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Date: 03/20/14 12:34 PM

49 Responses to Collapse Inevitable In Unequal Society [Pic+]

  1. Profile photo of drawman61
    drawman61 Male 50-59
    7707 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 11:09 am
    Link: Collapse Inevitable In Unequal Society - Scientists explain why we`re heading the way of Romans, Mayans etc
  2. Profile photo of madduck
    madduck Female 50-59
    7421 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm
    Will `we` act- we we heck. Sad though... people will just ignore it, swear blind it is all a con and just carry on into oblivion taking a very big gamble indeed..
  3. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm
    This explains it better, I think.

    It`s funny though. We`re living in an age the The Economist dubbed "Towards the End of Poverty", but supposedly it`s the most dreadful time ever. Go live before 50 years ago, it would suck everywhere. Once poverty is no longer absolute, then it becomes intolerable - Max Hastings, a brilliant British historian. If they really want go cause another 1917 and kill millions of people, be my guest.
  4. Profile photo of Andrew155
    Andrew155 Male 18-29
    2579 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm
    By the way, everyone confuses wealth and income inequality. They are completely different, stop confusing them. Wealth inequality is more important, and Denmark is more unequal than the United States by a measure of wealth. Here is a easy to read version.
  5. Profile photo of AvatarJohn
    AvatarJohn Male 30-39
    1059 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm
    It`s more likely we`ll collapse because we waste money on bullpoo like this. What the hell is NASA doing funding this crazy horsesh-t?

    Income/wealth inequality is nothing. It`s inevitable, and, frankly, a sign of a thriving economy. It`s opportunity inequality that`s a problem. We used to have opportunity equality until the moochers, looters, and businesses with "a guy in Washington" took over. The Hank Reardon`s who use their minds to create wealth have no hope when "income equality" (AKA legalized theft) becomes the goal of in increasingly immoral society.
  6. Profile photo of madduck
    madduck Female 50-59
    7421 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm
    Equality though means that most of us have to take a dive- we are very rich on a global scale. We could also do with not making a mess of our living quarters.. another thing the rich ( that would be us) are not keen on doing..
  7. Profile photo of drawman61
    drawman61 Male 50-59
    7707 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm
    I like the wolf/deer analogy they use. What we seem to forget with our tech is that we are still an animal governed by natures laws. We are getting more and more top heavy as a society and toppling over is inevitable. Unfortunately, those at the top are least likely to listen and act whilst the rest of us suffer the consequencies.
    It`s like the guy in the earlier post taking it upon himself to go and make the bomb victim new arms. There are people in the world so rich they can`t even count what they have. Then there are people like this with no medicines or even FOOD for gods sake. In the 21st century! What kind of species are we?
  8. Profile photo of OverTime
    OverTime Male 40-49
    97 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    AvatarJohn, I would love to see your sources because it just sounds like your typical Fox News bullpoo. All the studies I`ve seen seem to suggest the exact opposite of what your saying.

    Andrew155, who is confusing wealth with inequality? Check that link you posted. It shows the U.S. has a higher Gini coefficient than just about every other country.

    You both may want to educate yourselves on the actual effects of income inequality on the social issues you care about rather than regurgitating conservative talking points.
  9. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3380 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    Interesting article.
  10. Profile photo of 747Pilot
    747Pilot Male 18-29
    1455 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm
    This has been known for quite some time.
  11. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm
    @OverTime:
    Maybe it is you who needs to reread what they said.

    Andrew155 said "everyone confuses wealth and income inequality...Wealth inequality is more important."

    Then you cite the Gini coefficient which is based on income inequality not wealth inequality, completely missing what he said. Having a high Gini coefficient isn`t bad at all. Having a lower score means that your closer to a communist country, a market where everyone is paid the same, and any economic textbook you pick up will tell you it kills the incentive.

