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Communism and Capitalism: True Opposites?

PyramidHead

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And Trotsky's entire beef with Stalin was over whether (a) societies which had not yet achieved capitalism could be fertile ground for revolutionary socialism, and (b) whether "socialism in one country" as opposed to a worldwide (or "permanent") revolution would be necessary to finally demolish capitalism. Marx used the term "permanent revolution", but to mean something else--an ongoing class struggle that does not stop after the bourgeoisie has been toppled, but is continually worked out during the transitional period into communism. Neither of these have anything to do with the government running businesses as such
 

PyramidHead

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To the topic of the thread, capitalism and communism/socialism are opposites in the sense that Richard Wolff invokes, when he says that socialism is capitalism's shadow. There are no capitalist societies without socialist movements, because wherever capitalism is established, there is a tendency that rises to ask if society can move beyond it to something different. The same was true of societies built around feudalism, slavery, and any other mode of production and distribution of resources. None are permanent; they rise, enjoy dominance, and eventually fall, to be replaced by another system. This will happen to capitalism someday too.
 

Jokodo

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In other words, state ownership of the means of production is only an incidental ingredient of socialism; the main one is that a revolution has occurred that replaces the ownership class with the working class as the dominant force in society. Only when the state is comprised of workers does state ownership of property equate to socialism.
You are using the Trotskyite interpretation of Marx. Trotsky was so radical that even Stalin rejected him.

That's a very... idiosyncratic interpretation of history. Stalin accused Trotsky and his followers of being the capital's (and/or fascism's) fifth column, and wielded this accusation as a welcome excuse to get rid of opponents inside the party by accusing them of "Trotskyism" whatever their actual leanings and motives to oppose him may have been.
 

Harry Bosch

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To the topic of the thread, capitalism and communism/socialism are opposites in the sense that Richard Wolff invokes, when he says that socialism is capitalism's shadow. There are no capitalist societies without socialist movements, because wherever capitalism is established, there is a tendency that rises to ask if society can move beyond it to something different. The same was true of societies built around feudalism, slavery, and any other mode of production and distribution of resources. None are permanent; they rise, enjoy dominance, and eventually fall, to be replaced by another system. This will happen to capitalism someday too.

True. All things change. However, why do you assume that capitalism has to be replaced with only socialism? If capitalism is replaced, I think it will be by a system that we can't even predict at this time.
 

steve_bank

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The basic divide is the writings of Mark and others versus Smith on capitalism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Kapital
Das Kapital, also called Capital. A Critique of Political Economy (German: Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, pronounced [das kapiˈtaːl kʁɪˈtiːk deːɐ poˈliːtɪʃən økonomˈiː]; 1867–1883) by Karl Marx is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics.[1] Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. While Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his colleague Friedrich Engels. Das Kapital is the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.[1]

There has never been pure capitalism and communism to date.

We all know over here we have a corporate welfare state.
 

PyramidHead

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The basic divide is the writings of Mark and others versus Smith on capitalism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Kapital
Das Kapital, also called Capital. A Critique of Political Economy (German: Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, pronounced [das kapiˈtaːl kʁɪˈtiːk deːɐ poˈliːtɪʃən økonomˈiː]; 1867–1883) by Karl Marx is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics.[1] Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. While Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his colleague Friedrich Engels. Das Kapital is the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.[1]

There has never been pure capitalism and communism to date.

We all know over here we have a corporate welfare state.

The difference is that Marx was a materialist. Rather than think about future societies being organized under a "pure" -ism one way or another, he analyzed the present state of things and constantly stressed the importance of taking the specific conditions of each scenario into account rather than pasting a one-size-fits-all system on top of everything. This is in contrast to historical idealism, which views the world not in terms of the real struggles of people who are made of physical matter, but as a clash of grand abstract -isms that takes place in a Platonic realm, whose closest representatives are world leaders and military generals.
 

steve_bank

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Marx accurately analyzed the capitalist economics of the day. It is why he is considered the greatest social scientist.

Considering the conditions of the workers under a dictatorial authoritarian economic system he thought the world would spontaneously rise up. Did not happen.

I believe Leninism had the term The Vanguard. Lenin realized an abrupt change would be problematic,. The communist party would facilitate a transformation to communism.

I have heard it said that Marx could not have foreseen a 20tg century steel worker sending his kid to ballet school.

The basic dichotomy is a system based on profit and private ownership of business and a system that is essentially tribal. The system exists to provide the needs of the people. Capitalism exists for profit. The fact that it has raised standrds and provide a wide range of goods is a side effect.

It is a fact that our politicians do not seem to grasp. Capitalism exists to make a profit, not create jobs. Jons are a a side effect not a cause.

The idea that an unregulated free market is going to properly balance wages and living costs and provide high employment is a conservative fantasy. That is not the way capitalism works.

The argument which seems to be generally true is that a rising tide raises all boats,.

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
 

skepticalbip

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.
 

steve_bank

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

I was neck deep in it for 30 years designing and manufacturing products.

