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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 07:34 PM   #61
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

Why the hot debate? Oh same ol' I know I'm right and you're wrong attitude
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 07:48 PM   #62
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by Martha
Yes, life isn't fair and I deal with that on a regular basis.* I say let us try to make it more fair.* *That is what civilization is all about.*

I also do not necessarily buy that our system is the best.* We still lag in a number of quality of life factors, and our lifespan does not lead the world.* Research is showing class mobility is stagnating and is lagging behind Scandinavia and European countries.
How far should we swing the pendulum? * If you want to quit working and start creating bad art, should tax payers buy your bad art so you can follow your passion? * Should we have incentives for being lazy? * I know lots of smart and capable Europeans, but I also know a few who feel a strong sense of entitlement and have no qualms about having the government support them simply because they find work too stressful.

I'd like to see some distribution of wealth, and for the underclass to be better supported than they are in the US, and I'd probably even like to see a merit-based subsidy for starving artists, but there has to a systematic disincentive to become a parasite, and a systematic incentive to bootstrap yourself to become self-sustaining.

How about this -- contribute to society or go to prison. * In prison, you'll get free board, free food, exercise, socialization, and even a library, but you lose your freedom and you have to do something mindless like make license plates. * *Nobody starves, nobody is homeless, and you have a strong incentive to contribute.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 07:55 PM   #63
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by Martha
*

I also do not necessarily buy that our system is the best.* We still lag in a number of quality of life factors, and our lifespan does not lead the world.* Research is showing class mobility is stagnating and is lagging behind Scandinavia and European countries.
I don't necessarily buy that "our system is the best" either. I think it was the best when we were founded (talking the political set-up
here). What we have now bears little resemblance to what we started
out with. BTW, leading the world in "lifespan" is not necessarily such
a wonderful thing IMHO.

JG
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 08:58 PM   #64
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by wab
How about this -- contribute to society or go to prison work in a cubicle. * In prison the cubicle, you'll get free board, free food, exercise, socialization, and even a library, but you lose your freedom and you have to do something mindless like make license plates. * *Nobody starves, nobody is homeless, and you have a strong incentive to contribute.
Sorry about the editorial license, Wab, but I wondered how this would read if I replaced one penurious concept with another...
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 09:03 PM   #65
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by ((^+^)) SG
Yrs to go:

I don't feel like you are discussing the same issues others are raising.* Instead, you have consistently misinterpreted what others post, then argue against that misinterpretation.* You seem to have missed the points of most of the posts and to be angry about something.* Sorry if I contributed to your discomfort.* *
Please provide some examples of how I'm misinterpreting people. If anything, I 've provided quotes that support my interpretations. Enlighten me please.

PS.* I'm not angry
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-15-2005, 09:21 PM   #66
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by Nords
Sorry about the editorial license, Wab, but I wondered how this would read if I replaced one penurious concept with another...
I think you're onto something here. There can be more than one level of prison. Many of us here recently escaped the broadest level. And, if fact, if you are economically desperate or mentally ill, there's an excellent chance that you'll end up in our traditional prison, so we already have the nobody-starves "utopia" I described.

So, in my new utopia, I propose that we simply add another level of prison. Voluntary confinement + government work program (a la Roosevelt's WPA). What do you think? Anybody want to nominate me for a Nobel?
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 06:01 AM   #67
 
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go



Now which position do you think is more fitting of that description?

1)* My position . . .

Or

2)* Your position . . .
Here is something you will probably not understand, which I will try to explain by way of your example. In the example cited here, the two positions are not mutually exclusive re being dogmatic. Two positions can both be dogmatic -- one being dogmatic does not mean that the other is not. Both views could be dogmatic, or neither, or one and not the other.

Generally, social situations present a continuum, where the optimal point is not at either extreme, "Capitalism" v "socialiam" is an example (BTW -- "socialism" and egalitarianism are not necessarily the same things). Life is not binary, it is not black and white. Black and white thinking is the surest contraindicator for wisdom. Your broad, sweeping, overconfident statement is black and white, and dogmatic.

HH
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 06:10 AM   #68
 
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by wildcat
Why the hot debate?* Oh same ol' I know I'm right and you're wrong attitude*
ERs and ER wannabees are geezers by nature (me, too, certainly) whatever their age. Thus, the attitudes . . .

HH
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 07:03 AM   #69
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by ProfHaroldHill

Here is something you will probably not understand

Your broad, sweeping, overconfident statement is black and white, and dogmatic.

