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Thoughts on the consequences of individual credit

csbrown28

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In 1980 the amount of credit debt carried per person (in inflation adjusted 2010 dollars) was about $58,000, today it's about $185,000 per person. That's $57 trillion dollars in total US consumer debt in 2010 (Source: The Fed).

To me the borrowing of money is a mixed bag of positive and negative consequences (mostly negative).

The first thing that strikes me is the reason that most people oppose minimum wage increases. People cite increased inflation and the increased price levels caused if you put more money into the hands of people at the bottom. The irony of that position is that raising minimum wage, in fact, does not create inflation in the traditional sense as the money to pay the increase does not come from adding new money to the money supply (thus no decrease in the value of the dollar). Since inflation is an increase in the money supply relative to goods and services, then it's not inflation in the traditional sense. Conversely, the issuance of credit to individuals from Fed member banks, does increase inflation as each loan increases the total supply of money in the economy. You may be tempted to remind me that the loan is usually offset by increases productivity, I would in turn remind you that in many cases the productivity comes before the loan, not the other way around.

In contrast paying additional wages to those at the bottom can in some cases result in higher prices (somewhere between 0.1 and 0.4% depending on the study you want to beleive) caused by an increase in demand as more money is available to minimum wage workers. This is called "demand pull inflation", but any increase in prices is offset by the increased demand it creates, which in turn can offset potential hour cuts and layoffs due to higher demand for goods and services. The effect of demand pull inflation depends on what our productive capacity is as a nation. Clearly with high unemployment rates and capital resources idle, some demand pull inflation would be healthy for the economy. Demand pull inflation only becomes an issue once the country reaches a level of "healthy" productive capacity. Continuing policies after this point would be counter productive, something the LBJ learned in the late 60's.


Which leads me to my next point, credit taken as consumer debt has increased sharply over the last 30 years, while at the same time salaries and wealth of the top most wage earners have been increasing. Is this just coincidence? I don't think so.

The result of so much wealth moving to the top creates a vacuum of money in the productive economy. The bottom 80% of America makes 40% of the income in the US and controls less than 20% of it's wealth and if you remove the home as a source of wealth the amount controlled by the bottom 20% drops to under 9%. Think about that, while the economy is inflated with new dollar creation, either from government programs like QE or corporate and/ or private borrowing, the result is still a shortage or money in the productive economy where 80% of us live and work. A sort of deflation for everyday people, while the overall economy is inflated. So if the amount of money at the bottom is shrinking, why don't we see the effects? The answer is that new credit is making up the gap. It's hiding the lack of money in the everyday economy that most of us live and work in. Hiding the fact that an ever increasing portion of the total amount of money is being consolidated into fewer and fewer hands. The Forbes 400 make up just .00035% of the total number of people in the US, but control about the same wealth as the bottom 50% (160,000,000) of US citizens.

So whatever your ideology, left or right, our system is failing. Money cannot move strictly from bottom to the top. It will not and cannot work. The quantity of money available, not just in absolute dollars over the entire system, but in the parts of the economy that most of us live in work must be adequate or the economy stalls. Making up for it with credit increases only encourages inflation and creates an unsustainable credit economy.

At the end of the day it comes down to this. As a greater and greater share of the total amount of money continues to fall into the hands of fewer and fewer people, no amount of jobs or investment will overcome the lack of money at the bottom. In other words, the system has worked in the past because people have disposable income, the share that is left over after essentials are paid for for the majority of the country is shrinking.

As a greater number of people fall into poverty they will be ineligible to take loans for cars and homes and this will stall the economy. This will expose the problem for what it is. People will start to understand that without money creation out of thin air, the system (as it works now) will not work. It's not that there isn't enough money, it's that too much of that money is in the hands of too few people and those few people do not spend or invest enough of that money into the everyday economy to keep everyone else employed.

How do we ensure that money captured at the top is available to re-earn by those in the bottom 90% of society?

We can (and have) taxed it...

