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Is capitalism leading to a breakdown of our morals

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theholyhandgrenade
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#1

Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:39 AM Edited by theholyhandgrenade, 02 August 2012 - 11:37 AM.

This is something i have began wondering to myself more and more recently. That the values that we should all hold are now playing second fiddle to the illustrious pound or dollar. That we should care for the those that are beaten down,not exploit them. That human lives and wellbeing is far more important than the monetary value of their life. Like people who say "OH IMMIGRANTS COME HERE AND STEAL OUR JOBS!!!" Do these people not deserve the chance to make their lives better? Things like Famine in Africa when the Vatican bank has enough money to clear third world debt a few times over. Like helping the Libyan rebels overthrow Gaddafi (Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa) yet right now the Syrians are being massacred by Assad and we do nothing (Syria has low oil production). Some of the brightest people in society are being pushed into stuff like economics and accountancy rather than science where they could cure cancer or HIV just for the fact they will earn more. Basically have we forsaken all of the things that make us good people in sake of money?
Not the best structured argument but i hope you see what i mean
Ps - give me a while to think because that response was fairly good. I need to be in a more argumentative mentality before i can really make the points i mean smile.gif

sivispacem
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#2

Posted 02 August 2012 - 11:02 AM Edited by sivispacem, 02 August 2012 - 11:14 AM.

I believe that there is already a topic much like this one in terms of discussion, though I can't find it right now- perhaps in Gen Chat? So for now, this can stay open though it does seem to rather cross purposes with several topics we already have.

My views are thus- I don't buy the idea that people are turned from the scientific pursuits to finance, banking and economics- partially because they require a very different skill-set (aside from the liberal application of complex mathematics in both), but predominantly because the scientific industries are growing exponentially and have been for a very long time now, and if anything recent events have turned large numbers of people endowed with (some sort of) social conscience away from the world of finance, under the pretext (accurate or otherwise, I'm inclined to think otherwise) that they're all a bunch of crooks. On a wider scale, it seems to me that the greatest social problems of the world today come not from capitalism, or as it inexorably tied to it, Western-style democracy, but from individual profiteering outside of the confines of "good" business ethics (again something of growing importance everywhere) and sectarianism of various kinds. An example, if you will. Despite various allegations about the links between Western-sponsored overfishing in the Horn of Africa and the rise in piracy in the region, Capitalism did not cause the collapse of government in Somalia- internal political strife and the profiteering of individual warlords did. And closer to home, and to use the same example you have, I see no tangible link between the far-right press and their crusade of anti-immigration bigotry and barely guarded xenophobia (there's a topic on the subject but a few down from this one) and capitalism. If anything, it is the lack of good business ethics which have become an intrinsic part of the operation of most (though definitely not all) capitalist entities with a public face (and ergo public scrutiny) being applied outside of the corporate world that has contributed to the crisis in morality amongst the (please excuse the expression, it's for dramatic effect) underclasses in Western Europe and the United States. The problem is not that these people have recently become backwards, bigoted and idiotic- they always have been. The problem is that the socialist ideas of individual equality and personal representation have endowed these morons with the belief that their views are of value to society.

-EDIT to add

People have always been motivated by financial gain- now as much as in any time in history. Its just these days this motivation is more translucent. In fact, I would personally argue that there are less people willing to really go out of their way to wreck someone else for personal gain than there was a few decades ago. Now, the 80s and 90s were the real time for the hedonistic, self-serving lunacy. As a species, I'd argue that we've calmed it down considerably since then. At least, these days, you see people considering business ethics. We have things like "fair-trade" and various agreements designed to improve worker's rights. Sweat shops are being eradicated, albeit too slowly for most people. Everyone in business is worried about their carbon footprint (though probably because of the money it's going to cost them rather than the because of the environment itself). That's the thing, though- businesses never pull off looking ethical very well because its not part of their real remit- they are there to provide a good or service for the benefit of the shareholders. But these days, you've got to demonstrate a good ethical understanding or consumers hate you. Many a company has bitten the dust not because of the implications of some unethical decision they have made, but because of their failure to accept responsibility for their actions and their behaviour around the event in the public eye. Just remember BP and the Gulf of Mexico spill. Regardless of actual blame and responsibility for ethical mistakes, that's what every company is trying hard to avoid. The reasons may be self-serving, but we elect politicians and public figures to represent our personal ethical and moral views; the directors and board members of companies are there to run them as effectively as possible for the good of the shareholders.

theholyhandgrenade
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#3

Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:10 PM

my opinions are biased (i cant deny that) but its because of certain instances in the past few months that has made me question our beliefs more and more. I saw a poll the other day that said that like 30%-40% (can't find it now) of the people polled, would rather have better looks than world peace. Charity heads taking multi-million bonuses. And also donating to a charity as a fashion statement rather than the fact that it is the right thing to do. Isn't this exactly the opposite of the morals that make the world an immeasurably better place? That selfishness and vanity are more prized in this world that tolerance and understanding. Thats more the point im trying to make really.

