Priceless in a really sad way.

And poor in the USA can still be much better than poor elsewhere.

So our poor are better off because we are so mean to them? The kindness in other places has led to them being worse off? That’s kindness???

Most millionaires get rich on the backs of the ordinary working man (or woman - perhaps especially low-paid women)

I echo your comments to BrendaEM in the other thread. Cite examples of how folks were put down? I’ve been around entrepreneurs my whole life. What I see is mostly a bunch of hangers on that rise up along with the one who had the great idea. Sure he doesn’t just give it away to those who don’t help. But nobody does it all on their own. And nobody is going to help them for free.

Really who is meaner, the one who has but doesn’t give or the one who doesn’t participate but demands from those who do?

Delta_G:
Really who is meaner, the one who has but doesn’t give or the one who doesn’t participate but demands from those who do?

IMHO neither is right.

But it is important not to ignore the plight of people in genuine need simply because you object strongly to a few freeloaders getting free lunches. A certain amount of freeloading may an unavoidable cost of helping those in genuine need in a dignified manner.

The real answer is to design a welfare system that supports people and also allows them to better themselves by their own efforts. The design of many welfare systems has the effect of financially penalising people who try to earn some extra cash. And the usual reason it is designed like that is to obstruct freeloaders. But because of its penal effect it actually encourages freeloading, or, put another way, it discourages effort.

Society has always had, and will always have freeloaders - and they are not necessarily poor. Some are just clever at pretending to be useful.

…R

Macro level folks. The more you consume the more you produce. You produce more because of greed. You produce more because you can sell it.

Qdeathstar: Macro level folks. The more you consume the more you produce. You produce more because of greed. You produce more because you can sell it.

Oh I got you. You mean as a society. Yeah, you gotta produce all that stuff to consume.

Delta_G:
Oh I got you. You mean as a society. Yeah, you gotta produce all that stuff to consume.

You know the more I think about it the more I think QDS has got the root of the problem here. All the production and consumption, we see it as a cycle where each side fills the other but that isn’t the case at all. The consumption requires the production but doesn’t drive it. The production is from a limited pool of resources. There’s only so much oil and iron and gold and other stuff in the world. And even with the renewable stuff there’s only so much you can take at once without killing it. Think of trees, you can cut down a few trees from your forest every year and never ever run out of trees, but the first time you cut a bunch of trees you suddenly have none left all at once.

So all this consumption it does have a cost. And arguing that it creates jobs is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah, of course it creates jobs and that’s not a good thing. Who wants more jobs? I wish I didn’t need one. And I wouldn’t if I wasn’t hooked on all the consumption. The messed up thing is that the majority of what the average person spends money on besides basic survival is just more stuff to help them get to work or keep a job. It’s a vicious cycle. You have to work so you can get to work. It’s madness I tells ya.

Once upon a time we lived in caves and hunted and gathered for what we had. I’m sure things were harder physically, but so were we. I’m not so convinced that the primitive life wasn’t the better one. I don’t know that I’d be able to live it as I am now. Actually I’m sure I’m too soft. But between the ancient ones and us, I’m not sure who should really envy whom. At least then the things that killed you were natural and not the product of mankind breaking nuclear bonds for the purposes of making war.

And I know not a one of those ancient cave dwellers was waking up at the break of dawn, scraping his face with a sharp knife and trudging off to do someone else’s work for less than what it was worth. Back then you may not have much but you were in total control of your own destiny. If you are ambitious and gather more berries then you are the one who gets to eat them.

If you really want my opinion of the current state of the human race, I think the only real solution for the situation this particular species of ape has gotten itself into will be a comet or a pandemic. As evidence I give you the renaissance in Europe immediately following the plague as all the wealth and lands of the great houses that were now dead got split back up among the survivors.

Don’t credit me with it. Robin posted long ago about if humans are really better off now than they were 300 years ago.

Thought it was a crazy statement at the time...

Producing does create jobs, but like anything there is diminishing returns... and with AI and machine learning we are really close to an inversion.... though I think it would be difficult to sustain for long before it all folded like a deck of cards.

I've actually thought about it a lot lately. My dream scenario for the world isn't zombie apocalypse. Mine is that there is some cataclysm of physics that causes electricity to somehow just stop working in any way that humans can understand. All the lights go out. No generators. No batteries. If you want light then you better have a match.

I think that one would play out in interesting ways.

Dunno, we also have a mastery of hydraulics now as a substitute.

Qdeathstar: Dunno, we also have a mastery of hydraulics now as a substitute.

I can just imagine big hoses hung on old power poles carrying hydraulic power to the masses.

That’s the beauty of hydraulics though. The economies of scale/scope mean a small hydraulic plant can create quite a bit of power.

Weight I think would be the biggest trade off. Natural gas could provide lighting/heat efficiently and I imaging it is possible to create a hydraulic compressor for cooling…

But, really, if electricity stopped working we’d all be mush…

Happiness is being content with what you have (and I did not originate that!)

It is chasing after more and more and more that is the cause of global warming and also most military conflicts.

...R

When what you produce is a mass extinction event just so you can think you're great, you're really just $#!+.

Delta_G: It's not a blank philosophical question either. This is the basic philosophical dilemma between capitalism (the rich man can have what he can afford regardless of what the poor man has) or communism (we all get the same no matter what). There is no option where you don't have to take something from someone if your goal is to make things fair.

In my opinion pure capitalism and pure communism are both doomed to fail, but you don't need to make a binary choice between two extremes.

In Sweden if a man fathers a child he can get a year off with pay and his job will be there when he gets back. He also does not need to take the year when the child is born but can take it when the child is a bit older. Obviously the Swedish state pays but they feel it benefits their society and makes for a healthier happier population.

