The Deformed Ogre of Capitalism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by aaronvan, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #1
    True, so very true. After returning from WWII, my grandfather went to work at General Motors and retired after more than thirty years with a great pension. He didn't get rich, but he had a house in the 'burbs, two cars, and raised a family, just like millions of other in post-war America.

    Once upon a time there was a contract between industry and workers. But that was back when we had industry in America. Now, the capitalist system is rigged and it's a all financial shenanigans and capital transfers that benefit the rich and super-rich at the expense of the rest of us. At the same time, the political parties successfully destroyed our class solidarity and pitted one against the other, to distract us from focusing our anger on the elites.

    I don't know what the solution is. I don't know if there is a solution. However, the future is bleak indeed.

    Anyway, this is a long article but it's really informative.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/capitalism-in-crisis-amid-slow-growth-and-growing-inequality-a-998598.html
     
  2. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Yeah, and their apologists will keep telling you to work harder. They're all part of the game...and it IS a game to them.

    Well, most of them ARE the elites, soooooo....

    Of course there IS a solution. That doesn't mean that those who are winning, or their apologists, will play along, or do everything in their power to convince you otherwise). Honestly, I'm not sure if the care if the entire country crashes, since they have enough to still live extremely lavishly, even if 90% of their fortunes are squandered.
     
  3. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #3
    Our current bubble and short term gain corporate culture is not conducive to matching how it was post WWII where you got a solid job and stayed there forever and made a fair wage and living with job security and a pension.

    What the idiots on Wall Street and in Washington is bubble to bubble short term gains can't sustain itself, and you can only slough off so much of the workforce before you collapse the whole nations economic engine which is consumption.

    Now that more and more companies are padding their bottom line with Chinese money and "emerging markets", there is even less concern about economic stability and security in the USA.

    The oligarchs won't get a wake up call till a major city goes up in flame because more people start resorting to social safety nets rather than honest fair wage paying work.
     
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #4
    I'm guessing you think I'm one of these "apologists" because I would absolutely say "work harder"; well to be honest I'd say "work smarter" but I'd bet you'd take it the exact same either way.

    I came from a highly disadvantaged background; one that would be classified as nearly hopeless from which to climb the socioeconomic ladder from. But you know what? I didn't care. I busted my ass, didn't listen to the folks who said I'd never make it (and there were plenty) and didn't let bumps in the road throw me off my game. I may have taken the long way, because there were a lot of hurdles to overcome, but I'm a few years of required post-graduate training away from a guaranteed 6-figure salary right now. All from a background of being the oldest of 7 who's parents who raised us on ~$30K/year and didn't put a lot of stock in education beyond high-school.

    My younger siblings are all also now pursuing/finishing education in business (MBA) and STEM fields. I recon I'll have siblings who are executives at successful companies, dentists, and Allied Health professionals (MD, PA, dPT etc).

    We all just put our heads down and worked hard. We weren't concerned about how unfair the hand we were dealt with was, we were too busy rifling through the deck finding the best cards for ourselves.

    So yeah, call me an apologist, but hard work, dedication, and focus on what is in ones sphere of influence can be highly valuable.
     
  5. burgundyyears macrumors 6502

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    #5
    It's weird how those on the right and the left both get so hyperbolically nostalgic for the 1950's, albeit for completely different reasons.
     
  6. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Unless you grew up as an untouchable in India, you're being hyperbolic.

    In the U.S., virtually any individual has hope of climbing the socioeconomic ladder, regardless of how disadvantaged their background was.
     
  7. VulchR, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

    VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #7
    My mother's father was taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Kentucky. He became a theoretical chemist. His daughter was educated in the public school system and became a lawyer. I was also educated in the public system, but became a scientist. I think my kids will be OK - we'll be able to get them through education without too much debt, but I am much poorer than my parents, and I expect my kids will probably have to make do with less than me as professions become devalued.

    The problem is that all sorts of resources are being concentrated at the top and increasingly those at the top will feel entitled to ever more. It does not bode well for those of us in the middle and working classes.
     
  8. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    #8
    Even that indian untouchable has some hope of climbing the that socioeconomic ladder it's just that his chances ofv failure are much higher than yours.

    Just like the chances for failure are higher with a working class kid today as they were 20 or more years ago.

    If there are only 10 good jobs / chances at a certain education for every 100 people applying, than yes telling them to "just worker harder" will work for some individually but no matter how hard they all work 90 will still "fail".
     
  9. noodlemanc macrumors regular

    noodlemanc

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    #9
    This mess is what happens when socialism and capitalism are mixed...
     
  10. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #10
    I'm not so sure. Both have middles classes that have been gutted by the rise of the quick buck at all costs corporatocracy.

    Though I think that far too many GOP'ers have been manipulated into voting against their own interests. Probably to a greater extent than your average off the street lefty DNC'er.
     
  11. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #11
    Well, next sunday it's going to happen the second round of presidential elections in Brazil.

