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history

 
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 03:43 pm
Does progress and/or the acquisition of wealth create poverty?

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 04:09 pm
Progress is a completely meaningless word, in that it is a subjective judgment about whether or not an individual or group has gotten what he/she/they want.

The acquisition of wealth does not axiomatically create poverty. It usually creates poverty, however, because who devote themselves to acquiring wealth are characterized by venality, cupidity and greed. In short, they don't care who gets hurt in their quest for wealth.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 04:34 pm
@ashleycontreras,
Depends on how you define poverty - i.e. in absolute or relative terms.

If everyone starts out (say) at a subsistence level, then if a few, whether through luck or hard/smart work, develop some wealth then poverty (on an absolute scale) has clearly been reduced. Moreover the new wealth will increase demand for other goods thereby creating opportunity for other smart/lucky to make their own advances and reducing asbsoilute poverty even more.

If you define poverty in terms of relative differences then all of the above constitutes an addition to the perceived degree of poverty.

Which interpretation is better? Clearly it is the former as it leads to greater production and more opportunity for others, while the latter leads only to uniform poverty for all.

I don't think that sweeping judgments about the unknowable motivations of others is either wise or useful in any of this.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 04:53 pm
@georgeob1,
I don't think ignoring the avalanche of historical evidence for the venality, cupidity and greed of those who crave power and wealth (which are, essentially, the same thing) is wise. Far from being useful, it is counterproductive to entertain silly fantasies about some putative noble virtues on the part of the wealthy and powerful.

The Irish, who were sufficiently adroit that they produced enough food (ordinarily) to feed themselves and to export quantities of grain which often equaled 40% of the consumption of the island of Britain, suffered through numerous famines in the 18th and 19th centuries. While they starved, the rack-rent bailiffs (like Captain Boycott) of absentee landlords shipped off enough food to feed the entire population of Ireland, and still have an export surplus.

When the House of Commons in London took testimony on child labor in the textile mills, foremen came forward to report children as young as six who continued to make the motions of their task while standing, fast asleep, after the looms had been shut down. In late 19th century Germany, factory workers were so commonly badly paid that medical students would simply tour the local poor districts where they lived to view the symptoms of malnutrition.

I could multiply the examples for quite a long time. I am just appalled that O'George continues to be such a shameless shill for capitalism. He's certainly not stupid, nor un-read. I can only assume that he is fundamentally dishonest for ideological reasons.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 05:05 pm
@Setanta,
Oh I think you actually had many other options for your assumptions: you just ignored them.

Now that the English oppressors are gone the Irish have rediscovered the virtues of the independent capitalism they enjoyed before the Elizabethan era. You have described the evils of authoritarian rule, colonialism and theft - not capitalism. The track record for authoritarian socialism is far worse than what you described.


But I believe you already knew that.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 05:13 pm
@georgeob1,
I know nothing of the kind. Calling Russian or Chinese governments which claimed to be Marxist "socialism" is like calling a strip tease a fashion show. One thing i already knew is that capitalist toads in Ireland have attempted to exploit misguided legislation intended to help those in the tourist industry to suck funds out of the government. Investment bankers have set up bed and breakfast operations and tourist "hotels," not caring if they ever serve a single guest. In fact, they would rather not have the bother, as they set up their businesses just to get the government subsidy. Just as was the case in Captain Boycott's day, the oppressor is better described as capitalism than by any reference to ethnicity or national origin.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 05:21 pm
@ashleycontreras,
There is surely enough wealth to accomodate the needs of all. And in countries like the US, even those at the poverty level have more than their 19th century forbears could have ever imagined.

But the hard reality, as Setanta has posted, is that a huge portion of our world is afflicted by extremes of poverty, malnutrition, and disease that is as if the clock has never turned. And, despite all of the evangelical crusades and no matter how many times We are the World are sung. Most of the haves care little more than a rodent's rump about the plight of the have nots

Setanta mentions greed and cupidity and he is correct. To that we may add somnolence. Perhaps, when awakening, we may find the day too advanced for our efforts.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 05:26 pm
@neologist,
And what remedies for these aspects of human nature would you propose?
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 05:50 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I know nothing of the kind. Calling Russian or Chinese governments which claimed to be Marxist "socialism" is like calling a strip tease a fashion show. One thing i already knew is that capitalist toads in Ireland have attempted to exploit misguided legislation intended to help those in the tourist industry to suck funds out of the government. Investment bankers have set up bed and breakfast operations and tourist "hotels," not caring if they ever serve a single guest. In fact, they would rather not have the bother, as they set up their businesses just to get the government subsidy. Just as was the case in Captain Boycott's day, the oppressor is better described as capitalism than by any reference to ethnicity or national origin.


