Anyway, the obvious answer is to euthanize the poor.
What about eating children?
Eating children is only acceptable if you cook them first. Eating raw kids – totally unethical.
The problem with killing off the poor is then the rich would soon die away because there would be no one to cook their food, clean their houses, build their cars, sew their clothes. The obvious answer is to euthanize the rich and distribute the wealth evenly among all people and worthwhile projects that helps humanity.
here you go. Maybe the U.S. isn’t entirely last on every indicator but they are clearly at the bottom (even compared to class conscious England no less!).
“Jirin says the cream cannot help but always rise up to the top,
Well I say: Shit floats.”
Uli has a good idea.
Without the poor, the rich would probably die.
“a Wall Street investor. Because one clearly is providing something valuable while the other…well…anyways….”
Okay, listen. I actually started investing in August of last year after about a year of research and reading, and even in my far limited personal experience I’ve begun to formulate a certain locus of the issue of investment and where it stops helping but harming. There is actually something to be said about investment as ‘job creator’ in the sense that actually that’s the whole point, but those who are arguing it are not investing in a manner that is conscientious toward actual business production and thus are investing in an unconscientious manner.*
Saying that puts the onus on me to isolate the locus of where this occurs, and I’ve been noodling over it for some time. I’ve finally started trying to put my perspective in words and have met some difficulties in communicating the issue. In order to explain the difficulties in communicating the issue (not the issue itself), I can show you one concrete example:
In investment theory, the terms ‘greed’ and ‘fear’ have specific, technical definitions. They are both psychological, and deal with expectations: ‘greed’ means the expectation of getting more from your investment than can be possibly expected from market norms, and ‘fear’ is the expectation of losing so withholding investment in a manner that actually causes you to lose. Both are very wrapped up in the idea of diminishing returns and the fact that people’s expectations change over time because of framing, so all in all in investment theory, ‘greed’ and ‘fear’ are both things to be avoided and yet considered in some sense psychologically inevitable. So investors are counseled in greed and fear so that they may better control themselves to prevent mistakes that could, you know, ruin the economy and shit. And in investment theory, both greed and fear result in losses — greed is overextension of investment, so that you acquire too much risk and then lose it all, even despite initial positive results, and fear may result in savings for a while until they are lost in something like inflation or devaluation or simply eventually needed to be spent because there was no more income from investments.
So how it’s difficult to communicate financial theory and investor culture to other people already is that greed and fear are very common words, there are no other words in investment/financial writing to explain those specific psychological phenomena and their application toward investment, and by their fundamental definition greed and fear are both an inextricable part of the financial world, and literally impossible to regulate. You can’t tell a hesitant investor that he HAS to invest some certain amount x to justify that he’s not investing in fear, and you can’t tell a prolific investor to retract a certain amount y to justify he’s not spending in greed. You can certainly isolate specific cases in retrospect, but such cases only come to attention once they’ve already happened as events; the greedy person may have been correct and his expectations of a higher rate of return than justified by the market was just an acknowledgment of something currently working (George Soros), or the fearful person may have seen the writing on the wall and started pulling his investments into savings to retract his losses as much as possible (Warren Buffett). So regulation by investment definition can only look at the structure of investment itself and isolate investments that are measurably too risky, an inexact science but still somewhat possible, but the psychological thing that is known as greed and fear will always send the investors searching for ways around that systemic structure to gain more out of their investments than they can reasonably expect to gain from market norms.
So from recent experience, when I’m trying to explain my own findings to non-financial people, they may at some point say something like, “But aren’t they just being greedy?” and it’s like, “Um, yes, yes they are.” and they’re like, “And isn’t that what we should stop?” and it’s like, “Um… but… you … can’t. Like, I know what you’re saying but… it’s impossible.” and then they’re like, “I don’t believe that.” and I’m like, “It’s not about beliefs, it’s about how human beings work…” and then they’re like, “Damn it I am so tired of this ’it’s human nature!’ justification for selfishness…” and from there the whole damn conversation just falls apart.
So maybe someday I’ll hit on a method of explaining what I am starting to understand but for now, all I can say is that the Wall Street Investor is doing a type of work that most other people don’t understand, and the issue is that some of them are doing it wrong, so again we have to scrutinize Wall Street to figure out what to regulate and how, we can’t just call for regulation and expect it to help, and our public discourse on this matter is not productive if we generalize all Wall Street investors as, i.e., greedy.
