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The true argument against inequality Watch

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    (Original post by mazigh)
    You do know that South Africa is what it is today because the fall of apartheid and socialists and communists taking over the country right?
    You seriously believe the ANC and SACP could be called genuine communists? They merely overthrew the white supremacy system and instituted a wealth supremacy system.

    It and Zimbabwe used to be the best country in the Subsahara didn't they? What happened? It certainly wasn't capitalism or yt's fault
    South Africa is still the "best" country in sub-Saharan Africa. The only difference is that today race is no longer the determining factor, it is money.

    The wealthy of South Africa live in private gated compounds protected by armed guards, while the workers who mine the mineral wealth get mowed down by machine guns if they go on strike and protest (see clip below, mine workers get machine gunned by police who are doing the bidding of the wealthy capitalists, both South African blacks and whites, and Western investors)

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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    I'm sorry but that's fanciful. It's like saying, "I see no reason why competing companies won't build their own superyachts which the average person can afford"

    Yeah, that sounds plausible
    The average person can't afford a super aught but they can still afford a yought. The average person can't afford the pent house suite but they can still afford a standard room. In that same vein the average person won't be able to afford a trip to Mars but they can jump in Virgin Galactic (as prices continue to fall). Goods and services rarely remain restricted to the rich even if the average person may only be able to get an extra twenty years.

    Again I reject quite how dire a picture you paint.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    The average person can't afford a super aught but they can still afford a yought. The average person can't afford the pent house suite but they can still afford a standard room. In that same vein the average person won't be able to afford a trip to Mars but they can jump in Virgin Galactic (as prices continue to fall).
    You appear to have missed the point entirely. The point isn't space stations, it is primarily about life-extension technologies, drones and drone armies, the spatialisation of class (which is definitely a new development in historical terms), and so on.

    Goods and services rarely remain restricted to the rich even if the average person may only be able to get an extra twenty years.
    It depends entirely on what they are. What if the life extension technologies are extremely resource intensive?

    The average citizen in 2014 still can't afford a yacht, let alone a superyacht. The average citizen can't afford to eat off gold plate now anymore than they could 500 years ago.

    Some things simply may not be amenable to increasing competition. There may be elements of life extension technologies that simply will never be available to the masses (say you require massive supercomputer server farms to calculate the genetic analysis and synthesis of complex proteins required to provide immortality to the subject.... that may never be available to the average Joe, and it is simply a pseudo-religious faith to say that market competition will always provide the necessary means to confer these products on the mass market)

    Again I reject quite how dire a picture you paint
    I think the point is that none of us know what the future will be like, and it is clear that for you, it is an article of religious faith that somehow, everything will work itself out in a market system.

    That simply isn't logical. Unless you have a reasonable store of capital (say, £10 million in assets), are you willing to take the risk that your children will live in such a system due to your willigness to believe that capitalism will always result in a good outcome?
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Btw, way to miss the point. The point isn't space stations, it's the complete divergence in access to technology and healthcare, the ability of a small elite not to have to care about the views and mood of police and armed forces (which is necessarily a break on their power), if they have large armies of drones.

    What do you mean a scare story? Are you saying that life extension discoveries haven't actually occurred?

    Do you really think unlimited life will be provided on the NHS? Your side of politics doesn't want anything on the NHS as a matter of principle, so I hardly see how you believe this will be widespread
    Its entirely recent, I dispute the notion that an existing group of elites would use collusion and monopoly to such an extent that they would lock out everybody else. It is my interpretation of the world that the rich put greed before protection of their wealth, the allure of the consumer market ensures that a lesser degree of growth will still take place.

    Not everybody on the right is an ideologically blind zealot, indeed many believe in some form of NHS. Don't blind yourself by tainting us all as the same.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Its entirely recent, I dispute the notion that an existing group of elites would use collusion and monopoly to such an extent that they would lock out everybody else
    Wow. I'm guessing you're completely unfamiliar with the London property market.

