• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Fair Share Economics

 
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
122
forest garden solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Every Hour each worker produces a $50 widget from $35 of inputs. Effectively making $15/hr or 30% ish profit margin
Now following the 80/20 rule (80/20 = 8/2 = 4/1), we have 4 workers selling their $50 widget to a team leader for $200 collectively ($50 times 4 workers)
The Team Leader now takes that 4 wideget at $200 and add a 30% profit margin ($260) for himself making $60/hr
4 Team Leader now collectively sell their 16 widget (4 X 260 = $1040) to a mid managemen person
Each mid-management person takes said 16 widgets ($1040) and adds a 30% profit margin and sells it to upper magement for $1350
The mid management person now makes $312/hr (1350-1040)
You can check the chart above to see how much each person above makes at each level, but the trend continues
But it continues to the point where a owner with his 4 companies and 4 CEO are making a large sum of money. You migh be asking why does this investor owner have 4 companies, its because he has a system that works and he has done it 4 times successfully

You might think to yourself I see how the worker took the raw material+electricity/etc and added some value by creating something but what did the Owner add to the company to get his 30% profit. What did the team leader add to the bottom worker to get his 30% profit, etc, etc
Work.png
[Thumbnail for Work.png]
Reseller
 
steward
Posts: 4095
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
1200
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Livingston wrote:I rather like your idea of communalism Joseph and would join such a group here if I could and do my best to encourage such activity where I live.



Around here, it's not about joining a group. It's about what mindset you bring to your interactions with others... For example, when I take vegetables to the farmer's market, am I making money? Or operating a food pantry? Or am I being fed by the food pantry? I often leave market with eggs, meat, cheese, bread, beverages, medicinals, and veggies that I didn't grow. I didn't buy them, or swap for them. They just show up, so I say thank you. Then gift them to others during market, or make stops on the way home to distribute them to those that need them more than I.

Sure at my market we have the Yankee businessman that counts every radish that he sells, but mostly we have a communitarian outlook towards life. In my valley, those two economic systems are peacefully co-existing.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
93
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Livingston wrote:Todd
A couple of clarifications
Firstly yup its possible to make money starting a business and yes Elron Musk does quite well and is no doubt a hard working chap  as I have no doubt your archery chap is :-) but a small question how many businesses are started each year in the USA and what % survive five years I admit I don't know and have no idea how to find out maybe you are aware of similar stats ?
As for things concrete the Panama papers along with other recent world wide scandals involving Tax evasion are real although strangely hardly reported in the press considering the amounts involved . Yes I am emotional because I am bloody angry .
You say you get your info from the IRS how do they know how much is defrauded evaded stolen etc etc logically they would be the last folks to know :-)
I rather like your idea of communalism Joseph and would join such a group here if I could and do my best to encourage such activity where I live.

David



David,

I don't know how many businesses fail.  I do know that if you offer a service or product people want at a price they can afford, you have a much better chance to make it than most.  It isn't a pipe dream, it's real and I know because I did it.

I understand there are scandals and people that are greedy and only care about making a dollar at any expense.  I just don't agree that you can point at everyone that makes a lot of money and say they are destroying the earth or paying people slave wages.  Most of America is middle class, and most Americans work for someone, so in my mind these people are not being abused by the person that owns the company.  Anyone that thinks they are being taken advantage of is welcome to start their own business or get a different job.  Any time you say something like that, someone will say "it's not that easy".  No one said it was easy and no one is entitled to a free ride.  When I started my business, I worked many more hours than when I worked for someone else.  The risk of starting a business is real, as are the profits if you work hard and offer someone a good product or service for a fair price.  If you want to make what a CEO makes, start a business, work your ass off, and do it.  Feel free to treat people as well as you like.  There is no rule that says you can only make money by lying, cheating, stealing, and robbing people.  I'm certain the IRS doesn't know how much money is being hidden, but they do know that the top 1% pay 50% of the taxes.

I love it that I live in a country where I can work for someone, start my own business, or turn my back on all of it and live as Joseph chooses to.  Make no mistake, those are choices.  Joseph is happy with his and I am happy with mine.  The people that aren't happy are the ones that, as the Russian saying goes "Sit on the couch and spit at the ceiling and expect things to change".  
 
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that most everyone could take a lesson or two from visiting Joseph's L's community/neighbors.  Sharing directly, as well as other forms like voluntary work and redistribution are a massive part of the change that needs to happen if the stagnation and degeneration of capitalism's potential is going to be reversed.  Figuring out the specifics of this might be quite complicated, but I think it is possible.  The problem is that the very wealthy will generally never admit that the problem exists and  they have the power (through lobbying politicians, for buying votes or political directions through political donations, or through allies in the media which influences most other people) to keep the system working just as it is.      

The basis of the word economy is the management of a house's affairs, or the affairs of a cluster of houses.  People can extrapolate that to mean a community, which can then be taken further to mean the greater ecological community that supports it, and thus up the chain to the Earth which in the end is simply a cluster of habitats for all living beings, who interact and exchange far more than we can possibly comprehend on a moment by moment basis.  

When we get into the basic foundation of permaculture and the ethics and take it as far as it will go we see this holistic view of things.  

The problem with capitalism, as David pointed out eloquently is not that capital is earned and that people gain wealth from it, it is that the greater economic system that is presently called capitalism is built upon something that is actually avarice.  

Lori's comments (though perhaps less eloquent considering her obvious commitment and subsequently dissected by Todd) are pointing out this basic (avarice based) injustice and demand/create some form of reform to make capitalism actually work for everybody.  A flat tax was agreed upon by her.  

Todd seems to believe that the system does in fact benefit anybody who has initiative, which I think is true (and has been in my personal experience as well), but the fact that there is no penalty for those who abuse the system by taking the initiative to capitalize upon others and the environment on so many levels on the top end is somehow never addressed by this point of view or the simple fact that I share with Todd.  

I believe that while there are lazy people on the low end of the spectrum, our current very spoiled western society has a huge volume of lazy people in the lower, middle and upper class, and also many in the elite.  That is a function of the form of decadence that is crippling western and wealthy global societies, and is shouldered by a teetering Goliath of an enormous debt, which further makes this system so incredibly unstable.  When David casts that stone, the chips may fall pretty hard indeed, for those who are unprepared; the lazy on all levels will have no choice but to step out of it, or die.  

The poor (especially the extreme poor) however, have the added problem that they often do not have access to the means to step out of it without a great deal more initiative than it takes for someone born into a higher station.  I've worked with people on the street, and at risk Indigenous youth who were born into cycles of poverty and abuse that are multi-generational, that most of us can not even imagine.  Some of the people on the street, or in the camps I worked in, or were close to living on the street and were at the food bank, however were not lazy people at all; they were the victim of circumstance, flat out, full stop.  Most had held full time jobs and a decent income before befalling some sort of hardship (marital, financial, health, injury, racial injustice, workplace harassment/degradation...)  The more stories I heard, the more empathy I had for the station of life.  

