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Will poverty ever be history?

#121 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-11, 14:56

View Postmike777, on 2014-July-10, 10:28, said:

"....However, if those extra profits are collected by the government and redistributed to the bottom say 40% of wage earners, the money drives demand for more product, causing expansion of business, new jobs, and even more profit for the owners. How some people cannot see this simple economic notion is to me baffling. Perhaps it is too simple."

Perhaps California and the city of SF could try out Winston's recommendation to solve poverty and hunger.

Sounds like C.H. Douglas' Social Credit theory. Heinlein wrote a novel (For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs) in 1938, but which was not published (posthumously Heinlein died in 1988) until 2003, in which the theory featured prominently.
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#122 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2014-July-13, 04:49

View Postkenberg, on 2014-July-11, 14:29, said:

I suspect I would be opposed to this, but I will wait for the details. For example, do you envision that every America, as a right of citizenship, be entitled to have at least X thousand dollars a tear? Say $25,000 per year? If s/he is not working, by choice or not, we would just give it to him/her? We do give SNAP, I believe it requires no proof of any attempt to find a job, so giving everyone 25K would be like SNAP on steroids, as the expression goes.

Here is a thought behind my question: There are two frequent ways of presenting the idea of helping the disadvantaged. Roughly put, one is to give them things, the other is to help them in their quest to become self-supporting. Of course we do both already, SNAP is very much of the first sort, Pell grants are of the second sort. I support both, quite possibly we need to do more of both, but first we need to recognize that these two kinds of help are of a substantially different sort. The second sort envisions people eventually no longer needing as much help. The first just sort of hopes that maybe they won't.


There are work requirements in SNAP. See here for the details.

For the first kind of program, I'd rather think of it differently than "give them things". More like "we all have certain universal and inalienable rights". There rights include things like free speech. They also include freedom from want (E.g., right to adequate food; right to safe and adequate housing; right to health and to ensure all medical service and attention in the event of sickness; right to education and intellectual development). So for our society to be just and moral, we all deserve as part of our humanity, these rights and society should be designed and aligned to deliver on these rights.
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#123 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-13, 07:26

View PostMbodell, on 2014-July-13, 04:49, said:

There are work requirements in SNAP. See here for the details.

For the first kind of program, I'd rather think of it differently than "give them things". More like "we all have certain universal and inalienable rights". There rights include things like free speech. They also include freedom from want (E.g., right to adequate food; right to safe and adequate housing; right to health and to ensure all medical service and attention in the event of sickness; right to education and intellectual development). So for our society to be just and moral, we all deserve as part of our humanity, these rights and society should be designed and aligned to deliver on these rights.


The link is intersting, as I was not aware of a work requirement. From direct knowledge I have some doubt about the enforcement. Whatever the case, i am not at all suggesting that we cut back on SNAP. I'm fine with feeding people who cannot afford to buy food.

My point was, and is, that when we speak of helping people we should distinguish between help such as SNAP and help such as education and training. This does not mean that I am opposed to providing help of either sort. It means that I recognize a difference. I suspect that among voters, my views on this are widely shared, so a person who wishes to get elected on an honest platform of what s/he intends to do to help should probably pay some attention. Some people need direct help, they need it now, and we should give it. While doing that, we should be thinking about how to help people need less help in the future. I do not see this view as being immoral in the least. I see it as a practical approach to a successful society. But if in some way of looking at morality it is seen as immoral, I will just have to accept that judgment of me.
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#124 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-13, 08:11

View PostMbodell, on 2014-July-13, 04:49, said:

There are work requirements in SNAP. See here for the details.

For the first kind of program, I'd rather think of it differently than "give them things". More like "we all have certain universal and inalienable rights". There rights include things like free speech. They also include freedom from want (E.g., right to adequate food; right to safe and adequate housing; right to health and to ensure all medical service and attention in the event of sickness; right to education and intellectual development). So for our society to be just and moral, we all deserve as part of our humanity, these rights and society should be designed and aligned to deliver on these rights.


Given these goals what steps would you have the world take to achieve them?
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#125 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-July-13, 19:21

View PostMbodell, on 2014-July-13, 04:49, said:

More like "we all have certain universal and inalienable rights". There rights include things like free speech. They also include freedom from want (E.g., right to adequate food; right to safe and adequate housing; right to health and to ensure all medical service and attention in the event of sickness; right to education and intellectual development). So for our society to be just and moral, we all deserve as part of our humanity, these rights and society should be designed and aligned to deliver on these rights.


