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The politics of envy and its causes

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The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:53 pm

I believe there is a direct parallel between the religious and left wing socialists, both think they own the rights to concepts such as social conscience and morality. It comes from an almost self righteous belief that they have a monopoly on compassion, empathy and altruism.

Since none of them have a clue about the facts of welfare or its intended purpose, I can only assume their hysterical opposition has an alternative psychological explanation, and this ulterior motive surrounds status.

In my opinion they hate the Tories more than they love the poor, in fact I think the poor is simply a smokescreen to hide their real contentions and intentions.

There is a condition called inverted snobbery:

a person who scorns the conventions or attitudes of his own class or social group by attempting to identify with people of a supposedly lower class.
This condition is a form of pretence, they pretend to represent the attitudes of the underclass, and yet know nothing about their attitudes. They distort words like working class to mean the poor and unfortunate to afford themselves VICTIM status.

Victim status then justifies their attacks on their real enemy, those with higher status than themselves, it is basically the politics of envy, its got nothing to do with altruism but everything to do with self status or self interest.
The underclass( the real poor and unfortunate) have accepted nature/nurture reasons for their lowly status, but for failed status seekers in a meritocracy there is no excuse.

Rather than just be honest and accept the high status of others affects their self status in a negative way, they hijack the real poor's victim status to justify their opposition and this gives them a higher status. They use the poor like a battering ram against the rich, oblivious to the obvious fact most including themselves are in the middle.

I have come to this conclusion because none of the Tory bashers know what benefits the poor get, in fact one had the gall to ask for a link that proves a married couples unemployment benefit was £212 per fortnight and child tax credits for 2 kids was £106 per week ?

If I am wrong I am prepared to listen to other plausible explanations, but I am never wrong.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:46 pm

Make your mind up, please. Is it to be Tosh, or never wrong?

I think we should be told.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:00 pm

Make your mind up, please. Is it to be Tosh, or never wrong?

They are synonymous.

I think we should be told..

I refuse to reveal my plans to the opposition, I know you won't mind.

Where the hell are we anyway.... the hell are we anyway....anyway...anyway.

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:23 pm

26 views and 24 of them mine.

Is Lord Lucan in here ?

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:23 pm

This may affect my status, I hate the Tories.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:25 pm

I buy The Big Issue, despite a price increase well above inflation.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:27 pm

Ed is God, the Godhead is Edhead.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:28 pm

Time to check the viewing figures...........................again.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:30 pm

Aha.....3 extra views, the plan is working.

One Nation....One secret plan.....shhh..say no more, ears have walls.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:32 pm

Hold on, do my replies count as views, damn, I may be talking to myself.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:54 pm

Blessed are the sockpuppets, for they shall confuse by visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:05 pm

Blessed are the sockpuppets,

Phew, at least I have one fan, he may be a bit creepy but beggars can't be choosers.

No need to worship me.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by boatlady on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:06 pm

having it all your own way, boys
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by KnarkyBadger on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:10 pm

Interesting arguement. With some valid points, especially about hating the tories more than loving the poor. Having just left the SWP after many years because of its failure to offer a credible alternative to government policy so it had become (again) obsessed again with Tory hating (I have no problem with this at all, but offer something else) and exploiting the current economic and social situation not help those in need but to "build" the party! No thanks I'd rather try and make a difference to peoples lifes than prop a creaking aging party.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:06 pm

Interesting arguement. With some valid points, especially about hating the tories more than loving the poor. Having just left the SWP after many years because of its failure to offer a credible alternative to government policy so it had become (again) obsessed again with Tory hating (I have no problem with this at all, but offer something else) and exploiting the current economic and social situation not help those in need but to "build" the party! No thanks I'd rather try and make a difference to peoples lifes than prop a creaking aging party. .

I make no bones about it, I am a complete cynic when it comes to party politics, its a pointless charade in the 21 st century. The Germans had learned a sallow lesson and invented a democratic system that was built around consensus, no more heroes for Germany. We argue against it on the grounds it always leads to coalitions and consenus politics ? Seemingly pragmatic improvement through a rational process is bad for us, according to our political governors ?

They forget to say why, do we have to have a disaster before we all work together ? Who says so ?

I want managers of our country not governers, they no longer have the power to govern, the globalised free market saw to that. Governments can facilitate and distribute wealth but they cannot create it, this can only be done by regulated private industry. So as far as I am concerned anything involving caring should be nationalised , ( health, kids, elderly, education, training and social services should be in the public sector, and privatise the rest. All the real groundwork has been done, we all want to help the poor within reason, its just a case of how much and when.

Private industry creates all the profit and governments have to spend this wisely, its a limited budget, we must learn to live within our means and keep a surplus for the invitable dips in supply and demand..

We have one of the most generous welfare systems in the developed world, we put America to shame, and it can be even more generous if we remove the people who abuse it. Trust me, I know they are many. Labour should have tackled this malaise when cash and jobs were a plenty, now it is going to be unfair.

I want the wealthy to pay what they are supposed to pay, I don't like any social cheats, rich or poor. I do not however grudge them their wealth, nor do I think it is unfair, we are not all born equal but we can create as best we can an environent of equal opportunity. This will cost plenty, and only private enterprise can create this extra cash, governments pretend they have control over this and they obviously do not.

All this Labour crying for the poor, its a gimmick, do you really believe Labours cuts would not have affected the poorest, it is inevitable. I cannot abide self righteous altruism, there are financial limits to tackling the povety trap and all politicians know this.