*And so help me, if any of you launch on me and start telling me I’m arguing for the ‘trickle-down effect’, then I hold that as evidence that you’re not bothering to even try to listen to what I’m saying. I am not defending the trickle-down theory of economics.
“…equalizing education is going to solve that problem a lot faster than dictating wages and handing things out.”
Uhhh… no it isn’t.
It’s a systemic issue.
If everyone works as hard as you say you did and gets a master’s the only difference it’ll create from the current system is we’ll have people with master’s degrees scanning crap on the shelves of retail stores (I’m willing to guess we already do).
Poverty is not caused by people. Because humanity is not economics.
Blaming the people for a condition they hold almost no control over, in spite of their decision making, is… well, without getting too harsh, it’s pretty terrible.
I like your post about investing, Polaris!
It’s like Malcolm Gladwell admitting that if every parent redshirted their kid, it would null the advantage of redshirting.
“If everyone works as hard as you say you did and gets a master’s the only difference it’ll create from the current system is we’ll have people with master’s degrees scanning crap on the shelves of retail stores "
That is exactly the situation in my country were a lot of people have University level education and the unemployment rate is absurd. Met a guy working at a 7-11 with a Phd from an Ivy League school.
The joke/stereotype in NYC is that most cab drivers have a higher education than the douchebags that ride in their cabs.
“Glass didn’t earn a living from his music, in fact, until he was 42. Until then, he drove cabs, shifted furniture and worked as a plumber. “I was careful,” he explains, “to take a job that couldn’t have any possible meaning for me.” Stories of famous-composer-actually-working-man-shock from that period abound. The art critic Robert Hughes was astonished to find the avant garde composer mending his dishwasher. On another occasion, a woman tapped on the side of his cab and told him that he had the same name as a “very famous composer”."
^ I think around the same time Steve Reich and Philip Glass were both plumbers for the same company! And a kindly New York critic would frequently request them from the company only to have them come over and hang out. Which just really tickles me to think about! I guess that was before Glass and Reich hated each other, though…
@ulicain“Curtis Francis really seems like a Tea Party guy to me, all bluster and ignorance with no compassion for his follow man.”
some substantiation PLZ? i’m ignorant just because i have a different value system than you? i have plenty of compassion for my fellow man, which is why i want him to be completely free from the violations of others, including government
“Most people can work on “Get By” nowadays, because “Succeed” is hoarded by the entitled rich.”
“succeed” is hoarded by those who have the means to succeed. there are many potential means: existing capital, intelligence, a strong work ethic. indeed, there are some people who are born poor, who aren’t intelligent, and who just plain don’t have the capacity to, say, work a job while in school. they will likely always be poor. that is sad. the sadness doesn’t justify violating the freedoms of others
“Look at the political process, how much money does it cost to run for office? Even the middle-class is priced out of trying to make a difference as a representative of the people.”
railing on the current western political system? preaching to the choir, buddy. democracy is inherently anti-capitalist
“So Curtis, learn something about what this country has become because of greed, and remember that the United States of America is supposed to be a Union where we All work together for the betterment of all.”
supposed to be? according to whom?
David Lynch tells us why you should vote for Obama.
Howard Hawks > David Lynch
Howard Hawks = right-wing conservative
When did I ever say the cream cannot help but rise to the top?
Please don’t put shallow republican talking points in my mouth just because I’m not in favor of people living indefinitely on welfare because it’s easier than trying to hold a job.
The condition is not their fault. Their actions when they land in that condition are very much their responsibility.
Poverty is not caused by the people, it is caused by scarcity. Saying that nobody will be poor if we just equally divided all resources in the world, without being too harsh n stuff, is pretty naive and deluded. It sucks that people born rich can just coast and remain rich without having to work. It takes a lot less work to stay rich than to become rich, and that is the problem. But if we do not allow some people to become rich a lot more people will be poor, and being poor will be a lot worse.
A year and a half ago my brother and I were in the same situation, we just finished Masters degrees and didn’t have jobs. (Well, I had a low paying part time job).
I spent the subsequent few months sending out resumes, attending job search support groups, talking to recruiters, and working my butt off to get a job. Then after I got the job, I worked hard to keep it. My brother spent the subsequent few months lying on the couch playing video games. Now he is still unemployed. Are you going to tell me now his current situation is not at all under his control?
