My Core Beliefs

Following in the footsteps of Clarissa and Nominatissima, I shall regale you with a list of my core political principles.

  1. Existence is inherently amoral; there is no a priori reason to assume that a certain behaviour is morally correct just because it’s “The Way That It Is” or “The Way That It Has Always Been Done.”
  2. If there is any one thing that an individual can be said to own, then surely to God it’s their own body. As such, they can treat it in any way they see fit, and if you do not agree with their judgements, then you are free not to treat your own body that way.
  3. Government should be based on what’s good for actual people as they exist in the real world, rather than Platonic ideals of the way that they should be. In other words: policies that are good for families, rather than “The Family;” or for children rather than “The Child.”
  4. Everyone is a unique individual; however, a government which administers to a population on an individual-by-individual basis is going to be as unsuccessful as a doctor who treats her patients cell-by-cell. Some form of collectivism is always necessary.
  5. All other things being equal, wealth will tend to accumulate where it is already concentrated. Massive income disparity is an inevitable feature of a totally free market.
  6. Corporations are machines to make money; this is their only function. As such, it is completely unreasonable to expect that they will be even remotely interested in self-regulation; what’s more, if they have a chance to influence the government to their own financial advantage, they will do so. Totally free markets will inevitably degenerate into crony capitalism.
  7. A society’s health is measurable by an individual’s ability to achieve their morally-deserved station in life, regardless of their rank at birth.
  8. Any policy which cannot be defended using rational argumentation based upon established facts should never be implemented.
  9. Ideologies are at best a set of simplifying assumptions and stated values. When ideology conflicts with reality, ideology must fall.
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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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20 Responses to My Core Beliefs

  1. Priyanka says:

    5 and 6 are so self-evident that I’m astounded every time I encounter people who believe they are negotiable possibilities.

    I don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘morally-deserved station in life’. I know you don’t often respond to comments, but could you elaborate, please? As a general rule, I find the invocation of morality in any causal way — like this one — rather suspect, since I tend to view morality as something that developes from mores, and not as an indicator of universally agreed-upon goodness. I have a similar problem with 8. ‘Rationality’, I find, is diversely defined diverse people. “You were raped because you wore a short skirt” is perfectly rational to a great many people. To them, rape is the morally-deserved causal outcome of a ‘provocative dress’.

    However, I agree unequivocally with 10. I couldn’t agree more with it if I tried.

    • “Morally-deserved” was probably a poor choice of words; what I meant was something more along the lines of “merit-based.”
      As for number 8, what I mean is that is that policy should be informed by scientifically-gathered evidence (rather than, for example, religion, ideology or ‘gut feeling’), and that one should be able to provide a logical argument for why one’s policy is actually necessary. To give an example: the Harper Government is currently allocating billions of dollars towards the construction of new prisons in Canada, and is amending the criminal code to introduce ‘mandatory minimum sentencing’ for certain crimes and misdemeanors (thereby taking away alot of the leeway of judges); this they are doing in order to ‘get tough on crime’…inspite of the fact that the absolute weight of expert opinion among professional criminologists that mandatory minimum sentencing does nothing to deter criminals, and the fact that, statistically, the crime rate has actually been going down for more than two decades. The Government’s supporters, however, have a ‘gut feeling’ (based upon selective and sensationalistic reporting of crimes in the media) that crime is rampant and an irrational belief (based upon simplistic Conservative ideological assumptions about crime and punishment) that harder punishments will result in fewer crimes. This would be an example, then, of a policy which should not be implemented, since the evidence shows neither that there is a problem, nor that their policy would actually solve it, and they are not able to provide anything more than a simplistic, emotional explanation of how it would work.
      As for the “rape is caused by short skirts” argument being rational, it’s not actually supported by this criteria, since (first of all) if the arguer were to look at actual rape statistics rather than his own preconceptions, he would find that there is not a significant correlation between clothing and rape. Moreover, he would not be able to provide an argument that was both logically and factually sound to support the belief that, even if she was earing a short skirt, that she deserved it. Of course, this is getting a bit dicy now, since as you have pointed out, there is no accepted universal morality, but that probably just underscores the my poor choice of words in item #6

    • As for your last statement: do you mean number 9? There is no number 10

  2. Pingback: Core political beliefs | In defense of anagorism

  3. n8chz says:

    I’m opposed in principle to meritocracy on account of being opposed in principle to -ocracy, but I do think that meritocracy is the most benign of the -ocracies, second perhaps to democracy.

