Right. And those countries have universal health care, child care, humane lengths of family leave, good education systems, and other pro-human policies…
I have to applaud your trolling, but the reality is that what you’re conveniently “working around” is the fact that wealth stratification in the USA is probably the most extreme on the planet, as far as developed nations are concerned (I’m certainly not counting fascist Middle Eastern countries and such in that group, btw). As such, even with a relatively NON-progressive system, which anybody can discern is the case for the USA relative to other nations, the rich here would still pay more relative to the other classes because they are just SO MUCH DAMN RICHER than not only the average population, but even relative to other mega-rich people in quite a number of other developed nations.
But again, nice attempt at trolling-slash-Devil’s Advocacy.
(The following rant is not aimed at you, so please don’t take it as such!)
I don’t mind at all that mega-wealthy people exist, in general terms. I just don’t think the social contract that we’ve somewhat lived under for a while now that allows for some people to be rich and some to be doing OK (and even some to be poor) is working out, because the rich continue to get MUCH MUCH richer, the middle class is very quickly becoming a thin sliver of the population, and the vast majority will live in poor conditions. Simultaneously, the social systems we’ve had are falling apart, our infrastructure is falling apart, etc. It’s a very Latin American kind of model from what I see, and there is no question – it’s completely intentional, and dare I say, being directed not just through a bunch of separate actions, but in a very orchestrated way. If you don’t think it’s being actively orchestrated, when we can demonstrate that we’re really probably only talking about a few thousand individuals globally, well, I’d offer that you’d be a complete moron.
And of course they earned every penny, as each and every one provides far more value to society than all of our nurses, doctors, educators, ER surgeons, and mothers combined.
It’s not like there’s an obvious fundamental flaw in the system or anything.
Exactly. As the NYTimes opinion piece pointed out, the author himself was quite well aware that the entire market he was betting on was really contributing no real value whatsoever to the world at large. It’s simply gambling society’s money as a whole, by a very small portion of the population. If only I could go to Vegas and bet essentially unlimited amounts of OTHER PEOPLE’S money, knowing the Treasury and Fed would bail me out every time I made a REALLY bad bet, WITH those other people’s money! HAHAHAH man what a world, what a world.
I think the biggest issue that we face is not that the problem with our current system is not identified. It obviously is. It’s that a viable solution is simply not being strongly articulated by any element of society that’s in a position to change things. It’s seems pretty obvious to me that the answer is, basically, strong strong socialism – a form that still allows for wealth, but is waaaay more regulated than our current system, has a viable social welfare system that has long-term improvement of class status as its goal (totally unlike our current BS social welfare system), and probably has an IMMENSE estate tax associated with it, so that no individuals can simply be born into wealth.
Interestingly, The Illuminati seem to have gone somewhat public on our good ol’ interwebs, and are arguing for a form of Meritocratic socialist state with 100% inheritance tax. In addition to really appreciating their anti-Abrahamic religion stance, and their own philosophical mathematics-based religion, I have to also largely agree with the economic and political system they’re hawking:
It’s a wacky site, but for a number of reasons that are too long to go into here, I am of the opinion it is either legitimate, or a damn fine hoax, and is worth perusing.
Indeed. We are likely only a bond market crash away from a resurgence in guillotines.
My take is there’s no real salvaging that particular system. These incremental modifications just aren’t getting us anywhere.
A few of us are working on a co-opernation type approach (hiring into a corporate virtual nation where campuses are charter cities), since that opens up the option of people choosing the economic system they’re contributing to (among other things). Honestly I’m not seeing many other viable approaches, but that may be because there was never a good ‘being born into a system’ approach and it always had to be a choice.
We need options instead of lowest-common-demoniator solutions that are horrible for almost everyone.
Would love to look at any info you’d care to share on this model you describe.
And I’m completely with you, the “fix” as far as I’m concerned is the end of the purely geography-based nation state. One sci-fi series I liked was the Jump 225 trilogy, in which people would sign up for virtual nation-cooperatives that were to their liking, and there was a general backdrop of tolerance for folks in other groups you happened to live nearby. Crazy notion, right?
You’ve just added to my reading list, since you kind of described exactly where we’re headed. The only big difference is while we started shooting for a whole bunch of them we realized quickly that one big one that contains everything else works better and switches it from a competitive base to a cooperative one.
In a couple of weeks the gang should have the site up, I’ve only got a draft that’s got things somewhat compiled, and that’s already being set aside because we’re going with a more Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type format. (it sounds weird, but there’s SO much information to deal with we’re using it as a trick to avoid our TL;DR issues and let people focus on what’s important to them while having a story flow around it.)
That being said, if you like Doctor Who at all then this one might be fun.
Guillotines for sale: http://boisdejustice.com/.