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#4

Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:02 PM

The world isn't decaying or losing innocence in any way - it has, and always will be, a place of good and bad. It isn't inherently anything. Today, we are in contact with a lot more information, so we feel perhaps like the world is closer to us; more real, visceral even. We get the impression that it is worse than some conceived and imaginary 'good era' that we either nostalgize about or simply never experienced. And the media bombards us with anti-banking rhetoric (which, as sivis said, may or may not be the whole truth) and so many of us find ourselves turning against capitalism as a system, an understandable if even predictable route for the stereotypical youth. Regrettably there is no perfect economic mould for everyone, but assuming you live in the UK, I'd say you are very lucky and shouldn't bury yourself in doom and gloom. We have a balance; not unadulterated greed, nor pure altruism. Yet, there are no places on Earth with either of those systems.

I'd say you're caught upon in the typical hype of despising the system which has brought us to recession, and its perceived moral inadequacy. It should be noted this very system brings you the riches that distinguish your standard of living from the 3rd world. I'd recommend taking sensationalism with a slight pinch of salt holyhandgrenade, even if it holds some truth. As a virtue, greed has and always will be present in us. It's our choice whether we surrender ourself to that hedonism or not; perhaps our 1st world bubble shields us from true horror, and makes charity and altruism a distant cause rather than a social responsibility. The complexities of this, I can not say. But it is possible.

theholyhandgrenade
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#5

Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:57 PM

I agree that when times are bad, people will veer to a more extreme point of view. The Germans turning to Fascism when under the treaty of Versailles being one. I do not hate capitalism in any way shape or form. i just don't understand why the system of capitalism doesn't do more to help those who are less fortunate than us. Greed, i guess is the answer but i was just never brought up this way. I have never been particularly influenced by money, i just want the world to be a better place when i finally pop my clogs. I just don't understand why the insanely rich and powerful don't aspire to that rather than aspiring to have the most 0's in their bank balance. I would encourage the government to tax me MORE wow.gif wow.gif wow.gif (I know im insane tounge.gif ) to fix the awful situations that go on around the world that we do relatively nothing to solve (when we have the resources available to do it).

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#6

Posted 02 August 2012 - 06:08 PM

capitalism does not cause a breakdown in morals any more than socialism (which is to say; not at all).

capitalism produces wealth and prosperity for more people more efficiently than any other system of economics that we know of... so far.
the problem with any system of economics isn't as much the system as it is the PEOPLE inside the system.

people are petty, flawed, and prone to uncontrollable fits of greed and hubris.
capitalism only tends to erode morality when it is allowed to carry on without any kind of restraint or regulation. because humans are petty and weak and because capitalism is capable of generating such wealth, it is simply a recipe for exploitation.

capitalism is no more to blame than human nature which is why proper capitalism requires proper regulation and oversight.
there's nothing inherently wrong with capitalism assuming it is properly controlled.

you could argue that lately (especially in the United States) there is NOT enough control.
right now in the US greed is allowed to carry on unfettered and those who profit from the ruin of others (I'm looking at you: Wall Street investment bankers) go unpunished. many of the people responsible for our financial meltdown in 2008 should be in jail right now but instead they're relaxing on a beach in Switzerland with the golden parachutes they received upon retirement.

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#7

Posted 07 August 2012 - 11:53 PM

In my opinion, persons should not be punished (increasingly taxed) because of their own financial success. The opposing theory is that the more a person has, the more a person can and should sacrifice for the good of others. The problem is that welfare is commonly used as a tool in my country for lazy people who have a desire not to earn a living to make a profit off of others who do work for a living.

One of the key causes of economic crises was excessive regulation of businesses. One of the leading causes of the hardships in the American Rust Belt was excessive taxation and excessively high wage expectations. The higher taxes are for businesses, the more jobs are gonna be outsourced to countries that treat their workers like sh*t and think of the environment as f*ck all.