HH
Yup, I'm too dimwitted to understand any of that.

Incidentally, "more fitting" does not imply mutually exclusive.

Furthermore, the following statement does not preclude many possible social constructs along a continuum that allow people the freedom to pursue their own self interests. The Black and White lable is of your design, not mine.

"History has taught over and over again that the greatest good to the greatest number is achieved by individuals who are free to pursue their own self interest and reap the rewards of their efforts."

So it would seem to me that your "analysis" misses the mark by a wide margin - although that is probably just because I don't understand all your big words.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 07:37 AM   #70
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

HMMM

Curmudgeon - that's the word I like.

If things are slow - I'm willing to take both sides of - an er ah 'discussion' - if it will 'stimulate' an entertaining debate.

Heh heh heh heh.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 08:56 AM   #71
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by ProfHaroldHill
ERs and ER wannabees are geezers by nature (me, too, certainly) whatever their age.* Thus, the attitudes . . .

HH
Well HH, God knows I like to "mix it up". It's more fun
if your opposite number has something to say. Anyway, I agree with the gist of your post.

JG
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 09:13 AM   #72
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by wab
I think you're onto something here.* *There can be more than one level of prison.* *Many of us here recently escaped the broadest level.* *And, if fact, if you are economically desperate or mentally ill, there's an excellent chance that you'll end up in our traditional prison, so we already have the nobody-starves "utopia" I described.

So, in my new utopia, I propose that we simply add another level of prison.* *Voluntary confinement + government work program (a la Roosevelt's WPA).* *What do you think?* *Anybody want to nominate me for a Nobel?
I think the prize will have to wait, but you're a thinker. I will give you that

JG
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 09:35 AM   #73
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go


"History has taught over and over again that the greatest good to the greatest number is achieved by individuals who are free to pursue their own self interest and reap the rewards of their efforts."

I am not sure this is the case. I am not even sure we have a sample of a society where individuals were allowed to pursue their own self interest without restriction. Instead, because we are a society, various restrictions are put into place. Can't murder people for their stuff. Can't have slaves. Must pay a minimum wage. Etc.

I think it is reasonable and good for society to have safety nets. As the Professor said, the choice doesn't have to be back or white.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 10:13 AM   #74
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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I am not sure this is the case.* *I am not even sure we have a sample of a society where individuals were allowed to pursue their own self interest without restriction.* Instead, because we are a society, various restrictions are put into place.* Can't murder people for their stuff.* Can't have slaves. Must pay a minimum wage.* Etc.*

I think it is reasonable and good for society to have safety nets.* *As the Professor said,* the choice doesn't have to be back or white.

Sigh.* Somehow I've found myself defending anarchy.* *:

Try as I might, I don't seem to be able to find anywhere in this thread where I supported some "black" world view where murder and slavery were okay.* I guess because I didn't specifically say "I believe a society should not tolerate murder, slavery, stealing, torture, Boston winning another world series, child pornography, etc., etc." that you and the Professor were free to infer all of these things into my comments.* Fair enough - I guess.

However, I never thought my point was all that radical or difficult to understand - so I'll try again.

If you take the view that "all" or "most" of a person's success or failure is attributable to "luck" rather than personal choice and effort then you undermine the very basis for a society based on merit.* If someone's success is entirely a function of factors beyond their control, as the Professor suggests, than a capitalist system is patently, if not grotesquely, unfair.* Because the "successful" are rich by no virtue of their own, and the "unsuccessful" are comparatively poorer through no fault of their own, then it seems perfectly reasonable for a just society to redistribute wealth to correct this flaw.*

TO BE CLEAR, I am not saying that ANYONE here has put forward the conclusions in the preceding paragraph as their own personal beliefs!* I'm simply pointing out a logical conclusion to be drawn from the statement that "luck is the 'overwhelming' factor in determining a person's level of success."*

Note.* Whether the US system is, or is not, a meritocracy is completely besides my point.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 11:56 AM   #75
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

From a personal perspective, I'm okay with 90/10 split of capitalism/socialism (swag)...

Practically speaking, too many people want the govt to be a nanny...

Capital can react to changing circumstances faster than labor, so unemployment insurance, educational benefits, and temporary assistance like food stamps and AFDC seem a reasonable compromise to pure capitalism. But, the key word is TEMPORARY. It's probably better to get the pain over sooner, rather than later, sort of like removing an adhesive bandage.

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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 02:31 PM   #76
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

Alright, let's look at this self-interest = greatest good idea. What we really mean by self-interest here is relatively short-term interest in accumulating wealth, right?

