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Fair Share Economics  RSS feed

 
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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!

https://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/chapter-14-the-strategies-of-an-alternative-global-nation/fair-share-economics/

Excerpt:
Written by Doug Crouch

The basis of Permaculture are the ethics that Mollison and Holmgren diligently investigated to be reflective of the crossover of all cultures.  It became in its shortened, tagline like way, to “earth care, people care and fair share”.  We examine the last one, fair share, it’s often how we can achieve the first two.  There has been an evolution of this ethic and it is seen in the following:

Set Limits to Population and Consumption: A Designers Manual, Bill Mollison 1981
Return of surplus of time, money, and materials towards this ends (earth care and people care): Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison 1991
Fair Share: Set Limits and Redistribute Surplus. Permaculture: Principles and pathways beyond Sustainability, David Holmgren 2002
Limit consumption, redistribute excess. The way I state it normally

Historical Background

Many cultures had traditions of redistributing surplus to avoid extreme hierarchical concentrations of power.  One of the ones I studied whilst in University was from the Indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest of North America.  The best fisher people were given the best fishing holes and the worst vice versa.  In our current hierarchical society of gross wealth inequality that would have meant the lesser valued people would starve while the ones with this great skill and great real estate (think location, location, location of modern society), would have accumulated vast forms of wealth and would prosper at the expense of others.  Instead they had a once a year festival/ work party called a potlatch, where the modern word potluck comes from. There they had cultural events and practices like smoking salmon to preserve them in their great spawning runs and exchanging forms of wealth.  And the fish resource, their staple crop, was redistributed so no person would starve.  Call it socialism or communism, the lesser people didn’t have to work in drudgery to afford to buy fish from the higher people in what would be analogous to how capitalism works.  All work mattered and there was a sharing of surplus to ensure healthy populations and time could then be spent in functional arts and crafts, aesthetic art, and spiritual investigation.

Philanthropy and many forms of Capitol Holistic Perspective on Wealth

Over the years of exploring a more holistic viewpoint of wealth, we have come to understand that many forms of capital exist.  The stories are far too often from travelers seeing how other cultures give when they have so little and happiness seems to be achieved by a simpler life.  Yet in western culture the long running examination on status has been how many assets you have obtained, which in return gives you your status symbol.  However, the backlash on that perspective is growing stronger as you can’t eat money, health isn’t measured in money, and so on and so on.  In highly developed, industrialized societies we have forgone a holistic long-term perspective on wealth for a short-term, instant gratification system that creates a sense of scarcity.  Abundance thinking can be achieved even when you have very little and this scarcity mind-set is what creates conditions for the rat race of society.  Bob Marley said in his track Rat Race the following:

Don’t forget your history;
Know your destiny:
In the abundance of water,
The fool is thirsty.
Rat race, rat race, rat race!

Rat race!
Oh, it’s a disgrace
To see the human-race
In a rat race, rat race!

Even those who appear to have so much are often not truly wealthy because their wealth is leveraged by debt.  So they own nothing and the banks are actually getting rich off of their excessive lifestyles. Those with vast stockpiles of financial wealth are analogous to kings and they need their serfs to support the kingdom.
 
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This is a facet of permaculture I think is the least understood and most difficult to address. Congrats on devoting a significant amount of brain power to it!!

So there is this guy, who back in the 1980's developed a computer program that identifies cycles within systems. He spent a lot of time and money taking all the information he could gather, going all the way back to the beginnings of written history and uses this a the dataset for his software to find cycles, and cyclic interactions between systems.

It is his strong opinion based on years of study and experience, that many of the human cycles (like economics, and civilization itself) are driven primarily by some constant attributes of human nature. These attributes of human nature have never ever changed in all of recorded history, and they are universal among all cultures.

Since permaculture is about creating artificial systems modeled on natural systems, I think a permaculture economy must pay careful attention to the underlying attributes of human nature and the cycles they drive.

All modern economic systems are analogous to agricultural mono-cultures, and because we all live inside one of these, it's extremely difficult to imagine anything else.

So as a starting point, I think a permaculture economy has to acknowledge and accept some constants of human nature even if they might not be considered desirable or politically correct. For example, what we typically describe as greed, laziness, and the desire for control over others are three constants of human nature. Any economic system that denies them is not sustainable, and neither is a system that has no built in controls  / feedback loops to limit their influence.
 
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Nick, how are modern economic systems analogous to monocropping?

Economics isn't a design philosophy. It simply seeks to describe the movement of money. It looks to encompass everything. Yes, it is still focusing on one part of the system, but that's like focusing on too small a part of a larger system, where waste is identified because it has not yet been sourced as a feedstock for another process in the system.

One bit that is being factored into economics is the effect of economic activity on the environment. You know how New York State is divesting itself of $5 Billion in petroleum investments? You know how NYC is moving in a similar direction?

Also, Douglas, I don't see how your example of the lesser people working in drudgery to afford fish from the fisherpeople equates to capitalism. Also, socialism and communism aren't interchangeable, and both have very different meanings in different contexts.

What we have now is so far from the traditional concept of capitalism that it needs a new name. I call it consumerism, when I have to. If an economy can only be boosted by its people buying things, it's a system reliant on consumers. Hence, consumerism. The profiteers up top aren't capitalists, because for that to be true, they would have to reinvest their capital into another endeavour. Yes, to make more capital, but only to reinvest it.

From the traditional capitalist, these endeavours bring goods, services, and people from away, create jobs, provide services, monumental institutions like libraries and public forums (to give an example that will still have the names of last century's financial magnates on them), and offer stimulus to communities that would otherwise go without.

I don't think it's capitalism that people need to rail on about. Proper capitalism would take the profit and reinvest it, be it in the mechanics of the enterprise that generated it, or in the community that supports it. You can call it self-serving, but when these capitalists can't do anything without building the community first, its knowledge and resource base, it amounts to redistributing the excess.

-CK
 
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I dont think I have ever seen proper capitalism as you definine it on  a grand scale rather than a token one , Chris although I understand the concept :-) a bit like chivalry not sure that was ever a real thing outside books .
I think fair share economics is coming basically because the not fair share economics is increasingly loosing its appeal due to the outright avarice that is becoming more apparent every day.( I wont bother to give examples because they are far too obvious ) Need not greed should be the watchword of any govt. Unfair govt is becoming more unstable and I predict domestic terror as it will be no doubt called will become a thing again as people have nothing to loose . Hunger breeds this type of responce .
For me fair share economics is part of socialism :-)

David
 
Nick Kitchener
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I would say economics is indeed a design philosophy, and all the "isms" are essentially different economic design philosophies, many of which originate from a common ancestor.