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#8

Posted 08 August 2012 - 12:12 AM

QUOTE (theholyhandgrenade @ Thursday, Aug 2 2012, 05:57)
I just don't understand why the insanely rich and powerful don't aspire to that rather than aspiring to have the most 0's in their bank balance.

You are making an awful lot of assumptions there. Unlike what you seem to believe, most rich people aren't in it "for the money", or got there by chance. Most of them either worked really hard or were really good at what they did, and most of them still work hard and are still good at what they do. Do they not deserve to reap the benefits? Most of them had the vision of starting a business to provide a good, a service, and eventually it made them wealthy. In my experience, most companies that start out with the goal of making as much money as possible usually last a lot less than companies set out on delivering the best product/service.

And capitalism does A LOT MORE than all the other economic systems when it comes to helping those in need. But those aren't as direct as say, giving money to people who need it. Think jobs. Capitalism provides jobs for those who are capable, jobs which will allow them to make a living, to buy the things they need, which will lead to the creation of jobs elsewhere, to provide those things, and so on.

You seem to think that poor people are entitled to all the help, that rich people have a duty, nay, an obligation to give away part of their money because they were greedy in getting it, completely overlooking the merits of those who deserve that wealth.

Of course people are going to choose better looks than world peace. People are usually interested in things that are directly related to them. Does it matter if someone donates to a charity out of a selfish purpose? The money is still (usually) ending up in the hands who need it, so does it matter what the motivation was? And how do you differentiate someone who is donating out of the kindness of their heart from someone who is donating to reach a tax break? A lot of insanely rich in fact do aspire to do good work, that's why they fund charities, and that's why most of them don't talk about it, otherwise they would get people like you (no offence) saying that they donated only to appear kind.

Capitalism isn't a person, isn't an entity; it's a system. It doesn't "choose" to do good or bad to others, instead it allows those who can the option of doing so. Capitalism is not at fault for a supposed "breakdown of our morals", which are also mutable over time anyway, always evolving, the moral standings of 200 years ago are not the same as the ones today; in fact, we're much better off now that capitalism has aged a bit, than in the beginning where exploitation was the word of the day.

And you speak of the world as a better place, how would you define a better place? A better world? What are the requirements it has to fulfil to be declared a good world? Oh, and your view of better world definitely is not my view of a better world, and it's not John Doe's view of a better world, and so on. So who is right? Which view is the absolute best view? There's no such thing.

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#9

Posted 08 August 2012 - 01:13 AM

QUOTE (Tchuck @ Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 17:12)
You are making an awful lot of assumptions there... most rich people aren't in it "for the money", or got there by chance. Most of them either worked really hard or were really good at what they did, and most of them still work hard and are still good at what they do.

talk about making assumptions.
I don't think you can support the statement that most rich people "worked really hard" or were any better at what they did than anyone else.
I believe that if you could find the statistics, they would easily show that most rich people just got lucky and/or were born into a family fortune.
at least in the United States.

the most wealthy households in the US belong to old money.
and most of these households no longer work. the company that their grandparents used to establish the fortune has long since been sold off to public shareholders. their money works for them (by way of investments) and the children receive their shares through long-standing family trusts which are controlled by family lawyers.

some of the most visible wealthy people seem to have earned their wealth through work or talent; such as movie stars, music artists, etc.
but first of all... I wouldn't consider what those people do to be "really hard" work. not compared to nurses, doctors, fire fighters, construction workers, etc. you know, the people who actually contribute something positive to society.

secondly, those people are not necessarily any better at what they do than anyone else.
they just got lucky. someone discovered them and decided to take a chance on them. just because you're on MTV or starring in the next Transformers movie doesn't make you a good artist or actor.

and like I said, those are just the most visible rich people.
there are many more anonymous rich people who were born into a cushy life of sitting back and collecting checks from their family stock portfolio.

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#10

Posted 08 August 2012 - 02:24 AM

"Money is the root of all evil" is what some people believe. "Money makes the world go round" is another. If they hold true does that mean that the world is evil? I don't think so. I think that it is peoples motivation and actions that define who we are. Since we all have different ideas of morality and ethics this plays out in multiple ways on the world stage. Is there or has there been a perfect system? No. They just rise and fall with time. I guess you could call it entropy. You can't force people to see things the way that you do, you can only live how you believe is right according to your conscience, intellect, and "heart" and hope to lead by example. That is about all that any of us can do. smile.gif

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#11

Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:08 AM

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 17:13)
QUOTE (Tchuck @ Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 17:12)
You are making an awful lot of assumptions there... most rich people aren't in it "for the money", or got there by chance. Most of them either worked really hard or were really good at what they did, and most of them still work hard and are still good at what they do.

talk about making assumptions.
I don't think you can support the statement that most rich people "worked really hard" or were any better at what they did than anyone else.
I believe that if you could find the statistics, they would easily show that most rich people just got lucky and/or were born into a family fortune.
at least in the United States.


