It just occurred to me, and I wanted to record it before it slipped away again, that there are two types of Capitalism; Theoretical and Practical (Duh!) What I also noticed is that the endless debates about capitalism between the Right and the Left go on and on, into infinity without each side defining which they are talking about.
Now, IMO, Theoretical Capitalism exists if and only if ALL of the players in the market, production, distribution, and financing "play by the rules", i.e. greed is kept to normal levels which competition and long-term planning tends to mitigate. Minus some intrinsic problems with wage and capital inequalities that are part and parcel of capitalism, this system would work very well. This is the model that I think the Right conceives of when talking about capitalism.
Practical Capitalism, on the other hand, takes the restriction on Greed off and lets people and corporations act as they normally do in the real world. In this case, capitalism is self-destructive and has proven to be so in every case where excess Greed is left to work its malodorous rot resulting in economic chaos, dead lakes and rivers, disappearing species and cityscapes, child labor, etc. This is what the Left understands capitalism to be, if excess Greed is not regulated.
Who is right?
Since the U.S. federal government now seems to be responding to demands of corporate America rather than needs of American citizens and, indeed, needs of the country, my opinion is that GREED has taken hold and is running the show. When a national government agency such as the FDA ignores its mandate to act for the well-being of American citizens and, instead, acts (or doesn't act, in too many instances) to ensure big corporations such as Monsanto don't lose their obscene profits while allowing them to poison people...capitalism and corruption appear to go hand in hand.
As you so eloquently phrased it, the 'malodorous rot' of Greed is running rampant.
Theoretical capitalism sounds ideal, and in an ideal world probably would be the most humane and practical form of economic system that could exist. I used to hear people say that theoretical communism would be ideal, but they didn't take into consideration the differences in people because some people would be truly happy with their lot in life, while others would be bored to death or feeling like they should have a larger share because they were working a more difficult job or picking up somebody else's slack..
I think it works the same with with capitalism. Since people are not equal as far as intelligence, ability, integrity, honesty, etc., there have to be some safeguards on capitalism. If not, society could revert to the days of serfdom, indentured servitude, or even slavery, for people to survive.
I just read that Karl Marx was very upset with the way Communism developed in Russia; it wasn't supposed to work that way. Communism, in his view, had to be the result of the workers throwing off capitalism. As a consequence, he saw the communist society populated more by the middle class and not an uprising of the poverty stricken. He basically predicted that if Communism develop from the poor, then human nature would turn it into a totalitarian type gov't that ended up looking an awful lot like the Stalinist period.
The problem is we sometimes expect corporations to 'play by the rules' when we don't give them rules to play by. A responsible government will tell corporations what they are and are not allowed to do. Think of corporations are psychopathic people, all they desire is money, with no care given to people or the environment. So, they need rules. They have to be told what the minimum wage is. They have to be told that they can't hurt the environment or people.
What would you replace capitalism with and can you demonstrate that such a system is free of corruption and greed?
Capitalism is not a political system. It is an economic system and in America is predicated on individual freedom and limited government. This is a contradiction to what America is today, however. The founding principles of America are contained within the Bill of Rights, essentially the freedom to achieve and there can be no individual achievement without the economic philosophy of capitalism.
The greed that you so vividly point to has little to do with capitalism, but rather to a corrupt and greedy politician.
There is no question that capitalism has its faults, as many can be pointed to. The opposing philosophy of socialism however, as history so vividly demonstrates, is a philosophy of incompetence and corruption with no accomplishments, no enhancements to the human condition and certainly no improvement in the standards of living.
I would be interested in reading how you would build a society minus individual freedom, the right to achieve, as an individual and capitalism.
I don't understand how you can make that claim as there has never been a purely socialist country, ever. Any country that has tried socialism has had it warped by the influence of the capitalists.
My country, the UK, did have a mixed economy with things like public utilities and transport owned by the people. Privatisation has seen a huge increase in cost with a matching increase in inefficiency and worsening of the human condition.
There has never been a purely capitalistic country. England's government like most others is populated with incompetent and corrupt politicians, who are the epitome of greed. Please show me how this would not be the case in a purely socialistic society. American capitalism set the stage for all the great accomplishments the world has ever seen through the philosophy of individual freedom. Could such be the claim of a socialistic society?
Provide, if you will, a scenario of a truly socialist society where such achievements would have been brought to the average person? If you can afford a car, just for starters, you might want to thank Henry Ford, an American of parents born in Somerset England.
Please, define if you will your definition of socialism, if that is what you herald.
"If you can afford a car"
You are thinking in capitalist terms.
The UK government had become infested with incompetent and corrupt politicians precisely because the capitalists have won. There was a time when that was not so, when a politician would resign for telling a minor untruth to the house, now they refuse to resign when caught in major transgressions.
I'm not even going to argue with your claim that all the great accomplishments are American in origin. it is so patently absurd that it is not worth the effort.
Your comprehension skills seem to be lacking. I did not say all great achievements came out of America, I said America set the stage. There is a difference.
Please provide that time of great honesty in Britain that you speak of. I would love to research it, as I am not familiar with it. Britain, today is primarily populated, politically, with socialists.
"Britain is primarily populated politically with socialists!"
An absolutely absurd statement that could only be made by somebody totally ignorant of foreign affairs.
Would you care to back that with some facts?
There was never a time of great honesty, there was however integrity, when politicians who were caught out fell on their metaphorical swords. They no longer do that.
British government is populated by self serving individuals who profess to be for the British worker but continues to import millions of foreign workers.
British government is populated by self serving individuals who profess to champion British business but buy foreign products and services at every opportunity.
British government is populated by self serving individuals that profess to in favour of equality but who treat almost every section of society and every region of the UK differently.
British government is populated by self serving individuals who profess to be conservative or liberal or socially aware but who have forgotten what those things actually mean.
British government is populated by a political elite who pay lip service to the ideologies of the parties they represent just to gain power, money and prestige with the added advantage of sometimes receiving fantastic privileges also.
Yup, that just about sums it up. I could expand that but to no real purpose.
There is not one smidgeon of socialism in all that.
Not a smidgen of socialism John because socialism doesn't exist. The idea does of course and many politicians and some union leaders will profess to be a socialist but they are just paying lip service to an idea.
I still think the socialist ideal wouldn't work unless it was enforced worldwide but that would be totally against the principal of cooperation for the good of all wouldn't it? I suppose you could shoot those that don't agree or wont try the system but then that would be fascism wouldn't it?
I also think that some people believe that having a sense of social justice makes you a socialist, it doesn't of course, just like being a rich man doesn't make you a greedy capitalist.
But what about publicly owned utilities, transport, telecoms and all that?
Are you claiming that they didn't exist?
Do these so called publicly own companies benefit all the people? If a total socialist system was in place and everybody benefited from public owned companies then i would agree.
However what we have seen recently is companies owned by government are used by the unions to the advantage of a small section of the public called the workforce.
If the public have to keep paying in their taxes for these companies then they are not publicly owned but are publicly financed for the benefit of the few.
How did water or gas or electricity not benefit all the people?
What companies owned by us are used by the unions?
The companies that are supported by taxes are privately, not publicly owned.
Methinks you are about to tie yourself into a logical knot, @Siverspeeder. I went through this a while back with somebody else as we tripped over semantics.
In terms of economic systems,
"Privately Owned" means just that, all of the means of production and distribution of products and services are owned be private individuals whether acting by themselves, in partnerships, as part of LLCs, organized a corporations (which our Supreme Court has come full circle and deemed them human beings with control over their reproductive rights, it seems; or at least has the power to tell others what they can do with theirs)
"Public Ownership" means an organization, most often, but not necessarily the state, owns the means of production and distribution of products and service "in the name of the People as a whole". In its full-blown version, there is no private ownership of anything that is involved with manufacture and services. I suppose that includes farming for a profit, but I can't see how it includes private property to live on or farms for substance.
In much of Europe after WW II, common infrastructures such as water, electricity, transportation and the like was owned entirely by the state for the people ... all of the people. The fact the particular organizations were unionized or not was material in that regard. The state set the production quotas and managed the distribution and set the prices and wages in these industries. I believe Norway still has several of these industries still under public control.
America took a different tacked. America never "nationalized" its fundamental industries, instead, it regulated the hell out of them and effectively created regional monopolies, or in the case of AT&T, a national one. While airlines were privately owned, routes and profit margins were government controlled and this lasted until the '80s, I am old enough to wonder whether that wasn't the better system or not. I liked flying back then, it was pleasant, comfortable and entertaining albeit a little more costly, slower, and definitely smokier; but all but the cost could be taken care of with technology or regulations. Today, I absolutely hate and dread it. In fact, I drive or take the train when at all possible, even though it takes longer and is sometimes more expensive.
Back on point. America came as close to a pure capitalist country in the 1800s, and it was a disaster. Europe went for socialism in a big way after WW II, but not as much as we bet on capitalism; but that didn't work out so well either. In the 1950s, America regulated its capitalism and things improved dramatically; unfortunately, beginning in the 1980s, we started deregulating again and in 2008 the world felt the result. I think it was whenever Margret Thatcher hit the scene that Europe started moving back toward a more socially responsible capitalistic mode and I think that is where Europe is today, while America is trying to get back to the uncaring callous days prior to the Great Depression.
Oh no, no no, that was exactly the time when Europe and especially the UK moved away from a socially responsible capitalist mode, became every man for himself and started to spurn and scorn the poor.
I think I see your objection and it boils down to one of perspective. I am guessing from where you sit, it was quite a reversal of social support for the masses, but from where we sit, what is left is much more than what the Right side of our political spectrum can bear and is still more than what America offers its citizens, hence my rather incorrect supposition.
In terms of civil rights, we have the same thing happening hear, from 1864 to 1874, we had a great leap forward in basic human rights starting with the end to slavery; From 1874 to 1950, the South rose again and turned the clock back until about the only thing left unchanged was that slavery was still illegal; but they found other ways to accomplish the same end. The only momentous forward change in civil rights during that period was that women finally won the right to vote, although a few paid with their lives for that right and many with their freedom. It wasn't until the 1950s through the 1970s, a short 20 years did civil rights take a great leap forward in America. But with the rise of Conservatism and the appointment of the Rehnquist Supreme Court, we have been slowly but steadily moving back to the 1880s again.
That is why it is SO important that Democrats keep the Senate and keep winning the White House, sooner or later the conservatives on the current court will have to die off and America can get back to making people's lives better.
I don't think you appreciate just how bad things are here.
It is not the removal of social support for the masses but the active and vindictive attacks on the masses. From cutting wages, back door privatisation of the health service, savage cuts in welfare, like withdrawing benefits from the terminally ill-over 10,000 folk have died within six weeks of having their benefits removed, then the government stopped counting.
If you are living in social housing and you have a spare bedroom, even a 5 x 5 room with nobody living in it you lose 25% of your benefits. It isn't even a money saving exercise, if you move into more expensive private accommodation it doesn't affect you if you have a spare room!
Virtually all the "austerity" measures cost the government (us) more than they save.
Wilderness recently told me how much your unemployed receive and it was considerably more than our unemployed get.
"Wilderness recently told me how much your unemployed receive and it was considerably more than our unemployed get."
I doubt you are looking at the full picture here, John. I do vaguely remember that conversation and yes, unemployment here is considerably greater than it is there.
But unemployment is all you get. No social housing (housing provided/subsidized by government I presume), no free food, no free utilities, nothing but unemployment. It is NOT enough by any stretch of the imagination to support a family on and a person had better either have some savings or find work quickly. Eventually you can get onto the welfare programs, but by then you have been reduced to a pauper; one of the major things I find wrong with our support net.
But in the UK, aren't there a whole variety of programs the unemployed can get on? Doesn't the government provide help in several ways to those that have lost their job?
Social housing, free food and free utilities! Good heavens man if only!
If you are unlucky enough to be dependent on gas or electricity for heating you can easily spend half your income on keeping warm. It's not for nothing that they say you can eat or heat but you can't do both.
The only help the government gives the unemployed is to stop all benefits for the most trumped up reason, like you go and sign on, your usual clerk is on holiday so they count that as you missing an appointment and stopping all your benefits or they say they've written to you and you haven't replied. I doubt if that happens much in the USA does it?
"stop all benefits "
What benefits, beyond a simple check for being unemployed?
Actually, in Florida, their unemployment rules were rigged like that.
?? Like what? Stop payment if you don't show up and prove you've been looking for work? That's everywhere I've ever lived. I even had to sign up with LinkedIn and become part of the unemployment managers group as well as take a class on how to do a job hunt the last time I was laid off.
Yes, they stop all of it, not a portion, all of it!
OK, you made me look. A KwH in America is around $0.12 and in UK it is around $0.20, factoring in rate of exchange! Pensioners, however do get, in certain cases, 300 pounds annually with an additional 25 pounds per 7 day period when the cold gets below a certain lever. And then there is something called a Warm Home Discount for vulnerable households with participating energy suppliers. Now I am not saying there aren't similar things in the US, but I don't think they are at the national level if they are.