    All the Gini coefficient tells you is the gap between the highest incomes to the lowest incomes in that particular country. It doesn`t show economic strength, size, poverty level, GDP, living conditions, or anything else frankly.
  12. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm
    Even if you make only make $7.55 per hour in the US, where the Gini coefficient 0.801, you`re still part of the top 8.66% of the world. Look at Ghana they have a lower Gini coefficient of 0.692 and the average pay is 8 cents an hour, why not move there if you feel so strongly about the Gini coefficient.


  13. Profile photo of chicagojay
    chicagojay Male 40-49
    2018 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm
    Can you give me some examples of "Equal Societies" that have not collapsed?
  14. Profile photo of RytWing
    RytWing Male 30-39
    316 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    The equal society is a myth. To use the deer analogy, either all the deer die or all the wolves die to make everyone equal. Does that sound natural?
    It seems the analogy is flawed. If either side dies out the other will eventually follow.
  15. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm
    Yeah, this is about as reliable as a weather simulator
  16. Profile photo of OldOllie
    OldOllie Male 60-69
    15844 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 11:07 pm
    Well, at least they managed to prove why our space program has turned to $#!+. "Well, we don`t have a manned space program anymore, and we have to suck Russian dick to get a ride to the ISS, but at least we have Global Warming fraud and Muslin outreach...oh, yeah, and this Marxist bull$#!+!
  17. Profile photo of Sleepyhallow
    Sleepyhallow Male 50-59
    1983 posts
    March 20, 2014 at 11:30 pm
    I`ve been saying this for years, the greed of the obscenely wealthy will lead to the destruction of our nation.
    When they are willing to walk over the bodies of those who are the victims of their greed, there is nothing that will save us.
  18. Profile photo of toeachhisown
    toeachhisown Male 50-59
    418 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 1:12 am
    Communism will save us!!
  19. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3380 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 4:47 am
    I don`t believe the moderates want Socialism. In my opinion I think people believe Capitalism is flawed. We like Capitalism we just want it to be a bit moral. To factor in people. Why can`t the system be changed any? I refuse to believe we can`t "fix" Capitalism and make it better.
  20. Profile photo of patchouly
    patchouly Male 40-49
    4746 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 6:49 am
    normalfreak2:
    "I don`t believe the moderates want Socialism. In my opinion I think people believe Capitalism is flawed. We like Capitalism we just want it to be a bit moral. To factor in people. Why can`t the system be changed any? I refuse to believe we can`t "fix" Capitalism and make it better."
    -------

    This.
  21. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 7:36 am
    We want capitalism to give us the chance to succeed, and we want socialism to catch us if we fail.

    Not a bad arrangement, really, when done in the right balance.
  22. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 7:46 am
    Regards income inequality:

    Speaking only from my own view, I feel thusly: as long as I am not struggling, I don`t mind someone else having more than me.

    If this is a common view, perhaps there is a "floor" of wealth level, beneath which a person`s resentment builds for those above, and above which they`re more content. I imagine the poverty line acts as that floor.

    And you can kinda see how it`d make sense. With cars as an example:

    Bob can`t afford a car.
    Bill has a £1000 car.
    Brian has a £50,000 car.

    In raw figures, you could think that Bill would resent Brian more than Bob resents Bill, as the gap in wealth is greater. But I would say that Bob`s resentment would be higher, because he`s excluded from the car world completely. Bill`s car might not be luxury, but it sure beats walking.
  23. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 7:51 am
    So...I dunno. I`m thinking out loud here.

    Maybe my analogy would have been better with food. If you`re starving, by hell you`re going to resent and envy a man eating a cheap burger. But if you`re the man eating the cheap burger, you`re not going to be anywhere near as upset that someone else is eating lobster.

    I`m struggling to express this idea. Is there a recognised actual "thing" of this? It`s got to be a theory somewhere with a nice interesting Wikipedia article about it.
  24. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:18 am
    @Musuko42: "So...I dunno. I`m thinking out loud here...Is there a recognised actual "thing" of this?`

    As far as I can tell you`re describing economic Utilitarianism. Most web-sites depict it as the level of "usefulness," Yet a Util is a measurement of satisfaction in general.

