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    (Original post by alasdair_R)
    So what exactly is the difference between harming society by stealing, and harming society by depriving people of quality medical care and education?
    So many fallacies, so little time!

    There's no such thing as 'harming society' - what you're actually talking about is particular instances of harming individuals, and if you clear up this conceptual confusion it all makes a lot more sense.

    Now, even though it doesn't harm society to steal things or to deny medical care, I don't disagree that (in some sense of the word) it certainly does harm individuals. But there is a pretty clear difference: if I steal something from you, I've aggressed - committed violence - against something you have legitimately produced (or voluntarily traded for something you have legitimately produced etc) with your own labour. If I refuse you medical care for free, I merely haven't given you something I own. The difference here is legitimacy, and the right of people to own themselves and the fruits of their labour.

    Of course, you might spout something off about utilitarianism (as some have done in this very thread) and how you don't care about rights; in that case, I'd ask (beg, even) you to learn some economics and to consider the following graph very carefully

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    I hate arguing with friends

    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    Because we're trying to reduce income inequality, not extend it. It's hardy "penalising" him to remove an archaic and unjustifiable exemption. Everyone should pay their fair share; we happen to believe that each person's share of the tax burden should correlate with their ability to pay.
    But he already pays more than the average citizen in tax. Why should he be subject to paying £30,000 a year to fund the benefits of someone who has the ability to work, but doesn't want to nevertheless? Why should we pay so much more if the Government are just going to waste the money on God-knows what? *cough Northern Rock*

    I hardly see how you can claim to take the moral highground by allowing the rich to pay the less than their share of tax. Perhaps it's more pragmatic and perhaps it's good for GDP, but in no sense is it the moral imperative.

    People don't live here for our tax system, dear. Even with our current system, there are plenty of better places to live than the UK, if you're just trying to avoid paying tax.
    With increased GDP and output, the living standards of everyone in the country becomes better. I don't know about you but I'm sure a lot of people would pick better living standards, better NHS, better education and more money over an "ethical" matter (and a weak one at that if you ask me).

    And actually - the UK is notorious for having fairly lax approaches to non-doms (well, they were :rolleyes:) That's why many non-doms were attracted to come and live in the UK. Now that the Government are apparently becoming more tough on those that contribute the most financially, they're driving people out.

    *claps* Someone's been paying attention in unit 3 economics. :P:

    The amount of money these people are actually *spending* is tiny compared to the amount that they're saving/investing elsewhere. In fact, as I understand it, the whole point about non-doms is that they're not being taxed on money that isn't being spent in the UK. In other words, they use the loophole so that they can escape taxation in the rest of the world, whilst not actually paying anything here. Compare those huge sums of money invested in foreign banks and companies with the sums they're likely to spend as private citziens on the things you mentioned. (There's only 60,000 of them, after all; but they control lots and lots of wealth.)
    Be it as it may, the amount that the country is losing compared to the amount the Government is raking in is ridicolous. It's over double. Yep, non-doms are taxed on only the money they bring into this country. So they usually have multiple bank accounts all over the world. I personally don't see what's wrong with that. I don't want 40% of what I have to be taken away from me to be spent on God-knows what. It's not fair - if someone works hard for his or her money, they deserve to keep (most) of it, don't they?

    And yes, spending their money on private goods would be insignificant compared to how much they actually have - who would spend millions on groceries if they had millions in the bank? :p: But that doesn't change the fact that in real terms, the money circulating the UK because of them is huge.

    The Government simply cannot afford to have half the non-doms in this country leave. The economy will suffer. And who will be at fault? ...
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Of course, you might spout something off about utilitarianism (as some have done in this very thread) and how you don't care about rights; in that case, I'd ask (beg, even) you to learn some economics and to consider the following graph very carefully


    Either you know nothing about utilitarianism or you know nothing about economics. GDP per capita simply calculates the produce of a country and then divides it by the number of people living in said country. So, in a country with lots of economic freedom, you end up with a small minority of very rich people and lots of poor people. GDP PC doesn't take into account the enormous disparity in incomes within a country.

    Utilitarianism is about the greatest good for the greatest number. So, a minority of very rich people doesn't fit within utilitarian ethics.

    Of course, you could respond that the enjoyment of that minority outweighs the suffering of the poor. But, as you should know, the physical benefit (satisfaction, etc) someone gets from every pound of their income decreases once you get above a certain point. (Earning, £1,000,100 a year rather than £1,000,000 might not mean much, but earning £5,100 rather than £5,000 will do.)

    A better way of approaching this statistically (and with utilitarian outlook) is to look at average quality of life. Let's:
    http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/quality_of_life.pdf

    Oh, look, there's all the socialist countries at the top. Who'd have thought it?