“Please don’t put shallow republican talking points in my mouth just because I’m not in favor of people living indefinitely on welfare because it’s easier than trying to hold a job.”
Except that that’s a shallow republican talking point, because not only is it not easier, it almost never happens.
“Saying that nobody will be poor if we just equally divided all resources in the world, without being too harsh n stuff, is pretty naive and deluded.”
The U.S. contains less than 5% of the world’s population. It consumes 30% of its foodstuffs.
Tell me about deluded naivety, again…
Nothing like throwing flour into the wind and calling it baking a cake..
Egalitarian redistribution of wealth has already been attempted. I can’t imagine how obtuse one could be to think if wealth were evenly divided, it would not cause an economic cataclysm. Wealth is not limited to a fat capitalist rolling around in a sweaty pile of money and whatever else Marxoid platitudes that might posit such insipid propositions. Wealth is capital. It is the means of production. It is extremely sensitive, and when tampered with, it can diminish. Don’t expect a Fortune 500 company to continue its swift production once it is liquidated to plebs whom have no idea what to do with it. The world doesn’t need another Zimbabwe.
Ugh… I fucking hate it when artists get into politics. Especially when their views are exactly what you would have expected they were.
^ C’mon DFFoO, artists illuminate the underside of politics with such profoundly insightful observations like the fact that Romney’s last name is an anagram for “R Money”. It really made me reconsider my impression of Romney’s priorities in ways the thousands of memes making the exact same joke never achieved.
“It is extremely sensitive, and when tampered with, it can diminish.”
The problem you’re having is you’re assuming only the government or the poor can negatively tamper with “the means of production.” When in reality, it’s been those Fortune 500 companies that have caused essentially every major ‘tampering’ incident with our capital.
No, I’m not. If a firm tanks, that’s a result of their inefficiency, unless they’re bailed out by the government, which obviously should never happen. Yet, of all these Fortune 500 companies, how many of them are reaping chaos? Now how many mass redistributions of wealth have occurred that didn’t end up being total disasters? Exactly zero. Yet, there are multitudes of companies in market economies around the world that are run by entrepreneurs every day, and they do that because they’re run by individuals whom have experience and incentive in doing so. So because a few companies tank, you’re suggesting vis-a-vis a counterfactual conditional that all of such wealth be liquidated to the plebs? It’s a guaranteed recipe for disaster.
“…they’re bailed out by the government, which obviously should never happen.”
To quote Zizek:
An exemplary case of the way the economic collapse is already being used in the ideologico-political struggle concerns the conflict over what to do with General Motors – should the state allows its bankruptcy or not? Since GM is one of those institutions which embodies the American dream, its bankruptcy was long considered unthinkable. A New York Times Column entitled ‘Imagining a G.M. Bankruptcy’ begins ominously with: ‘As General Motors struggles to avoid running out of cash next year the once unthinkable prospect of a G.M. bankruptcy filing is looking a lot more, well, thinkable.’ After a series of predictable arguments (the bankruptcy would not mean automatic job losses, just a restructuring that would make the company leaner and meaner, better adapted to the harsh conditions of today’s economy, and so on and so forth) the column dots its ’i’s towards the end, when it focuses on the standoff ‘between G.M. and its unionized workers and retirees’: ‘Bankruptcy would allow G.M. to unilaterally reject its collective bargaining agreement, as long as a judge approved.’ In other words, bankruptcy should be used to break the backbone of one of the last strong unions in the United States, leaving thousands with lower wages and thousands of others with lower retirement incomes. Note again the contrast with the urgent need to save the big banks: in the case of GM, where the survival of tens of thousands of active and retired workers is at stake, there is, of course, no emergency, but on the contrary, an opportunity to allow the free market to operate with brutal force. This is how the impossible becomes possible: what was hitherto considered unthinkable within the horizon of the established standards of decent working conditions now becomes acceptable.
Now, why does that matter?
Because you also said this…
“Yet, of all these Fortune 500 companies, how many of them are reaping chaos?”
How about the financial institutions and banks that caused our recent economic downturn? Hmmm… That’s not chaos, but somehow hoping the bottom 20% of our country doesn’t live in negative economic growth (30 years ago the bottom 20% saved -7% of their income, today it’s -20%) is… Alright.