We currently have in the West a few different economic theories that seek to describe the movement of human labor, model its behavior, and establish sets of policies (based on specific models) that seek to control and influence where and how this human labor is applied with the intention that certain desired outcomes are manifest.

Just like how it is extremely difficult to imagine an existence outside the matrix (I'm referring to the movie) when all a person has ever known is life inside the matrix, the very significant challenge in devising a permaculture economy is that we have to do so when all our experience and understanding is based on our existence inside one of these systems.

Now it's my opinion that every economic design philosophy that is in widespread practice today is not sustainable. Even a laissez faire economic model fails eventually due to the laws of thermodynamics. Eliminating any measure or definition of failure from a model's vocabulary doesn't eliminate failure in reality. It is simply a syntactic delusion.

These economic systems all have a common view held by their proponents that theirs is the one true and correct system, that their system is somehow encumbered by X, Y, and Z external factors that corrupt the system, and were it not for these factors the system would be stable, sustainable, and resilient.

I think there are a lot of similarities between these systems and industrial ag. Both are inherently unstable,  they are both extractive systems that have a narrow focus on output measurables. And they both regard X, Y, and Z disruptive influences as undesirable corruptive factors.
 
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I hesitate to even post in threads like this because it seems my point of view is generally unpopular, but nearly every time I hear "redistribute", it means "theft".  If you have 4 people in a room and 1 of them has 20 dollars and the others have none, people that like to "redistribute wealth" believe it is okay to take 15 dollars from the guy with 20, and give 5 to each of the others.  To me, that is morally and legally wrong.  It's also self-defeating, because 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.
 
Chris Kott
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Well, David, I think it might be in the same place as communism and anarchy in this world of ours; ideal models that don't exist in the real world because of the mechanics of human activity. We seek to get a leg up, even if it's just on our neighbour. Or, in the case of communism, somebody's got to be in charge, right? Otherwise it'd be anarchy :).

I don't think it's a valid argument against a thing, that no such thing has actually been seen in history, therefore the model must be wrong.

I think that there are a lot of people out there who fancy themselves economists but don't have the motivation to go out there and actually learn anything beyond that in which they specialise to make their money. I think there are a lot of very wealthy, very ignorant people who simplify economics to a zero-sum game, whereby they aren't sure of an advantage to them unless it comes at the disadvantage of an opponent. And everyone who's not them is an opponent.

I think there's a lot of terminology thrown around as buzzwords in the discussion of these issues, and a fair number of them are trigger words for some people. For some, it's socialism, communism, and anarchy. For others, it's economics, capitalism, and corporations. I think this fact in and of itself makes it difficult to discuss at all.

I think that old-school, idealistic capitalism, where capital (what money and resources you start with) supports an endeavour that recoups the invested capital, which is then reinvested, or it is directed towards another endeavour, where the same thing happens again, is very much in the spirit of "Fair Share." I think it's more about keeping resources in play so that others can benefit, so that others can use the capital to make profit (their capital), which starts them off on a path of growth.

-CK

EDIT: Todd, I agree completely.

Nick, why do you think economics is a design philosophy? I think you'd have to look at specific economic theories to find any support for your claims, whereupon we're then discussing specific economic theories, not economics. I don't see economics as any more design philosophy than science.
 
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Todd Parr wrote:I hesitate to even post in threads like this because it seems my point of view is generally unpopular, but nearly every time I hear "redistribute", it means "theft".  If you have 4 people in a room and 1 of them has 20 dollars and the others have none, people that like to "redistribute wealth" believe it is okay to take 15 dollars from the guy with 20, and give 5 to each of the others.  To me, that is morally and legally wrong.  It's also self-defeating, because 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.



When I hear "redistribute" I usually think of this quote from Atlas Shrugged:

There wasn’t a man voting for it who didn’t think that under a setup of this kind he’d muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted – that was the truth of it – but we didn’t like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.

 
Todd Parr
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John Wolfram wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:I hesitate to even post in threads like this because it seems my point of view is generally unpopular, but nearly every time I hear "redistribute", it means "theft".  If you have 4 people in a room and 1 of them has 20 dollars and the others have none, people that like to "redistribute wealth" believe it is okay to take 15 dollars from the guy with 20, and give 5 to each of the others.  To me, that is morally and legally wrong.  It's also self-defeating, because 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.



When I hear "redistribute" I usually think of this quote from Atlas Shrugged:

There wasn’t a man voting for it who didn’t think that under a setup of this kind he’d muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted – that was the truth of it – but we didn’t like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.



John, that quote is great, thanks for posting it.  It reminds me to get my copy out and give it another read.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Chris Kott wrote:Well, David, I think it might be in the same place as communism and anarchy in this world of ours; ideal models that don't exist in the real world because of the mechanics of human activity. We seek to get a leg up, even if it's just on our neighbour. Or, in the case of communism, somebody's got to be in charge, right? Otherwise it'd be anarchy :).

I don't think it's a valid argument against a thing, that no such thing has actually been seen in history, therefore the model must be wrong.

I think that there are a lot of people out there who fancy themselves economists but don't have the motivation to go out there and actually learn anything beyond that in which they specialise to make their money. I think there are a lot of very wealthy, very ignorant people who simplify economics to a zero-sum game, whereby they aren't sure of an advantage to them unless it comes at the disadvantage of an opponent. And everyone who's not them is an opponent.

I think there's a lot of terminology thrown around as buzzwords in the discussion of these issues, and a fair number of them are trigger words for some people. For some, it's socialism, communism, and anarchy. For others, it's economics, capitalism, and corporations. I think this fact in and of itself makes it difficult to discuss at all.

I think that old-school, idealistic capitalism, where capital (what money and resources you start with) supports an endeavour that recoups the invested capital, which is then reinvested, or it is directed towards another endeavour, where the same thing happens again, is very much in the spirit of "Fair Share." I think it's more about keeping resources in play so that others can benefit, so that others can use the capital to make profit (their capital), which starts them off on a path of growth.