    It is my interpretation of the world that the rich put greed before protection of their wealth, the allure of the consumer market ensures that a lesser degree of growth will still take place.
    That's merely unsubstantiated theory and worthless opinion, it has next to nothing to do with what we were actually talking about. If the life extension technologies are super resource intensive, almost like a superyacht or gold plate (which are as resource intensive and elite as they were 500 years ago), how is competition going to make a difference?

    So what if the established company builds their superyachts for £500 million, and the competitor somehow manages to get their superyacht down to £100 million. What difference does that make to the working man? And substitute superyacht for "life extension technology" and "droid army"

    Not everybody on the right is an ideologically blind zealot, indeed many believe in some form of NHS. Don't blind yourself by tainting us all as the same.
    Don't give me that crap. If you believe universal healthcare is a right, say so. And if you believe universal healthcare is a right, what would you do about a situation where the rich use their bought-and-paid-for politicians to abolish taxes they have to pay, so they're not really contributing to the system, while the NHS becomes more and more weighed down by lack of resources.

    And then these rich guys start taking advantage of life extension technologies that are simply out of the price range of the NHS, let alone the average worker. What then?
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    For any capitalists who are skeptical about this, I'd encourage you to read this Economist (not exactly known for being a Marxist publication) article on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (in fact, anyone who considers themselves a serious, political person should read Capital in the 21st Century anyway).

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/butto...and-inequality

    Inequality is increasing drastically, and it is almost impossible to prevent it increasing by some purely market mechanism. Certainly, the bizarre pseudo-religious faith users like Rakas21 have in capitalism that everything will be okay because capitalism must be good, is bizarre. Capitalism is not some spiritual force, it's an impersonal system.

    It may be that the postwar period, where inequality reduced dramatically (and we probably enjoyed one of the healthiest democratic periods ever) could be an aberration, and the tendency really is to inequality.

    Read the article
    As per my last post, I don't have blind faith in the free market and in particular I believe more can be done to increase equality of opportunity.

    I do however have every reason to believe that the future is bright. Not only are (bar the last decade) real wages still rising but the number of millionaires continues to rise. Until that stops, I have reason to be optimistic.

    Ultimately I think that we both agree that we will reach a post scarcity point where life could be remarkable, we just have differing attitudes regarding how the majority of humanity will fare as the rich enjoy this technological bounty.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    As per my last post, I don't have blind faith in the free market and in particular I believe more can be done to increase equality of opportunity.
    So you agree that extreme inequality is a bad thing?

    I do however have every reason to believe that the future is bright. Not only are (bar the last decade) real wages still rising
    What do you mean bar the last decade? In real and relative terms, the lower-middle and middle classes have gone backwards.

    but the number of millionaires continues to rise. Until that stops, I have reason to be optimistic.
    That's merely pseudo-religious nonsense, not serious analysis based on evidence and scholarly research. Are you willing to actually do anything (in legislative terms) to prevent extreme inequality in the future, or will you just trust in the spirit of capitalism that everything will be okay?

    Ultimately I think that we both agree that we will reach a post scarcity point where life could be remarkable, we just have differing attitudes regarding how the majority of humanity will fare as the rich enjoy this technological bounty
    To be honest, I don't entirely agree with this "post-scarcity" theory, there will always be an allocation of resources according to the prevailing economic system. There will always be scarcity in terms of the application of labour, food, resources, land and so on.

    The question is whether people like yourself are willing to concede that a genuine risk exists that in the future we may experience massively increasing inequality. And on the basis of accepting that, people like you are willing to work with people like me on the basis that we don't want that kind of future, and we are willing to legislate to prevent those risks coming to fruition..
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Rising wages are pretty meaningless if they are falling in relative and inflationary terms.

    Again, income rises can be rendered meaningless if they are a fall in real terms, or a fall in relative terms.