I am just not buying the ideological see-saw anymore, most of the country is in the middle and don't mind coalitions, I predict they will be a permanent fixture. This will leave the far right and far left powerless, and we can get on with improving everyones life.

Rant over.





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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:08 am

I remember getting into an argument with a group of African-Americans while in college about Abraham Lincoln. As most people know, Lincoln did not free the slaves because it was the right thing to do. He freed them to preserve the union. The blacks in question were vilifying Lincoln because he didn't free the slaves due to a sense of morality.

So I asked them: "So, if you were a slave in 1863 and your master came to you and said, 'You're free! Lincoln wanted to preserve the union, so your life is your own now!' would you refuse to be free because Lincoln did not abolish slavery out of altruism and love for the black man?"

The point, of course, is that sometimes the reason matters far less than the results. One has to ask oneself if championing the poor out of hatred for the rich still does not produce a beneficial result for society. I think it's fair to say that championing the rich produces nothing beneficial to anyone of the "peasant" class; giving them more money does not mean the scraps that fall by chance from their table will be more succulent or that they will fall in greater quantity.

I will point out, however, that "reverse snobbery" is precisely the kind of right-wing bullshit that American conservative Republicans like to use. In essence, the rich deserve a 50 room mansion before the poor deserve a hot meal. That's the essential gist of the argument. To suggest otherwise is "reverse snobbery." While a lot of people have fantasies of being wealthy, the average person isn't enthralled with or envious of the rich as some people believe. Most folks are content having enough for a modestly comfortable life, free of the constant worry of where monies for basic necessities will come from. The rich, on the other hand (and those that support them), freak out if they see someone on food stamps using a cell phone or watching cable television. Those who are poor better live as if they're in abject poverty, and if the rich and their supporters see a poor person with even the smallest luxury, that's justification enough to cancel the entire welfare system.

The idea of "reverse snobbery" and the accusation of class envy is just the kind of misinformed tripe that one would come to expect from the wealthy, for is not the expectation of being envied one of the primary perks wealth is supposed to bring? Why else would a person spend, say, $6,000 on a handbag when a $25 bag from Wal-Mart serves the same function? It reminds me of the "I Am Rich" smart phone app that came out a few years ago:

Apple has spit out a pit in its iTunes App Store, a controversial $999.99 "glorified screensaver," but not before eight people bought it, Newsfactor.com reported on Friday.

The company on Thursday removed the "I Am Rich" application created by developer Armin Heinrich, who said that eight people had purchased it before it was taken off iTunes, Newsfactor.com reported. The buyers include six people from the United States and one each from France and Germany.

The app displays a glowing red gem on a user's iPhone screen for the sole purpose of proving to onlookers one is of the moneyed class. That's all it does.

Buying a screen saver for your phone for $1,000 just to show everyone else how rich you are is less about the poor envying the rich than it is about the rich wishing to be envied by the poor. This is the crux of the entire "reverse snobbery" argument; it is the byproduct of that fervent hope that someone out there envies you.

After all, when a poor man receives a free bowl of soup at the homeless shelter, he does not run through the streets bragging about his soup. He just wants to eat it. While status is always present even among the poor, among the rich, its manifestation is disgusting and immoral.


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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:06 pm

Buying a screen saver for your phone for $1,000 just to show everyone else how rich you are is less about the poor envying the rich than it is about the rich wishing to be envied by the poor.

Shirina,

People buy expensive things for many reasons, and I suggest WANTING people to envy them is the smallest of them, initially they may want to demonstrate their individual status( showing off) but this is universal in us all, once status is establishd the novelty of wealth soon wears off and the desire to show off soon wanes. It seems to me the " bling " culture stems from the poor trying desperately to show they are no longer poor and the worst snobs can come from the working classes.
Making irrational conclusions to dissolve the envious of all responsibility is distorting human nature to a ridiculous degree. Envy is a product of failed aspiration and it affects those who look elsewhere to blame for their own failures.

The problems of the poor are not simple but highly complex, just pouring money at the problem has been tried and it failed. It is a complete fallacy that only lack of equal opportunity causes poverty, if only human nature were that simple.

I think it is wrong to judge a human on his status but unfortunately it is in our nature, your blanket condemnation of the rich is no more valid than a person's blanket condemnation of the poor. The manifestations of status in both rich and poor can be disgusting, the " respect " gang culture is built around violence, which is just a tad more immoral than a new handbag.

I accept there are those who wish to champion the causes of the underpriviledged but may I suggest blaming the rich is a disingenuous approach. You are coming at this problem from a different perspective than us in the UK, we have a more supportive society and if I lived in yours then I would share much of your complaints but I don't.




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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:48 pm

boatlady wrote:having it all your own way, boys

I hate it when we do that. But no animals are ever harmed, and the Nectar points are mounting up.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by boatlady on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:40 pm

Re politics of envy
I only know that under a government willing to invest in education and public services I was able to obtain a good education and to find congenial work where I was able to both provide support for vulnerable paople and provide for myself and various family members.
Under the present system, were I a young person. I would be compelled to leave school at 16, and I can't imagine being able to earn enough to provide for myself and family members, let alone finance a tolerably comfortable retirement. My late profession remains a graduate profession for the most part, but kids from family backgrounds like mine are not able to consider further education in tha same way that I was.
I envy no-one, and am very happy with what I have, but I am clear that I did not earn my current comfortable condition solely through my own efforts, but by the benevolence of a State that was willing to invest in education and creating opportunities for social mobility.
I worry about young people now.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:31 pm

"....by the benevolence of a State that was willing to invest in education and creating opportunities for social mobility."