We could increase minimum wages...

We could overhaul the banking system...

We could change the way money is created...

We could make investment mandatory...

Thoughts?
 

joko104

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35 years of inflation is a long time. I would guess a large share of that increase is in relation to mortgage payment increases in relation to house prices and rent increases. In addition, the #1 "consumer" debt now is college loans, a category of debt that virtually didn't exist in 1980. Iin don't think it is people making the minimum wage that are the ones in debt nor do I see how it has much to do with banks - unless you are arguing banks shouldn't loan so much money.
 

joko104

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The system is failing primarily because zippy pinhead white liberals decided to shut down American industry and manufacturing in the 1970s and 80s, and continue to do so. Politicians and those same zippy pinheads think the solution is just different ways of shuffling a dwindling supply of actual national wealth - regardless of the pretend-values of paper money and IOUs to pay IOUs to pay IOUs the government writes itself and creditors of this country.

It is notable that NOTHING on your list even hints at expanding national wealth, increasing jobs, restoring manufacturing - rather just the liberal mantra of how to fairly divide up money via government mandates. JOBS and PRODUCTION are entirely irrelevant in your view and in Washington DC.
 

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ImageP and I went through reports of a study done in Canada of wage increases in North America. The report itself was not online. It is the only clear credible study I could ever find on the effects of minimum wage increases, and based on the reporting of it, a $10.00 minimum wage increase right now today would have no appreciable impact on inflation. The problems or at least concerns are who would be adversely effected the most by such an increase. It is still going to be a bigger issue for small businesses I think. I am not sure looking at the aggregate alone is the proper political course, though it certainly is viable economically.

As for the other stuff, you could just eliminate credits, deductions and deferment schemes that disproportionately benefit the top 1% or 5% without making drastic changes with unknown effects.
 

JP Hochbaum

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The private sector has been forced into debt in order for the economy to grow more in the last 30 years than at anytime in recent history.

sectoral_balances1.jpg
 

Fisher

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The private sector has been forced into debt in order for the economy to grow more in the last 30 years than at anytime in recent history.

View attachment 67151164
Other than perhaps uncontrolled tuition increases, how else have they been "forced" into debt against their will?
 

specklebang

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Do you realize that trillions of fiat dollars have been created over the last 25 years? That's a lot of money!

If it hadn't gone to the top 1%, we would have massive inflation. The 1% can only trickle, not flood. Therefore, the 1% has saved us from complete disruption.

Can you imagine an America where everyone could afford a Lexus? A cup of coffee would be $20.

In short, the system is working very well for most people. Sure. there are those in the bottom 1% that don't have a pot or a window. But most of us are somewhere in-between and coffee is still less than $2 (except at Starbucks).
 

JP Hochbaum

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Other than perhaps uncontrolled tuition increases, how else have they been "forced" into debt against their will?
I never made such a claim. I said in order for the economy to grow the private sector was forced into deficit for that to happen. There was no individual doing anything against their will. WHat I posted was just an aggregate observance.
 

csbrown28

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It is notable that NOTHING on your list even hints at expanding national wealth
If wealth is an abundance of valuable possessions or money, how exactly does one get there?

increasing jobs
You seem to have missed the entire point of what I wrote, you can't "increase jobs" unless there is a demand for those jobs. With more than 50% of the nation living paycheck to paycheck, there isn't enough disposable income. That's where credit comes in, to many people are using credit (credit cards, equity lines of credit, "cash for titles") to make purchases beyond necessities. Can't you see how borrowing money from banks who have created the money out of thin air, is the real problem?

restoring manufacturing
Again, it's a nice idea, but you can repeat this worn out line all you want, you have to show that manufacturing in America is profitable, we won't have manufacturing. We can't compete with China (and other countries) on wages (nor would we want to), so we have to invest in infrastructure, to offset high costs of labor, invest in lower cost energy solutions like wind, oh, but wait, that would be Socialist. Dam.....

rather just the liberal mantra of how to fairly divide up money via government mandates.
I don't care how you accomplish preventing money from pooling at the top, just as long as you understand that it's not economically viable.