    Are you seriously denying that inequality has increased markedly since the 1980s? After a period of increasingly equality in the postwar period, we have gone backwards in recent decades. That is undeniable

    To be honest, your political ideology would say that there is nothing wrong even with the most extreme inequality, you fundamentally believe in a free-market and as little government intervention as possible. If this results in Ancient Egyptian levels of inequality, in your opinion this would be fine because that is the determination of the market and whatever the market outcome is, it must be right and moral because market outcomes are always right and moral in your ideology

    What do you mean "likely will do again"? Where is your evidence for that?

    For you, this is an article of religious faith. The fact is that the postwar period was a marvellous period of equality, both political (with very high rates of voting participation) and economic in terms of wages, in terms of the ability of the average factory worker to afford a nice house and car on *one* income (with his wife staying at home). These days, that is a middle-class luxury, whereas it used to be a working class expectation

    But the evidence is fairly clear; that postwar period was an aberration, and we are returning to the norm of profound inequality that has existed throughout most of human history prior to the 20th century
    I am referring to real wages (adjusted for inflation), wage rises are not meaningless if relative poverty increases because the standard of living can still increase. The 10% increase in pay that a banker got does not detract from a real terms pay increase of 3%. I've fallen by 7% in relative terms but my disposable income has still increased by 3%.

    Of course I don't deny that inequality has increased, that's a fact. I simply believe it to be the symptom of a problem and not the cause. Having grown up on benefits I don't believe inequality will prevent my rise in dying much than my parents.

    Again. I don't think the free market is perfect and do support some degree of government intervention, I simply don't believe that it will result in the dire vision you paint. Not exactly, I do think equality of opportunity can be increased.

    I agree that the 50's and 60's were not the norm but then they were periods where virgin markets could be accessed and companies were not yet transnational in their production process among other factors.

    Inequality is to some degree a symptom of the rapid rise in house prices, it is not the cause.

    Your wrong about cars though, the cost of vehicles has fallen in real terms. London exempt your 15-20k working class lad can go out and buy a hatchback, fuel is the main factor which put me off.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Of course I don't deny that inequality has increased, that's a fact. I simply believe it to be the symptom of a problem and not the cause. Having grown up on benefits I don't believe inequality will prevent my rise in dying much than my parents.
    Rise in dying? My whole point is that I want our us all to be in it together, wealthy and poor. I'm not saying the wealty should be deprived of their wealth, my parents are very well off (low 8 figures in assets in Australian dollars), I think it is more than fair that my folks have accumulated the capital they have.

    What I don't want to see is a billionaire class detaching from society, having no real interest in us all being in it together, and blasting off into a separate existence.

    Again. I don't think the free market is perfect and do support some degree of government intervention, I simply don't believe that it will result in the dire vision you paint. Not exactly, I do think equality of opportunity can be increased.
    Both equality of opportunity (by investment in education , in supporting poor children to be able to access opportunities) as well as equality per se (through income transfers via central government) shoiuld be effected.

    I agree that the 50's and 60's were not the norm but then they were periods where virgin markets could be accessed and companies were not yet transnational in their production process among other factors.
    My point is that the 50s, 60s and 70s were a golden age in terms of wealth equality and political equality in this country. We should aspire to be like that age.

    Inequality is to some degree a symptom of the rapid rise in house prices, it is not the cause.
    I don't think you can say inequality is a symptom of property prices, it is both a symptom and a cause. As a result of increasing wage inequality, upper-middle class people can dominate the property market and drive out our lower-middle class people as buyers and drive them into the rental market (where they are transferring their wealth to the upper class)

    The lower-middle class people end up renting, while the upper-middle class people end up sitting on their investmnts and accumulating ever more capital.

    Your wrong about cars though, the cost of vehicles has fallen in real terms. London exempt your 15-20k working class lad can go out and buy a hatchback, fuel is the main factor which put me off.
    Not only fuel, but also his income. Yes vehicles are cheaper than they were, but people are also being paid less. I think a good example is by comparison to previous decades.