I was speaking mostly from experience. My father was dirt poor when I was born, but he worked until our situation improved, and kept on working to arrive the level we are at today. His father worked his ass off to offer a pretty comfortable level of living to his children. My other grandfather came to Brazil as a baby, and worked hard to advance in his career and be able to retire very comfortably. The college I went to, most people there were born in a golden cradle; they had it easy, but their parents and grandparents worked their asses off to get where they are. Whether they do anything good with the fortune they'll inherit or not is not my point. But that's Brazil.

QUOTE
the most wealthy households in the US belong to old money.
and most of these households no longer work. the company that their grandparents used to establish the fortune has long since been sold off to public shareholders. their money works for them (by way of investments) and the children receive their shares through long-standing family trusts which are controlled by family lawyers.


The most wealthy ones are also a minority of the wealthy households, are they not? And even then, to accrue all that wealth, someone had to either work hard or get lucky as you put it.

QUOTE

some of the most visible wealthy people seem to have earned their wealth through work or talent; such as movie stars, music artists, etc.
but first of all... I wouldn't consider what those people do to be "really hard" work. not compared to nurses, doctors, fire fighters, construction workers, etc. you know, the people who actually contribute something positive to society.


But then you're bringing your own personal judgement to it. YOU wouldn't consider what they do "hard work", maybe they wouldn't consider what you do to be "hard work". And to say that they don't contribute anything positive to society is just ignorant. Imagine a world without music, a world withou movies, a world without art.

QUOTE

secondly, those people are not necessarily any better at what they do than anyone else.
they just got lucky. someone discovered them and decided to take a chance on them. just because you're on MTV or starring in the next Transformers movie doesn't make you a good artist or actor.


And does that invalidate all the good actors? What we mostly see on the big screen are the good actors. Thousands upon thousands of others weren't good enough to make the cut, or lucky enough have the opportunity.

QUOTE

and like I said, those are just the most visible rich people.
there are many more anonymous rich people who were born into a cushy life of sitting back and collecting checks from their family stock portfolio.


Indeed, and there are even many more anonymous people working to become wealthy, and many more who got there by working and don't flash it around.

You do mention luck a whole lot. While I agree you do need a degree of luck to be successful, and that most wealthy people did get their lucky break at one point, you also have to remember that to succeed you have to try. I'm a firm believer that you make your own luck. And what is always apparent to us, the common folk, is the success, the big hit. Everyone talks about how they made their first million, but no one talks about how much they lost until they got their "big hit".

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#12

Posted 08 August 2012 - 04:45 AM

QUOTE (Tchuck @ Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 20:08)
I was speaking mostly from experience.

well unfortunately anecdotes don't count as evidence.
QUOTE
The most wealthy ones are also a minority of the wealthy households, are they not? And even then, to accrue all that wealth, someone had to either work hard or get lucky as you put it.

in this case there's no such thing as the minority of a minority.

if you have enough money to be considered wealthy, then you're wealthy.
the difference between hundreds of millions and billions is irrelevant.

someone obviously had to accrue that wealth at some time in history.
but the point is that their descendents haven't had to do a day's worth of hard work in their entire lives.

as generations go by, the family of the original CEO or founder has less and less of a personal connection to the business or product that made them wealthy.
someone had to do some hard work and have some talent, sure. but that person is long dead and their children and grandchildren barely lift a finger nowadays. they just sit back and collect the dividends of their trust fund.

QUOTE
But then you're bringing your own personal judgement to it. YOU wouldn't consider what they do "hard work", maybe they wouldn't consider what you do to be "hard work". And to say that they don't contribute anything positive to society is just ignorant. Imagine a world without music, a world withou movies, a world without art.


1.) it's not my personal judgement. it's just reality.
being a Hollywood actor or a rock star is not hard work. I'm sure that it comes with its own type of stress and turmoil, but it's NOTHING compared to ordinary people who perform the sh*t jobs EVERY DAY. literally sh*t jobs, like emptying trash or changing adult diapers at a hospital for 12 hours at a time. these people keep the world moving. it's not glamorous, but without them society would collapse.