The fact that some lazy people may have inherited great wealth, while other lazy people are born into abject poverty, or in a low income level, makes it hard to figure out why it is that we only look at the poor as being lazy.   Some are born lazy but because of their extreme position in society's upper echelons they are also born with a veritable direct access line to high quality education and mentorship while others struggle to have any adequate support in these regards because they were born in a lower economic or social spectrum.

It often comes down to education, as Dale eluded to in one of his posts, but also opportunity.   The wealth divide is growing.  To have the opportunity presented on a silver platter, or to pick through the trash to find stuff to sell just to get enough food to think of the next step in the day (a safe place to sleep), is quite a disparate set of realities.  But globally, when we look at extreme wealth and extreme poverty, we see that these very emotional and literal images are indeed the theater that we are witnessing and it is based on the extreme capitalism that is avarice, and not upon the entrepreneurship that is given in positive examples of capitalism's merits.  To equate them does no justice whatsoever to any argument; they are two very different things. Avarice is like a wolf cloaked in the fleece.  The rest of those in the flock are being preyed upon while thinking that the system (the sheep flock) is a group of peers with equal access to all.  The wolf would not have it any other way.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
93
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Roberto,  I agree with much of what you said.  My thoughts differ in a couple of areas.  With regards to homeless people, or the people that are nearly homeless, I disagree in general terms with the idea that becoming homeless "happens" to people in most cases.  They are cases surely where it happened exactly as you said.  Some catastrophe struck, and someone lost everything.  I think statistics would bear out that those people are rarely homeless for long.  Most groups that work with the homeless will tell you that the vast majority, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent, or even higher, suffer from mental illness and/or drug and alcohol addiction.  I don't point that out to say that it is their fault or anything of the like, or that those people don't need help.  I point it out only to refute the statement that is sometimes made that any significant portion of homeless people are regular working Joes (and Josephines) that had some hardship befall them and found themselves homeless.  It just doesn't happen very often.

I would also question the notion that "we only look at the poor as being lazy".  I certainly don't, and I don't believe the stereotype of the spoiled, lazy rich kid came from nowhere.  It simply doesn't matter to me, because by and large, the lazy rich kid will be coddled and pampered by his rich parents, so I don't have to pay for him.  On the other hand, the poor, lazy kid, I do.

I will agree that the people born into wealthy families have real, measurable advantages over those of us that weren't.  I refuse to follow that thought down the path that says those of us that aren't rich are sheep being preyed upon by wolves, and we are too simple to know it.  I know too many people that came from nothing that have very good standards of living.  Some are even what most people would consider rich.  The people I personally know that are wealthy didn't use or abuse anyone on their way up, and they don't do so now that they "made it".  They worked harder and smarter and took risks others weren't willing to take.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
122
forest garden solar
  • Likes 1 Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If Bob only has access to $80,000 and he gets a return of 30% or $24,000 he will be homeless and lazy and qualify for welfare, etc
However if I have access to $10,000,000 and I get a return of 30% or 3million dollars, I will be rich and hard working and will not qualify for welfare.

The truth is that Bob probably worked harder, his network of advisers was tiny he had to re-invent the entire wheel and learn and do everything from scratch by himself.

Now I dont think that the rich is making 400% profit on their money and that the avg guy is only making 1%. In reality they are both making 30% ish.
The difference is that the avg guy has to use all/most of his 30% profit of $24,000 to pay rent/gas money every year. So his compound interest on re-investment is tiny.
But even if he could re-invest all/most of his 30% interest. He will forever be behind the other guy who is also making 30% interest of 3million on 10million. Even though they are both putting in the same amount of work and they are both equally successfully at 30% one was simple born into more money.

I know some of you are thinking, anyone can win the lottery and anyone can be the next bill gates. the fact is that compared the US population of 300million there has been very very few Billl Gates and also very few lottery winners. And I am not counting the $30,000 lottery winner or the $30,000/year self-employed person.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
240
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Robert and Todd
I too spent many years working with homeless people and for many it's another symptom of something else rather than an issue it's self . But it's a real thing and needs to be delt with yes some folks can get themselves out of it but many need some temporary or even long term help to do so .
Todd you mention taking a risk and you know lots of successful folks who took a risk including yourself  Since you acknowledge it's a risk I assume you accept that sometimes risks fail . Is it possible you don't know these folks because their risk failed ? Their judgement of what was a good product or fair price for thier work did not match market expectation . They are not around for you to meet they live outside
your social circle.
As for me I work for change and part of that change is helping out here on Permies :-) I don't give as much of my time or veggies as  Joseph but my some of my time and not a small amount of my veggies end up with local causes.
A man approached the prophet Mohammed and asked " how do I persuade others to become to become a Muslim ? " the prophet replied " by being a good Muslim " I think the same applies to permaculure and socialism . I find to two compatable and complimentary .

Good Day and peace everyone

David

 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
122
forest garden solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can agree that the super rich 20% of the population that has 80% of the US wealth also pays 80% of the taxes.
I can also agree that the super poor is getting "free" money from the super rich.

But I really dont believe that a family of 4 that has 2kids and they make $75,000 is paying for for the poor family.
Family Income =$75,000
2kid Public Education expense = $30,000 (2x$15,00)
Expense for Military
Expense for minimal drug safety from FDA
Expense for other non-welfare government expense that

So unless said family that make $75,000 is paying more than $30,000+ in taxes, I am going to have to say ........

In fact most of the families that make $75,000 is actually getting free services from the government.
The point where you can start saying that you put in more than you take out of the government is when you are at the 50% of tax payer which would make you in the top 1% of USA.

Heck even if we cut out all welfare program and cut taxes by 3 and only pay for an oversea military,  you would still have to be in the top 4% earner of USA and by cutting all welfare program you would now have to pay the $30,000/yr for your two kids, and pay for trash collection and prison upkeep out of pocket.
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2347
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with the mental illness and addiction crisis playing a large role in homelessness, and these are often working in tandem.  Drug addiction is, however, often the result of social or economic loss or one of the various hardships that I mentioned.  

the lazy rich kid will be coddled and pampered by his rich parents, so I don't have to pay for him.  On the other hand, the poor, lazy kid, I do.  

 True, but you do have to pay for the banks to be bailed out because they screwed up their business so badly, and that loss financially to you and your grandchildren's children is a far greater amount than you will ever pay to the poor.  

The people I personally know that are wealthy didn't use or abuse anyone on their way up, and they don't do so now that they "made it".  They worked harder and smarter and took risks others weren't willing to take.

 But this is not the avarice system that I am referring to.  That is entrepreneurship and has more to do with the true capitalism that I believe has merit.  As I said, they can not be equated.  