As far a health goes Capitalism and Insurance are about the worst way anybody could chose to fund medicine. It is expensive and stresses people at a time when they are ill. Insurance always has levels, exclusions, limits etc. Capitalism does not fund research into diseases of the poor, nor will it risk the large sums needed to possibly manage to bring new antibiotics to market.

As for chosing whether a poor man gets treatment or not; in general in an emergency it is all hands on deck, if you cut your arm off they will try to sew it back on. The problem is if you need expensive long term drugs or treatment. Then it is experts who decide if the treatment (not the person) is worth funding. Society as a whole decides if the funding is at a high enough level.

As for using hydraulics I have never seen a hydraulic light bulb so I think life would be limited without electricity and distribution would be a problem, though we do have piped water. However in Sweden a long time ago they found some very good iron ore deposits. The problem was that the mines kept flooding and they could not pump the water out (this is before the days of steam engines). The Swedes were good at using rivers to power machinery but the rivers were miles from the mines. They found a solution though. They built mechanical energy transmission lines!!! They built water wheels and then miles of wood levers made of large beams which transmitted the the mechanical energy to the mines to drive pumps.

In the Uk, there were many hydraulic power systems. steam engines raised water to tanks on top of towers, and pipes ran to various factories in the area to power the machinery. Here's just one example http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk/wapping-hydraulic-power-station/

ardly: In Sweden if a man fathers a child he can get a year off with pay and his job will be there when he gets back. He also does not need to take the year when the child is born but can take it when the child is a bit older. Obviously the Swedish state pays but they feel it benefits their society and makes for a healthier happier population.

But we were talking about fairness. How is this fair to the person who has no children? Or worse yet, the one who can't? He or she has to pay extra in taxes to subsidize years off for their neighbor who has 6.

Delta_G: But we were talking about fairness. How is this fair to the person who has no children? Or worse yet, the one who can't? He or she has to pay extra in taxes to subsidize years off for their neighbor who has 6.

It is perfectly fair. Why should the neighbour who clearly has no problems with fertility subsidise the couple next door to have IVF. Why should somebody in good health pay for somebody else to have a lung transplant and then expensive immune supression treatment for life.

The reason is because no individual knows what fate has in store for them and the best thing for society and even individuals is to provide a "reasonable" level of collective care. Society decides what is reasonable. In Sweden they obviously think that looking after children will make for a better society and possibly even save them money; less marriage breakups, better adjusted children, less crime.

Some people seem to fixate on the idea that people will abuse the system but in reality I think abuse is really very small.

Take your example of births. As well as fantastic parental leave Sweden has one of the safest maternity systems in the world. You would expect a booming population and it does indeed have one of the highest birth rates in Europe but it is only 1.85 births per woman, so hardly excessive. Somebody having 6 children would be helping them keep their population stable!

There will always be some wastage in any system through abuse but it makes no sense at all to spend ten times the amount to avoid it and make everybody less happy in the process.

raymw:
In the Uk, there were many hydraulic power systems. steam engines raised water to tanks on top of towers, and pipes ran to various factories in the area to power the machinery. Here’s just one example http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk/wapping-hydraulic-power-station/

I was expecting people to ask is it April 1st.
You are still going far too high tec. though.
Think pre-steam, think wood, think 1500s.

Here is a Swedish Stangenkunst

I have been thinking about mechanical light bulbs. They might actually be possible. If you throw in a bit of chemistry is there any reason you cannot convert mechaninical energy into light by mixing, compressing or pounding some alchemic mixture. It would be very inefficient and the bulbs would be big but it might be possible :slight_smile:

SwedishStangenkunst.jpg

It is perfectly fair.

I saw your argument that you think it is a good thing, but none of that made it sound fair.

Take the smoker who’s lung cancer we’d be subsidizing. Why should I pay for something he knowingly did to himself? If you want to smoke that’s your business but deal with the consequences yourself. I like to spend my money on useful things and some old codger with lung cancer because he was too stupid to quit smoking doesn’t sound like a good investment to me.

And I’m all for this stuff if you want it. If you think paying for old smokers to get chemo is helpful to society then go find old codgers to save. The thing I have issue with is the idea that you’re going to force everyone by threat of law to pay for the old codgers lung cancer. That’s the part I don’t like. If you want to pay it hen you go pay it. It’s not something I want to buy.

See in the US even with our messed up system, nobody stops you from finding old men that have ruined their health and rewarding them with money and longer lives. It’s just that you do it with your own money and not other peoples money.

And until I see people doing that then I don’t actually believe you’re actually that dedicated to the cause.

Delta_G: I saw your argument that you think it is a good thing, but none of that made it sound fair.

Take the smoker who’s lung cancer we’d be subsidizing. Why should I pay for something he knowingly did to himself? If you want to smoke that’s your business but deal with the consequences yourself. I like to spend my money on useful things and some old codger with lung cancer because he was too stupid to quit smoking doesn’t sound like a good investment to me.

Ah, so you don't smoke, don't drink, don't overeat, don't drive, don't do sports, don't work in a long list of risky occupations, don't have sex, don't have a medical history, don't have parents with a medical history. In short don't have a life. Well in that case medical insurance is perfect for you because you don't need it :)

The old codger may have lung cancer but he may have got it from asbestos not smoking and either way being old he has probably paid a fair bit in tax and probably will not last long. A newborn with a congential defect may be a far worse "investment" as you put it.

It is not a case of betting on or investing in individuals. What you should be doing is looking at the mass statistics and saying what is the most economical way of ensuring that I and the people important to me get a good level of care when they need medical attention - because you and they will need it.