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  1. 21 Sep '14 23:59
    _Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America_ by Linda Tirado is a white
    American woman's account of her experiences close to poverty.

    Here's an extract from her book:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

    "Poor people don't plan long-term. We'll just get our hearts broken."
    --Linda Tirado

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-interview

    "Linda Tirado: 'It was insane. I got 20,000 E-mails in a week.'"
  2. 22 Sep '14 00:45
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    _Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America_ by Linda Tirado is a white
    American woman's account of her experiences close to poverty.

    Here's an extract from her book:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

    "Poor people don't plan long-term. We'll just get our hearts broken."
    --Linda Tirado

    h ...[text shortened]... erty-hand-to-mouth-interview

    "Linda Tirado: 'It was insane. I got 20,000 E-mails in a week.'"
    "Poor people don't plan long-term. We'll just get our hearts broken."

    Partial explanation right there. Often immigrants who are also poor and have the disadvantage of not speaking the native language do plan, and it works. Many government programs designed to help the poor actually discourage them from planning and working their way out of poverty.

    Another thing from her excerpt is the matter of having two children she may not be able to afford. Good at least is that she married, but holding off on breeding is one of the best ways of getting out of poverty. Failing to plan, however, is guaranteed failure every time.
  3. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Sep '14 09:45
    Easy to get distracted into debating symptoms instead of causes. Poverty induces characteristic ways of thinking that are certainly destructive but it is a mistake to infer that they are the cause of the poverty. This writer does not advocate that people should not plan. She describes and explains how it arises that people in poverty may fail to plan, what the subjective feelings are that lie behind that mindset. There is a vast difference.

    Similarly, there is a lot of difference in the circumstances of a new immigrant compared with someone born into poverty, even though superficially they may be neighbours.

    Criticising the poor for having children is an old device. Having had a family of my own, I would suggest that only the affluent can actually "afford" to have children. For a great many families, children introduce them to hardship and society - in the UK at least - can be incredibly unsupportive. Even the notion that women should defer having babies until they are secure overlooks their biological need to have them while young. Having babies in your thirties always was and still is hazardous. In so far as having children is part of our nature, then the demand that people in poverty not have children is barbaric and the failure of society to provide effective support for parents and children is shameful, especially in affluent societies.

    In general the theme Americans and neoliberals love to repeat is the positive thinking one - that all we must do is work hard and keep smiling. Meanwhile we entertain an economy in which wealth and income is siphoned away from all but the wealthy and opportunity is increasingly inherited rather than earned.

    Poverty is built into the capitalist economic model. It is not the fault of the poor. Wealthy nations have more than sufficient resources to ameliorate poverty and their governments and economic elites choose not to.
  4. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    22 Sep '14 13:51 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Easy to get distracted into debating symptoms instead of causes. Poverty induces characteristic ways of thinking that are certainly destructive but it is a mistake to infer that they are the cause of the poverty. This writer does not advocate that people should not plan. She describes and explains how it arises that people in poverty may fail to plan, what ...[text shortened]... ficient resources to ameliorate poverty and their governments and economic elites choose not to.
    "Fault" is such a strange word to be using in the context of economic policy discussions. Fault is irrelevant. The goal of any economic system must be to allow the most people the most opportunity. Economists and philosophers can argue about the best way to accomplish this until the cows come home, but that singular goal remains.

    ===Meanwhile we entertain an economy in which wealth and income is siphoned away from all but the wealthy and opportunity is increasingly inherited rather than earned.===

    I really don't mean to generalize here, but one tendency I've noticed of socialists is that they often speak about economic well being as a zero sum game. It is not. I'm not a Randian or a neo-liberal, but one person's acquiring wealth doesn't require another person's losing it. When more goods and services are demanded and produced, the standard of living for all increases. Yes, economic growth can be distributed more or less equally, but wealth for the rich doesn't have to be siphoned off from the poor. It can grow at the same time as does wealth for the poor.
  5. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Sep '14 18:15
    Originally posted by sh76
    "Fault" is such a strange word to be using in the context of economic policy discussions. Fault is irrelevant. The goal of any economic system must be to allow the most people the most opportunity. Economists and philosophers can argue about the best way to accomplish this until the cows come home, but that singular goal remains.