You don't have to read that twice to recognise a Mission Statement when you see one, so why can't governments always be relied upon to recognise it as one of their primary functions?
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:29 am

People buy expensive things for many reasons, and I suggest WANTING people to envy them is the smallest of them, initially they may want to demonstrate their individual status( showing off) but this is universal in us all, once status is establishd the novelty of wealth soon wears off and the desire to show off soon wanes.

No, Tosh, it IS about envy. It IS about showing off, and the desire to do so never wanes. Buying expensive things when much cheaper alternatives are available is a case in point. Granted, some items like exotic sports cars, mansions, and art objects are always going to be expensive. Then again, what's the point of paying $500,000 for a car that can do 200 mph when the speed limit is only 55 mph to 70 mph on the open road? Expensive clothing is expensive mainly due to the label, and it is a teenage mentality that would rather buy a $75 sweatshirt at a boutique than a $15 sweatshirt at Wal-Mart. Many expensive things are expensive for the same reason that smart phone app was $1000 .... just so the rich can buy it to show people that they're rich. There is no other function.

I will agree that the novelty of a particular item wears off, but that's part of the problem. The quest for more expensive things is never-ending. Once that momentary rush one receives when their friends "ooh" and "ahh" over their latest acquisition comes to an end, the need to rush out and buy something else for more "oohs" and "ahhs" is like drug addiction. It'a also one of those necessary evils required to continue being accepted by the upper crust. This constant need to accumulate housefuls of baubles requires more and more money, and that money often comes at the expense of everyone else.
It seems to me the " bling " culture stems from the poor trying desperately to show they are no longer poor and the worst snobs can come from the working classes.
The working class, as opposed to the leisure class, is usually too busy to be snobs. They're the ones who put away every penny to put their kids through college while making a mortgage on their modest home. Most of them have nothing to be snobbish about, and they certainly can't play the envy game like the rich can. Sure, I've seen competitions among the working class, but the irony is that those competitions are centered around who can afford to buy extremely small luxuries, not around who can piss away the most cash, and many of those small luxuries are practical ones. I spent my adolescence in a working class town, and no one there -- not the kids and not the adults -- had any "bling." It simply wasn't in the budget.

It's true that few people want to be poor because being poor is a constant struggle for the most basic of necessities. Yet that's not the only reason. Being poor brings with it a stigma that those richer often exploit. The poor become objects of derision, ridicule, and even hatred by those above them. And this hatred trickles down like a tiered water fountain. Those at a higher tier disdain those in lower tiers -- and where does that come from? Human nature? No, Tosh ... that behavior is TAUGHT.
Envy is a product of failed aspiration and it affects those who look elsewhere to blame for their own failures.
Envy is also a product of being made to feel "lesser than" by bestowing privileges to those who possess more wealth. It's not just a question of what you can buy but also what you can achieve. The days of fairy tale rags to riches stories are long gone. That is where the frustration and resentment comes into play. Upward mobility is largely a myth; most people stay within the socioeconomic class they were born into. Being born into poverty is a financial death sentence for the majority.

I've often asked business owners who constantly bitch about long-term welfare recipients whether or not they would hire one of these "welfare queens" and, well, you can guess what answer I received. So many people expect the poor to get off the government dole and get a job, but the prevailing attitude concerning who actually hires these people is very much a "NIMBY" mentality. Yes, get a job ... with someone else's company. The result? Well, they sit on welfare. For those who actually want to achieve, that is extremely frustrating, not to mention a direct form of status discrimination, a problem that runs rampant.
The problems of the poor are not simple but highly complex, just pouring money at the problem has been tried and it failed.
I agree with that. The problem is that the culture of poverty is, in fact, a culture. This is why it is very difficult for a child born into the poverty culture to get out of it. Like with any other culture, being indoctrinated into it affects the ability to rise above it or to affect real change. There is also corporate culture, and that culture is just as alien to one born into poverty as the culture of the Far East is to a Westerner. If you do not know corporate culture, the odds of getting hired for a decent job are next to zero.
It is a complete fallacy that only lack of equal opportunity causes poverty, if only human nature were that simple.
Again, I agree.
your blanket condemnation of the rich is no more valid than a person's blanket condemnation of the poor.
You misunderstand, Tosh. I don't necessarily condemn the rich as people. What I condemn is a system that teaches us that there is no such thing as too much. Call it "financial gluttony" if you will. I think comedian Bill Mahr said it best when he said, "It's like 100 people ordering a 100-slice pizza and the first guy takes 80 slices." In that sense, it's not about equal opportunity as much as it's about the wildly disparate rewards. There's no reason why 99 people have to fight over 20 slices while that one person walks off with 80 slices. It goes way beyond what a person needs and, I dare say, even goes beyond what a person could reasonably want. I condemn a system that allows such a disparity. I'm not saying everyone should be paid the same, but there has to be a more equitable system than having one person at a company making $50 million per year while the peons on the factory floor struggle daily to stave off homelessness on a salary that wouldn't have been livable 30 years ago.
The manifestations of status in both rich and poor can be disgusting
Not really. When I did my undergrad degree, I lived in a low-rent neighborhood for several years in order to save money. I did notice people jockeying for status even there. But in a neighborhood where money is scarce, ownership is not really a way to achieve high status. Instead, that which earns a person status is a poor neighborhood is actually positive. For instance, my status was very high there because I was in college and I helped a few high school dropouts get their equivalency GEDs. Another mark of status is simply having a job at all. In a middle class neighborhood, a common question is "What do you do for a living?" But in a poor neighborhood, the question is, "Do you have a job?" Even among the poor, being unemployed is a surefire way to lose respect. No one cared about your clothes, your car, the size of your house, or where you "wintered" last year. Thus I find that status-seeking among the poor actually helps people achieve whereas status-seeking among the wealthy is about gross excesses of power and wealth.
the " respect " gang culture is built around violence, which is just a tad more immoral than a new handbag.
Gang members may have come from poverty and they may live in areas known for poverty -- but a lot of them make more money than middle class wage slaves, and some are quite well-off. The gangland culture is completely separate culture as unique as any other. Thus I wouldn't use them as an example of status-seeking among the poor.
I accept there are those who wish to champion the causes of the underpriviledged but may I suggest blaming the rich is a disingenuous approach.
There will never be any real change unless those that make the rules change the rules. But they have no incentive to do so. The only power the bottom 95% have is the vote, and even then, we all know what happens. No matter who you vote for, that person will ultimately come under the sway of lobbyists, special interest groups, and corporations all of whom have deep pockets. The wealthy do, in fact, shoulder much of the blame for they promulgate the very system of excess that I condemn. When Obama made his comment four years ago about "spreading the wealth," many in this country thought that was a bad thing, a black mark against Obama. Those who felt this way are also to blame, for while they struggle desperately to hold on to their jobs, fight against foreclosure, and worry over the future for their children, those they support are busy lounging on their yachts wondering if they should buy that gold-plated Rolls Royce or to build a mansion for FiFi the poodle.
You are coming at this problem from a different perspective than us in the UK, we have a more supportive society and if I lived in yours then I would share much of your complaints but I don't.
You should have those complaints since Britain is not that far afield from the American version of rampant free-market capitalism. Each time a Tory is elected, the supportive society you enjoy erodes just a little bit more. In the US, executives earn 450 times more than the average worker. Yet one has to ask: Are these executives 450 times more educated? Do they work 450 times harder? Do they work 450 times more hours? How does one even begin to justify that kind of disparity? What's more is that this massive disparity is a recent development. Sure, executives always earned more than labor, and that's understandable. But just as little as 40 years ago, executives only earned 60 times more than the worker. Now it's 450 times? What will it be in another 40 years? Will executives earn 900 times more? It has to stop or America will cease to exist as we know it, and we'll bring down the rest of the world with us.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by boatlady on Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:54 am