-CK



I agree, and these systems are incredibly complex with many layers of abstraction away from the fundamental base principles that you describe. It's enabled society to more or less go from Bob helping Steve put a roof on his barn in exchange for a comparable return on his time and energy at some point in the future, to the same transaction taking place via any number of intermediaries, all of whom have no personal relationship with one another.

As powerful as this is, by removing the personal relationship and the need for trust and integrity between the primary parties we have lost some things that are foundational to civilization. Just musing aloud...
 
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I think this is an important topic.  I want to share a link to something I read lately that really broadened my view of things:

*edit* It turns out I am not allowed to post the link here because it contains the abbreviation "I M O" in the url.  Great...

It's about debt, greed, genocide.  Heavy stuff, but important.  I think it has big implications for the world economy, and especially the "first world" economy.

I know that younger people are fed up with the current system's inherent injustices, where you get all the justice you can pay for, corporate entities are more important than human rights, and if you end up in debt you may never get out--the banks/govt basically own your life.  Where working in drudgery to increase other people's stock value is the way of the world, and "just how things are."  Where endless greed is to be assumed.  But they don't like it, don't want the way things work--and they're motivated to rally for some sort of change within their lifetimes.  Carrying on a system that is so deeply letting down many people is not something a lot of young people want.

There is ample evidence to suggest we do not have "pure" capitalism, and it's silly to act like we do.  The world system is going to have to do a whole lot better by young people--or big changes are going to need to happen.  We have corruption and money being in charge, and the people with money being the most in charge.  If capitalism can be reformed to more fairly take care of humanity, then great.  If not, it needs to come down.  

There are so many interesting anecdotes about people in other countries putting other things first, like community and sharing.  I always find myself wondering why this country can't be more like that, especially since, on an individual basis, people are often incredibly generous.  And people with less money tend to be more generous (there are actual charitable giving statistics on this).

As permies, we have a duty to care about people, and I think the biggest and most important thing we can do to advance permaculture is to really focus on care of people through food.  Food should not be a commodity.  It should be healthy and accessible for all--freely grown from Mother Earth, excess shared with neighbors, kindness and nutrition a focus, rather than huge profits and poor people left to suffer if they can't afford it.

I don't know that we'll manage to make any major changes in my lifetime (though I hope so), but if things aren't reformed there will be changes--even if that just means people suffering and dying under further oppression.

Hunger is oppression, when there is enough food to go around.  Right now food is treated as a commodity.  I'm not saying farmers have the option right now to just give away any excess, and I know businesses aren't motivated by anything but money, the waste is unbelievable.  But most of us don't have to sell our produce to survive, so I think we can and should do whatever we can to treat food as something other than a commodity, in our own lives and in those we have a chance to help.

The necessities for life are should NOT be something you can afford if you're born into money or you work hard enough--a changing goalpost, to be sure--there's always someone who will say you should work harder, that they deserve what they have but you don't deserve anything, etc.  Ultimately I don't believe those viewpoints are compatible with permaculture in any way.  Even those who truly believe that should consider what it says about children, and the value they have.  Because children can't work, and children still starve to death around the world, or die because of unclean water, etc.

Economies that rely on threats of starvation and violence are wicked.  Economies should be based around some minimal level of survivability--not just for those lucky enough to be born into some stability and a good situation.  I do believe in charity and helping family, friends, neighbors, etc.  But I think the current level of world inequailty and excess and waste of the wealthy has a lot to answer for--and it should be answering for it.  

The idea that nobody would work without these threats is not a viable argument, or a reasonable one, since most people want to work, at something, and not die of boredom.  There are studies about the health benefits of work--and there are studies about the health consequences of living in poverty (working or not!).  The idea that money doesn't buy happiness is certainly true, over a certain income level (that people forget about: where you have enough to take care of your needs and some wants).  But the wealthy love to put out the idea that money doesn't buy happiness, while hoarding as much money as they can, then scolding the "lazy" poor who are suffering from preventable diseases and dying younger because they simply don't have all the resources they need, and likely never will in the current system.  

The current system seems to need a lot of losers and a few winners to aspire to: people to look down on and mock, a very aggressive, masculine-oriented system.  Some labor doesn't "count" because it isn't paid; hedge fund managers are "worth" more because they "earn" more, while a child-care worker is "worth" very little (because making money matters more than helping children to grow up safe and healthy, of course!!).  Well, I have a LOT of opinions on this subject.  I'm glad the permaculture community is at least considering the issue.

We can disagree about a lot of things, but ultimately, most of us would say that healthy food and clean water should be human rights.  That to me would be the start of a healthy, just, and sustainable economy.  
 
David Livingston
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Wow it took eight posts to get a mention of Atlas Shrugs ( I'm pulling your legs folks  :-))
Yes I see this idea that redistribution is theft all the time , it comes along with the myth that everyone currently pays there taxes , and that the current system is fair . I think Goerge Carlin said it best  


David
 
Lori Whit
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That's a very succinct video.    Thanks for posting it.


Let me try again with the link.  

http://quoms.tumblr.com/post/155482759982/this-is-[DEFINITELY NOT I M O]-one-of-the-most-impressive-and


 
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I don't think it's capitalism that people need to rail on about. Proper capitalism would take the profit and reinvest it, be it in the mechanics of the enterprise that generated it, or in the community that supports it. You can call it self-serving, but when these capitalists can't do anything without building the community first, its knowledge and resource base, it amounts to redistributing the excess.



Many traditional societies had mechanisms of wealth destruction or sequestration in place to avoid endless growth. Instead of reinvestment, the rich spent on art, public buildings, burial mounds, communal feasts, etc. many of which could be seen as redistribution. Capitalism tends to lead to growth, which is sometimes useful, but can't be everlasting or universal on a finite planet.
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:Wow it took eight posts to get a mention of Atlas Shrugs ( I'm pulling your legs folks  :-))
Yes I see this idea that redistribution is theft all the time , it comes along with the myth that everyone currently pays there taxes , and that the current system is fair . I think Goerge Carlin said it best https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dY3GNt7sG8

David

 David, it seems you disagree that redistribution is theft.  Would you expound on that?
 
