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Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 10:25 AM
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Matt Miller (#4) (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)


The question isn't whether disparity exists, it's whether the ability to move along the income spectrum exists.


Everybody on the lower income spectrum would like to move along the income spectrum toward the high end. The increasing disparity in wealth pushes them toward the lower end. Increasing disparity means that there is a change that trends against improving ones standard of living if we're on the low end of the wealth disparity.

The only long-term solution is to try to make opportunities available to as many folks as possible.


Less wealth on the low end means we have to work harder for basic necessities, and less wealth to invest in upward mobility and improving our economic status. Disparity in wealth affects mobility among the income spectrum by its very definition. Moving up in personal income requires an investment of resources, and less of these resources decrease upward mobility by definition. One of the few ways mobility can increase independently of income disparity is by a net across the board increase in resources for everybody. Are there other ways?


There is nothing that creates an "across the board increase in resources", so that's a bit of a non-starter. Resources are limited - that's a fact of life. What do you propose that would magically improve everyone's station in life?


Steam power increased wealth across the board, as did the internal combustion engine, mass production in factories, big agriculture, etc.


As to how to decrease disparity: introduce disruptive innovations. Find things that by their very nature jump outside of the routines, and allow new pathways to wealth.


As I've said, if you are devoting all of your resources to maintain your present state, you won't by definition have any resources to spare to introduce disruptive innovations.
Post #1317426
Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 12:43 PM


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patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)
Matt Miller (#4) (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)


The question isn't whether disparity exists, it's whether the ability to move along the income spectrum exists.


Everybody on the lower income spectrum would like to move along the income spectrum toward the high end. The increasing disparity in wealth pushes them toward the lower end. Increasing disparity means that there is a change that trends against improving ones standard of living if we're on the low end of the wealth disparity.

The only long-term solution is to try to make opportunities available to as many folks as possible.


Less wealth on the low end means we have to work harder for basic necessities, and less wealth to invest in upward mobility and improving our economic status. Disparity in wealth affects mobility among the income spectrum by its very definition. Moving up in personal income requires an investment of resources, and less of these resources decrease upward mobility by definition. One of the few ways mobility can increase independently of income disparity is by a net across the board increase in resources for everybody. Are there other ways?


There is nothing that creates an "across the board increase in resources", so that's a bit of a non-starter. Resources are limited - that's a fact of life. What do you propose that would magically improve everyone's station in life?


Steam power increased wealth across the board, as did the internal combustion engine, mass production in factories, big agriculture, etc.


As to how to decrease disparity: introduce disruptive innovations. Find things that by their very nature jump outside of the routines, and allow new pathways to wealth.


As I've said, if you are devoting all of your resources to maintain your present state, you won't by definition have any resources to spare to introduce disruptive innovations.


Yes. And, based on lifestyle and living standards, America's poor are part of Earth's wealthiest 1%.

We have already taken care of the actual basic needs of 99% of our domestic population. Food, clothing, shelter, pottable water. These are, essentially, solved problems in the US. Those who don't have access to these things are, for the most part, the insane (released from assylums once their insurance runs out and they are no longer profitable to detain), those addicted to hard drugs (heroin, et al; for the most part unable to care for themselves or anyone else), and those who choose to live "outside the system". There are exceptions, but they exist in very, very tiny numbers.

When we start adding to the list of necessities, things like medical care, higher education, a private house, well-paid employment (all of which were added during the Roosevelt years as "basic rights" and "necessities"), even private transportation (I've seen car-ownership listed as a "right"), then, no, we don't have those covered. But those are only necessities according to politicians who want to buy votes, and the people whose votes are being bought. Thus, modern Socialisms greatest contribution to history (besides being the only system of government that has killed more people than Black Plague did - check the numbers, this is not an exaggeration), is adding these things to the traditional list of "bread and circuses", and for the same end-purpose.

Most of the rest of the world (excluding industrialized regions like Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and a few others), suffers from a much more actual "poverty", where basic necessities are not met. Where starvation, water-born diseases, involuntary exposure injury (lack of adequate shelter/clothing), are real, everyday things.

Then there are the places that are even worse than that. Haiti, for example, is listed as being sub-Third World.

And a few places in between, like South Africa, Colombia, and some others, where industrialization has moved some of the population out of actual poverty, but where substantial percentages are still suffering badly, or where political situations (continuing aftermath of Apartheid, for example) are magnifying the suffering and poverty beyond where industry would otherwise mitigate/eliminate it.

So, to the point, don't worry so much about what effect automation and technological efficiency might be depriving someone of things beyond necessities. If you want to feel bad about something, or (much better) take action to effectively do something about horrific situations, focus your attention on the places with real, serious, deadly needs, and on the people who are facing death or actual privation. The guy who's been on unemployment and food stamps for a couple of years, while that's definitely a bad thing, is in much less need of all of our attention, than the people who simply won't eat this week, or who are watching their family members die of Cholera or whose children have Malaria.