I understand why gasoline is high priced, that is more a public policy issue, but I am guessing electricity and natural gas is more of cost of production driven.
There is a discount offered by some electric companies to poor households; I am asked with every bill to donate to the program. Strictly voluntary, not through taxes of any sort and not through the government. I don't know of gas, water, etc; the water company (private) never asks and I've never used gas.
But what is a "pensioner"? In the US it is a retired person, someone past working age and probably drawing Social Security (which was always intended only as a supplement, never as something to support a person).
I'm afraid your information is outdated, pensioners now get £200 a year. The cold weather payment only covers the end of November to the end of March, we frequently have freezing weather after March.
BTW we also forgot the VAT and the annual standing charge plus prepayment meters, which many unemployed are forced to use charge about three times the rate.
There is no help at all for the unemployed.
Electricity and gas prices are profit driven not production driven.
"...human beings with control over their reproductive rights, it seems; or at least has the power to tell others what they can do with theirs"
Out of curiosity, to what do you refer to here?
The Hobby Lobby decision which let's corporations decide if they want their insurance to cover birth control for their female employees, Hobby Lobby didn't want to on religious grounds and the conservative wing of the Court agreed the corporation is enough of a person that it can exercise that 1st Amendment right.
In other words, a company doesn't have to pay the cost of protection during recreational activities if they don't want to. Isn't that more of a socialistic notion - that a second party must pay for what someone else wants but doesn't want to pay for?
It certainly has nothing to do with controlling the reproductive activities or organs of anyone! (Although supplying the pill sure does...).
Birth control, as well as things like Viagra, were part of the basic coverage required by Obamacare along with a host of other things. Birth control is a public policy issue, just like vaccination against small pox. If a women doesn't want to get pregnant, she gets a prescription for birth control pills; if she doesn't want small pox, she gets vaccinated for small pox.
Because Hobby Lobby, the corporation, is opposed to birth control for women on religious grounds, they are allowed to ban their female employees from obtaining it in the same manner as other drugs they might want. Consequently, if a Jehovah's Witness based corporation, who doesn't believe in vaccination, they now have the authority to prevent their employees from getting vaccinated on religious grounds.
If the employees wants these benefits, they, and the insurance company, must jump through multiple bureaucratic hoops to get medicines guaranteed to them by law. Corporations should not have such power over human beings. There is something very wrong with our society when corporate rights exceed human rights.
I am familiar with the Hobby Lobby "problem".
But to compare a drug to interrupt the natural and normal function of the body to a vaccine or viagara is ridiculous. One is used ONLY to stop normal body function for recreational purposes, the others are to restore/keep normal function. That they are all artificial substances (so is Cocaine) and in a pill just isn't enough to form a relationship.
No, this is just another "bread and circuses" by our beloved politicians trying to give everything to everybody. I do not support the decision because it was on religious grounds in a public setting, but also do not support the Obama effort to force employers to supply everything the worker wants, either.
Further, unless you are different from most human beings, sexual activity is no more different a human function as breathing. So, if an asthma inhaler is needed to help breathing and you can get it from your insurance, there is absolutely no reason a woman can't get birth control pills to not get pregnant from doing what comes naturally ... like breathing.
And which drug do you use to stop some part of normal body function in order to breathe? Asthma sufferers use inhalers to restore normal activity, not stop it - which drug is used to stop what normal function in order to breathe?
Sex is natural, yes, and so is pregnancy. Neither is necessary, though, and if you want one but not the other it is incumbent on you to do what is necessary - requiring someone else to do it for you is not a reasonable choice. It is little more than a furthering of the nanny state where Uncle Sam provides ever more of not only your needs but your wants as well.
"Further, unless you are different from most human beings, sexual activity is no more different a human function as breathing."
Don't be silly: stop one and you die, stop the other and you wish you hadn't. History is full of people that have foregone sex and none died from it but every single person that has stopped breathing has died as a result.
OK, John, you may not, but I will. While I am quite proud of all the America has accomplished in such a short span a time, I am not so arrogant to think that 1) capitalism is at the root of all that we have accomplished, it isn't or 2) that "American capitalism set the stage for all the great accomplishments the world has ever seen through the philosophy of individual freedom"
As an original example of point number 2, the "inventors" of capitalism, as it were, was the English; this set the stage for the Industrial Age. People from the newly minted United States travelled to England desperately trying to steal the processes of mechanization that fueled the English industrial machine. The English government and industrialists tried just as hard to stop us from doing it ... we won. Nevertheless, it was English capitalism that set the stage for the Industrial Revolution
As a thought experiment for point number 1, let's suppose at the time that Thomas Edison invented his light bulb that America was a purely capitalistic economy where the means of production and distribution were in private hands and England was a purely socialistic economy where the public, via the State, owned the means of production and distribution. Then let me ask these two questions:
1. Assuming Edison lived in New Jersey at the time he invented the light bulb, what is it about the American capitalist system that played a role in his ability to do that and then bring it to market?
2. Assuming Edison lived in Kent, England at the time he invented the light bulb, what is it about the English socialist system that played a role in preventing his ability to do that and then bringing it to market?
My answer to both of those questions is ... nothing. In both cases Edison would have invented his light bulb, in both cases it would have been brought to market, and in both cases Edison would have profited from his invention. The difference would be in the degree of profit. There is nothing about socialism to prevent Edison from inventing and, as far as I know, nothing about socialism to prevent Edison from earning money from his invention.
Why do you limit this statement to politicians? "England's government like most others is populated with incompetent and corrupt politicians, who are the epitome of greed." Just brief daily reviews of news outlets clearly demonstrate corporate management contains an order of magnitude more of the incompetent and corrupt; especially the corrupt.
The thing about representative government whether it be of the English kind or the American kind, when its law making body is populated by people of opposing, but not extreme views, who are willing to compromise, regardless of their individual coruptness (most aren't that incompetent, otherwise they wouldn't be there) tend to pass laws that are good for the nation. It is only when you get a predominance of one viewpoint or another in that body, or when the extremes gain power do you see bad decisions emerge more often than not.
In today's world of the corporation I don't know that I can fully disagree, as it is becoming more and more difficult to separate corporation from government and there is a political name for this too.
The rest of your point is well made and I cannot disagree, as much as I would like to. As far as a democracy goes Hitler was elected by one. Perhaps, it is the greed of the voter in thinking that they can vote themselves money that is the primary corrupter.
Hitler was elected as a result of Germany's terror at the thought of a socialist government being elected.
And what had the people thought of that socialist government? I had to research some material that I had put away, but I think it speaks to your point. I eventually out had to pull it out of Wikipedia.
"Today our left-wing politicians in particular are constantly insisting that their craven-hearted and obsequious foreign policy necessarily results from the disarmament of Germany, whereas the truth is that this is the policy of traitors But the politicians of the Right deserve exactly the same reproach. It was through their miserable cowardice that those ruffians of Jews who came into power in 1918 were able to rob the nation of its arms."
Although Hitler demonstrated a hatred of Marxist Socialism he also felt that capitalism's only value was to serve him, as dictator. This is not capitalism and does not fit into the definition of Hitlers goal of a totalitarian state. He came to power by promising everybody everything, much as our Barack Obama and in similar ways orchestrated his campaign in much the same way that Hitler did. He appealed to peoples greed of having something that was not theirs or that they did not earn. Hitler also used the great resentment the German people carried for the Jew. Perhaps, there was some justification. In any case your statement is a great over simplification and could have used more depth.
Indeed it could have used more depth but when you're fighting against the wind. . .
You quite correctly point out that Hitler wasn't a capitalist, that does not mean that he must have been a socialist.. He was in fact an unelected totalitarian dictator who, as you rightly point out, got to power by lying and deceit, not to forget a good dose of murder.
A strong wind. You can play with the semantics on that if you like.
Or I could always play with your answer to an earlier question, why do you believe that the UK is politically socialist?
I spent some time in England, London, Liverpool and primarily a little place called Banbury in the early 60's with the US military and again in the 80's as a tourist looking to rekindle old friendships.
In any case, I discovered that I had not responded to this post, so I will.
"Britain has a long history of state-funded social welfare. The reforming government of Lloyd George set in motion the development of the welfare state, which culminated in the Beveridge Report of 1941"
"The financial wellbeing of British families fell at the fastest rate in at least 14 years, according to data which underline how inflation and frozen wages are making life tough for many households." The Telegraph
"Every year the UK runs a large budget deficit. The Government spends more money than it can tax, so we plug the gap by selling bonds to investors at home and abroad. These bonds - known as gilts - have to be repaid in full, with interest. Added together, our unpaid loans make up the UK's national debt.
Right now, that debt is growing violently. The Government forecasts it will soar to an eye-watering £1.1 trillion by 2011. To put that in perspective, the UK went bust in 1976 running a budget deficit of 6% of GDP. In 2010 that deficit is going to top 11%."
The current British debt of 1.3 trillion Pounds pales to that of the US, at $18 trillion, but for a country the size of Britain it is a big problem. Like us your debt reflects a socialist agenda and like us Britain is looking at financial disaster. For the US $21 trillion dollars has been spent on social justice and welfare programs since 1964 and the poverty rate here is where it was in 64, at 14%.
Britain is a socialist state with capitalistic tokenism, much as the US is now, but more advanced.
When I was in London in the 60's, pubs were a great place to have a 'stimulating' conversation. The grand promise of anarchy and Communism or some other form of socialism were beginning to take root. There was, among the younger crowd, a great resentment toward the US and capitalism and the idea that 'Lend Lease' should be repaid. Such a demand for repayment by the US, even though most of the money was based on a value of 10 cents on the dollar and only 2% interest, was deemed to be unreasonable. I don't think the debt of about $60 billion (current value) was ever fully paid, but was deemed paid in 2004 or 5.
In any case you may be the only person in Britain who does not believe that Britain is a socialist state.
Wow! just wow. Britain was fairly socialist in the 1960s, over half a century ago! Times change.
Lloyd George and Beveridge were Liberals, not socialists, they believed in the free market and would probably have lynched you if they heard you describe them as socialists!.
For that statement to have any meaning and to generate a response we need a date.
Again a source and a date would be of great help, but in 1976 we did have something like a socialist government, in 2010 we had a (very) conservative government. That however does not prove that we still are socialist, just that the conservatives (as usual) do not do a very good job of running the economy. You present no evidence that that debt is as a result of any social program rather than, for instance, supporting USA imperialism.
On what evidence do you claim that our debt reflects a socialist agenda?
Again, source, or is this an assumption on your part?
Yes Britain in the 1960s was a place of great hope but that hope was killed. The things that made us Great have been eroded and sold, many times to foreign institutions. Our National health Service is rapidly being dismantled. All the great works of Lloyd George and Beveridge have been thrown out by money grabbing philistines.
If you were to revisit the UK in 2015 you would find a totally different country from the 1960s even the 1980s.
And I think you would be surprised, I'm by no means the only person in Britain who does not believe that Britain is a socialist state. Our government for one would argue most strongly against that misconception.
Thank you for answering my question, that is the only way that incorrect assumptions can be corrected.
"Perhaps, it is the greed of the voter in thinking that they can vote themselves money that is the primary corrupter."
I think you're absolutely right here.
"For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
Robert A Heinlein
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
Ben Franklin would agree, as well.
If the truth were told, people do not vote themselves money. It is pressed upon them in exchange for their acquiescence in their subjugation..
Uh oh. We're in agreement again. It's gonna snow in Hell.
Subjugation yes, but willingly and eagerly. It's a part of why I disagree with an excessively large safety net.
If this is true and it is not, what you are saying is that the English people are lacking in integrity and strength of character. They will, essentially, sell their soul, their freedom for a couple of shillings or twelve pence. I have a greater admiration for the English people then you seem to have. Any country that can give birth to the likes of a Winston Churchill, Thatcher and so many others is not lacking in character.
Why do you assume that I'm only talking about English people?
It's amazing how many Americans think that Great Britain has a socialist government.
Indeed it is amazing, until you consider how little Americans understand the concept of socialism.
As no government/country is either truly capitalistic OR socialistic it becomes a matter of degree. Compared to the US, the UK is a socialist nation; compared to the UK the US is capitalism even though it has strong aspects of socialism.
Actually, although I don't agree that the US is anything like socialist, it is now a little to the left of the UK.
Interesting. But do you mean your left or mine: my left is the one promoting all the giveaway programs and the nanny state. The right promotes free enterprise and only minimal safety net.
Hard to believe that with all the social programs and giveaways that the UK is (my) right compared to the US.
And what social programs and giveaways would they be?
But that's what I'm asking!?!? I understand from your other comments that a great many in the UK receive a subsidy or even free housing, but what else is available and when? Does job loss not only include a check (as it does in the US) or are there other benefits that go with being temporarily poor?
And how long does it last? Until Obama decided people should be paid for over 2 years, it was limited here to about 6 months, whereupon no benefits at all were available because of job loss. If I understood you correctly in the past the miners have been drawing subsidies for both housing and job loss for a long time now, with no end in sight.