    To give an example, say you want a candy bar, so lets assign it a util value of 5. But then I offer you another candy bar right after you finish the first one. You want it but not quite as bad as the first one, so lets say 4 to make it easy. Well I just keep giving you another and another candy bar after you finish the one previous until eventually you don`t want a candy bar anymore, so the util value would be 0, it may even make you feel sick to think about eating another so it would be like -1. This is a microeconomic example
  25. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3380 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:32 am
    in the previous Minimum wage thread this is the issue I have with posters like Andrew, Humanaction, Cajun, Crakrjak and the other clearly right leaning economics thinkers. They think (correct me if I`m being wrong here), that socialist want to kill Capitalism altogether and implement a Socialism style economy. It feels as if their arguments are acting like people in power want to get rid of it altogether. I don`t personally believe that`s the case at all.

    The other thing is (ANdrew15 or HumanAction, if you read this) do you see nothing wrong with how Capitalism works when you introduce humans to the equation? Also do you not see anyway to improve it at all? The reason I ask this is we as a species keep getting better, do you think Capitalism is the best economy we can ever develop?
  26. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:35 am
    Ok, now on a macroeconomic scale things start to fall apart, here`s the problem. You offer everyone a candybar. But immediately not everyone is at a Util value of 5. Some people don`t prefer this candy bar, some hate candy bars, some people like them but they have an allergy and it poses a risk to them, etc. So immediately everyone can`t reach the same level of satisfaction, in fact your torturing some people who get sick thinking about candy bars. So the idea, exactly as you had posed, economics attempts to bring the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

    Now ever since the book "The Leviathan" was written by Hobbs people have been attempting to find the correct mixture of utilitarianism.

    This is the well that all modern economic theories derive their source from everything from Communism to Capitalism.
  27. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3380 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:35 am
    I do not believe Capitalism is the best we can do. No one should starve, no one should be "poor" Everyone deserves to exploit the same advantages as anyone else. I agree we need to have some sort of reward for doing well but I believe we need to change what we all think the minimum should be. A place to live, food on the table, a means of transportation, the ability to retire comfortably, and guarenteed healthcare. I think everyone deserves this at the very least.
  28. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:36 am
    @normalfreak2: "that socialist want to kill Capitalism altogether and implement a Socialism style economy."


    No, not at all but hold up a sec let me finish utility with Musuko42.
  29. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3380 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:41 am
    Could society and the economy stand if everyone made at least $50,000 a year and Keeping prices the same?

    I guess the better question is how do you legislate greed out of Capitalism? I do believe in having too much. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Koch Brothers, all have way too much money. How do you balance that?
  30. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:50 am
    @Musuko42: Here is the wiki you asked for on the different forms of Utilitarianism and the mathematical proofs of Utility. It sounds like from what you said earlier...

    "We want capitalism to give us the chance to succeed, and we want socialism to catch us if we fail."

    ...you`d favor Keynesian economics, or "demand side economics," as opposed to Supply sided economics. Keynesian economics has many flaws, I would say to you without going too much detail, it can be just a destructive as laissez-faire capitalism and can put an economy in places it can`t recover from if used for too long.
  31. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:50 am
    @richanddead

    Utilitarianism sounds about right.

    It does make me think about something else: if you were the candy-bar maker, you`d much prefer 100 people with $1 each than 99 people with $0 and 1 person with $100.

    The value thing, though. I`d say in a lot of ways the value difference between 0 and 1 is a lot more meaningful than, say, between 49 and 50, if those numbers represent things like, say, food.

    A man with 1 "food" is 100% richer than a man with 0 food. Whereas someone with 50 food is only marginally richer than someone with 49. Also, the man with 0 food is starving, whilst everyone with 1 or more is not.

    Kinda brings me back to the car thing.
  32. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:53 am
    @Musuko42: hold on let me address, @normalfreak2 first.
  33. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:58 am
    @richanddead

    Looks like I`ve got some good reading ahead, thank you!

