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  1. #41
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    Maybe the poor are evil for parasitically living off the wealth created by the 53% who pay income tax (apply percentage as appropriate to your country), and contributing nothing.

    who pays for schools, hospitals, welfare?...the rich

  2. #42
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    When there is inequality in a society, those who have more must rationalize why they deserve it and why people without resources do not deserve these. That process of rationalization can result in the ability to devalue, and in some cases dehumanize, other individuals. Some call this "evil".

    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    Maybe the poor are evil for parasitically living off the wealth created by the 53% who pay income tax (apply percentage as appropriate to your country), and contributing nothing.

    who pays for schools, hospitals, welfare?...the rich
    This is the frame used to justify greater resources. The problem with this reasoning is that it fragments a sense of resources to measure income tax as the only source of contribution. Why do we assume that federal income tax is the only source of revenue to fund schools, hospitals, and welfare? State taxes, city taxes, sales taxes, tabacco taxes, fundraisers, etc. are also present and the poor pay many of these to contribute.

    Consider this: when a worker is employed for a company, that company pays that worker a portion of their contribution to that company. Many low-income workers are not paid enough to live on or provided any medical insurance in the U.S., and so must apply for food stamps and other assistance, but they are contributing more to that company than they ever see in their own paycheck. The company profits from underpaying these workers. If such a company pays more in income tax, then they may still come out ahead from underpaying their workers.

    The assumption that people who do not pay specifically income tax contribute nothing is a significant leap in assumptions. Many of this category of people are retirees who paid income tax for many years. Many are corporate exploited low-income workers. The question is not "Why does only half of the population pay income tax?" the question is "Why is half of the population at such a low income level to fall outside the income tax bracket?" This is because the average worker pay has not increased in 30 years, while the wealthiest's income has increased exponentially. This is thanks to Reagan lifting many of the regulations on banks and corporations. It started a cascading effect which has destabilized the middle class.

    The assumption that half the population contributes nothing does not consider that corporations will also patent research built on the back of public funded research and gain tremendous profits. In the U.S. we privatize profits gained from public resources of tax dollars and underpaid workers, while we socialize the debt that incurs when these companies fall apart due to their own poor management. If the wealthiest are funding the nation's resources, then who paid $100 billion in corporate welfare in 2012? This is nearly twice the cost of the U.S. social welfare program.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Consider this: when a worker is employed for a company, that company pays that worker a portion of their contribution to that company. Many low-income workers are not paid enough to live on or provided any medical insurance in the U.S., and so must apply for food stamps and other assistance, but they are contributing more to that company than they ever see in their own paycheck. The company profits from underpaying these workers. If such a company pays more in income tax, then they may still come out ahead from underpaying their workers.
    =Marxist theory of Surplus Value.

    I could as easily argue that the worker receives their paycheck immediately while the capitalist delays gratification by investing and risking his capital rather than spending it immediately or saving it int he bank for a guaranteed benefit. Therefore he deserves a higher return if the project becomes profitable. The worker gets paid even if the end product is not profitable.

    It's all theoretical...but we know which system works best.

  4. #44
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    =Marxist theory of Surplus Value.

    I could as easily argue that the worker receives their paycheck immediately while the capitalist delays gratification by investing and risking his capital rather than spending it immediately or saving it int he bank for a guaranteed benefit. Therefore he deserves a higher return if the project becomes profitable. The worker gets paid even if the end product is not profitable.

    It's all theoretical...but we know which system works best.
    Capitalism is still in an evolving process into hyper-Capitalism which is an unprecedented system. The corporations and banks are conglomerating into mega power structures that are without checks and balances. The end result of Capitalism is yet to be seen. The checks and balances assumed to exist in the free market are changing and in some cases being eliminated.

    While you may "know" what system works best, Alan Greenspan apparently does not share your certainty in hyper-Capitalism, and my leaning is to consider his position.

    Alan Greenspan link
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Greenspan
    he "made a mistake in presuming" that financial firms could regulate themselves.

    "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."...

    "It is very regrettable that my model of the world is wrong--and the world needs to shape up"...
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Capitalism is still in an evolving process into hyper-Capitalism which is an unprecedented system. The corporations and banks are conglomerating into mega power structures that are without checks and balances. The end result of Capitalism is yet to be seen. The checks and balances assumed to exist in the free market are changing and in some cases being eliminated.

    While you may "know" what system works best, Alan Greenspan apparently does not share your certainty in hyper-Capitalism, and my leaning is to consider his position.

    Alan Greenspan link
    He is arguing to regulate the banks. I agree with him.

    I disagree that the origin of profit is the exploitation of the worker.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    He is arguing to regulate the banks. I agree with him.

    I disagree that the origin of profit is the exploitation of the worker.
    Then perhaps we don't disagree. I am not arguing that in all cases profit results from exploiting the workers. I am just stating facts about the condition of exploitation of workers that is occurring with corporations like Walmart, and many more when considering overseas working conditions. When workers are paid wages which cannot support the ability to pay for modest shelter and food, and which necessitate public assistance, then such corporations are exploiting and should pay plenty of taxes to pay for those food stamps and assistance. They are the source of this public debt and should either pay their workers a decent wage or pay plenty in taxes to cover their public assistance. For businesses and corporation that pay respectable wages, but still profit from the worker, I am not currently arguing against them.

    I don't personally identify with any ideology, but attempt to view systems from a distance so that I can question any of them without fear of losing something of personal significance and identity to myself. In this way I am not a Capitalist, Socialist, Communist, or any other "ist". It is entirely possible that every ideology we currently have will fail on the global scale. It is possible we have not figured out a best system.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    He is arguing to regulate the banks. I agree with him.

    I disagree that the origin of profit is the exploitation of the worker.
    Actually. There are many ways to disprove this argument.