It is simple, the law of supply and demand. The free market capitalist system dynamically adjusts wages, cost of resources, and prices for goods and services. In Adam Smith's vision everybody has equal access to resources and opportunity but we know that never completely happens., There is always advantages some have and others do not. How much gets made and prices vary with supply and demand.

Supply and demand is often circumvented. Apple makes a number of units each year below demand to keep price up. There is a supply and price point that maximized profit.

In contrast Soviet communism and Mao's communism set prices for everything. What and how much was produced was set by govt.

It is all supply and demand along with maximizing profit. Developing customer relations and the like comes under the heading of business skill. It is what marketing and business students study. Large companies have psychologists on staff to profile customer bases. Before the Nazis the word propaganda was a common term in marketing.

The general term today is 'best practices' which includes custom relations and satisfaction and product quality.

There are a number of legal ways to make a profit. Developing a business to meet a cisuomer base neds and devloping relations with a good product is one.

Another is the fad. Hula hoops and pet rocks. It plays on a human need for newness.Another is hype. Charge triple for shoes with Michael Jordan's name on them.

Aint America great? The land of opportunity. :D
 

PyramidHead

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

When one customer wants something and another one needs it, a sane and compassionate society would prioritize the need over the want. But under capitalism (or any market economy for that matter), the priority goes to whoever has the money to pay for it. The quality of a commodity doesn't need to be actually good, but only good enough to satisfy the desire of whoever has the most disposable money, in an environment where the producers conspire to engineer the desires of their clients through advertising and cultural saturation, and only in a way that will generate the highest likelihood of repeat purchases. E.g. the planned obsolescence of electronics, the addictive nature of cigarettes, the privatization of humanity's biological requirements, and so on.
 

skepticalbip

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

When one customer wants something and another one needs it, a sane and compassionate society would prioritize the need over the want. But under capitalism (or any market economy for that matter), the priority goes to whoever has the money to pay for it. The quality of a commodity doesn't need to be actually good, but only good enough to satisfy the desire of whoever has the most disposable money, in an environment where the producers conspire to engineer the desires of their clients through advertising and cultural saturation, and only in a way that will generate the highest likelihood of repeat purchases. E.g. the planned obsolescence of electronics, the addictive nature of cigarettes, the privatization of humanity's biological requirements, and so on.
All true but what is your point? Free market capitalism certainly doesn't create a paradise where everyone lives ideal lives. It, however, has proven to provide a better standard of living for all citizens under the system than any other system so far attempted. A centrally planned and controlled economy may could do better if they were ruled by all knowing gods that cared for the common man rather than such a system ruled humans though.

ETA:
Capitalism does not outlaw charity and care for those in need, it just doesn't mandate it. You implying that a capitalist system can not have charitable capitalists is disingenuous.
 
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PyramidHead

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All true but what is your point? Free market capitalism certainly doesn't create a paradise where everyone lives ideal lives. It, however, has proven to provide a better standard of living for all citizens under the system than any other system so far attempted. Centrally planned and controlled economies may could do better if they were ruled by all knowing gods that cared for the common man rather than such a system ruled humans though.

The bolded part is false, and it's followed by the "human nature" argument that has been debunked a thousand times over. Communist states almost without exception presided over dramatic improvements in every aspect of life compared to the societies they replaced. Depending on how you define a standard of living, they regularly outpaced capitalist countries in terms of health care, literacy, employment, homelessness, and nutrition. If your only rebuttal to this is something about gulags, I don't know what to tell you except that you've been lied to all your life. It sounds dramatic, but in this case it's justified if you take the time to investigate primary sources (such as the Soviet archives themselves, which were never intended for outside distribution). That's one point.

Secondly, even if thus far, capitalism and only capitalism had been associated with the best standard of living compared to other economic systems, that wouldn't be indicative of anything more than the same situation for feudalism before the French revolution, or slavery in ancient times. In all such cases, there were times when the prevailing mode of economic organization, the one that tended to be used by the wealthiest societies, was an objectionable one that ought to have been overthrown. The same arguments against overthrowing them are always given by the reactionaries, including "this is the best the human species can do, we are not gods".

Finally, capitalism tends to produce a good standard of living only for people living in imperialist countries, not so much in the countries they loot for materials and cheap labor. What does it say about a high standard of living that rests on a pedestal of millions of impoverished workers in the global south? And for what, another virtually identical consumer commodity that fills a want rather than a need, until the next one takes its place? We can do better.

We have to do better. Capitalism is the only economic system that can be reasonably implicated in a looming mass extinction event.
 

skepticalbip

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Too much nonsense to bother with. I accept that you really, really believe this stuff
but this his last one though is a real mystery.
We have to do better. Capitalism is the only economic system that can be reasonably implicated in a looming mass extinction event.
If, as I assume, this is referring to CO2 emissions then you show absolutely no understanding of the real world. Communist China today releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than both the U.S. and E.U. combined. Also emissions from China are increasing while emissions from U.S. and the E.U. are decreasing.
 