    I suspect a lot of the technical nuances will be lost on me.

    Is it entirely possible that, paradoxically, the only stable long-term economic system is one of constant change?

    It certainly seems to be that way with the social element of our civilisation. Societies that are in a constant state of change, like ours, thrive, whereas those that attempt to stay fixed and unchanging, like North Korea and various other totalitarian regimes, struggle and/or fail.
  34. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 8:59 am
    @richanddead

    "@Musuko42: hold on let me address, @normalfreak2 first."

    Relax. I`m just passing time, and you owe me nothing. :)
  35. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 9:13 am
    "do you see nothing wrong with how Capitalism works when you introduce humans to the equation? Also do you not see anyway to improve it at all? "

    Ok, your issue is more in the weeds. Firstly there have been multiple forms of capitalism not just one. You have Agrarian capitalism, Mercantilism capitalism, Industrial capitalism, Globalization capitalism, Keynesianism, which I mentioned earlier, Neoliberalism capitalism also known as Supply side economics. Socialism has just as many different forms as well. With out going into philosophy of language, I`ll just say it`s possible to have capitalism and socialism together.

    Ok, but here is there point. Socialism is a method of artificially spreading out ownership via a governing body of some sort. It is often done to ease burdens on individuals or consolidating power to the governing body by spreading out effects to a more macro level.
  36. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 9:22 am
    "Socialism is a method of artificially spreading out ownership via a governing body of some sort"

    But surely capitalism is no less "artificial": the entire concept of exchange of goods and services in a structured way, and also the idea of property (rather than posessions), all seem pretty artificial to me, when you compare with what wild animals get up to.
  37. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 9:24 am
    (I`m taking a definition I saw recently, which I understand might not be accurate: a posession is something you have by virtue of being able to defend yourself, whereas property is something that you have by communal agreement on who owns what).
  38. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 9:36 am
    Yet this comes at a cost, because the market is being artificially manipulated by forces other than simply the supply and demand, it creates inefficiencies in how goods are valued and traded.

    As small amount of waste is fine, infact it is inevitable. Yet because governments are often in charge of manipulating the market, very often politics becomes the main goal not market regularity. This can be a mammoth block to efficiency and can create some pretty horrible scenarios.

    I`m sure you`ve seen your fill of graphs showing this effect so how about some examples. In the 70`s the government enacted what is known as a "price ceiling" for gas. The idea was that the price of gas would not rise beyond a certain level and thereby always allowing people to have cheap gas. Although because prices were not at equilibrium the local gas station had to sell the gas to who ever got their first. This resulted in huge shortages and long lines, just as was predicted by supply s
  39. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 9:48 am
    ...sided economists. You also have other inefficiencies as corruption is elevated as people steal gas from each other or horde gas for later.

    When we have no price ceiling and the prices of gas fluctuate depending on the gas station, you`re willing to pass over one in favor of one thats a few cents cheaper. Or perhaps you`re util value is greater if your able to save time because you`re late for work and so you go to the higher priced gas station. This is how markets should work at equilibrium.



  40. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 10:12 am
    Now i agree OPEC is a problem, it`s a global cartel. So it is crazy hard to stop them and, in addition, all the ways you`d stop a monopoly or cartel result in major economic harm to people. With the small exception that one party decides to suddenly stop and start competing again instead of colluding with its peers. Yet Game theory tells us that this would likely only result in short term gains and is not a overall long term strategy for the individual company. And to be fair, this is one of the problems that capitalism does not adequately address until new efficient technology is created.

    Yet it is a problem in with industrialization in general, there are some things you would just need gigantic amounts of money to enter into. This are called natural monopolies, things like oil companies, electric companies, airline companies, etc. You`d need to be a billionaire just to enter into the market and this is where your rich people enter into.
  41. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 10:59 am
    The super rich can enter and break these cartels if they have the resources to enter the market and wish to compete or by funding new technologies that compete with monopolies or cartels. One example I can think of is George Westinghouse who helped Tesla prevail over Edison and J.P. Morgan. Tesla tried suggesting his idea to Edison but Edison refused him. If Tesla had not got the funding he needed in sufficient amounts from Westinghouse, it`s possible we`d only have DC power today and never even known Tesla even existed.