Shirina - great post
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:23 am

But no mention of the Powerhouse perpetually stoking the flames of our greed and envy by the use of physchological play on human emotion.

ADVERTISING.

"You'll be more attractive to Men/Women if you wear xxxx!
Employers will queue for your services if you study at xxxx College.
Life will be more fulfilling if you buy xxxx.
xxxx helps you lose POUNDS! (Sure does, that's £££)
Appear years younger by using xxxx.
Just push money under our door you stupid plebs."

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Tosh on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:19 am

You should have those complaints since Britain is not that far afield from the American version of rampant free-market capitalism.

Oh really, can you get $50,000 per year housing benefit in America ?
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Ivan on Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:55 am

I believe there is a direct parallel between the religious and left wing socialists
Tosh. I believe there is an inherent contradiction in the posts of someone whose almost entire basis of attacks on Christians is their inability to provide any evidence to support their beliefs, but who then clutters up the politics board with Tory dogma and his own personal prejudices with hardly a fact in sight. Why don’t you apply the same rigorous principles to your political comments that you expect from religious contributors? Even the title of this thread – ‘the politics of envy’ – is just a tired, hackneyed remark that lazy-minded Tories trot out any time someone suggests that redistribution of wealth might be a good thing. If we’re bandying around slogans, I’ll reply with ‘the politics of justice’, equally trite and open to interpretation according to one’s own view of the world.

Unlike your usual modus operandi, which tends to fluctuate between making unsubstantiated statements and throwing personal abuse at those who disagree with you, I’ll supply some facts to justify what you call ‘the politics of envy’ and I call ‘the politics of justice’. The only countries in which the richest 1% “earn” more than in Britain are Argentina, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. In Finland, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Spain the richest 1% earn only nine times average earnings (or less) – in Switzerland only 7.8 times; in Sweden 6.7 times; and in the Netherlands only 5.4 times the average income. As Professor Danny Dorling says: “The Swiss have bankers, the Swedes industrialists, and the Dutch host multinational companies. They all just don’t tolerate such excess.”
http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/rack_of_inequality
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:14 pm

ADVERTISING.

Heh, if I included advertising in my post, I'd have to write a book, instead.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:18 pm

Oh really, can you get $50,000 per year housing benefit in America ?

LOL! Of course not. Even people on disability here in the US cannot get benefits coming anywhere near $50,000 per year even when one includes food, medical care, etc.

In fact, I've read many posts by greedy American minds infected with capitalism that even the disabled should only receive the barest minimum required to keep them alive. I'm sure you know the argument: "Why should I have to pay for them?"

I've also read similar things from Brits who are also "tired" of paying for the poor. Your attitudes are not so different from ours where the right-wing is concerned, and all it will take is a savvy Tory to unravel the whole thing. It's not as though your population and your government are in unanimous agreement that people should be receiving a $50,000 per year housing subsidy from the government. I fear that your welfare state may, in fact, be in grave danger.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:48 pm

The only countries in which the richest 1% “earn” more than in Britain are Argentina, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. In Finland, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Spain the richest 1% earn only nine times average earnings (or less) – in Switzerland only 7.8 times; in Sweden 6.7 times; and in the Netherlands only 5.4 times the average income.