PyramidHead

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Too much nonsense to bother with. I accept that you really, really believe this stuff
but this his last one though is a real mystery.
We have to do better. Capitalism is the only economic system that can be reasonably implicated in a looming mass extinction event.
If, as I assume, this is referring to CO2 emissions then you show absolutely no understanding of the real world. Communist China today releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than both the U.S. and E.U. combined. Also emissions from China are increasing while emissions from U.S. and the E.U. are decreasing.

lol Love how when China is the fastest growing economy in the world it's "but capitalist reforms, now it's not communist anymore" but when it's polluting the atmosphere to catch up with capitalist competitors it's just communist again
 

rousseau

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

'capitalism is to make a profit'?

To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.
 

skepticalbip

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Too much nonsense to bother with. I accept that you really, really believe this stuff
but this his last one though is a real mystery.
We have to do better. Capitalism is the only economic system that can be reasonably implicated in a looming mass extinction event.
If, as I assume, this is referring to CO2 emissions then you show absolutely no understanding of the real world. Communist China today releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than both the U.S. and E.U. combined. Also emissions from China are increasing while emissions from U.S. and the E.U. are decreasing.

lol Love how when China is the fastest growing economy in the world it's "but capitalist reforms, now it's not communist anymore" but when it's polluting the atmosphere to catch up with capitalist competitors it's just communist again
Typical ideologically driven drivel. A "looming mass extinction event" .... but if caused by the centrally planned economy of China then it isn't a problem.
 

skepticalbip

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

'capitalism is to make a profit'?

To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.

Good summary... well said. :slowclap:

Capitalism isn't an invented economic system but simply a name given to how independent people naturally live when not having an alternate lifestyle forced on them by some authority.
 
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steve_bank

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Now we are getting into the moral philosohy aspects.

The part myth part reality belief in our modern free market system is that you get in proportion to how hard you work and risks you take. The obvious is the playing field is never even. Being born to money gets you a top education and never having to earn anything, like Trump.

The earnings disparity is a serious problem. There is another aspect to it. When you accumulate money it can not just sit. It looses value. It gets invested in the economy funding busness for one thing through investment.

It is complex but in ways not obvious to the average observed,. We do benift in some ways from accumulation of wealth. It drives investment and innovation.

What is simplistic is making arguments based on the simple top bottom disparity ignoring everything else. Who does not have a wireless device that can communicate globally 24/7? You have to weigh the positives and negatives and that is not trivial. The forum exiasts technologucaly couresy of the free market competition system. Competing ideas and technolgy leading to the current technology. Nothing came out of Russia and China.

Conservatives argue capitalism is more in line with human nature. Soviet communism with its enforced ideological eaquality was a dull, lifeless, dreary society. There was no room for personal initiative, risk, and reward. The result a stagnant society. Maoism failed catastrophically with large scale famine. In the post Cultural Revolution era farmers were allowed to grow and sell excess above the state quotas.Agricultural production began to grow. China evolved to a mixed economy. The overall economy is centrally controlled while there is room for initiative and accumulation of wealth from enterprise.

It seems like us humans seem to need to have a degree of independence.

Capitalism like communism has shades of meaning to different people. Here in the USA it means free enterprise. The media focuses on the giants like MS and Apple. In reality the majority of business is small to medium scale sartted by average people.

I worked for a guy who started a company. He built a business building custom audio and video systems for private high end aircraft owners. He started in his garage. He mortgaged his house and lived at his company for several years doing everything that needed to be done. He employed at the time a handful of engibneers and manufacturing workers. IMO he deserve the profit he made.

Both Apple and the original HP sted in a garge with a couple of guys.

In our large scaly society should someone out of high school with no skills and experince be ‘owed’ anything?

I like the Denmark model. Room for enterprise with a sufficient bottom to live.
 

rousseau

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The part myth part reality belief in our modern free market system is that you get in proportion to how hard you work and risks you take. The obvious is the playing field is never even. Being born to money gets you a top education and never having to earn anything, like Trump.

The earnings disparity is a serious problem. There is another aspect to it. When you accumulate money it can not just sit. It looses value. It gets invested in the economy funding busness for one thing through investment.

Is the earnings disparity a serious problem?

I don't want to look like I'm not for improving people's quality of life. But I do wonder about this talking point, and how we're supposed to do away with wealth inequality when there is such an obvious disparity in the value of people's natural ability and talent. Genetics would call this phenotypic variation, and this inequality doesn't only predate the modern period, but humans themselves. Even in other primates there is disparity in access to resources / mates because of individual attributes.

Sure, some people are born into large amounts of money, but the overwhelming amount of people in the upper classes are not egregiously rich, they're just people well equipped to make money within the community they live. Their kids have advantages, but these kids are forced to succeed in school / find work just like everybody else. The truth is that people aren't built equally, and this will always be true.

I always point people to the example of my dad's family. Five children, all with the same opportunities, but a different personality. The life outcomes of the five and their children vary wildly. My brother and I are both successful white-collar professionals in the upper-middle class, some of my cousins are unsuccessful by most normal standards and close to poverty level.