  4. Kyle says:

    Long post on my part, but I wanted to address your #5 as this is a particular subject I find very interesting. I came to your blog via Leah Jane’s blog, which I came to via Clarissa’s blog just in case you are wondering.

    Anyhow, regarding #5, I think it’s more complicated then many people initially interpret it as. For example, how does one define “concentration of income” or “concentration of wealth?” One thing that confuses a lot of people I think is confusing what are statistical income and wealth brackets with representing fixed classes of people, which they do not. They also fall into the subconscious trap of thinking that wealth and income exist in pre-existing supplies that must be dolled out to the citizens of society by some central authority. They also do not seem to realize that wealth is not a fixed pie in society, but one that grows.

    For example, one will often hear that the “top 1%” earn a majority of “the income.” The implicit assumptions in such a statement are that the “top 1%” is a fixed class of people and that this fixed 1% is rigging the system to hog more of this pre-existing supply of income for themselves, thus leaving less available to the rest of society. But that isn’t how it works. The “top 1%” changes over time, for both income and wealth. The people in all the brackets do. And income doesn’t exist in a pre-existing supply for said 1% to hog more of, rather income is just what a person earns in exchange for what they produce in society.

    Regarding wealth, we may often see that the “top 1%” control a “majority of the wealth.” But again, this misses the point that the top 1% aren’t a fixed class, and that wealth, like income, doesn’t exist in any fixed supply that this 1% can hog for themselves. In a market economy, provided one is making money legally, the only way to become wealthy is to create wealth. One has to produce something for society. And as such, the pie grows constantly, which can make the wealth disparity really meaningless to a good degree.

    In this sense, statistics can thus be very misleading, presenting a picture of a reality that doesn’t exist. For example, right now, there is much talk here in the United States about how “inequality” is constantly increasing and at a very high level. But this is flawed and over-simplified for a few reasons:

    1) The reasons I stated above

    2) It ignores actual, material inequality, which is at probably the lowest level in human history in Westernized nations. I say this because the real wealth of society are the goods and services it produces. So the question is, how many of these goods and services are available to the masses as opposed to just the wealthy? Well if we go back to say the 19th century, there was extreme material inequality and also much more extreme wealth inequality statistically. The standard of living of the average person was Third World by today’s standards, while the standard of living of the wealthy was enormously better than that of the average person of the time. Today, generally all of the things available to the wealthy are available to the average citizen, just in lower-quality forms. Back then however, becoming wealthy could completely and totally change one’s lifestyle in a massive way. But even then, the standard of living of a wealthy person was still maybe barely what it is for the average person today. Even the super-rich, the only things they really out-did the average person today in was in having a huge mansion.

    Today however, almost all the goods and services available to only the rich in the 19th century, are available en masse to the ordinary person, even to people living below the poverty line, along with numerous new inventions that didn’t even exist back then. Forms of healthcare, fresh food, sanitation, running water, electricity, computers, air conditioning, furniture, knowledge, transportation, and innumerable other things, all are available to regular people today.

    When one thinks about how the next 100 years are going to pass by, this level of inequality is going to shrink even further. Right now for example, there are forms of healthcare that only the rich can afford. Give it 100 years and that healthcare not only will have become available to the average person, but it will also be in an improved form, and wholly new forms of healthcare will have come available that no one has even thought of yet. The same goes for numerous other goods and services. It will eventually get to a point where the only thing a “wealthy” person has that the average person doesn’t will be a big mansion or yacht (these things will always be the purview of the wealthy because of the number of materials they use to construct). Basically, in modern societies, we are all rich, we are just unequally rich. And we continue to grow richer.

    Looking at the statistical wealth inequality of today versus the 19th century, that has shrank greatly as well. For example, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, etc…were worth, inflation-adjusted, the equivalent of hundreds of billions of dollars at the time. Rockefeller alone I believe controlled about one-third of the U.S. economy alone at the time. Today, no single person controls such a large portion of the U.S. economy and no one is worth hundreds of billions.

    Another thing never considered is that the times in which inequality supposedly was soaring (here in the United States), when the poor and middle-class were supposedly being robbed, are remembered by most people as being among the country’s finest times economically (i.e. the 1980s and 1990s—I’d include part of the 2000s as well, but the image of these was tainted due to the dislike of President Bush, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so forth).

    My own personal opinion on the matter is that due to all of the above, “wealth inequality” and “income inequality” are mostly meaningless. To me, real inequality would be things such as inequality of rights, inequality of opportunity, and material inequality.