I refuse to follow that thought down the path that says those of us that aren't rich are sheep being preyed upon by wolves, and we are too simple to know it.

 Perhaps that was not a fair analogy on my part.  But I'll let it stand.  It has become increasingly common knowledge that the wealthy elite are preying on the greater economic needs of the population.  The extreme rich and powerful, in my opinion based on decades of observation, have created a system that functions like most large bureaucracies, in that a great deal of their energy is put into maintaining the bureaucracy or system itself, rather than what is publicly thought of as the purpose of the bureaucratic structure or the economic system in the first place (to serve a specific political or economic purpose that benefits the entire company/bureaucracy/country).  That is self serving, point blank, and those at the top (and above those that we see at the top) do everything they can to take advantage of there position to maintain and maximize this position (too much of all high end politics and business is based on this), which then has the inevitable consequence of taking advantage of the rest of society, and this includes continuing to convince society into thinking that the rest all have the same opportunities that they do if only they would get off their lazy asses.  

I currently work for a 4 billion dollar a year corporation, and so long as they are making a billion every quarter, they couldn't give a fuck about the mess that is left in the wake.  The shareholders in the company hired a consultant to see what ways the company could be more efficient.  The consultant, after auditing the entire company came up with a strategy:  Axe half of upper management, and cut the salaries of the other half in half.  The management, of course, did nothing... except make it increasingly tighter financially for us to do our job at the bottom end, while putting a huge amount of extra pressure on the lower management to make more with less.  I write this not to complain but to give a concrete example of how this all works.    

The extreme wealthy elite that I am talking about have no relationship economically with the entrepreneurs you are mentioning other than the fact that the latter have gained a measure of wealth through capital ventures.          


A song by one of my favorite country/folk artists:

Scott Cook:  The Good Lord Giveth, and the Landlord Taketh Away:

It's a fine line 'tween making ends meet and sleeping in the rain
Broke down and wishing you were back on that 8am train
Seems like the screw keeps tightening every single day
The Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Well, they'll sell you a dream, loan you the money for a house
And it don't matter if you can't make the payments when all the jobs head South
See, they bet on both sides, so they win either way
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
And the first hit's free, but after that you gotta pay
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Well, they say there's a crisis, every TV's talking about
How the same folks who got us into this need us to bail them out
Guess when you're too big to fail, it means you're too big to pay
Ain't it clever how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Big men got big plans, big plans only expand
They got no friends, only interests, little men are pawns in their hands
And they send them to fight for reasons that aren't what they say
Poor boys don't you know, the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
Everybody gets a cut, and the newsmen just look the other way
While the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

They been writing up laws for as long as they been stealing the land
Make it so convoluted that ordinary folks can't understand
And it's a grim reminder every year on Columbus Day
Of just how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
It's just bottom lines and lines on the map, people affected get no say
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away



 
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
93
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Livingston wrote:
Todd you mention taking a risk and you know lots of successful folks who took a risk including yourself  Since you acknowledge it's a risk I assume you accept that sometimes risks fail . Is it possible you don't know these folks because their risk failed ? Their judgement of what was a good product or fair price for thier work did not match market expectation . They are not around for you to meet they live outside
your social circle.



Of course it's a risk.  I have started businesses that I would consider a "failure".  I consider it a failure if, after giving it a fair amount of time and energy, I'm still not making an amount of money that makes it worthwhile.  That has happened to me on two notable occasions.  I called it a loss and moved on.

As far as my "social circle", you would laugh at that if you knew me better.  My social circle mostly consists of my girlfriend and our dogs, cats, and chickens.  I have a lot of acquaintances but I don't really spend any time around people.  The people I do socialize with are usually lower to middle class.  As I said, I earn a comfortable living but no one would ever mistake me for rich or even "well-off".  My wardrobe is jeans and work boots with long sleeve t-shirts that I buy on the internet by the dozen.  My weekends find me working on my land or experimenting with solar heaters, biochar, compost and the like.  

I guess I only really engage in discussions like this one because I'm so tired of everyone talking about how bad we "the working class" have it.  I believe my successes and failures are my own doing, not the fault of some nameless elite whose only goal is to keep me down.  I'm grateful that I have the choices I have.  I can work at 2 jobs if I want to so I have more money, or I can turn my back on that and live like Joseph chooses to.  I can start a business doing pretty much anything I want, or I can work for minimum wage at a job with next to no responsibility.  I can even just sit around feeling sorry for myself and lamenting the fact that someone else has more than I do.  Regardless of what I choose, I acknowledge that it is my choice, and my choice alone.
 
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David's point is very important. If the listed taxes are so much, who has more power to hide their taxes? We have no idea what their real income is.

The biggest problem I see is not that a poor person couldn't possibly become prosperous. They can.  

Elon Musk says work 100 hours a week. Does that make you a good father/mother? Kind, compassionate person? Good citizen. Good friend?You are robbing the rest of your life for your greed.  Good way to die early of auto immune disease from all the tension.  How could you possible cook at home in this scenario?

The biggest problem is that the inequality institutes huge numbers of social problems that we have a hard time seeing. This is extremely well documented. Divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, child abuse homelessness, Govt. Secrecy.  When the rich have all the power, they don't have to follow the rules. They can break the rules, make Citizens United, stack the supreme court illegally, and create a future of problems for our country. Is this what we want for our culture?

The culture becomes one of perpetual greed. Alberto Gonzalez can be accepted as a poor Latino boy by the BUshes as long as he is useful to their story. Then they throw him away.  

What will the rich do with all their money? Paris Hilton doesn't have to pay estate taxes, so she snorts cocaine all night long, crashes Mercedes,  Shops in Paris, parties, and never has to show up for a job.  

THey get tax write offs for donating to non-profits that ensure rich people don't have to pay taxes? It's a vicious circle.

In Europe, a poor person has a much better chance of having a prosperous life, mostly because the health care is not run for profits by BIg Pharma and college doesn't make you go bankrupt.