The reality is that if parents don't believe they can provide their kids with an acceptable quality of life they can choose to not have kids, but people don't work that way. People reproduce without moral considerations, and the result is the result. We probably should try to support those people, but that support has obvious limits.. and should probably be set pretty close to where it already is now.

Right now the problem isn't wealth inequality, it's overpopulation. People aren't making money because their skills are redundant.
 

steve_bank

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.

Capitalism requires population growth to increase consumption and providing a return on investment,. Capitalism today is based on a mythical assumption of infinite growth. That is the post war paradigm. People are living longer so more youg pwople are needed to support them. Sooner or later there will be a system failure.

Over here housing and medical costs are outpacing wage growth. We have a term 'working poor'. People who have jobs but can not afford housing.

A good example is Amazon. Obscene profit's but a percentage of their employees are on some form of govt assistance.

The Dallas Cowboys owner built a new stadium for around 1 billion dollars. While our infrastructure decays and we can not pay teachers, police, and fire decent wages.

Eventually the inequities will lead to unrest as it grows. The post war economics is a great experiment that can easily fail if it gets too lopsided.

The system needs to be tweaked so that a percentage excess wealth can be put to use for the common good.

China has gotten good atr executing 5 year infrastrucr-ture plans. Our govr is usweless and our systems allows decay while some make a lot of money.

It is a moral and philosophical issue. If you make a lot of money using roads, infrastructure, and educated people from the system do you owe the country anything? Steve Jobs of Apple said no. All that matters is profit, manufacturing in China and never the USA.
 

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.
But then in the 50s there were almost no taxes for the average family or businesses compared to today. Today the average family pays out of their income something like 30% as federal income tax, somewhere between 5% to 15% state income tax, state sales tax depending on the state (my state is 7%), some cities and/or counties also levy income tax, then businesses taxes have increased which ends up as rising price of goods they sell to cover their business taxes so it is the final consumer actually pays the business taxes. Where the average family in the 50s paid on the order of 5% to 10% of their income in total taxes, today total tax bite can easily be greater than 50%. And then property taxes have steadily increased to where, in some locations, a family home is now a liability. Today with better than half the family's income going to taxes, the second income is needed to survive for many.
 

Politesse

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.
But then in the 50s there were almost no taxes for the average family or businesses compared to today. Today the average family pays out of their income something like 30% as federal income tax, somewhere between 5% to 15% state income tax, state sales tax depending on the state (my state is 7%), some cities and/or counties also levy income tax, then businesses taxes have increased which ends up as rising price of goods they sell to cover their business taxes so it is the final consumer actually pays the business taxes. Where the average family in the 50s paid on the order of 5% to 10% of their income in total taxes, today total tax bite can easily be greater than 50%. And then property taxes have steadily increased to where, in some locations, a family home is now a liability. Today with better than half the family's income going to taxes, the second income is needed to survive for many.

Where are you getting those numbers??
 

skepticalbip

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.
But then in the 50s there were almost no taxes for the average family or businesses compared to today. Today the average family pays out of their income something like 30% as federal income tax, somewhere between 5% to 15% state income tax, state sales tax depending on the state (my state is 7%), some cities and/or counties also levy income tax, then businesses taxes have increased which ends up as rising price of goods they sell to cover their business taxes so it is the final consumer actually pays the business taxes. Where the average family in the 50s paid on the order of 5% to 10% of their income in total taxes, today total tax bite can easily be greater than 50%. And then property taxes have steadily increased to where, in some locations, a family home is now a liability. Today with better than half the family's income going to taxes, the second income is needed to survive for many.

Where are you getting those numbers??

I lived those numbers. I am an old fart and have been paying taxes for a hell of a long time. (well actually, I didn't start filling out my federal and state tax returns until the 60s but still do)... so I got those numbers from my tax return forms, property tax payments, and knowing how much sales tax I am paying.

But then in that post I forgot about FICA... that is another about 15% tax, half directly deducted and the other half payed by the employer (who figures that cost in as total cost of hiring you when determining how much to pay so decreases the amount of salary offered by that amount.)

Oops, also forgot about social security tax... a total of another 12.4% and again, like the FICA, half directly deducted and the other half paid by the employer who uses the same calculation to determine how much salary to offer.
Just checked for the 1950s - in 1950 social security tax was 1.5% by 1959 it had risen to 2.5%
 
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skepticalbip

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rousseau

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.

Where I'm getting lost is how this is related to capitalism, and not a natural malthusian cycle. In the 50s and 60s there was a post-war boom where people were highly in demand, and could make a decent wage doing work that wasn't overly skilled.

Today that isn't the case because there is an overwhelming amount of people on the planet willing to do unskilled work. It's not something inherent to capitalism, it's basic supply and demand. As soon as our population declines to a level where people are in demand again, wages will go up.

Now I know I'm starting to sound like a conservative, but I really do care about people's well-being. I just don't know that the answer to improve people's well-being is necessarily to give them more money. Because if suddenly an entire population has a completely comfortable wage, they produce more babies, and the supply / demand problem gets worse - we have even more people and fewer jobs and we enter an infinite loop where somehow we need to keep supplying the well-being of more and more people.