David Livingston
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Firstly let me say I think that all taxation is redistribution even if that money goes to pay the expenses of cups of tea for  politicians.
So there for I think if you believe that redistribution is theft then you believe in no taxation- that is anarchy = no government = no laws as how will you pay people to enforce the laws if you do not have taxation   .
The idea that those with money will charitably help those less well off just does not work and the result is and has always been the concentration of wealth leading to a brake down of civilisation or revolution etc etc ( read your Marx if you want examples or look up trickle down economics )
So if you agree we need a government then we need taxation . So what is the role of govt ?  For me I want a government for the people ,ALL the people . I want a govt that will provide the infrastructure ( basic services ,health , defence ,education , development ) that will enable decent jobs and decent lives for all.  To do this we need a taxation system based on need and ability to pay .
Take for example a very rich man I think if he does not pay his taxes then that it treachery. Pure and simple he is robbing the whole country . You me everyone that is theft :-) that is treachery and should be treated accordingly  . We need a simple tax system an open tax system a redistributive system to do this  

As woody said" This land is my land this land is your land "
   

David

Sorry I have not more time tonight for detail
 
Chris Kott
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Lori, I am reminded of a conversation I was party to on another forum.

A man was asking what financial value his stay-at-home wife with three kids had. I don't remember his specific bent, but the way he asked the question, he was obviously asking why such value was accorded stay-at-home moms. The best answer to his question essentially tabulated the costs for all the services his wife provided that the man took for granted, including housekeeping, daycare, surrogacy fees for three children, meal preparation, laundry, personal assistance... It stopped short of putting a value to personal intimacy, but you get the point. In the end, it seemed the man was getting a really good deal, even if he didn't acknowledge it.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I think the problems arise from not taking all the variables into account when formulating economic models. If your model doesn't value care for the environment or people, for instance, those are just more economic efficiencies to be found.

I also don't find it necessary to moralise endlessly on the topic when it can stand on its own, given a long enough view.

Every human activity on Earth requires the Earth to remain habitable. The less habitable it becomes, the more we have to spend just to live on this rock that used to support us all without us doing anything for it beyond a little hunting and gathering. This means that polluting is bad for the economy.

People are an undeniable part of this planet. If we don't have a place for them in the economy, they become liabilities when they could have been assets.

It is also a vast oversimplification, but I prefer that to trying to guilt people to action.

I like to try to find answers and approaches that make sense to those working in that field already. If you can explain to an economist why it's bad for the economy to pollute, to encourage practices that lead to poverty and homelessness, and to push policies that encourage anthropogenic climate change, they can respond in kind. Except, they'll probably have a better answer to it than you do, if they're worth their salt.

Again, I think it's smart to look at traditional capitalism.

-CK
 
Nick Kitchener
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I would agree that all redistribution of wealth that is not done voluntarily is theft.

This includes voluntary redistribution where the choice to do so has been coerced.

But greed is a constant human nature and there will always be an element of any society that will not voluntarily redistribute their excess. What to do about these people, if anything, is where the rubber meets the road...
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:Firstly let me say I think that all taxation is redistribution even if that money goes to pay the expenses of cups of tea for  politicians.
So there for I think if you believe that redistribution is theft then you believe in no taxation- that is anarchy = no government = no laws as how will you pay people to enforce the laws if you do not have taxation   .
The idea that those with money will charitably help those less well off just does not work and the result is and has always been the concentration of wealth leading to a brake down of civilisation or revolution etc etc ( read your Marx if you want examples or look up trickle down economics )
So if you agree we need a government then we need taxation . So what is the role of govt ?  For me I want a government for the people ,ALL the people . I want a govt that will provide the infrastructure ( basic services ,health , defence ,education , development ) that will enable decent jobs and decent lives for all.  To do this we need a taxation system based on need and ability to pay .
Take for example a very rich man I think if he does not pay his taxes then that it treachery. Pure and simple he is robbing the whole country . You me everyone that is theft :-) that is treachery and should be treated accordingly  . We need a simple tax system an open tax system a redistributive system to do this  

As woody said" This land is my land this land is your land "
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaI5IRuS2aE  

David

Sorry I have not more time tonight for detail



I would urge anyone making that argument to look at the amount of money that the very wealthy in this country actually pay in taxes.
 
Todd Parr
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Nick Kitchener wrote:I would agree that all redistribution of wealth that is not done voluntarily is theft.

This includes voluntary redistribution where the choice to do so has been coerced.

But greed is a constant human nature and there will always be an element of any society that will not voluntarily redistribute their excess. What to do about these people, if anything, is where the rubber meets the road...



In my mind, what to do about these people is simple.  As long as they are paying their share of taxes, do nothing about them.  People are under no obligation to share, more than paying their equal part.  Personally, I would like to see a flat tax in this country with no deductions.  Beyond paying that tax, people are entitled to do whatever they like with the money they earn.
 
David Livingston
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Great idea Tod !
Let's start with the man at the top :-) how much income tax does and has the president paid in the last ten years ?
I agree let's have a simpler system for Tax let's get rid of all these tax brakes , trust funds etc  and all that complexity that hides theft and employs far too many lawyers . I still think we should have a progressive system but a one that is fair to all ( I also think energy such as electricity should be taxed progressively but that's another issue ) I also would get rid of sales tax ( apart from health taxes on alcohol etc ) there you go we have begun :-)
Remember the constitution :-) the first three words

David
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:Great idea Tod !
Let's start with the man at the top :-) how much income tax does and has the president paid in the last ten years ?
I agree let's have a simpler system for Tax let's get rid of all these tax brakes , trust funds etc  and all that complexity that hides theft and employs far too many lawyers . I still think we should have a progressive system but a one that is fair to all ( I also think energy such as electricity should be taxed progressively but that's another issue ) I also would get rid of sales tax ( apart from health taxes on alcohol etc ) there you go we have begun :-)
Remember the constitution :-) the first three words

David



I have no idea what the president paid.  I'm not sure anyone does.  As far as your tax system, yes, exactly as I said, no deductions.  A simple flat tax of say, 20%.  I can't see anything being more fair than that.  I personally have no problem with sales tax though.  
 