    In the 1980s, your average working class lad living in central London could afford a car and a mortgage. Now, that is absolutely not the case. They definitely can't afford a mortgage in central London, sometimes can't even afford a mortgage at all. And they can't afford a car, because of their low salary, petrol and insurance costs, and so on.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    If you want to know the real argument against inequality, watch the movie Elysium and read this George Monbiot article.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...gevity-science

    Inequality has always been an issue, but with the incredible advances in technology, we are coming to a point where an extreme unequal division of wealth simply cannot be changed. What has always held the elites back is the fact they have to rely on police and the army, who are predominantly working or lower-middle class. They cannot just completely disregard public opinion and launch a fascist coup.

    But with drones and robots and advances in software, there is absolutely no reason they should care about public opinion or the mood of the police/armed forces. They can just electronically order their drone army to put down uprisings and revolutions (a situation where the elite has no fear of the population is very dangerous to democracy).

    With the life extension technology George Monbiot talks about, we may end up with a situation where 1,000 year old gerontocrats live on luxurious, high-technology reservations and use drones to put down any uprisings by the rest of the population (living with no healthcare, employment rights, etc) trying to address this imbalance of power. If you think such an imbalance can't happen, I'd encourage you to travel to South Africa

    What about the Spirit Level?
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    (Original post by redferry)
    What about the Spirit Level?
    Spirit level!? :dontknow:
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Spirit level!? :dontknow:
    It is a book of peer reviewed science arguing that equality is positive to society. Much more compelling than George, as much as I love the man.

    Anyway, might want to give it a read.
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    [QUOTE=redferry;48502953]It is a book of peer reviewed science arguing that equality is positive to society. Much more compelling than George, as much as I love the man.

    Anyway, might want to give it a read.[QUOTE]

    I'll certainly give it a read, though I don't need any convincing that equality is positive to a society politically and economically. More equality equals a healthier society
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    I'll certainly give it a read, though I don't need any convincing that equality is positive to a society politically and economically. More equality equals a healthier society
    No I know just thought you might be interested!
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    (Original post by redferry)
    No I know just thought you might be interested!
    Cheers, thanks

    You wouldn't believe how many right-wing freaks whined about Elysium, calling it "Hollywood Marxist propaganda", merely for depicting a future society where the poor had no healthcare and no employment rights, and the rich lived in splendour, safety, in good health and peace.

    Many American right-wingers literally found it deeply offensive to portray the rich as anything other than job-creating heroes. They were deeply offended by what they perceived as an offensive portrayal that depicted a society where the poor are not provided with even basic healthcare (even though that is the reality in the US today) To me, that is frightening that right-wingers were offended by a movie portraying this below. And tbh, I am frightened that many Britsh right-wingers want us to become like America

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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Cheers, thanks

    You wouldn't believe how many right-wing freaks whined about Elysium, calling it "Hollywood Marxist propaganda", merely for depicting a future society where the poor had no healthcare and no employment rights, and the rich lived in splendour, safety, in good health and peace.

    Many American right-wingers literally found it deeply offensive to portray the rich as anything other than job-creating heroes. They were deeply offended by what they perceived as an offensive portrayal that depicted a society where the poor are not provided with even basic healthcare (even though that is the reality in the US today) To me, that is frightening that right-wingers were offended by a movie portraying this below. And tbh, I am frightened that many Britsh right-wingers want us to become like America

    You think that's bad, you should have seen how badly they whinged about the Lego Movie...
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    (Original post by redferry)
    You think that's bad, you should have seen how badly they whinged about the Lego Movie...
    It might have been more prominent in the sense that the Lego movie was more prominent, but I don't think it was as nasty and sinister

    But I take your point; even with something as benign and gently satirising as the Lego movie was of consumerism, right-wingers went into conniptions over any criticism of the corporatist, consumerist, conformist culture. There were literally Americans who said the Lego movie is communist (and desperate, pathetic Brits who feel the need to agree with anything right-wing Americans say)