Now maybe there is room for some improvement, but at some point we have to face the fact that there are real environmental limitations to our quality of life, and keep at least some of the responsibility on full grown adults to make good decisions about their offspring.
 

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So, more a subjective appraisal perhaps.

I wouldn't really call the numbers on tax returns subjective.

ETA:
By the way, have you ever examined exactly how much total tax you are paying - not just federal income tax but all taxes?

Well, it's just that your numbers don't resemble the actual tax rate. A family of median income pays about 17% in total federal taxes, that's a matter not just of statistics but of law. Very wealthy people are expected to pay closer to 30%. But most people with the kinds of jobs you describe aren't especially wealthy.

It is true that taxes on average family were much lower in the 1950s, because they were being counterbalanced by very high taxes on the wealthiest of citizens. But I don't think we're going back to that area any time soon, whatever the Progressives may promise their voters in primary season. If we tried to slap a 90% tax on the top bracket now, their idiot employees would riot on their behalf.
 

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.

Where I'm getting lost is how this is related to capitalism, and not a natural malthusian cycle. In the 50s and 60s there was a post-war boom where people were highly in demand, and could make a decent wage doing work that wasn't overly skilled.

Today that isn't the case because there is an overwhelming amount of people on the planet willing to do unskilled work. It's not something inherent to capitalism, it's basic supply and demand. As soon as our population declines to a level where people are in demand again, wages will go up.

Now I know I'm starting to sound like a conservative, but I really do care about people's well-being. I just don't know that the answer to improve people's well-being is necessarily to give them more money. Because if suddenly an entire population has a completely comfortable wage, they produce more babies, and the supply / demand problem gets worse - we have even more people and fewer jobs and we enter an infinite loop where somehow we need to keep supplying the well-being of more and more people.

Now maybe there is room for some improvement, but at some point we have to face the fact that there are real environmental limitations to our quality of life, and keep at least some of the responsibility on full grown adults to make good decisions about their offspring.

Malthusian cycles are Victorian pseudo-science with no empirical basis. Do you honestly believe that wealth results directly in fecundity? Have you ever looked at a population density map and figured out where the most dense concentrations of people are? Not only does starving people to death to reduce population not work, it immediately backfires.
 

rousseau

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.

Where I'm getting lost is how this is related to capitalism, and not a natural malthusian cycle. In the 50s and 60s there was a post-war boom where people were highly in demand, and could make a decent wage doing work that wasn't overly skilled.

Today that isn't the case because there is an overwhelming amount of people on the planet willing to do unskilled work. It's not something inherent to capitalism, it's basic supply and demand. As soon as our population declines to a level where people are in demand again, wages will go up.

Now I know I'm starting to sound like a conservative, but I really do care about people's well-being. I just don't know that the answer to improve people's well-being is necessarily to give them more money. Because if suddenly an entire population has a completely comfortable wage, they produce more babies, and the supply / demand problem gets worse - we have even more people and fewer jobs and we enter an infinite loop where somehow we need to keep supplying the well-being of more and more people.

Now maybe there is room for some improvement, but at some point we have to face the fact that there are real environmental limitations to our quality of life, and keep at least some of the responsibility on full grown adults to make good decisions about their offspring.

Malthusian cycles are Victorian pseudo-science with no empirical basis. Do you honestly believe that wealth results directly in fecundity? Have you ever looked at a population density map and figured out where the most dense concentrations of people are? Not only does starving people to death to reduce population not work, it immediately backfires.

Can you elaborate on these points?
 

Politesse

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Malthusian cycles are Victorian pseudo-science with no empirical basis. Do you honestly believe that wealth results directly in fecundity? Have you ever looked at a population density map and figured out where the most dense concentrations of people are? Not only does starving people to death to reduce population not work, it immediately backfires.

Can you elaborate on these points?

I feel like the conversation might drag off topic a bit; perhaps it's time we had another proper thread on over-population.
 

rousseau

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Malthusian cycles are Victorian pseudo-science with no empirical basis. Do you honestly believe that wealth results directly in fecundity? Have you ever looked at a population density map and figured out where the most dense concentrations of people are? Not only does starving people to death to reduce population not work, it immediately backfires.

Can you elaborate on these points?

I feel like the conversation might drag off topic a bit; perhaps it's time we had another proper thread on over-population.

Eh - that's been done so many times before with the same characters. The convo seems to be nice and tidy in this thread so far.
 

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I feel like the conversation might drag off topic a bit; perhaps it's time we had another proper thread on over-population.

Eh - that's been done so many times before with the same characters. The convo seems to be nice and tidy in this thread so far.

Until you dragged in the dead horse that it's overpopulation. As Politesse said, wealthier people produce fewer, not more babies. You can find it counterintuitive until the cows come home, the data says so and it's easy to access for anyone with an internet connection.
 

