Society's Ills - A study in the perceived inequalities between the "haves" and the "have nots"
  • Gonzo wrote:
    I really hate that "Politics of envy" argument, it's a propaganda tool, and I like to call out bs on it.
    ressentiment
    Also, any kind of reductive argument about human nature.
  • I have trouble understanding why you can't extrapolate from first principles.

    Distill the arguments down to the minimum. 

    Is it right to assume that because all people aren't equal (physically, mentally etc), and all ventures are not equal in their contribution to society that the distribution benefits should not be apportioned equally?
  • Yossarian
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    Gonzo wrote:
    Griff just looks like a lord. As far as I know he's a self-made man. In fact his arguments are very common among self-made men. I really hate that "Politics of envy" argument, it's a propaganda tool, and I like to call out bs on it.

    There is something in this. Many self made men convince themselves that luck had no part to play in their getting to the point they reached in life, that it was purely down to their own hard work and abilities that they've got to where they are. Whilst there is some truth in this argument, that without hard work or ability they wouldn't have got anywhere, it does negate the fact that luck is a factor, and so there does become a feeling of 'well, anyone can do it if they want it enough', which simply isn't true. Many people are screwed over by factors outside their control and despite working every bit as hard or having just as much ability as others, end up with nothing. Of course, we don't get to hear their stories.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • The inherent vice of capitalism is the uneven division of blessings, while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal division of misery.
  • Yossarian
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    Lord_Griff wrote:
    I have trouble understanding why you can't extrapolate from first principles. Distill the arguments down to the minimum.  Is it right to assume that because all people aren't equal (physically, mentally etc), and all ventures are not equal in their contribution to society that the distribution benefits should not be apportioned equally?

    No-one is arguing that. The point is that the gap between rich and poor has become too wide to the detriment of society.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • Luck is the misinterpretation of coincidence falling in your favour.
  • Yossarian
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    Lord_Griff wrote:
    Luck is coincidence falling in your favour.

    Fixed.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • There's a difference between reward and the keys to the fucking kingdom. Data's getting better as to where the crossover is. I hope.
  • Let's take the gap between rich and poor. Strip out hereditary wealth and "luck" and look at whether there are any inherent differences in the constituent groups. Would there be any material differences?
  • Societal contributions are an interesting one too. What falls under this umbrella very much depends on what sort of society we are striving toward. Is the tax-paying salesman or marketer really making a positive contribution? What about the landlord? It's all an issue of perspective.
  • Lord_Griff wrote:
    Is it right to assume that because all people aren't equal (physically, mentally etc), and all ventures are not equal in their contribution to society that the distribution benefits should not be apportioned equally?
    I think most arguments are about the degree of inequality rather than whether there should be any at all. The concept of a real meritocracy isn't something people tend to have an issue with, but it's not something that currently exists.

    Personally I don't see how you could ever have something more than superficial meritocracy under capitalism.

    There's also the issue of how much those that 'contribute' to society rely on public resources in the first place (like businesses relying on networks of roads), and therefore how much they should put back in.
  • Yossarian
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    C'mon Griff, surely you have more to offer this argument than the sort of sound bites you'd expect to hear from a motivational speaker offering classes titled things like 'the secret of success'.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • Jon b: Interesting point.

    Red Yoss: What do you mean?
  • beano
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    I have issue defining what "luck" I should strip. Is Wayne Rooney et al in this luck category?
    "Better than a tech demo. But mostly a tech demo for now. Exactly what we expected, crashes less and less. No multiplayer."
    - BnB NMS review, PS4, PC
  • Lord_Griff wrote:
    I have trouble understanding why you can't extrapolate from first principles. Distill the arguments down to the minimum.  Is it right to assume that because all people aren't equal (physically, mentally etc), and all ventures are not equal in their contribution to society that the distribution benefits should not be apportioned equally?

    Because the opportunity to partake in those ventures are not equal, irrespective of individual ability.  Equally the rewards gained by some are not necessarily proportionate to their contribution to society.  (Arguably a bin man provides more to society than a salesman for instance.)  What is a valid contribution tends to be determined by those who already "have", irrespective of any objective measure or democratic process.
  • Thing that clouds the argument is that we suppose that the bottom line of 'poverty' is raised by tech, and not coincidentally, the major players in the earnings tree feature a number of techbosses. Thing is, an iPhone alone isn't what I'd called escaping poverty, but there's a device that symbolically communicates well above its weight.
  • beano
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    In my lucky list I have the Bastard Son who inherited Manhattan Island and the land Buckingham Palace sits on, to name a few; El Duke o'Westminster and Michael Carrol.
    "Better than a tech demo. But mostly a tech demo for now. Exactly what we expected, crashes less and less. No multiplayer."
    - BnB NMS review, PS4, PC
  • Yossarian
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    Lord_Griff wrote:
    Red Yoss: What do you mean?
    About which point?
    beano wrote:
    I have issue defining what "luck" I should strip. Is Wayne Rooney et al in this luck category?

    This is a good point. I was born with a disability, I suffer from dyspraxia which affects my motor skills. As a result, I could have practised football for 12 hours a day every day and yet there is no way I could ever have become a top-flight sportsman. There's some luck right there.