    ===Meanwhile we entertain a ...[text shortened]... have to be siphoned off from the poor. It can grow at the same time as does wealth for the poor.
    Whether it's a non-zero sum game or not depends on what is happening in the economy. During the good times then, I agree, everyone can make gains. The problem is that capitalist economies go into crises. During a recession what tends to happen is that the richest in our society are able to protect their wealth, at the expense of those less fortunate.

    I'd have to dig around for a reference for this, but during the last (current) recession in the UK the top 1% actually increased their wealth - at the expense of the bottom 99%.
  6. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Sep '14 18:50
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Whether it's a non-zero sum game or not depends on what is happening in the economy. During the good times then, I agree, everyone can make gains. The problem is that capitalist economies go into crises. During a recession what tends to happen is that the richest in our society are able to protect their wealth, at the expense of those less fortunate. ...[text shortened]... cession in the UK the top 1% actually increased their wealth - at the expense of the bottom 99%.
    It is a zero sum game. Your desire not to be told this requires a dedicated avoidance of reality.

    Since the end of the Seventies, everyone did not benefit during the good times. Only the top ten percent benefit from economic prosperity. Of course, in the bad times, the risk and the cost is carried by everyone except the top 1%.

    The evidence is plentiful that inequality directly harms everyone in countless ways. Try reading The spirit Level as the most popular display of the relevant information.
  7. 22 Sep '14 18:51
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Whether it's a non-zero sum game or not depends on what is happening in the economy.
    No, it doesn't. It's never a zero-sum game regardless of whether government economic policy is effective or not.
  8. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Sep '14 19:06
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    No, it doesn't. It's never a zero-sum game regardless of whether government economic policy is effective or not.
    It is a zero sum game. Read Capital in the 21st Century by Piketty,
  9. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Sep '14 19:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    It is a zero sum game. Your desire not to be told this requires a dedicated avoidance of reality.

    Since the end of the Seventies, everyone did not benefit during the good times. Only the top ten percent benefit from economic prosperity. Of course, in the bad times, the risk and the cost is carried by everyone except the top 1%.

    The evidence is ple ...[text shortened]... less ways. Try reading The spirit Level as the most popular display of the relevant information.
    You finished your paragraph with the sentence: "Your desire not to be told this requires a dedicated avoidance of reality.". I suggest you save this kind of rhetoric for the Right.

    If the economy grows then there are more resources available. This stops it being a zero sum game. The claim that only the top 10% have benefited from growth since the end of the seventies is evidence of increasing inequality, it is not evidence that the economy has become a zero sum game. It would only be zero sum if the economy had flat-lined after adjustment for inflation.

    I agree with the first sentence of your final paragraph.
  10. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Sep '14 19:18
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    No, it doesn't. It's never a zero-sum game regardless of whether government economic policy is effective or not.
    In 2008 UK GDP fell by several percent. That year it was a negative sum game.
  11. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    22 Sep '14 19:20
    Originally posted by finnegan
    It is a zero sum game. Read Capital in the 21st Century by Piketty,
    Alluding to your favorite think tank book is not a substitute for anything. Surely you wouldn't impressed if I dismissively told you to go read Atlas Shrugged.

    Pinpointing the 1970's as an arbitrary baseline from which to manufacture a result you can criticize does not establish the inviolability of your philosophy. At most, it expresses one manifestation of a danger of capitalist systems.

    Capitalist economic philosophies created a society in which the "average electrician, air-conditioning mechanic, or burglar-alarm repairman lived a life that would have made the Sun King blink." (Tom Wolfe, Hooking Up) Socialist economic philosophies have created... well, you know.
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    22 Sep '14 19:24
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    In 2008 UK GDP fell by several percent. That year it was a negative sum game.
    No, it wasn't. That a loss occurs in a game doesn't mean the game is zero or negative sum It just means the game was lost during that year.

