the globe to protect not only the logistics of the program (which is important) but also to protect the wealth people accumulate and the things they try to build.  You think Somali warlords are going to let you distrbute millions of dollars into their domain without a fight?  Once distributed you think they are going to let that money stay in the hands of Somali citizens?  You think they're not going to rape and pillage (just like they do now for UN food aid) in order to control this new welfare system (and thereby control the population)?  You're dumping millions of dollars into countries that haven't reached the stability level yet to have constant electricity and running water and somehow it's all just going to work.

 

Let's hear answers to those two.  I'm curious to see how you solve them. 

 

 

 

 

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November 18, 2013 4:30:14 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

A solution: Give everyone money, the same amount to every man, woman & child, to the tune of at least $500, but no more than $1,000, going – with U.N. supervision – directly and solely to the individuals, untaxed and secured against private or state confiscation. And keep doing it, on an annual basis, so that everyone can make rational economic decisions based on it.

 

HA HA. That is really naive, sorry to say this. Assuming everyone is a Homo oeconomicus is a big mistake, just look at everyone taking loans for nothing like an idiot.

And it sounds like communism to me (I don't hate the original ideas of Marx, so not this is why I mention this), egalitarian, solidarity etc. So the basic idea is good but you would need a perfect society in the whole world for that.. And we all know, this is not going to happen in the near future.

Only the minority of the people will use it well, one cannot just simply ignore human stupidity and ignore what he sees every day, that others are not using their money well or effectively. Giving money to everyone will cause even higher rate of inefficiency, and this would kill the global economy I think.. Causing even more problems.

Oh, and who will give this money to the common bowl? I don't think the mighty USA or Japan or Europe will bend over the will of some men and give tremendous amount of money for something that is unsure to solve anything.

In other words where is the money coming from? Presumably out of the economies of the United States & Europe somehow? Combined those two economies are just under half of the global GDP. So you are essentially taking 20% of the economic output of the major drivers of global economic growth. I'm not sure what the total national governmental budgets are in the EU, but in the US you are essentially taking as much money out of the economy as the entire US federal government already does. Do you really think that's possible without harming those economies? Or do you expect that you'll get the BRIC nations and Japan to chip in as well? Then you smooth it out some, but not terribly much.

This. I don't really think you could take that money from the rich countries and give it to the poor without causing major problems for the developed world, and I don't really think that making the current crisis deeper is a good idea..

Second, and this is just as important, how do you propose to get those 3rd world people their money? We're talking parts of the world where food aid never even reaches it's intended recipients because corrupt governments and tribal warlords confiscate it all. How on earth do you build, protect and enforce a global welfare program worth, literally, trillions? As a former soldier, these sort of progressive magic bullet ideas make me cringe because it's never the magic bullet's designers that get sent around the world to carry it out.

Another point that needs to be answered.. I am also curious about this.

Oh, and sending military units to the entire surface of the planet wouldn't make everyone happy lol, if that would be your solution.. 3rd world war won't save mankind from poverty.

 

EDIT: stupid forum mechanics that I cannot quote the OP and a comment in the same post without screwing up the whole thing....

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November 18, 2013 6:04:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The OP builds on a false premise - that there is a common interest to solve the problems of todays world. That is patently false, if we wanted an egalitarian, just society providing reasonable livehood for most people, we could have one. 

Instead we have neoliberal capitalism that maximizes the advantage of accumulated capital and its motto is "Winner takes all".

The current unjust, wasteful and destructive global system was not created by accident, but by deliberate design. 

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November 18, 2013 6:51:53 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Kamamura_CZ,
The OP builds on a false premise - that there is a common interest to solve the problems of todays world. That is patently false, if we wanted an egalitarian, just society providing reasonable livehood for most people, we could have one.

Instead we have neoliberal capitalism that maximizes the advantage of accumulated capital and its motto is "Winner takes all".

The current unjust, wasteful and destructive global system was not created by accident, but by deliberate design.

 

It's all true, but everyone seems to forget this unjust neoliberal system raises the level of life for everyone (I am only talking about the average or richer countries), even the poor have mobile phones or computers now.. That's why we don't really want to change this system at all, because this is a not that bad era for the majority of the society (again, in the developed world). And poor underdeveloped countries have not much part in forming this system.

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November 20, 2013 10:42:15 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The best way to lift people out of poverty is to set them free. There is a strong correlation between freedom and wealth.

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November 21, 2013 11:46:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Possibly relevant article.  Maybe not for the impoverished but for the gap between middle and upper classes.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/21/opinion/sutter-swiss-executive-pay/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

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November 21, 2013 11:53:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Megyn,

The best way to lift people out of poverty is to set them free. There is a strong correlation between freedom and wealth.

 

Set them free??? That makes no sense at all.

Sorry, but the best way to lift people out of poverty is for those with more to actually care about and help those with less, and since that will never happen within our sick societies, there is absolutely no way to really lift people out of poverty.

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November 21, 2013 12:16:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting LightStar,


Quoting Megyn, reply 5
The best way to lift people out of poverty is to set them free. There is a strong correlation between freedom and wealth.