I used the phrase "authoritarian socialism" which I believe accurately fits the Russian and Chinese variants you described (as well as the now unlamented imitations in Eastern Europe). Indeed they all used it themselves. Perhaps you could provide us with a better example of the non-capitalist paradise you have in mind
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  0  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 06:02 pm
@georgeob1,
Sadly, man can neither advance nor implement a solution.
That is the province of God. See Daniel 2:44
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2015 06:25 pm
@neologist,
I agree within limits. There certainly is no "system" or organization with wide applicability that can provide a lasting solution. However there are degrees of human happiness and suffering, and there have been places and periods of relatively much better standing in these areas than others. Unfortunately these occurrences depend on the behaviors and circumstances of the people involved, and they tend not to last.

Even Plato couldn't find his philosopher kings, or for that matter, any cure for the corruption attendant to unchecked power in human nature.

Perhaps Setants believes otherwise.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 03:52 am
Are you channeling Tailgunner Joe, O'George? You're like a would be bully on a 1950s playground--if someone disagrees with you, you call them a commie.

I proposed nothing, are you really so stupid as to think you can erect such a feeble straw man and blame it on me? Are you getting senile with advancing age, O'George?
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 10:23 am
@Setanta,
You were very clear in attributing the exploitation of the Irish and the seizure of their land and property, by Britain, along with the exploitation of workers in the early years of the indusdtrial revolutionm directly to iuntrinsic evils attendant to the accumulation of wealth and property - and by implication capitalism. Indeed you were at your pedantic best in describing these things.

Unfortunately history clearly shows that similar things occurr regularly in socialist political systems at the hands of those who weild power (often in the name of the people).

That suggests the core of the problem is in human behavior in cases of the accumulation of unchecked power - exactly as I suggested.

I didn't call you anything, though I did suggest that perhaps you believe in some undescribed form of Platonism, or the perfection of human behavior through organization.

Your reactions here and in other places are far out of proportion to the declared "offense" . Your efforts to be insulting are made largely ineffective by the often truly wierd quality of your intemperate rage. You are certainly offensive in doing do, but that is tempered by the appearance of disproportionate rage and instability in your reactions to even ordinary conversation. You end up looking a bit stupid for it.

I have enjoyed conversations with you on these forums and respect your knowledge of history, but I won't join you in the gutter in one of your truly wierd tantrums.

Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 11:07 am
To blame poverty on capitalism is like only blaming the Nazis for the Holocaust. There has to be fertile soil for poverty and fertile soil for the Holocaust. The former's fertile soil was a population that develops a culture that can either be manipulated to tolerate minimal educational efforts, or to accept to live in a culture where minimal efforts for advancement can made, as significant reasons I can think of just now . The latter's fertile soil of the Holocaust was that anti-Semitism had been, a priori, a part of the collective consciousness, so that genocide to an "out-group" is a non-sequitor.

Naturally, one can argue that everyone in a society cannot be upwardly mobile due to extenuating circumstances (including genes). So, playing Devil's Advocate, how can we be sure that the proverbial pie can be made big enough to give everyone a satisfyingly sized slice, without having a society where the lazy are marched off to work?

Also, in my opinion, using Ireland's history to say that capitalism causes poverty is like claiming the Black Southern farmer, during Reconstruction, was being exploited by capitalism into poverty. What is being ignored, I believe, is that in both scenarios there is no "even playing field." One group is top dog, and can exploit another group. That has nothing to do with capitalism, per se, since capitalism allowed the new world to be populated, by individual men "underwriting" the hazardous trip to the New World, which otherwise would not have been effected. And, the Spanish came for gold. As Zero Mostel said in the original film of The Producers, "Money is honey." And, there will always be those that echo that thinking.