I do't think that 'rights' is the appropriate word. More like 'things which it would be good if everyone had'.
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#126 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-13, 23:13

Here's one way to think about it.

If you get convicted of a crime and get sent to prison, you'll get 3 meals a day, clothing, and a roof over your head. The food probably won't be very tasty, and the accomodationa and company are extremely unpleasant, but it will keep you alive (unless you're at the wrong end of prison violence). Should someone who hasn't (yet) committed a crime, but just can't find work, get any less?


There's an obvious argument against this, though: when you're in prison, you're not there of your own accord -- the government put you there and is preventing you from earning a living. Depriving you of enough to live on would essentially make it a death sentence. If you're not in jail and you're destitute, some would say it's your own fault and not society's problem to solve.



#127 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 01:03

View Postbarmar, on 2014-July-13, 23:13, said:

Here's one way to think about it.

If you get convicted of a crime and get sent to prison, you'll get 3 meals a day, clothing, and a roof over your head. The food probably won't be very tasty, and the accomodationa and company are extremely unpleasant, but it will keep you alive (unless you're at the wrong end of prison violence). Should someone who hasn't (yet) committed a crime, but just can't find work, get any less?


There's an obvious argument against this, though: when you're in prison, you're not there of your own accord -- the government put you there and is preventing you from earning a living. Depriving you of enough to live on would essentially make it a death sentence. If you're not in jail and you're destitute, some would say it's your own fault and not society's problem to solve.




To make it a bit more realistic let us add that the odds are over 90% you will be raped or sexually attacked in prison while in college around 20% of women are raped or attacked. IN the USA per a report on NBC news around 200,000 American children are sold for sex each year in the USA, more if you include non American children in the USA.

Now if we include the entire world the number raped or sexually attacked goes up much more.
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#128 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 08:41

View Postbarmar, on 2014-July-13, 23:13, said:

Here's one way to think about it.

If you get convicted of a crime and get sent to prison, you'll get 3 meals a day, clothing, and a roof over your head. The food probably won't be very tasty, and the accommodation and company are extremely unpleasant, but it will keep you alive (unless you're at the wrong end of prison violence). Should someone who hasn't (yet) committed a crime, but just can't find work, get any less?

There's an obvious argument against this, though: when you're in prison, you're not there of your own accord -- the government put you there and is preventing you from earning a living. Depriving you of enough to live on would essentially make it a death sentence. If you're not in jail and you're destitute, some would say it's your own fault and not society's problem to solve.



I recall an O. Henry story about a guy down on his luck who arranged to go to jail so he would be fed. Most social issues have at least two facets, and they are sometimes in conflict. Take prison, since you mentioned it. What a mess. A guy goes in. In most cases, we expect that he will come out. Preferably as a better person, or at least not as a worse person. How do we bring that about? And then there are the truly awful ones. of course it is inhumane to keep them in solitary. But some are a serious danger to other inmates. What do we do with these people? No doubt prison is a lousy choice in many cases.

Back to poverty. I don't think I even know anyone who is prepared to let the hungry starve. That being acknowledged, the right course of action is far from clear.I refer here to the hungry in this country. Taking on the responsibility of ending hunger in the world is another matter.
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#129 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 09:28

Basically, life is full of conundrums.

If you have compassion and empathy, you don't want to let people starve or freeze. But it feels unfair to give them a free ride, when the rest of us have to provide for ourselves.

#130 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 12:12

"Making the disparity even more glaring is that there are 116.1 million full-time workers in the USA and just 28.2 million part-time ones"


So less than half of the population has a paying job. Assuming this % holds worldwide it will be interesting if there is a backlash as the population of many countries ages.
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#131 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 12:36

View Postmike777, on 2014-July-14, 12:12, said:

"Making the disparity even more glaring is that there are 116.1 million full-time workers in the USA and just 28.2 million part-time ones"


So less than half of the population has a paying job. Assuming this % holds worldwide it will be interesting if there is a backlash as the population of many countries ages.


I am sure that children, students and retired people make up the bulk of the non-paid-work group.

Wish I could upvote barmar's comment above.
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#132 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 13:24

View Postbarmar, on 2014-July-14, 09:28, said:

Basically, life is full of conundrums.

If you have compassion and empathy, you don't want to let people starve or freeze. But it feels unfair to give them a free ride, when the rest of us have to provide for ourselves.


"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven"

Some of these teachings stuck with me, atheist though I am, but quoting it and following it are two very different things. Well, fortunately I am not rich so it doesn't apply!. I don't think St. Peter would be impressed with my argument.

