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Inequality

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Borachio, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Azale

    Azale Deity

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    Everyone's data has flaws when scrutinized enough, but I'm pretty sure the good folks over at Financial Times overplayed it a bit.

    I don't see anything dangerous about his tax scheme, other than it is dangerously passive. Recurring financial crises and a widening income gap are probably more dangerous than a 30% global tax. The warping of political systems in the developed world around the whims of wealthy elites & unelected technocrats seems like another more dangerous trend. Unenforceable is definitely the right way to characterize it though.

    I also don't see a problem with Warren supporting an economist who supports her position on things? Politics is inherent in everything, attempting to claim the apolitical middle ground is pointless and usually a political exercise in misdirection. If he ends up a hack like Reinart & Rogoff, then it'll blow up in her face...or maybe it won't, as it sure hasn't slowed anyone's roll on austerity.

    Anyway, not a humongous fan of Piketty but I'm glad to see the haters shook :)
     
  2. Ahovking

    Ahovking Cyber Nations

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    My two cents, i'm a lower middle class, unemployed 20 year old, and i don't mind Inequality or growing Inequality, Wealth can be created as long as there is demand, wealth isn't finite.

    I'm naturally jealous of how much wealth these people have and want to be like them which is driving me to go up and behind to create a business so i can be upper middle class or higher.
     
  3. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Where did you get this figure from, Mr Crock?

    It's not the current human population, which is iirc 7 billion. Nor is it the estimated future global population: thought to level out at ~9 (or maybe 12) billion.

    Are you including all future generations? Or do you have a non-standard definition of human?

    Perhaps you're counting the entire mammalian population. (But in that case the figure might be slightly on the low side.)
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    You're saying that the elimination of poverty is either not achievable or not worthwhile?
    I mean, 'elimination' is likely impossible, but 'vastly reduce' is a different beastie. While it's nigh-impossible to eliminate relative poverty, it's certainly not impossible to greatly reduce absolute poverty.

    I don't even mind having shifting goalposts on what constitutes 'absolute poverty' over time ("but the poor don't have access to internet!" "but the rich didn't either, 40 years ago!"). I think that efforts to reduce it are absolutely worthwhile.
     
  5. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    He may be counting peas as well.
     
  6. Old Hippy

    Old Hippy Deity

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    So you plan on leaving behind the bottom 90% of us mere mortals and move on up to the bottom 90% of us mere mortals...
    an admirable and achievable goal.
     
  7. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    It is as unachievable as repealing gravity by legislation. Either that or the war on poverty is over in the USA. Victory is won.

    That is flippantly stated, but the point is serious. There will always be poor. There MUST always be poor. It is hardwired into humans to evaluate. The names will change and criteria will change, but some will always be rich and others will always be poor. Otherwise there would be recognition that there are almost no poor in the developed countries, particularly the USA. Those called poor would be middle class in some countries.

    J
     
  8. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Ah, you're not distinguishing between relative and absolute poverty. I think that 50 years ago, 'the poor' were starving to death and living with polio, and it's perfectly achievable to have them not be starving to death and living with polio.

    Maybe not 100%, but definitely a wild drop in those numbers.

    That said, there will always be people who cannot afford the penthouse overlooking Central Park. Not because they're illiterate, hungry, or diseased. Merely because someone else can afford it more easily and has already bought it. This certainly doesn't mean that we cannot end hunger and disease.
     
  9. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    I am saying that poverty is always relative.

    J
     
  10. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Well, it kind of isn't.

    You can't relatively starve to death.

    I do agree, though, that people in the First World very often talk about relative poverty.

    Yet people in poverty, in the First World, are relatively more likely to suffer from lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality,... well, you know the list, I guess.
     
  11. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Among a population of starving people, some would considered poor and some some would be considered rich. Poverty is always relative.

    What is true love? Letting someone else eat first when food is limited.

    J
     
  12. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    No, sorry, that's just not true. In fact, if it were obviously true, then nearly no arguments regarding economics makes the least bit of sense. Every single trade agreement in the world just assumes that your statement is false.

    One can be completely alone and either wealthy or impoverished. It doesn't depend always on the presence of other people. I mean, yeah, there will always be relative poverty. But starving to death or needing to work 40 vs. 80 hrs per week just to survive is an objective thing.

    I'll not disagree that we'll always have relative poverty. Can't be helped. Our idea of what 'absolute' poverty is will shift over time, but it actually exists.
     
  13. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Is that global inequality or within a nation?
     
  14. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Just remember you were the one that said it.;)

    As to trade agreements, nothing could be less true. Such agreements are very specific. They make reference to quantifiable things. If you were to make specific objectives, such as ensuring every person has 10 daily Calories per pound of body mass, then you can talk about possibilities.

    As things stand, trying to eliminate poverty could be used as an illustration of insanity--repeated doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    J
     
  15. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Has anyone tried to eliminate poverty?

    I must have blinked and missed that.
     
  16. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    It just doesn't make any sense. You're suggesting that any efforts I make to relieve poverty (amongst those poorer than myself) is merely a waste of time, since it's a zero-sum game. Not only does that not resonate, but it's kinda insulting. And, well, it's not true. Poverty relief is not a zero-sum game, which it would be if it were completely relative.
     
  17. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    To the contrary. Assisting others is an end in itself. Simply recognize that you cannot eliminate the issue.

    There will always be poor. Humans are hardwired that way. Humans are also hardwired to give aid a succor. When it is personal there is value to both the giver and receiver. They can be half a world apart, but it is still value. Remember the the last line of It's a Wonderful Life. "Here's to George Bailey, the richest man in town."

    J
     
  18. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton Awake

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    Our genes force human societies to have poverty?
    That just seems absurd and very lazy thinking.
     
  19. nc-1701

    nc-1701 bombombedum

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    More like, if the bottom 20% are considered to be in poverty then poverty can by definition never be eliminated. Of course absolute poverty can (at least mostly), but if our definition of poverty is inherently subjective, then of course it can't be eliminated.


    This is a relatively tautological argument, and doesn't add much value in most cases.
     
  20. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton Awake

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    Well that is a different issue. And actually makes sense. Though those 20% or whatever are not assigned at random. They are supposed to reflect real-life-problems which I think do not have to correlate with that percentage if a society is sufficiently rich and/or egalitarian. For instance the American poor are not only called poor because of relatively meager wealth, but also because of absolutes like they may only have so much of their money available to spend at will etcetera.
     

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