Again, the problem you’re having is you’re proffering the idea that the poor cause more ‘economic disaster’ than the rich, when in reality only “a few companies” can tank an entire economy. You find me one economic downturn in the history of this nation that was caused solely by the poverty stricken and I’ll relinquish my position.
You didn’t even answer my question. So I will ask you again. How many out of those Fortune 500 companies are reaping chaos?
I’d appreciate it if you stop putting words in my mouth too. The “poor” do not cause economic cataclysms. The government does. When the government does something as asinine as redistributing wealth, especially to peons, it will reap economic disaster. I have no idea how to fly an airplane, so if you put me in a cockpit, I’m pretty much guaranteed to crash. However, I’m not to blame for crashing the plane. Whoever put me in the cockpit is. Likewise, a government redistributing wealth will only reap disaster. Like I said, this already happened with land redistribution in Zimbabwe and it reaped total economic disaster. This is not caused by the “poverty stricken” as you so swiftly straw man, but by the government. Assuming that you were just beckoning to redistribution of wealth and ignoring your weasel words, that would be appropriate cause for you to relinquish your position.
Honourable mention: the Great Leap Forward
^Yeah, that’s exactly what I expected. “Oh, it’s the government!” The market never deserves any blame, but all the credit. And I’m the deluded, weaselly idiot…
“Consequently, to put it in old-fashioned Marxist terms, the central task of the ruling ideology in the present crisis is to impose a narrative which will place the blame for the meltdown not on the global capitalist system as such, but on secondary and contingent deviations (overly lax legal regulations, the corruption of big financial institutions, and so on). Likewise, in the era of Really Existing Socialism, pro-socialist ideologies tried to save the idea of socialism by claiming that the failure of the ’people’s democracies’ was the failure of a non-authentic version of socialism, not of the idea as such, so that the existing socialist regimes required radical reforms rather than overthrow and abolition. It is not without irony to note how ideologists who once mocked this critical defense of socialism as illusory, and insisted that one should lay the blame on the very idea itself, now widely resort to the same line of defense: for it is not capitalism as such which is bankrupt, only its distorted realization…”
And I did answer your question. Hence the, “…in reality only ‘a few companies’ can tank an entire economy,” comment.
Have fun in your distorted realization, my friend…
No, you still didn’t answer my question. Incidentally, it is not predicated upon a few companies tanking the economy. So you were essentially just trying to make an excuse to evade the question.
Incidentally, such a handful of companies do not reap economic chaos, even if they go under. This has happened plenty of times and the Earth keeps spinning. The problem being perpetuated is the government bailing them out and debasing the currency. Not to mention, you still haven’t given me evidence of how redistribution of wealth is optimal, yet I have already cited Zimbabwe and the Great Leap Forward as evidence to the contrary.
Get something straight little boy, I have no interest in whatever platitudinous reservations you have about me or what you think my edifice may be. God knows how lowly I think of you in such fabulous detail, but I’m not the one pontificating it, If you really had a cogent rationale for your position, you would not need to resort to childish insults trivialising my position vis-a-vis:
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I expected. “Oh, it’s the government!” The market never deserves any blame, but all the credit. And I’m the deluded, weaselly idiot…”
“Have fun in your distorted realization, my friend…”
Seriously, it’s immature. Take some valium and grow up. At this point, I’m convinced you have absolutely no logical formulation of anything you’re saying, and your entire edifice is based upon emotive knee-jerk reactions.
“Get something straight little boy…”
Oh my God, thank you! I definitely need someone who takes any deconstruction of their opinion as a personal insult lecturing me over the internet about proper, ethical, non-emotive and mature political discussion! That was so needed. Thank you!!!
Guess what? The failures of Zimbabwe and The Great Leap Forward are problems with socialism in itself. Hence the Zizek quote. Just as the problems we see in the western economies of Europe and the U.S. right now are problems with capitalism in itself. Why I needed to spell that out for you so clearly is beyond me, I thought it had been made absolutely definite, but…
Happy now… Big Boy?
By the way, you think lowly of me? Have I ever even spoken to you?
Do you normally believe holding grudges against someone who doesn’t even know you exist is the height of emotional and intellectual maturity?
I think we’re done, don’t you?