We Americans can argue endlessly over whether public employee union members are over- or under-paid. While the French argue about whether retirement should be 60 or 62, and the Greeks about whether they should actually be required to pay back the loans their government has taken. Every minute spent on impedimentia like that is a minute not spent on solving the true depths of human misery our fellow human beings suffer every day.

To those who will inevitable froth at the mouth and claim that I'm saying "let America's poor suffer" (which always comes up), I will issue the same challenge I always do: Spend a week in Port Au Prince (Haiti), then spend a week in South Central Los Angeles. Then make the decision which one you would rather spend the rest of your life in if those were the only two choices you had. Nobody ever takes me up on that, or even tries to come close to it. But they will claim I'm heartless because I even mention it.


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Post #1317527
Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 2:46 PM
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GSquared (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)
Matt Miller (#4) (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)


The question isn't whether disparity exists, it's whether the ability to move along the income spectrum exists.


Everybody on the lower income spectrum would like to move along the income spectrum toward the high end. The increasing disparity in wealth pushes them toward the lower end. Increasing disparity means that there is a change that trends against improving ones standard of living if we're on the low end of the wealth disparity.

The only long-term solution is to try to make opportunities available to as many folks as possible.


Less wealth on the low end means we have to work harder for basic necessities, and less wealth to invest in upward mobility and improving our economic status. Disparity in wealth affects mobility among the income spectrum by its very definition. Moving up in personal income requires an investment of resources, and less of these resources decrease upward mobility by definition. One of the few ways mobility can increase independently of income disparity is by a net across the board increase in resources for everybody. Are there other ways?


There is nothing that creates an "across the board increase in resources", so that's a bit of a non-starter. Resources are limited - that's a fact of life. What do you propose that would magically improve everyone's station in life?


Steam power increased wealth across the board, as did the internal combustion engine, mass production in factories, big agriculture, etc.


As to how to decrease disparity: introduce disruptive innovations. Find things that by their very nature jump outside of the routines, and allow new pathways to wealth.


As I've said, if you are devoting all of your resources to maintain your present state, you won't by definition have any resources to spare to introduce disruptive innovations.


Yes. And, based on lifestyle and living standards, America's poor are part of Earth's wealthiest 1%.


Plugging in the 2012 single person [1] poverty limit into the global rich list calculator [2] puts this person's wealth rank at 13.06 percent of the worlds population. Plugging in the marginal income for each additional family member (resulting in a significantly lower dollar figure) gives 14.61 percent mark.

Now you could bring up the caveat that you didn't mean the absolute mark of poverty, but rather a subjective measure of which you are the authority on. I get to throw in a measure of health and dental care as being part of the minimum, just because we are now in the subjective arena of social commentary. It rapidly gets back into a back and forth of who has what values.


We have already taken care of the actual basic needs of 99% of our domestic population.


I hope you don't mind if I disagree.

[1] http://www.globalrichlist.com

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States
Post #1317594
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 2:03 AM
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I hate to point out the obvious: The entire global economy is in a mess. Even way down at the southern tip of africa people are having a hard time.
We're apparently sheltered from any Eurozone fallout but I think it's understated.

It's time the economic system has a revamp complete rebuild.


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Post #1317763
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 7:28 AM
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Michael G (6/19/2012)
I hate to point out the obvious: The entire global economy is in a mess. Even way down at the southern tip of africa people are having a hard time.
We're apparently sheltered from any Eurozone fallout but I think it's understated.

It's time the economic system has a revamp complete rebuild.
OK, who's going to rebuild it? Politicians? Government bureaucrats? Most of our economic problems are moral/ethical in nature--too little saving, too much deficit spending, too much greed/gluttony, too many bailouts for bad behavior. Would you "rebuild" the economy through the same people who caused the mess in the first place? If not, what are the credentials for those you would choose?


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Post #1318004
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 7:38 AM


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We do seem to have strayed a little from the question of whether or not we feel guilty about the impact of our technological improvements.....

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Post #1318015
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 3:32 PM


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Nothing to feel guilty about with the increase in productivity. At some point a realization will be met that the technology has also created more jobs - just different jobs and people will adapt.



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Post #1319686
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 10:01 AM


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patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)
GSquared (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)
Matt Miller (#4) (6/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (6/18/2012)


The question isn't whether disparity exists, it's whether the ability to move along the income spectrum exists.


Everybody on the lower income spectrum would like to move along the income spectrum toward the high end. The increasing disparity in wealth pushes them toward the lower end. Increasing disparity means that there is a change that trends against improving ones standard of living if we're on the low end of the wealth disparity.