David Livingston
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Todd you asked people to look at how much the rich pay yet when I suggested Trump you said that no one knows . I feel this undermines your argument . We don't know because the rich hide how much they pay. Yet they tell you they pay their fair share . I assume you see the obvious issue here :-)

Trust

David
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:Todd you asked people to look at how much the rich pay yet when I suggested Trump you said that no one knows . I feel this undermines your argument . We don't know because the rich hide how much they pay. Yet they tell you they pay their fair share . I assume you see the obvious issue here :-)

Trust

David



I didn't say anything about the amount any individual pays.  The statistics for the amounts that different income groups pay are readily available for anyone that wants to look at them.  The top 1% earners in this country pay nearly half of all federal income tax.  The top 20% pay more than 80% of the taxes.  I hear over and over that the rich don't pay their fair share, but the numbers don't bear that out.  I guess the argument could be made that it is a giant conspiracy by the IRS to lie about how much the top earners pay in income taxes, but I don't find it believable when the dollar amounts paid by each income level are available.
 
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I think this is an aside to the main discussion here. It's been my observation that economic systems attempt to reward us according to our usefulness. At least that's what I imagine a pure form of capitalism would look like.

But there's a huge problem with that. As technology continues to advance, more and more people become effectively useless. I know people who are worth $50 an hour, and I know people who just aren't worth $2 an hour, no matter what you get them to do. Most people can't live a decent life in this city, if they make less than $20 an hour. Of course, it helps if people can find their niche, but many just don't. So, productive people contribute to the upkeep of non producers. And I'm not just talking about welfare. My children have had teachers who were wonderful people and were great at their job. They had two teachers who should have never been put in front of children. There's a union. If  a teacher doesn't molest a child, they will be with us until they turn 65.
.......
I have been in charge of the utterly useless, on many occasions. Guys who were dead slow, who would steal, or just screw up so often, that they cost more in damaged materials and tools, than in wages. I believe the pool of this type is growing. The power of the underclass used to be that they were needed in some way. Therefore, they could revolt and something would have to be done to accommodate them. When I think of guys like Mike, who worked for me for a few hours last year, it wouldn't matter if there were 10 million like him, even this large cohort would be, or should be powerless, since they have nothing to offer the rest of society. So, what do we do about that?

If the pool of people, who simply aren't needed, continues to grow, how do we maintain them at some humane level of existence? And who pays for it? I don't want to. I want a system where those like Mike are forced to become useful, so that I don't have to provide them with anything. But Mike is very empowered. He's very keen on making sure that his rights aren't trampled on. He believes that he has a right to all of the things that useful people have, even as he refuses to develop skills or personal habits that might make him less of a burden.
 
Todd Parr
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I think this is an aside to the main discussion here. It's been my observation that economic systems attempt to reward us according to our usefulness. At least that's what I imagine a pure form of capitalism would look like.

But there's a huge problem with that. As technology continues to advance, more and more people become effectively useless. I know people who are worth $50 an hour, and I know people who just aren't worth $2 an hour, no matter what you get them to do. Most people can't live a decent life in this city, if they make less than $20 an hour. Of course, it helps if people can find their niche, but many just don't. So, productive people contribute to the upkeep of non producers. And I'm not just talking about welfare. My children have had teachers who were wonderful people and were great at their job. They had two teachers who should have never been put in front of children. There's a union. If  a teacher doesn't molest a child, they will be with us until they turn 65.
.......
I have been in charge of the utterly useless, on many occasions. Guys who were dead slow, who would steal, or just screw up so often, that they cost more in damaged materials and tools, than in wages. I believe the pool of this type is growing. The power of the underclass used to be that they were needed in some way. Therefore, they could revolt and something would have to be done to accommodate them. When I think of guys like Mike, who worked for me for a few hours last year, it wouldn't matter if there were 10 million like him, even this large cohort would be, or should be powerless, since they have nothing to offer the rest of society. So, what do we do about that?

If the pool of people, who simply aren't needed, continues to grow, how do we maintain them at some humane level of existence? And who pays for it? I don't want to. I want a system where those like Mike are forced to become useful, so that I don't have to provide them with anything. But Mike is very empowered. He's very keen on making sure that his rights aren't trampled on. He believes that he has a right to all of the things that useful people have, even as he refuses to develop skills or personal habits that might make him less of a burden.



That sums up many of my experiences as well.  Many times the discussion seems to go according to a template.  The template goes something like:  There are rich people in the world.  They have more than they need.  There are poor people in the world.  They are hungry and cold.  Having more than you need when other people have less than they need is evil.  Therefore, rich people are evil.  

Somewhere in the discussion there is a reference to people that really want to work but can't find a job.  I'll admit to not really understanding that because growing up, we had very little money.  I went into the military because I could earn a living while learning things that would enable me to better my situation.  Most of the time I was in the military, I worked an extra job because the military doesn't pay a lot.  For awhile, I worked full time at a construction job during the day while working swing shift in the military.  I worked 80 hours a week.  I have never had a time in my life that I couldn't find a job.  Never.  There were times I had job I didn't like.  A number of years ago, I moved from Phoenix back to Wisconsin to be closer to my family.  In Phoenix, I owned my own computer business that I started from scratch, by myself, without putting any money out of pocket.  I was making $85 an hour.  I moved back to Wisconsin, and until I could find a better job I worked as the maintenance man at a hotel for $8.50 an hour.  I have a better job now and make more money.  I have more than I need.  Does that make me evil?  I worked hard and made choices that got me where I am.  I'm not rich, and will never be rich, but I have a comfortable life.  What I did is not extraordinary and I have trouble believing people when they "just can't find a job".  There are people that are obviously mentally or physically incapable of working and I am not talking about those people.  I am talking about people like the guy that also interviewed for the maintenance job I had that, finding out the job paid $8.50 an hour, exclaimed loudly "I make more on welfare than that!"  I'm talking about the young people Lori mentioned that are "fed up with the current system's inherent injustices" that I just don't see.  I'm talking about a guy that worked on my brother's roofing crew that couldn't learn to sweep a roof.  I'm talking about every college kid that's angry because he didn't start a 6 figure job the day he graduated.

I guarantee that if you took every material thing from me today, I would have a job tomorrow lugging roofing shingles or carrying buckets of cement, or shoveling someone's driveway.  And as I said earlier, I'm not special.  I simply refuse to accept a culture of victim-hood.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I see the indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest, were mentioned in regards to a society that had fair distribution and  little hierarchy. I suppose that might have been true for some tribe, at some point in their history. I recall seeing a ceremonial slave killing axe at the museum. So, there was slavery and slave killing. I'm guessing that involved some sort of hierarchy. :-)
 
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Todd Parr wrote:The template goes something like: There are rich people in the world.  They have more than they need.  There are poor people in the world.  They are hungry and cold.  Having more than you need when other people have less than they need is evil.  Therefore, rich people are evil.