Nobody gets free housing, help with rent is provided though many have to find some rent out of their benefits but nothing else is available.
There is no limit on the time but the fact that long term claimants are counted in their hudreds rather gives the lie to the idea of millions of people with no desire to work.
Then you ARE comparing apples to oranges.
The state of Idaho, where I live, provides around $350 per month in unemployment benefits; some $1400 per month total. Normal rent for a family of 4 is around $1,000 (mortgage another $500) and utilities will usually cross the $200 range. Groceries for 4 people will run around $500 if you're careful and job hunting costs (telephone, internet, gasoline, etc.) another $300. Better be selling the second car, boat and pretty soon the house; you know as well as I do that isn't the end of living costs.
It would be doable but for the rent, though. Not comfortable or easy, but doable.
I don't know where you get your figures from John but there are more than a few hundred one parent families who claim benefits for more than a few years.
Come to Birmingham John and i will be pleased to show you an area where i know for sure that there are at least a hundred long term single parent unemployed who have been such for more than a couple of years.
I will admit the system isn't perfect and after experiencing it first hand for the first time ever i can see why some people don't understand it. But in general its the people who work in it that cause the problems not the process of the system itself.
There has to be a fairness in any system John and the taxpayer who pays for it has a right to know that their money is being used fairly and with checks and balances in place.
I still believe its one of the best places in the world for benefits though John and so do the millions of immigrants who have come here to claim them.
Yes you've told me before that Birmingham is full of scroungers and free loaders.
Yes, the people who run the system do cause the problems-there has to be fairness and that is patently lacking in the present system.
Millions of immigrants all coming here to claim benefits! I'm sure you know all of them in Birmingham. Most of the immigrants in Manchester work hard, harder than many of the indigenous population.
Not again John, its not just Birmingham its everywhere
And i doubt you will ever accept the truth because of your political beliefs.
You will have to get out into the real world to learn whats really happening out their not just read some socialist rag that keeps telling you that bankers are bad and there is no such thing as a scrounger.
Oh by these one parent families are not included in the unemployment figures.
Even if there was only one that would be too many.
Do you not think that it is you who will not see the truth because of your political beliefs?
Sure, there are a few scroungers and lay about's in Manchester, like everywhere else but not to the extent you see in Birmingham.
I am out in the real world, you know the one outside the narrow minded nationalism of UKIP. I work with a lot of unemployed people and the vast majority of them want work.
And what's this! The unemployment figures are full of long-term unemployed one parent families but one parent families are not included in the unemployment figures! You don't make much sense there, either they are or they aren't they can't be both.
"If there was only one" One what?
Again you are denying that there are single parent families on benefits who have never worked and use the system not to work.
What's the matter with being proud of my country? The country i was born in, the country i went to school and college in, the country i have worked and paid my taxes in, the country i chose to still live in even though politicians from both parties have tried to grind it into the ground with their ridiculous liberalized pseudo left wing policies and the policies of the super wealthy midle of right federalists.
I suppose you dont have unmarried baby machines claiming benefits in Manchester then John, what a lovely city you must live in.
One is to many John, one man who has decided to live his life on benefits while fathering 18 children from 3 different women all living on benefits and living in social housing.
One man who walked half way around the world to come to the UK to claim his free money and his free house.
One women who has complained that she has no room in her 5 bed house funded by the taxpayer and not the father of her 9 children.
One woman from Afghanistan who complained that her 6 children and her were forced to live in a £2million mansion in London because they wouldn't fund her move to a £3.5 million mansion with an extra bedroom.
One women (my own neice) who has 4 children from 3 different fathers (unkown she assures us) who says the system enables her to be lazy, why should she work whilst they are giving her £500 a week. and the fact of the matter is she is not the only one in the road she lives in.
So don't try and tell me every unemployed person wants to work and don't try and tell me that its the system and they are but a few because its simply not true. And nothing will be done about it until people like you face up to the truth of the matter. That is if you are prepared to let one person take advantage of the system then you have a system open to abuse.
The argument that there are of are not those who live on the government tit is a ridiculous one to say the least. If there were none that did live this way then there would be no argument. If there were many it would be hard to overcome the evidence when or as proven. The question should be how can those that are living in this manner to be found out and the situation rectified. Is it a mental problem of a social woe that creates a situation like this and if it is either, what bureaucratic solution can be found? Is it that people who continue to sire unsupportable children be made to work and contribute what is necessary to raise these children? Or should the children be taken away so that the offending parent can no longer influence and train the child in poverty or entitlement? Should the re-offending parent be made to undergo sterilization when proven that they refuse to curb their illicit reproduction practices? These are hard questions and unfortunately hinge on a governments ability to mete out a justified action. You may ask why it is that the government should take a role in this issue. Because the government is the one who is made to pay is why.
My argument has never been that there are none who live on the government tit, it is purely that they are so few that making the genuine suffer to punish the few would be inhuman.
Before you can talk about making people work you have to ensure that there are meaningful jobs available and not at a minimum wage which usually pays less than benefits. In this country (the UK) a greater part of the welfare budget is spent on those in work than those out of work.
This is a far greater abuse of the welfare system than those who claim what they are not entitled to and it is an abuse by the businesses that employ folk on the minimum wage.
That is the crux of the situation isn't it. There are those that argue there are far more that do abuse the system. While we all have personal knowledge of those that do abuse the system the ones whose argument continues to be one of cut all off who are on assistance because of the so called costs. The minimum wages that are offered to these people are less than adequate to get them where they need to be to support themselves. So what to do? Cut all people from public assistance because the government can't weed out the loafers? Let them get by because the consequences are probably going to create more problems as children from these homes get in more and more trouble? You see it is an endless argument as there is no answer to it. It is a plank in the eye of liberals created by conservatives to stop them from costing them more money. And it is a plank in the eye of conservatives created by liberals to argue the injustice while there are those who lazily make out in the end. There is no answer when the two sides will not compromise on the real issues. The politicians have won again.
Does the UK have an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)? I had an economics professor who recently convinced me that it would be better to scrap the minimum wage altogether, since it is a drag on the free market, no matter what way you cut it, and replace it with, in the US, an expanded EITC paid out with each paycheck (which for some inexpiable reason, they stopped doing here several years ago, and made it an annual lump sum payment.)
It has several advantages, 1) it lets the labor market work as it is supposed to, 2) it doesn't hinder business start-ups as it does now, 3) people get paid a livable wage (assuming the EITC is set properly, and 4) it is basically paid for bu higher taxes on businesses. Theoretically anyway, if one big impediment is taken away from starting businesses (and it is) then more jobs become available lowering the unemployment rate which, at some point leads to the bidding up of wages because of 1) scarcity of labor and 2) ability to move from job to job is more likely.
We have Working Tax Credits which seem very similar to EITC. It makes up a very large proportion of the welfare bill, much more than unemployment.
It suppresses real wages as employers know that the government will top up low wages.
It is only of benefit to employers.
Your advantages are a little off:
1) Agreed - it will let the labor market work as it is supposed to, EXCEPT for the fact that people will recognize that low paying jobs "earn" just as much as higher paid jobs requiring more work or training. Why do those jobs, then, when there is no return for the extra effort?
2) Certainly it hinders business start-ups - the extra tax load has to come from somewhere and part of it is that business.
3) People will be paid the same wage with or without the charity from government, and it IS charity. To try and disguise it by changing the name to something else doesn't change the wage one iota.
4) Which, as noted, ruins your #2.
5) How does raising the business tax (see your #4) increase the number of jobs? Seems to me it will do the opposite as the ROI goes down for any kind of business investment, meaning labor is not more scarce, but more available, driving labor costs down, not up. And the ability to move from job to job goes down as well as job numbers decrease, which doesn't matter anyway until there is a real reason (more income to the household) to undergo more training - something the EITC discourages.
You assume that people are only motivated by money! Would you be as satisfied cleaning toilets as you would being an electrician even if there was no difference in pay?
Also, what @wilderness said isn't true on the face of it. An electrician, at least the ones I know, earn well above the living wage level and therefore well above what someone receiving EITC would receive. So, there is always motivation to do what is necessary to better oneself, IF, you want to. Otherwise, you can be satisfied cleaning toilets, which is a job somebody must do, but, if you work full-time, you can live ... barely... off the wages from doing it.
But when your EITC raises the total income of the toilet cleaner to the level of an electrician? Now where is the motivation to train and take more responsibility/harder work?
But you pick too large a gap. The toilet cleaner earns $14000 (minimum wage, close enough) and the electrician earns $50,000. When the toilet cleaner gets another $5,000-$10,000 (I assume you will want to provide a good life for him through the EITC) in charity, what motivation does he have to work harder just to earn $18,000 while cutting his EITC by $4,000 and taking home the same amount? And if he has a family and is ALSO on various welfare programs, taking home closer to $50,000 total, where is even the motivation to become an electrician?
John, I would not. But a great many people are - I once offered a foreman's position to a man, working directly under me and with my constant help. He refused, scared to death to take the responsibility, and perfectly happy dumping bags into a hopper all day long on an assembly line process.
Not everyone wants what you and I would call a better job.
And by the same token I've known folk who have done jobs way below their capabilities because they had other more important (to them) things that they wanted to do and a more responsible job would have eaten into their time..
Absolutely - I'm one of them. But I don't then demand that government make up the difference: I made the choice and live with it. If someone wants a bottom level job in order to do something else with the rest of their time, they can live with the choice same as I did.
Well nobody I know on a low wage demands that the government makes up the difference. They are left with no choice when employers don't pay enough. They would much rather have enough in their pay packet than go cap in hand to anybody.
That may be true, but isn't happening, at least not here in America. So, alternatives must be used until such time as businesses pay a fair wage on their own.
Oh? How can you tell? Where are the statistics from the people that refuse to retrain for something better because it costs them freebies from Uncle Sam? Because it most surely does - I've seen it in person.
How do YOU determine a "fair wage"? I've always figured it was what the market would pay for a job, but how do you figure it? Based on the needs of the employee instead of the value of the work?
Greetings MY Esoteric,
I have noticed noticed your multiple mentions of a "fair wage," (and Wildernesses' criticisms of it), but I haven't seen any explanation of what a fair wage is, or why you think current wage structures aren't fair.
I freely admit I disagree with this "fair wage" and living wage" stuff, and agree with Wilderness that a job is worth what it is worth regardless of whether it is enough to live on, but I just don't see how you can logically criticize a minimum wage job, (which as it appears you don't think is a fair wage), when that is the real value of the labor to perform it.
Wanting everyone working full-time to be able to keep a roof over their head and food on the table is an admirable sentiment, one which I endorse, but wishes and reality are not the same. How can you justify demanding more for a job, (an exchange of labor for compensation), than it is worth?
Wow. Would that we were the same. Over here, as soon as times get tough EIC is applied for, along with food stamps, WIC, free medical care, subsidized housing and all the rest. I'm all for helping someone out temporarily, but it's become a way of life to live off the charity of the government; forced charity, in other words, from the taxpayer.
You mean, @Wilderness, 100% of the people who apply for U.S. gov't help stay on it forever?? I didn't know that.
I think even a liberal knows better than that.
But when half the country is living off the labors of the other half, it DOES seem to a wee bit higher than zero.
OK, so now we are down to 50% of Americans are on Welfare of some sort and wll never get off of it, is that what you mean by "when half the country is living off the labors of the other half"?
With such ingrained entitlements, do YOU think we'll ever have a much lower number? Not, of course, the same people but a lower number?
Or are we locked forever into supporting those that can't supply all that they want themselves?
So, you actually believe 50% of the people, some 127 million, (330 million less 75 million kids divided by 2) are jobless and pulling permanent welfare benefits?
Jobless, no. Pulling permanent, life long welfare payments of one kind or another (whether a part of the formal welfare system or not), yes. Of course, some of those (quite a number) are living off of SS, which is NOT a part of the welfare system; SS is an insurance program, a retirement plan, twisted by politicians into a money pit to draw from as they wish.
And some (probably a minority) simply pay no net taxes - they contribute nothing to the welfare and good of the country while using resources themselves. They are, with or without the charity of welfare, living off the largesse of the country.
But I notice you did not answer the question: do you think we will ever have a lower number of "entitlement" recipients in this country?
Hmm... sounds like hyperbole to me. reads like hyperbole - "half the country is living off the labors of the other half..." so maybe it is hyperbole.
Come on Wilderness, you can do better than talking points, and you know that's what that statement is. Statistically, it may be correct that half the country receives some type of government assistance. But that is a far cry from the condition of "living off the labors of the other half."
Since a family of four with small children may be paying all their bills, but still qualify for a small food assistance allowance - does that put them in the category of "living off" the "other half?"
The same family may get no monthly assistance - but qualify for the EITC, (which is included in that 50% Romney/Republican talking point - does that put them in the category of "living off" the "other half?"
The new mother of a serviceman, (I think we all recognize the levels of armed services pay), may qualify for WIC, (Women, Infants, and Children) benefits, but - does that put them in the category of "living off" the "other half?"