In 1980, CEOs at the largest companies received 42 times the pay of the average worker, according to the union. In 2000 the gap hit a high, with CEOs making 525 times the average worker. In 2010, the gap narrowed, with CEOs making 343 times the average worker. Trumka himself makes roughly four times the average worker.

Ivan is so right about the Politics of Justice.

It's funny, though. I spent my adolescence in a small working class town. No one was truly wealthy by any stretch. I was actually considered somewhat "moneyed" based only on the fact that I was the only one who had a television, DVD player, and cable in my bedroom. Wow! But I bring this up to exemplify the point that, even though no one was wealthy, no one seemed particularly eager to become wealthy. This isn't because of a lack of ambition or laziness. A lot of these people worked twice as hard as some of these "executives" and wrecked their bodies in the process. In a town as small as this one, you knew everyone else's business.

The reason for this apparent lack of wealth-seeking in this little town existed for several reasons. For instance, many of them were proud of what they did in the steel mills and forges along the Allegheny Valley. They also knew that the acquisition of wealth would complicate their relatively simple lives, and these salt-of-the-earth folks liked simplicity. However, they DID want to be justly compensated for their work. They did not want to be exploited, and they expected to be treated well. No one grumbled if they couldn't afford cruises to the Caribbean or a Cadillac Escalade. There was a sense of pragmatism when it came to spending, a pragmatism that was passed on to my generation. All of us desire the occasional luxury, of course, and most times, we were able to obtain them, but anything more than that was wasteful. As far as their blue collar careers were concerned, there was always the attitude of, "If we don't do this, who will?"

But there was no "envy." That was one trait I never saw. As long as they had an honest job that allowed them to provide for their families, they were content. It has only been relatively recently when the pay was no longer worth the long hours and the money simply wasn't there anymore. Many began losing their jobs, forcing them to sell their homes and move elsewhere. The once thriving little community became a ghost town and crime -- something hitherto unknown there -- because a major issue. It was not about envy, it was about watching bankers and Wall Street vultures getting rich off the sacrifices of the working man, and when the wealthy took all that they could from them, the worker was simply thrown aside.

Politics of Justice -- absolutely.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by blueturando on Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:13 pm

The problem is Shirina...and as you pointed out, no body in the US would receive $50,000 in housing allowance. So now add onto that unemployment benefit, job seekers allowance, tax credits, council tax credits, child benefits for unlimited numbers of children, free healthcare and you can start to see why the system has failed. Successive governments have been instrumental in creating a culture of welfare dependency and for too many of these people it makes no financial sense to seek or undertake employment. In reality we should be ashamed as we have seriously let these people down, paid them off to be quiet so the rest of us don’t have to deal with them. This dependency culture is now passing on from generation to generation with no sign of anyone tackling the core issues

In Scotland (and the figures don’t lie) only 12% of house holds pay in more to the system than they receive back, so 88% are taking more out then they pay in. This is a system that is doomed to failure and what do we do for... and with these people when the money runs out? Many are essentially unemployable.

The Labour party does not have a credible economic policy in which to attack the Tories with, so they are trying to create a phony class war and paint all Tories and anyone with money (earnt or not) as villains and the bad guys. This is a stab in the back for people who have in many cases risked everything and worked hard all their lives to build up successful businesses, create wealth, create jobs and financially support the welfare system and state spending.

This is a Labour party that previously set a target to get 50% of all students into university. I do hope none of these students go onto be financially successful, because the same party will come back to vilify them

In the US successful people and successful business people are applauded and celebrated.....In the UK the Labour party and the Left are trying to create a culture of ENVY for anyone who has amassed any sort of wealth.

They will fail of course as they underestimate a persons' natural aspirations...People aspire to be financially better off, have a nicer house, a better car, more financial security for the future.....If not for themselves, then they do it for their children.

What Labour call the working class is in fact the 'underclass'. The people I mentioned previously who have no aspirations to get into employment..To be fair most have been let down by the educational system, but that's another story for another day.
'Working class' people in the main are politically in the middle. They work hard to better their lives and pay taxes into the system. Many of these people are fed up with the people at the top and the bottom....The top where ridiculously rich people have the means to pay very little tax and are for want of another word...untouchable...and fed up with the idling underclass who have no intention of contributing to society, but in many cases are financially better off that the family next door who work their butts off to provide for their families

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2214565/Red-Ed-got-wrong-comes-cheap-shots-millionaires.html