2.) actors and rock stars don't contribute anything beyond their art. and art can only be enjoyed when people have the time and/or energy to enjoy it.
humans have lived for HUNDREDS of thousands of years without Hollywood movies and without MTV music videos. if those things disappeared tomorrow, we would be just fine.

I don't want to imagine a world without movies or music.
but I'd love to imagine a world where movie and rock stars don't make ANYWHERE NEAR as much money as they do. because they don't deserve it.

QUOTE
And does that invalidate all the good actors? What we mostly see on the big screen are the good actors. Thousands upon thousands of others weren't good enough to make the cut, or lucky enough have the opportunity.

you're missing the point.

bad actors and bad musicians don't invalidate the good ones.
I never said that.

but you're crazy if you think that what we see only represents the "good."
the majority of the most famous actors and musicians today are not the most famous because they're the best. they're the most famous because they're the most marketable. this means they're bland, easy to sell to teenagers, and cheap to produce.

most actors today are hacks and our most famous musicians are NOWHERE NEAR our most talented.
they just represent the biggest corporate interest because the corporations control the movies and music business. that's why every new Justin Bieber album and Transformers movie comes hand-in-hand with THOUSANDS of different tie-in products like clothes, makeup, toys, jewelry, furniture, etc.

when you appeal to the lowest common denominator, you tend to draw in greater numbers.
this doesn't actually mean you're any good.

QUOTE

Indeed, and there are even many more anonymous people working to become wealthy, and many more who got there by working and don't flash it around.

nonsense.

the anonymous rich are not anonymous because they're working so hard.
they're anonymous because they don't do anything.

the richest households in America consist of old, ancient money.
from the Walton family, to the Hearst, to the Pfizer, to the Johnson's (of Johnson & Johnson), etc etc.

and they have SO MANY children and grandchildren that the wealth has to be split between.
this is why there's so much lobbying on Capitol Hill for reformation of the estate tax laws. they want to horde as much of this wealth as possible for their lucky, silver-spoon sucking, undeserving kids. there are literally thousands upon thousands of these people who enjoy vast wealth from the day they were born simply because they fell out of the lucky vagina

QUOTE
to succeed you have to try.

look I'm not denying that.

I'm only acknowledging the fact that most of the people who have most of the wealth in this country never tried to do anything.
they were born into it. and good for them. I don't despise them. I don't want to force them to give it away. but I'm not going to sit here and act like they're better than anyone else because they have 9 zero's in their bank account.

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#13

Posted 08 August 2012 - 05:37 AM Edited by Chunkyman, 08 August 2012 - 05:42 AM.

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 04:45)
but I'd love to imagine a world where movie and rock stars don't make ANYWHERE NEAR as much money as they do. because they don't deserve it.


Why the hell would you want other people to have less money? Call me crazy, but I happen to like it when others do really well for themselves. When I see someone in a Ferrari I don't think "I hope that rich a**hole crashes!", I think "Sweet! Good for him."

Maybe you believed in a "fixed pie" economy (meaning there is a limited amount of wealth) wherein anyone with large amounts of money must be depriving someone else of wealth. That is wrong because new wealth is created, therefore meaning one person's immense wealth does not have to come at the expense of others.

Or it's just envy, and you enjoy seeing others torn down because you don't think they deserve their money.


As to the question of capitalism breaking down people's morals, no it does not change anything. The economic system people live under doesn't usually alter their personal morality (although it does alter their financial status). It could be argued that the financial status an economic system puts people in might give them a propensity to behave in immoral ways, but I don't really see a whole lot of evidence for that.

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#14

Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:28 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 06:37)
Maybe you believed in a "fixed pie" economy (meaning there is a limited amount of wealth) wherein anyone with large amounts of money must be depriving someone else of wealth. That is wrong because new wealth is created, therefore meaning one person's immense wealth does not have to come at the expense of others.

Classical non-service economies are most definitely "fixed pie" as you put it. Any economy which is built on something quantifiable and therefore not infinite is itself finite dependent on the resource being exploited. Service economies are arguably also finite; whilst I agree with the assertion that money in a variety of forms is infinite, fluctuations in value based on how much of it moves and to where suggest that even hypothetical money is not treated as if it were limitless.

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#15

Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:25 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 08:28)
QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 06:37)
Maybe you believed in a "fixed pie" economy (meaning there is a limited amount of wealth) wherein anyone with large amounts of money must be depriving someone else of wealth. That is wrong because new wealth is created, therefore meaning one person's immense wealth does not have to come at the expense of others.