We sure live in different worlds... In my culture, the story goes more like this: God smiles on holy people, and blesses them with riches. Therefore anyone that is poor is a sinner, but we can still provide food and warmth for sinners. In my culture, the rich voluntarily care for the poor. Heck, even the poor voluntarily care for each other, and for the rich that fall on hard times.

 
David Livingston
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"The top 20% pay more than 80% of the taxes"  So they have nearly 100% of l the money :-) ( I joke )
How do we know this ? those that are robbing the system are not going to stand up and tell you ! they employ news papers and TV stations to tell you different , to create confusion  to create doubt .
Yup there are minority who are lazy , who cannot cope and frankly dont know what they are doing , these folks need help training and treatment and frankly sorting out but they are a minority . I dont favour giving folks straight money I would prefer they got help as well , training counselling Parental advice whatever is needed .
I have done hard jobs too for little pay , killed chickens , worked bars , checkouts , opened envelopes  all sorts of stuff but what makes me angry is to see folks being robbed with a "fountain pen " rather than a  six gun .( To quote Woody Gutherie again .)
For all those who I have met who where for want of a word "incapable I have come across 99 that just needed a break , a job some help , a fair crack of the whip . I think everyone live a life without worry of where the medical care or education or pension or house or a job for their children is going to come from .
I think each country should be able to say what it needs then set taxes accordingly not have a minority set taxes and watch the rest scrabble for crumbs I dont believe in debit either :-)

David
 
Todd Parr
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:The template goes something like: There are rich people in the world.  They have more than they need.  There are poor people in the world.  They are hungry and cold.  Having more than you need when other people have less than they need is evil.  Therefore, rich people are evil.



We sure live in different worlds... In my culture, the story goes more like this: God smiles on holy people, and blesses them with riches. Therefore anyone that is poor is a sinner, but we can still provide food and warmth for sinners. In my culture, the rich voluntarily care for the poor. Heck, even the poor voluntarily care for each other, and for the rich that fall on hard times.



Joseph, I think these type discussions often follow the template I outlined, but i dont personally find that the world works like that.
 
David Livingston
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https://www.facebook.com/actdottv/videos/742366945953874/  I just came across this and I think it addresses the whole taxation thing  quite well as well as the poor people being lazy myth  
 
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"The rich pay most of the taxes."

How did they earn their money?  

How much have they actually paid in taxes (and how much has been hidden in off shore shell games)?

Can anyone actually "earn" billions of dollars, or is such money earned at the expense of others (poverty wages, destroying the earth, etc).

A person with $100 billion could spent ten million dollars every single day it would take 27 years to get down to his last million.  Somehow that money is "earned" through investments.

When one person can own more than they could spend in a lifetime, while paying poverty wages, it is a systemic problem, not simply that they've worked hard and earned more and deserve more.

When we have actual information about the tax dodging and loopholes and downright fraud (Panama Papers, etc), how can you say the rich pay their share, that all is fair?  

I think a flat tax would at least be something.  You guys aren't wrong that there are lazy people in the world and those without skills.  It would be nice if people were perfect.  But please stop excusing the rich and bashing the poor.  It's an old, boring tactic, and inaccurate.

Worker productivity has increased massive amounts...and so has wealth for a tiny percent of the upper crust.  The productivity has not in general been paid what it earned.  

People who have huge amounts of money do not EARN it.  At some point, they are abusing labor, tax laws, or a system that gives benefits to money rather than people.

I see capitalism at a religion.  People will bend over and excuse it and not open their eyes to anything it does wrong, because they believe--because anything else it heresy.  

You do not have to give up your religion, or your faith in capitalism.  But if you don't, look for ways to reform it where it's gone wrong.  

Limitless power gotten through oppression is not just.  

The world we live in has flaws.  It always has, always will--but it can be made better.  Obviously arguing on the internet isn't going to fix anything, but please at least consider where you stand on things, why you do, and whether you're really considering the bigger picture.

No one wants to take away your money and give it to lazy people.  That's a strawman.  And we do live in capitalism; we're drenched in it.  It's not as simple as walking away.  I think there can be great value in capitalism, as in any other system that works correctly.  But when it is broken, it needs to be fixed or replaced.

To say that the way things are is the only way they could be (and therefore just and right) doesn't really help anything.  Defending the status quo will not bring about a better world.  We need new and more sustainable systems, including economically.

Most of these things apply directly to my country, and reference specific laws, trends, and activities in the system.  It is not a secret.  Perhaps some countries have more just and fair laws and taxes; I can't comment on that.  I hope so.
 
David Livingston
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Another thing that occurs to me if you are looking to hire folks for low paid irregular work then you will likely get low paid irregular guys supply side economics works both ways :-)

David
 
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The best fisherman/worker/coder does not get the most money, the organizer/founder of said workers get the most money.
While there are alot of factor to setup such an organization, access to money is the biggest factor and this money comes from the treasury reserve taking money from the future work of the "poor" and lending it to the "rich" organizer.

So the super-rich get richer by combining:
1) the current labor of the non-welfare worker and
2) a loan funded by the future production of the non-welfare worker.
Is this considered theft/redistribution of resources from the worker to the super-rich who got togather and setup such a system/rule to benefit the "greedy super-rich" vs the "greedy welfare worker". In a sense everyone is greedy and want to employ others/robot/machines/slaves to do most of their work for them. So to say that only the rich are greedy/abusive/lazy or that only the poor are greedy/lazy/want to abuse the system is incorrect they both do. However the current rules are probably setup so that the super-rich are able to do it more and if they are allowed to collectively come togather and do it because they are social animals, then the less rich are also allowed to collectively come togather to do likewise.

I have also realized that the the original 80/20 plant rules also exist for humans too 20% of the population have 80% of the wealth and also pays 80% of the taxes, these numbers is seen in pretty much every country.
(Completely unrelated I have also notice that 20% of our money goes to (food+healthcare) and the other 80% goes to other stuff, this number is seen in almost every country too)

Company ABC
80 workers including best fisher/coder/cashier/seller/accountant
20 organizer including CEO/etc

There is a very high probability that the 20 organizers will collect 80% of all the wages/employee expenditure handed out, is this redistribution/theft of the production of the workers, is this fair?