    The salary for work has decreased relative to their 1970's amount while the cost of "necessities" have gone up.

    At the same time, CEO pay in MANY companies/corporations has gone up, even when the company/corporation itself was crappy while the CEO was in office (Hostess as a starling example... before the current CEO was put into place.)

    Companies/Corporations like McDonalds and Wal-mart hire mostly part-time workers because full-time workers require more money.

    Taxes for the rich has gone to record lows. The effective tax rates for the wealthy is about 13% while in the 50's.. that amount was close to 50%.

    Remember, many work can be sent to other countries because it is "cheaper." Quite a lot of our medical information is in India, you know that? Why is it there? It is cheaper to have all the information stored there than it is to be kept in the U.S. The answer to that is because more profits.

    Current culture for corporations is "get every money you can for little even if it means exploitation."

  8. #48
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    of course they are not not evil not. not. not....

    jk.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Assuming the rich are more sociopathic (didn't watch the documentary, sorry) then there are 3 possibilities, right? Being rich is causing sociopathy, sociopathy causes richness, or they're both caused by a third variable. There are rich people who are sociopaths, and sociopaths who aren't rich, so the first two should, theoretically, be ruled out.
    No. There are many more than three possibilities. It does not have to be a necessary and sufficient cause in order to be causally related. It is possible that sociopathy can help an individual become wealthy (when allied with other traits). Wealth can help make a person sociopathic. This doesn't rule out the possibility of becoming sociopathic (or wealthy) by other means.
    That leaves the third option, which I think is the right one, that evolution has naturally selected these individuals.
    Everything that persists does not do so because "evolution has selected" it. It is merely necessary that evolution has tolerated it (and not even that, if there is no genetic cause). Toleration does not necessitate that an attribute conveys an advantage, merely that it does not convey a disadvantage, to the persistence of an individual's genes.
    If evolution selected for sociopathy, most people would be sociopaths (rather than just 1%). Evolution selects for altruism and cooperation - at the level of the group, because this benefits a social animal. We can surmise that it tolerates sociopaths - at the level of the individual, because this can benefit the individual, living amongst altruists, but this is far from proven. To prove it you would have to come up with a "sociopathy gene". If, as some argue, sociopathy is actually about a deficit (of empathy) this can occur without the intervention of evolution. Then your argument would be like saying that the existence of people without legs was evidence that evolution was preferentially selecting leglessness.

    Beyond that, the fact that individuals can be made sociopathic permanently (through childhood neglect), or temporarily (the experiment indicates, through increased wealth and privilege) means this is not a characteristic mediated exclusively through genetic factors.

    If we define it as a lack of empathy (rather than possession of some other specific trait), it can be seen that there are a number of ways in which this deficit might arise - genetic, organic or environmental.

    Just because being rich isn't the only route to sociopathy doesn't mean it isn't A route towards it.

    Are sociopaths evil? To the degree that we should discourage sociopathic behavior, yes, let's call it evil.
    Ok. So how do we do this? If we know that excessive wealth creates sociopathic personalities, should we penalise excessive wealth?

    I didn't watch the doc, but I know about the Stanford Prison Experiment and it certainly doesn't disprove what I said. I said that money (power) doesn't make you sociopathic.
    If you haven't read the research, you are arguing from ignorance. My point is that sociopaths can be created purely by external circumstances. SS Officers are another example. They weren't selected because they were sociopathic, they were altered to become that way.
    First, the Stanford people had more than just power. They also had roles thrust upon them and had their regular identities disturbed.
    You think this doesn't happen with extreme wealth?
    Second, there are plenty of rich people who are altruistic (e.g., Warren Buffet, Gates).
    Giving money to charity doesn't make you an altruist.
    I'm not saying money can't facilitate sociopathic behavior; I'm saying I don't think it's the main factor.
    You just did say that! Even if it's not the main factor, if it's A factor, it's significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    Maybe the poor are evil for parasitically living off the wealth created by the 53% who pay income tax (apply percentage as appropriate to your country), and contributing nothing.
    Even if you were right that the poor do not contribute anything (and you're not), how does this translate to "evil"? Evil requires that you harm someone else by unethical behaviour. Claiming welfare is not unethical and does not harm others. At best you can argue for the abolition of the welfare state*, you can't argue that claimants are unethical (unless they are making fraudulent claims).

    *And in making that argument you would be demonstrating a profound lack of empathy - the hallmark of evil.

    who pays for schools, hospitals, welfare?...the rich
    No. The State.

    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Then perhaps we don't disagree. I am not arguing that in all cases profit results from exploiting the workers.
    Profit always accrues at someone else's expense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    It strikes me as being more about inequality and that the self interest of those on the top of the economic ladder causes them to behave in a way to further their own self interest (i.e., that helps them to get more money personally) and because of this, the people on the lower end of the ladder have no chance to climb up the ladder. The cards are stacked against them.
    I agree with this, absolutely. I don't think it's so much that being rich makes you evil, but that humans are disinclined from doing things that may threaten their own life stability, including settling for less when there are avenues to more. And unfortunately, being rich means you have more avenues, and thus are more able to utilize them. The richer they are, the more avenues are open, and the richer they become. It's a snowball effect. On top of that, the richer one is, they further they tend to be removed from the daily conditions of the poorest of the poor.

    This is why I have tended to lean socialist in my political outlook lately, though I agree with @fia that we have yet to find a best socioeconomic solution. I believe in independence, but I also believe that humans need to work on constructing checks and balances to now-destructive inclinations. We have long been a communal species, but we're now also a civilized species, and we need to see how our self-interested survival drives are threatening the viability and prosperity of the social systems we have engineered. It's time to evolve.

    Also, @fia, thank you for the term "hyper-capitalism"!

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