JOBS and PRODUCTION are entirely irrelevant in your view and in Washington DC.
This is just another Fox News style meme. It's great thing to say, but jobs aren't things we want into existence, they come about where there is increased demand. The demand comes BEFORE the job. No business "creates" a job and the job created creates demand. It works the other way around. With so little money in the hands of the bottom 50-80% (because so much of it is in the hands for the top 10%) after necessities are paid for, they (the bottom 80%) either don't spend, and be responsible, or put it on credit, which increases inflation and exacerbates the problem.
 

csbrown28

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Do you realize that trillions of fiat dollars have been created over the last 25 years? That's a lot of money!

If it hadn't gone to the top 1%, we would have massive inflation.
Holy crap dude..Seriously that statement is Not even wrong - RationalWiki

Please, do your homework and come back when you can add something to this conversation.
 

specklebang

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You get an A in Caustic Criticism. Congratulations. I was overstating my casere for entertainment purposes but that doesn't mean that I am incorrect.

Has a lot of new wealth been created in the last 25 years? Was I wrong about that? Was my $25T shot in the dark too high, too low or what?

Has at least a great deal of this gone to small sector of society? Is there a billionaire shortage? How about multi-millionaires? That's not a criticism of these accumulations, it's part of my point.

If we had an enforced redistribution of wealth so everybody had exactly the same amount of money, don't you think that would be inflationary?

So instead of being snarky to me, why don't you disprove my statement, allowing a little leeway for the ! parts. Thank you.





Holy crap dude..Seriously that statement is Not even wrong - RationalWiki

Please, do your homework and come back when you can add something to this conversation.
 

csbrown28

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You get an A in Caustic Criticism. Congratulations. I was overstating my casere for entertainment purposes but that doesn't mean that I am incorrect.

Has a lot of new wealth been created in the last 25 years? Was I wrong about that? Was my $25T shot in the dark too high, too low or what?

Has at least a great deal of this gone to small sector of society? Is there a billionaire shortage? How about multi-millionaires? That's not a criticism of these accumulations, it's part of my point.

If we had an enforced redistribution of wealth so everybody had exactly the same amount of money, don't you think that would be inflationary?

So instead of being snarky to me, why don't you disprove my statement, allowing a little leeway for the ! parts. Thank you.
Ok it was late, I was tired and grumpy and my comment was uncalled for. You have my sincere apology.

Let me see if I can explain....Again, I'm sorry for being a royal (insert chosen insult).....

I'm putting a response together and will have it to you shortly.....
 

imagep

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Isn't the amount of debt equal to the amount lent?

And isn't debt and lending a mechanism of the free market to redistribute money from people who have more than they need, to people who have less than they need?

So if that's true, then wouldn't the increasing amount of debt and lending indicate an increasing amount of mal-distribution of income and wealth?
 

imagep

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Do you realize that trillions of fiat dollars have been created over the last 25 years? That's a lot of money!

If it hadn't gone to the top 1%, we would have massive inflation. The 1% can only trickle, not flood. Therefore, the 1% has saved us from complete disruption.

Can you imagine an America where everyone could afford a Lexus? A cup of coffee would be $20.

In short, the system is working very well for most people. Sure. there are those in the bottom 1% that don't have a pot or a window. But most of us are somewhere in-between and coffee is still less than $2 (except at Starbucks).
Maybe if it hadn't gone to the top 1%, it would have gone to the 99%, who would have used that money to spend and save and avoid debt. And instead of inflation driven by too much money, we would have had increased production to match demand, which would have put more people to work, increased wages due to companies having to compete harder for employees, lowered the cost of production due to economy of scale and price competition, and the the guberment would have spent less on unemployment and welfare, which would have resulted in lower budget deficits. And if companies were producing and selling more stuff, then wouldn't they be more profitable?