And, aside from the excesses of capitalism, as a claim to causing poverty, in the case of Irish history, did Catholicism play a role in the Irish peasant not needing to be literate? Meaning, what if the Irish en masse decided to be Protestant, and therefore needed to read the bible? Would history have played out differently? Perhaps, a more symbiotic relationship with the English? Can "obstinacy," "pride" (or false-pride) need to be put into any analysis of poverty? Blaming capitalism just seems so "simplistic" (a criticism about some denominations of Protestantism that I have heard from some practicing Catholics - ironic?).
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 12:06 pm
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

... did Catholicism play a role in the Irish peasant not needing to be literate? Meaning, what if the Irish en masse decided to be Protestant, and therefore needed to read the bible?


It was then, according to British law and practice, illegal to educate Irish Catholic children. Their Priests created what were known as "hedge schools" to teach them to read and preserve their national and religious consciousness in defiance of the official practice.
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 03:31 pm
@Foofie,
The (almost) Perfect Foofie Quote wrote:

To blame poverty on capitalism is like only blaming the Nazis for the Holocaust.

0 Replies
 
carloslebaron
 
  0  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2015 05:44 pm
Wealthy and poverty were born the day the bully took the goods of the victim.

Since then, wealthy became the way of life of bullies. Slaves were the ones who brought richness to bullies.

The kings of the past were the greatest bullies, and their families inherited their acquired -stolen- wealth.

Capitalists are bullies. If a country decides not to be part of the Capitalist system, then Capitalists will make ugly propaganda against this country, will start economic boycotts, and will incite revolts -faking to bring "freedom" in order to subdue the country and force it to accept loans in order to make it dependent of the system.

Current wealthy families of renown are descendants of criminals, burglars, and similar who found the way to earn recognition in their towns and used terror as a way to keep power.

A sad and crude reality, but such is how most wealthy people has inherited their richness.

Other wealthy people reached richness because hard work, but this is a mere 5% or less of the total.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2015 04:16 am
@georgeob1,
O'George, you're the one who is trying to make this an ideological pissing contest, not me. Certainly these things are caused by the venality, cupidity and greed of individuals. That's true whether it's a Roman patrician running a latifundium or Joe Stalin. You're the one here who is making this into a gutter brawl. You have absolutely no basis for your suggestion about "the perfection of human behavior through organization." You have come up with that bullshit just about every time you've responded to what i've posted over the last year. I suggested abstolutely NO REMEDIES. I made no appeal to any ideological perfection, nor call for any measures to be enacted.

That is basically the heart of your pathetic name-calling whenever you responde to what i write these days. You usually end by effectively calling me a commie, or you actually start out with that.

Spare me the phony baloney claims about my "rage"and your even phonier claims of virtue--as you call me stupid. Actually, i'm just tired of you singing the same idiotic song whenever you respond to my comments. I called for no measures nor any "organization." You dream that up to justify your otherwise unfounded righteous indignation. Your responses are always made in defense of sacred capitalism. Really, you should look at your posts for signs of your own "rage."
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2015 04:33 pm
I thought greed can exist without capitalism?

And, how much of anti-capitalist rhetoric correlates to the idealistic virtues of Catholic charity, where a person with two winter coats should allow someone with no winter coats to take a coat, since it is needed? At least, that's how it was explained to me.

My simple point is that this thread just reflects ideologies that just divides humanity, seeing how capitalism is so entrenched in the world, even in communist countries? I would guess that initially, space colonies will not be capitalistic; however, after a while someone will get the bright idea to make a profit. Possibly someone who would then equate the profit made to a divine sign of Salvation.

0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2015 04:37 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Foofie wrote:

... did Catholicism play a role in the Irish peasant not needing to be literate? Meaning, what if the Irish en masse decided to be Protestant, and therefore needed to read the bible?


It was then, according to British law and practice, illegal to educate Irish Catholic children. Their Priests created what were known as "hedge schools" to teach them to read and preserve their national and religious consciousness in defiance of the official practice.


O.K. I put the emphasis on the wrong syl-la-ble. What if the Irish en masse just decided that they can be followers of Christ in a Protestant tradition. You know, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or is that heresy for Celtic pride?
 

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