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^ ^ ^
Too much nonsense to bother with. I accept that you really, really believe this stuff
but this his last one though is a real mystery.
We have to do better. Capitalism is the only economic system that can be reasonably implicated in a looming mass extinction event.
If, as I assume, this is referring to CO2 emissions then you show absolutely no understanding of the real world. Communist China today releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than both the U.S. and E.U. combined. Also emissions from China are increasing while emissions from U.S. and the E.U. are decreasing.

It's actually true though. Russia, at the eve of WW 1, was a 3rd world country with over 90% peasants. 4 decades later, they were an industrial power to be reckoned with, and a few more years later, the first nation to put a satellite in orbit. And this despite having suffered very severe losses in both wars, plus a devastating civil war.

It's true Russia never reached the quality of life of the USA, but given where they started that's hardly a fair comparison. They achieved within a generation what took England over a. Century from 1750 to the late 1800s.

There's a lot of t things Stalin is guilty of, but killing the economy isn't one of them.
 

rousseau

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I feel like the conversation might drag off topic a bit; perhaps it's time we had another proper thread on over-population.

Eh - that's been done so many times before with the same characters. The convo seems to be nice and tidy in this thread so far.

Until you dragged in the dead horse that it's overpopulation. As Politesse said, wealthier people produce fewer, not more babies. You can find it counterintuitive until the cows come home, the data says so and it's easy to access for anyone with an internet connection.

When it costs 10 cents a day to raise your child, and all you have to do is teach them how to farm and sell at a market when they grow up, that lack of wealth actually goes much further than it does in somewhere like Canada or the United States, where you have to access child-care, modern amenities, and post-secondary education for your children to even have a sniff at well-paying work. So I was initially giving Politesse the opportunity to elaborate, but I assume I know what his response was going to be.

Wealth is relative. In Canada and the U.S. we make infinitely more money, but our cost of living is also prohibitively high. And the very reason that we're starting to see stagnation in our population growth is because people are realizing that they can't afford to bring kids up in a wealthy economy. In places where there isn't that restriction, having kids isn't a problem.

The reason people in wealthy economies can no longer afford kids is because there are too many people, and too little work to do. I don't know the history behind the term 'malthusian cycle', but we can at least agree that any living thing is naturally susceptible to fluctuations in it's population, and the effects of that fluctuation. A few decades ago low-skilled workers were in demand, now they're not because there are too many of them - hence there are more people making less money.

So in a theoretical world where the cost of raising children is no longer prohibitive, when the masses of low skilled workers have enough money to successfully raise children, it will be more likely for them to do so.

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't try to raise the quality of life of everyone in a society, I'm arguing that this does, and should have limits.
 

Jokodo

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Until you dragged in the dead horse that it's overpopulation. As Politesse said, wealthier people produce fewer, not more babies. You can find it counterintuitive until the cows come home, the data says so and it's easy to access for anyone with an internet connection.

When it costs 10 cents a day to raise your child, and all you have to do is teach them how to farm and sell at a market when they grow up, that lack of wealth actually goes much further than it does in somewhere like Canada or the United States, where you have to access child-care, modern amenities, and post-secondary education for your children to even have a sniff at well-paying work. So I was initially giving Politesse the opportunity to elaborate, but I assume I know what his response was going to be.

Wealth is relative. In Canada and the U.S. we make infinitely more money, but our cost of living is also prohibitively high. And the very reason that we're starting to see stagnation in our population growth is because people are realizing that they can't afford to bring kids up in a wealthy economy. In places where there isn't that restriction, having kids isn't a problem.

The reason people in wealthy economies can no longer afford kids is because there are too many people, and too little work to do. I don't know the history behind the term 'malthusian cycle', but we can at least agree that any living thing is naturally susceptible to fluctuations in it's population, and the effects of that fluctuation. A few decades ago low-skilled workers were in demand, now they're not because there are too many of them - hence there are more people making less money.

So in a theoretical world where the cost of raising children is no longer prohibitive, when the masses of low skilled workers have enough money to successfully raise children, it will be more likely for them to do so.

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't try to raise the quality of life of everyone in a society, I'm arguing that this does, and should have limits.

This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.
 

rousseau

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Until you dragged in the dead horse that it's overpopulation. As Politesse said, wealthier people produce fewer, not more babies. You can find it counterintuitive until the cows come home, the data says so and it's easy to access for anyone with an internet connection.

When it costs 10 cents a day to raise your child, and all you have to do is teach them how to farm and sell at a market when they grow up, that lack of wealth actually goes much further than it does in somewhere like Canada or the United States, where you have to access child-care, modern amenities, and post-secondary education for your children to even have a sniff at well-paying work. So I was initially giving Politesse the opportunity to elaborate, but I assume I know what his response was going to be.

Wealth is relative. In Canada and the U.S. we make infinitely more money, but our cost of living is also prohibitively high. And the very reason that we're starting to see stagnation in our population growth is because people are realizing that they can't afford to bring kids up in a wealthy economy. In places where there isn't that restriction, having kids isn't a problem.