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:11 pm

The problem is Shirina...and as you pointed out, no body in the US would receive $50,000 in housing allowance.
Britain and America are on the opposite sides of the welfare coin. In this nation, we don't do enough. I'm not even talking about welfare for the poor but assistance for the elderly and disabled. To receive disability benefits here in the States, it's quite seriously an epic battle involving lawyers and the courts, and you will ALWAYS be turned down on the first attempt no matter how sick you are. The television is virtually infected with ads from disability lawyers offering to take your case -- even disabled veterans have to go through this. Even if you win your case, a chunk of your meager benefits will be shunted to the lawyer to pay his fee, leaving you destitute. And ... because the amount of disability benefits you receive is determined directly by how much you earning, the poor and the young won't get enough to even rent a rat hole apartment much less $50,000 to own a home. Keep in mind, too, as you wage this battle that can take as much as 5 years, you're not working! It's a miserable, corrupt system that forces you to fight so hard for a small pittance.
you can start to see why the system has failed.
But has it, in fact, failed?
Many are essentially unemployable.
The problem -- and the solution -- lies at the feet of the private sector. All the government can really do is provide for those in need. The private sector, with its voracious, insatiable lust for profits, refuses to pay people enough for their taxes to pay for the welfare state, and they refuse to train. I remember someone posted an article some time ago about how one of your major automotive plants refused to hire anyone unless the government subsidized the training for 2 years! This may have been England rather than Scotland, but the point is still valid. Only the deranged are unemployable if the private sector would be willing to take people in, train them, and pay them enough for the job to be worthwhile.
This is a stab in the back for people who have in many cases risked everything and worked hard all their lives to build up successful businesses, create wealth, create jobs and financially support the welfare system and state spending.
For one thing, I don't believe that any of this justifies financial exploitation. Secondly, one has to remember that these people did not take risks, create wealth, create jobs, and support the welfare state out of some sense of altruism. No, they did it to fatten their own wallets; everything else is a byproduct. They don't support the welfare state because they want to, they do it because the government taxes them involuntarily. They also don't create jobs to help people, they do it because someone has to do the work to make the owners and executives big time profits and fat bonus checks. The workers receive very little, ESPECIALLY in the USA. If the owners and executives could fire everyone tomorrow and still make money, they would do it in a heartbeat. No one would really care what the rich did as long as the rest of us were making enough to live comfortably, but the wealthy overplayed their hands. Now that increasing numbers of people cannot afford even a working class lifestyle WITH a job, we're waking up. Their system worked so long as the majority were distracted with big screen televisions and annual holidays to Europe ... but without those distractions, people are becoming more aware of their declining standard of living while corporations make record profits.
so they are trying to create a phony class war and paint all Tories and anyone with money (earnt or not) as villains and the bad guys.
I really can't speak for events in Scotland, but I do know that, here, the class war is anything but phony. As I tried to illustrate in my previous post, people just want their fair shake, and we're not getting it.
This is a Labour party that previously set a target to get 50% of all students into university.
Well, 50% of the population can't all go on to become the top 1%, now can they? I think that would violate some fundamental laws of mathematics. If Scotland is anything like here, even university graduates would be hard pressed to find gainful employment ... and they'll have the crushing weight of student loans bearing down on them, as well. This makes true financial success almost impossible. At best, the majority of those 50% will eke out a modest living in the lower middle to middle middle class domain. I doubt these are the people who are being vilified. Of course that's here. Scotland may be different.
In the US successful people and successful business people are applauded and celebrated
That's changing rapidly as the Occupy Wall Street movement demonstrated. Americans are happy to celebrate successful people so long as their success came without scandal and exploitation. However, we're beginning to realize that this is rarely the case. The massive economic scandal involving ENRON has opened our eyes and lawsuits for unpaid overtime have tripled in the last few years. Americans have also been duped into believing that, with a little hard work and perseverance, they too can be successful. It's a lot like venerating the lottery winner because, perhaps next week, perhaps you'll be the big jackpot winner. Even though the odds are astronomically against you becoming truly successful, people still believe in it. The statistics, however, show that this belief is largely illusory.
and for too many of these people it makes no financial sense to seek or undertake employment.
Trust me when I say that you don't want OUR miserable system. As you may or may not know, I have a neurological condition that is so painful that I am disabled 80% of the time. While there are days I could work, I never know when and for how long it will last. I'm currently fighting that epic battle for disability, but I'm young and never had much of a chance to pay into the system. Thus I will be lucky to receive $500 per month. That's not enough to pay rent, much less anything else. If my condition proves to be incurable or even untreatable, I will be disabled permanently. If that is the case, I honestly worry about my future here. Even now, I have nightmares about living in a homeless shelter through no fault of my own -- and you don't want to live in a homeless shelter. That's where all of the psychos live. You know, those psychos who were kicked out of state-run hospitals because no one wanted to pay for them. No thanks.

So while yes, you can reduce the benefits for the poor, disabled, and eldery, you're not really doing your society any favors. What needs to be done -- but most likely never will be until the issue is forced -- is for the private sector to start paying people what they deserve. THAT is the incentive to get up off the couch and find work. I certainly understand your points and your concerns, but I know how hateful our system here in the US is, and I would hate for your nation to stoop to this level. We are, after all, the ONLY industrialized nation without NHS, and tens of millions here suffer because of it. Including me.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by astradt1 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:44 pm

Anyone notice that it is only envy when poor people call for the rich to be taxed more and not when the rich call for the poor to have their benefits cut so they do not get nearly as much as those working?
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by KnarkyBadger on Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:36 am

Any of the tories constantly whinging about benefits should do two things 1) firstly try and apply for them, no easy task when most benefit offices are staffed by short contract staff - too scared in trying to keep there own jobs then really help (trust me I've been on both sides of this) The whole system is designed to confuse, demotivate, delay and penalise clients. 2) Secondly try living on benefits for an extended amount of time, no wonder most claimants are in massive debt.
As for disability benefits its a nightmare. Hostility from Joe Public because they are brain washed by Government propaganda and media lies. I have Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus, cerebal palsy (from birth) and now arthritis in my feet and over the last 18months my condition has crashed and I've had to ask for more help like a carer and a rise in DLA (includeing mobility, blue badge etc) - I've at many furious arguements and lost "friends" who cos of the popular myth believe ALL disabled people are fakes. That is with the exception of ex forces injured who why other disabled are "scum" they are "heroes" (further divide and rule and deserving and undeserving poor from the Neo-liberal parties).