I'm just saying that we are all just speculating here with the "what if's". Everyone has their own version of "what if", can't prove that any are right or wrong as they are all based upon assumptions.
 

specklebang

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Everything we post is speculation. The best we can offer is non-partisan, thoughtful analysis and discussion. I'm out for the morning but I'll respond in greater detail later today.



Maybe if it hadn't gone to the top 1%, it would have gone to the 99%, who would have used that money to spend and save and avoid debt. And instead of inflation driven by too much money, we would have had increased production to match demand, which would have put more people to work, increased wages due to companies having to compete harder for employees, lowered the cost of production due to economy of scale and price competition, and the the guberment would have spent less on unemployment and welfare, which would have resulted in lower budget deficits. And if companies were producing and selling more stuff, then wouldn't they be more profitable?

I'm just saying that we are all just speculating here with the "what if's". Everyone has their own version of "what if", can't prove that any are right or wrong as they are all based upon assumptions.
 

csbrown28

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You get an A in Caustic Criticism. Congratulations. I was overstating my casere for entertainment purposes but that doesn't mean that I am incorrect.

Has a lot of new wealth been created in the last 25 years? Was I wrong about that? Was my $25T shot in the dark too high, too low or what?

Has at least a great deal of this gone to small sector of society? Is there a billionaire shortage? How about multi-millionaires? That's not a criticism of these accumulations, it's part of my point.

If we had an enforced redistribution of wealth so everybody had exactly the same amount of money, don't you think that would be inflationary?

So instead of being snarky to me, why don't you disprove my statement, allowing a little leeway for the ! parts. Thank you.

Let’s address your claim…..

If it hadn't gone to the top 1%, we would have massive inflation. The 1% can only trickle, not flood. Therefore, the 1% has saved us from complete disruption.



Let’s start with a few basics:

First, inflation is a value that is determined relative to other values before the results can be quantified.

Some of the values that must be known before you can determine the effect of inflation:

  • Prices
  • Wages
  • Quantity of money

It also helps to know productive capacity and unemployment in some cases as well.

There are lots more things that effect inflation, but to keep it simple I’ll start with these.

Some kinds of inflation cause prices to rise and aggregate demand to fall, called cost-push inflation, other kinds of inflation cause prices to rise and cause aggregate demand to rise, called demand pull inflation.

Prices rising, generally speaking is a bad thing, but if prices rising are followed by increases in aggregate demand, then GDP rises it can, under specific circumstances, be a good thing. If demand pushes prices higher and there is labor and productive capacity available to meet that demand, then it is a good thing, because it puts people back to work and factories can utilize equipment that has(already) been purchased but is sitting idle. This is called demand-pull inflation.

Demand pull Inf.jpg

If you look at the chart above, you’ll note that from P to P1 indicates an increase in the price level accompanied by an increase in rGDP from Y to Y1.

This is possible because an increase in disposable income was made available somewhere in the economy. It can be falling taxes, it can be increased wages, it can be changes in import/ export levels, but the point is, this can be a good thing if the country has excessive unused productive capacity, both in labor and equipment.
In the case of a higher minimum wage, though prices may rise (as indicated on the chart) so will demand which in turn will cause increases in supply. This is possible in the current economy because unemployment is high (historically speaking), there is an excess of labor available and since we are still recovering from the great recession, there is also an excess of equipment that is unused and is able to meet the excess demand.

If you had a trucking company and 20% of your trucks were parked unused, you are paying for the trucks, but they aren’t producing. If demand rises and is followed by an increase in supply, then the need for transportation rises. As the owner of a company, you hire more people (decreasing unemployment) and put your idle trucks to use.
This is a win-win and what would happen in our current climate if minimum wage was increased.