The reason people in wealthy economies can no longer afford kids is because there are too many people, and too little work to do. I don't know the history behind the term 'malthusian cycle', but we can at least agree that any living thing is naturally susceptible to fluctuations in it's population, and the effects of that fluctuation. A few decades ago low-skilled workers were in demand, now they're not because there are too many of them - hence there are more people making less money.

So in a theoretical world where the cost of raising children is no longer prohibitive, when the masses of low skilled workers have enough money to successfully raise children, it will be more likely for them to do so.

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't try to raise the quality of life of everyone in a society, I'm arguing that this does, and should have limits.

This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.

Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.
 

Jokodo

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This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.

Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.

If you're too lazy to Google basic data before making bold assertions that don't tie with reality, you'll have to start paying me an hourly rate for private tuition.
 

rousseau

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This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.

Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.

If you're too lazy to Google basic data before making bold assertions that don't tie with reality, you'll have to start paying me an hourly rate for private tuition.

If you're going to sling pejoratives and parrot whatever you heard on Fox News or CNN or whatever you read without question, then fair enough. But so far all you've done is show me trivial talking points with little insight into how anything actually works.

I'm open to being wrong, you just haven't presented that argument yet.
 

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This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.

Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?

This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.

When you find that you are looking for new data to support your otherwise seemingly unsupported idea rather than looking for new ideas to explain data that isn't explained by your previous ideas, it's time to wonder whether you've walked off a bit of a cliff in terms of sound reasoning.
 

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If you're too lazy to Google basic data before making bold assertions that don't tie with reality, you'll have to start paying me an hourly rate for private tuition.

If you're going to sling pejoratives and parrot whatever you heard on Fox News or CNN or whatever you read without question, then fair enough. But so far all you've done is show me trivial talking points with little insight into how anything actually works.

I'm open to being wrong, you just haven't presented that argument yet.

Alright, here's total fertility rates (lifetime births per woman) for the UK since the early modern era: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom

The figure peaks in 1815, steadily falls throughout the 19th and early 20th century, first drops below replacement in the late 1920, rises again during WW II, and finally drops below replacement, this time for good, in the mid 1970s, when average Joe was, for the first time in history, able to afford a car and a washing machine.

You're invited to cross-correlate this data with data about available income for the bottom 60% of the population yourself, I'm not going to do all your work for you. I'll only say this much: if you genuinely believe that 1815 is when "quality of life of the poorest people" in England and Wales climbed the most, you are delusional.



More examples: Here's a discussion of fertility rates in India (by state and urban vs. rural): https://economictimes.indiatimes.co...-goes-south/articleshow/70220785.cms?from=mdr

It gets even better: Even when a country becomes wealthy "undeservedly", i.e. not by working their way up through improved education, creating a higher quality workforce, but because they find themselves sitting atop huge oil reserves, it has the same effect on fertility. Here's the development of total fertility rate for some such rentier economies: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=BH-KW-AE-BN-SA

As an image in case you're to lazy to click the link:

Screenshot from 2019-09-20 20-14-32.png

Also "so many unskilled people now" isn't a thing. The general evel of education was never higher. I trust you can Google the data yourself if you don't believe me.

You now owe me 15 dollars for your education and another 10 for alleging that I read without question and without looking at actual data.
 
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steve_bank

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Yes it is a problem. Who wants to work hard if there is no level of comfort. Back in the 50s a guy working in a grocery store or a shoe store could afford a small house and family on a single income.
But then in the 50s there were almost no taxes for the average family or businesses compared to today. Today the average family pays out of their income something like 30% as federal income tax, somewhere between 5% to 15% state income tax, state sales tax depending on the state (my state is 7%), some cities and/or counties also levy income tax, then businesses taxes have increased which ends up as rising price of goods they sell to cover their business taxes so it is the final consumer actually pays the business taxes. Where the average family in the 50s paid on the order of 5% to 10% of their income in total taxes, today total tax bite can easily be greater than 50%. And then property taxes have steadily increased to where, in some locations, a family home is now a liability. Today with better than half the family's income going to taxes, the second income is needed to survive for many.



In the 50s the workforce was primarily white male with others restricted access and lower pay. Thermodynamics of a sort. Employment for all over 18 means the pie is distributed among more.

We get a lot for taxes. Public education, water, sewage, fire, police and so on. Pre WWII that was not a universal given in the USA. Before workers compensation and OSHA if you got hurt on the job you were shit out of luck unless there was someone to care for you. If you were the wage earner then your family went hungry.

The fact remains manufacturing and farm technology has been wildly successful. A fraction of the population is required to provide basic needs compared to 19th century to 1950s. Everyone down to janitors helped make it happen.

The question what is fair and what is necessary to maintain stability.

The fact remains our infrastructure and education system is a mess.
 

Jokodo

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This argument seems to stem from some kind of alternate universe. Yes, wealth is relative, but this doesn't subtract from my point. Not only do people in wealthy countries have fewer children on average than those in poor countries, but additionally, within both wealthy and poor countries, the more educated, wealthier, urbanised segments of the population have fewer children. For example urban India has a fertility rate well below replacement.

