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Author Topic: How Would One Reduce Inequality?  (Read 22581 times)

genmac

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #120 on: October 19, 2012, 11:48:25 am »

If you never understood it, you should watch any of the videos of stabbings in large cities where people just watch or keep walking.  The classic case being Kitty Genovese who was loudly murdered in full earshot and eyesight of her neighbors.
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LoSboccacc

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #121 on: October 19, 2012, 12:36:49 pm »

Ok, now seriously: you're proposing a police state approach for the inequality problem.

This will ultimately lead to the policers caste rise in pover, as those are the one you need to forcibly detach sons from mothers, or else your average mother will try and hide the children

And now you have the age old problem of who controls the controllers. Who will remove childrens from policeman mothers? Friends are going to help friends, and suddenly corruption is introduced in the system, as if one helps another, a honor debt bond is made (like mafia)

Now, any sistem of this kind will eventually degenerate. Look at wikipedia for how bureocrats have risen to be lesser than equal.

You need not just to focus on the system for maintaining eqquality, but also on its policing and on how to prevent meddling
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ed boy

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #122 on: October 19, 2012, 12:56:16 pm »

I think you're thoroughly misjudging the long-term effectiveness of the system. Sure there would be problems with the initial changeover, and in the first few years since, but in the years that follow, I reckon that people would grow used to it. The degeneration you hypothesize would be based on people looking out for the interests of their own families, but if there's no family structure, then there would be no such problems. As for people trying to avoid their children being taken, it would rely on them having and raising a child to maturity without the child ever having any contact with the outside world, which I rather doubt would be possible.
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LoSboccacc

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #123 on: October 19, 2012, 01:00:05 pm »

You can abstract away the family structre, but not that nine month period bond
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Frumple

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #124 on: October 19, 2012, 01:02:44 pm »

Iron womb, baby. Give it a few more decades, maybe a century or so (if that), and we'll be able to toss that bit out the window as the annoyance it is.
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Gantolandon

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #125 on: October 19, 2012, 01:04:55 pm »

Quote
It's one thing to be able to communicate with people, it's another to be able to care about them. It's quite easy to logically arrive at the conclusion that all people should be treated equally and you should look out for the interests of all people equally, but to actually do so is quite hard. There's a leading theory in anthrpology of Dunbar's number, which is that it is impossible to properly care about more people than a certain number (usually given as being around 150).

Not sure if I understand. Why would be so important that everyone from eight million people cared about themselves to properly organize them into a functioning egalitarian society? I don't think anyone here will defend the statement that most politicians genuinely care about the people they govern.

You don't have to care about everyone, really. If you live in a city, you don't want it to turn into shit. No one wants the sewers overflowing, because this means crap flooding the streets, terrible stink and diseases. No one wants to see gangs robbing people on the streets, because one day you may be the one that's robbed. And - a surprise for everyone who imagines a decentralized society as a slackfest - no one really likes people who don't do anything, yet use up resources as everyone else. So there is still work to do and still people will need to do something to prove themselves useful. The only difference is they won't have to work extra hard to make up for expenses of their nobility.
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pisskop

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #126 on: October 19, 2012, 01:10:32 pm »

Iron womb, baby. Give it a few more decades, maybe a century or so (if that), and we'll be able to toss that bit out the window as the annoyance it is.
You would try to kill the family structure and effectively sterilize humans?
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Frumple

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #127 on: October 19, 2012, 01:27:52 pm »

That nine month downtime is a major weakness, and the notably incapacitated period near the end of it is an overt example of something we don't really want. Getting things to the point that there's no more need for that trouble would be a fairly major step forward for our species. Regardless as to any social changes that may come along with it, excising humanity's reliance on the process would do nothing but good.

I'm not even entirely sure what you mean when you say "family structure" or how the nine-month pregnancy period is necessary for it, or how you get from "remove the incapacitating pregnancy period" to "effectively sterilize humans".

