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Author Topic:   Unjust Deserts - Gar Alperovitz & Lew Daly
New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11774
From: near St. Louis
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Member Rating: 1.6


Message 16 of 53 (723443)
04-01-2014 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by ringo
04-01-2014 12:59 PM


That may be a philosophical injustice but the OP talks about entitlement, which is a more concrete legal injustice.

Heh, they were called "entitlement" programs because the recipients had been paying into them during their employment, so they were entitled to the benefits because they funded them.

Not so much today.

The intention of the OP (and the book) seems to be to increase awareness that the rich are not morally entitled to their riches even if they are legally entitled.

Considering that our lawmakers are controlled by the rich, I'm afraid you're on a fruitless endeavor.


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Replies to this message:
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Taq
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Posts: 7201
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.1


(3)
Message 17 of 53 (723447)
04-01-2014 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by New Cat's Eye
04-01-2014 10:29 AM


Got an example?

Slashing money for middle class education while subsidizing Exxon and corporate farms. Slashing capital gains taxes while claiming that the government is to poor to supply a single person with 20 dollars in food stamps. Busting unions in Republican controlled states.

Trickle down economics in itself is perhaps the most immoral position to take.

Where did you get your numbers?

From the billionaires themselves. Romney admitted that he was taxed around 15% while having an 8 figure salary (partially funded by sending US jobs overseas in order to make more money). Warren Buffett wrote a nice piece in the NY Times where he details his 18% tax rate, and how people in his office pay nearly twice that amount as a percentage of income.

http://www.nytimes.com/.../stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

If the uber-rich are paying as much or more than the middle class, then why are they fighting so hard against the Buffett Rule? They even go as far as calling it class warfare, as if no one has a sense of irony.


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Taq
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Posts: 7201
Joined: 03-06-2009
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Message 18 of 53 (723461)
04-01-2014 10:55 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Jon
04-01-2014 12:09 AM


A couple proposals not originating with the authors are cited:

The first proposal is interesting (80K upon reaching adulthood). However, human nature may foil the plan. We have a tendency to ignore long term gains for short term rewards. I can picture 18 year old guys buying a sports car instead of getting an education, starting a business, or investing in a house for long term stability. Still interesting, though.

The second proposal is something that should be enacted. Currently, families with wealth are able to snowball their wealth to ever larger sums due to a lack of inheritance tax and a low tax on capital gains. The heart of the economy is consumer spending, and the more money that moves from the middle class to the fewer and fewer people at the top, the less money there is in consumer spending. That hurts everyone. I think you already understand why this is a problem, but for those who may not understand the concept . . . A man with 10 million dollars will buy 1 toaster. Split up that 10 million to 100 other people and they will buy 100 toasters. This is probably a little far off from the topic, but still an important economic prinicple (at least according to my limited understanding of economics).

But the expiration dates are ridiculous. Roughly two generations (in addition to the original author) can benefit from the copyright or patent despite having done absolutely nothing to earn that benefit.

Pharmaceutical drugs may serve as a decent model. The patent is 20 years, but exclusivity is shorter, as little as 5 or 7 years. This allows for generic drugs after exclusivity runs out to keep costs down. This FAQ might be of interest to some:

http://www.fda.gov/...velopmentApprovalProcess/ucm079031.htm


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 53 (723467)
04-02-2014 3:15 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by New Cat's Eye
04-01-2014 12:47 PM


Its an injustice that some poor kid had to be born into a starving family in Africa while I get to sit here eating cheese and grapes.

And the fact that you can sit and eat cheese and grapes while a poor African child starves is due almost entirely to no effort on your part whatsoever.

You didn't invent the milking machine that makes mass-produced milk possible. You didn't invent the vats (or whatever the hell they use) to mechanize cheese-making. You didn't invent the internal combustion engine that powers the trucks that brings the cheese to the store. You didn't build the roads; you didn't invent the concept of money; you didn't... etc.

And so it is that almost everything that lies behind your ability to have affordable and easily-accessible cheese has nothing to do with you at all; likewise the starving African child has done nothing to put himself into his current position. In this sense, you don't 'deserve' the cheese (at least not so damn much of it) and the African child doesn't 'deserve' to have no cheese at all.

The authors argue that a fair economic system rewarding people based on what they earn must also not reward people for things they did not earn. You are to the African child what the disgustingly wealthy are to you. You have something you didn't work for (and couldn't possibly have worked for) and so do the super wealthy.

That's what I was saying; nobody is going to give you anything, regardless of what is deserved, you have to go out and get what you want.

But you can't. We don't live in a world where the common inheritance is just sitting there in a bucket for everyone to grab into and remove their equal share. A select few have hoarded the common inheritance. The African child cannot get his share of your cheese because you own it; you cannot get your share of the common inheritance because the super wealthy own it. Is that fair?

If you want to do that illegally, then you may face the legal consequences. If you do it legally, you can obtain wealth and live your life.

But sitting around calling it an injustice and saying the people who have obtained wealth don't deserve it doesn't really accomplish anything.

The authors do not accuse anyone of doing anything illegal. The point they seek to make is a moral one.

If you want there to be changes, you have to go out and make changes. Us sitting around discussing how unfair life is, is a waste of time.

We aren't going to take up arms. Talking is the only reasonable course of action: talk enough, convince enough, vote enough.


Love your enemies!

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ringo
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Posts: 13745
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 20 of 53 (723480)
04-02-2014 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by New Cat's Eye
04-01-2014 3:02 PM


Catholic Scientist writes:

Considering that our lawmakers are controlled by the rich, I'm afraid you're on a fruitless endeavor.