In the case of cost-push inflation. This is triggered by higher prices in the economy. Perhaps there is an oil shortage, food prices soar, there is a huge recession triggered by a housing bubble that causes high rates of unemployment. This would cause prices to rise, but because, in this case, inflation has impacted the amount of extra money a family has after the bills are paid, people have less money to spend. This causes a decrease in aggregate demand. This puts people out of work and the cycle continues until things come back into equilibrium.

AS-cost-shock.jpg

Note the difference in this chart. Prices have risen, but unlike demand pull inflation, increasing prices have caused a decrease in aggregate demand resulting in reduced GDP.

The wealthy have been extracting wealth from the productive economy and moving to the top 1%. Now to fully understand what I’m talking about, I offer the following…..

Capture.JPG

This chart represents what people think the income distribution is, what they think it should be and what it really is.
The top bar shows just how distorted people’s perceptions are and how messed up our economy is….

Shown another way…..

Capture2.jpg

This graph shows in more detail the disparity. The little guy in black at the end, he represents the 1%. The 1%b control 40% of all the wealth and earn 25% of all the income (including capital gains). They are 3.1 million people (out of 311 million). His line is so tall it has to be shown in 10 rows that’s 9 times higher than those in the 99%.
They have increased their share of the wealth since the early 70’s by almost 100% and their share of the income by almost 200%.

Think about that, they have extracted wealth from the 99% below them, with much of it coming from the bottom 2/3rds.
They aren't “preventing inflation”, they have caused selective deflation with the majority of the country feeling the effects.
Moving some of this money into the lower quintiles of the economy would indeed cause some inflation, but it would be productive inflation as it would put people back to work, it would increase salaries at all levels because as people are hired the labor pool shrinks, there is more competition on the parts of companies to hire the most qualified people.
 

grip

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In 1980 the amount of credit debt carried per person (in inflation adjusted 2010 dollars) was about $58,000, today it's about $185,000 per person. That's $57 trillion dollars in total US consumer debt in 2010 (Source: The Fed).

To me the borrowing of money is a mixed bag of positive and negative consequences (mostly negative).

The first thing that strikes me is the reason that most people oppose minimum wage increases. People cite increased inflation and the increased price levels caused if you put more money into the hands of people at the bottom. The irony of that position is that raising minimum wage, in fact, does not create inflation in the traditional sense as the money to pay the increase does not come from adding new money to the money supply (thus no decrease in the value of the dollar). Since inflation is an increase in the money supply relative to goods and services, then it's not inflation in the traditional sense. Conversely, the issuance of credit to individuals from Fed member banks, does increase inflation as each loan increases the total supply of money in the economy. You may be tempted to remind me that the loan is usually offset by increases productivity, I would in turn remind you that in many cases the productivity comes before the loan, not the other way around.

In contrast paying additional wages to those at the bottom can in some cases result in higher prices (somewhere between 0.1 and 0.4% depending on the study you want to beleive) caused by an increase in demand as more money is available to minimum wage workers. This is called "demand pull inflation", but any increase in prices is offset by the increased demand it creates, which in turn can offset potential hour cuts and layoffs due to higher demand for goods and services. The effect of demand pull inflation depends on what our productive capacity is as a nation. Clearly with high unemployment rates and capital resources idle, some demand pull inflation would be healthy for the economy. Demand pull inflation only becomes an issue once the country reaches a level of "healthy" productive capacity. Continuing policies after this point would be counter productive, something the LBJ learned in the late 60's.


Which leads me to my next point, credit taken as consumer debt has increased sharply over the last 30 years, while at the same time salaries and wealth of the top most wage earners have been increasing. Is this just coincidence? I don't think so.

