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You have to be rich to be poor.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by yesboii, May 21, 2009.

  1. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    I'm more inclined to blame the way how wealth is accounted for. Industrial production fell, and people are losing jobs, not because there is no demand for products (and services) but because the commercial structure to market/distribute those is failing to do that job. The old soviet central planning approach to that eventually collapsed (due to excessive and careless bureaucracy?), now the free market one may be heading towards the same end, through a different route (fall in consumption due to concentration of wealth, temporally disguised by mounting debt?). Perhaps the pursuit of stability is just an illusion?

    Then again faith in the inevitability of constant (let alone exponential) growth in wealth is obviously false. People confused money (or rather, the notional value of assets) with real wealth, and money seemingly was growing exponentially... except that much of it turned out to not exist after all! But on the long run we did had, and likely will continue to have, real growth in wealth. Man-made social catastrophes are more likely that a fall into some natural malthusian trap.
     
  2. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    And in population too, but now we're hitting limits. Three hundreds years of industrial growth isn't really much of a "long run", IMO.

    I can see how that would be comforting to believe but I just can't buy into it.
     
  3. Kerozine

    Kerozine Deity

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    :confused:

    El Mac's comment makes sense if you consider the previously booming, currently relatively sluggish, economies of developing countries..

    Or is there something else in play?

    How very ad hominem of you.. :rolleyes:
     
  4. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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  5. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    There's the underlying assumption that developing countries can & should aspire to 1st world lifestyles & that even current 1st worlders will be able to maintain such lifestyles.
     
  6. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    I don't think that in the long run (for many millennia) we couldn't support a population in however many billions of people there will be in the upcoming century.

    I think the problem is more short term supply shocks. In the sort of world we live in today, there's not much stored surpluses of anything, and when we get a shortfall, many people suffer. What happens if a catastrophic volcano hits and knocks out a large amount of farming capabilites?

    The system we have going by and large works, but it's not robust and we need to be more prepared for when bad stuff happens, both natural and man made.
     
  7. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    It doesn't work because it's dependent on growth & growth can't continue forever and we can't scale back our lifestyles without setting in motion a downward spiral (if we all "went green" millions of people would lose their jobs, millions of people losing their jobs would cause even less spending, less faith in the economy, from investors, etc.).

    The only way I can imagine to keep things from collapse is to transition rapidly to a more service orientated society & a society with emphasis on the sustainability of everything with tons of redundancy built into it to protect against those kinds of short term disasters.

    Even then people will have to accept a material standard of living decrease (which doesn't necessarily have.to imply a quality of life decrease).
     
  8. Kerozine

    Kerozine Deity

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    I don't see anything wrong with that other than the fact that there might be more competition in the near future for natural resources.

    Even amongst developed countries there are disparities between how much North Americans, Europeans, and Japanese people consume..
     
  9. Nylan

    Nylan Characters Welcome

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    I think that's his point.
     
  10. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Well, growth can't be sustained forever, but that doesn't mean it isn't okay to have growth now. I don't think we need to abandon growth in the medium run, but we should grow smarter and in more sustainable directions.
     
  11. Yeekim

    Yeekim Deity

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    A THREE-HOUR bus ride to a supermarket? :eek::eek:
    I've lived in four different districts in Tallinn, and the farthest I ever was from supermarket was a 5-minute walk.
    Admittedly, most are small - usually somewhere between 1500 and 2500m2 of space. Obviously not comparable to WalMart, but definitely enough for daily grocery shopping.
    I'd bet there is no district of apartment houses where you could be farther than 15 minutes on foot from at least two of such stores.:rolleyes:
     
  12. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    As long as there's opportunity for increased specialisation or for improved capital investments, growth remains possible. One of the main causes of economic growth is specialisation, and this can be improved without concommitant resource consumption.
     
  13. CaveDweller

    CaveDweller troglodyte

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    The poor cannot get poorer - zero = zero.
    The whole story ignores the cost of maintaining a car etc.
    Education is not an answer because all it does is increase the level of competition so that crap jobs might require a degree etc. Basically the workforce is stratified with the least competitive filling the lower rungs.
    The best we can do is provide good default levels of support (what a commie I am!).
     
  14. cristina2009

    cristina2009 Chieftain

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    "You have to be rich to be poor"
    This quote tells us that being rich gives us way to help the poor. It doens't mean that you'll become poor if you are rich but this statement mean that sometimes we become rich just to help the poor also.
     
  15. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    I'm about a twenty min walk from the nearest grocery store (2 min from the nearest corner market), but it would take longer if I took a bus there. If you lived in the eastern edge of my neighborhood, and only took the bus, depending on when you left, the trip could easily take more than two hours.

    Once you get past the top 10 American cities in population, the quality in bus coverage drops off a lot. Your commute time depends a *lot* on what exact block you are trying to get to, and what time you leave. Three hours does seem like a lot, but depending on the city, I can believe it.
     
  16. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Is this some sort of wizard-class physics?
     
  17. NYHunter

    NYHunter King

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    What bus actually takes three hours to get to a supermarket? Even in the middle of nowhere (obviously not what the article was talking about) the far distance should be made up by less congestion.

    Anyway, I live in the Bronx. Can't speak for other urban areas, but apparently it's supposed to be the poorest urban county in the U.S., yet I can't think of a single area here where the nearest supermarket is so far out of reach that people are forced to buy things at "urban corner stores". And I know NO ONE who uses those as a regular means of shopping. You buy crap there when you are in a hurry or just want a snack.
     
  18. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    That just seems crazy to me. I am about 2 hrs (max) door-to-door with people on completely different sides of the city, in a residentia section of town. Quite a few of our grocery stores are on major feeder bus routes.
     
  19. NYHunter

    NYHunter King

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    Also in my experience bananas might be a little more brown but I have never seen them at the point where it can't be considered decent food. I eat brown bananas all the time. And hasn't anyone ever seen brown bananas in the supermarket as well? And I have certainly only ever seen leaking milks in supermarkets.
     
  20. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Until you're dead there's always room to get poorer.
     

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