Specifically, what I was saying is that LoS's "nine month period bond" can be not just abstracted away, but outright removed. That such would be a good thing would be a different issue.
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Neonivek

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #128 on: October 19, 2012, 01:28:17 pm »

And now you have the age old problem of who controls the controllers. Who will remove childrens from policeman mothers? Friends are going to help friends, and suddenly corruption is introduced in the system, as if one helps another, a honor debt bond is made (like mafia)

Ahh yes, what people sometimes attribute to the true fall of communism.

The fact that essentially it requires an all powerful government in order to enact these laws. One that simply would need one self-interested person in power to completely topple the system.

So in trying to create a lack of inequality we created a system where massive amounts of inequality flourishes.
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GreatJustice

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #129 on: October 19, 2012, 02:12:53 pm »

I always loved this argument, how workers of a factory will inevitably slack off and do not invest in it, because they are stupid and don't really care. Only a capitalist übermensch will make rational decisions because for some reason he likes taking risks. And everyone supposedly works harder when there is a guy at the top who does nothing and takes most of the money.

It isn't that the workers are stupid and don't care, it's that each worker is now taking the risk that the capitalist had alongside the wages that they had earlier. Risks, therefore, become a far greater danger to the worker-owners because if they pan out they only benefit if they work there for a very long time, whereas if they don't they are screwed over almost immediately.

Also, the "guy at the top who does nothing" generally provides the means of production, which he in turn either created or gained by exchanging things of equivalent value. The workers wouldn't get very far if they had to build cars without the necessary machinery provided by the capitalist, and then on top of that had no steady source of income whatsoever (if people don't like the car and don't buy it the worker actually loses money).
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pisskop

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #130 on: October 19, 2012, 02:14:14 pm »

Not to mention the lack of administrative/high level experience many of these workers would face.
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Gantolandon

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #131 on: October 19, 2012, 03:33:03 pm »

Quote
It isn't that the workers are stupid and don't care, it's that each worker is now taking the risk that the capitalist had alongside the wages that they had earlier. Risks, therefore, become a far greater danger to the worker-owners because if they pan out they only benefit if they work there for a very long time, whereas if they don't they are screwed over almost immediately.

What risks could a company possibly face that would dissuade its owner from investing in it? I was under impression that's rather not investing in it and letting it stagnate is more risky.

Quote
Also, the "guy at the top who does nothing" generally provides the means of production, which he in turn either created or gained by exchanging things of equivalent value. The workers wouldn't get very far if they had to build cars without the necessary machinery provided by the capitalist, and then on top of that had no steady source of income whatsoever (if people don't like the car and don't buy it the worker actually loses money).

He provides the means of production because he is the one who owns them, that's why he is called a capitalist. They are, in turn, created from... means of production, held by the capitalist. If someone owns all of them, it's only logical that he is the one who can provide them, but I don't see how this is a benefit for anyone else than him.

Quote
Not to mention the lack of administrative/high level experience many of these workers would face.

As opposed to whom? A stakeholder, who may never even see the company HQ from inside? An average business owner who doesn't even have to manage his company personally, just hires people to do this for him?
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GreatJustice

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #132 on: October 19, 2012, 04:25:38 pm »

Quote
What risks could a company possibly face that would dissuade its owner from investing in it? I was under impression that's rather not investing in it and letting it stagnate is more risky.

Extreme cost versus unknown chance of productivity increase.

Furthermore, again, if the workers own the company, then investing actually decreases their wages (since the money spent on capital goes towards wages otherwise).
Quote
He provides the means of production because he is the one who owns them, that's why he is called a capitalist. They are, in turn, created from... means of production, held by the capitalist. If someone owns all of them, it's only logical that he is the one who can provide them, but I don't see how this is a benefit for anyone else than him.

He had to have worked to have made them in the first place, though. They didn't simply appear in his possession.
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SalmonGod

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #133 on: October 19, 2012, 06:00:03 pm »

And this is what I've heard from people my whole life, but I never understood what they were getting at.  What is it about a larger community that makes it impossible to organize in an egalitarian fashion?  What is the common feature of large scale societies that allows them to organize? 