Last edited by KnarkyBadger on Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Ivan on Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:26 pm

nobody in the US would receive $50,000 in housing allowance. So now add onto that unemployment benefit, job seekers allowance, tax credits, council tax credits, child benefits for unlimited numbers of children, free healthcare and you can start to see why the system has failed. Successive governments have been instrumental in creating a culture of welfare dependency and for too many of these people it makes no financial sense to seek or undertake employment.
blueturando. I’m amazed that you’ve got the neck to post such dishonest garbage, peddling the same bloody lies as Osborne and others as this country descends quite rapidly into fascism. This forum is not going to be used to spread Tory hatred and the demonisation of one group in society - my conscience won’t allow that - and any similar lies in future will be deleted on sight. Clearly you’re just as brainwashed as those people in Germany who soaked up Nazi propaganda about the Jews.

The only reason that somebody (one family probably) was awarded £50,000 in housing benefit in a year was because they were living and working in London, where rents are ridiculous. Cameron himself is raking in £72,000 a year renting out his house in Notting Hill, while he sponges off the state in Downing Street, so he’s not likely to do anything about exorbitant rents, is he?

None of this housing benefit goes into the pocket of the tenants, all of it goes to the greedy landlords. Why don’t you get this the right way round and demand that rents are controlled? In effect, the ‘benefit scrounger’ is the private landlord. Of course if Thatcher hadn’t sold off much of the public housing and stopped councils from building new properties, the supply/demand ratio wouldn’t have become distorted. Before you ask why didn’t Labour build some more council houses – though as a Thatcher-lover I’m sure you wouldn’t have supported that – firstly, you’ve got to find the land in central London, secondly you’ve got to have a compliant local council, and thirdly, what’s the point of Labour building new houses just for the Tories to sell them in the future as bribes for votes?

There isn’t “a culture of welfare dependency”, that's just another tired old Tory cliche. There’s a chronic shortage of jobs (especially full-time ones), which this government has exacerbated by its culling of the public sector. Anyone who takes a part-time job will probably need welfare to survive.

93% of new housing benefit claims over the past two years have been made by employed people, as squeezed workers seek help with their living costs. How many sources would you like to refute that lie?

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/memo-cameron-93-new-housing-benefit-claimants-are-work

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/majority-of-new-housing-benefit-claimants-in-work/6521183.article?PageNo=2&SortOrder=dateadded&PageSize=10

So that makes nonsense of your claim that people on housing benefit are receiving JSA. If their employers are paying them lousy pay, they may well have had their wages topped up by working tax credits, which are in effect a subsidy to the employer. I’ll ignore your cheap jibe about “unlimited numbers of children”. Just remember that multimillionaire Cameron claimed DLA for his disabled son, but has now stopped many other less well off people from receiving it.

Please stick to posting the truth in future. This forum doesn’t exist for the re-hashing of Tory lies and prejudices, we have the Daily Mail for that purpose.

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Ivan on Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:26 pm

Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits? When we say we're all in this together, we speak for that worker.” (George Osborne, 08.10.12)

While Osborne is trying to spread hatred and wants the working poor to turn against the unemployed poor, let’s look at the truth about people on benefits.

Before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy regarding our house rules on copyright, the following article is reproduced in full only because the source specifically gives permission that it can be shared:-

Mythbuster: Tall tales about welfare reform. Ben Baumberg, Kate Bell and Declan Gaffney tackle some of the most common welfare myths.

Welfare reform is almost inevitably contentious. Answering the question of who should receive how much financial support relies on often competing conceptions of fairness, with rival views about who needs, and who deserves, our help, not to mention the most just and efficient way of providing it. These issues are worth debating – but the current debate is being conducted on shoddy terms. Myths and stereotypes abound. These serve not only to unfairly stigmatise claimants, but to obscure the questions we might want to answer about how best the state can provide support to people who need it.

Myth: There is a major problem of “families where generations have never worked”.

Reality: The academics Paul Gregg and Lindsay MacMillan looked at the Labour Force Survey, the large-scale survey of households from which we get most of our statistics about who’s in work. In households with two or more generations of working age, there were only 0.3% where neither generation had ever worked. In a third of these, the member of the younger generation had been out of work for less than a year.

When they looked at longer-term data, they found that only 1% of sons in the families they tracked had never worked by the time they were 29. What’s more, while sons whose fathers had experienced unemployment were more likely to be unemployed, this only applied where there were few jobs in the local labour market. So “inter-generational worklessness” is much more likely to be explained by a lack of jobs than a lack of a “work ethic”.

Myth: Most benefits spending goes to unemployed people of working age.

Reality: The largest element of social security expenditure (42%) goes to pensioners. Housing benefit accounts for 20%; 15% goes on children, through child benefit and child tax credit; 8% on disability living allowance, which helps disabled people (both in and out of work) with extra costs; 4% on employment and support allowance to those who cannot work due to sickness or disability; 4% on income support, mainly for single parents, carers and some disabled people; 3% on jobseeker’s allowance; and 2% on carer’s allowance and maternity pay, leaving 2% on other benefits.

Myth: Benefit fraud is high and increasing.

Reality: The latest Department for Work and Pensions estimates show that in 2011/12 just 0.7% of benefit expenditure was overpaid due to fraud, including a 2.8% fraud rate for jobseeker’s allowance and a mere 0.3% for incapacity benefits. Even if we put together fraud with ‘customer error’ – people who are not entitled to benefits but not deliberately defrauding the state – the rate of false claims is 3.4% for JSA and 1.2% for incapacity benefit.