    They were genuinely outraged by any criticism of big corporations and consumerist society. The most frightening aspect of this as that the right-wing freaks who get most upset about this are often lower-middle class losers. They aren't professionals, they don't have a large amount of capital. They are literally desperate to be a slave of the upper class. It's so pathetic
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    If you want to know the real argument against inequality, watch the movie Elysium and read this George Monbiot article.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...gevity-science

    Inequality has always been an issue, but with the incredible advances in technology, we are coming to a point where an extreme unequal division of wealth simply cannot be changed. What has always held the elites back is the fact they have to rely on police and the army, who are predominantly working or lower-middle class. They cannot just completely disregard public opinion and launch a fascist coup.

    But with drones and robots and advances in software, there is absolutely no reason they should care about public opinion or the mood of the police/armed forces. They can just electronically order their drone army to put down uprisings and revolutions (a situation where the elite has no fear of the population is very dangerous to democracy).

    With the life extension technology George Monbiot talks about, we may end up with a situation where 1,000 year old gerontocrats live on luxurious, high-technology reservations and use drones to put down any uprisings by the rest of the population (living with no healthcare, employment rights, etc) trying to address this imbalance of power. If you think such an imbalance can't happen, I'd encourage you to travel to South Africa

    These elite people would be arrested vbefore they built these robots.The police aren't just going to stand back and let them build an army of robots:confused:Now I could see the Government growing more dominant and gaining more power over society with robots that could kill any protester easily and I have heard nations are trying to build robots to go in the army but any elite trying to build some robotic army would be arrested and don't overestimate these robots all protesters would need to do is to send out contradictory signals and they would be able to knock out all power/short circuit them causing the robots to collapse.A lot of technology at the moment is highly vulnerable and as explained I think these robots wouldn't be as hard to defeat as you like to claim.Their need for regular charge ups of electricity could be easily exploited.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    It might have been more prominent in the sense that the Lego movie was more prominent, but I don't think it was as nasty and sinister

    But I take your point; even with something as benign and gently satirising as the Lego movie was of consumerism, right-wingers went into conniptions over any criticism of the corporatist, consumerist, conformist culture. There were literally Americans who said the Lego movie is communist (and desperate, pathetic Brits who feel the need to agree with anything right-wing Americans say)

    They were genuinely outraged by any criticism of big corporations and consumerist society. The most frightening aspect of this as that the right-wing freaks who get most upset about this are often lower-middle class losers. They aren't professionals, they don't have a large amount of capital. They are literally desperate to be a slave of the upper class. It's so pathetic
    I would say its also often upper middle class - well at least what I would call upper middle. The word socialism makes most private schoolers apopleptic
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    (Original post by Dalek1099)
    These elite people would be arrested vbefore they built these robots.The police aren't just going to stand back and let them build an army of robots:confused:
    What do you mean they're not going to let them? The US already has a drone air force that kills its enemies. Why would the police object, they literally have no oversight or connection to a drone buildling programme? The police lierally have no say or oversight over private factories that would build such drones

    Now I could see the Government growing more dominant and gaining more power over society with robots that could kill any protester easily and I have heard nations are trying to build robots to go in the army but any elite trying to build some robotic army would be arrested
    Arrested by who? And why? Under what charge?

    You actually have to put in place these arrest mechanisms, you are being exceptionally naive if you think that the elite couldn't build such a drone army at factories and then slowly introduce them.

    You seem to believe that everything will just be okay if you have faith. You're worse than religious idiots. You actually need to do something about it, you can't just naively think everything will be okay

    they would be able to knock out all power/short circuit them causing the robots to collapse
    How? If protestors try to attack a power station, the drones will easily beat them away and arrest them.

    Again, you seem to be relying on everything will be okay, rather than planning ahead and making sure we don't end up in this situation.
 
 
 
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