Catastrophe and equality

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Lance Kennedy
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Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed May 10, 2017 10:21 pm

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Leveler-In ... 0691165025

A new book, which I have not read.
The theme is apparently that social inequality can only be removed by some kind of catastrophe. I can think of one example immediately, even though I have not read the book. The black death removed so many laborers that serfdom collapsed in Europe. The survivors were so much more vital to the wealthy people, who needed people to work for them, that pay rates went up and conditions for workers improved, and serfdom collapsed.

The thought occurred to me that inequality is today seriously bad. The wealthy people in western nations are so dramatically more wealthy than the poor that it is a genuine social problem. Perhaps what is needed is some catastrophe to eliminate this problem? How could this happen?

Or, is the theme so much bollocks?

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu May 11, 2017 12:31 am

Well..... just to start: inequality was not removed by the black death nor any other factor, ie: it always has been and always will be with us. Easy to fix: "Social inequality can be reduced by some kind of catastrophe" (after everyone unequally affected dies out).

Avoid being jerked around from one extreme/absolute/one answer only to a more nuanced/layered/interactive appreciation.
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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu May 11, 2017 1:34 am

Inequality is never removed. But I think the author was more talking about the level of inequality being reduced. Maybe I should read the book? The truth is that I do not want to invest that much time and money.

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu May 11, 2017 3:33 am

Lance: please exercise a bit more rigor? removed does not mean reduced.

Basic English.

"Time and Money."-->The only thing we spend......unless you want to quibble and dither.

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu May 11, 2017 3:42 am

Whaaat?

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu May 11, 2017 3:46 am

removed does not mean reduced.

The other stuff is word play/memories/my personal amusement.
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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu May 11, 2017 4:28 am

Bobbo

I think your amusement is more often served by you making facetious complaints.
I used both words, and used them correctly. Look again.

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu May 11, 2017 7:41 am

That's pretty much Piketty's point : without the world wars, inequality would have been incalculably worse.
Of course it's logically that destroying wealth hurts the wealthy more than the poor. That doesn't mean that they are better off by it, though.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu May 11, 2017 3:15 pm

Lance!!!!!!!!!!! Stop it.

removed: gone

reduced: not gone, just less

So, by your way of thinking gone equals not gone.

..............................or ...................... how do you define the terms........... other than you are always right and never have to remove a post made or reduce its errors?
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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby OlegTheBatty » Thu May 11, 2017 6:17 pm

Automation will reach a point where enough people cannot find work that social catastrophe will ensue as there is no hope in Hell that politicians or capitalists will do anything more than protect their own asses until bullets and home made pipe bombs force them to.
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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu May 11, 2017 8:29 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:That's pretty much Piketty's point : without the world wars, inequality would have been incalculably worse.
Of course it's logically that destroying wealth hurts the wealthy more than the poor. That doesn't mean that they are better off by it, though.


I understand what you are saying, EM.

There is, however, in addition to that, a psychological factor. Researchers have found that people who are worse off than others, and know that, will be in poorer health and live shorter lives. It appears to be a result of perception, but the result is nevertheless real.

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri May 12, 2017 5:26 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:There is, however, in addition to that, a psychological factor. Researchers have found that people who are worse off than others, and know that, will be in poorer health and live shorter lives. It appears to be a result of perception, but the result is nevertheless real.


Actually, that is a result on Humanism, oddly enough:
in times when people truly believed that Aristocrats were simply a different kind of people, there was no need to compare your hovel with Buckingham Palace: your peer group was all around you, and that was all you measured your success against.
Most revolts in history where for the cancellation of debts and lower taxes, but almost never to abolish the hierarchical order or the practice of slavery.

But since we are being told that there is no qualitative difference between us and the rich, wealthy and powerful, we resent not having what they have: and TV and glossy magazines tell us all the time how much more they have. This makes us feel like underachievers, even when we live in greater luxury than the Queen of England 100 years ago.

This is a flaw of human psychology, and it would be better for everyone to be mindful of that: it truly doesn't matter how much richer others are,it only matters how safe and comfortable our own life is.

Of course, massively held private wealth in the hands of the few poses a great danger to an economic system, which is why it is undesirable. But it is rather unreasonable to condemn the existence of wealth itself because it makes the poor unhappy.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Lance Kennedy
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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri May 12, 2017 7:08 am

Interesting idea, EM.
I am not sure how you would test it. I doubt that anyone carried out sociological surveys in Elizabethan times.

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Re: Catastrophe and equality

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri May 12, 2017 8:04 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Interesting idea, EM.
I am not sure how you would test it. I doubt that anyone carried out sociological surveys in Elizabethan times.



there have been plenty of studies about satisfaction with a reward/gift to people who had been primed to compare themselves to people with higher, same or lower rewards/gifts. The results are unambiguous:
humans mostly care about being in the middle to upper middle of any hierarchy (in other words a safe place even if minor trouble should befall them), regardless of the hierarchy chosen. That is why most Americans like to identify as Middle Class, why people in developed countries praise their circumstances when compared to 3rd world countries and why multi-millionaires are desperately envious of billionaires.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams


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