I guess we could look at each level of management pooling the work of the people below them, and "selling" it to the person above while taking a 30% profit share. And each additional level of management doing likewise, until it reaches an outside merchant/wholesaler who also adds his 30% profit, until it reaches the consumer, with everyone in between taking a 30% cut. ( Alot of big companies have each department bill other department, like the IT PBX-phone department will bill the sales department for the phone sevice/etc, each department really operates like it's own company)

So maybe the reason why the price of things are so high is because we have too many people reselling the production of the workers.
Too many middle man making a 30% profit. While this will not end the 80/20. It would make it lower the end-consumer price of the goods/services that the worker produced, maybe to the point of where even the workers can easily afford it.

Some people will say live within your means, dont complain about a $4,000 iMac Pro just opt-out of said consumerism.
While I dont think that we should op-out of ALL consumerism I think that it would be good to opt-out SOME consumerism.
I think that we should stop buying pesticide laden food. Infact I think that our basic non-community needs should be done at a home production level.

Need: 80% self-managed/self-produced on-site/pre-paid    +   20% inputs/repair/emergency backup/redundancy
Housing: self-built home on 1acre of land (80%) + Taxes/Permit/Re-Certification/Repair (20%)
Sewer: septic tank(80%) + outside pumping (20%)
Water: Rainwater Catchment/Well (80%) + Buying Filters/UV light bulb from Amazon (20%)
Fuel/Electric: Biomass/Solar/etc (80%) + Repair/Replacement/Emergency backup (20%)
Food: Honey-Sugar/Goat-Milk/Root.Nut-Staples/Fruit.Vegetable (80%) + Emergency/Specialty Food/Inputsetc (20%)

Community based needs/wants like a cellphone/internet bill to communicate with family/friends out of state will be hard to do without some type of trading, ditto for a community trip to a party/conference/education session in Las Vegas, that involves other people from the community so I will probably have to trade/steal/redistribute to make that happen.

Right now we operate in a system that tells us that we shouldn't own/self-build we should be dependent and pay for things monthly/daily. This consumerism-dependent culture for non-community things, that should be done by self/family is not good in my book.

So how could we turn our economy into one where we prepay for electricity with solar panel and we prepay for housing by building our home. In theory our parents and fore-fathers would have had the wealth/knowledge to pass-on/give that to us by the time we are 18yrs old/adult. Unfortunately that is not the case for alot of people but we do have a collective government that help.

Public Education = 12years at $15,000/yr = $180,000 (this is for most of the population)
Prison = 5yrs at $40,000 = $200,000  (the 13% of the population that lives below the poverty line)
Free Housing = 20yrs at $1,000/month = $240,000 (the 13% of the population that lives below the poverty line)
Food Stamp/Cash Aid avg = 20yrs at 800/month = $200,000 (for the 13% of the population that lives below the poverty line)
The extra Healthcare expense from not eating healthy or doing enough outside activities
There are quite a few others that I am not listing.

If the government could redirect some prison money/welfare housing/education with 30% failure rate then I think that we fund a homestead.

Homestead Price
Land = $10k/acre
Food Production= $5k (108trees@ $25 + greenhouse/fish pond/beehive/chicken/milk goat)
Domestic Hot Water+Radiant Heating+AC (Heat Pump)= $5k
Well+Water Purification = $5k
Septic+Plumbing Fixture= $5k
Solar= $10k
Basement/Workshop= $5k
Rest of 3bdrm House = $12k
Furniture/Fixtures= $5k
Total = $57,000.
My number are probably wrong, but even if it is 3times and it cost $150,000 it is still cheaper for a family of 4 than any of the other welfare program that I listed above, and I would say that the other welfare programs that I listed are not doing that great esp for the ones that need it the most.









 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:"The top 20% pay more than 80% of the taxes"  So they have nearly 100% of l the money :-) ( I joke )
How do we know this ? those that are robbing the system are not going to stand up and tell you ! they employ news papers and TV stations to tell you different , to create confusion  to create doubt .
Yup there are minority who are lazy , who cannot cope and frankly dont know what they are doing , these folks need help training and treatment and frankly sorting out but they are a minority . I dont favour giving folks straight money I would prefer they got help as well , training counselling Parental advice whatever is needed .
I have done hard jobs too for little pay , killed chickens , worked bars , checkouts , opened envelopes  all sorts of stuff but what makes me angry is to see folks being robbed with a "fountain pen " rather than a  six gun .( To quote Woody Gutherie again .)
For all those who I have met who where for want of a word "incapable I have come across 99 that just needed a break , a job some help , a fair crack of the whip . I think everyone live a life without worry of where the medical care or education or pension or house or a job for their children is going to come from .
I think each country should be able to say what it needs then set taxes accordingly not have a minority set taxes and watch the rest scrabble for crumbs I dont believe in debit either :-)

David



David, the statistics for amount of taxes the different income groups pay comes from the IRS, not newspapers or TV.

Part of the reason it's hard to discuss these topics is because it quickly becomes purely emotional.  No one really wants to hear the statistics about how much the top 1% pays.  You are beginning to go down that path already my friend, when you say things like "robbing the system", "folks being robbed with a ...", "the rest scrabble for crumbs".  Those things are emotionally triggering and make people applaud when you say them during speeches, but if you want things to change, you have to give concrete examples for it to reach people.  A very small percentage of people in this country are scrabbling for crumbs compared to the number that would have you believe that they are.  

There are a number of ways to get rich in this country, and most of them are not bad, or the sign of an evil person.  The easiest way of course is to inherit money.  There is nothing inherently wrong in that.  Another way is to start a business.  I personally don't believe that starting a business means you are living off "folks for low paid irregular work".  I can give you an example.  My brother is an engineer and works for a company that makes hunting bows.  The owner started the company from the ground up, employs a couple hundred people, and pays them all a good, solid wage.  The owner is a multi-millionaire.  He also give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the breast cancer foundation.  There is plenty of upward mobility available for people that work hard.  I didn't name the company, but I live in a small area, and it's easy to figure out if you care to look :)

Another way to get rich in this country is to be very talented in some area.  Professional athletes, singers and other entertainers, actors/actresses, etc.  That is a really easy one to solve if you don't think they should be rich.  Just don't support them.