Classical non-service economies are most definitely "fixed pie" as you put it. Any economy which is built on something quantifiable and therefore not infinite is itself finite dependent on the resource being exploited. Service economies are arguably also finite; whilst I agree with the assertion that money in a variety of forms is infinite, fluctuations in value based on how much of it moves and to where suggest that even hypothetical money is not treated as if it were limitless.

New technology and higher efficiency in the use of resources creates more wealth even when the resources themselves are finite. I suppose the creation of new wealth will stop when efficiency has stopped increasing and there are no new technologies to be discovered, but as it stands now more and more wealth is created as we continually find better ways to use the resources we have.

For example, look how much richer the poor and middle class are now compared to 100 years ago (they now have phones, refrigerators, cars, etc.). This is the result of new wealth emerging as the resources available are more effectively used. This new wealth for them did not come at the expense of the rich people, because it made them better off too.

If the fixed pie economic theory were true, the only way to get richer would be to deprive others, but we've seen historically this isn't true because new wealth is created all the time and the "pie" grows bigger and bigger.

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#16

Posted 08 August 2012 - 10:23 PM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 22:37)
Why the hell would you want other people to have less money?

I don't.

when I said that, we were talking about things we could "imagine."
that's just a concept of wishful thinking. I don't expect it to become reality.

I'm just saying, if it were up to me, the heroes and role models in this world would be our military and fire fighters, etc.
not movie stars or baseball players.

if capitalism corrupts our morals in one clear way, it's the false equivalency between the amount of money you have and the amount of respect you earn in society.
capitalism really screws that up. we idolize money (and by extension the people who have it) FOR NO OTHER REASON than they have a lot of it.

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#17

Posted 08 August 2012 - 11:09 PM

One thing that I have never really felt comfortable with is being described through Capitalism as a "consumer" since we live under consumerism. To consume, by at least one definition, means to destroy. Destructors the lot of us. It also is disturbing to me that with all of this great technology, like computers with the internet, that most of us feel content with using it more for entertainment and amusement than for educating ourselves. We have so much more information and knowledge and wisdom at our fingertips, which has never been available to anyone, and instead many of us would rather us this gift to watch people getting hit in the balls or read the latest celebrity gossip or whatever can make us dumber and dumber. That, to me, is the greatest disappointment of this generation and dark reality of human nature. We would rather consume our own minds in ignorance and greed than to teach ourselves what it takes to be best we can be. Damn, I just made myself depressed.

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#18

Posted 08 August 2012 - 11:35 PM

QUOTE

if capitalism corrupts our morals in one clear way, it's the false equivalency between the amount of money you have and the amount of respect you earn in society.

That's absolutely true... the market places the value of a movie star over that of the guy who comes and puts out the fire at the movie star's house. It's unfortunate but what happens.

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#19

Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:19 PM

QUOTE (Adept @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 20:09)
One thing that I have never really felt comfortable with is being described through Capitalism as a "consumer" since we live under consumerism. To consume, by at least one definition, means to destroy. Destructors the lot of us. It also is disturbing to me that with all of this great technology, like computers with the internet, that most of us feel content with using it more for entertainment and amusement than for educating ourselves. We have so much more information and knowledge and wisdom at our fingertips, which has never been available to anyone, and instead many of us would rather us this gift to watch people getting hit in the balls or read the latest celebrity gossip or whatever can make us dumber and dumber. That, to me, is the greatest disappointment of this generation and dark reality of human nature. We would rather consume our own minds in ignorance and greed than to teach ourselves what it takes to be best we can be. Damn, I just made myself depressed.

Just for your information, we are not all like that.

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#20

Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:13 AM

I don't think capitalism can be defined as "good" or "evil". It just "is". It's how you use it. It's up to you.

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#21

Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:11 AM Edited by John The Grudge, 10 September 2012 - 11:16 AM.

It seems to me that many of the wealthy people in our society live for profit above anything else. In fact not just wealthy but most business people and employers. If they had a vault so full with money that they couldn't spend it, they'd still rather not give the poor sap on reception a raise. Because why should they?

Personally the trickle down theory is some sort of wonderful utopian dream. But it's not realistic. I couldn't tell you what that makes capitalism in this country but It's surely not how it's supposed to be.

To answer the topic's question, no I don't think it's leading to a breakdown of our morals. Not in the average person at least. I do think that perhaps many of the elite are sociopaths though. They wouldn't p*ss on you if you were on fire, unless there was something in it for them. By their logic, if there's no benefit to them, then it's pointless.