Your points have some validity, but not when stated so broadly. Half the country may receive some type of government benefit or assistance, but that fact is a long way from validating a "living off of" declaration.
To me, this statement from @Silverspeeder "That is if you are prepared to let one person take advantage of the system then you have a system open to abuse." implies to me, that since there will always be at least one person who will take advantage of the system, then there should be no system at all; which appears to be your preference, simply let them starve.
You, @Silverspeeder said "The argument that there are of are not those who live on the government tit is a ridiculous one to say the least." is a pure fabrication as I found no one in the thread who made such a claim. Not one who has commented has denied there are those who abuse the system, words you apparently choose to ignore. Show me one with a quote to go along with it.
You say, "One is to many John, ...", @Silverspeeder. That tells me you have zero empathy for the hundreds of thousands who are in need but aren't abusing the system; you apparently could care less about them in order to stop the one miscreant. What is your answer to this moral question, "How many innocent men would you let go to the gas chamber to make sure one guilty one was executed?" I have talked to many people on the Right who actually gave me a number; what's your number?
Silverspeeder seems to believe that all benefit recipients are on the fiddle.
I wonder how he equates this with the fact that at this time he is a benefit recipient!
Again the man who cant tell me what socialism is or how it will work assumes he knows what he is on about.
Its simple to say that you are another socialist who would accept the lowest common denominator as the best you can achieve.
If you create a system that can be abused then it is the ones who accept the abuse that are at fault.
I thought the socialist chant was no work no eat, maybe it doesn't apply when other people are paying.
Show me where I have ever denied that there are single parents on benefits and use the system not to work?
It strikes me that either your comprehension abilities are poor or you never actually read what I write.
But you are not proud of your country! You constantly put down your fellow countrymen and support extreme right wing parties that are not proud of their country either. Who want to really subjugate you and all the rest of us.
You suppose wrongly then, we have unmarried baby machines (as you so charmingly put it) but we have many many more trying to bring up their children in the best way that they can in the face of swinging austerity measures (which you support), these to me are far more important than the few who abuse the system.
And won't he feel let down when he finds that he has been mislead by the Daily Mail and finds that there are no benefits nor free housing!
A third country national (nationals of a non-EU country) with limited leave including work permit holders, spouses and civil partners during the two year probationary period generally won’t be able to receive any benefits."
http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/benefits-for … -nationals
But you claim that the majority are on the take, not ones and two's!
But I've never tried to tell you that every unemployed person wants to work, just far more than don't. Where is your evidence that it is not true? Would that be the Daily Mail or The Sun?
As only 3% of the welfare budget is spent on the unemployed even if you stopped everybody claiming it would not make a bit of difference.
What do you mean "if people like [me] won't face up to the truth of the matter"? I'm not a politician and I am not a conservative. I am a socialist who believes that there should be work for everybody and that everybody who is able should work.
If you had a system that was totally closed to abuse it would cost far more to police than the small amount of fraud costs and would you really like to live in Stalinist Russia?
"As only 3% of the welfare budget is spent on the unemployed even if you stopped everybody claiming it would not make a bit of difference."
If true, giving every person a job won't put a dent in the welfare expenditures, will it? Why bother to try, then?
Or why make such a fuss about it?
It's not just the cost of unemployment, minimal as it is, there is the lost tax revenue and extra costs on society.
Can't imagine the tax revenue being any higher than the cost of supporting them - if that is minimal, so is the lost taxes. And what other costs to society would there be, after the cost of support is covered?
Scratching my head ... if everybody who needed a job, had a job, why would there be welfare? This is assuming the retired had saved enough to live on and the disabled are supported by local charities and their families, the lower ranks of the military are paid enough not to need food stamps, etc.
Capitalism without Socialism and vice versa are not only undesirable but end up failing as history has shown repeatedly
I know what what you mean @Mio, and I agree with your point, but the terms you use actually are on opposite ends of the economic spectrum.
Capitalism is simply the private ownership of the means of production and distribution
Socialism is simply the public ownership of the means of production and distribution
The two are related because unregulated capitalism will follow two courses (if it remains unregulated). One is totalitarianism as the few wealthy/powerful that emerge from unregulated capitalism take over the political system and the other is, as Marx predicted, capitalism devolves into socialism to stop then inevitable huge inequality that WILL develop from unregulated capitalism.
What I think you mean is capitalism needs to be regulated such that greed is mitigated and a modicum of empathy is instilled in the those who run the capitalist system on the one side and for those who want to provide everything for everybody need an economic system that will generate the capital that will help approach the goal of providing at least the basic rights all human beings have.
What I mean is that during the politically nefarious years in the 1970's all the dictatorships sponsored by the U.S government implemented an economic system which was promoted by Milton Friedman and the school of Chicago as it is known in the southern hemisphere,in that scenario anything that resembled to have any socialist influence was banned,outlawed.After a couple of decades of trying the same expecting to obtain a different result, all those economies collapsed and were replaced for more balanced systems.On the other hand we have seen how the socialist countries haven't even been able to provide the most basic needs to their populations because the artificial way in which they try to propel economic growth simply doesn't do it.
All of them those that still exist and those that either disappeared or became cesspools of corruption such as Russia.
I would point out that the greed isn't just on the part of companies and businesses. Every time I look at what it cost to buy a home, a car, a loaf of bread, etc. 60 years ago, it always comes up less now in terms of hours worked for the average person.
A large part of the problem is greed of the consumer, too - the never ending desire for more. Bigger homes, better cars, more entertainment, etc., but for the same cost. There is no doubt whatsoever that the average American has increased their standard of living since, say, the 1950's but the demand is always for more.
And that consumer greed is what, in this case, the real estate market played on. Greed exists everywhere and at all times, that is a given. What controls greed is the internal Super Ego as well as external laws and regulations. The difference, however, between the consumer and the provider is power and control.
The consumer can simply want bigger and better but have no way to collectively organize themselves to either force (through lack of alternatives of an inelastic product) or trick/mislead/entice through massive advertising campaigns/etc providers to give them what they want. Providers, on the other hand, do have that power and, when allowed to, through lack of regulation (most providers only have an Id and no Super Ego), they will exercise that capability to not just increase, but to bloat their bottom line.
One of the problems, I think, concerns those "bloated" bottom lines. When companies grow large (think WalMart or GM) somehow the public has become convinced that their profit should remain static. That the truly massive amounts of capital needed to build all those stores/factories should not return any profit, that after a certain point (undefined) more profits are no longer reasonable.
This is, of course, a fallacy. When we want to look at profits, they should be considered in light of sales or investment needed, not just a blank number shoved out there while complaining it is too much.
My concern is not with the level of profit achieved. If it is achieved by straightforward trading well and good.
I am more concerned with profits being boosted by eroding workers rights and working conditions.
I am also concerned about dirty tricks used to fool the purchasers like displaying one price on the shelves and charging another, higher, price at the check out.
If a company does not treat its employees with respect why should we think it will treat its customers with respect?
I'm not worried about people's greed. People can be as greedy as they want. That's their right. Frankly I'll always take a greedy person who works hard and is productive over a generous person who is complacent and lazy.
Fair laws should be in place to protect people when necessary (child labor, contracts, etc.) and people who break laws should be punished. I believe regulation should be as minimal as necessary, but penalties should be harsh.
Greed is not the problem-- people shouldn't be judged by their feelings or motives (or those we project on them) but by their actions. And as long as they're following laws, then I got no beef with them.
Just because someone is rich and successful does not make them automatically greedy. And just because someone is poor and unsuccessful doesn't mean they aren't greedy (after all, wouldn't someone who doesn't work but freeloads what he can get off others sound pretty greedy?).
There is greed, @WiccanSage, and then there is Greed. Simple greed, when defined as wanting more in order to improve ones life, but not at the sake of another, is a good type of greed. But Greed, simply because I want more and more and I will get it any way I can regardless of who gets hurt, is a bad kind a greed. The laws and regulations, which are mostly in the financial realm, are to control the latter type of greed.
That is what happened that allowed the 2008 recession to happen; all of the controls on greed that were put in place after the Great Depression had been removed between 1980 and 2004; the major ones being the separation of banking institutions from investment institutions, requirements for what was required to secure mortgages and loans (ability to repay both at the individual and corporate level), transparency of financial transactions, and a host of other similar things. Also, with the advent of non-banking institutions making mortgages and similar loans, no controls were put in place to prevent greed from running rampant, which it did, and ultimately destroying people's and nation's lives.
Further, lack of regulations coupled with excess greed to increase the bottom line led directly to the smog that led to the San Gabriel Mountains disappearing right in front of my eyes in the 1950s, the killing of Lake Erie, the fires on the Ohio River, the deforestation of America (not to mention the currently disappearing Amazon forest), KNOWINGLY selling poison in the form of cigarettes, ... there are thousands upon thousands of other examples of corporations putting the bottom line and their personal profit ahead of the health of you and the world.
That is the bad form of GREED.
The fading and greying in truly describing what is a socialist or capitalist economy is ever more evident in todays world . Now most governments and their economies are far more apt to be a mixture of each or all forms of government based economies , show me a socialist government and I'll tell you how it's subsidized by another more powerful economy in the world , here in America we are a capitalist country morphing into a socially based society , a tug of war if you will , between those who understand the power ,- good or bad- ,of true capitalism .And that part of the same culture that believes in "spreading the wealth " to them , especially without earning any part of it ! No country in the world today can claim one pure form of economic description .
I find it interesting how people confuse social programs with socialism; they really aren't the same. To the Right, the word social seems to mean welfare (but not with the meaning as the one used in the US Constitution). lazy, parasite. handouts and other such perjoratives. In fact, they are dead wrong.
There are four types of philosophies that underlie how governments interface with the citizens who contract with them (meaning I am not talking about monarchies, dictatorships, or their surrogates.) The first division are those governments whose citizens primarily want the government to maintain a class based social structure and those where their directive is to insure individual-focused liberty. The latter form is further divided into what one professor I listened to as minimal-state liberals and active-state liberals. The former government's split between those dominated by socialists and the other by conservatives. Notice, capitalism is not mentioned anywhere there however it is part and parcel of both liberal forms and most conservative forms of governments. In practice, it also appears to some degree in socialistic political environments.
"Every one" of those four forms believe in the government supporting social programs to one degree or another. Socialism and active-state liberalism, however, believe it is the governments duty to ensure basic needs of its citizens are met and must take an active role in preventing the powerful from denying rights to the less powerful. Conservatives have one branch that feels, to a degree, the same as it relates to treating the lower class fairly. Obviously, socialist have gone so far as to construct their economic system to support these goals ... which active-state liberals do not do; they simply regulate capitalism so that it is more equitable to all rather than just the wealthy.
Minimal-state liberals, on the other hand, do believe in individual liberty but do not believe the government should be anyway involved in making sure the common Welfare clause in the Constitution's Preamble is met. The only responsibility the gov't has is protecting the citizens from external threats and keeping the peace.
"The only responsibility the gov't has is protecting the citizens from external threats and keeping the peace."
But that IS the "common welfare". Cell phones, individual housing, recreational drugs, even food and health care falls under "individual welfare". Not the common welfare of the nation.
And exactly where do you draw your conclusion from regarding your definition for general Welfare? Benjamin Franklin, for one, would disagree with you as he worked very hard, and successfully, to get the State of Pennsylvania to pay for paving the streets of Philadelphia for the sole purpose of making life more tolerable for the city dwellers.
If "general Welfare" meant "common defense" (notice one was capitalized, the other not) why bother inserting "general Welfare" in at all? No, since "provide for the common defense" was already there, then the framers had to have something else in mind for the clause, "promote the general Welfare"; it must mean something entirely different, don't you think?
And yet...it is pretty well recognized that without the interstate highway system the country would not be what it is today. Pavement (or it's equivalent) is good for all, not just an individual.
I get my interpretation from the word "general". It does not say "individual", it does not even say "family" or any other limitation. It says "general"; what helps ALL, not an individual. Indeed the idea of the giveaways we now find desirable, the interminable entitlements we hand out to every other person, would make those writers turn over in their grave. The concept of a nanny state was NOT what was intended when the constitution was written, and "general welfare" was never intended to be an excuse to feed off others' labors.
But paved roads are ONLY for those people who drive, they aren't for those who can't or are too young, therefore even that doesn't fit your definition of "general". But if you insist that it does, then I insist that the food stamp program does as well. Why? because food stamps is a general program for anybody, not just a specified person or specified family who doesn't make enough money to feed themselves properly. If you have a car and a license to drive it, you qualify to drive on the Interstate. If you don't earn enough money to feed yourself, you qualify for food stamps; I don't see the difference for both are designed to benefit the general Welfare of the nation.
Further, like the Interstate highway system, having several million of your population that are malnourished is a cold national security issue for all sorts of reasons from poor learning achievement to societal instability; it also speaks volumes as to the moral and ethical standards of a people, or lack thereof. I want to live in a country who takes care of their people, not screws them by disinterest.
