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should earnings be proportional to effort or results?


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#1 Fidcal

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 02:30 AM

This question has nagged me for a couple of years: should earnings be proportional to effort or result? I'll give two examples of the latter, one for someone I hate and one for someone I admire.

 

Bill Gates. No prizes for guessing whether I admire him or not. I see him as a very average business man (maybe less) who happened to be in the right place at the right time and made a few good choices early on. Earned a million times the average but clearly he is not a million times better businessman. However, (arguably) has provided the world with a [useful] OS, game console, and other stuff. For the sake of argument, let's say most M$oft stuff has benefited the world more than the world has lost (I personally think we'd have been better off without him or anything he's produced, but still.)

 

J K Rowling. Earns a million times the average author but is she a million times a better author? Impossible. (Remember I speak as a great admirer.) Worked for 17 years on Harry Potter and gave hundreds of millions some happiness.

 

It all comes down to copyright which enables individuals to earn far more than they could conceivably earn by the sweat of their brow: JKR works 10 hours a day and earns lets say $500,000 a day while a salt miner earns $50. Or $5. (or 5 cents and a kick up the arse if he/she lives in North Korea.) Ditto for Bill who pushed a button and millions of discs of plastic worth pence earned him $100 (ish) each.

 

But the paradox is, if the market product earns a certain size of pie, who gets the slices? The publishers? Or should the price of software/books be reduced? They wouldn't work in the current era because most software/books don't make much (if any) profit.

 

I don't know the answer. Not in this era. Thoughts? BTW I googled the topic title and got zilch for my efforts. Impossible I'm the first person to pose this kind of question. 


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#2 Anderson

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 03:42 AM

Try the question on Quora/Reddit additionally if you want. 

 

A lot of things should be in the world. Few are. Probably not happening ever.

 

Legally it's the Bern Convention system that created this monster. Trump is legally right to pursue the punishment of China for stealing intellectual property. But morally China is equally evil for having a knee jerk reaction with copying and pasting cheap copies of everything for profit instead of finding an appropriate ideological/moral answer to the issues with intellectual property to being with. But they don't care because communism is only successful at correctly identifying the illness of capitalism. Nobody has a panacea. 

So nothing won't change anytime soon. Someone's always going be more equal than others.

 

IMHO at the moment the truth is somewhere there with the argument revolving around the right to information, net neutrality that New York, California pushes through etc. The internet helps remove a lot of barriers. Libraries are not for reading anymore but increasingly a place for holding social events. All of this just needs a push.

 

An even worse problem than copyright is patent law which allows withholding technologies for maximum profit and letting the poor peasant countries die in lumpenism, lucid poverty and misery forever.

 

But everyone dies one day anyway so vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas. Doing our best, the result doesn't matter. It's the adventure that counts!


Edited by Anderson, 01 October 2018 - 03:43 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#3 Fidcal

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 04:19 AM

I think capitalism is the illness. If Elon Musk tries to create a new, self-sufficient and independent society on Mars then he ought to set up organisations there to produce oxygen, water, food, shelter, etc. But he wouldn't. He'd set up organisations not to make product but to make profit - with product as a side effect. He has to because of the illness: the pressure of competition.

 

I didn't realise patent law was restricting the growth of poor countries. I guess I supposed (if I thought of it at all) that licences would be cheaper in those countries. But I guess those countries would then export at cheaper prices. Mmm...


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#4 chakkman

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 06:11 AM

I think capitalism is the illness. 

 

I wanted to write a reply to the original post, but, i'm afraid, you have already built your opinion, so, i don't really see a point in replying anymore. "Capitalism is the illness". No need to argue with that, because, if you feel like you can wrap up a complex topic in one sentence, which defeats any rational arguing, which could change that attitude, it's really wasted time.

 

See, i could tell you that it takes a lot more than average abilities, and being "at the right spot at the right time", but, what would the point be? Capitalism is the illness anyway.


Edited by chakkman, 01 October 2018 - 06:14 AM.


#5 OrbWeaver

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 06:31 AM

> This question has nagged me for a couple of years: should earnings be proportional to effort or result? I'll give two examples of the latter, one for someone I hate and one for someone I admire.
 
The problem with linking earnings to effort, rather than results, is that effort is not in itself beneficial to society. What matters is the results you achieve with that effort.