 

Set them free??? That makes no sense at all.

Sorry, but the best way to lift people out of poverty is for those with more to actually care about and help those with less, and since that will never happen within our sick societies, there is absolutely no way to really lift people out of poverty.

Except that people move into and out of poverty all the time in our society.  So clearly their is SOME way.  The debate should be about how it happens and what we can do to influence it.  But it can't be about that, because even suggesting that federally sponsored hand outs are a problem, not a solution is a non starter. 

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November 21, 2013 12:25:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Megyn,
The best way to lift people out of poverty is to set them free. There is a strong correlation between freedom and wealth.

 

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November 21, 2013 12:28:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Megyn,

The best way to lift people out of poverty is to set them free. There is a strong correlation between freedom and wealth.

Where?  Not in the U.S.  The vast majority of wealth in the U.S. is inherited ... there is no freedom in the inequity that some people start out ahead and others are disadvantaged by being born to a family that isn't well off.

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November 21, 2013 12:47:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sorry to say, but not only is the vast majority of wealth NOT inherited, the trend is actually moving away from inherited wealth and towards self-made wealth.  Facts are slippery little bitches, aren't they?

http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/01/14/the-decline-of-inherited-money/

Or if you prefer, articles from those noted bastions of right-wing thought at the Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/research-desk-did-the-top-1-percent-inherit-its-wealth/2011/11/04/gIQA4T8kmM_blog.html

Also, research by DoL BLS suggests that wealth inheritance actually helps to LESSEN wealth inequality.  Directly from the abstract:  "We also found, somewhat surprisingly, that inheritances and other wealth transfers tend to be equalizing in terms of the distribution of household wealth. Indeed, the addition of wealth transfers to other sources of household wealth has had a sizeable effect on reducing the inequality of wealth."  Which if you take time to think about, makes perfect sense.  If you're inheriting Daddy's $150M, you're probably already wealthy.  But if you're poor or middle class and you're inheriting you parents house or their savings or retirement plans, that's significantly more important to your quality of life personally than someone with $15M in net worth inheriting their parents fortune.  Which also means that inheritance taxes disproportionately hurt those who aren't already rich.  

Source

Again, I say it's impossible to have real discussion about poverty in the United States, because the moment it comes up people throw vapid Occupy-style language around without actually bothering to learn about the subject and what the data actually tells us about wealth, poverty and income mobility. 

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November 21, 2013 1:05:25 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Wow... Is this thread about GC2?

 

At any rate, no, the FIRST thing we should do is stop being wasteful.

We burn food rather than shipping it to the needed.

Why?

Because "it's not economically responible".

Fuck economocal responsibility.

We burn LEFTOVERS.

Ship them up, send those to the needy.

THAT will already solve a very small part of famine...

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November 21, 2013 1:10:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kantok,

Sorry to say, but not only is the vast majority of wealth NOT inherited, the trend is actually moving away from inherited wealth and towards self-made wealth.  Facts are slippery little bitches, aren't they?

http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/01/14/the-decline-of-inherited-money/

Or if you prefer, articles from those noted bastions of right-wing thought at the Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/research-desk-did-the-top-1-percent-inherit-its-wealth/2011/11/04/gIQA4T8kmM_blog.html

Also, research by DoL BLS suggests that wealth inheritance actually helps to LESSEN wealth inequality.  Directly from the abstract:  "We also found, somewhat surprisingly, that inheritances and other wealth transfers tend to be equalizing in terms of the distribution of household wealth. Indeed, the addition of wealth transfers to other sources of household wealth has had a sizeable effect on reducing the inequality of wealth."  Which if you take time to think about, makes perfect sense.  If you're inheriting Daddy's $150M, you're probably already wealthy.  But if you're poor or middle class and you're inheriting you parents house or their savings or retirement plans, that's significantly more important to your quality of life personally than someone with $15M in net worth inheriting their parents fortune.  Which also means that inheritance taxes disproportionately hurt those who aren't already rich.  

Source

Again, I say it's impossible to have real discussion about poverty in the United States, because the moment it comes up people throw vapid Occupy-style language around without actually bothering to learn about the subject and what the data actually tells us about wealth, poverty and income mobility. 

Trickle down doesn't work

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November 21, 2013 1:13:55 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Basically nothing will.

Reason: people are selfish parasites.

We care for others, as long as they leave OUR wallet alone.

This way of thinking keeps the poor poor, the rich richer every minute.

As the Frenchies say: "C'est la vie."

Or in Spanish: Que sera, sera.

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November 21, 2013 1:19:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting smeagolheart,


Trickle down doesn't work

Umm.. 

First:  So says you?  Trickle down is a marketing phrase created by liberals to disparage conservative economic principles without having to actually debate them. Supply side economics is the only thing that does work.  Or are you enjoying your amazingly prosperous Keynsian recovery right now? 

Second:  I said nothing about supply side economics in my post.  I was talking about inheritances and how they have larger impact on those who are not wealthy, because even small inheritances make a difference when you have not reached the point of wealth where you are no longer worried about money.  Giving a middle class family $100,000 in the form of a sold inherited house, for example, makes a bigger difference on their quality of life than giving someone with $50M an additional $50M, despite the fact that it makes the wealthy person significantly wealthier. The actual life impact is bigger on the middle class family.  