The terrible thing about democratic socialism is that in infers that families and people are valuable.  In the US, greed is much more valued.
John S
PDX OR
 
Posts: 136
Location: Zimbabwe
46
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I must say, this is one of the most interesting threads I have read.
I think the world has gross inequalities that could be avoided if greed, and the hunger for power could be eliminated or at least managed in some way. I don't think that it is possible to completely get rid of societal inequalities, but I do believe it could be better.
If we genuinely care for the people and the earth, it then becomes easier for "fair share economics" to exist. Fair share is not necessarily handing down hard earned income to a poor person who spends the day lounging around doing nothing. It is being responsible enough to use what one has, without intentionally affecting the other negatively, and then being able to discern whether it is necessary to just give a person assistance without expecting much profit in return, or, being able to create an opportunity that enables money to circulate, helping a number of people, for profit, and if there is still excess, I see no reason why one should not enjoy life's luxuries.
For the less privileged, the responsibility comes in the willingness to earn a living in order to be more stable and possibly rich, if it is a goal one is striving for. Being humble enough to ask for help and realizing that there is a lot more, one can offer constructively in exchange for money, van go a long way.  Different backgrounds and opportunities sometimes allow some people to have wealth without necessarily having worked hard for it, which is not a crime, and some people become poor because of some calamities beyond their control. So sometimes blaming each other for the status quo, is in itself unfair.
When I look at money, it is not the end, but a means to an end. We do not 'eat' money so it cannot be a consumable, but the way it can be scarce (maybe debatable depending on where a person lives), you would think this is the commodity we all are after and it runs out from time to time. Closely looking at it, money mostly makes it easier to access things, but without a true connection with people around, you can only enjoy the benefits of money to a certain extent. It explains the reason why consumerism is getting more deep rooted. I think when there is something of true value lacking in one's life, the tendency is to want to hoard more and more money because of the illusion that if you get as much as possible all will be alright. The fear of loosing the plenty of money one accrues, can lead to insecurities that makes care for the people less of a priority. On the flip side, the misconception that, the reason why the rich are rich is because they are thieves, results into the poor not putting enough effort to make better their situation.
Maybe acknowledging that we have different sicial classes is only normal but defining our actions by social status will not help. If I decide to be honest, hardworking...etc, it should be like that irregardless of how much money I get, or not and it would help if I would give the next person the benefit of doubt, in how responsible they are. As long as there is suspicion on how the other person in a different social class behaves, then it will be difficult to truly care and fairness ceases.  
We have enough to go round, but this might be difficult to wrap one's mind around, with the way things are set up currently.
 
pollinator
Posts: 168
Location: Manila
29
cooking solar urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good discussion here. I myself am no longer interested in what differentiates system of economies, ideologies or philosophies from each other as they are all human and have their pros and cons. I wonder what 'ISM' takes and when we can achieve this:


Toby Hemmenway's talk in 2014 from Permaculture Voices also reminded me of something I read back in the nineties (summarized here):

Todd Parr wrote:nearly every time I hear "redistribute", it means "theft"... you remove the incentive from the guy that had 20 dollars to go earn another 20 if you are just going to take it anyway.  Sharing with others is a virtue and I believe strongly in it, but by definition, sharing means someone giving something to someone else, not someone taking something from me against my will and giving it to someone I did not choose to give it to.

Unfortunately today, the concentration of wealth is is the hands of individuals who didn't EARN it - so should everything be redistributed, it won't be 'theft'.
 
John Suavecito
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Excellent post, Pusang.
The ideology here in the US pushes the idea that we have fair economics here. Everybody has an equal chance.
Our elections aren't even fair.  They are auctions. The recently changed Supreme Court declared that you can spend as much money as you want on the elections, and no one can stop you.
Noam Chomsky has shown that through the media, the industrial elite makes us work more hours and convinces us that we need to work 65 hours a week to buy tons of stuff.  
Who has the money to spend millions on advertising? Not average people. No one advertises for family time, eating vegetables, growing a garden or learning how to play an instrument.
As long as we're focused on materialism, we won't notice that corporations spend way more money on elections than all the non-profits combined.  What do they work for?
Fewer regulations, lower taxes, allowing more pollution, convincing us that GMO and synthetic agriculture are great, necessary and harmless. That way, we don't complain that
the system doesn't work for us.  We are programmed to save up our money all our life to spend all of it on the remaining 10 years of our life on the Big Pharma/medical system, to give it all up until we die.  
It's a form of programmed slavery to materialism.  As long as they control the media, they can keep telling us to keep up the rat race, keep them in charge, and make sure we don't question the dominant paradigm.
John S
PDX OR
 
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
36
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Douglas, re: 'Fair Share', I remember an actual company, Licoln Electric IIRC, that did operate this way in the real current world... every employee got a basic minimal income and a guaranteed job... the profit was divied evenly among employees, when it was tallied at the end of the year.  Employee pay would vary with the business' success... the number of employees didn't vary with the amount of profit or loss.
 
And, re: the basics of human nature, this might be interesting (note - in 1989, and poster claims to not be a right winger)
http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Plus, per David Graeber's 'Debt', humans (albeit in small groups) operated on a (apparently successful :)  'mutual obligation' economic system, ala potlach, etc, for millenia, prior to Adam Smith, et al.  (Even Smith excoriated monopolies.)  You could call it 'redistribution'... but it was back and forth circulation, not just from 'below' to the 'above', as now.

For the history of capitalism, see 'The Empire of Cotton'... war, colonialism and slavery provided the 'capital accumulation' that birthed the 'Greed System".

(Personally, right now, I would like universal health care, free public college (as currently chosen by most every other 'advanced' 'democratic' society) and universal basic income.  I think it would provide basic security, and free many of us to pursue what we were put here to do, including getting rich :)  ....ok, let the arrows fly!!  
 
Rufaro Makamure
Posts: 136
Location: Zimbabwe
46
greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
“earth care, people care and fair share”.  

My experience has proven we underestimate the importance of these three, I will share my life from finishing my education up to date.

I finished university and was one of the very lucky ones to get a job, as unemployment was at above 80%-90%. I got a good paying job, and I was on contract. From early on I was interested in food stability and now that I had my own money, I decided to first build on a personal income generating project, around food stability and then buy comforts later.


An elderly friend had a piece of land and had experience in farming but had no money, so I decided to partner with him, and we chose the staple crop, maize because of the ready market as well as its ease to grow. Using his experience and some reading on maize requirements we planted on three hectares and we made sure we bought everything directed for by conventional farming ways. What we did not have control over was the water. We relied on the rain, and things did not work to our favor, as our maize was starved of water and during drying it got soaked by water and the maize we got was not just too little but it was good enough only as stock feed, which did not cover a quarter of what we had used. I would travel overnight most Fridays, from Hwange where I worked, to Marondera where the farm was which is over 650km, I used so much money but it failed, not because I was lazy. I had a series of other failed projects, as I could only do projects that were available and known to me and the people around.


Then I bumped into a couple, Laurie and Brent from Soft Alliance Trust, and a completely different world opened. I was introduced to permaculture, I became aware of other ways of living, and definition of success apart from it being shown by the number of cars or the type, clothes label, how big one's house is...e.t.c. I realized also how financially illiterate I was (not the complex bit, the basic knowledge of living within one's means and being able to account for what comes in and what is spent). The journey has been slow but definitely progressive with most of my experiences in my thread "permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe- too little/ too much rain.


The battle was mostly on how we can get the most out of our environment while at the same time rebuilding it and creating a regenerative system. The results so far have been amazing. When we take care of the earth it gives back in abundance. I began to have hope in food availability and accessibility. You know I would read about the 'curse of abundant resources' which is a phrase I would find mostly in articles on why Africa is poor. Through my experience, it all comes down to planning and working smart. We work hard, but it is not good enough, we need to build on smart working skills, employ technology and regenerative methods and it is so much achievable.