Feel free to pick my post apart. I don't have research or specific evidence to back my opinion up. It's just my observation from my call center desk and my little apartment. I don't know what the elite are thinking. As Sivi says, it's likely just a few bad eggs and not the system itself, but I can't help but think that mindset is spreading.

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#22

Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

QUOTE (John The Grudge @ Monday, Sep 10 2012, 12:11)
It seems to me that many of the wealthy people in our society live for profit above anything else.

Can I just stop you here? I think that this is a fundamentally flawed observation that's common, but is based in nothing other than class-warfare-driven rhetoric and a lack of public understanding (not singling you out here, as it's a very common misconception from my experiences, but more making a point). My work has entailed me meeting and often spending time with some absurdly, fabulously wealthy people- minor celebrities, directors of FTSE 100 companies, career politicians, investment bankers, and save for one single solitary example every single one of them has been humble, generous, considerate, rational and generally a decent human being. From my experiences, this idea of the "selfish rich" does not really exist; it's a product of the left-wing media and people with intrinsic biases or prejudices as far as I can tell. That isn't to say that there aren't people who do fit the stereotype you allude to, but from everything I've experienced it's a bit of a fallacy. It is, unfortunately, a reaction very typical of the United Kingdom in particular to automatically be dismissive or hostile to anyone in a more privileged position than one's self, and many of these misconceptions are borne out of jealousy above all else.

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#23

Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:43 PM Edited by John The Grudge, 10 September 2012 - 01:48 PM.

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Monday, Sep 10 2012, 12:23)
QUOTE (John The Grudge @ Monday, Sep 10 2012, 12:11)
It seems to me that many of the wealthy people in our society live for profit above anything else.

Can I just stop you here? I think that this is a fundamentally flawed observation that's common, but is based in nothing other than class-warfare-driven rhetoric and a lack of public understanding (not singling you out here, as it's a very common misconception from my experiences, but more making a point). My work has entailed me meeting and often spending time with some absurdly, fabulously wealthy people- minor celebrities, directors of FTSE 100 companies, career politicians, investment bankers, and save for one single solitary example every single one of them has been humble, generous, considerate, rational and generally a decent human being. From my experiences, this idea of the "selfish rich" does not really exist; it's a product of the left-wing media and people with intrinsic biases or prejudices as far as I can tell. That isn't to say that there aren't people who do fit the stereotype you allude to, but from everything I've experienced it's a bit of a fallacy. It is, unfortunately, a reaction very typical of the United Kingdom in particular to automatically be dismissive or hostile to anyone in a more privileged position than one's self, and many of these misconceptions are borne out of jealousy above all else.

Fair enough. But I just think that companies tend to want to hoard their money rather than give pay rises. I don't have a problem with wealthy people. I don't vote for Labour or anything so I don't have a problem with everybody who works for a living. If they've earned it then more power to them. But if the head of a company is rich and earns millions then shouldn't they give pay rises, starting at the very bottom of the company ladder?

The impression I get from the company I work for is a "why should we, what are you going to do about it" attitude. People like me, that is people at the bottom who are expendable, are seen simply as the herd. Our needs are irrelevant. From where I'm sitting, the idea that my company would give the herd a pay rise simply because they can is laughably unrealistic.

I'm not asking for the world. Just enough to cover the increasing cost of living. That's asking too much though. What possible reason could they have to give a minion such as me a pay rise. They'll give me what they are legally obliged to give me and I should be grateful.

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#24

Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:54 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Monday, Sep 10 2012, 22:23)
QUOTE (John The Grudge @ Monday, Sep 10 2012, 12:11)
It seems to me that many of the wealthy people in our society live for profit above anything else.

Can I just stop you here? I think that this is a fundamentally flawed observation that's common, but is based in nothing other than class-warfare-driven rhetoric and a lack of public understanding (not singling you out here, as it's a very common misconception from my experiences, but more making a point). My work has entailed me meeting and often spending time with some absurdly, fabulously wealthy people- minor celebrities, directors of FTSE 100 companies, career politicians, investment bankers, and save for one single solitary example every single one of them has been humble, generous, considerate, rational and generally a decent human being. From my experiences, this idea of the "selfish rich" does not really exist; it's a product of the left-wing media and people with intrinsic biases or prejudices as far as I can tell. That isn't to say that there aren't people who do fit the stereotype you allude to, but from everything I've experienced it's a bit of a fallacy. It is, unfortunately, a reaction very typical of the United Kingdom in particular to automatically be dismissive or hostile to anyone in a more privileged position than one's self, and many of these misconceptions are borne out of jealousy above all else.