 

If I spend hours writing out the alphabet repeatedly in my house, I am investing effort but producing no value. If I am then granted a "right" to be compensated for that effort, it means that somebody, somewhere needs to have money taken from them by force (either individually, or collectively via taxes) so it can be redistributed to me. It should be obvious that an economic system that explicitly rewards people for time-wasting is not going to be very successful. People need an incentive to create value, not just spend effort on pointless busywork.
 
> It all comes down to copyright which enables individuals to earn far more than they could conceivably earn by the sweat
 
Copyright and capitalism are not the same thing. Copyright is neither necessary nor sufficient to create the inequality that we see in the world. The owner of a successful shipping business might become very rich, even though his business does not depend on copyright, while many independent content creators earn nothing from their work despite being fully protected by copyright.
 
> I think capitalism is the illness. If Elon Musk tries to create a new, self-sufficient and independent society on Mars then he ought to set up organisations there to produce oxygen, water, food, shelter, etc. But he wouldn't. He'd set up organisations not to make product but to make profit - with product as a side effect. He has to because of the illness: the pressure of competition.

 

But that's exactly the point of capitalism: it aligns the profit-making goals of producers with the product-obtaining goals of consumers. Without such alignment, there is no incentive for people to produce anything, which means that nothing gets produced, which means the economy fails and people starve.

 

Capitalism may have its flaws, but it is the best system we have found for bringing about economic progress and the vastly increased quality of life we enjoy in Western society. Every attempt that has ever been made to create a non-capitalist society has been an unmitigated disaster, with mass starvation and poverty, and corrupt, totalitarian governments executing their own citizens.


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#6 Springheel

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 07:40 AM

I think capitalism is the illness.

 

 

Before we get too far into this, you might want to define what you mean by "capitalism".

 

 

Without such alignment, there is no incentive for people to produce anything

 

 

That's not true as a blanket statement, obviously.  You're saying that in the forums for a free game that dozens of people have put hundreds of hours into without any profit-making in mind.  ;)

 

 

It should be obvious that an economic system that explicitly rewards people for time-wasting is not going to be very successful. People need an incentive to create value, not just spend effort on pointless busywork.

 

 

And one of the problems we're facing right now is that we do, in fact, reward people for time-wasting busywork, because the frank truth is that most people cannot create value in sufficient quantities to support themselves financially.  So instead we pay people to stand around and do things that machines can now do better, because having a high percentage of your population unemployed is a big problem if your goal is a stable society.  Assuming no catastrophic surprises, this will be the biggest challenge western society faces in the next twenty years.


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#7 Destined

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 07:58 AM


An even worse problem than copyright is patent law which allows withholding technologies for maximum profit and letting the poor peasant countries die in lumpenism, lucid poverty and misery forever.

Patent law and the right of it existing is a very difficutl topic. It is a form of compensating for your effort. Most patents take years (if not decades) of research, so it is only fair that the results of this effort are protected for a while. Keep in mind that patents don't last forever. If you would not do that there would be no incentive to do research at all. Why invest tons of money if another can use these results without any investment at all? It may work, if all research was publicly funded, but no state has the money (or wants to spend the money) to do that. Thus, it falls to corporations to do the research and if they want to see some of their investment back, they need to have an insurance that others cannot freely use their results.

I agree that it is harmful for poorer countries as they cannot profit from any results until the patent expires. In this case, it would fall to companies to sell their products for less money in these countries. But as Fidcal correctly stated, many people would just sell the product to countries, where they are more expensive. The main problem I see is, that the current devlopment is to create profit for profit's sake and not as compensation for work done. Many people just want to make money as fast as they can with as little effort as possible. Thus, companies are sued for not warning that the coffee in their cup is hot.

 

Regarding the "should effort be compensated", I would say: it depends. If the effort yields results (e.g. research that takes time), it should be compensated. If it was a complete waste of time, it should not be compensated. However, it is very difficult to assess if time was wasted senselessly or if things just did not work out to unfortunate circumstances... In there lies a big difference, in my opinion.


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#8 Fidcal

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:42 AM

Good feedback here so I'll comment on what I can...