As I write this, my country is highly unstable with demonstration, that has seen shops and all businesses being shutdown. I do not know if the demonstrations will still continue or not, but if they do, money in the pocket will mean absolutely nothing as one cannot buy anything with it (as shops will be closed). It is becoming more difficult to know whether I will be able to see my project at the plot, through to the end of the season if things remain like this.


I think people care is so much more important, it will create stable environments which will allow care of the earth easier to achieve and resource sharing as well. Throughout my adult life I do not see how my economy has worked for me and my peers. The best option has been to migrate, but I wonder how many people can be sustained in all those other better countries.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I must be missing something because I have worked for the rich, and worked for myself, but never once worked for a poor guy.
 
gardener
Posts: 2227
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
342
bee cattle chicken sheep
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I could probably say the same Travis, but can also argue against that analogy.

When i opened my business in 1999 I had $12,000 in savings. I would not call that rich. Yet people worked for me. First there was 1, then, 2. The number doubled about every year until it stabilized at 16 to 18 employees.

The only fallback i had was the ability to get a job if it failed. Failure would have meant losing that $12,000 and probably accruing $15,000 in credit card debt. Both of which i could have gotten a job to rectify if it failed.  Failure never happened.

Im describing myself, but that could be a similar story to many small businesses that are around. Construction trades, auto repair, computer repair, etc. Lots of businesses probably follow this pattern. They were probably the best plumber where they worked and went out on their own. The American dream is still alive, but its limited. An average joe is not gonna open a hardware store that requires a million in inventory and $10,000 a month in rent. It doesn't matter how good he was. That scenario is reserved for the rich. But he can take a small part of the store and specialize.  Like window screens.
 
John Suavecito
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have never worked for a rich person as far as I can remember. I have worked for organizations and even corporations, but not for a rich person.  I believe that our extreme wealth and power differential between the rich and powerful and the poor and powerless has damaged our typical work ethic. We have less social mobility than other advanced countries, and many young and poor people I talk to have given up.  They feel like the odds are stacked against them and they will always be poor, and the wealthy have concentrated their power to the extent that there is no use trying.  There is a lot of research data to back up their feelings.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Posts: 71
Location: Cape Town
16
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rufaro, it is good to hear that you are safe and well! I agree with you Fair Share is to me less about fairness but more about making the human ecosystem system work. I make soap and I market to the lower and middle class- if  were to focus on the  luxury market I would soon impoverish myself, everybody tries to get in there and competition is merciless. So I have a vested interest in fair wages since I cannot get richer than my market.  I noticed during the recent unrest in Zimbabwe the middle class could not access their cash in the bank. If there was a run on the system it would collapse, there is not enough currency in the country to meet all obligations. So the banks just closed.

In the beginning I worked hard at being self-sufficient but stopped at about 50 %. Because I realized that I would not survive if my community did not survive. Now I use my business - as and when I can afford it - as a self-funded non-profit. It is amazing how the help I extended (sometimes so long ago that I have forgotten) comes back to me. People come buy loads of soap because apparently I stretched out a helping hand to them at some point,  

What goes around comes around. That is the basic principle of permaculture. I believe it is when we apply that knowledge to human ecosystems that we will be successful. I am because you are. Positive energy into the ecosystem will sooner or later come back to you. So I give, not because it is fair but because it is wise.

We are doing what we can in South Africa to show solidarity in your current crisis, Indeed, one cannot grow gardens well when people are being shot in the streets. Bottom line: people must have enough to eat and be sheltered, else they will riot. I have heard that if current trends continue the richest 1 % will own ALL the world's assets by 2030. Obviously it is an absurd statistic, but I think it demonstrates how insane the current system of wealth distribution is.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

wayne fajkus wrote:I could probably say the same Travis, but can also argue against that analogy.

When i opened my business in 1999 I had $12,000 in savings. I would not call that rich. Yet people worked for me. First there was 1, then, 2. The number doubled about every year until it stabilized at 16 to 18 employees.

The only fallback i had was the ability to get a job if it failed. Failure would have meant losing that $12,000 and probably accruing $15,000 in credit card debt. Both of which i could have gotten a job to rectify if it failed.  Failure never happened.

Im describing myself, but that could be a similar story to many small businesses that are around. Construction trades, auto repair, computer repair, etc. Lots of businesses probably follow this pattern. They were probably the best plumber where they worked and went out on their own. The American dream is still alive, but its limited. An average joe is not gonna open a hardware store that requires a million in inventory and $10,000 a month in rent. It doesn't matter how good he was. That scenario is reserved for the rich. But he can take a small part of the store and specialize.  Like window screens.



That is a poor analogy in my opinion because a person with a repair shop is going to have significant investment in long term and intermediate assets. By that I mean they can always sell their tools (intermediate) or sell their business (long term).

As I often say, "I am poorest millionaire you ever met." I have cash flow problems right now because of my ability to earn an income, but my long term assets are pretty sound and exceed a million dollars. I have however sold off my intermediate assets like my flock of sheep and equipment, to pay bills, and stem the short term cash flow I am having issues with.

It is how the problem is viewed, you saw yourself as "poor" because all you were putting a value on, was cash-on-hand. (savings)

I think the problem is, most business people (farmers included) do not put a value on everything they have.



 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

wayne fajkus wrote:The American dream is still alive, but its limited. An average joe is not gonna open a hardware store that requires a million in inventory and $10,000 a month in rent. It doesn't matter how good he was. That scenario is reserved for the rich. But he can take a small part of the store and specialize.  Like window screens.



I have to say I have a differing opinion on this completely that leans heavy towards utter bovine pasture droppings.

The problem with American's today is their sense of entitlement and scale. I would never have thought in 10 short years I would be where I am today. NO WAY. I took $0.00 and built a legacy.

Back in 2008 we were all given a stimulus package from the government and my payout then was for $600. With it, I bought 4 sheep and fencing. At that time I had 3 acres of land, and now have hundreds of acres, many acres under wire, raised hundreds of sheep, cleared 90 acres of forest into fields, bought tractors and equipment...from NOTHING! I even went from hobby-farm, to full-time farm status after 8 years.

I know of a working dairy farm today where the owner is dying for someone to come along and just take over the farm because he has no children to hand it too. I knew of another who could have had a working dairy farm handed too him but he liked to drink too much.

Opportunities are everywhere. In fact one guy who runs a cowboy school, and owns hundreds of square miles, started out in a stockyard in Kansas buying a cow by bartering his time. Through bartering, he built his legacy. Today people do not want to do what him and I did, that is start with humble beginnings, they think they need to buy a big farm, in just the right place, with just the right soil, and just the right location... and be in debt up to their eyebrows buying it. Its plain bullshit.