    Plus there are more common reasons, the rich are major investors in our companies. If you attempt to control their wealth they will simply move elsewhere with their money, as France realized. If America did the same thing companies would move out of America, the rich would move out or relocate their money to more favorable markets, unemployment would increase, the stock market would definitely be majorly negatively affected, and middle-class
  42. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 11:34 am
    ...people would also feel it in things like their ira accounts, housing prices, mortgage and interest rates on their loans just to name a few effects.

    I can understand that you feel that they have too much. But there`s not a finite amount of money in the world, so them being rich does not mean someone else has to be poor. The "top 1%" are making the vast bulk of their money in the stock market. When Twitter went online people made billions in seconds flat. In the stock market, you can double your money in less than two years if you know what your doing. Not everyone can buy multiple $500 stocks or know how to invest, so the wealthy very often get wealthier at a faster rate. You and I are making them vastly wealthier just by using google or twitter.

    And just if you`re interested (NUGT) and (DUST), they are two low cost stocks that feed off each other. When one goes up the other goes down, you can make a decent amount of money on them right now.
  43. Profile photo of Musuko42
    Musuko42 Male 18-29
    2850 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm
    @richanddead

    "so them being rich does not mean someone else has to be poor"

    I`m nowhere near informed enough about economics to question you on that, so I`m happy to accept your statement.

    I think, though, the issue many people might have with the rich isn`t "you`re making people poor", but more "why aren`t you helping those people out of poverty, when you are most empowered to do so?"

    It`s like if Superman just spent all his time kicking back and doing nothing. Mega-wealth is pretty much a superpower in its own right. And the whole "with great power..." thing.

    Whether that`s right or not, I don`t know.
  44. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm
    Back on point...

    If our goal is to end hunger then we need to look at who is hungry and how we can get the largest number of people fed. This issue has to do with politics, not wealth redistribution, we produce enough food to feed the world. How do we get the food to people, with out killing their incentive, or simply helping the governments that are starving them.

    Ok now Musuko42 sorry I took so long.
  45. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    @Musuko42: Ok I`m running out of time but I`ll try to answer you I`ll be back to this post later so check in with it if I stop.

    When I use the word "artificial" it is meant to describe an outside force taking control of the market to force it in a way that it does not intend to go "naturally" or at the point of equilibrium where supply and demand meet.


    I take your point about they spend more on charity. But the point of a market is not charity it is running a market to the maximum efficiency. Charity is more of a individual choice, although at least in America we offer tax incentives to make the rich contribute to charity. That is often why we are the most charitable, although we like to attribute it to our character, it`s how our tax laws are written.

    Yet the same could be said about you and I. We both are far richer than most people in this world. We
  46. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    are among the top 10% on earth. If we have $109 each, we have more than the Zimbabwean finance ministry reported that they had in 2013, they only had $217 in their treasury. Real poverty exists, but creating waste in our markets, I just don`t believe it helps the situation. I totally take your point though.

    My family has just got here, so I need to go but I promise I will respond to any of your questions. I don`t know all the answers but I can tell you what my textbooks tell me.

    Before I go I just want to say you have made a real impact on me with your temperament, it`s a real testament to your intelligence and character, I will remember you for it, kudos.


  47. Profile photo of chicagojay
    chicagojay Male 40-49
    2018 posts
    March 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm
    I think richanddead has something to say
  48. Profile photo of Stonecoast
    Stonecoast Male 30-39
    42 posts
    March 22, 2014 at 11:08 am
    the "wolf/Deer" analogy is fun and all, but generally wrong. The apex predator doesn`t lead the collapse, it`s another population that is wiped out by a bad winter or a rampant disease. The author wants that mental image of the rich predatory wolves wiping out the poor, defenseless deer. It`s a ploy for the uneducated.

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