I got sidelined by Anderson's saying 'the illness of capitalism' which can be read as 'the illness that capitalism is suffering from' (ie, capitalism is sick but not inherently bad in itself) or 'the illness that IS capitalism' in the same way we'd say 'the illness of smallpox.' I took Anderson to mean the former so, since one of my pet hates is the profit-driven system I commenced to post on about that so going slightly off-topic.

I suppose I meant by my first post: 'should earnings be proportional to effort or results WITHIN the current system' By that I mean, one can make oneself as comfortable as possible while ill - painkillers, etc. So I was wondering if there might be a system where the most out-of-proportion profits are fed back more fairly into society. I have mused about a quality incentive sales tax where corporate tax is decreased in proportion to quality (usefulness, durability, value, enjoyment, etc.) So companies are still profit-driven but that drive is channelled into serving the customer. And who decides that quality? The people themselves plus some kind of modifying authority. We are only at the beginning of on-line feedback. Imagine in decades to come each of us can apply a secure ID on-line then all kinds of genuine voting opens up. However, this whole concept of a quality incentive tax is hazy and naive so don't ask me to defend it! It might be impossible to implement for all I know. 

In addition, my original question did not imply exclusivity I hope. In other words, I'm not suggesting reward effort that has no potential merit at all. Genuine R & D is fine. An employee pulling a lever all day should be rewarded even if the product doesn't sell well or at all. Obviously a self-employed person should not be rewarded for pulling a lever if it can be shown he knows his product is worthless.

By 'capitalism' I meant the profit-driven aspect of the so-called free market. It's not really a free market any more than we have a free press. We don't. We are in slavery to profit. Businesses, including newspapers, are in slavery to profit. They are not fully free to publish anything that will put them out of business. You might say they have freedom of that choice but probably a news editor in North Korea has the same freedom but his punishment will be more severe. People quite rightly go into business to make a living in the current system. Few go into business to make product for its own sake. So if society needs round pegs for round holes and there's more profit to be made producing square pegs then tough. A square peg manufacturer might compromise and shave off the corners to make a nearly round peg - if he can make money at it.

The counter-argument is that if there is a genuine need for round pegs then that MUST be profitable for someone. And yet, much of the stuff we buy is a compromise. Is that anyone's dream for the future? I want a really decent, easy-to-use, long-lasting, non-invasive, non-intrusive, upgradeable, home computer without privacy issues or hassle but with plenty of good software. Isn't that what most people want? Tough. I don't think there is such a device. To quote Sturgeon's Law: '90% of everything is crap.'  With some products it's much lower; in others much higher. I've tried most tv recorders available in the UK and they are ALL crap. I bought three together some years back hoping one would be reasonable. The Panasonic was dreadful. The Echostar was even worse. The Technomate was near-unusable. None of them would update over the net  - wasting hours of my time. Now I've got a Humax. It crashes regularly. Navigation is slow and clumsy and time-wasting. I'd be happy to pay double for a decent machine but there isn't one. I have  less than a dozen possessions that actually do their job well and have lasted; how many have you got? 

'Copyright and capitalism are not the same thing.' Agreed. I used copyright only by way of example because generally intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyright, etc.) can potentially provide a much greater out-of-proportion profit.

 


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#9 Anderson

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:47 AM

 

Before we get too far into this, you might want to define what you mean by "capitalism".

 

 

 

 

It is self-explanatory what is meant by the notion of capitalism. Usually - free market economy, liberal democratic policies of minimal state intervention and so forth. Can't reinvent the wheel here.

 

 

 

Capitalism may have its flaws, but it is the best system we have found for bringing about economic progress and the vastly increased quality of life we enjoy in Western society. Every attempt that has ever been made to create a non-capitalist society has been an unmitigated disaster, with mass starvation and poverty, and corrupt, totalitarian governments executing their own citizens.

Nobody won't argue with that. Moreover every communist society was just state monopoly in a capitalist world (looking at it internationally). It just creates feudalism in a nutshell through artificial policies. But, basically we come to the conclusion that capitalism is a necessary evil.


 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#10 Anderson

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:53 AM

 

I wanted to write a reply to the original post, but, i'm afraid, you have already built your opinion, so, i don't really see a point in replying anymore. "Capitalism is the illness". No need to argue with that, because, if you feel like you can wrap up a complex topic in one sentence, which defeats any rational arguing, which could change that attitude, it's really wasted time.

 

See, i could tell you that it takes a lot more than average abilities, and being "at the right spot at the right time", but, what would the point be? Capitalism is the illness anyway.

