What is rich?
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11-02-2012, 07:14 PM
RE: What is rich?
(11-02-2012 06:58 PM)Zat Wrote:  In addition to asking "What is Rich?", there is a very important question to ask:

"How did they get that way?"

What were the conditions from the moment of his birth?

If he had above average advantages from his parents, how did his parents acquire their wealth?

How did the existing political and economic system contribute?

Were they actively manipulating the existing system to their advantage?

Were any of their ancestors?

What did they actually give back to society in measurable benefit for the wealth they acquired?

Were they great inventors, doctors, engineers, teachers, farmers, builders, people who actually produce things for the rest of us?

Or they did it by speculation, in real estate, in currency, in war bonds?

You need answers to ALL of these questions before you can tell if a rich person is rich by merit or rich by fraud?

Huh

Marxist litmus test for the rich?
Are you serious?
Prove that you deserve to keep what you have or we will not take it from you?
You are out of your mind?
How about this? It's none of your business what I have, where I got it from, who my parents are, what they were worth and where they earned their money.
This sounds like the NAZI interrogation of the Jews!

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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11-02-2012, 07:22 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2012 07:29 PM by Zat.)
RE: What is rich?
(11-02-2012 07:14 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Marxist litmus test for the rich?
Are you serious?
Prove that you deserve to keep what you have or we will not take it from you?
You are out of your mind?
How about this? It's none of your business what I have, where I got it from, who my parents are, what they were worth and where they earned their money.
This sounds like the NAZI interrogation of the Jews!

Thomas, my friend, you are a real jerk.

And a rude one at that.

Sorry for being so frank, but this is my honest, considered opinion.

Big Grin
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11-02-2012, 09:04 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2012 09:10 PM by Zat.)
RE: What is rich?
(11-02-2012 06:58 PM)Zat Wrote:  In addition to asking "What is Rich?", there is a very important question to ask:

"How did they get that way?"

What were the conditions from the moment of his birth?

If he had above average advantages from his parents, how did his parents acquire their wealth?

How did the existing political and economic system contribute?

Were they actively manipulating the existing system to their advantage?

Were any of their ancestors?

What did they actually give back to society in measurable benefit for the wealth they acquired?

Were they great inventors, doctors, engineers, teachers, farmers, builders, people who actually produce things for the rest of us?

Or they did it by speculation, in real estate, in currency, in war bonds?

If they were industrialists, did they get rich by ripping off their workers, by neglecting safety in the workplace, by polluting the environment, by cheating their customers, by pulling strings to destroy their superior competitors, by establishing a monopoly, by patenting someone else's invention?

You need answers to ALL of these questions before you can tell if a rich person is rich by merit or rich by fraud?

Huh

Now that I am done with Mr Thomas, let me repeat the questions.

These questions are not for putting people on trial, or taking their stuff away, but helping intelligent, ethical people consider the recurring questions of our age:

How level is the playing field?

Is it true that anyone can break out of poverty into riches by talent and hard work?

What is the fate of social justice in a world that creates classes by the cards stacked FOR them, or AGAINST them, from the start?

Is it unjust if social forces try to mitigate this unbalance, even in the tiniest way possible, by giving destitute people the minutest help to survive, by removing 1% of 1% of ill-gotten gains from those who wouldn't even notice and could never spend, in a hundred lifetimes, what they and their ancestors amassed?

In the "Proposal for a New Social Contract" thread I tried to create a compromise between the sanity of sharing, and the brutality of exploitation, by creating an economic environment in which society assures the minimum needs for every citizen, by everyone contributing to it with 2-3 hours work a day, after which there is total capitalist freedom for those who want more.

We need to ask fundamental questions about different options of social organization in order to find a clear, well defined compromise between human beings' conflicting needs and emotions.

Finding any solution -- be it science, engineering or sociology -- always starts with asking the right questions.

That is what I tried to do in the post I quoted above.
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11-02-2012, 09:33 PM
RE: What is rich?
Rich is highly subjective. Ones man's rich is another man's poor. To a homeless person someone making $50k a year is wealthy. To the guy making $50k someone making $200k is wealthy. And so on.

I don't buy the "didn't work for it so doesn't deserve it" mindset. Somewhere along the family tree somebody busted his or her ass to acquire wealth or to start the ball rolling. Very few people "fall" into money. Lottery winners being one exception.

Don't think you can do it? How many immigrants came to the US unable to speak English and with no real skill but started their own little business, worked hard, and now their families are wealthy.

.

.
I wasn't . . . until I was
I am . . . until I'm not
.
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11-02-2012, 09:37 PM
RE: What is rich?
Quote:
Is it unjust if social forces try to mitigate this unbalance, even in the tiniest way possible, by giving destitute people the minutest help to survive, by removing 1% of 1% of ill-gotten gains from those who wouldn't even notice and could never spend, in a hundred lifetimes, what they and their ancestors amassed?