    From the point of view of casino guests:

    Poker played solely among the guests is a zero sum game. For every dollar gained by one player, another guest has to lose it.

    Blackjack is not a zero sum game. If the dealer busts, everyone at the table who didn't bust wins.

    If you add the House into the equation, blackjack also becomes a zero sum game.

    An economy can grow, it can hold or it can contract. There is no rule that for you to become richer, I have to become poorer. We can both become richer. We can all become richer. It may not always turn out that way, but the game itself does not require an equal and opposite loser for every winner, as does a zero sum game.
  13. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Sep '14 19:51
    Originally posted by sh76
    No, it wasn't. That a loss occurs in a game doesn't mean the game is zero or negative sum It just means the game was lost during that year.

    From the point of view of casino guests:

    Poker played solely among the guests is a zero sum game. For every dollar gained by one player, another guest has to lose it.

    Blackjack is not a zero sum game. If the dealer ...[text shortened]... e itself does not require an equal and opposite loser for every winner, as does a zero sum game.
    I think all you've identified is a difference in language. I'm using zero sum to refer to the difference in resources this year to last year. The game is how they are shared out. You are referring to the overall capability of the economy to grow, so the game includes production. Finnegan possibly has a different meaning, it's up to him to state what it is if he's so inclined.
  14. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Sep '14 19:59 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    Alluding to your favorite think tank book is not a substitute for anything. Surely you wouldn't impressed if I dismissively told you to go read Atlas Shrugged.

    Pinpointing the 1970's as an arbitrary baseline from which to manufacture a result you can criticize does not establish the inviolability of your philosophy. At most, it expresses one manifestation of ...[text shortened]... blink." (Tom Wolfe, Hooking Up) Socialist economic philosophies have created... well, you know.
    Surely you wouldn't impressed if I dismissively told you to go read Atlas Shrugged.
    I could debate Atlas Shrugged if that seemed relevant and worth the effort, as I have discussed Ayn Rand with normbenign in the past - I have even read her nonsense and have it on my shelves for reference, though in the fear it may spontaneously combust one dark night. I wonder though if you could discuss with me the far more competent proponent of Egoism, Max Stirner? Look him up. It is perfectly reasonable to refer in debate to well known and distinctive sources on any topic. Those unwilling to read The Spirit Level or Capital in the 21st Century (say) have access to reasonable summaries and reviews on the net, including their preferred ideological commentary but in all honesty, these are very mainstream and widely read books on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The 1970s is not an arbitrary baseline. It marks the point in our history when the elections of Reagan and Thatcher respectively introduced the neoliberal agenda into its dominant role, displacing the highly successful social democratic political model of the post war decades, dismantling the regulatory systems by which our economies had been protected since the Great Depression, and putting in place mechanisms by which to transfer a growing proportion of wealth from the middle classes (the bottom 50% having little enough of it not to matter) to the very rich.
  15. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Sep '14 20:18
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    No, it doesn't. It's never a zero-sum game regardless of whether government economic policy is effective or not.
    DEFINITION OF 'ZERO-SUM GAME'
    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. A zero-sum game may have as few as two players, or millions of participants. Zero-sum games are found in game theory, but are less common than non-zero sum games. Poker and gambling are popular examples of zero-sum games since the sum of the amounts won by some players equals the combined losses of the others. So are games like chess and tennis, where there is one winner and one loser. ...

    When this says "the net change in wealth or benefit is zero"it is referring to the context of a game. In the real economy, a lot more variables operate. So on the one hand, the economy may decline or grow, which alters if you like the size of the cake to be shared. The evidence here is that a growing cake does not benefit everyone equally or even at all. Many people in the lower income groups are no better off. Indeed, since the Eighties that has been so even for middle income groups. On the other hand, this is a distraction from the underlying reality that the wealthy are creaming off a growing share of the cake at the expense of the rest. For example, companies improve profitability by withdrawing benefits from employees, but that increased profitability is then stolen in executive remuneration. So the economy is a zero sum game in the correct sense, that the rich benefit at the expense of the rest, they do not simply enjoy a proportionate increase in their giant size piece of cake.