Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 07:02
    Here's a back of a fag packet topic on this steamy equatorial Christmas afternoon.

    Pretty much everyone who posts here regularly is a "capitalist" of some kind, degree or hue, with a few notable exceptions.

    It's been interesting to note of late:

    (1) several "capitalist" posters - middle class ones, I would contend, judging by their ability to pay for their RHP subscriptions - suggested that the working poor should not be aspiring to owning their own houses. Too much hassle. 'Leave it to the middle class to worry about', some seemed to be saying.

    (2) a recent thread on comparative social mobility showed that the U.S. has been overtaken by several other countries - despite tatty anecdotes about black sportsmen and rags-to-riches pop stars - and, indeed, prospects for social mobility are looking grim [as are the implications for the much vaunted - but increasingly unapparent - 'American Dream']

    (3) according to wikipedia, as of a few years ago in the U.S., 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth, the top 1% controlled 38%, and the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.

    So there we have it. The U.S. is cited most often by posters as the most "capitalist" economy in the world (or at least as the most hefty "capitalism" based economy).

    So how about the above as an indicator? Give or take a few percentage points:

    >>> 10% of the population owns 71% of the nation's wealth
    >>> the top 1% controls 38%
    >>> the bottom 40% owns less than 1%


    Are these 'good figures'? Is this "success"? How would "ideal" figures be different?

    If the U.S. "capitalist" economy were to become even more successful or perhaps even more "capitalistic" than it already is, how would these distribution of wealth data change?

    Obviously I'm not looking for a 'right answer'.

    I am trawling for opinions: are people comfortable with these figures? Uncomfortable? Ambivalent? Sceptical?
  2. 25 Dec '09 07:17
    Originally posted by FMF
    Here's a back of a fag packet topic on this steamy equatorial Christmas afternoon.

    Pretty much everyone who posts here regularly is a "capitalist" of some kind, degree or hue, with a few notable exceptions.

    It's been interesting to note of late:

    (1) several "capitalist" posters - middle class ones, I would contend, judging by their ability to pay for th ...[text shortened]... mfortable with these figures? Uncomfortable? Ambivalent? Sceptical?
    The flaw of course being the assumption that America is capitalist
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 07:20 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by voltaire
    The flaw of course being the assumption that America is capitalist
    Well I use the inverted commas, here and always, for the same reason that perhaps animates your comment. Couldn't you gleen that from the wording of the OP? Perhaps not. Any opinion to share?
  4. 25 Dec '09 07:25
    Originally posted by FMF
    Well I use the inverted commas, here and always, for the same reason that perhaps animates your comment. Couldn't you gleen that from the wording of the OP? Perhaps not. Any opinion to share?
    The quotation marks did nothing to change the fact that you still made the assumption of America being capitalist. I dont really have anything to add since taking away this assumption discredits the meaning of the rest of the post.
  5. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 07:30
    Originally posted by voltaire
    The quotation marks did nothing to change the fact that you still made the assumption of America being capitalist. I dont really have anything to add since taking away this assumption discredits the meaning of the rest of the post.
    Well then, maybe this thread simply isn't for you. Our loss, for sure.
  6. 25 Dec '09 07:31
    Originally posted by FMF
    Well then, maybe this thread simply isn't for you. Our loss, for sure.
    Oh man good use of sarcasm
  7. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    25 Dec '09 09:20
    Originally posted by voltaire
    The quotation marks did nothing to change the fact that you still made the assumption of America being capitalist. I dont really have anything to add since taking away this assumption discredits the meaning of the rest of the post.
    No True Capitalist
  8. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 09:30
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    No True Capitalist
    Indeed. That was effectively conceded in the OP. However, the U.S. is clearly more "capitalistic" in a range of ways than, say, France or Sweden - which tread a path that still harks back in certain ways to more 'mixed economy' models. But that aside, if the U.S. were more "capitalistic" than it (itself) currently is - and if it were to be move towards successful "capitalism", how would one expect these data...

    >>> 10% of the population owns 71% of the nation's wealth
    >>> the top 1% controls 38%
    >>> the bottom 40% owns less than 1%


    ...to change? What would be the anticipated state of equilibrium in terms of wealth distribution?
  9. 25 Dec '09 09:37
    Originally posted by FMF
    What would be the anticipated state of equilibrium in terms of wealth distribution?
    Actually an interesting question. Economic numeric models suggest the wealth distribution would be extremely uneven.