Don't be silly; the food on your table was not brought to your house by the stork; it came on roads. Paved ones. Everything in your house was brought to you on roads. Heck, your house was transported on roads.
But I'm interested in this food stamp program for everyone; can you be more specific on how I can get free food from Uncle Sam while earning a good wage? Oh wait - I see you went on and limited it to individuals in specific cases. That there are a lot of them does not mean it serves the country in general; it is still of value to specific individuals and ONLY those individuals may benefit.
If you wish to live in a country that takes care of it's citizens then you should be looking to keep more of your hard earned cash instead of having it taken by force and given to those that will not do more than the minimum to support themselves, and often far less than that. "Taking care" of someone doesn't mean reducing what little they have to support non-productive citizens that COULD be productive if only they would.
If you don't have a license to drive, stay off the highway, what's the difference? The highway is not available to everybody therefore the government should not have paid for it according to you for it was a give-a-way to those who drive.
Also, doesn't this " "... to support non-productive citizens that COULD be productive if only they would.
" imply ALL citizens can be productive? That there is no scenario where they can't be?
Now you and I both know that some (adults) cannot be productive. Either physical or mental disabilities can cause that, and it does happen. And, IMHO, the society can afford to care for them and at more than subsistence level.
As well, otherwise able bodied adults can be temporarily "out of production" from job loss, sickness, accident, etc. and we can also support THEM. Again, IMHO, without requiring that they sell everything they have collected in their lifetime. Deplete savings, sure (that's what emergency savings are for), but not have to sell everything they have. Not only CAN we do that, it is in the best interests of the nation as those people will again be productive without undue time delay.
OK, @Wilderness, now we have a starting point. You actually agree there is a class of American citizens whom the government has a duty to help when the occasion arises, is that right?
I have never said otherwise, although "duty" may be a little strong. Nothing in our constitution requires it and considering that such "help" can only be done by taking money by force from the population, "duty" may not be the proper term. I DO think, though, that we should, whether we have that duty or not.
But your comments makes me wonder; do you agree there is a sizable number of people being "helped" that don't need it at all?
Com'on My Esoteric, You respond to my comment with a response to Wilderness??? We don't look anything alike., I am better looking, wittier, smarter, and my wife is prettier than his. Get it together.
I am the one drinking martinis and you are the one confused.... geesh!
But, I will answer as if I were Wilderness... If I must. Yes, there are citizens the government should help. And yes there are extenuating circumstances in productive citizen's lives when they do need a helping hand, and our society, (read government), should chip in and offer that hand.
But.... offering a hand-up to a few is a lot different than offering a lifestyle to many. And I think that is Wilderness' point. (did I get it right Wilderness?)
If you want percentages so you can offer statistical rebuttals, then most of us, on either side of the discussion can find links to data that supports our view, but if you want a discussion of real world realities, then you have to be prepared to admit to those realities.
Which are... the U.S. has created an entitlement mentality in too many of its citizens. Start with Bush, (W), and free cell phones. Can you defend that one? Move on to entitlement programs pegged to four times the poverty level... can you defend those?
Just sayin' (because I am the one drinking martinis and looking for participation opportunities)
Hey! I take acceptance to that! I mean exc...excep...it was mean!
But yes, you've hit it. It is in the nation's interest to provide a safety net for both those that need help for a bit and those that cannot support themselves, but we have gone far, far beyond that. We've become a nanny state, watching over our citizens from cradle to grave and giving them everything they want or need to live a good life. All at the expense of someone else, someone that COULD have a good life if they didn't have to support the freeloaders. When any family of 4 or more can come up with that median household income of $50,000 simply by working the system properly we've crossed the line, and crossed it badly.
Sorry @GA ... or @Wilderness, I am in Chronological mode so I can keep on replying, but because of how it is organized I am never sure who I am responding to.
My point in saying we have a point in common is, as @Wildnerness did in his comment, that those on each side quickly move to the extreme position, in @Wildnerness' case, he said "...but we have gone far, far beyond that. We've become a nanny state, ...", which I would argue is far from being true.
I think what happens is you blame the wrong boogy man, and those in true need are the ones who suffer for it. By that I mean that as soon as a federal program is set up to help those who "all of us think" need help (and we could itemize those one by one if we wish, there are a lot of them in the end), that program becomes permanent because the general need is permanent; not the specific people receiving the need, for that is supposed to be temporary, but the continual changing demographic who fits the criteria we all think deserves the help. Do we all agree on that concept. its the program that is permanent, not the individual receiving assistance?
I'll leave it there so as to stay focused on specific ideas.
I can agree with this for the most part. The programs are well meaning (or at least well sounding - the politicians enacting them have to know it chains the people to government handouts) but they are intended for temporary use.
And I have no real problem with that - the programs intended to support people in their need ARE good. The problem becomes when individuals make a lifestyle out of charity, living for years or their entire life off the good will of their neighbors. Their perception becomes one of being locked to that charity, that they cannot survive without it, and therein lies the problem. Partly because they are setup to chain people to it instead of encouraging/forcing to learn to stand on their own two feet.
No statistics I'm aware of, but a great many from my experience.
Most of the construction industry is cyclical, meaning layoffs are inevitable. Instead of saving part of a good wage and using it the reaction is to immediately head for the welfare office every year when it happens.
A great many claim "disability", then work under the table part or even full time.
The "baby factory" women are NOT a myth and are not uncommon in the inner cities.
We still have thousands/millions of "workers" drawing extended unemployment (along with food stamps, etc. when they can) because they can't find work they like, or they want, or they are trained for. As long as we pay them they will keep right on doing it, just as you commented the miners laid off years ago in the UK are doing.
We have developed a whole class of people that hit the welfare lines as soon as they are old enough and stay there. It has been going on for generations and will continue as long as we allow it.
So yes, there are lots of people here dependent on government from cradle to grave.
But your first comment "most of the construction industry is cyclical" rather contradicts your closing statement "from cradle to grave".
Really? First, I did not say ALL were from the cradle, but when a person goes on welfare every year of their working life you can't get much closer. That they work sporadically doesn't change the idea that they are making a lifestyle out of taking charity.
Pure guess, but of the half of the country living off the other half, perhaps half of those are "not unfamiliar" with the welfare office, let us say.
So 25% of Americans of working age looking to the government for their livelihood!
Wow, I was under the impression that you Americans were hard working!
You were mistaken. Or perhaps they DO work, but want more than they can afford so look to Uncle Sam for that. Fact remains that, for whatever reason, a truly amazing percentage of Americans are on the dole, demanding charity from someone else.
Or perhaps they work hard but are not paid enough to live on and therefore have to ask for help.
They aren't the villains, that's the employers who would rather you picked up their payroll than they did.
If they are working hard but the fruits of their labor are not valued highly enough to provide that wonderful "living wage" it is not the fault of the employer, the market place that sets that value or the citizens of the country. It is THEIR fault for choosing a product to sell that has insufficient value for their needs or wants.
So don't blame the employer, blame the person selling something of low value and demanding that someone else pick up the cost of their expensive lifestyle.
Funny, nobody has ever asked me what value is set for a task and I doubt you've ever been asked either.
So where or who is this magic market place that you speak so highly of?
Short-term thinking employers, which most are, will pay all but their executives the lowest possible wage they can get away with and still keep them working, while, at the same time, paying executives and up the highest possible wages and still remain profitable. Except under full employment or specialized skills, there is no "market" for labor. The people who suffer under this paradigm is obviously labor, but also the consumer. These types of companies often have low productivity, poor customer service, and short life spans.
Long-term thinkers pay reasonable wages to all employees that is somewhat comparable to their subjective worth to the company; executives are not overly compensated and often their pay is based on company performance. Winners, of course, are consumers and labor. Further, these companies tend to be more productive, have much better customer service, and generally stay in business longer.
That's what they taught me in business classes, anyway, and discussed in a book "Good to Great" which looked at the most successful companies.
"Except under full employment or specialized skills, there is no "market" for labor."
Total malarkey; if there is no market for labor it means that labor cannot be sold and not a single person can have a job. There is obviously a market for labor, which goes up and down like every other market.
"Short-term thinking employers, which most are, will pay all but their executives the lowest possible wage they can get away with and still keep them working"
Within limits of course, isn't that what you do with every purchase you make as well? Do you car shop for the best buy coupled with what you like and can afford? A house the same way? Maybe not a loaf of bread (although if I want more than that single item I WILL price shop) but any large purchase and certainly an employee is a large expenditure. Why should labor be addressed differently than any other service/product?
"Long-term thinkers pay reasonable wages to all employees that is somewhat comparable to their subjective worth to the company"
What do you mean by "subjective"? Shouldn't that be comparable to what the employee's labor can earn for the company - a purely objective figure? And while some really do pay differently to executives due to cronyism, why else would you exclude them? Because you don't think they earn their wage (there's that subjective vs objective again, just yours instead of the companies)?
Have you never purchased labor? Never hired a plumber or something? Then they made an offer and it was up to you to accept or reject; exactly as a new employee does.
If I want a plumber to fix my pipes, he tells me what he wants. If I want to employ a plumber I tell him what he gets.
But then plumbers generally aren't that low paid.
I must have words with my community, forcing each other to work in supermarkets on zero hour contracts.
I absolutely blame the employer (I talking of larger employers here). The negotiation between the employer and the employee, accept when there is a union involved, is 99% in the employer's favor. This is not the same "market place" where a customer can tell the employer to go take a hike if they don't like the product.
The only wage an employer can't pay is zero, because no one would work for them. However, in the 1870s, when employers were gods, they paid just enough to prevent their employees from starving to death and no more, i.e., subsistence wages, that was true in England starting a decade or two earlier and in America until progressive got control of the Supreme Court. Families had to put their children to work in these slave factories in order to survive, until finally the Supreme Court overruled itself and found that practice inhumane, the employers howled to high-heavens that taking 12-year olds out of their factories would bankrupt them and that was bad for America. If large employers were allowed to do it today, many would.
As to not knowing any families who barely make it, I must say I don't personally know any either, but I read enough reports to know they exist by the millions in this country. I am not saying they are starving, but I am saying there is enough of them missing meals to be noticeable, and these would be ones who have enough incentive to work.
As to the statement you made somewhere that implied there were massive amounts of people who just didn't try hard enough to find jobs and that there was always a job available if they tried hard enough to find one. Tell me sir, how exactly does one find a job when, at the height of the 2008 Great Recession, there was one job opening for every 20 people looking, and that is just the people looking, not the ones who gave up looking. Exactly where were these other 19 jobs hiding, in your back pocket? I think you live in an idealist world that doesn't exist in real life. It is only in the last year that the job market got back down to historic norms where what you say is actually true in most, but not all, parts of the country.
When I worked on the east coast, some 20 years ago, there was a window factory just down the road from my plant. They paid poorly, the place was dangerous to work in and the managers didn't give a rip about the workers.
And when their business ramped up and they needed workers, they couldn't find any. They went so far as to erect billboards exclaiming that even if they had been fired they were welcome to come back and work. They ended up raising their wages just to get the bottom tier of "workers". That's what happens when companies do as you seem to think 99% of them do.
It isn't the same marketplace as it was in 2007, no. These things come and these things go; I've watched the cycle swing 180 degrees several times in my lifetime. Employees do well in good times, not so good in bad and until we all recognize that (we never will) there will ALWAYS be people hurting for more money because they lived paycheck to paycheck, blowing what could have been saved for a rainy day.
Let's be specific @Wilderness, what do you define as "Dole"?
I suppose things like:
SNAP (food stamps),
Earned Income Tax Credit,
Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
Housing Assistance, Pell Grants,
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),
Head Start, Job Training Programs (paid by fed),
Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC),
Child Care help,
Low Income Energy Assistance Program,
and Lifeline (discounted phone service for low income) all qualify.
Dole: charity from government. Money/goods received for which no return is made. Free "stuff" from others.
I'm not sure about Head Start, unless you want to include all education up through high school (I wouldn't) but the rest seem good examples of being on the government dole.
*edit* not sure of "lifeline" either, but if it gives free/reduced phone service for nothing in return it certainly qualifies.
I thought that the idea of free/subsidised phones was that it made the recipient more employable, easier for a potential employer to contact them.
So does free food (gives energy to the employee). So does a car (can travel to the job). So does free health care (keeps the employee healthy and on the job). So does a free home: keeps them healthy and happy. So does free clothing; makes them look better, producing better customer satisfaction. So does free internet and computer; keeps the employee informed and knowledgeable. So does...Aw heck; better just give everyone everything they want and let it go at that, right?
The only snag with that great idea is that it would stop a few people getting filthy rich.
That and nobody would do any work. Kind of hard to find that rutabaga for lunch when no one farms, no drives truck, no one stocks grocery store shelves, no one stands at the cashier and no one mans the gas station so you can get to the store to buy the rutabaga that doesn't exist.
That IS the problem with excessive freebies, you know; no one has any incentive to work any more.
So a few people making lots of money and everybody else struggling to some extent just to survive is the only motivation!