    I would say the primary things pounding the middle-class in modern America today are the rising cost of higher education, the rising costs of health insurance, and the current bad economy, but I do not attribute any of these to income or wealth inequality but to other factors that have driven their cost up.

    All of that said, I do not believe in a “completely free economy.” Regulation is definitely needed, and to a high degree in certain industries, along with safety nets.

    • “The implicit assumptions in such a statement are that the “top 1%” is a fixed class of people ”
      In principle it’s not. In practice, it usually is to a large extent, due to lack of social mobility. This, once again, is because people who have money have an easier time making more of it.

      “And income doesn’t exist in a pre-existing supply for said 1% to hog more of, rather income is just what a person earns in exchange for what they produce in society. ”
      True, but the value at any given time is defined only in terms of that which is owned by the rest of society.

      “Regarding wealth, we may often see that the “top 1%” control a “majority of the wealth.” But again, this misses the point that the top 1% aren’t a fixed class, and that wealth, like income, doesn’t exist in any fixed supply that this 1% can hog for themselves. In a market economy, provided one is making money legally, the only way to become wealthy is to create wealth. One has to produce something for society. And as such, the pie grows constantly, which can make the wealth disparity really meaningless to a good degree. ”

      I’ll glaze over the possibility that the very rich can away with making large amounts of money *illegally* (or even “legally” by means of lobbying governments to change laws) but I will point out that when I say that the rich have any easier time making money than the por, I mean quite literally that the rich have an easier time *making money* then the poor. If they “grow the pie” in so doing, then that is all well and good (although I question whether, for example, things like the financial services add anything to society–it seems, like it’s perfectly possible to make money through parasitism pure and simple), except that the majority of the wealth created *also* ends up in the coffers of the very rich.

      “Well if we go back to say the 19th century, there was extreme material inequality and also much more extreme wealth inequality statistically. The standard of living of the average person was Third World by today’s standards, while the standard of living of the wealthy was enormously better than that of the average person of the time. ”
      Unforunately we’re no competing against people in the nineteenth century; we’re competing against people who are alive today.
      “Forms of healthcare, fresh food, sanitation, running water, electricity, computers, air conditioning, furniture, knowledge, transportation, and innumerable other things, all are available to regular people today. ”
      A great many of these things, I might note, are available because the government provides them, and these services are actively under threat from organized campaigns by the very rich.

      “Another thing never considered is that the times in which inequality supposedly was soaring (here in the United States), when the poor and middle-class were supposedly being robbed, are remembered by most people as being among the country’s finest times economically (i.e. the 1980s and 1990s—I’d include part of the 2000s as well, but the image of these was tainted due to the dislike of President Bush, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so forth). ”
      1) The 2000s aren’t maligned because people don’t like Bush; they’re maligned because, economically, they consisted of the dot-com bubble bursting, followed by 9/11, followed by a “recovery’ which consisted of a real estate bubble which eventually blew-up in epic fashion.
      2) You might also add the 1870s and the 1920s to the list of these golden eras of inequality. And yet, somehow, all of them seemed to end in horrific depressions. Probably just a coincidence.

      “My own personal opinion on the matter is that due to all of the above, “wealth inequality” and “income inequality” are mostly meaningless. To me, real inequality would be things such as inequality of rights, inequality of opportunity, and material inequality. ”
      And you seriously don’t think that the wo are related?

      • Kyle says:

        “In principle it’s not. In practice, it usually is to a large extent, due to lack of social mobility. This, once again, is because people who have money have an easier time making more of it.”

        Well if you look at the last thirty years alone, I would say in practice the 1% are very much not a fixed class these days. There has been an enormous amount of new fortunes created since 1980 alone. The days of the 1% being more of a fixed group was back in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Today, inherited wealth makes up a smaller amount of the wealthy.

        “True, but the value at any given time is defined only in terms of that which is owned by the rest of society.”

        Not quite sure what you mean here. If income and wealth are what individuals produce, how is the distribution really relevant?

        “I’ll glaze over the possibility that the very rich can away with making large amounts of money *illegally* (or even “legally” by means of lobbying governments to change laws) but I will point out that when I say that the rich have any easier time making money than the por, I mean quite literally that the rich have an easier time *making money* then the poor. If they “grow the pie” in so doing, then that is all well and good (although I question whether, for example, things like the financial services add anything to society–it seems, like it’s perfectly possible to make money through parasitism pure and simple), except that the majority of the wealth created *also* ends up in the coffers of the very rich.”