    *

    And your distinction between stealing and not providing healthcare is based entirely on a premise that we obviously don't accept: the idea that ownership provides some kind of moral imperative. It's only because of the way our strongly capitalist society works that this "legitimacy" exists. Thus, your conclusion actually hidden within the premise of your argument

    (Original post by Vesta)
    Stuff.
    Can I respond to this tomorrow, my dear? Tres tired. *hugs*
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    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    Because we're trying to reduce income inequality, not extend it. It's hardy "penalising" him to remove an archaic and unjustifiable exemption. Everyone should pay their fair share; we happen to believe that each person's share of the tax burden should correlate with their ability to pay.
    "Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I’m happy to because that’s the only way it’s gonna work, and it’s in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don’t get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn’t come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn’t come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying."

    - Sam Seaborne/Aaron Sorkin
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    (Original post by DanGrover)
    "Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I’m happy to because that’s the only way it’s gonna work, and it’s in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don’t get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn’t come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn’t come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying."

    - Sam Seaborne/Aaron Sorkin
    Oi! You! Go join the WW society!

    I'd also refer you to Will teaching the Ronettes about the tax system in Season 4...
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    Will's a poor Sam rip off. I mean amazing, but he can't tough the Seaborne-meister.
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    (Original post by DanGrover)
    "Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I’m happy to because that’s the only way it’s gonna work, and it’s in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don’t get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn’t come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn’t come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying."

    - Sam Seaborne/Aaron Sorkin
    I'm a West Wing obsessive, and I remember that scene well.

    I also remember the context in which he said it:

    I am not. I am in favor of tax cuts for those for whom it will do the most good - and that’s a tough enough battle - and it looks like, all of a sudden, we’ve got a fair fight. But I’m not talking about policy. I’m talking about rhetoric, and the men you work for need to dial it down to five.
    I'd agree that there's no need to insult the wealthy, but as dearest Sam says, it's morally right for them to pay more.

    But general squee for WW.
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    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    Either you know nothing about utilitarianism or you know nothing about economics. GDP per capita simply calculates the produce of a country and then divides it by the number of people living in said country. So, in a country with lots of economic freedom, you end up with a small minority of very rich people and lots of poor people. GDP PC doesn't take into account the enormous disparity in incomes within a country.

    A better way of approaching this statistically (and with utilitarian outlook) is to look at average quality of life. Let's:
    http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/quality_of_life.pdf
    Wow, this is going to be too easy. Ok, so you're a fan of quality of life indices. Fair enough; I could go on for hours about how an index that apparently thinks the weather, or whether or not the population attends church, or if male and female earnings are equal, are factors as important as health or material well-being is pretty useless. But seeing as you brought it up, how about we assume for the sake of argument that it is a meaningful measurement of the quality of life, and that the ranking is accurate: the thing is, if you had actually bothered to look at your sources you'd see that there's an astonishing correlation between economic freedom and quality of life.

    Here's the data:
    Quality of life, Economic freedom. Countries rated as 'free' or 'mostly free' economically make up 16 out of the top 20 in the QOL rankings. A pretty far cry from "Oh, look, there's all the socialist countries at the top. Who'd have thought it?" And what's more, the main exceptions are the Scandinavians - it's not that hard to build a successful socialist economy when you have an ethnically homogeneous population and near unlimited oil revenues.

    Let's look for real socialist economies (why not Wikipedia's list on the latest index, shall we? Oh wait, there's Venezuela at 98th. Oh wait, there's Cuba at 108th. Oh wait, there's China at 116th. Oh wait, there's Vietnam and Egypt at 130th. Oh wait, there's Bangladesh at 144th Oh wait, there's North Korea at 165th (its southern neighbour is up at 50th, BTW). Oh wait, there's Laos at 171st. Yeah, socialism is great for quality of life!
    Utilitarianism is about the greatest good for the greatest number. So, a minority of very rich people doesn't fit within utilitarian ethics.
    I know what utilitarianism is, thanks very much. I also think it's wrong, but I don't really want to get into a meta-ethical debate here especially as most socialists don't agree with you, but if you want to start a philosophy thread on it, feel freee.

    Of course, you could respond that the enjoyment of that minority outweighs the suffering of the poor. But, as you should know, the physical benefit (satisfaction, etc) someone gets from every pound of their income decreases once you get above a certain point. (Earning, £1,000,100 a year rather than £1,000,000 might not mean much, but earning £5,100 rather than £5,000 will do.)
    You might be interested to know that this argument (i.e. that utilitarianism mandates redistribution of wealth because of the diminishing marginal utility of money) has been clearly refuted. Have a read.