The result of so much wealth moving to the top creates a vacuum of money in the productive economy. The bottom 80% of America makes 40% of the income in the US and controls less than 20% of it's wealth and if you remove the home as a source of wealth the amount controlled by the bottom 20% drops to under 9%. Think about that, while the economy is inflated with new dollar creation, either from government programs like QE or corporate and/ or private borrowing, the result is still a shortage or money in the productive economy where 80% of us live and work. A sort of deflation for everyday people, while the overall economy is inflated. So if the amount of money at the bottom is shrinking, why don't we see the effects? The answer is that new credit is making up the gap. It's hiding the lack of money in the everyday economy that most of us live and work in. Hiding the fact that an ever increasing portion of the total amount of money is being consolidated into fewer and fewer hands. The Forbes 400 make up just .00035% of the total number of people in the US, but control about the same wealth as the bottom 50% (160,000,000) of US citizens.

So whatever your ideology, left or right, our system is failing. Money cannot move strictly from bottom to the top. It will not and cannot work. The quantity of money available, not just in absolute dollars over the entire system, but in the parts of the economy that most of us live in work must be adequate or the economy stalls. Making up for it with credit increases only encourages inflation and creates an unsustainable credit economy.

At the end of the day it comes down to this. As a greater and greater share of the total amount of money continues to fall into the hands of fewer and fewer people, no amount of jobs or investment will overcome the lack of money at the bottom. In other words, the system has worked in the past because people have disposable income, the share that is left over after essentials are paid for for the majority of the country is shrinking.

As a greater number of people fall into poverty they will be ineligible to take loans for cars and homes and this will stall the economy. This will expose the problem for what it is. People will start to understand that without money creation out of thin air, the system (as it works now) will not work. It's not that there isn't enough money, it's that too much of that money is in the hands of too few people and those few people do not spend or invest enough of that money into the everyday economy to keep everyone else employed.

How do we ensure that money captured at the top is available to re-earn by those in the bottom 90% of society?

We can (and have) taxed it...

We could increase minimum wages...

We could overhaul the banking system...

We could change the way money is created...

We could make investment mandatory...

Thoughts?
The problem isn't with just the amount of available money or credit but the ability to distribute it more evenly within society thru a sustainable growth pattern. There has been a shift in production to overseas and technology replacing jobs. We can't keep increasing the population and immigration, while depleting the employment base. We need a revamped economic model to balance the financial system with the emerging, labor replacing technologies and limited natural resources.

It's a multifaceted cultural situation, not merely an economic equation that can be solved.
 

csbrown28

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The problem isn't with just the amount of available money or credit but the ability to distribute it more evenly within society thru a sustainable growth pattern. There has been a shift in production to overseas and technology replacing jobs. We can't keep increasing the population and immigration, while depleting the employment base. We need a revamped economic model to balance the financial system with the emerging, labor replacing technologies and limited natural resources.

It's a multifaceted cultural situation, not merely an economic equation that can be solved.
I would agree that culture plays a big part and the solution isn't purely an economic one. I've given a lot of thought about how corporate ethics and morality have taken a backseat to profits, why that is, and what the causes and effects are. The problem is, unlike economics (which is more of a problem to be solved), the topic of culture, morality and ethics is a *bit* more nebulous and would be difficult to achieve consensus in a group of like minded people, never mind the wide range or political ideologies we have here.

Again...I think you make a good point.
 

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Think about that, they have extracted wealth from the 99% below them,
Why are you using words like extraction? Why not call it what it technically is? Earnings? voluntary agreements that resulted in them building wealth? Etc. Also, who gives a **** that people are ignorant about wealth distribution when we have ****ing GOOGLE to tell us what it is in like 0.02 seconds. If anything that is exactly the issue, people are way too woefully ignorant about every day things that a liberal would then claim is somehow indicative of...of what? OF THEIR IGNORANCE. That's all it shows. If you REALLY want to point fingers, why hasn't public education you know...educated them? Remember that this top 1% is income earnings. People move up to that 1%, and right back down (once they retire or if they lose their job). It is not solely this mysterious class of ivory tower people. It's over a million households, and primarily in the big cities that you know...have big business that provides good jobs and opportunity. Do you really think the rural person in east-jesus should magically be earning as much as a New York broker? Good gods.
I'm just saying that we are all just speculating here with the "what if's". Everyone has their own version of "what if", can't prove that any are right or wrong as they are all based upon assumptions.
The one thing that is not an assumption though is that when government forced citizens to do something against their will, it's a violation of their individual liberty.