In the USA you can be a full time farmer and rent your livestock, rent your pasture, rent your eqipment, rent your crop land, everything...you could rent EVERY aspect of farming and still be a full-time farmer. The problem is people do not want to do that. I had 10 people look at the house I am typing this reply in, a house and 30 acres of land, FREE...just to keep the place fixed up, and yet no takers. I finally invested $1800 into it, moved my family in, and am managing to survive just fine in one of the coldest winters in Maine to date.

DO NOT TELL ME IT CANNOT BE DONE!

What really burrs my wool is that it takes dreams away from future and potential Permie People by making them feel the rest of us someohow "made it" because we were lucky, entitled or rich. That is not the case at all. I have strived hard through 2800 posts on Permies to show that other people can do this too.
 
pioneer
Posts: 748
Location: 4b
110
bee building dog forest garden trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's very simple in my mind. There will always be people that are victims and they can't possibly succeed because X is keeping them from succeeding.  Then there are people that are successful,  because they don't believe in excuses. Success is defined by each person,  for themselves.
 
Rufaro Makamure
Posts: 136
Location: Zimbabwe
46
greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is true that it is common, for a lot of people to opt for an already established business, farm or neighborhood...e.t.c and more often than not, the hard work that is required to build anything is not appreciated. It has seen some places become isolated as many move to the nicer places, only to run down these places, because there is just not enough will power or knowledge on what it takes to create and run something successful.

I also think it is so easy to take for granted privileges we do not necessarily work for or choose, that we have, either because of location, culture, family...Maybe the majority of unsuccessful people aren't successful because they are not working hard enough or refuse to have humble beginnings, but I would like to believe this does not apply to everyone.
 
John Suavecito
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I meet a lot of people who decide their goal is to "make it".  Then they work 80 hours a week, and over time they are doing less and less of what they want.  They get to within a few years of their glorious retirement, and ask, "Is that all there is?"  Their nerves are shot, they're in terrible health. They don't have any hobbies, friends, or interests.  They are making $100, 000 a year, but they are spending $107, 000 a year.  They can't retire, they aren't considered seriously when they want to do a lower paying type of work, that would allow for more fun.  They're not connected to their families. They feel like they're too old to learn anything new, so they watch Fox News and yell at everyone who isn't like them.  

Permaculture hasn't made me money, but it has let me live a positive lifestyle, with time for friends, family, hobbies and nature.  I know other people like this too.  I saw myself heading for the earlier scenario and jumped off the ship.  Now I go swimming for fun.
John S
PDX OR
 
Trace Oswald
pioneer
Posts: 748
Location: 4b
110
bee building dog forest garden trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Saltveit wrote:I meet a lot of people who decide their goal is to "make it".  Then they work 80 hours a week, and over time they are doing less and less of what they want.  They get to within a few years of their glorious retirement, and ask, "Is that all there is?"  Their nerves are shot, they're in terrible health. They don't have any hobbies, friends, or interests.  They are making $100, 000 a year, but they are spending $107, 000 a year.  They can't retire, they aren't considered seriously when they want to do a lower paying type of work, that would allow for more fun.  They're not connected to their families. They feel like they're too old to learn anything new, so they watch Fox News and yell at everyone who isn't like them.  

Permaculture hasn't made me money, but it has let me live a positive lifestyle, with time for friends, family, hobbies and nature.  I know other people like this too.  I saw myself heading for the earlier scenario and jumped off the ship.  Now I go swimming for fun.
John S
PDX OR



It sounds like those people you are talking about suffered from poor choices more than from an unfair system.  The fact that you were doing the same and made a conscious choice to do otherwise would seem to bear that out.  
 
nancy sutton
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So many wonderful stories here... thanks to everyone!!   One of my favorite pieces of advice was:  "Make your pleasures as cheap as possible."  Now back to digging some holes...outside!... is there more fun than that ? : )
 
pollinator
Posts: 797
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
136
bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I swore off cider press, but maybe this will be of use. If it is simply a source or frustration I'll happily delete.

First, Mollison is interested in sustainability in food production and the environment. I'm good with that. It seems a natural human instict to extrapolate from one area of improvement to another. This is where we tend to overextend the metaphor. I'm not sure did (honestly I haven't gotten through his oevre), but obviously people are inclined to adopt his mantle.  

Economics (modern economics anyway) is the study of prices basically. Without the signal of a price there is no economics. Funny story that illustrates this- I had a friend 30 years ago who was an economist in the USSR. He was at the top of the game over there and was well educated. His department was asked at one point whether they should flood an entire valley for hydroelectric or keep the farmland. They were given some period of months to make their report to the central committee. They spent a huge amount of time modeling the problem, but at the end they actually flipped a coin. Without prices they had no concrete way of making a value judgement.

Most of the posts on here are about money producing a value judgement. Socialism (i.e. the state can take a portion of your surplus but doesn't dictate your labor) is a sliding scale. Some have done well and some have done terribly. Most fall in the middle. There are corrupt socialist countries and well-managed ones. This has been floated as a solution to corruption but to me it seems like a non-sequitur. Socialism is based on differential taxation and monetary equity. It is not a moral theory i.e. encompassing non-monetary outcomes, although it is reincarnated as such recently.

The issue with moral theories is measurement. How do you measure "fairness"? Equity can be measured in monetary terms, but fairness is more complex and different people can have different opinions of agreeable outcomes. There are some arguments to be made for non-monetary goods. I am a big fan of the beauty of the commons, like park spaces. Like Vladimir, how do we decide on the value of that good, or the value of clean water or maternal care or even health care! Real question, if these are not based on monetary signals, how do we agree on a value as a society? As a planet?

Not as a good/bad valuation which is a moral judgement, but in an economic judgement i.e. use this surplus for this good versus that good. Any system that leads to a coin flip is not sustainable. I don't think that was Mollison's ideal.

Trust is what allows systems like Joseph's community to flourish. This allows complex values to be reached, and it is super cool. This is not new, this was described by Mancur Olsen decades ago. Low trust systems are likely to become materially poor, higher trust systems are likely to become materially wealthy. Unfortunately trust is not created by dictat. It is an organic process. Trust is negatively correlated with diversity, and this is a huge problem societally because low trust lends to corruption and splitting into competing factions. The antidote is to have trust in things that matter, like moral outlook, and not for things that don't, like ethnicity.
 
nancy sutton
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not familiar enough with 'economic-ese' (which Galbraith said is largely deliberate obfuscation, to keep us lowlifes in the dark : ) to absorb much of Tj's presentation, but I'll just contribute David Graeber's observation ('Debt: the first 5,000 years') that our earliest 'economies' were longstanding forms of mutual obligation... based on trust, i.e., understood that your needs would be met, and you'd contribute to the needs of others.  I think this form of very basic security is important to human happiness and social equanimity, hence my interest in UBI (Universal Basic Income)... also advocated by Milton Friedman (!), Thomas Paine, et al.
 