Seems to be. Without the hope of doing better there is no reason to try, is there? It's called human nature and something we need to think about before we decide to indiscriminately give away the workers money to others.
*edit* although I don't know about that "just survive" part; I don't personally know ANYONE in that condition and have never seen a person starve to death on the streets.
As Thatcher said you need to give the rich more money to motivate them and the poor less money to motivate them.
That wasn't all she got wrong.
I don't know - pride doesn't seem to be a part of it any more. The old work ethic is about gone, and so is being proud of doing it yourself. Natural, I guess, when everything you want is free.
No, can't say as I agree with Thatcher. Unless she referenced fewer freebies to motivate someone to supply them themselves; deprivation is a pretty big motivator, whether it is the desire for a big Mac or a big screen TV.
Do you not think the loss of pride can be attributed in some part to the commercialising of life? No time for pride any more, we have to survive.
No. Pride still exists, including pride in playing the system. Just no pride in supporting ones self, no pride in workmanship and no pride in a job well done.
Guess I'm just old school - the things I respect are no longer important in today's world. Just working the system for all it's worth; showing "the man" you can get whatever you want. You keep worrying about survival, but that's decades in the past. No one in the developed world starves to death, no one goes homeless for long without making the decision to do so. No, our survival needs are met; what we demand now are the luxuries. The phones and TV's, the nice fat steak, the cool car. And, always, respect; respect just for existing, never for our work or what we do in life, because that isn't much.
Here, I actually agree with @Wilderness. While I am going to pick on CEOs, simply substitute whichever level of worker you want to castigate.
Until you get down to the small town bank, the stereotype from having watched the financial industry for 55 years (I didn't pay much attention the first 11 years) is that the vast majority of CEOs and top executives is that their sole purpose is to rip as many people off for as much as they can as fast as they can by whatever legal or illegal means they can. Now, as your work down the chain in the financial industry, the motivation and manner of not serving the customer or companies best interest may change, but the me, me, me attitude persists. It isn't until you get down to the tellers, mailroom clerks, secretaries, and others at that level do you find your mix of great, good, and poor workers.
I hold almost as much contempt for top management of large to very large corporations, for the same reasons; although here, you start finding exceptions, such as those listed in the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. Collins identifies several (and there are more than the ones he talks about) who are led by men and women of particularly good character who actually have the corporation AND the customer uppermost in their mind. That in turn drives the manner in which they run the company and treat their people. It is in these companies where @Wilderness', and my for that matter, pessimism about today's workers fails. But, in the other companies, it persists, largely, in my opinion, because upper managements creates the environment for poor work to exist.
It is only in the small to medium size companies where you find a lot of people who don't fit the pessimists mold. I have one of those companies and many of my young employees do well because that is they are built. Others do well because of motivation we provide. Still others are beyond help and we let them go.
This is where I stall on my lack of direct experience of life in your country.
I know in mine it is still possible to starve to death and it is still possible to be homeless for years.
It may well be that there is a safety net but some are too proud to use it, some are unaware of it and some are blocked from using it by the very people who are supposed to be administrating it.
Whatever the cause people suffer.
Actually John, that describes America as well. Further, other than a couple delusional people, nobody in America is expecting fat steaks,cool cars, etc. Also, what people expect and what the progressives in gov't want to provide don't have to coincide. What gov't needs to be responsible for insuring (not necessarily providing themselves) to those that want them are:
- basic food and water subsistence, larger than what it is today for the formula it is based on leads to missed meals
- basic health care (since gov't wants to keep this in private hands, then participation must be mandatory)
- elimination of obstacles to work
- living income for people who work (notice I didn't say minimum wage)
- access to life saving or live sustaining services
- access to minimal but safe housing
- basic protection from predatory businesses
- basic secondary education
The idea behind the last one is that in virtually all situations, in an interaction between business and an individual, the playing field, by its very nature, is very one-sided in the businesses favor. If an individual screws a business, the business has many resources to counter with. Individual consumers, on the other hand, especially low income ones, do not. The gov't needs to level the playing field (but not over do it like California and New York has on several occasions).
BTW, I also think the two-year national service (broader than the draft) ought to be reinstituted for ALL high school graduates except for those who are mentally or physically incapable of performing any service (meaning include the disabled in life instead of hiding them away, give them a sense of inclusion, not exclusion).
To recap, you want free food for everyone, enough to maintain the American obesity problem while ALSO providing free doctors, hospitals and clinics. The two seen a little at odds with each, but lets go on. You want free day care, transportation, communication (telephone, internet), work clothing from upper class to work boots, to eliminate obstacles to work. In addition to all this you want that mythical "living wage" used by workers to buy it all (presumably basing their wage on their needs instead of what they produce), free ambulance and helicopter transportation to hospitals, free drugs, free organ transplants, free fire protection, free prosthetics etc. Everyone has to have a home, with a pair of cops on every street corner in the cities and a million new jails. We have to go to all government run stores and business (no other way to protect the stupid from their own folly than to decide a politician knows better than they do) and free college professors, buildings and equipment.
My God, man, have you left anything out at all? Free cradle to grave support for every man, woman and child in the country - about all that's left is a yacht for everyone! Plus, you didn't mention it but I assume you will also do the same for Mexico, and all the countries feeding them immigrants as well; that means the entire western hemisphere and soon the world as well.
You didn't indicate how this multi-trillion dollar plan will be paid for, but there are limited options. We could tax businesses at 99%, but the inevitable price increases will wipe out all that free stuff, so that won't work. We could tax the rich, both income and wealth, at 99%, but of course they will just leave for greener pastures so that won't work. We could tax the great middle class at 100%, but as they find they can have the same thing without lifting a finger, the work force producing all this stuff will disappear so that won't work, either. That leaves the poor, and if we tax them enough to pay for the freebies they won't have anything to eat and it starts all over. There isn't enough money in the entire country to do all that you want to do for even a handful of years and after that we all just sit back and starve! That means we'll have to borrow from the Chinese to produce all the stuff you want as an automatic birthright to Americans (and other nationalities as well), but that will dry up in a year or so after they own the rest of what isn't already in their name.
You REALLY need to re-think these grandiose plans. Perhaps one day, when we have the "replicators" of Star Trek, we can do this, but for now we don't have the resources or ability.
Just to pick on one thing @Wilderness, please point out where I said, or even imply, "To recap, you want free food for everyone enough to maintain the American obesity problem ". Let's not get anymore complicated than that.
Then, when you can't do that, we can get to the other things I didn't say.
"basic food and water subsistence, larger than what it is today for the formula it is based on leads to missed meals"
I presume that if any meals are missed it means there is because there isn't enough food. As some people grossly overeat (meaning most Americans) they eat far more that is necessary; if you don't supply enough food for that overeating there will be insufficient. Ergo, you require that each person have more food than they need for survival or even health.
But I ask you once before for the numbers of people there that starve to death each year - there were none. How is that just a month later it happens?
I don't remember telling you none!
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014 … nefits-cut
and as Silverspeeder said, one is one too many.
Quite a compelling article, problem is social Darwinist don't care.
Why did he starve? Four months AFTER cutting his benefits?
Because he was insane? Because he could work and didn't (the opinion of the experts you want to put in control of ever bigger government)? Because he squandered his resources instead of buying food?
Aren't you putting the cart before the horse when you claim it was because no one fed him? And how much of a countries resources will you spend to guarantee it never happens to a single person?
Why did he starve four months after his benefits were cut? Could it be because he didn't have enough to eat?
Erm, according to you he could work but couldn't feed himself properly, there's some disconnect there.
When have I ever said that I wanted to put a French company in charge of an even bigger government? When have I ever even said that I want a bigger government?
I'd rather you tell me how much of a countries resources we should spend to have a private company not staffed by medical experts tell us that the patently sick and dying are fit for work!
Head Start funds low income kids to go to preschool and Lifeline is discount phone service for low income, but I thought it had more to do with emergency calls than ability to reach employers.
So, let's get back to our temporarily out of work family man, with a wife and a kid. Let's say it is March 2009, and he is one of the 200,000 people laid off that month and the 7,000,000th person laid off since the disaster really started to kick in the beginning of 2008.
First, let me ask, what is the likelihood, in your opinion, of this man (or his wife) finding a job at even a fast food restaurant or as a floor sweeper somewhere, say in the next 18 months. (Keep in mind, there was another million and half jobs to shed before bottom was reached in Jan 2010.
Then, of the list I gave, what programs do you think he and his family ought to qualify for? Let's say he earned $16/hr before being fired (and his wife stayed home to school their kid). At $16/hr, you make enough, according to a survey I have going in another hub, to just get by for a family of three in a low cost area with no frills and no savings.
Personally, I look at preschool as free day care for kids. The schooling they receive is little more than learning to socialize; something that can be done at home or daycare. If Uncle Sam wants to give phones limited to 911 to low income I won't argue. I DO complain when they get free general use cell phones from the taxes I pay even as I can't afford one myself.
I would say his prospects in most areas were excellent of landing a job within a year or less...IF he wasn't picky at what he did.
While unemployed I would give him as much as $12-$14 per hour would have earned. More than my state provides in unemployment, less that some do, but then he only earned $16. To be divided however, unemployment, food stamps, straight welfare check, whatever.
While employed at minimum wage I would raise that figure to as much as $20 per hour depending on his family size - it gets tough with 3-4 kids even on $40,000 (I'm thinking he did not have a family of 4 on $16 per hour unless he was ALREADY collecting entitlements). But that would end after a couple of years and he is on his own again.
As to "feeding off of others labors", a sentiment carried by Thomas Jefferson who nevertheless wouldn't let a sick slave die simply because he was unable to work, your categorical contempt for people in need is interesting indeed. Taken in context with the rest of what you say, here is the picture I draw of the society you prefer to live in.
Everybody needs to find a job, whether they are available or not. If, for some odd reason, they can't (in that there is no job available to them within say 1000 miles) and begin starving to death on the streets, then it is up to friends and family or charitable organizations to take care of them. If all refuse to help, then they simply die in your world because it isn't the governments responsibility to help these people live, the ones that made a contract with the government to protect them.
But, you might say, there is always somebody will help. Maybe, in good times. So, let's have a depression where there is 30% unemployment and all local social support systems are swamped (like they are during every good recession and depression). No problem, because those who can't survive in in your social Darwinist world will simply parish leaving only the strong to carry on.
Do I have that right? Or is there a place in those scenarios where you will let government step in and help?
Another takeaway, like with @Silverspeeder, it seems that you would oppose any social support system that allows even one case of abuse; if it does, you will point it out and want that system shut down because it obviously breeds slackers. That is what your words imply to me.
Yes, everyone needs to find a job, but time is of major concern. So called "job hunters" that are out of work for years simply aren't looking (or unwilling to take what is out there). And yes, they can walk the streets and starve.
On the other hand I would give more than we do to the sick one that temporarily can't work. I find it a travesty that we ignore those temporarily in need, demanding that they reduce themselves to abject poverty before we'll do anything.
Today EVERYONE on the left loves to hate the man who can take capitalism and build upon his own ability to become rich and powerful within that system and based upon his [her ] entrepreneurial ability , becoming incredibly rich ! What exactly is wrong with that , that man;s capability is what created todays practical capitalism ! Yes , .....there are those who can only enter this system at the "minimum wage level and grow if possible , but that doesn't mean that the successful man is evil !
Evil is a very strong word.
Wrong is not necessarily evil but it's not right either.
And your statement is wrong, I am on the left but I hate no man.
I think it disingenuous that a statement has merit when there are so many mitigating circumstances to counter it. Capitalism can be a good motivator for people to earn something on their own and the freedom to do so is paramount to it happening. More and more we are finding that the costs and time it takes to just survive in the economy takes away those opportunities. We have witnessed the evolution of the greatest transfer of wealth to take place in the history of the world. The baby boomers are taking control of the purse strings and the dissimilar wealth is strangling the middle class to maintain. While man's capability is still creating practical capitalism the opportunities are dwindling to those with an edge. The edge is to the power of the elite to squash competition and the means to buy government favor in doing so. So capitalism is great until it fails to provide across the board. Entrepreneurial ability and cute ideas are still out there but the gap is widening for those who think they can still gain as in the past.
The perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children faces assault from just about every direction. That great enemy of democratic capitalism, economic inequality, is real and growing.
"dissimilar wealth is strangling the middle class to maintain."
When I look at middle class life style and standard of living from when I was a child compared to now...well, there is just no comparison. I don't see much struggle "to maintain" - rather the problem is that comsumer greed demands ever more for less effort.
But that's capitalism for you isn't it? It requires more and more people to want more and more to feed the machine.
Why more people? And aren't the people themselves the "machine" you talk of?
But while I don't know about it being capitalism, it IS people - we all want more than we have. Blame evolution, I guess.
No, the capitalist system is designed to make people want more. It encourages greed deliberately.
And when all the people want is free for the taking it doesn't encourage greed. Of course not!