 

Opinions are like nails stuck in your shoes. Can't shake them off.

 

The idea is if we can construct opinions to convince someone who may be willing to change their mind (if they seriously want to) or not.


Edited by Anderson, 01 October 2018 - 09:59 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#11 Abusimplea

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:47 PM

In an ideal world "earnings" would always match the need of the individual.

But most humans are absurdly greedy, wich makes every non-competitive system non-sustainable.

Also, humans are morally corrupt to the bone in that they are happy to destroy the environment needed by their kids tomorrow for some extra coin today.

 

So we need to keep the market-driven economy but somehow have states assume the role of regulators protecting the environment and redistributing capital (taxes) so that stuff, that is needed by the society as a whole but is not fitting a market-driven economy, gets done too.

Earnings can't ever be proportional to need for the majority of the individuals because their perceived needs are always some levels higher than what they already have - to the point where ten houses and twenty cars aren't enough...

Spendings of a state can perhaps be proportional to the need of the society as a whole. So stuff wich the market can't provide (like public wellfare or reliable infrastructure) is provided by the state using money it takes from whoever accumulated more wealth than the median of the population (someone has to pay for it and a huge part of the population has barely enough to keep themselves alive and healthy).

 

In the free market-driven economy, earnings seem to most often be in inverse proportion to the actual provided value for the society as a whole. That surely is a terrible metric to value work with, but it seems to be the gold standard out there and it does not look like it is currently changing.

Sadly, that metric seems to be used by states a lot too. But everyone who can vote, can change how their state values work. Vote to get the work you want to get done, payed accordingly. Want public healthcare or raise average education levels - then vote for it.


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#12 Sotha

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 01:15 AM

I think it is a miracle that the capitalistic economy works. Please pause to consider it. It is the glue and an artificial (perhaps sometimes even arbitrary) set of rules and incentives that coordinates massive amount of people to cooperate towards a common goal. And it works! Have you ever tried to influence the behaviour of a large group of people? Really difficult.

But here you have it: capitalism + democracy (The System) leads to a more or less stable and predictable society and economy. The incentives direct people into mostly useful activities. Wealth is generated and distributed. Laws and directives are obeyed. Technology develops. Humanity proceeds and prospers.

It may very well be that the System is even efficient. It facilitates the development of new technologies, which make it always more and more efficient. Perhaps, too efficient, in fact. Humans are beginning to be the bottleneck for the progress of efficiency.

If you have an efficient System, you should consider what the purpose of the System is? If it is really efficient, it takes you to its end result very quickly, and you should damn well be aware where the destination is. What the goal is, is also interesting topic to debate. What is our economy and society for? What is the big picture?

The objective of corporations is to maximize profit. The objective of governments is to govern (in ideal case, for the benefit of the people. In dictatorships, for the benefit of the ruling elite). If I am not mistaken, our current System is based on consumption. More and more consumption increases employment, profits, taxes and well being. Less consumption means recession, stagnation and unemployment.

Thus, from a planetary point of view, the purpose of the System is to consume. The purpose of humanity is to consume. Incentives direct us to consume everything like a swarm of locusts. But with our modern technology, we are much more efficient in consumption than locusts. This poses a considerable threat to the environment, which must support the ever increasing consumption.

At some point we need to change the expectation of limitless growth and consumption, right? Then, we need to change the System, either through gradual and controlled change or a sudden crisis. But can we even have a sustained economy without increasing growth and consumption. What is the next system? And when does the change come?
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#13 Judith

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:07 AM

IMO at some point some "traditional" values and assumptions of the system will have to be questioned, if we are to advance as humanity and civilisation. It's 2018, and we're still using assumptions that are almost insane at this point. First is the economy of infinite growth. If a company had a good year, in the next one its growth has to be higher by at least 10% (why?). Even if a company did have a major growth, like 20 or 30% in any given year, they have to do better next year, regardless of available resources or market situation. Second is the price assumptions. A product price always has to be at least 5 times the production cost (again, why?). That thought is so prevalent, that it even got to videogame economies, like in stores in role playing games.