        I agree with you on issues of lobbying and having more connections and so forth. Having money can easily beget more money if one is smart with it. Financial services I’d think do add value, or else they wouldn’t create any wealth. No one would use them if they didn’t provide some kind of value at all. However, financial services is an industry that needs regulation in order to make sure that blatant abuse of people doesn’t occur (the financial industry is infamous for this throughout history).

        “Unforunately we’re no competing against people in the nineteenth century; we’re competing against people who are alive today.”

        Yes, my point was just that when people look at a set of statistics and say that inequality is increasing, the issue is more involved then that.

        “A great many of these things, I might note, are available because the government provides them, and these services are actively under threat from organized campaigns by the very rich.”

        Some are provided by the government, but they all go back to the private sector ultimately. For example, the government provides certain services such as infrastructure (electricity, running water, Internet to a degree), certain healthcare services, etc…but who invented the electrical industry? Who makes the innovations in plumbing? The Internet? Who drives the innovation in medical devices and equipment? All of that is the private-sector. It is also the wealth created by the private sector that provides the tax revenue to finance the government-provided services.

        I would say certain government services are under attack from organized campaigns of the right-wing, not necessarilly the rich. Many rich and big business love government programs if they provide them with money.

        “1) The 2000s aren’t maligned because people don’t like Bush; they’re maligned because, economically, they consisted of the dot-com bubble bursting, followed by 9/11, followed by a “recovery’ which consisted of a real estate bubble which eventually blew-up in epic fashion.”

        True, but the Dot Com bubble bursting didn’t really affect anyone that much (the unemployment rate didn’t skyrocket or anything). The “recovery” via the real-estate bubble I agree with, but during the time that bubble was going on, things seemed fine, even very good, for the average person, and only a few saw that a bubble was forming.

        “2) You might also add the 1870s and the 1920s to the list of these golden eras of inequality. And yet, somehow, all of them seemed to end in horrific depressions. Probably just a coincidence.”

        I think it’s more complicated than that. Both are remembered as being prosperous economic times as the economic pie was growing. More and more goods and services were becoming available, hence the creation of new fortunes in the process. The 1920s ended in a depression due to bad policy from the government and the Federal Reserve. The 1920s crash, by historical standards, was nothing special. The markets declined by about 12% (they declined by about 24% in 1987 and 50% in 2000). The crash came and went. It was a year before the depression hit. This was because the Fed decided to hike interest rates and cut the money supply, the worst thing they could do (as they didn’t understand what they were doing at the time). Then Herbert Hoover (who didn’t take a laissez-faire approach as is often thought) intervened by raising taxes, enacting price controls, and clamping down on trade. Then FDR’s New Deal furthered these policies along with additional policies damaging to the economy, which kept the unemployment rate up. It took WWII which consisted of destroying all the other major industrial economies in the world while building up a larger industrial base in America to recover the American economy.

        The current crisis I’d think in that sense is much worse then the depression, because you could imagine how the current economy would be if the Federal Reserve had hiked interest rates. This was a near full collapse of the financial system.

        “And you seriously don’t think that the wo are related?”

        Well I explained how material inequality is decreasing due to the constant new innovations and goods and services becoming available to the average person that previously were not.

        Regarding equal rights, equality of rights exists under the law regardless of a person’s wealth or income for the most part. A poor person has the same right to free speech as a rich person, or right to practice whatever religion they want, and so forth. Regarding inequality of opportunity, I agree that the richer one is, the more opportunity they have, but if society is rich overall, where everyone, by global standards, is rich, just unequally rich, then while the rich will always have more opportunity, opportunity continues to increase for the ordinary person as well.

        Some examples right now could be the opportunities the advancements in technology are making for smaller businesses. Mass data storage, mass computing power, and sophisticated manufacturing technologies, all are becoming very affordable and ubiquitous, which means whereas before certain services that were only the purview of big businesses are now becoming available to smaller businesses. The Internet has made knowledge and learning much more available as well.

        • “Well if you look at the last thirty years alone, I would say in practice the 1% are very much not a fixed class these days.”

          Statistics please.

          “Not quite sure what you mean here. If income and wealth are what individuals produce, how is the distribution really relevant?”

          Surely you understand that if a pie grows by twenty percent, but ninety percent of the additional area of the pie belongs to the top ten percent of income
          earners, the bottom ninety percent now have proportionally even less.