Tell me where can get a free car, a free Rolex, a free TV, free designer clothes!
Move to the US and apply for EIC. When it comes in, buy what you want. If it costs more than $5,000 you'll have to save it up for several years.
On $487 a year I would have to save for more than several years to afford anything.
Plus in additions a state might add, for example $73.05 from MA. Single people, however, aren't really who EITC is targeted at; that would be people with children. For example, someone (or family) with 3 or more kids they max out at $6,044, and if you live in MA, you get an additional $907..60, e.g., Married, 3 kids, head of household earning between $10K and $22K would earn the max.
To me, this isn't near enough; a family of three needs about $35K in a lost cost area just to have the basics with no frills. If you want to see how hubbers break that down, see
http://myesoteric.hubpages.com/hub/Pove … erica-2351
Just for curiosity, what is your opinion the "minimum" amount a family of 3 needs a day for food? per month for fuel? per month for all types of entertainment? per year for rent?
$10 per day for food. Gas dependent on far too many factors to consider (is public transport available? How far to work? To shopping? If car is necessary, what are gas prices?). Entertainment; wants are not needs and 0 is needed. Rent is again too dependent on location for consideration.
So, you think a family of 3 can get by on $3.33 per person per day for food and consume the necessary 1500 - 1800 calories a day? Give it a try and see if you can do it; get back to me on that.
Of course, fuel depends on a lot of things, but when you add them all together you can average them out, what is your estimate of that average?
Tell me, could you, your wife, and kid survive 365 days a year with no books, no buying games to play at home, no dining out, not one movie, not one cheap amusement park, etc without killing yourself? People are not robots, you know. After a year, if they were normal people, without that kind of release, they would be in a mental ward; which of course you wouldn't help pay for even though you put them there.
For rent, I mentioned using a low cost area; Googling it should help if you don't have your own gut feel for it.
My son, with a family of 6, feeds that family on less than $600 per month. You do the math. My wife and I budget $300, but then we have a pair of grandkids most weekends and feed 8 usually once a week. The months without those extras shows, too - we drop to around $200, and I carefully count calories at close to 2500 per day.
Fuel in a large city is unnecessary; millions do without a car. Small cities are navigable by bicycle or feet - we DO still have those things at the bottom of our legs even though they have fallen in disuse now days. My own fuel usage in a small city/big town runs around $40 per month, but that's because I visit a gym daily and drive to the next small town several times per week for my son. My elderly mother (92) walked a mile or so for groceries until she became too blind to do so - car in the driveway but no license and wanted the exercise anyway.
Buy a 79 cent deck of cards and you have a thousand games. Or a board game from a yard sale for a quarter. Picnic in the park. Visit a library. Have friends over for an evening of chatting. Play charades. Somehow we have morphed from rolling a discarded bicycle wheel down the street with some friends and a T shaped stick to requiring $10 per hour for golf or a movie and we have lost in the process, not gained. No, there is no need for society to provide free high dollar entertainment for anyone. My wife and I went for more than a few years without movies, dining out or any of the other expensive forms of entertainment and we didn't die or go insane.
A single person should be able to find a room for under $500 per month (Mom rents one of hers out for $50); a family can have an apartment for WELL under $1000. We don't NEED 500-1000 sq ft of living space per person, and roommates are always a possibility for singles.
Problem here is that you seem unable to distinguish wants from needs. Americans have far more than they NEED, whether rich or poor. How many in deep Africa get that movie a week? Or dine out from their grass huts? How many in Honduras see that amusement park? We may want them, but we don't need them.
Wilderness wants you all to live in a third world country!
Why not? That's were the socialists will have us ALL, producers and non-producers alike, with their giveaways.
But yes, if you can't afford entertainment, don't ask someone else to provide it FOR you. If you can't afford a big home, don't ask someone else to provide it. If you can't afford gas, walk instead of demanding someone else pay for it. I did, and it didn't hurt me one bit.
Again, do you really need to keep reinforcing the fact that you don't understand socialism?
You don't realise that everything you accuse socialism of bringing you is already being brought to you by capitalism!
Capitalism doesn't pay anyone according to their needs, now does it? That's socialism through and through in spite of you continually saying that no work = no pay while in the next breathe you demand that we give more to the poor.
Yes, I demand that we give more work to the poor, if they don't want to take it then blow them, but first we have to make sure that work is there for them and at a high enough rate of pay to meet their needs (not wants).
So the family guy of 6 "earns" more for the same work than a single guy. Doesn't seem quite reasonable, somehow.
You demand that "we" provide work - work the person likes, at a pay above his needs (gotta have entertainment now, down't we?) and in a location the person wants as well. I don't see any mention of how or where the sales will be from though, or how it will be financed or show a profit...
Unfortunately for all of that, you seem to be the same as Esoteric - a bad confusion between wants and needs coupled with a pie-in-the-sky concept of what business needs for itself.
No, I fully understand the difference between a want and a need. That why I finished off with "need (not want).
Without capitalism there is no need to show a profit-that again is capitalism, the redistribution of wealth that you hate so much.
If you understood the difference you wouldn't be agreeing that entertainment is a "need".
No, without capitalism there is no need to show a profit. There is also no motivation to better ones self because it can't be done. So, we all live and work under a mix, but the more socialistic, the lower the average standard of living with but a handful of exceptions.
Erm, where did I agree that entertainment is a need? I didn't actually.
However, I could put an argument forward for claiming entertainment as a need. Have you ever had a child who, when all its peers had access to TV they didn't? And should everybody not have access to news? Nobody needs it but it benefits everybody
Einstein was a socialist, right lazy git wasn't he, never achieved anything.
And what about them cave men? Didn't have a penny to spend, did they dig pits on their own and drive mammoths into them on their own and then kill them on their own and then butcher them on their own?
Sorry, we didn't have a TV or go to movies as a child. Can't see it hurt me any, and probably helped a lot.
Einstein - the exception that proves the rule. Now retired, I paint, do woodworking and various other projects; man has a need to produce, just not a need to produce salable products on an employers time schedule.
Most likely cavemen also specialized; some to hunt, some to gather. Some to make spear points, some to skin the kill. Again, man is a generalist, but within that individuals do better specializing and so does society as a whole just as we do today. So what? What does that have to do with economic systems?
But what motivation do you have if nobody is paying you to do these things?
The question wasn't about what you did as a child but how your grandchildren would cope with no access to much of what their peers enjoy.
Sames as I did; my peers all had TV, too. Just not me. They went to movies and dances, too, just not me. Instead I dug roads through the potato pit used to store vegetables underground, built a treehouse and other outdoor activities. Something my grandkids never do - instead they sit slack jawed in front of a flickering screen for hours on end. Explain how that is better or superior?
I never claimed that it was better or superior.
Then why the concern about what a child would ever do without expensive entertainment?
Sorry, I just wouldn't want one of mine to feel different to the rest. For the same reason that I would not send them to school oddly dressed. Though I don't condone it, kids get heavy grief for wearing the wrong kind of trainers.
Oh, and television isn't expensive these days. Somebody who could not afford TV would be very poor indeed.
It's an odd dichotomy, and not really suitable for this thread, but we tell our kids to be themselves. That they are unique, and then want them to be like everyone else. It's just that when we engage that dichotomy and demand someone else to pay for it I have a problem. I'm not about to agree that government owes every child thousand dollar video games or designer clothes and shoes. They are a want, not a need.
TV isn't a problem (although cable or satellite is). It's the accessories that add up - the DVD player with 500 movies. The video games and THEIR accessories. And again, it's not a suitable thread, but even that cheap, used TV is not a need, but a want. Children do better without the TV, IMHO.
Who mentioned a $1000 video game for every child?
But most kids (of a suitable age) have a video game now days. "Sorry, I just wouldn't want one of mine to feel different to the rest." - better make sure every one has a video game. And games, of course.
The video game has become the TV of yesteryear.
But why? A video game is not a necessity for survival, is it, therefore I doubt even your most liberal of Liberals would endorse supplying kids with $1000 video games. But sensible, caring people might want to make sure 1) the kid has available enough food to get 1500 calories a day, 2) has guaranteed access to health care that won't bankrupt his or her parents nor force the parents to wait until the kid was very sick before they took them to an emergency room; which was common before Obamacare, and 3) has a minimal place to live that isn't in their parents car or under a piece of cardboard in an alley; which also all too common and will become more so as the gap between the poor and the rich continues to get wider and wider.
People don't realize it, but Thomas Piketty makes it very clear with his charts and graphs, that the period between 1945 and 1990 is the exception, not the rule. The rule is the kind of patrimonial economy that was in place from 1700 to 1913. The only difference will be that instead of the upper tier relying almost solely on inheritance, as they did prior to 1913, we now have a class of super managers who will live the life style of princes from actual wages as well as inheritance.
Ponder this for a moment an then explain to why it is happening.
- in the 1960s the bottom 50% of wage earners earned 30% of total wages, while the next 40% earned another 45%. That means the top 10% earned 25% of total wages, just like the bottom 50%. That is inequality, but nobody was bitching about it because they all knew it exists and so long as those percentage can be maintained as the economy grows, then everybody wins and gets rewarded for their part in making it grow.
- but in 2010 those percentages of changes drastically where the bottom 50%'s share is only 25% and the next 40% is now down to 40%, for a total of 65% total labor income; the top 90% of laborers lost 10% of their share of total wages. Well, who took it from them? The top 10% did, of course; they now own a 35% share, instead of 25%.
Why is that? What quality about them changed to make them worth that much more money? Or, conversely, what changed about the bottom 90% to make them so much less valuable?
Where is this going to end, if nothing is done? Well, in 1900, the bottom 50%'s share was only 20%, the next 40% was 35%, and the top 10% was a whopping 45% to total wages ... unbelievable. So, it took 50 years for the rich to grab 10% of the wages from those below them (I call this welfare for the rich), will it only take another 50 years (2060) for them to take the next 10% and get us back to the good ol' days?
I'm not sure why; certainly it doesn't fit with anything I would suggest. But others do: check this post: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/125027? … ost2645271
where the poster feels we need to provide free entertainment for all as a necessity. (And most video games, along with perhaps a nice cordless controller and a good supply of games will be pushing $1,000. Add in the online subscriptions that seem popular and it quickly exceeds that.)
Why is it happening? I don't know, but wonder if it's because with the riches now available, it's because there is a new game in town. It has become popular to collect huge fortunes (multi-billion) simply as a game, where the one with the most wins. I confess I can't imagine why Bill Gates wants his billions; they can't add to his life anything but the satisfaction of knowing he can win the game, but more and more people are doing just that. It can't be spent on anything for the individual, it is of no real use to them, why do it? I dunno.
You are probably on to something @Wilderness. Another statistic I like to throw around which goes to the same point is that back in the '60s and '70s (I going to use guesses here rather than go look the real numbers up) CEOs used to earn about 20 times the average floor worker; the rest of managment ranged down from there in a roughly unspectacular order. Today, that ratio is around 200 to 350 times! (it has come down since the recession but is going back up now). It remains high for a set of what Thomas Piketty calls "super managers", your executives basically, before tumbling down rapidly to your line managers, supervisors and laborers. I have the same question as before, what changed.
The answer is essentially what you just said, because they can. I don't know that the regulations governing pay have really changed that much between sat 1975 and 1990 when this change took place. But what Piketty suggests did, were marginal tax rates. Prior to Reagan essentially eliminating them, basically bringing them down to what the average Joe pays, there was no real incentive to pay themselves lots of money, much of it got taxed, so they paid themselves in all those wonderful fringe benefits and perks we all heard about.
But, when Reagan through the gates wide open, he closed some of the perks, but now there were no more controls on what senior executives and CEOs could pay themselves (and it is exactly that, they took what they wanted). Today, we see the results of Reagan's wisdom; the for the Ros er.. Money.
I could see that, too. At the same time I am NOT sanguine with government interfering in the free financial interchange between two people (or a company and person). I'm not for increasing the minimum wage OR setting caps - either way the progression is a committee somewhere setting wages without regard to value, worth or the free market. And that way lies stagnation and worse, falling incomes for everyone - something we can easily see in much of Europe. Government is NOT competent to run the economy; at best it can affect it slightly, faster or slower, without causing massive harm.
Beyond all the rhetoric we have both tossed around, we actually agree with your statement
"Government is NOT competent to run the economy; at best it can affect it slightly, faster or slower, without causing massive harm."
The disagreements come in how to interpret the middle phrase. But before I get into that, let me take this comment first. "I'm not for increasing the minimum wage OR setting caps - ...without regard to value, worth or the free market." (I took out the middle part because in the past that has happened and it hasn't happened) The reason for both of those measures are to control bad effects of capitalism when the free-market forces don't work right. Let's take minimum wage (which I disagree with).