If you ask what I am willing to do for the less fortunate, my answer is neither "nothing" nor "everything". Same with pretty much everyone, I think. We should try to help, we should try to do it effectively, we should be honest about the limits of our willingness to help, we should try not to be played. That's already quite a list of "shoulds".But one more: We should judge others only if we absolutely must.
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#133 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 15:30

View PostVampyr, on 2014-July-14, 12:36, said:

I am sure that children, students and retired people make up the bulk of the non-paid-work group.

Wish I could upvote barmar's comment above.


Assuming this is true, the point is will there be a backlash against these groups? Now add in the roughly 10-20% of worldwide populations that are unable to support themselves because of disability or addiction or other issues.

I note the backlash even in the UK, with Scotland talking of breaking away over many issues including taxes.

I only use a few examples such as wide spread tax avoidance in many countries around the world such as Greece and Italy. Widespread backlash on making basic support payments to children and ex-spouses.

I point to the widespread apathy on the part of many to intervene in such places as Africa or Syria or Iraq. If we are to wipe out poverty and hunger it is the young who are working that will need to pay for this stuff. It will be the children and students who will need to work and pay.
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#134 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-15, 09:58

View Postkenberg, on 2014-July-14, 13:24, said:

If you ask what I am willing to do for the less fortunate, my answer is neither "nothing" nor "everything". Same with pretty much everyone, I think. We should try to help, we should try to do it effectively, we should be honest about the limits of our willingness to help, we should try not to be played. That's already quite a list of "shoulds".But one more: We should judge others only if we absolutely must.

I think (hope!) that's how most people think about it.

The problem is that we have a very vocal right wing who make it seem like everyone on welfare is eager to leech off the rest of us. Remember Romney's comment about the 47%? Opinions like that make it hard to implement a reasonable approach to assistance for the poor.

#135 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-July-21, 21:47

We already face the problem of not enough good jobs available for folks who need work. That's a large factor in the "race to the bottom" that the US is experiencing now. The Post has an interesting piece on that topic today: We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does

Quote

It will be like the future that Autodesk CEO Carl Bass once described to me: “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

I expect that we will eventually have to adopt barmar's idea of expanding the definition of the rights of mankind in order to ensure an equitable distribution of goods and services.
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#136 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-July-21, 22:16

The discussion always seems to end up that way, how do you divide the pie or do you focus on growing the pie.

thus my focus on entrepreneurs, others on expanding rights, equality and justice and regulations to enforce them.

I see the links that Passed Out put up are all about the singularity that I often write about.
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#137 User is offline   biggerclub 

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Posted 2014-July-21, 23:12

View Postmike777, on 2014-July-14, 12:12, said:

"Making the disparity even more glaring is that there are 116.1 million full-time workers in the USA and just 28.2 million part-time ones"


So less than half of the population has a paying job. Assuming this % holds worldwide it will be interesting if there is a backlash as the population of many countries ages.


This is not all that different from where it has been historically. What has shifted is that once (in the 50s and 60s) we were our parents children, dependent on them for support. Now (in the upcoming 20s and 30s) we are heading into being our children's parents . . . again, dependent on them for support. But the ratio of non-working humans is not changing that much over time.
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#138 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-August-05, 11:29

Here is a recent paper that examines why the US economy does better under Democratic presidents than Republicans: Presidents and the U.S. Economy: An Econometric Exploration

Not surprisingly, half of the advantage for the Democrats turns out to be pure luck. Still...
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists that is why they invented hell. Bertrand Russell
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#139 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2014-August-06, 03:07

happiness is a function of comparison to others. without people worse off than ourselves we would be less content about our own situations.

the corollary to that is that you can't eradicate poverty. no matter how high you raise the wealth of the lowest in society there will be someone above them to compare against. perceptions of what constitutes poverty are thus on a constant upward trajectory in line with extensions of the benefits system.

in various parts of europe your local council must by law provide you with a home in addition to whatever monetary benefits and allowances you get for being unemployed, disabled, etc. would someone with a private apartment and a small but steady income have been considered to be in poverty in the past?
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#140 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-August-06, 16:06

Unless you implement perfect communism, obviously some people will be poorer than others. But the people at the bottom of the ladder don't have to be so poor that they're miserable and in imminent danger of dying from starvation, exposure, or disease most of their lives. When people talk about eradicating poverty, that's what they're talking about, not making everyone rich.

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