 

As for the incomes, the executives now earn roughly over 230 times more (per month) than the regular workers, which is insane. There were times when some companies had regulations that directors and CEOs couldn't earn more than 10 times the lowest wage of a factory workers. There's no way for the state to regulate that, but as history has shown time and time again, capitalist system always leads to cartels and monopolies, if left unregulated. There will always be some people who just can't get enough, and in current state it would be more healthy for the whole system, if more money went to average workers. They are the real spenders, with real needs. The top management hoards all the cash or spends it on exclusive items in very specialized markets (luxury estates, boats etc.), and these don't contribute much to global cash flow.


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#14 Fidcal

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:26 AM

I agree with most of what you say, Abusimplea, except possibly 'every non-competitive system non-sustainable.' Sportsmen and women, etc. apart, people are not (directly) eager to compete, in fact, the ultimate goal would be to dominate or destroy the competition and gain a monopoly if allowed. No, people are greedy for wealth itself which is why I wondered if there might be a workable model without competing. A method where individuals can strive for a reasonable return on their efforts in a way more efficient for society as a whole. Competing is inefficient. It works by trial and error. Just like the law of the jungle it gets results and produces stability, but there's a lot of waste and suffering involved in the process: predation, disease, famine, drought, customer misery and frustration.

Two ideas I've explored in my head but I don't promote or defend them because I've no idea if they'd work. I simply consider them and wonder if there is any merit way in the future.

For instance, just because nationalising industries hasn't worked too well so far doesn't mean it never can. One thought experiment I had was the following:

A multi-millionaire invests in a business, employs experts to manage it subject only to a few rules and guidelines he sets up. The experts and workers strive to do well so they get bonuses and pay increases (and get to keep their jobs.) The billionaire does very little to interfere because he's getting a good return.

Two other millionaires do likewise, competing in the same market. But 'competing' really means trying to be as efficient as possible which the experts are paid to do anyway, plus wasting resources on excessive, intrusive advertising and other competitive strategies. Each would like to buy out the other two if possible and have more efficiency, less waste on competing, and more profit all round. The only competing would be for a greater share of customer wealth from other markets.

Complex legislation keeps all three within certain constraints.

The state buys out all three companies and keeps exactly the same rules but without the competitive strategies thus saving money. The experts and workers are paid exactly the same bonuses and pay increases as before. Eventually the companies are merged into one nationalised industry for more efficiency, less waste on competing, and more profit all round. The only competing might be for a greater share of customer wealth from other markets but is that necessary? Why tempt the public into choosing between a new car or a luxury holiday - let them decide for themself. Especially if the state owns both industries.

The complex legislation from when they were private is replaced by simpler direct control subject to parliamentary debate.

Why can't the above work. And if there are reasons, are they insurmountable forever?

The other idea I had I've already mentioned: private companies controlled by a quality incentive tax (QIT.) They all continue to strive for wealth but in a different game. The goalposts have been moved. To increase profits they must improve products and services thereby reducing their taxes.

@Sotha, my view is that the purpose of humanity is not to consume; the purpose of humanity is to be happy. Consumption is just one means to that end. Happiness trumps everything: love, justice, truth, wealth - none of them have any point unless they produce happiness. What is the point of happiness? (By 'happiness' I mean every form of contentment, satisfaction, an agreeable state of mind for everyone.) Strangely, it seems to me that happiness is an end in itself. The only one I know of actually.

@Judith, yeah, I agree, and efficiency of production will massively increase right off the graph with the coming smart devices and less human labour. Even most executives will not be needed as business owners consult with smart software and robots implement their choices. Wealth would be even more concentrated within the elite. It's simply not sustainable.


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#15 Sotha

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:42 AM

I agree that it is hardly probable that 1 CEO really equals in value 230 ordinary workers for work "value."

But there is the flip side of the coin (pun intended);
at least in Finland high salary CEO means a lot for government tax income. Also, when the CEO buys their expensive toys and penthouses and palaces, the government taxes those as well. Thus some part of the wealth is recirculated back to the money pool of the common people and pays for welfare benefits, healthcare, road maintenance, and stuff). That is, if the tax money was not squandered in ineffective bureaucracy, corruption, etc.

Because there are wealthy people, there are markets for luxury items, which is probably a profitable corner of the economy as well.
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#16 Sotha

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 03:30 AM

@Sotha, my view is that the purpose of humanity is not to consume; the purpose of humanity is to be happy. Consumption is just one means to that end. Happiness trumps everything: love, justice, truth, wealth - none of them have any point unless they produce happiness. What is the point of happiness? (By 'happiness' I mean every form of contentment, satisfaction, an agreeable state of mind for everyone.) Strangely, it seems to me that happiness is an end in itself. The only one I know of actually.