It is there for one reason that has two parts, 1) because of the profit motive, wages are kept as low as humanly possible, they would be zero if that were possible and 2) human beings must have a minimum number of calories daily, a relatively safe place to live, and an ability to stay healthy in order to continue to be productive for the employer, and that means there is a minimum cost to maintain the machine which provides labor to the employer (sort of like buying oil to lubricate a press, that, if fact, is a "minimum wage" for that press if you think about it.) But, because humans are not presses, there is a social, moral, and ethical component which is at odds with the economic one. Consequently, many people feel it is necessary to provide productive people the minimum income necessary to survive. Other people don't think that is necessary, that if the productive people flounder, that is their fault and don't need any help. I for one, am on the side that believe productive people should receive an income that at least allows them to live a healthy life even though employers aren't willing to pay that much. "But, since their labor is the foundation" of America's abundant lifestyle, especially for the top 10% and some of the next 40%, it is my feeling that America "owes" them a fair wage.
However, does it have to be a "minimum wage", which, as you say, interferes with the natural market forces, a different method must be found. For the minimum wage, that would be a "much expanded" EITC. That same idea can be applied to almost all instances where fed and local gov'ts have imposed some restriction on the market, e.g., rent control. There are almost always other, non-market disrupting, methods available like the EITC solution for the minimum wage for accomplishing the same good end. Unfortunately, they generally involve transfer payments to those needing the help, something those on the Right will always oppose; consequently, the controls on market forces will never go away.
Back to your original statement I highlighted. It basically states, unless the government wants to totally screw up the economy, it can only affect it at the margins. But that is basically what most of the reasonable people in the middle and left want. Classical economics works fine ... until it doesn't; then it goes all to hell in a handbasket and stays that way for a period of years.
Classical economics is like water flowing slowly through a smooth pipe. So long as the water's velocity stays below a certain speed, there is no turbulence where the water meets the pipes edge. But, pass that threshold then turbulence begins and then quickly moves toward the center. That process is a given, it is a function of how chaotic systems work, and economics is certainly a much more chaotic system than water flowing through a pipe.
For the water system, a feedback system can be developed which senses the water's speed and which activates a regulator to slow it down if it goes to fast. In Classical economics, there are some built-in regulators which keep the economy in check when forces get a little out of balance. But they fail miserably when they "get a lot" out of balance. This is how Keynes earned his Nobel prize by explaining what other forces were going on that Classical economic theory didn't explain to account for the 20+ major financial recessions and depressions which occurred in the American economy prior to 1933. Hence, macroeconomics was born which gave real purpose to the Fed.
Macroeconomics lets the government manage the economy at the margins, making small tweaks keeping it running at a speed where the natural market forces contained in Classical economics can keep it under control. But this requires gov't intervention which is ideologically unacceptable to those who still live with concepts developed prior to 1900, that is the problem with tradition, in my opinion. This method worked from the end of WW II until 2007. Instead of having 10 recessions this size of the one in 2008 or bigger, there were none. Every one of the 6, I think, recessions in that period were much smaller; meaning the Fed did its job; which is why there is a role for the Fed, not to prevent recessions, just to make them less frequent and smaller.
What happen in 2008 is that beginning with Reagan and the conservative revolution, is that all of the regulations put in place to manage the economy at the edges were removed and the Fed began encouraging rather than discouraging the kind of economic behaviour (the opposite of what it was empowered to do) that led to first the bubble of 2000 (the first one since 1929) and the BIG one in 2006, which burst in 2007.
Yes, it appears that we agree to a large extent. The only argument (concern?) I have with your post is the statement "it is necessary to provide productive people the minimum income necessary to survive".
There are several problems here. Begin with the term "productive". Building one 50 cent widget per week is "productive" but no one would say it is worth the $700 or so that a family of 4 needs. So we have a problem with the idea of what is productive; we've decided that simply being alive means being productive and I disagree with that.
The next is that "minimum income necessary to survive". You posted a long list of "necessities" required for survival, but there has never been a time when they were all guaranteed and there was never a time when some of them were even "necessary". Yet some want the nation to guarantee them to everyone without regard to cost - that moral and ethical component is allowed (encouraged!) to overrun the realities of the world we live in and the inevitable result will be a return to a much lower standard of living for everyone.
So yes, we have a moral imperative to help those that need it. We do NOT have a moral imperative to provide unlimited wants (or even needs) to those that will not provide for themselves, and that is the big difference between the left and right in this country. The left tries to portray the right as evil people, forever screaming "You want the little children to DIE!" which is an outright lie designed to turn a reasonable discussion into an emotional one. To once more go to the morality without regard to realities. And the right drags their heels as much as possible at every giveaway because they know the left will not stop until the country is broke.
Somewhere in the middle is the only rational solution, but that solution cannot be to simply feed and care for every person that cannot or will not produce enough to care for themselves. Obamacare is just such a plan; this country cannot afford what the people think they have been sold; high quality health care for everyone, paid for by someone else. There isn't enough money to do it, but it didn't stop the lies, and it didn't stop the far left from instituting the beginnings of a program that will eventually bankrupt the country if allowed to run it's course.
We have crossed the line (just as in Obamacare) into a nation of entitlements, where all needs are to be met without considering cost and without considering how much or how little a person is willing to contribute to their own care and it will absolutely do great harm. Just as over controlling the economy, providing too many freebies to people does far more harm than good. The old saw about men and fish is all too true, but we continue to make the same mistake over and over, never learning that we really DO do more harm than good by simply giving people what they want or need.
Greetings ME, just thought I would jump in with a "Devil's Advocate" perspective regarding that statistic you like to throw around.
The reality is that the market place determines the price of commodities - and CEOs are a commodity. Also, CEOs are hired by choice and agreement. CEOs may set their "asking" price, but it is company boards that agree or decline to meet it.
If there were enough 20x worker-wage CEOs that could get the job done - do you think there would be many 300x workers-wage CEOs employed?
If we started with 20x CEOs, and they were getting the job done, how did the market allow those 300x CEOs to come about?
If boards refused to hire 300x CEOs, do you think the business world would still have them?
If a 20x CEO could only bring enough talent and prestige to keep your company's head above water, (or worse, only slow its decline), but a 300x CEO had the superstar talents and industry prestige to rocket your company to the top of its industry and make tons of money for you and your shareholders - would you consider paying that much absurd, and cross your fingers that the 20x CEO just might work out?
There are tons of other considerations involved in real world examples that aren't mentioned in this simplistic example, (including the much-publicized anomalies of bad CEOs and their golden parachutes), but all in all, I think your criticism of CEO pay is misplaced. Your angst should be directed at the financial markets because I think their influence, (stock price impact), on board decisions is a large part of the market's determination of acceptable CEO compensation.
As a side note, I don't think the 1960s and 1970s business models and realities are valid comparisons to the business world of today. As with all else, things change. The business world has changed.
re. your Reagan point... do you think those changes really matter. Does it matter if a 300x compensation package is in cash, or in perks and benefits? (excluding the obvious tax implications - which I feel certain are addressed regardless of the package structure.
@GA, when a CEO, who is often a senior member if not chairman of the board, is first hired, you are right, he or she comes in with a negotiated salary and benefit package. But, after that, all bets are off, especially if the CEO as clout on the board, which they do except for the better run companies; of which there are few.
On one point, scarcity of CEOs, I don't think the number of companies in the Fortunes 500 has changed much over the years, lol, so I would say the need for additional CEOs hasn't grown either. I would guess the compensation of the CEOs of these 500 companies account for 80% or more of total CEO pay in the country, we can forget about the other several 1000.
I also looked at who was on the list, it hasn't changed a whole lot in the top 20 or 30. So, the question is, how has the environment changed, as you suggest, for companies such as Exxon-Mobile, IBM. General Electric, and so on.such that the CEO's deserve such huge relative increases, or statistics like this; "since 1990s, CEO compensation in the US has "outpaced corporate profits", "economic growth" and the average compensation of all workers. Between 1980 and 2004, Mutual Fund founder John Bogle estimates total CEO compensation grew 8.5%/year compared, compared to corporate profit growth of 2.9%/year and per capita income growth of 3.1%." (Reflections on CEO Compensation by John C. Bogle| Academy of Management| May 2008, Jump up ^ Pay Madness At Enron Dan Ackman, 03.22.2002.")
Somehow that doesn't seem right.
Believe this or not. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-2 … es-slaves.
We are not at opposite poles here. I believe the difference is that you seem to think that CEO pay should somehow be related to "average worker" comparisons. I do not.
I strongly do not. And I believe the points you make strongly support the validity of my "do not"
It seems that your discussion is relative to the "big" corps. Which are about .3% of US businesses. On this point I would agree with you, it is a very exclusive club. Sort of like the club of superstar NFL quarterbacks. There may be a lot of quarterback contenders out there, but very few that are recognized as "being in the club." Same goes for Big Corp" CEOs. lots of contenders but many fewer real superstars.
Also, are you of the belief that a previously successful, (and board controlling), CEO is invulnerable to board constrictions, or even dismissals?
I am not, even for a minute, justifying some of the obviously outlandish CEO compensation packages. But I am defending the right of the boards to offer them if they want to. And I am completely defending the right of CEOs to set an "asking price." And I am completely denying the validity of any effort to compare CEO compensation to "average workers" compensation. It isn't just apples and oranges, it's apples and cafe lattes.
Those boards are heavily seeded with either the cronies of the CEO or those dependent on him for their income. That remuneration is not determined by the market place at all, it is determined by cronyism.
I think it absolutely does, @GA, $300 in the hand is worth more than a stock option of the same value., especially the kinds of short-term thinkers who run most of our major corporations. (By that I mean, compare the vision and actions of the founder of Walmart with the same of the pack of idiots that run it today; Walmart is slowly going the way of K-Mart.)
Ha! Your Walmart/Kmart reference is something I am unfamiliar with. But the difference in compensation packages is something I am willing to discuss.
You make valid points referencing the Reagan era changes in CEO compensations.
Such as; pay me $100 million, prior to Reagan changes was $100 million. But after Regan's changes that $100 million now had new tax liabilities. So now that $100 million was changed to $1 per year and $999,999.00 in stock options, (or vacation homes or gold statuettes or whatever it took to avoid the tax consequences).
So where is the difference? The CEO still gets $100 million in compensation - he just gets it in taxable preferential ways.
Don't you remember how even in the capitalist system, married men were paid more than single men?
Not in my world, they aren't. I've never worked at a job where that happened. The only place married men (with kids) made out was in the bennies, specifically health insurance for the family (and that's mostly gone now). I HAVE heard of some companies providing day care, but always on a cafeteria plan where that was one of the items chosen from a list of possibilities limited by the $$ amount allowed.
I was using "remember" to recall times that we can't directly remember but with a little study of history we would know about.
I certainly "remember" my grandfather telling me that he had to get permission off his employers to marry.
That's not capitalism, that's slavery. There IS a difference even though you pretend there isn't.
Tell me what the difference is then! Apart from slave owners had an investment in their slaves and therefore tended to look after them rather better.
Slave owners set the rules for the entire life - employers set the rules for the time period the employee has CHOSEN to be on the job. Do you really not understand the difference or do you have a point I'm not seeing?
You've never heard of present day employers insisting on a certain standard of behaviour even outside work? Requiring them to live in a certain place?
A handful try, but is rarely successful. It can only work when there is an iron fist ruling, as in a government where even prices are controlled by committee vote. Where government, not independent, competing business own the production means. We can see this as the sweat shops of the past didn't last long and the company housing/stores went the way of the dodo. Only the military, rigidly controlled by the government employer, has that kind of control.
Don't forget, Wilderness was suggesting that I move to the US for free car, free TV and free designer clothes and I am but a single bloke.
The minimum needed in the UK would be different to the minimum needed in the US so a bit of a pointless exercise, but I'll think about it and come back to you on that one.
What do you think about that Stephan Molyneux chap?
I'm not familiar with the man but a quick search suggests that on balance I don't like what he supports.
Anarcho-capitalism and abolition of government would make things infinitely worse, not better.
Agreed. However, sometimes one learns a lot from such people. His explanations, especially as it applies to large companies and banks absorbing the first rounds of fiat monies injected by the governments, is not far off the mark. It sort of follows along with your concerns about how (like the guy you are debating herein) multinational companies keep the lower classes in ever deteriorating conditions - as a result of "Practical Capitalism" or as some put it, "Soft Fascism".
The "capitalist system" isn't designed at all, it simply exists when people are allowed to 1) own private property and 2) allowed to buy and sell on the open market. It is the socialist economic system which works counter to human nature; the state must force humans to act in a way that is counter to how they would when left to their own devices.
I don't know if it is capitalism but I know consumerism is the fuel that drives the capitalism machine. People wanting more stuff is a human trait. The old saying more is never enough rings true today as much as it ever has. Capitalism exploits a need or requirement and there is nothing wrong with that. Where it goes horribly wrong is when it becomes a greedy obsession on both the consumer and supplier ends. Quality, safety and supply all seem to take a back seat to discretion. Our concept of capitalism seems to accept the dog eat dog world of letting the competition eat its own. So what if they survive as long as the best deal is the outcome. Unfortunately in a global economy we are competing with the lowest denominator when it comes to quality of life standards and when they win we tend to fail.
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