Eventually I figured out that the common feature is centralization, and the obstacle that centralization overcomes is limitations in communication.  Now those limitations are gone, and the need for centralization with it. 
It's one thing to be able to communicate with people, it's another to be able to care about them. It's quite easy to logically arrive at the conclusion that all people should be treated equally and you should look out for the interests of all people equally, but to actually do so is quite hard. There's a leading theory in anthrpology of Dunbar's number, which is that it is impossible to properly care about more people than a certain number (usually given as being around 150).

I don't really understand the significance of Dunbar's Number.  I've been aware of it even before that Cracked article where it was termed The Monkeysphere, which is how most people seem to know about it.  It's an interesting concept.

But it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to me to objectively appreciate the notion that the people outside of your monkeysphere are just the same as the people inside of it.  Society is a massive web of billions of overlapping monkeyspheres, and while yours may feel more important than others, that doesn't mean it objectively is.

I know that many people don't put so much thought into developing a broader perspective, and thus aren't likely to appreciate that.  That's why there's a thing called Enlightened Self-Interest, which is very similar to what Gantolandon described.  It doesn't exactly require much enlightenment, either.  It's ridiculously simple to understand that other people provide products and services to you the same way you provide products and services to them, and if we don't maintain the functionality of those relationships with people we don't even know, then it's impossible to achieve anything beyond an agrarian subsistence lifestyle. 

Property-based systems actually decrease enlightened self-interest, because they're so heavily based in competition for individual gain.  They force us into a narcissistic tunnel-vision, that becomes a necessity in order to compete.  The only we to achieve a comfortable life is to fight for a standing near the top of the pile of humans, so we must become callous.  Short-sighted people think that being forced to contribute to public services takes away from their ability to directly invest in their own corpse-pile climb.  This is why our culture is currently severely devaluing things like education and other public services.  It's only a matter of time before people realize that many of our society's problems are directly caused by devaluing those services, and will begin to value them again.  It's one of those cycles that we're constantly going through, similar to the longer-term cycle of extreme wealth consolidation -> crushing poverty -> radicalization -> violent revolution -> back to wealth consolidating.

Now to respond to GreatJustice.

As for capitalist owners being necessary in order to take "risks" and for establishing means of production in the first place... that depends on how late into the capitalist game you are.  At our late stage, most of this is achieved through inheritance, and capitalist owners are so powerful that they can rig the game to benefit them even when their investments fail.  If you don't see this happening right now, you're delusional.  In early stages, inequality is negligible enough that you can't really argue that inequality played a significant part in that establishment.

Plus, you keep talking about wages.  Any system involving wages in any form comparable to what we know today would not be social libertarian.  Your wage is a roughly equal access to the total wealth of your whole community, not just in the single operation that you participate in.  Hoarding of goods beyond what could be called your personal possession is also literally impossible, as such ownership is seen as fundamentally illegitimate.
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Gantolandon

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Re: How Would One Reduce Inequality?
« Reply #134 on: October 19, 2012, 06:07:54 pm »

Quote
Extreme cost versus unknown chance of productivity increase.

Furthermore, again, if the workers own the company, then investing actually decreases their wages (since the money spent on capital goes towards wages otherwise).

The capitalist faces the same problem. When he is investing, he needs to sacrifice a significant part of his profits, having no way to be sure it will increase productivity.

Quote
He had to have worked to have made them in the first place, though. They didn't simply appear in his possession.

No, he didn't. Inheritance and the positive feedback involving generation of capital means you don't have to lift a finger through your entire life, and still be able to live an opulent life. Hell, even the starting capital can be obtained in many ways, including crime, marriage, luck or other factors which don't involve merit in any way. Some of the successful European capitalists in XIX century, for example, were nobles - who were able to buy factories because they owned land, which could have been granted to their distant ancestor by a king several hundred years ago.

So basically, the only reason someone owns means of production right now is that somebody created them. The person who owns them right now didn't have to do anything to obtain them.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 06:09:37 pm by Gantolandon »
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