Could that be because we raised the quality of life of the poorest people up enough that they're willing to have kids, and those people are the most likely to have kids despite their inability to access wealth? Could it also be that the most educated and wealthiest people are the least likely to want kids, and those with the least time to actually produce them?
You seem to operate on the unspoken assumption that there are essentially two species of people, let's call them homo smartus and homo dumbus, where the latter is intellectually incapable of achieving a solid education and holding a well paying job, and also has essentially unlimited fecundity, invariably having as many children as they can afford. So the only way to prevent them from outbreeding us is to make sure they can't afford many children.

Well, the data is in that this is not what's going on. Looking at longitudinal data from any society undergoing the demographic transition, it becomes painfully clear that it's the children and grandchildren of the women who had 6 or 7 children on average who now opt for small families of 1 0r 2 children, not a different species.
This speaks exactly to my argument. By making it easier, not harder, for people to live, you produce a glut of population, which is exactly what happened in North America in the twentieth century, and why there are so many unskilled, unemployable people out there now.

If you had taken even a cursory look at real world data, you'd know this is not at all what went on in 20th century north America.

Here's some reality for you: the percentage of adults with completed high school rise from 13.5% in 1910 to over 80% at the end of the century, labour force participation rose from less than 50% as late as the early post war years to 65%. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...Vaw0Jt61ksXeY8DkKcXua_lhq&cshid=1569075926249

Idiocracy is not a documentary anymore than genesis is. Your position is every bit as well funded in reality as Young Earth Creationism, though arguably more dangerous as it carries the potential of harmful policy recommendations
 
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Jokodo

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A similar thing has happened globally, though at a lower level. In 1976, more than 30% of the world's adult population could not read and write. As of 2016, that figure has dropped to under 14% (and ~10% for men): https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/se.adt.litr.zs

Even accounting for population growth, there are now, in absolute numbers, over 250 million fewer adults who cannot read and write than there were 40 years ago.

That time grandpa told you how everything was better when he was young? He was lying (alternatively: seeing the past through rose colored eyes since he was having a good time, being younger, and generalising from there).
 
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PyramidHead

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It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

'capitalism is to make a profit'?

To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.

Good summary... well said. :slowclap:

Capitalism isn't an invented economic system but simply a name given to how independent people naturally live when not having an alternate lifestyle forced on them by some authority.

This old chestnut again. It's truly a shame the kind of thoughtless nonsense that gets accepted and regurgitated by otherwise smart people.

Profit, by definition, is a surplus over and above what is required for survival, over and above even the survival surplus that is put aside for hard times in the future. Profit has no meaning outside of capitalism, which is the only system in which resources are owned not to use them for survival, but to generate wealth by charging others to use them for survival. It arose in a specific period in a particular region of the world, despite literally tens of thousands of years of human existence (during which we are forced to assume "an alternate lifestyle" must have been brutally imposed on the entire species until sometime in the last 500 years). This is public knowledge in any history curriculum, even the bourgeois version of events.

However, Rousseau gets pretty close to the truth when he says the global economy is an emergent property of how we organize ourselves, and not an intentional artifact. This concept is, in fact, at the center of Marx's philosophy of dialectical materialism.
 

Jokodo

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... snip ...

Way back in Econ 101 the prof asked 'What is the purpose of capitalism?'. I responded something like to provide the greatest number of goods at the lowest cot for the most people.

He pointed his finger at me and said sharply 'No ! The purpose of capitalism is to make a profit'.

It took years on the job for that to fully sink in.
That is true but simplistic. The way to make a profit is to supply a good or service that the customer wants and at a price the customer is willing to pay. It is a meeting of minds between the producer and consumer. (how much effort and expense are you willing to put in for the price you charge and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the final product? - when these two meet, there is a sale.) Also, since there is competition from other producers, the price and quality needs to be competitive to attract the consumer to your product or service rather than the competitor's.

It's also simplistic because it assumes that there's an economic model called 'capitalism' with an intentional origin, that's separable from human nature. IOW, that humans had anything to do with 'capitalism's'arrival, and the global economy not instead being an emergent property of how we organize ourselves.

'capitalism is to make a profit'?

To be alive is to acquire resources for one's own survival and reproduction. Yes we're a social species and community has become a part of that, but 'profit', or more simply, acquisition of needed goods for survival is inherent in what it means to be alive.

You can try to improve the model, but you can't extract human nature from it. And the model isn't 'capitalism', it's people solving problems for material gain, which has been central to every way of life in history.

A lecture on human nature by a guy who thinks idiocracy is a documentary? Not buying.
 

PyramidHead

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I almost want to start a thread on dialectical and historical materialism, but so much of the theory comes from Stalin that I doubt anybody here would take it seriously, even though it says what everybody claims to support. Namely, that nature is constantly changing, always resolving internal contradictions between opposing forces, nothing occurs in isolation from everything else, human beings are subject to natural laws, and the universe is knowable through observation. All of Marxism-Leninism is predicated on these basic principles, but critics of communism generally have never read anything written by a communist, so they seem to think pointing these things out is somehow news to us.
 
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