The only long-term solution is to try to make opportunities available to as many folks as possible.


Less wealth on the low end means we have to work harder for basic necessities, and less wealth to invest in upward mobility and improving our economic status. Disparity in wealth affects mobility among the income spectrum by its very definition. Moving up in personal income requires an investment of resources, and less of these resources decrease upward mobility by definition. One of the few ways mobility can increase independently of income disparity is by a net across the board increase in resources for everybody. Are there other ways?


There is nothing that creates an "across the board increase in resources", so that's a bit of a non-starter. Resources are limited - that's a fact of life. What do you propose that would magically improve everyone's station in life?


Steam power increased wealth across the board, as did the internal combustion engine, mass production in factories, big agriculture, etc.


As to how to decrease disparity: introduce disruptive innovations. Find things that by their very nature jump outside of the routines, and allow new pathways to wealth.


As I've said, if you are devoting all of your resources to maintain your present state, you won't by definition have any resources to spare to introduce disruptive innovations.


Yes. And, based on lifestyle and living standards, America's poor are part of Earth's wealthiest 1%.


Plugging in the 2012 single person [1] poverty limit into the global rich list calculator [2] puts this person's wealth rank at 13.06 percent of the worlds population. Plugging in the marginal income for each additional family member (resulting in a significantly lower dollar figure) gives 14.61 percent mark.

Now you could bring up the caveat that you didn't mean the absolute mark of poverty, but rather a subjective measure of which you are the authority on. I get to throw in a measure of health and dental care as being part of the minimum, just because we are now in the subjective arena of social commentary. It rapidly gets back into a back and forth of who has what values.


We have already taken care of the actual basic needs of 99% of our domestic population.


I hope you don't mind if I disagree.

[1] http://www.globalrichlist.com

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States


Rather than relying on Wikipedia, here are some actual facts and figures, that have been verified:

•80 percent of poor households have air conditioning
•Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks
•Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television
•Two-thirds have at least one DVD player and 70 percent have a VCR
•Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers
•More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation
•43 percent have Internet access
•One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD television
•One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo

...2009 statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show[ing] that 96 percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food, 83 percent of poor families reported having enough food to eat, and over the course of a year, only 4 percent of poor persons become temporarily homeless, with 42 percent of poor households actually owning their own homes. Want an international comparison? The average poor American has more living space than the average Swede or German. You can read even more of those facts in their report, “Understanding Poverty in the United States.”


Link to referenced report: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/09/understanding-poverty-in-the-united-states-surprising-facts-about-americas-poor

So, all the data I'm citing is ultimately from the US government, depts of Census and Aggriculture, and has been verified.

Per the UN, poverty outside the US is generally measured as income with equivalent purchasing power of less than $5/day. That's ~$150/month. Poverty in the US, in the reports you are citing, is listed as ~$2,000 per month (a little over $23,000 per year), or roughly 1200% higher than extra-US numbers.

The average "poor" person in the US has a higher standard of living than the average middle-income person in other developed countries, in terms of food availability, quality and size of shelter (home), transportation (car), and even has money left over after necessities for frivolous entertainment (TiVo).

I understand that this won't change your opinion. You've got your mind made up, probably along with political convictions tied to that opinion.

And, yet again, the point of my argument has been ignored. Take my challenge. If you have the guts for it.

And, because this also always comes up:

No, I'm not a Republican (I consider both major political parties essentially criminal organizations)

No, I didn't grow up rich (my teenage years were spent living in a rural house without even plumbing or electricity; we grew our own food, including garden, chickens, ducks, cows, et al, prior to that, I lived in inner-city high-crime neighborhoods; one of our neighbors was a cocain smuggler, for example)

Yes, my the standards of the vast majority of humanity, I am currently wildly wealthy. Not by US standards, where I'm far from the top 1%, but by the standards of any human civilization other than modern-day US, I'm functionally rich.

Again, I issue this challenge: Experience real poverty. Just for a week. Live in some place like Port Au Prince for one week. Don't take any money with you, live like they do, but with a return ticket. If you survive the experience, go live for a week in some squallid neighborhood in any major US city. Take the average amount of money the residents there have, and live on government charity for a week. Live the exact lifestyles. It can be done. It can sometimes be survived (the first half is much, much rougher than the second half). Till you do something like that, you're just quoting politicians and their PR flaks, and that just makes you their dupe. Experience is the real thing, or as close as you'll get to it. Reading about these things is ... well, it's reading.


- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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Post #1320083
Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 10:49 AM
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At my current position I am lucky enough to be privy to a bit of the CEO, CIO's planning and management styles. I know that for them they would love to have a few more hundred people but our income stream does not allow that level of growth. My ability to increase productivity and bring in more revenue is more likely to increase the number and availability of jobs.
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