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Old 10-24-2011, 09:13 AM   #31 (permalink)
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We live in a country which requires a balance to survive, just like everything on this planet. We have the top 2% earning half our nation's income. That is not a balance. That is not sustainable.
I see people trying to make this point all the time and I have ask why it's not sustainable. The problem isn't that people make disportionately more money than other people, it's that the people who make disporportionately less may or may not have the means to provide themselves with an adequate quality of life. These two ideas are not mutally inclusive of each other by any means.

To this end, I would ask if the poor in this country were able to provide themselves with the current quality of life as a person who makes, say, $50,000 annually but they were still proportionally as poor as compared to the rich, would there still a problem with "wealth disparity".
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:17 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Cheese, wealth disparity is a huge destabilizer in a society - that's the whole point. There's a finite amount of wealth to be had, and when only a few people have it things get messy. It's an indicator of a system-wide problem.

Regarding David's turnabout, which honestly would take 5 seconds of googling:
http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/nhs/cu...hildlabor.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle

Yes, lets go back to eating ground up people with our beef. Yum.

Regarding your comment on rent going down:
Pullman, Chicago was a model company town founded by the Pullman Palace Car Company in the 1880s. The town operated successfully until the economic panic of 1893 when demands for the company’s products declined and employee wages had to be lowered accordingly. Despite this the company refused to lower rents in the town or the price of goods at its shops thus resulting in the Pullman Strike of 1894.[5] A national commission formed to investigate the causes of the strikes found that Pullman’s paternalism partly to blame and labelled it ‘un-American’.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town

The world is far better off with business regulation, regardless of some of the evils it creates. Those evils can be countered with government reform - but you'll never change the nature of greed which is the primary motivator of the "free market".

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Old 10-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #33 (permalink)
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There's a finite amount of wealth to be had, and when only a few people have it things get messy.
This is patently false. If this were true, we wouldn't have fire, wheels or basic tools. We'd be foraging food and both figuratively and literally be animals.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:34 AM   #34 (permalink)
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So everyone has the ability and opportunity to become a billionaire?
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:43 AM   #35 (permalink)
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So everyone has the ability and opportunity to become a billionaire?
Strawman, but yes. But opportunity is not the same thing as ability. They have the ability to increase their standard of living, which is what is really the issue. Becoming a billionaire isn't required to increase your standard of living.

Ask yourself this: do the poor in this country have the ability to provide themselves a better quality of life than the most wealthy Sumerian people of thousands of years ago? What about the working but not poor class of 150 years ago? They obviously have means to substantially better technologies, medicines and luxuries than even moderately wealthy people of years past and yet they are proportionately poorer as compared to the richest people in society.

I'll ask you this, too. If the poorest people in this country 100 years from now were able to provide themselves with the same means of living as those who make $50,000 today living in a small, midwestern community but were proportionally poorer by a factor of 50% than the poorest people, would poverty be an "issue".
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:15 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Regarding David's turnabout, which honestly would take 5 seconds of googling:
Child labor in Factories During the Industrial Revolution
Eight-hour day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Jungle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes, lets go back to eating ground up people with our beef. Yum.
I'm familiar with these (and others) I just wanted to know which ones you want me to respond to.

The sensationalism of Sinclair's novel (i.e., not a documentary) is contradicted by the lack of any substantial complaints registered to any of the various inspection agencies responsible for overseeing meatpacking at the turn of the 20th century, as well as testimony offered for several congressional hearings.
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As popular myth would have it, there were no government inspectors before Congress acted in response to "The Jungle" and the greedy meat packers fought federal inspection all the way. The truth is that not only did government inspection exist, but meat packers themselves supported it and were in the forefront of the effort to extend it! link
Regarding child labor and the 8-hour workday, the orthodox justification goes something like this: Long working hours & child labor, although objectively bad compared to today's conditions, represented an improvement over prevailing working conditions in that era (echo similar arguments today, to the sustenance farmer who is barely feeding his family in rural China who takes an offer to work for $1/day making Nike shoes).

I'm going to meet you halfway and say that this is probably as much pipe-dream/rationalization as it is based on factual history.

However, it is not accurate to suggest, as you have, that either of these arose under anything even remotely resembling a "free market". For example, when corporations hired Pinkerton guards, agents provocateurs, and strike-busters to abuse laborers exercising their right to assemble in petition for better working conditions, when these same corporations encouraged their cities (Chicago, a prime example) to build federal armories to safeguard against future Labor organizing/protests (in Chi-town I believe this was a direct response to the Haymarket Riots), is all evidence of a decidedly unfree market, one where Capital rigs the game in its favor, enlists the government to help where it cannot win on its own, etc.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:38 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Bitch about economic imbalance all you want, the heart of the problem is not money, but political might.

In a real and true democracy, nobody has their way and everyone gets a little bit of their way while 'the way' that is actually agreed upon and taken should benefit the most people.

I'd be willing to bet the OWS people would all, every last one of them, pack their bags and go home if all the lobbyists, corporate campaign money, special interests, and the Chamber of Commerce all, every last one of them, packed their bags and left DC (and the political system).

The system will always work for those with money and long as those with money are allowed to lavish it on those who 'control' the system. And this will NEVER be illegal because 1) We've got a supreme court full of activists, and 2) those who are in any place to make it illegal benefit too much from the status quo.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:42 AM   #38 (permalink)
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I'd be willing to bet the OWS people would all, every last one of them, pack their bags and go home if all the lobbyists, corporate campaign money, special interests, and the Chamber of Commerce all, every last one of them, packed their bags and left DC (and the political system).
That'd be a fair compromise, I'd say.

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Originally Posted by MunkySpunk View Post
The system will always work for those with money and long as those with money are allowed to lavish it on those who 'control' the system. And this will NEVER be illegal because 1) We've got a supreme court full of activists, and 2) those who are in any place to make it illegal benefit too much from the status quo.
Exactly. Anyone who thinks that "the system" is broken does not understand what "the system" is designed to do. It is working, more or less, as it's intended to work.
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:06 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I have to say, I'm not sure if the current state is actually what the founding fathers intended, but I'd hardly be the first to rewrite what the founding fathers said for my own benefit (cough*religious nuts*cough).

However, the way the system IS (reality versus ideology) currently set up is working perfectly and as the overlords with money intended: The rich are getting richer and calling the shots. School teachers get laid off and the poor are expected to acquiesce to program cuts to pay for hurricane disaster relief (just an example) while the rich get their free extension of the Bush tax cuts.

The 'free' in 'free market' is semantics and depends on the subjective definition of 'free' that the reader subscribes to.
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:44 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I would argue that it's not necessarily working as intended, but there are indeed Constitutional oversights that should have been amended 200 years ago. The failure to anticipate the idea career politicians and the legitmitization of political parties to the degree they have become structured into the actual election process might indeed be a fault we can rest at the framer's feet but I don't think it invalidates what their intentions were.

I oftentimes wonder if the Jefferson Davis had sucessfully led the Confederacy to secession, if things would have been different for the better. Such an event might have precipitated the exact changes to the Federal Government we need right now.
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