It's a bit silly to boil it down to jealousy. I can't speak for everyone who holds this view, but I have nothing against "the rich". The upper classes of our society include academics, doctors, engineers, scientists, charity directors, entrepreneurs, musicians, actors, activists to name a few. Of course these people earn a lot of money and it stands to reason. But if someone is a stock broker or a banker or something who does nothing but move money around while taking unfathomable amounts for themselves, then the world is better off without them. What kind of ambition is "I want to earn more money than me or my descendants can ever spend, while giving as little back as possible"? It's a warped, twisted ambition and all those who hold it should die... or get real jobs.

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#25

Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:47 AM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 10:54)
It's a bit silly to boil it down to jealousy. I can't speak for everyone who holds this view, but I have nothing against "the rich". The upper classes of our society include academics, doctors, engineers, scientists, charity directors, entrepreneurs, musicians, actors, activists to name a few. Of course these people earn a lot of money and it stands to reason. But if someone is a stock broker or a banker or something who does nothing but move money around while taking unfathomable amounts for themselves, then the world is better off without them. What kind of ambition is "I want to earn more money than me or my descendants can ever spend, while giving as little back as possible"? It's a warped, twisted ambition and all those who hold it should die... or get real jobs.

But it's such a tiny minority of people in the grand scheme of the "upper class" to essentially be dismissed as a rounding error. What irks me is that people attack wealth and success based on an impression they garner from an absolutely minute proportion of the individuals they attack, helped by mass-media indoctrination. I wouldn't be as averse to it if it was a selective policy of hate based on perceived earnings over lack of societal worth, but it's not- it's a general, hardline-Socialist attack on personal success which portrays everyone of wealth, deserving or not, to be some kind of kitten-killing monster. It's absolutely absurd.

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#26

Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:52 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 20:47)
QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 10:54)
It's a bit silly to boil it down to jealousy. I can't speak for everyone who holds this view, but I have nothing against "the rich". The upper classes of our society include academics, doctors, engineers, scientists, charity directors, entrepreneurs, musicians, actors, activists to name a few. Of course these people earn a lot of money and it stands to reason. But if someone is a stock broker or a banker or something who does nothing but move money around while taking unfathomable amounts for themselves, then the world is better off without them. What kind of ambition is "I want to earn more money than me or my descendants can ever spend, while giving as little back as possible"? It's a warped, twisted ambition and all those who hold it should die... or get real jobs.

But it's such a tiny minority of people in the grand scheme of the "upper class" to essentially be dismissed as a rounding error. What irks me is that people attack wealth and success based on an impression they garner from an absolutely minute proportion of the individuals they attack, helped by mass-media indoctrination. I wouldn't be as averse to it if it was a selective policy of hate based on perceived earnings over lack of societal worth, but it's not- it's a general, hardline-Socialist attack on personal success which portrays everyone of wealth, deserving or not, to be some kind of kitten-killing monster. It's absolutely absurd.

I don't know, I rarely hear people complain about the "upper class". It's capitalists (bankers, stock brokers etc.) that are the (deserving) targets of most of the rhetoric. I've never heard someone assert that a doctor or a scientist should "give more back".

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#27

Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:41 AM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 11:52)
I've never heard someone assert that a doctor or a scientist should "give more back".

Nor have I, but attacks on the "wealthy" as a general concept do just that. As I said before, it's complaints about the "wealthy" that irritate me, as all evidence suggests that as a general rule the wealthy are proportionally far more philanthropic than any other segment of society. I understand hostility towards investment bankers and stockbrokers, but not a generally hostility towards wealth, and the latter I see just as much as the former if not more.

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#28

Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:47 PM

Just to add a quick point, doctors and scientists may be affluent, but they are not bringing in the kind of money investment bankers and other kinds of capitalists are.

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#29

Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:25 PM

The way i see it is that you cannot make poeple happy, because they tend to dig up a reason to complain. When there was communism, everyone was asking for democracy and capitalism. When it came everyone keeps bragging about how easy it was to live during the Lithuanian SSR...

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#30

Posted 18 November 2012 - 01:17 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 11:41)
QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Sep 24 2012, 11:52)
I've never heard someone assert that a doctor or a scientist should "give more back".

Nor have I, but attacks on the "wealthy" as a general concept do just that. As I said before, it's complaints about the "wealthy" that irritate me, as all evidence suggests that as a general rule the wealthy are proportionally far more philanthropic than any other segment of society.

Only because their contributions are quantifiably larger, but that doesn't mean they truly are inherently more philantropic.




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