I think people are tricked by the marketers and confused. It is true that some level of consumption is required for happiness, but after basic needs are fulfilled, increasing consumption no longer increase happiness.

People struggle for more and consume more, but they do not attain the happiness they struggle for. Happiness is a simple internal thing in you, which you can activate if you choose to do so. It is not something you seek out from the world and grab or buy for yourself.

The expectation of infnite growth must be somehow linked to this confusion. I know a lot of educated and smart people who really believe their immediate happiness depends on acquisition of Trinket X. Then they buy it, are happy for a brief moment, then feel hollow, store it in their fault of trinkets, and start craving for Trinket Z. Trinket X could just as well be an item, or a holiday trip to Thailand or something else.

This confusion results in the purpose of humanity to be consumption. People want happiness, but end up consuming instead. Wastefully.
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#17 Abusimplea

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 03:36 AM

I agree with most of what you say, Abusimplea, except possibly 'every non-competitive system non-sustainable.'

So-called communists have tried hard to establish economies wich are not based on competition and all but Cuba failed quite hard or switched to full competitive capitalism by now.
The problem with the lack of competition is, that humans are not only greedy but also sloppy as hell. They cut corners whenever possible. If they get away with not doing something right, they will just not do it right.
 
Competetive economies provide an implicit fitness test: Your product is either perceived as being at least as good as the competitor's - or your company goes extinct. That is why monopolies and cartels are so bad in our current economy. If someone achieves a monopoly history has shown, that that one will cease to innovate and start rising prices while lowering quality until a new competitor emerges.
 
In theory there could be non-competitive economies and they would feature a fraction of the current overhead. But if humans where more compatible to such an economy, than the current one - we would already have it by now. Some have tried hard and even killed people to get the remainder behave - it did not work.
 
Don't forget: Humans did add lead to gasoline, and therefore to the very air they and their offspring breath, knowing about its toxicity. They (again: in general) will not do the right thing if there also is a wrong thing wich is easier to do or gets them more wealth in the short run.
 

The state buys out all three companies and keeps exactly the same rules but without the competitive strategies thus saving money. The experts and workers are paid exactly the same bonuses and pay increases as before. Eventually the companies are merged into one nationalised industry for more efficiency, less waste on competing, and more profit all round. The only competing might be for a greater share of customer wealth from other markets but is that necessary? Why tempt the public into choosing between a new car or a luxury holiday - let them decide for themself. Especially if the state owns both industries.

State-owned companies definitely work for well-defined and non-subjective goals like "reliably get water to and from every building in the district" or "when something burns, quench it as fast as possible", wich have a high need for reliability. But state-owned companies come with a surprisingly high overhead cost. Workers and management seem both to get less work done in state-owned companies so you need more of both. It could be the lack of risk for going bankrupt - and therefore the lack of a percieved need to be productive.
 

The other idea I had I've already mentioned: private companies controlled by a quality incentive tax (QIT.) They all continue to strive for wealth but in a different game. The goalposts have been moved. To increase profits they must improve products and services thereby reducing their taxes.

That could work if quality is measured accurately. But that in itself seems to be surprisingly difficult - even when it comes to the milage and pollution production of cars which i expected to be rather easy...

 

I don't think, it is possible to really change economy much without changing the humans first. We need better education for our children, wich after some generations will then change the economy gradually because they themselves socially evolved to beeing less greedy and corrupt than our generation.

 

I hope, they will also find a cure for the antibiotics-resistant pandemic that made them live in the domed cities...

They surely will agree with us, that giving all sorts of antibiotics to chicken to make them survive mass-production facilities long enough to get them to market weight was totally worth it.


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#18 Destined

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 06:04 AM

I don't think, it is possible to really change economy much without changing the humans first. We need better education for our children, wich after some generations will then change the economy gradually because they themselves socially evolved to beeing less greedy and corrupt than our generation.

I completely agree that human nature (i.e. greed, lazyness, etc) is the main problem that keeps us from a utopian perfect society, where the environment is saved and all people live happily ever after. There are several dystopian books, where happiness for all people is achieved. However, this comes at the cost of all freedom. As long as people are free, they can decide to be unhappy.