          “Regarding inequality of opportunity, I agree that the richer one is, the more opportunity they have, but if society is rich overall, where everyone, by global standards, is rich, just unequally rich, then while the rich will always have more opportunity, opportunity continues to increase for the ordinary person as well.”

          Wealth and povery are defined only in relation to one an other. Further to this matter, I can quote only Anatole France:
          “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

      • Kyle says:

        “Statistics please.”

        http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/01/14/the-decline-of-inherited-money/?mod=WSJBlog

        “Surely you understand that if a pie grows by twenty percent, but ninety percent of the additional area of the pie belongs to the top ten percent of income
        earners, the bottom ninety percent now have proportionally even less.”

        Yes, but even though they have proportionally even less, they will be wealthier due to whatever goods and services have been produced by the people who are or have become wealthy. They did not have their existing wealth taken away from them and re-distributed up to the richer (yes exceptions do exist, i.e. Madoff, but I mean the system in general). Also, some of the people in the top ten percent could be formerly poorer people who have now become rich or affluent. This is oversimplified, but it’s kind of like if you own 100% of a $10 million company versus 10% of a $1 billion company. You own proportionally less, but in absolute wealth, you’re much richer.

        “Wealth and povery are defined only in relation to one an other. Further to this matter, I can quote only Anatole France:
        “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.””

        Well there’s absolute poverty and relative poverty. Just as there’s absolute wealth and relative wealth.

        • Sorry but that article doesn’t address my concerns at all. It does not talk about dynamics in and out of the 1% category; all that it does is say that most of them did not make large portions of their money through inheritence. This, in fact, is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand in view of the fact that my primary assertion was that **having money makes it easier to make more of it!**
          “This is oversimplified, but it’s kind of like if you own 100% of a $10 million company versus 10% of a $1 billion company. You own proportionally less, but in absolute wealth, you’re much richer.”
          Once again, I assert that personal wealth is irrelevant except in relation to what everyone else has. This is because pricing is based upon demand. But in any case, this line of reasoning is rendered utterly irrelevant by the fact that right now, the economy is *shrinking* and the one-percenters are still getting more of the pie.

      • Kyle says:

        “Sorry but that article doesn’t address my concerns at all. It does not talk about dynamics in and out of the 1% category; all that it does is say that most of them did not make large portions of their money through inheritence. This, in fact, is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand in view of the fact that my primary assertion was that **having money makes it easier to make more of it!**”

        I cited about inheritance because if most of the wealthy had inherited their money, you could say that, in practice, they are more of a fixed class. That used to be more the case, but not so much anymore. Nowadays, lots of new people have become rich.

        I agree that people who have money have an easier time making more of it, but that will always be the case. It doesn’t stop regular people from engaging in entrepreneurship and wealth creation and productivity. We can have certain programs perhaps for helping entrepreneurs, helping people get an education, etc…basically to create more equality of opportunity I suppose, but there will always be some level of inequality of opportunity. New technologies and inventions have made, and are continuing to make, the opportunity for wealth creation much greater for people.

        “Once again, I assert that personal wealth is irrelevant except in relation to what everyone else has. This is because pricing is based upon demand.”

        That’s if you ignore the supply-side aspect of it. If everyone becomes a millionaire in the current economy, then it’s meaningless. But if the economy grows to a point where even those living below the poverty line are millionaires, then even if these people hold a smaller share of the overall “pie” then before, they are still richer.

        “But in any case, this line of reasoning is rendered utterly irrelevant by the fact that right now, the economy is *shrinking* and the one-percenters are still getting more of the pie.”

        The economy isn’t shrinking, it is continuing to grow, just at too slow of a rate. Also be careful of that fallacy I mentioned: the economic pie doesn’t grow and then get divided out to society, with the 1% hogging more of it to themself. It just refers to the portion of the total wealth held by a specific statistical income and wealth bracket. This is probably because so many regular people are out of work right now, and thus making wealth, whereas most one percenters are still earning income from the stock market and so forth.

    • Leah Jane says:

      Wow, we can add “being poor” to the laundry list of “Things Kyle knows absolutely nothing about but still feels compelled to offer an opinion on anyways”.
      If that particular condition ever makes it into the DSM VI, I’m going to name it after you.
      Also, it’s a very Soviet mentality to believe that it’s okay to give the majority a bunch of shitty material possessions and tell them that, ideally, that’s all they’re getting, but that’s good enough because the ideology is infallible.

