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  1. #11
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    OK we're talking about material equality, pretty much.

    The paradigm I've encountered is that inequality is justifiable where it proves beneficial to the least well off or bottom of the heap. Its perhaps theory rather than tangible at this point but does equality have worth besides its benefits to the least well off? If the least well off would be better off with greater inequality would the argument in favour of equality disappear?

  2. #12
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    OK we're talking about material equality, pretty much.

    The paradigm I've encountered is that inequality is justifiable where it proves beneficial to the least well off or bottom of the heap. Its perhaps theory rather than tangible at this point but does equality have worth besides its benefits to the least well off? If the least well off would be better off with greater inequality would the argument in favour of equality disappear?
    If you're taking strictly about tangible, material prosperity, then the reasons in my first post still stand for why inequality could make such a society horrible, and therefore we cannot affirm the initial hypothesis.
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  3. #13
    morose bourgeoisie
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    If you believe in democracy, there is no way that your equation can be considered true, because no one is valued for their real potential, only for their pre-existing status within the hierarchy.

    What you have described is a type of caste system.

    EDIT: Actually there is no valuation of potential at all; only status.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    If you're taking strictly about tangible, material prosperity, then the reasons in my first post still stand for why inequality could make such a society horrible, and therefore we cannot affirm the initial hypothesis.
    I'm sort of a similar opinion, it depends where the comparison is being made in a way, if the comparison is prosperous inequitable society vs. destitute equitable society its clear which, from the stand point of purely material welfare/prosperity the inequitable one is superior.

    However, if the comparison changes to an internal one, the relative welfare of the greatest to the least privileged will mean the question of equality matters again.

    To be honest I think its an old, in some ways cold war argument, capitalist west provides poor with better standard of living versus egalitarian/communist east does, therefore from a poor's best interests standpoint capitalism wins.

    What interests me at the moment is the possibility that in the long run capitalism's arteries may harden altogether into a sort of neo-feudalism like something from the house structures in Dune.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    If you believe in democracy, there is no way that your equation can be considered true, because no one is valued for their real potential, only for their pre-existing status within the hierarchy.

    What you have described is a type of caste system.

    EDIT: Actually there is no valuation of potential at all; only status.
    I'm not sure of your terms, in the argument as I'm familiar with it the inequal society in which the poor still live a good standard of living is generally theorised as the property owning democracy while the alternative equality based society in which the poor have a lower standard of living but everyone is more equal is theorised as socialist.

  6. #16
    Yeah, I can fly. Aleksei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    If you believe in democracy, there is no way that your equation can be considered true, because no one is valued for their real potential, only for their pre-existing status within the hierarchy.
    What happens when you don't believe in democracy?
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    The way you worded the question, the only inevitable answer is yes (economically superior, that is). It's almost tautological, though. If you mean "socially", then probably no, however let's notice how in pratice there's really almost no poor equitable country, thus it's hard to effectively make a comparison.
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  8. #18
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleksei View Post
    What happens when you don't believe in democracy?
    I was using the term as a short hand for greater equality of right for all ( or most) citizens - as opposed to a system that values people based on wealth, heriarchy, etc. Of course there are citizens who could rightfully argue against this definition of democracy based on historical inequalities, but I'll leave that for another discussion.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Oh... a graphic from EqualityTrust.org. Thanks for sharing.
    You're welcome. Anything to counter these stats? Apart from snark, of course. :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The paradigm I've encountered is that inequality is justifiable where it proves beneficial to the least well off or bottom of the heap.
    Nope. Wealthy unequal countries have more social problems than poorer but more equal countries (beyond a certain threshold).
    Hence the US is way out there on its own.

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  10. #20
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    The book Civic Literacy: How Informed Citizens Make Democracy Work has some crucial analysis of the relationship between equality and functioning political participation.

    Anyway, it's sort of a moot question anyways, because the question implies we must decide on a compromise when that actually isn't necessary. Contrary to popular belief in America, there is no dedectable correlation between the GINI of nations and the GDP growth rate of nations. Likewise, there is no such correlation found between the GINI and the GDP Per Capita.
    In other words, there is no dilema. You don't have to hinder a country's generation or possession of wealth to create more financial equality.
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