I think that a good education is an improtant step for progress, but education is not perceived as attractive by many (especially young) people. As long as mumble rappers are more revered than scientists that improve our way of living, young pepople will strive to be like the former and not the latter. If a small boy yodeling in mall makes tons of money due to internet fame, people think "I can do that too". And thus, millions of people rather pursue a small chance of making a lot of money with little effort rather than a high chance of making less money with more effort. Again, we have one of the prolems of human nature: lazyness. Why work hard, when you can get what you want with little to no effort. Ironically, I think that many people would still not be happy that way. It is much more rewarding to have worked for your success than to have it handed to you. But this is a concept that is very hard to explain/teach.

 

Another part that largely affects cooperation is individualism. As long as there will be a "we" and "them", people will always compete among some group or other. Be it different religion, nationality, ethnicity, wealth, etc. As long as groups are treated differently, for whatever reason, there will be competition. One way to avoid this would be conformity, but this would mean to give up your identity. Again, we would be in a dystopia.


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#19 Anderson

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 12:08 PM

All good opinions.

 

IMHO people face a threshold atm and that is borders that require visas and customs control as obstacles to untapping human potential. Ergo, the education foreigners can get at home is mediocre and the isolation caused be closed borders leads to maintaining the current status quo. Without more of that no visa facility in travel such as in the EU, between countries it will be very slow to change anything.

It's like running in circles with slaves from Egypt for 40 years and waiting them to die off until the new generation comes. But by that time Moses dies too. Basically nothing won't ever change in our lifetime. 

But it can if countries weren't so paranoid about borders and customs. True, you also need decent policies for immigrant naturalization but the more challenges there are, the more time it takes for any change.

 

At the same time dictators get fancy, expensive items with no problems. https://www.telegrap...of-Kim-Jong-un/

 

Also, is there any connection between countries ruled by old people ( gerontocracy) and their development?


 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#20 Abusimplea

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:37 PM

Basically nothing won't ever change in our lifetime.

I am tending to be an infinitesimal step on the pessimistic side at times too. But i actually did see improvement in the society around me during my lifetime:
- Women may now decide themselves whether they want to work or not - they do not need to ask their husbands anymore.
- Beating your children has become illegal.
- Beeing gay is no longer a crime - they may even legally marry eachother and get the same tax benefits as couples of different sexes.
- Beeing a whore is not a crime anymore.
- The evil and bad in the world became drastically more visible due to the rise of the Internet (knowledge is a good thing even if its sad).
- Banner blindness became a thing and evolved to animation blindness (not for me, i am probably too old - but the young generation can block out animated ads too) - guess that is due to the Internet too.
- TDM has been made... and a ton of other good FLOSS too. This might or might not hint at societal evolution to a less greed-based economy.
- Leaded gasoline has finally been banned. The forests are not dying because of acid rain anymore. And Lucky Luke has quit smoking (and you may not even advertise smoking to adults anymore). So obviously, environmental consciousness increased a bit (still a long way to go though).

 

You have to look for the expected small steps. Expect improvements in human rights, public backlashes to the surveillance state/economy, basic income research projects, questioning of the ethics of wasting resources on bullshit jobs (okay, i made that one up, nobody will ever question bullshit jobs), giving shelter to immigrants (yes, we bombed them first, but you have to start small), maybe even the closing of guantanamo bay (or at least a fruitless discussion about the ethics of having black sites and torture in the computer age).

And always remember: Humans don't live that long. So whoever is the next Hitler or Stalin - he will not be there forever and the overall trend over thousands of years is still pointing up (it got a bit volatile in the recent past though).


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#21 Fidcal

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:53 PM

Yes, the signs are there. I'm a great believer in social evolution being unstoppable (asteroids and nuclear wars aside.) Tiny, tiny steps though. Even sharing ideas like this thread can help. Some genius might read this or some of the billions of posts around the net over the next century, and think, 'hey! that gives me an idea!'
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#22 stumpy

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 09:36 PM

earnings should be based off effort and results, but it isn't.



