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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    02 Apr '10 05:53
    I ignored this article because of the title. It's actually about 'happiness research' not about the actress:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/opinion/30brooks.html?src=me&ref=general

    "The United States is much richer than it was 50 years ago, but this has produced no measurable increase in overall happiness. On the other hand, it has become a much more unequal country, but this inequality doesn’t seem to have reduced national happiness."

    So does this mean:

    a) Don't worry about inequality since it doesn't increase unhappiness, or,

    b) Go ahead and tax the rich like crazy because they won't be any less happy with less money.

    Interesting fuel for both sides of the debate.

    I've made this sort of argument before in these forums -- that wealth imbalances are not a huge deal in a capitalist society because the "rising tide that lifts all boats" more than meets most everyone's needs. On the other hand, I don't agree with taxing the rich out of proportion on principle because I see no reason to punish someone for success when they have played by the same rules (i.e. everyone had the same chance to get there; they just happened to have better skill, better luck, etc.)
  2. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 06:06 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    So does this mean:

    a) Don't worry about inequality since it doesn't increase unhappiness, or,

    b) Go ahead and tax the rich like crazy because they won't be any less happy with less money.
    Is it a given that the purpose of government is to increase happiness?
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 06:07
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    I don't agree with taxing the rich out of proportion on principle because I see no reason to punish someone for success when they have played by the same rules (i.e. everyone had the same chance to get there; they just happened to have better skill, better luck, etc.)
    Everyone had the same chance to get there? You are joking, of course?
  4. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    02 Apr '10 06:42
    Originally posted by FMF
    Everyone had the same chance to get there? You are joking, of course?
    Sure.

    I'm a lineal descendant of Sir Richard Arkwright (my seven times great grandfather) who was an industrialist and in the late 1700's one of the wealthiest men in England. But I never saw a penny of that money. The money trail petered out several generations back -- primogeniture, etc.

    Just my luck!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Arkwright
  5. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    02 Apr '10 06:46
    Originally posted by FMF
    Is it a given that the purpose of government is to increase happiness?
    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    So it is phrased as avoiding things that cause unhappiness...
  6. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 07:41
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    So [the constitution] is phrased as avoiding things that cause [b]unhappiness...[/b][/b]
    And THAT's how you claim the purpose of government is to to increase "happiness"?
  7. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 07:44
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Sure.
    Poor social mobility figures, that have been declining for a generation or more, and apparently set to decline in the future, contradict your assertion. The personal anecdote you offer is facetious.
  8. 02 Apr '10 11:22
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Sure.

    I'm a lineal descendant of Sir Richard Arkwright (my seven times great grandfather) who was an industrialist and in the late 1700's one of the wealthiest men in England. But I never saw a penny of that money. The money trail petered out several generations back -- primogeniture, etc.

    Just my luck!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Arkwright
    "Father of the industrial revolution"!!
    Fascinating reading about Sir Richard Arkwright ,you must be very proud of him .
    In the north west of England { Manchester ,Preston etc] Arkwright is quite a common name , you might have a few more relatives than you think
  9. 02 Apr '10 12:38
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    I ignored this article because of the title. It's actually about 'happiness research' not about the actress:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/opinion/30brooks.html?src=me&ref=general

    "The United States is much richer than it was 50 years ago, but this has produced no measurable increase in overall happiness. On the other hand, it has become a muc ...[text shortened]... me chance to get there; they just happened to have better skill, better luck, etc.)
    Perhaps the increase in wealth and technology increased happiness, while greater inequality decreased it. Wouldn't that make more sense than the suggestion that both don't matter?
  10. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    02 Apr '10 13:47 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    I ignored this article because of the title. It's actually about 'happiness research' not about the actress:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/opinion/30brooks.html?src=me&ref=general

    "The United States is much richer than it was 50 years ago, but this has produced no measurable increase in overall happiness. On the other hand, it has become a muc me chance to get there; they just happened to have better skill, better luck, etc.)
    I don't buy the concept of "happiness research." Well, maybe for amusement, but as a driver of social policy? No, thanks.

    People claim to be unhappy in surveys largely based on what the media tells them they ought to feel. A couple of hundred years ago, if you had food on the table and shelter over your head, you probably would have claimed to be happy.

    Today, the various media we're constantly bombarded with are constantly telling us that we shouldn't be happy if we don't have the very latest gizmo that the Jobs machine has just cranked out or if we're not completely fulfilling all of our sexual fantasies all the time.

    In today's western society, we are richer, healthier, live longer, have more access to creature comforts than ever before. But, we're told to worry more and we're told that we can't possibly be happy by politicians and profiteers who want to exploit the innate human greed for more, more, MORE! We're told such banal canards as that we're victims of predatory banks if we're in debt, that the IRS is out to get us, that we're unsafe if we drive cars whose faulty component might cause one death per ten million and that terrorists, who have killed a few thousand people in a decade, are a threat to our lives and our families and, oh, of course, that we always "deserve" more than we have.

    So, we claim to be unhappy. And, you know what? Maybe be are; but it sure as heck is not based on poor government policy or income inequality.
  11. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    02 Apr '10 13:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't buy the concept of "happiness research." Well, maybe for amusement, but as a driver of social policy? No, thanks.

    People claim to be unhappy in surveys largely based on what the media tells them they ought to feel. A couple of hundred years ago, if you had food on the table and shelter over your head, you probably would have claimed to be happy.

    are; but it sure as heck is not based on poor government policy or income inequality.
    I think you're right on most of what you say, but...

    Satisfying one's sexual fantasies is a very big thing, so please don't knock it!
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    02 Apr '10 13:52
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    I think you're right on most, but...

    Satisfying one's sexual fantasies is a very big thing, so please don't knock it!
  13. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 14:35
    Originally posted by sh76
    the various media we're constantly bombarded with are constantly telling us that we shouldn't be happy [.] if we're not completely fulfilling all of our sexual fantasies all the time.
    Sexual fantasies are complex things and numerous too. I've never claimed that ALL of mine are satisfied by my activity here at RHP. Complete fulfillment results, in fact, from visiting SEVERAL web sites.
  14. 02 Apr '10 14:44
    Originally posted by FMF
    Sexual fantasies are complex things and numerous too. I've never claimed that ALL of mine are satisfied by my activity here at RHP. Complete fulfillment results, in fact, from visiting SEVERAL web sites.
    Links ?
  15. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Apr '10 14:53
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    Links ?
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