John Suavecito
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trace Oswald-
I made choices that were radically different than the norm in American society. I don't think that means that our culture is in a supportive healthy mode right now.  The vast majority of Americans live more like my first scenario than my second one.  Our culture pushes people to do things that lead to mostly unhappy lives.  Why would our economic system create by far the most expensive health system that is the 34th most effective? Why would we lead the world in obesity, diabetes, cancer, and auto immune disease? Sociologists who have studied this cite that we are one of the richest countries, but definitely not the happiest, nor with the healthiest families.  To me, that sounds like we need to create a culture that encourages more positive, healthy things, and fewer destructive, unhealthy things.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Trace Oswald
pioneer
Posts: 748
Location: 4b
110
bee building dog forest garden trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Saltveit wrote:Trace Oswald-
I made choices that were radically different than the norm in American society. I don't think that means that our culture is in a supportive healthy mode right now.  The vast majority of Americans live more like my first scenario than my second one.  Our culture pushes people to do things that lead to mostly unhappy lives.  Why would our economic system create by far the most expensive health system that is the 34th most effective? Why would we lead the world in obesity, diabetes, cancer, and auto immune disease? Sociologists who have studied this cite that we are one of the richest countries, but definitely not the happiest, nor with the healthiest families.  To me, that sounds like we need to create a culture that encourages more positive, healthy things, and fewer destructive, unhealthy things.
JohN S
PDX OR



And to me,  it sounds like we need to foster a culture that holds people responsible for their own choices.  Exactly as I said in my previous post,  their are people who are going to look at every situation through the lens of victimhood, and others that will just go out and do what needs to be done to get where they are going.  Look no further than this forum for an example.  Paul had a dream and set to work creating it.  There are people who will say he had some advantage that allowed him to succeed,  money,  or the fact that he is white,  or male,  or whatever.  Others will realize he worked hard and set out to do something that he would have done regardless of race,  or sex,  or age,  or xXxX.  
 
Posts: 491
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
30
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Trace Oswald wrote:It sounds like those people you are talking about suffered from poor choices more than from an unfair system.



In my own experience I found that the system treats me exactly as fairly as I treat others. So I'm the only one who is personally responsible for determining now fair the system I live in is. From what I have observed over the years the people who feel they are not treated fairly by the system do not treat others fairly. And in doing so they become a part of the unfair system they blame for their own unfair treatment.

In my businesses I follow just one simple rule: Do what's right.
And obeying that moral directive has worked out well.



 
Posts: 339
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
75
cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Crouch wrote:Our economy is riddled with flaws.  In this new article of mine, I present the basis of the argument against it, an ethical approach to economy.  Its part of my chapter 14 solutions from my online book, which indeed embodies the article itself, Fair Share Economics.  Do you still share like your parents taught you to when you were a kid? enjoy!



I may have missed the gist of your post, so apologies if that’s so.

Obviously there are many economic models used worldwide, ironically, some of those who espouse democratic principles tend to govern in a very dictatorially manner – I’ll leave that up to the readers of this post to decide whom the finger is pointed at.

There’s basically two extremes when it comes to democratic systems: the UK system which has been described as a ‘Nanny State’, and the USA system where it’s pretty much sink or swim.

Neither are beneficial to their citizens – one gives no incentives to change, the other creates almost insurmountable roadblocks.

The Canuck, NZ and Aussie systems straddle the two, and are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they are certainly better than either alternative.

The ‘Nordic Model’ is really something to aspire to – the government actually works for its citizens, providing free basic services so people aren’t held back by uncontrollable personal circumstances, and can therefore achieve goals that benefit the community. The trade-off is, citizens pay high taxation.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind paying high tax if I knew that the whole government and corporate setup provided guaranteed protections so kids could receive free child care and education, health care was free, elderly care was free, and those unfortunate souls with disabilities could live a productive life.

Change can only happen when citizens demand it and don’t sit in a corner moaning about their woes.

 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

nancy sutton wrote:So many wonderful stories here... thanks to everyone!!   One of my favorite pieces of advice was:  "Make your pleasures as cheap as possible."  Now back to digging some holes...outside!... is there more fun than that ? : )



Just so you know, I would dig holes if I could, but as I type it is -10 below zero (f), a 35 mph wind, and snow 2 feet deep. As fast as I dig holes inthe snow down to a foot of frozen dirt, the wind fills the hole back in. I am not lazy, but i am waiting for Spring! (LOL)
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know in Maine the minimum wage just went up to $12.50 an hour. On the surface that would seem good, but now McDonald's has lobbies filled with Kiosks, and half the staff working there it had before. Stores have cut way down on employees as well, and it has just started.

I went in to the hardware store to buy some heating fuel and it was formerly $7.50 a bag. When I bought some last week it had jumped up to $10.50, when I asked why, the woman said they were increasing the prices on everything in the store due to the increase in higher wages. I thought the prices were high before and limited how much I bought there, but I will not go back now. I will just plain go without, and if the empty store showed anything, I am not alone in that decision.

Some will say that is just sticker shock, but that is not the case at all. There is only so much money to go around. I am not going to McDonald's and buy a crappy meal for $10 when I can get a better meal for the same price at a better restaurant. If I am really concerned about money, or do not have the time to stay at a better restraurant, I will just go to a gas station and buy a sandwich since very few employees can provide a host of services for customers at a very low price. That is not going to help the local McDonald's who caters to only one customer need. Or Subway. Or any fast food joint. If I am really frugal, I will just go to a grocery store and pick up a rotesterie chicken for $3 because its price its divided over a much broader area.

I would not want to hold stock in McDonalds or Subway right now...nor work there. And since all this is due to limiting the highest cost of most businesses...labor...there is no place for these workers to ultimately go.

We can grant free education, but that is only going to flood the job market in these areas and make what was once lucrative jobs (think high tech computer jobs here) worthless.

As is, the health care industry is going to fall flat as soon as the baby-boomers die off. The amount of teachers rose and fell with the groundswell of baby-boomers, and Regan stole all the money they were contributing to Social Security during the 1980's to win the cold war, and now the health care industry is booming due to them aging and in need of care. I guess I just do not see why people do not see this stuff coming?
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
122
forest garden solar
  • Likes 3 Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
10.50/7.50 = 140%
So they raised the price of goods by 40% when the wage went from 11.50 to 12.50 which is not even a 9% increase.

A store spends about 33.3% of it's revenues on employees, so with a 9% min wage increase, only a just a increase of 1/3 of 9% revenue increase is required. And that is assuming all employees were making min wages. Most of a company employee expenses goes to Owners/CEO, Management/Headquarter, and 'skilled Accountant/PC technician/etc. Alot less that 50% goes to min wage folks. So really 50% of 1/3 of 9% which is actually less than 1.7% increase.