This gets a 'yes' from me.

Would you also investigate the reasons for the poor being the poor? Would you give the above 'ill-gotten gains' to uneducated poor people that would just 'fritter' it away and end up in the same position as they were previously?
A very interesting subject.

I think a lot of people have no idea of the 'worth' of money!

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
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11-02-2012, 09:50 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2012 09:54 PM by N.E.OhioAtheist.)
RE: What is rich?
I understood it and I am no Philosophy type of guy. It was a simple way to put things. Let me help you out on my family. We came from a broken home. My Mother worked in a factory. My dad fucked off and split when we were teenagers. All us pulled together and helped mom pay the bills. I bought my own stuff from my teen years on. My brother lived with my mom till he was 40. He started a business when he lived at moms. She carried him all that time. He was married too and she put up with a total bitch. His wife didn't work and was lazy. I was out of the house when i turned 17. I didn't want to be a burden on her. I too got married at 18 and had children at 19. I was a fool but I still provided for my kids and wife. I never let them go hungry or without a roof over their head. If it meant I had to work 3 jobs that's what i did. So yes we were very poor. One could call us dirt poor and we are people of color. It is not like their is allot of Cubans in Ohio.. I kind of stick out in a crowd in rural areas. In Cleveland I would be fine. If i moved to Florida it would be fine too but I like my friends here. I have friends that don't look at the color of my skin. I did make it out of that ditch for awhile. Now I am back in it. Trust me !! No one in their right mind wants to be poor. Being poor sucks!! People look down on you like you are dirt. I got hurt and worked myself to this place. I made this mistake no one else did this to me. If i wasn't so driven to make more I would still be working maybe, who knows. I pay the price every day. I was born with scoliosis and that was no help. WHO KNOWS!!! I'm becoming more a socialist every day due to my life experiences.
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11-02-2012, 09:50 PM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2012 09:12 AM by Zat.)
RE: What is rich?
(11-02-2012 09:37 PM)aurora2020 Wrote:  Would you also investigate the reasons for the poor being the poor? Would you give the above 'ill-gotten gains' to uneducated poor people that would just 'fritter' it away and end up in the same position as they were previously?

In my Proposal this cannot happen because everybody is required to contribute to their minimal need. These needs are satisfied by actual goods instead of money.

No money, no frittering away, measurable contribution and measurable consumption.

However, my post was about social justice, considering the real life we live in.

If you look at the actual numbers and see the proportion of ill-gotten gains to the amount of frittering, you will realize how irrelevant the comparison is.

Right-wing apologists like to say that the poor's waste is a justification for the rich's ostentatious consumption, as if the occasional beer or cigarette the very poor can afford can be compared with the billions rich people spend on their life-style.

Crunch the numbers and see how they add up.

Smile
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11-02-2012, 10:26 PM
RE: What is rich?
I had a response I was going to post and now I'm seeing how this conversation has developed. This is a truly interesting conversation to see how everyone's opinion is on this. I have mixed feelings about wealth.... mainly because at one point I was making very good money, but I was an unhappy selfish asshole. I quite literally was sacrificing the relationship with my family, my friends and ultimately my ex wife (well, she wasn't my ex at the time).

My ex wife stuck me with a fucking mind ninja before my divorce. There was a time when every morning come market days I was up at market hours trading. Before we divorced I remember her saying - "Mark my words, you're obsessed with money. You'll die alone, unhappy with too much money always wondering why you were never happy. All you want to do is make more and more money. You get these things, you have expensive tastes, but you'll never be happy." I have to say... at first I thought nothing of it. After the divorce I was still trading and one day I woke up and was just ridiculously unhappy and I realized she was right. "FUCK! She's right! Oh man. What the hell!" It was about that time I had met the wonderful person I am now married to. I cut way down on trading, started enjoying the little things and decided money wasn't as important as I thought it was. Come the crash and falling of the dow and as of a year ago, I had not since then traded a single stock for the first time in years. It's since come back a good bit. But I've held off. I don't make as much, I still enjoy my toys, I still enjoy the things I like... but I'm far more happier making less. I was obsessed with it back then. I'm not anymore. I will probably at some point get back into it, but at my leisure, controlled and to a point where it's only no longer stressful.

I still have expensive tastes. But I have tried a lot in the past many years to control it and give back. I've helped my parents out, helped my family out and tried to realize that I'm not the only person around me that matters, but I wasn't that way... for a long time. But it felt good to help others. It felt good to put a smile on people's faces. It's a fantastic feeling when you realize you can help someone.