    And your distinction between stealing and not providing healthcare is based entirely on a premise that we obviously don't accept: the idea that ownership provides some kind of moral imperative. It's only because of the way our strongly capitalist society works that this "legitimacy" exists. Thus, your conclusion actually hidden within the premise of your argument
    Heh, it's pretty difficult to debate any ethics without begging the question. But you really think, as a utilitarian, that the institution of private property decreases total utility as opposed to the alternatives?
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Wow, this is going to be too easy. Ok, so you're a fan of quality of life indices. Fair enough; I could go on for hours about how an index that apparently thinks the weather, or whether or not the population attends church, or if male and female earnings are equal, are factors as important as health or material well-being is pretty useless. But seeing as you brought it up, how about we assume for the sake of argument that it is a meaningful measurement of the quality of life, and that the ranking is accurate: the thing is, if you had actually bothered to look at your sources you'd see that there's an astonishing correlation between economic freedom and quality of life.

    Here's the data:
    Quality of life, Economic freedom. Countries rated as 'free' or 'mostly free' economically make up 16 out of the top 20 in the QOL rankings. A pretty far cry from "Oh, look, there's all the socialist countries at the top. Who'd have thought it?" And what's more, the main exceptions are the Scandinavians - it's not that hard to build a successful socialist economy when you have an ethnically homogeneous population and near unlimited oil revenues.

    Let's look for real socialist economies (why not Wikipedia's list on the latest index, shall we? Oh wait, there's Venezuela at 98th. Oh wait, there's Cuba at 108th. Oh wait, there's China at 116th. Oh wait, there's Vietnam and Egypt at 130th. Oh wait, there's Bangladesh at 144th Oh wait, there's North Korea at 165th (its southern neighbour is up at 50th, BTW). Oh wait, there's Laos at 171st. Yeah, socialism is great for quality of life!
    Well, it's a much better method than bloody GDP per capita.

    That's nonsense. You've just twisted the stats to make it look like you have a convincing case. Yes, there are lots undeveloped socialist countries with a low quality of life, but there are also lots of undeveloped capitalist countries at the bottom too. It's a lot fairer to compare developed, Western countries with each other. And of the developed countries the ones with a socialist system tend to pop up right at the top of the list.


    I know what utilitarianism is, thanks very much. I also think it's wrong, but I don't really want to get into a meta-ethical debate here especially as most socialists don't agree with you, but if you want to start a philosophy thread on it, feel freee.

    You might be interested to know that this argument (i.e. that utilitarianism mandates redistribution of wealth because of the diminishing marginal utility of money) has been clearly refuted. Have a read.
    Care to explain? That website seemed to want to charge me. Er, no.


    Heh, it's pretty difficult to debate any ethics without begging the question. But you really think, as a utilitarian, that the institution of private property decreases total utility as opposed to the alternatives?
    That's quite obviously a different question. Because, yes, as a socialist, I ddefinitely believe that private property can contribute to overall utility. But you weren't arguing that; you were trying to claim that private property constitutes a moral end in itself. I'm perfectly happy with people owning things. I just don't have a problem manipulating that system for the greater good.
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    There was only one thing Disraeli ever got right:

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics!
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    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    Well, it's a much better method than bloody GDP per capita.

    That's nonsense. You've just twisted the stats to make it look like you have a convincing case. Yes, there are lots undeveloped socialist countries with a low quality of life, but there are also lots of undeveloped capitalist countries at the bottom too. It's a lot fairer to compare developed, Western countries with each other. And of the developed countries the ones with a socialist system tend to pop up right at the top of the list.
    I did say this would be too easy... Apparently I've "twisted the stats" - don't forget, the stats that you brought up as significant in the first place - I'd love to see you actually corroborate your claim by showing me how I've twisted them. They're all there on the internet, and you're more than welcome to point out where I've been misleading. Except, err, I haven't. You should pick your battles a bit more carefully in the future.

    At any rate, you're talking out your buttocks when you say "of the developed countries the ones with a socialist system tend to pop up right at the top of the list." Like I've just shown, 16 out of the top 20 countries on the development index have "free" or "mostly free" (i.e. not socialist...) economies. The others are Norway, Italy, Spain and Portugal - none of which are particularly socialist anyway, and whose high position on the rankings can probably be explained by nice weather, high church participation, strong 'family life' not to mention decades of more laissez-faire economics. It's pretty telling that the best ranking socialist countries hover around 100th on the list but hey, that's a statistic you don't want to hear so it must be twisted!

    Care to explain? That website seemed to want to charge me. Er, no.
    Basically because your argument only looks at things from an isolated, particular point in time. It neglects to notice that wealthy individuals have a higher incentive to invest their money precisely because of the DMU of cash, and that this investment is what drives economic growth and higher living standards. Think of it this way: suppose at a particular point in history we had absolute egalitarian redistribution according to (what you mistakenly think) utilitarianism entails. This would reallocate resources from investment (and increasing the production possibility boundary of the economy) towards consumption. It might increase utility in the extremely short run, but all future generations would be denied the benefits of that investment. So utilitarianism doesn't entail redistribution: in fact, it probably has anti-egalitarian consequences. A nice summary of the argument is here, but I'd highly suggest you read the original paper.