So, if your idea of "greatest good" means the greatest consumption of natural resources, production of the most STUFF, and building a culture around STUFF and consumption, then this is spot-on.

Anybody who has been to a country where the people are friendlier, deeper thinking, more respectful of the environment, have cozier homes, town centers where you can walk to just about anywhere and interact with people, better tasting food, more interesting architecture, etc might simply have a different defintion of "good."

It all depends on what you're trying to optimize for.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 02:47 PM   #77
 
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Alright, let's look at this self-interest = greatest good idea.* *What we really mean by self-interest here is relatively short-term interest in accumulating wealth, right?

So, if your idea of "greatest good" means the greatest consumption of natural resources, production of the most STUFF, and building a culture around STUFF and consumption, then this is spot-on.

Anybody who has been to a country where the people are friendlier, deeper thinking, more respectful of the environment, have cozier homes, town centers where you can walk to just about anywhere and interact with people, better tasting food, more interesting architecture, etc might simply have a different defintion of "good."

It all depends on what you're trying to optimize for.
" ....cultures that place a high level of importance on money tend to have lower levels of well being. This inverse relationship also holds true at the individual level -- the more materialistic a person is, the less happpy he or she is." From "Satisfaction" by Gregory Burns, MD, PhD (Henry Holt, 2005)
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-16-2005, 03:46 PM   #78
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go

. . .
If you take the view that "all" or "most" of a person's success or failure is attributable to "luck" rather than personal choice and effort then you undermine the very basis for a society based on merit.* . . .
I don't believe that this statement is true. Most of the world is born outside the United States. Their birth place is certainly not merit based. That single piece of luck may have more to do with their ultimate success than anything else they will be able to do. That does not mean their life won't be better if they are persistent and focused on trying to improve themselves. They still benefit from trying to achieve merit.

The luck vs merit case is made strongly by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that clearly show that upward mobility is rare. Most people achieve about the same level of economic success as their parents. Unless you believe that your birth economic class is based on your own merit, I don't know how else to interpret this data. But knowing that luck is a critical factor does not keep me from trying to be an exception. Nor can I simply accept my fate and stop trying or I may fall in economic status.
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-17-2005, 09:13 AM   #79
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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I don't believe that this statement is true.* Most of the world is born outside the United States.*
Bad luck, man, being born outside the U.S. is bad luck. * We have it so good here, and I am so thankful (lucky?) that I was born here.* I believe that anyone can have a middle-class living in the U.S. by doing the following things:* (1)* get a high school education; (2) get and stay married and (3) get a job and keep working.* The qualifiers to the above are mental and physical health, of course, and I would add one more, LBYM.* One of the reasons I believe this is I was poor.* But I did the three (college degree, though), and am not rich but sure as hell ain't poor no more.* And, if you really LBYM, and invest 10% or more, you too can retire early.*
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy
Old 10-17-2005, 01:54 PM   #80
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Re: ER - the Rational Response to a world going crazy

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Bad luck, man, being born outside the U.S. is bad luck. We have it so good here, and I am so thankful (lucky?) that I was born here. I believe that anyone can have a middle-class living in the U.S. by doing the following things: (1) get a high school education; (2) get and stay married and (3) get a job and keep working. The qualifiers to the above are mental and physical health, of course, and I would add one more, LBYM. One of the reasons I believe this is I was poor. But I did the three (college degree, though), and am not rich but sure as hell ain't poor no more. And, if you really LBYM, and invest 10% or more, you too can retire early.
I'm in general agreement with Eagle above, except you can skate on numero 2 and still get away with it. I didn't find Mr's Right until my late 30's and the 3rd try. Without dwelling on the pain & agony, not to mention the lost opportunities to save for ER, I still get to join the team next year at a reasonable age. (50)

We make our own luck to a great extent, at least we put ourselves in a position to benefit for what "fate" has in store, and what our ultimate "destiny" will be. My career ended up being something entirely removed from my "What do you want to be when you grow up list?" yet I never doubted that I would be moderately successful at whatever I applied myself to. I never felt poor although looking back at the numbers I was certainly on the edge, but on the plus side I never experienced unemployement, so I always had some money coming in, and therefore had that food/shelter thing covered. We are all given opportunities, it's what we make of them that matters. I was never particularly ambitious, always pretty conservative in money matters, and I'm convinced that now that I'm about to start part 2 of my life, it's served me well, and will continue to serve me well in ER. Here goes, almost...
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