Tell it to Lenin.
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 53 (723491)
04-02-2014 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by New Cat's Eye
04-01-2014 10:33 AM



Jon writes:

Knowing how to get rich is not the same as deserving to be rich.

Deserving? That's not even a factor that is in the equation.

The notion of 'deserving' is in the title of the book.

It is clear that the very wealthy know how to get super rich. It is the contention of the authors that they don't deserve to get super rich.


Love your enemies!

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Phat
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Posts: 9909
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 22 of 53 (723499)
04-03-2014 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by ringo
04-01-2014 12:08 PM


Share and Share Alike
ringo writes:

Isn't that what the OP is advocating? Making it illegal to steal more than your share?

How do we go about determining what ones share is? If all of the wealth in the world were divided equally, the system wouldnt work.

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to meannothing more nor less.

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Replies to this message:
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 53 (723502)
04-03-2014 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Phat
04-03-2014 12:04 AM


Re: Share and Share Alike
How do we go about determining what ones share is? If all of the wealth in the world were divided equally, the system wouldnt work.

Unfortunately the authors don't get that far. Though recognizing the need for "incentives to reward effort" (p. 156), they are also pretty clear on just what they consider to represent one's just deserts:

quote:
Alperovitz & Daly in Unjust Deserts (2008):

[If] Bill Gates were to be kidnapped from his Seattle-area mansion and put on a deserted island where the only factors of production were raw nature and his own physical efforts and intelligence, we would quickly learn how much of his wealth is due to living in an advanced society with access to technological capabilities and vast stores of knowledge. If he managed to survive, he might even see that, indeed, virtually all of this wealth (beyond barest subsistence) is due to such access. (pp. 167168)


How much "incentive" should Bill Gates get beyond what he has 'earned' as barest subsistence? If all but his most basic of life-supporting necessities are the fruits of society's (past and present) labors, then anything rewarded to him beyond these are part of the societal surplus.

How much of that surplus do we give him?

Indeed, how do we figure out how much anyone has earned through their own unique effort separate from what society has earned for them?

And this is probably the most disappointing aspect of this book: Alperovitz and Daly argue for a "distributive justice" without ever telling us what that distribution is.


Love your enemies!

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ringo
Member
Posts: 13745
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 24 of 53 (723521)
04-03-2014 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Phat
04-03-2014 12:04 AM


Re: Share and Share Alike
Phat writes:

If all of the wealth in the world were divided equally, the system wouldnt work.


Why not?

Phat writes:

How do we go about determining what ones share is?


From each according to his ability to each according to his need. A society that can't provide for the needs of its members is a dysfunctional society.
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9909
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 25 of 53 (723602)
04-04-2014 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by ringo
04-03-2014 11:48 AM


Re: Share and Share Alike
Phat writes:

If all of the wealth in the world were divided equally, the system wouldnt work.


Ringo writes:

Why not?

Human nature just doesnt work that way. What may seem fair for an up and coming African family may make a European cry in agony. Humans are used to what they have now. Society has no Karl Marx ordained right to redistribute wealth nor could it be done without provoking wars and violence. Thats just human nature.

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to meannothing more nor less.

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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 13745
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 26 of 53 (723616)
04-04-2014 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by Phat
04-04-2014 1:58 AM


Re: Share and Share Alike
Phat writes:

Human nature just doesnt work that way.


People often confuse their own faults with "human nature".

Phat writes:

Society has no Karl Marx ordained right to redistribute wealth nor could it be done without provoking wars and violence.


It's a Jesus-ordained duty:
quote:
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9909
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 27 of 53 (723622)
04-04-2014 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by ringo
04-04-2014 11:43 AM


Re: Share and Share Alike
ringo writes:

It's a Jesus-ordained duty

Which is all well and good on an individual and voluntary level. We would never get governments to follow Jesus mandates,however. It didnt work back then and it wont work now...practically speaking. On an individual level, however, we can slang spare change to our hearts content. Ive yet to see anyone give all they have, however.

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to meannothing more nor less.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by ringo, posted 04-04-2014 11:43 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by ringo, posted 04-04-2014 12:23 PM Phat has responded
 Message 33 by Jon, posted 04-04-2014 2:45 PM Phat has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 13745
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 28 of 53 (723624)
04-04-2014 12:23 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Phat
04-04-2014 12:05 PM


Re: Share and Share Alike
Phat writes:

We would never get governments to follow Jesus mandates,however.


Why not? They're our servants, aren't they? If we can eliminate segregation, why can't we eliminate poverty?

Phat writes:

It didnt work back then and it wont work now...


It didn't work back then because they couldn't vote Caesar out of office. If it doesn't work now, it's only because we don't do what we could.
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9909
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 29 of 53 (723626)
04-04-2014 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by ringo
04-04-2014 12:23 PM


Re: Share and Share Alike
The problem is in its practicality. We could vote anyone and everyone out of office...the issue is whom would we vote in? Would I really want to vote in a politician who would redistribute my lower middle class wage to reflect global poverty? In the mentime, logic says that the wealthy guys would give up their share a lot slower than I would be forced to do. I guess--in summation---I dont think that communism would work on a global scale, nor in all honesty would I be prone to embrace it. I guess I'm still convinced that humans are not ready for such a contrived utopia.

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to meannothing more nor less.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by ringo, posted 04-04-2014 12:23 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 13745
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 30 of 53 (723627)
04-04-2014 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Phat
04-04-2014 12:31 PM


Re: Share and Share Alike
Phat writes:

Would I really want to vote in a politician who would redistribute my lower middle class wage to reflect global poverty?


Do you want to follow Jesus or not?
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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