 
Chris Kott
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S Bengi, I am glad someone else is distinguishing between capitalism, which we really don't have, and consumerism, which is what we're drenched in.

I don't see capitalism as a religion. Maybe greed is a religion. But capitalism doesn't equate to greed, which is what you're insinuating, Lori.

Greed is what has turned capitalism into consumerism. Socialist politics that stress workers' and minorities' rights fix capitalism, or at least that's what I see as having happened between the Industrial Revolution and the early 20th century.

I think where the wheels come off is that instead of reinvesting the capital, or reinvesting the profits, it is hoarded. It's not even put into edifices, or public works with the names of powerful families on them.

Incidentally, I think that a tax break equal to the amount spent on building a library or sponsoring the retrofit or building of a waterworks, for instance, is valid, as are naming rights, at least for a specified period, and in fact, such an idea should be incentivised to get more done for the public good.

What we have instead, as pointed out, are families so wealthy that they can get by without learning to read, for instance, should they not want to (not suggesting any yuuuge names or anything), finances that could be funding bridges and museums are instead accumulating wealth for spoiled children who need never grow up, need never contribute to society, and need never connect enough with real people that they see anything wrong.

I am all for change, but most of the railing against the current economic system tends to oversimplify, call things by the wrong names, confuse or conflate issues, and generally not get much done.

I think progressive taxation, whereby a larger percentage of individual earnings is contributed by those who can contribute more, is fair, largely for the reason that yes, beyond a point, more money simply gets hoarded, or passed on to the next generation, who hoards it, or passes it on to the next generation.

I also think it's fair to pass wealth on to the next generation. I think that we have to be allowed to amass personal wealth and to pass it on to our descendants to give us a tangible reason to work hard, and to do our best. I think that there should be limits, however. These limits could be relatively high and still return a vast dollar amount of accumulated wealth to the less financially able, and tax receipts could return value to the high-earners.

And then there's the issue of sponsorships for naming rights, or outright financing of public works projects, for which tax receipts could also be issued. I think if high-earners had an end-of-life cap, amounts over which they would have to donate in some fashion, this would give them a way to derive intangible value from their donation.

And their children would still get trust funds in amounts that would, simply invested in the market, generate enough revenue to keep them more than comfortably to old age. They themselves would have to do something with their lives to be able to pass it on to their progeny, and so forth, but the incentive/reward structure remains.

I think it's important to keep in mind that it's really easy to tear things down. One of the right disruptive technologies at just the right time could do it. It's much harder to look at the state of affairs as it actually exists, outside of politics and buzzwords, and discuss tangible productive measures we can take to change things for the better without causing more financial pain for those least able to manage it.

-CK
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm looking forward to the reorganization of the current economic model. However it shakes out, I expect that my people will come up with something totally novel and different from other remnants of the usa. Hmm. Thinking more closely about it, about half of my local community have already adopted  alternate economic models: some flavor of voluntary communalism.

The primary economy is always Mother. Without our kin the soil, the plants, the animals, the sun, the wind, there is no other economy. So when we take care of the Earth, we are taking care of the only economy that we can't live without.
 
Todd Parr
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I think this is fitting.
ElonMuskSecretofsuccess1-600x390.jpg
[Thumbnail for ElonMuskSecretofsuccess1-600x390.jpg]
 
Todd Parr
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Lori Whit wrote:"The rich pay most of the taxes."

How did they earn their money?  

How much have they actually paid in taxes (and how much has been hidden in off shore shell games)?



50% of all federal taxes are paid by "the rich".  That is to say, 1% of the population.


Lori Whit wrote:
Can anyone actually "earn" billions of dollars, or is such money earned at the expense of others (poverty wages, destroying the earth, etc).



And this is exactly what I said when I said people follow the template I posted.  It is perfectly reasonable that people make money without paying poverty wages or destroying the earth.

Lori Whit wrote:

A person with $100 billion could spent ten million dollars every single day it would take 27 years to get down to his last million.  Somehow that money is "earned" through investments.



And why is that wrong?  There is nothing wrong with investing money and many many people do it.  



Lori Whit wrote:
When one person can own more than they could spend in a lifetime, while paying poverty wages, it is a systemic problem, not simply that they've worked hard and earned more and deserve more.

When we have actual information about the tax dodging and loopholes and downright fraud (Panama Papers, etc), how can you say the rich pay their share, that all is fair?  



Once again, people can earn more than they could possibly ever spend, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Not everyone that has money earned it by paying poverty wages.

I didn't say the rich pay their fair share, I said the top 1% pay 50% of all federal taxes.  You can decide if that is fair.

Lori Whit wrote:

I think a flat tax would at least be something.  You guys aren't wrong that there are lazy people in the world and those without skills.  It would be nice if people were perfect.  But please stop excusing the rich and bashing the poor.  It's an old, boring tactic, and inaccurate.

 

There is a chasm between being lazy and being perfect.  I also didn't see anyone bashing the poor.  Using that phrase is a good way to trigger an emotional response though.

Lori Whit wrote:

People who have huge amounts of money do not EARN it.  At some point, they are abusing labor, tax laws, or a system that gives benefits to money rather than people.



That is a pretty huge sweeping generalization that I don't believe has a basis in fact.

Lori Whit wrote:

I see capitalism at a religion.  People will bend over and excuse it and not open their eyes to anything it does wrong, because they believe--because anything else it heresy.  

You do not have to give up your religion, or your faith in capitalism.  But if you don't, look for ways to reform it where it's gone wrong.  

Limitless power gotten through oppression is not just.  

The world we live in has flaws.  It always has, always will--but it can be made better.  Obviously arguing on the internet isn't going to fix anything, but please at least consider where you stand on things, why you do, and whether you're really considering the bigger picture.

No one wants to take away your money and give it to lazy people.  That's a strawman.  And we do live in capitalism; we're drenched in it.  It's not as simple as walking away.  I think there can be great value in capitalism, as in any other system that works correctly.  But when it is broken, it needs to be fixed or replaced.



You seem convinced that no one can make money without oppressing someone else, and that just isn't so.  It is not a strawman argument to say people are taking money from people that earn it and giving it to lazy people,  That is a fact.  Taxes aren't given only to lazy people, but some of the tax payer dollar certainly is.

Lori Whit wrote:

To say that the way things are is the only way they could be (and therefore just and right) doesn't really help anything.  



No one said that.

 
David Livingston
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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
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
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