The US system is not progressive. It is progressive up to the the upper middle class, and then it becomes regressive. Under ~50K the tax burden is minimal. From 50K to 100K it starts to climb, but you can write off a fair amount via normal family stuff. From 100K to 250K you are kind of boned as you are still probably making a taxable salary, you are near the highest bracket, you make to0 much to to write off much, but you make too little do fancy magic tricks with your money. After 250K, more and more income starts getting taxed at capital gains tax rates, which are hilariously low compared to income tax. Once you get your investment machine making money, you get to leave the mortals behind. Not only do you pay a lower effective tax rate via capital gains than the suckers who went to a technical school or became a doctor, but you get to start doing magic tricks to give your self “losses” to avoid taxes. An asshole like Romney is having it rough when he pays 10% in a year.
The solution is to democratize our economy. So long as it is run on autocratic principles it will continue to offer relatively narrow benefit to the masses.
You know what’s cosmically hilarious? Despite the fact that they own more than you or I will ever dream of owning, nobody on this planet lives a quality life longer than about 100 years. And all these riches are no guarantee of even getting to 100; most likely less due to increased exposure to the fatty, sugary foods and substances that kill us faster. So, all this “we want to be rich and comfortable” yadda yadda… at a certain point it’s just farcical because everybody dies the same in the end.
Very much my reaction. We are each fundamentally limited in what we can consume, which ironically distorts even absurd inequality back to a more levelled situation (death being the greatest leveller of all).
A person with a two-digit bank balance, say $87, they will know both digits and will have them clearly in mind every time they spend. A person with about $87,000 may know the first two digits but the rest is hazy (and changing all the time so not worth knowing). A person with $8.7m dollars is uncertain about the last 5 digits… and so on. The error in each of these people’s wealth is bigger than the absolute wealth of the previous person. The multi-millionaire could accidentally lose an amount equal to the entire fortune of the multi-ten-thousandaire and literally not notice, that change being smaller than their uncertainty.
It’s like inflation as a universal measure doesn’t really make sense. Everyone has a personal notion of how valuable a dollar is. To a billionaire, what’s a million dollars? Something so small and fiddly you don’t know exactly how many you have.
And yet you only have 24 hours in a day, and the days are running out… if you don’t spend all the money then it will as if you never had it. The only way to spend it fast enough is to pay ridiculous amounts for mostly the same crap everyone else buys for cheap.
Also they love their giant yachts - a very effective way to make all the basic comforts of life much more difficult to provide, hence more expensive. Ultimately that’s what you get for being super-rich - bigger bills to pay. I don’t see the point.
Perchik: In this world it is the rich who are the criminals. Someday their wealth will be ours.
Tevye: That would be nice. If they would agree, I would agree.
-Fiddler on the Roof
Maybe if they ask nicely enough, the overlords might relax their vigilance enough to let a crumb fall our way.
We’ve done that. Unfortunately, like other systems based on societally-approved aggression, democracy has been co-opted by human nature into a system that serves the rich and powerful, just like previous systems.
What actually needs to happen is that people need to understand that government != society, and it never will - government is and always will be a tool for the rich and powerful to subjugate the less powerful. The rich and powerful will only stop using government to make themselves richer when society no longer approves of anyone using force to get what they want. The problem, of course, is the idealists and utopians who think they can use government to their own ends.
Interesting angle I hadn’t given much if any consideration…
It’s all relative. The average middle class household, saddled with mortgage and credit card debt, would look like Shangri-La to a Kalahari bushman. Do we re-distribute that wealth?
Look at the standard of living in the countries where rampant capitalism ran amok vs those that were exploited for resources to fund that whirlwind of greed. Best case we’d be living in a world which wasn’t as materially advanced as what we have now, probably no thousand channels of crap or Twitter or ubiquitous mobile phones - because the robber barons wouldn’t have created the capitalist death-trap of greed before need.
Those previously developing countries that were then able to hold on to their own resources against capitalist incursions would have a significantly better standard of living, one would hope, but the West would have a much worse one and overall I would imagine that without the motivation of raw greed, and sociopathic mega-capitalists to wield it, progress, and the advance of “civilisation”, would be much slower.
Now, I’m not saying one bleak vision of the present is better than the other, but you don’t switch horses mid-stream, in general, without disastrous consequences, and in the West we’re doing okay, however we were dragged away from our hunter-gatherer lifestyles. To the best of my knowledge few utopias have become world powers. Or ever existed.
Again, I’m not saying one way is better than another but from a personal point of view I’m confident that I am, personally, better off under the system we have now than any alternative - particularly as the alternative would have to be enforced with a level of draconian interference in an economy which we haven’t seen since Mao or Stalin.
Do we simply blame political systems and the elite or acknowledge that humans are basically terrible at making the sorts of decisions that democracy requires? The vast majority of voters are either apathetic, or make stupid decisions based on tribal loyalties even if this is against their own best interests, e.g. Tea Party supporters.
Playing the victim card is lazy, just like most voters. This inequality is the responsibility of the 99%, not the 1%.