The claim that benefit fraud is increasing is similarly false. Because there have been changes in how fraud has been calculated over time, we have to look at combined fraud and 'customer error' for JSA and income support. This declined from 9.4% to 4.8% of spending from 1997/98 to 2004/05, and has since stayed roughly flat.

Myth: Couples on benefits are better off if they split up.

Reality: This one has recently been comprehensively disproved by research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which concluded: “The simplest question that can be asked in testing the couple penalty is: does the benefits system provide a different proportion of a family’s daily living needs if they live together and if they live apart? The clear answer from the calculations in this paper is no. The benefits system provides very similar living standards to families living together and apart.”

Research in 2009 for the Department for Work and Pensions looked at whether different benefit systems had any impact on people’s decisions about whether to stay together or not. They concluded that “on balance, the reviewed literature shows that there is no consistent and robust evidence to support claims that the welfare system has a significant impact upon family structure.”

Myth: The welfare bill has ballooned out of control.

Reality: This government has repeatedly claimed that welfare expenditure grew unsustainably under Labour. In fact, total expenditure on welfare was 11.6% of GDP in 1996/97; under Labour it averaged 10.7% up to the crash. Afterwards benefits for children and working age adults rose from an average 4.9% of GDP up to 2007/08 to 6%. This is what you would expect during a recession.

Myth: Most benefit claims are long term.

Reality: This government persistently frames benefit claimants as “languishing in dependency”. So how much of the benefit caseload is long-term? It depends whether you count people at a single point in time or look at people moving on and off benefits over a period. The numbers paint a completely different picture. For example, in 2008, some 75% of incapacity benefit claimants had been receiving the benefit for more than five years, and only 13% for less than one year. But over the period 2003–8, only 37% were long-term while 38% were on benefit for less than a year. So if you count claimants at just one point in time, as the government tends to do, you will overestimate how much of the caseload is long-term – and underestimate how many people move on and off benefits over time.

Myth: Social security benefits are too generous.

Reality: Out of work benefit levels fall well below income standards based on detailed research into what ordinary people think should go into a minimum household budget. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that while pensioners do in fact receive 100% of what people think they need, a single adult of working age receives 40% of the weekly minimum income standard and a couple with two children receives 62% of the weekly minimum.

Myth: Most people who claim disability benefits could be working.

Reality: There are two main kinds of disability benefits: disability living allowance (to cover the extra costs of disability) and employment and support allowance (income replacement for those not in employment). The most basic misunderstanding is that the latter is only for people who are “completely incapable of work”. The welfare reformer Sidney Webb commented in 1914 – in the midst of one of many previous panics about “true disability” – that the only people who could do no work at all were “literally unconscious or asleep”. The question is whether suitable jobs exist, and whether these people would be able to get them.

Once we understand this, three problems face us. First, just because we’re living longer doesn’t mean we’re in better health; improved medical care means that many people born with impairments or suffering traumatic injuries are able to live longer. Second, jobs are in some ways worse than in the early 1990s: people have to work harder and have less control over their job, which makes it more difficult for people with health problems to stay in work. And while we now have anti-discrimination legislation, this only forces employers to make “reasonable” adjustments; the evidence not only suggests these are often limited, but that employers are less willing to employ disabled people as a result.

Finally, many of the people claiming incapacity benefits are people with low employability in areas of few jobs. These are the very employers who are less likely to make adjustments. Some people end up in a situation where they are not fit enough to do the jobs they can get, but can’t get the jobs they can do. Completely incapable of work? Not necessarily. Penalised for their disability by a labour market that has no place for them? Definitely.

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/mythbuster-welfare-reform/

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:46 pm

If the "Universal Benefit" appears on the Statute in the way it has been described, Employers will effectively be receiving a subsidy from the government because it enables lower wages to be offered.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:58 pm

If the "Universal Benefit" appears on the Statute in the way it has been described, Employers will effectively be receiving a subsidy from the government because it enables lower wages to be offered.

I've been saying this for a long time.

Low wages are essentially an invitation for wage subsidies from the government. In other words, when wages are low, the company profits and the worker suffers. The worker has no other choice than to turn to the government for help. Instead of the cost of labor coming from the company itself, as it should, it comes from the government and the taxpaying citizens. If a working person qualifies for government benefits while the company makes a profit, then welfare and benefits for the worker are nothing less than a government subsidy -- corporate welfare as opposed to individual welfare. The government and the taxpayers are paying a percentage of the overhead cost any business incurs so that the company can maximize profits instead of paying a fair wage.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by tlttf on Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:37 am

Don't the profits add value to the shares which in turn are bought by pension funds which in turn pay towards pensions bought by working people?

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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:27 pm

tlttf wrote:Don't the profits add value to the shares which in turn are bought by pension funds which in turn pay towards pensions bought by working people?

That's a similar argument to the one that says we should eat only bread, because our preference for fattening animals intended for human consumption is a wasteful use of grain.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by Shirina on Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:53 pm

Don't the profits add value to the shares which in turn are bought by pension funds which in turn pay towards pensions bought by working people?
Yes, profits do add value to the company's stocks, which is precisely why wages are kept low and layoffs frequent. Each person hired by a company negatively impacts the value of that company's stock since wages cuts into profits, and cutting into profits decreases the value of the company's stock. This creates a bogus system that breeds unemployment and low wages. Hiring more workers SHOULD be an indicator of a successful, growing business, but it's not. It's all about the shareholders, not the worker, and the average worker can't afford to take their hard-earned wages to the big gambling casino we call Wall Street.
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

Post by willingsniper on Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:28 pm

What good will your pension do you if you are laid off to keep profits high?
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Re: The politics of envy and its causes

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