The physical goods are from China with lower min wages, the vitrual services are done by non min wage skilled trade man or college educated skilled coder/accountant/etc. So the raw material for starting goods didn't really go up.


I am not too sure if free high school and college is a bad thing. Not too sure how many folk would finish middle school with 'free public education' in USA but I can see some saying that was a bad invested for USA.

With most farming job and really any job requiring less physical human labor due to machinery/tool/AI even in China and 3rd world countries with cheap labor. I think it might be a good thing to have a more educated workforce.

But I do feel your worry about more and more humans not being needed by companies due to more and more automation. I hope that more people will at least have housing/food-land/and water self production capability at home, for when less job/trading hits us.
 
garden master
Posts: 928
Location: Maine, zone 5
227
food preservation forest garden homestead solar trees wood heat
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A good computer kiosk will always be cheaper than an employee no matter what the minimum wage is....computers are dirt cheap.  I would think what drives this is also the issue that there are so many jobs that are going unfilled.  I always think that a business that can't make it without paying minimum wage is pretty much a failed business.  They need to get creative to survive and thrive.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 2725
Location: Toronto, Ontario
293
bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That sort of automation, I think, is logical. It's like automating the actual handling of garbage bins. These are jobs nobody aspires to, but they require doing.

This, I think, is the reasoning behind Universal Basic Income projects. It's like government-funded infrastructure projects. When the economy needs stimulus, one historically great measure used to kickstart spending is for the government to start a needed infrastructure project employing members of society that will then get paid and use their pay to eat and feed and clothe their families, and maybe pay rent, maybe even make mortgage payments on a house. All that is spent is funneled back into the economy, a kind of social capitalism, if you will.

This is where Fair Share Economics and capitalism intersect. When I use the word "capitalism," though, I mean it in it's traditional sense, where capital is invested to make a profit, and then is re-capitalised, to make investment in another place, or in the same business, to the effect of creating jobs and production, and more profit, but mostly with a view to increasing system health and stability, not for profit-taking itself.

I think where I have issues with people's interpretation of Fair Share Economics is where they're descended from this "consumerist" place they think is capitalism. The assumed goal of anyone not explicitly giving away all they have is to hoard what they've earned, it seems, and the solution to this is to take what is being sold and distribute it for free. It doesn't enter into the thinking, for some, that the profits are either needed to recoup expenditures made in the production of the sale item, or that recapitalisation of the profits could lead to more progress in the area being worked in.

So apart from the infringement upon the rights of the person doing all the work that is then "shared fairly" without their input, there's the decrease in capitalisation that could occur to speed progress in the area we're discussing that won't happen because some self-righteous individual who thinks they know better than the person to whom the work belongs decides that there's a surplus, and that it must be shared.

Automation will keep happening. We will see robots doing tasks that are too dangerous, too dirty, or too menial for us humans to do. People will keep complaining about the jobs disappearing, though they were never intending to go and get one, as those jobs weren't fit for them, being only suitable for people of lesser stature.

Hopefully, we'll end up in a situation where there are a great many qualified automation technologists that used to work flipping burgers, who will get paid more and have a more challenging, perhaps even fulfilling job, and be able to end up better than they, or their parents, started. Hopefully everyone will be able to ascend that skills ladder, and not only be able to do more, and more interesting, things with their lives, but also push the progress of civilisation and society, and in a direction we decide upon (speaking specifically of the Permies.com membership).

And with a Universal Basic Income, nobody would lack for those basic things necessary to get education and training for employment, or to go for job interviews. No children would suffer hunger throughout the school day because their family can't afford breakfast, and their marks won't suffer accordingly.

There are other safety nets possible, some that exist in diverse forms across the globe such as different flavours of universal health care and drug plans, and others that should exist like universal insurance of the personal, home, and auto variety (look, if it's legally required to have insurance, there should at least be a government program that keeps the costs minimal and keeps profiteers out of the industry).

My much better half and I were discussing this in traffic yesterday, and the conclusion I came to was that it's an accounting problem, as mentioned way earlier. If the brand of economics to which most economists ascribe treats social and environmental issues as separate from economic issues, they've effectively reduced the scope of their accounting to create a waste, such that profit can be made by infringing upon those two areas. That waste shows up as poverty and pollution.

I think "Fair Share" is a ridiculous oversimplification of a critically important and complicated issue of economics for the sake of a poor mnemonic device. It would be better to rewrite the third ethic entirely to describe the importance of a "Whole economic system" wherein all costs are accounted. At that point, what was previously thought of as "profit" or "surplus" becomes only "gross profit," and the social and environmental costs are subtracted from that, leaving the actual "surplus" generated by the system.

It should be noted that, to be fair, any indication of "surplus" makes as little sense in a sufficiently large system as the concept of "waste;" both are symptoms of a system that is much larger in scope than is being accounted for. Surplus is just unallocated capital for ongoing or new projects.

I should like to be able to recapitalise as I choose, to be able to share the ability to work towards progress with other like-minded people. I dislike the idea that anyone should be able to come along and just take and distribute my unallocated capital. That's theft.

-CK
 
Greg Mamishian
Posts: 491
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
30
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Crouch wrote:
Our economy is riddled with flaws.



(shrug...) So what?
Those flaws don't have to riddle your economy.
Each of us creates our own economy based on the values we live by.
 
John Suavecito
gardener
Posts: 2573
158
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An effective economic system doesn't just barely allow one person to succeed while shutting down almost everyone else.  The idea of an effective economic system is that it works to provide the likelihood that most people will satisfy their needs on a consistent basis.  If our culture is working against the people and their ability to achieve  a good life, let's change it.  It's not about the single lone, hero.

Right now we subsidize the consumption of white sugar, white flour, GMO corn, and GMO soy.  None of those are good for us, according to the vast majority of MD's I listen to.  We are subsidizing cancer, diabetes, obesity and auto immune disease.  If our culture is going to support something for the people, how about vegetables or berries? Why do we give billions to the oil industry? Why do we give out so much more in wealthfare for the rich, than workfare for the poor? Healthcare and college are free in much of Europe, so poor people have a much better statistical chance to have a prosperous life.   We should be building ladders, so poor people can work their way out of the difficulties they have.  Our ratio of CEO pay to worker pay is so high that it makes our companies less competitive. Then the wealthy use their power to shut down unions and means for the workers to get a fair chance in the economy.   Foreign companies are more successful because they don't overpay their CEO's with millions, and then bail them out with millions more when they fail miserably.  If we care about working families, let's give them a chance.  In Europe and Japan, they don't have giant ghettoes full of poor people and crime, where the police and ambulances are unwilling to enter.  Workers have a voice.  The police don't shoot unarmed innocent black people.  Let's make our economy work for the regular people.
John S
PDX OR
 
For my next feat, I will require a volunteer from the audience! Perhaps this tiny ad?
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!