I still make decent money. But I've "cooled my jets" so to speak as far as it goes with how I used to be. I've far happier now. Helping others also is nice too.

I must agree that rich is subjective though. I know some people who make very little but live in very low cost of living areas and it goes well. Likewise, in the same area I know some who would be considered a middle class income and they feel rich. I know some people who are simply free of debt, to them, that's rich. Others just want to have enough not to worry about bills and finances and that is rich.

There are some people who are simply selfish and make money and spend it in greedy fashion. In all fairness, if they earned the money in a legit fashion, I suppose it is entirely up to them how they wish to spend their money. At the same time, I completely understand the point of - "Why is it they should be able to piss money away while others on the street are starving and struggling." But it isn't a perfect world, I don't think I can imagine anywhere on the planet where wealth is perfectly and evenly distributed where a society is 100% happy on all scales.

But to touch on Zat and Thomas's point - I think that society has all the right in the world to question and ensure that someone is making their money legitimately. That's why we have taxes. It's why we are required to report our income. If you have nothing to hide and you report and pay your money properly then you have no reason to worry, be upset or get angry about it. If on the flip side you aren't legit, you lie, cheat and exploit others and harm your fellow man for a buck then you're literally telling society that your fellow man is less important than the dollar. I think that's what really singes and boils blood deep down with people and that is why greed hurts so incredibly bad for people.

It's very easy if you have money to not want to spend it, or want to keep it for yourself, or feel like you don't want to give it up for someone else because it's yours and you worked for it. MINE!

But, when you finally start helping people out, when you give a little and can show your fellow man that you appreciate them. When you can learn to not be selfish about it and balance between having money and helping society it's much easier to be happy.

I have a few entrepreneurial friends who from the age of 18 till now have become extremely successful. I'm genuinely happy for them. They've done it in a legit fashion, found niche markets they can make a difference in and become some of the few that have been able to create a great amount of wealth in a short time. They didn't cheat people, they did things that helped and made people happy. If they want a big place if they want fast cars, sure, I'm fine with that. As long as they give back, pay their share and at the end of the day aren't greedy about it, then my hat is off to them. But those seem to be rare and harder to come by anymore.

At the same time, we see people who exploit people on a massive scale, lie, cheat, steal and are willing to throw people under the bus to get to the top.

So it always brings me back to the question: Is it really the wealth that causes problems? Or is it the greed that some people become obsessed with that is to blame?
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11-02-2012, 10:37 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2012 10:51 PM by Zat.)
RE: What is rich?
Another clarification: Thomas made it sound in this and in another thread that I want to take stuff from rich people, because I have less.

Those who know me better on this forum, know that I am an extremely happy person, living in a bliss of plenty for all my needs and I do not wish for more of anything.

I am passionately involved in the Philosophy for Social Justice, not for myself because, as I said, I have nothing to complain about.

However, I am a "bleeding heart liberal" and get both heart-broken and extremely angry when I see what greed makes people do to their fellow human beings.

I thought I make this post here, before I am accused again of wanting to grab things for myself from those who have a lot more.

Most of them will never be even a fraction as happy as I have been, and still am, with my life. Smile
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11-02-2012, 10:38 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2012 10:43 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: What is rich?
Most discussions of wealth deal with very small potatoes. The majority of forum participants have no clue about wealth.
70K? That's a salary - a fairly comfortable, ordinary salary. The guy who earns that pays income tax and mortgage interest and all kinds of debts and work-related expenses. And he probably puts a lot of hours into it - whether in a job he loves or hates, whether it does the world harm or good - he very probably works. He's not "the rich".
Even the occupy everywhere people have a poor grasp of what wealth is.
The top 1% mostly do okay; they maybe own stocks and houses, run a business, play football, sell something, make profit. But in the US, that's over 3,000,000 people. They make over $250,000 a year, pay a smaller percent income tax (because of exemptions and clever accountants) and own more stuff than the rest of us. But the majority of that 1% is still comprehensible to the rest of us; joining their ranks is still within the possible reach of a postal worker's kid.

This is the segment we usually have the raging arguments over, whether they should be "punished" for their "success" or "expected to pay their share" or however it's framed. Some of thes people are evil and destructive; some are productive and actually beneficial; they may actually be "job creators". But they don't really count either.

Look, rather, at the top 0.01%. That's where the wealth is concentrated. These are the people who work not at all, pay no taxes, but control everything. Their money, power, connections and clout puts them way outside of any orbit we can even imagine. However they came by their fortune, it gives them the ability to suck up other people's money, to push political agendas, to be entirely beyond the reach of law or regulation, and to broadcast propaganda so unhindered that they have normal people - as well as professors, preachers and candidates for office - spout whatever line serves their interests, and the puppets don't even know they're being used.
That's rich.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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