    The incumbent candidate, from the centre-left wing Workers' Party, Dilma Rousseff, is the preferred one according to most polls (~53-54%), but not with a broad margin, as Aécio Neves (centre-right wing, Social-Democrat Party) occasionally appears in the first place on some polls.

    Apart from corruption allegations by both sides, the dispute can be summarized as supporters of more freedom for businesses versus supporters of a more interventionist, socialist state.

    In my opinion, on the brazilian context, I prefer a government which, at least in discourse or ideology, advocates in favour of workers' rights. The best way to overcome the 2008 crisis is by trying to keep workers' purchasing power and employment.

    2008 showed that full economic liberalism is not capable of bringing social welfare indefinitely. Sometimes the market can create traps, so I prefer "heterodox" measures where the government manipulates market parameters
    ensuring a good level of employment and purchasing power, at the expense of being less attractive to investors. The truth is, the "real production" sector will keep producing stuff like steel, cereals, meat, orange juice, beer, higienic paper and cars.

    In short, I tend to believe that a GDP which doesn't increase fast isn't always a bad thing. It can be an indication that foreign investors aren't going to deposit money on local businesses or export rate is stable, but it's not a too bad thing if money is flowing from the richer people to the poorer. Brazil lacks a strong middle-class, so I think that before we think of more market freedom, we must make our middle-class stronger.
     
  12. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #12
    So, then what you are saying is that you agree that "system is rigged and it's all financial shenanigans and capital transfers that benefit the rich and super-rich at the expense of the rest of us", so the only thing to do is to work hard and become one of those doing the rigging and shenanigans, or just accept that it is what it is and do what you can?

    No matter how hard people work, we're still going to have a massive number of people who aren't earning enough to get by. No matter if every person in this country worked as hard toward success as you think you do, it would not matter. There simply will not be enough good-paying jobs for everyone if we keep the current system going. Yes, some people can work harder and get great-paying jobs. Not everyone can do it. It is not physically or even theoretically possible, unless cleaning toilets becomes a six-figure job.

    There's simply no reason that 40% of working Americans these days should be making less than full-time minimum wage 45 years ago (and 26% make less than full-time minimum wage currently). NO reason. Except greed at the top. The people aren't working less. They aren't lazier. They're simply being marginalized.

    I see no reason that someone working 40 hours a week doing damn near anything shouldn't be able to provide for himself. I don't care if it's a job with no skills. Working full time in the supposed "greatest country on earth" should provide you with a life that doesn't require government assistance to get by, or require you to live with 5 other people just to be able to afford rent.

    But don't let the guys up there hear about it. They can't stand the idea that someone who hasn't sacrificed family and friends, worked their self to the bone, and sweated until they fainted, could possibly live even a halfway respectable existence. And I think the apologists who have grandiose vision of a lifestyle at the top also feel that no one deserves anything if they don't work as hard as themselves.

    Great, you worked hard for a six-figure salary, and that's good. You deserve it. But, that has literally no bearing on whether people at the bottom of the rung should be paid enough to afford rent and food if they are working, unless you're one of those in the paragraph above projecting your displeasure on others.

    I am by no means supporting the idea of everyone being rich, everyone making $100 an hour for flipping burgers, everyone living a lavish lifestyle for doing skill-less work, or any of the bogus claims trotted out by those against the ideas of the lower classes being self-sustaining. But there's a huge grey area between that and sacrificing your first-born for a meal.

    American capitalism is not set up in a sustainable fashion. It is simply a system rigged to send as much money to the top as possible before collapsing. Those at the top will make it out with enough to sustain them for generations, so it's likely they couldn't care less what happens. And their apologists are likely the ones that see themselves being one of them one day.

    There is a way out of it, but you'll never convince those who think that fabulous riches and windfall profits are acceptable in the face of unsustainable wages for the masses. But, this is America, and it's what we do best: screw people.
     
  13. SLC Flyfishing, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

    SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #13
    Well I meant that many (most) would say climbing the ladder was hopeless. I didn't think it was (obviously).

    And when I said many/most I meant on it in reference to this site here. And I think I've seen comments in this thread already that bear that out.
     
  14. noodlemanc macrumors regular

    noodlemanc

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    #14
    The reason why 2008 happened was because the large banks in the U.S were guaranteed by the government, so the bankers could risk as much money as they wanted on anything that they wanted knowing that if their investments fell through the magic printing press would bail them out. So of course they made a whole lot of risky investments decisions that ultimately failed -- just like if you let a gambler loose in a casino telling him that everyone else would bail him out if he lost, he would game BIG TIME.

    Historically banks have been very conservative, because if they blew all their clients money not only would they be forced to shut down but the clients would go after the bankers themselves. The executives would have their own private property repossessed, and could even go to prison if it could be proven that they acted very irresponsibly. It was that kind of liability that ensured that the banks would behave responsibly, not the centralised planning of the monetary system.

    A system where losses are socialised and profits are privatised is not economic liberalism in any way, shape or form.
     
  15. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #15
    You paint a beautiful picture of a blissful utopian society. One that has as of yet never been achieved.

    There will always be those who can't do the jobs that society is willing to pay well for. Those are the ones who should be getting assistance from the government.