If economics is largely as partisan as everything else, all finger pointing and based on such and such a premise, none of which is a hard science, then at the end of the day you better err on the side of non-interference because it's individuals expressing freedom. To take that away through law or tax or otherwise, is NOT an assumption, it's a clear negative for the person experiencing it.
 
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grip

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I would agree that culture plays a big part and the solution isn't purely an economic one. I've given a lot of thought about how corporate ethics and morality have taken a backseat to profits, why that is, and what the causes and effects are. The problem is, unlike economics (which is more of a problem to be solved), the topic of culture, morality and ethics is a *bit* more nebulous and would be difficult to achieve consensus in a group of like minded people, never mind the wide range or political ideologies we have here.

Again...I think you make a good point.
Economically the world will evolve into what it's going to be and we're not going to change human nature. But we can help shape the transition by approaching the situation from a realistic concern for all mitigating factors, especially ones that we can positively affect. Saying mega corporations are greedy or that the lower classes are lazy is simple labeling that doesn't accomplish anything we can improve.
 

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Villiage Idiot
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... The one thing that is not an assumption though is that when government forced citizens to do something against their will, it's a violation of their individual liberty.
Sure. Like when the guberment makes us get a drivers license before we are allowed to drive, or bans alcohol for those under 21, or outlaws honor killings, or has any taxes at all. There's really no difference, "we the people" determine what our social standards are. it's a trade off that we all have to deal with. Don't like it, then move, or work to change the system, or just do whatever you like and expect to deal with the consequences.
 

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Villiage Idiot
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Economically the world will evolve into what it's going to be and we're not going to change human nature. But we can help shape the transition by approaching the situation from a realistic concern for all mitigating factors, especially ones that we can positively affect. Saying mega corporations are greedy or that the lower classes are lazy is simple labeling that doesn't accomplish anything we can improve.
But by placing certain restrictions on "mega corporations", or maybe even busting them up with anti-trust laws or whatnot, we are guiding and shaping our transition into the next economy, whatever it may happen to look like. There are also steps we can take to reduce "lazy lower classes".

I believe that we actually have almost full control of our futures, our world economy can look however we chose it to look, pretty much just like a painter can make a painting look however he/she wants it to look, given enough skill and effort and hard work of course.
 

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Economically the world will evolve into what it's going to be and we're not going to change human nature.
What was human nature up to the point that the Constitution was written? I mean the idea that certain rights weren't granted to you by anyone and therefore couldn't be taken away. The Constitution helped shape the evolution of human society. Not because it was True, but because it created an idea, a concept that enough people believed and still believe. The reality is that your belief in the idea of inalienable rights is meaningless in a culture that doesn't share your values. I don't think the Constitution is True, I think that it is the best practical framework for society to this point. So in that sense, I support it, and want it to be true.

So respectfully I will disagree, I think you can shape the human social evolution through the practical application and management of incentives. What I see now is an incentive system that, is harming the people that belong to the societies that should be promoting the health of the greatest number of people. I'm not advocating "socialism", or dragging the wealthy out into the streets so we can blame them for being wealthy. I'm just saying that I'm open to systems of incentives that make for a healthier society that more people benefit from, while at the same time remembering that we live in a world of competing societies.

Saying mega corporations are greedy or that the lower classes are lazy is simple labeling that doesn't accomplish anything we can improve.
I'm just curious, did I say that? I think the OP looks at the effect of a specific cause. Too much money is moving into the hands of too few people and the practical implications of the system that we now exist within. I'm not making a judgement of the people that are profiting from the system simply because they can. If I could I would, I'm not a hypocrite, however, I can make judgements of the individuals based on their actions. I'd like to think that I would advocate the same positions I advocate now, even if I had billions of dollars.
 
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