    As for material differences between the rich and the poor, purely the school that you go to (even if a comprehensive, parents with means can ensure that they live in the catchment area for a good school), and the circles you move in can make a huge difference to your chances in life.
    Don't prepare for appointment.
  • Do I get to talk about privilege yet?
  • Yossarian wrote:
    Whilst there is some truth in this argument, that without hard work or ability they wouldn't have got anywhere, it does negate the fact that luck is a factor, and so there does become a feeling of 'well, anyone can do it if they want it enough', which simply isn't true.
    It also isn't true simply because there is only so much room at the top for the system to function as it does with the majority being fairly low paid wage labourers. In fact, the way things are now there needs to be a good number of unemployed to keep demands on working conditions and wages down.
  • Fentonizer wrote:
    Do I get to talk about privilege yet?

    Yes
  • Paul the sparky
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    I love these light hearted Friday threads.
  • I really hate it when Wikipedia sums it up better than I ever could because it makes me look like I don't know what I'm talking about and am just quoting the first sentence Google returns.

    But this really is a very decent summary, so whatever.
    ...theories of privilege suggest that the privileged group views its social, cultural, and economic experiences as a norm that everyone should experience, rather than as an advantaged position that must be maintained at the expense of others. This normative assumption implicitly constrains discussions of social inequality within the dominant discourse: such explanations are limited to factors specific to disadvantaged groups — who are viewed as having failed to achieve the norm — and solutions focus on what can be done to help those groups achieve the 'normal' standards experienced by the dominant group.
  • I have nothing to add that would not be shot down in flames. So i will keep it brief.

    I do think as a working man I should be given a tax holiday, call it a reward for being a good citizen.
    You work for 5 years? 3 months of no tax
    10 years? have 6 months off
    and so on, though we seem to want to throw money at failure. Or are scared to hold accountable those that go out of their way to not contribute.  The politicians do not care, because after 5 years they can walk away and then blame everything on the previous term of government.  Corruption after corruption.
    I don't even watch the news because all I see regularly now is someone fueled by greed giving an apology, using words like regret, and only because they were caught.
    I feel we are close to something terrible happening.
  • I think someone linked to this Monbiot piece before. It's a decent point:
    I agree with Churchill: let's get stuck into the real shirkers
    In 1909 a dangerous subversive explained the issue thus. "Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains – and all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of those improvements is effected by the labour and cost of other people and the taxpayers. To not one of those improvements does the land monopolist, as a land monopolist, contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is enhanced. He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived ... the unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done."

    Who was this firebrand? Winston Churchill. As Churchill, Adam Smith and many others have pointed out, those who own the land skim wealth from everyone else, without exertion or enterprise. They "levy a toll upon all other forms of wealth and every form of industry". A land value tax would recoup this toll.
    When Churchill and Smith are starting to sound like progressives, there's something badly wrong.

    Talking of shirkers, I should really do some work.
  • beano
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    Me and a mate were chatting on twitter, we agreed that everyone should study at Magdalen College Oxford.

    In particular so they know how to pronounce Magda- and other such devices which are usually presented by the 'better off' to shame the 'worse off'.
    "Better than a tech demo. But mostly a tech demo for now. Exactly what we expected, crashes less and less. No multiplayer."
    - BnB NMS review, PS4, PC
  • Yossarian wrote:
    Griff just looks like a lord. As far as I know he's a self-made man. In fact his arguments are very common among self-made men. I really hate that "Politics of envy" argument, it's a propaganda tool, and I like to call out bs on it.
    There is something in this. Many self made men convince themselves that luck had no part to play in their getting to the point they reached in life, that it was purely down to their own hard work and abilities that they've got to where they are. Whilst there is some truth in this argument, that without hard work or ability they wouldn't have got anywhere, it does negate the fact that luck is a factor, and so there does become a feeling of 'well, anyone can do it if they want it enough', which simply isn't true. Many people are screwed over by factors outside their control and despite working every bit as hard or having just as much ability as others, end up with nothing. Of course, we don't get to hear their stories.

    This +1
    I am currently a freelancer, I don't want to work that much as it doesnt make me happy. But I used to work very hard with a demanding stressful client. So my current state is my current choice.

    One day in a office I was called into, I listened as a manager, who was about to leave, talked to a girl working there. She is a bit airy fairy and she was trying to get some careers advice off him. His advice boiled down to basically this – If you want it hard enough you can get any job/career, just DO IT!
    But I am afraid that is simply not true. There are lots of factors that can hinder someone, the most obvious one of all being lack of talent or intelligence.

    I think it is also dangerous from a mental health perspective to tell people that effectively the only reason they are not successful is because they didnt try hard enough. I personally think this country and particularly the US have a bit of a problem with people feeling frustrated by a lack of their success, it is their fault after all.

    I know this is a bit of a glib, flippant statement but if it really was just a matter of applying yourself in becoming successful then we would all be millionaires and a loaf of bread would cost £500.

    Edit - dodgy spelling, due to a lack of intelligence, application and ambition
    Live= sgt pantyfire    PSN= pantyfire
  • pantyfire wrote:
    One day in a office I was called into, I listened as a manager, who was about to leave, talked to a girl working there. She is a bit airy fairy and she was trying to get some careers advice off him. His advice boiled down to basically this – If you want it hard enough you can get any job/career, just DO IT! But I am afraid that is simply not true. There are lots of factors that cab hinder someone, the most obvious one of all being lack of talent or intelligence.

    Yeah, that just isn't true at all.

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