    Anyway utilitarianism is false so it doesn't bother me so much, but as an avowed utilitarian it should get you thinking at least.
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    Why would a young person WANT to be subjected to intrusive socialist policies?
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    (Original post by kingoakham)
    Why would a young person WANT to be subjected to intrusive socialist policies?
    I'll depict a few scenarios:

    Scenario 1: You are a female peasant. You do not get paid for working the land, as it is your divine duty to do so. Whilst you occasionally work the land, you have to take care of your family with a miserable wage that consists of some food and raw materials. Because they look better, they put bandages in your feet when you are young so that they don't grow, causing you a pretty large deal of suffering.

    Scenario 2: You are the son of a miner that works in the copper mines in the desert. Your father works 10 hours a day, and earns enough to make a living, even if it means living in a town where the only thing you can exchange your money for is some food. You pray every night that your father comes back from the mines without a scratch, knowing that many of his friends have died. One day, your father gets sick. Since there are no hospitals in the town, he inevitably dies. You are hired by the copper mining company to replace him, and since there wasn't a school in the town, you have no alternative, and have to keep working to send money to your mother, who lives in a shanty town in the capital with your little brothers.

    Scenario 3: You are a young, not very religious muslim kid. Your family has muslim origins, and they follow some traditions in order to retain the family heritage. They have lived in peace for 50 odd years. From one day to another, war breaks out and your city is invaded by enemy forces that claim that your muslim heritage is a disease for their great country. You miss 3 years of your life due to religious wars taking place in and around the city. Many family members die, and you lose dozens of friends.

    Scenario 1: China - 1930s
    Scenario 2: Chile - 1960s
    Scenario 3: Bosnia - 1990s

    It's that kind of desperation that makes you wish everyone was equal. It makes you wish someone who actually exists (i.e. not god) cares about you. And it makes you wish that those that let you, an innocent young man, have to put up with such a life, were punished for all the suffering they have caused.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Of course, you might spout something off about utilitarianism (as some have done in this very thread) and how you don't care about rights; in that case, I'd ask (beg, even) you to learn some economics and to consider the following graph very carefully

    Nice graph. Goes on to show that a free market economy might be a requirement for the production of wealth. However, there is something that that graph doesn't take into account. Countries with very low GDPs need to reduce the freedom of the market in order to fund desperate government programs to fight extreme poverty. Most successful free markets have been built on the back of slavery (The US, European countries pre-WWII) or foreign help (Western European countries post-WWII), so they have not had to sacrifice their average citizens like some countries would have to if they were to become entirely free markets.

    Plus, free markets cannot progress by themselves, because as inequality increases according to the Lorentz' curve and government statement is cut down, you will create a generation of poor young people who are given awful public education, given piss-poor medical attention, and who won't be able to compete for a place at University, no matter how hard they try. Most of these people will have to start working as soon as they are 18 in order to help out their families at home.

    What's great is that modern Socialist Governments such as the Chilean Socialist Government have managed to retain a free market economy whilst providing appropriate healthcare and education to the lower class. They have also managed to protect the economy thanks to these measures. Free markets are susceptible to the changes and turns of the economy, but if one of the government's priorities is to be ready for these changes, they can be softened significantly. This will allow the country to develop greatly, and once the country's economy is large enough, inequality can be solved through raising taxes ala Canada.

    Another thing is that free markets that do not prevent foreign companies from taking the profit out of the country are deemed to fail. Argentina were one of the "freest" markets out there, yet they collapsed as soon as, during the first crisis, everyone took their money out of the country.

    Free market can work, as long as it is regulated by the invisible hand of a modern socialist state
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    Sorry to bump this thread but was wondering - who's the new Socialist Party Leader?
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    We don't have one as such.
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    So you're trying the anarchy approach or you believe in collectivisation so much you've opted for it as a leadership method as well? :p:
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    Well no, Herbal Bug is our Party Administrator but everyone has an equal say in how the party is run. So any bills will have to be voted on by the party members before it is submitted as a Socialist bill etc. We believe in equality, so why shouldn't our members all be equal?
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    (Original post by smalltownboy)
    Well no, Herbal Bug is our Party Administrator but everyone has an equal say in how the party is run. So any bills will have to be voted on by the party members before it is submitted as a Socialist bill etc. We believe in equality, so why shouldn't our members all be equal?
    So you all vote every time on every membership request?

    And what do you do if it is 50-50?
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    So you all vote every time on every membership request?
    No, the administrator deals with that. Well at least I believe that is the way...

    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    And what do you do if it is 50-50?
    I assume the argument would be presented again to the members and then a re-vote will be held.

    However, I am definitely not the authority on this issue, this is just what I have assumed from the thread concering the leadership in the sub-forum.
 
 
 
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