#23 Anderson

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 11:41 AM

There are positive developments, but still too slow to be felt in my world. More and more my desire is not to be buried according to old traditions with loud hysterical mourning and feasting after ceremonies but just the cheapest plywood coffin and a spartan final goodbye. Waste and the death of sustainable development, equality starts just as much from our action as much as weird traditions of nothing in nothingness even at death, if there's graft and corruption in your country than money and gifts are important not just at birth and throughout life but also when choosing a better place at the cemetery. That's what I don't understand and do not wish to understand. Obviously when you're dead you don't care but at least don't make graves and coffins with discotheque. No use.

 

 

I completely agree that human nature (i.e. greed, lazyness, etc) is the main problem that keeps us from a utopian perfect society, where the environment is saved and all people live happily ever after. There are several dystopian books, where happiness for all people is achieved. However, this comes at the cost of all freedom. As long as people are free, they can decide to be unhappy.

I think that a good education is an improtant step for progress, but education is not perceived as attractive by many (especially young) people. As long as mumble rappers are more revered than scientists that improve our way of living, young pepople will strive to be like the former and not the latter. If a small boy yodeling in mall makes tons of money due to internet fame, people think "I can do that too". And thus, millions of people rather pursue a small chance of making a lot of money with little effort rather than a high chance of making less money with more effort. Again, we have one of the prolems of human nature: lazyness. Why work hard, when you can get what you want with little to no effort. Ironically, I think that many people would still not be happy that way. It is much more rewarding to have worked for your success than to have it handed to you. But this is a concept that is very hard to explain/teach.

 

Your post is well thought out btw, but remember that many people don't try things the hard way because they have this picture in their mind that you need to start having children by 30-35 (risk of miscarriages and children being born with disabilities mostly). And if they start from the social hierarchical bottom they figure that by the time they switch jobs to have enough money for university (and not having to work while studying which is wasteful) it's going to take a while. With no guarantees for a job in that field that would have a wage good enough for having family. So not always their fault.


Edited by Anderson, 03 October 2018 - 11:43 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#24 Destined

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 04:00 PM

You are absolutely right. I know the problem of being relatively old, when you start having kids. I'm in my mid thirties right now and still am not ready for kids; mainly due to the fact that I have no permanent contract in my job. I know I will have to change jobs in the next two years and before that it does not seem to make sense. And that is from one working in academia. Still, I know I am very lucky as I did not have to build debt in order to pay for my studies. But my statement was less about education in reltaion to work. It is more about putting emotions over rationalism for important decisions like which party to vote into government. Here in Germany a new right wing party (the AfD: Alternative für Deutschland i.e. Alternative for Germany) is getting pretty popular, simply because they say what people want to hear. In their party platform they claim such bullshit that many people who want to vote them will not benefit, but actually suffer, when they get to power. E.g. unemployed people will get less money, but they still vote for them because they claim to improve social benefits by getting rid of the "evil immigrants that exploit our system". It is like a black person supporting the Ku Klux Klan. It is stupid and mostly because people are too lazy to think. This is what I meant by education: teach people to think for themselves and be critical. Think before they act. But again people are usually too lazy to do that.

My other point (value the things you have worked for rather than things you have been gifted) is compeletly independent of the first one. It does not matter if you have worked for you paycheck by building houses, unclogging toilets or doing research. It simply feels better to actually earn what you get and many people don't get that. They just want the money (or at least they think they do). One reason for that may be that they feel not adequately rewarded for their work and I cannot blame them for that. E.g. each job in the social sector is not "productive" and as a consequence is not paid well. They see other people with similar training that earn a lot more and think "I could (and should) earn as much". And they are right. The idea of Fidcal's quality incentive tax is quite nice as companies with a social benefit would earn more money (or at least would have to pay less taxes) and maybe could pay their employees a bit more. But here human greed comes into play again: The CEO of a company that earns more, would more likely raise his own salary (and maybe that of other managers) than that of the working force. At least, that is what was my impression in recent years. All in all I would say that the "management head" of most companies has just grown too big, so inadequately few people have to support a lot of unnecessary management.


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#25 Outlooker

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 05:06 AM

This man is a legend, and one of the "Super Jews" I learned much from. Clarity of thought combined with depth of explanation. 

 

 

 

Sorry, I messed this up; this video (5 minutes short) is about Wealth redistribution 

 


Edited by Outlooker, 07 October 2018 - 05:13 AM.

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"When outmatched... cheat." Batman




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