      • Kyle says:

        “Wow, we can add “being poor” to the laundry list of “Things Kyle knows absolutely nothing about but still feels compelled to offer an opinion on anyways”.”

        Actually, I know very much about being poor (I am poor right now in fact!). You interpret me as being someone or something I am not. I just have differences of opinion on certain things is all.

        “If that particular condition ever makes it into the DSM VI, I’m going to name it after you.
        Also, it’s a very Soviet mentality to believe that it’s okay to give the majority a bunch of shitty material possessions and tell them that, ideally, that’s all they’re getting, but that’s good enough because the ideology is infallible.”

        Huh? Where am I saying that? Also, no one “gives” the majority this stuff, they willingly buy it and demand it. To them, it’s valuable. That includes a lot of important things, like all sorts of foods being available, appliances, furniture, much better quality healthcare due to advances in medical devices and technology, clothing, cheap automobiles with lots more features, iPads, iPods, cheap computers (remember when a new computer used to cost like $2,000 to $4,000? Now they can be had for as little as $400, and they will keep getting cheaper; eventually PCs will become a form of appliance, while being very powerful, very small, and extremely cheap).

        I agree that many people in the U.S. right now are being pounded by the rising costs of healthcare and higher education and the crap economy, but those are not caused by inequality.

        • “I agree that many people in the U.S. right now are being pounded by the rising costs of healthcare and higher education and the crap economy, but those are not caused by inequality.”

          No, but they are exacerbated by inequality.

      • n8chz says:

        Jamie said something about high cost of education (among other things) being exacerbated by class inequality. I’d suggest that it’s also exacerbated by it, which means we have the makings of a vicious spiral. The higher tuition, combined with the trend in financial aid of less grants and more loans, combined with the de facto expectation of unpaid internships in many professions, smells of intent, perhaps to block advancement of large numbers of people of working class origin into the professions.

        Of course, it’s fashionable these days among rightists to point out that a career that requires intelligence is a privilege not a right, or that college-educated people are being “over-produced.” For me, if for no one else (and I know of course that there are many others) a larger percentage of the population enjoying the “privilege” of working in the creative class does more for my quality of life than poor people having more access to electronic toys (which, among other things, exposes them to accusations of being spendthrifts, as well as “materially well off” by wingers parroting talking points).

    • n8chz says:

      A growing economy is something of a pyramid scheme. As for the talking points (which I’ve already heard millions of times) asserting that poverty=absolute poverty (and the implication that relative poverty is a non-issue), I’m not buying it. What makes people poor is not lack of creature comforts, but insolvency, the shame of not being a person “in good standing” and therefore being fair game for collectors, redliners, credliners and other predators. This causes a loss of dignity. Assuming we have the technology to eliminate hunger and homelessness, next step is eliminating economic casualties; patching up the many cracks people have the freedom to fall through and gradually failure-proof our economy.

      • Kyle says:

        “A growing economy is something of a pyramid scheme. As for the talking points (which I’ve already heard millions of times) asserting that poverty=absolute poverty (and the implication that relative poverty is a non-issue), I’m not buying it. What makes people poor is not lack of creature comforts, but insolvency, the shame of not being a person “in good standing” and therefore being fair game for collectors, redliners, credliners and other predators. This causes a loss of dignity. Assuming we have the technology to eliminate hunger and homelessness, next step is eliminating economic casualties; patching up the many cracks people have the freedom to fall through and gradually failure-proof our economy.”

        This is an interesting point, but even with that definition of poverty, there’s still absolute poverty and relative poverty. I mean you could have a society where the poorest 10% are themselves pretty secure financially, it’s just that, out of the rest of society, they are among the bottom earners. And then you’d have those who are facing insolvency as you point out.

        The issue I think there though is that we have to balance stopping the predators with personal responsibility.

        • “The issue I think there though is that we have to balance stopping the predators with personal responsibility.”

          No one is denying that, but it’s pretty clear that we fundamentally disagree on how to go about doing so. As I do not think that we will be successful at resolving these differences in a comment thread, I respectfully propose that, for the present time, we agree to disagree.

      • Kyle says:

        “No, but they are exacerbated by inequality.”

        “No one is denying that, but it’s pretty clear that we fundamentally disagree on how to go about doing so. As I do not think that we will be successful at resolving these differences in a comment thread, I respectfully propose that, for the present time, we agree to disagree.”

        Okay.

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