Third:  Thank you for validating my larger point that we can't have discussions about these things because someone will always run out and scream vapid OWS-style nonsense rather than have the discussion.  As if you tossing out a bullshit throw away line "Trickle down doesn't work" somehow ends the discussion.  

Well done all around. 

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November 21, 2013 1:26:18 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Kantok, you missed my point, or choose to ignore it.

People DON'T WANT anyone in their pockets but themselves.

It's human, it's proven, time and time again.

The richest sit on their money, biting every cent in 4.

Whenever they can, they WILL rob you, even when poor.

They cheat taxes as if it's an Olympic sport.

 

Grow up.

Only a new global revamped idealism will fix the problem.

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November 21, 2013 1:26:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting smeagolheart,

Trickle down doesn't work

You'll notice that even though I obviously think the original poster is wrong, I didn't respond with trite nonsense like "welfare doesn't work."  I responded with serious questions about his post, because the only way to have real discussions about his point is to actually have real discussions about his point.  Not to pretend my superior bumper stick phrase somehow invalidated everything he said. 

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November 21, 2013 1:27:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BenedictusBE,

Kantok, you missed my point, or choose to ignore it.

People DON'T WANT anyone in their pockets but themselves.

It's human, it's proven, time and time again.

The richest sit on their money, biting every cent in 4.

Whenever they can, they WILL rob you, even when poor.

They cheat taxes as if it's an Olympic sport.

 

Grow up.

Only a new global revamped idealism will fix the problem.

Umm.. I didn't respond to your point.  Notice I quoted smeagolheart?

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November 21, 2013 1:31:21 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Kantok,



Quoting smeagolheart,
reply 13


Trickle down doesn't work


First:  So says you?  Trickle down is a marketing phrase created by liberals to disparage conservative economic principles without having to actually debate them.

George H. W. Bush called trickle down economics "Vodoo Economics". Just sayin'...

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November 21, 2013 1:32:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Trickle down doesn't work

source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/evidence-is-in--again--go_b_3644152.html

 

Getting the rich richer doesn't help.

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November 21, 2013 1:36:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Borg999,


George H. W. Bush called trickle down economics "Vodoo Economics". Just sayin'...

And Clinton didn't have sex with that woman and Obama said you could keep your healthplan, period.  So what? Presidents say things and have been wrong in the past.  Some of them have even *gasp!* lied when it was politically convenient.  

But thank you for joining the clamor to prove my point about shouting nonsense rather than engaging in actual discussion on merit.  

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November 21, 2013 1:42:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting smeagolheart,

Trickle down doesn't work

source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/evidence-is-in--again--go_b_3644152.html

Getting the rich richer doesn't help.

So opinions from a bunch of Keynsian economic believers that Keynsian economics are the only solution somehow ends the discussion? Because that's what that article is.  It's a Keynsian leaning publication quoting Keynsian politicians and a generally Keynsian fed Chairman saying that Keynsian economics is the only way to go.  It doesn't make their ponits irrelevant, certainly, but it certainly colors their conclusions. 

This despite the fact that the evidence before your eyes should tell you different. We've had the greatest non-war period of government "investment" (what a great marketing idea that phrase is) in the history of the world and have had no recovery, have horrid jobs numbers despite the fact that they are playing games with the numbers and have seen virtually every measure of economic progress except for inflation fueled rise of the stock market stagnate.  But right, we need more "government investment".  

 
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November 21, 2013 1:49:52 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Poverty will never go.

Unless we change our mentality.

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November 21, 2013 1:51:23 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Do something useful: help me out here: http://forums.galciv2.com/450327/page/1/

 

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November 21, 2013 1:51:24 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Part of the problem is that the job creators, for the most part, create MCJobs. That is low paying,dead end, little or no benefit jobs that will not lift people out of poverty. We need to stop viewing "job creators" as Gods and use the massive corporate welfare the gov't gives corps and wealthy individuals and use it for better education, and job training.

I worked for a venture capitalist firm for a couple of years. This concept of "creative destruction is just a lot of BS. They cut heads to make the financials look better so they can buff the EBITDA projections and bleed the company's cash flow with "finders fees" and monthly management fees" (the debt from which sits on the aquired company's books, not the VC's books, btw) and then flip it to someone else before the company's poor financial condition becomes to obvious to hide with overly optimistic projections.

We also need to limit wealfare to the truely needy, and provide incentives for people to work instead of relying on welfare. but the methodology needs to be a carrot, not a stick. e.g. just cutting a big chunk out of food stamps indisctimtely is not the best method.

Futhermore, we need to be more agressive toward identifying welfare cheaters, and increase the penalties. We need to go after white collar criminals and those that prey on others more agressively. We need to slap corps that break the law with truelly punitive fines, not just "cost of doing business" slaps on the wrist.

In addition, we need to stop treating corporations as people too, lift the corporate veil, and re-write the laws so that executives and major principles are more responsible for the directives they give to subordinates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil

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