    Then there are always those who would rather smoke pot and bounce from job to job or no job at all. They are the ones who need a kick in the pants and to have to fend for themselves while they figure out how to join the rest of us in the real world.

    The rest of us, we'll we can either work to improve our situations the best we know how; we can learn to be happy without all the materialism that permeates our culture; or we can continue to say "poor me" while doing nothing about it.
     
  16. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I'm pretty much painting a wage picture of the United States from about 45-50 years ago. When the minimum wage was almost 47% higher than it is now, and a single working father could support a family. Gone are those days, subjugated for low-wage McJobs, and mediocre-pay real jobs, with mega profits for our overlords. If this is the best we can do with our vast intelligence, then I'd say our intelligence doesn't go very far. In my opinion, America is pretty much a failure as a society, but you probably have a much rosier outlook.

    Perfect. As long as you are willing to support half the country via the government, then I guess we've succeeded as far as your outlook goes.
     
  17. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I do have to say, I find it hysterical that a society in which people working full time would able to afford food and shelter without assistance is described as "utopian". THAT is utopian?
     
  18. AX338 macrumors regular

    AX338

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    #18
    No its not you daft Trotskyist!
     
  19. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #19
    Those saying 'poor me' will reach a point at which they will do something about it. It's called civil unrest. if we continue the way we are, the imbalance between rich and poor will become so great that the poor will begin to systematically dismantle the system that keeps them down. I'd prefer that the system get back into balance and redistribute wealth better so that the American dream can live again. Simply putting one's head in the sand and focusing on personal progress and wealth is hardly going to help change things.

    I, for one, would like to see our government provide guarantees to the people (a sovereign wealth fund that will grow during good times and forestall draconian cuts in welfare programs during the bad times) rather than the banks(ers).
     
  20. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #20
    Society can be structured so that working harder or smarter will get you ahead. But I don't believe that is where we are if we are talking about "inclusion". If you look at the US post WWII it was the land of plenty, but not so much today. Yes a relatively fewer can find affluency and self enrichment, while we have larger % on the welfare roles. The fact is today it is more dog eat dog then it was in the 50-60s and even if the millions of those at the bottom decided to work their butts off, they would not gain affluence due to lack of good paying jobs and low cost educational opportunities.

    And simple math tells you that the more a relatively few make at the top, there is less to go around for the rest of society no matter how hard they work. It's been documented that many of the poor are working their asses off with 2 or 3 jobs but can't climb out of poverty. If they all became dedicated to "bettering themselves" and could find the time to stop working and afford an education while supporting their families, I don't believe society could reward most of them.

    This is why I believe that Capitalism, the self-enrichment system will ultimately fail or lead to revolution. We as human beings must become just as worried about "we" as "me" before we will truly succeed as a species.
     
  21. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #21
    There is no question that people who work harder than average, on average will do better than people who work less hard than average. But, not everyone works harder than average, no matter how hard everyone works. This is literally covered in Econ 1A. Half of the people will be "below average" for whatever measure of average you care to choose. Either you care about the people who are less smart, less beautiful, less athletic, less privileged, less motivated, and less hardworking than average, or, you don't.

    The point about the 1950's made in one of the posts is a good one. Eisenhower literally did continue New Deal policies, and was criticized by, e.g., Barry Goldwater, for it.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74540.html

    But, the wealthy hung in there, chipped away at the New Deal, and finally the New Deal was almost destroyed under Reagan. It is a great time to be super-rich.
     
  22. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #22
    The blueprint for success is actually pretty easy

    1. Get an education
    2. Get skills in high demand area
    3. Market those skills to an employer for the most money you can negotiate.
    4. Save more than you spend and invest

    Easy right?

    Yeah until you deal with

    1. Poor healthcare
    2. Poor nutrition
    3. Being unable to focus on education because you're more focused on not getting killed after school
    4. Your housing situation is spotty because of evictions or crime outside your door
    5. Mom is a junkie. You never met your dad
    6. You're working a crap job for below a livable wage so you can't save or invest

    Not so simple if this is what you were born into.
     
  23. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #23
    This is a good representation of the political party that spouts the first part as slogans, but refuses to deal with the realities of the second part.
     
  24. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #24
    Only a Leninist would accuse anyone of being a Trotskyite. :p
     
  25. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #25
    A problem is GOP corporate ties, and modern business that doesn't care about long term national economic sustainability.

    Not everyone is 18 and about to go to college.

    More than half the nation is 40 or older and have been affected by the globalist economy. They have to work to feed families. There is no time to retrain in STEM, and even less money. Our answer to just have them work at Burger King and expect the nation to be okay.

    That's stupid.

    By increasing access to healthcare, nutrition, and housing you actually put people in a position where they can retrain and join the new economy. More tax payers buying more stuff and keeping the economic engine going. A reduction in Romney's 47%.

    Corporations don't care about that. They'll just buy more Indian and Asian labor and employ them at sub-market American value to depress wages, and negate the need for social reform...till it all comes down
     

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