    For me, any "successful" socio-economic model means that people are happy. I don't believe someone who has $1 billion is significantly happier than say, someone who has $100 million (or even $1 million), so clearly a lot of resources are being wasted in the pursuit of happiness by having inadequate redistribution of wealth.
  10. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 09:44
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Actually an interesting question. Economic numeric models suggest the wealth distribution would be extremely uneven.

    For me, any "successful" socio-economic model means that people are happy. I don't believe someone who has $1 billion is significantly happier than say, someone who has $100 million (or even $1 million), so clearly a lot of resources are being wasted in the pursuit of happiness by having inadequate redistribution of wealth.
    What would it be in KazetNagoraWorld...

    >>> Top 10% of the population owns ? % of the nation's wealth
    >>> Top 1% controls ? %
    >>> Bottom 40% owns ? %
  11. 25 Dec '09 09:49
    Originally posted by FMF
    What would it be in KazetNagoraWorld...

    >>> [b]Top 10%
    of the population owns ? % of the nation's wealth
    >>> Top 1% controls ? %
    >>> Bottom 40% owns ? %[/b]
    That's a difficult question. I believe some degree of inequality is required, since productivity plummets if everyone makes the same amount regardless of what they do. The inequality should be large enough as to punish the freeloaders, but not too large as to cause too much waste and deny people opportunities. In terms of a Gini coefficient, I would say about 0.20, i.e. more equality than currently in any country.
  12. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    25 Dec '09 12:09
    Originally posted by FMF
    Here's a back of a fag packet topic on this steamy equatorial Christmas afternoon.

    Pretty much everyone who posts here regularly is a "capitalist" of some kind, degree or hue, with a few notable exceptions.

    It's been interesting to note of late:

    (1) several "capitalist" posters - middle class ones, I would contend, judging by their ability to pay for th ...[text shortened]... mfortable with these figures? Uncomfortable? Ambivalent? Sceptical?
    Capitalism does not naturally distribute wealth evenly. Far from it, capitalism naturally leads to greater and greater concentrations of wealth into fewer and fewer hands. The American middle class of the mid 20th century was not a natural product of capitalism at work, but rather an imposition upon it. The unions interfered with the natural workings of the capitalist system to force a broader distribution of wealth. That was only a temporary setback for the capitalists who have now crushed the unions and sent wages plummeting again. Capitalism is now proceeding once again on its natural course of concentrating more and more wealth into fewer and fewer hands.

    By that measure, the US capitalist system is becoming quite successful in doing what it's designed to do, which is to make a few people fabulously wealthy. Broader distributions of wealth, greater social mobility, a growing middle class, none of these things are natural products of unfettered capitalism. On the contrary, they are impositions upon it, either by government or the unions, to force capitalism into the unnatural state of working toward the betterment of all.
  13. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Dec '09 12:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Capitalism is now proceeding once again on its natural course of concentrating more and more wealth into fewer and fewer hands.
    Do you think it will change in this direction...

    >>> 10% of the population owns 71% > moving up to 75% or 80% ?
    >>> the top 1% controls 38% > moving into the mid-40s% ?
    >>> the bottom 40% owns less than 1% > the 40% figure moving towards 50% and beyond?
  14. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    25 Dec '09 12:27
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do you think it will change in this direction...

    >>> 10% of the population owns 71% > moving up to 75% or 80% ?
    >>> the top 1% controls 38% > moving into the mid-40s% ?
    >>> the bottom 40% owns less than 1% > the 40% figure moving towards 50% and beyond?
    The genius of the capitalist system is that it is self-correcting. It will dole out the minimum necessary to assure its continued dominance. If the workers regain a sense of class consciousness those numbers may be adjusted in their favor. If the capitalist system succeeds in continuing to suppress class consciousness, then the 1% will take whatever they can get away with.
  15. 25 Dec '09 14:29 / 9 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The genius of the capitalist system is that it is self-correcting. It will dole out the minimum necessary to assure its continued dominance. If the workers regain a sense of class consciousness those numbers may be adjusted in their favor. If the capitalist system succeeds in continuing to suppress class consciousness, then the 1% will take whatever they can get away with.
    And did it "self correct" this last go round? No. The government stepped in and bailed out large corporate America and we even see California bailed out by a large corporation. So who needs whose help? This incestuous relationship between socialist form of government and large corporations can be seen in other socialist governments like China, and the model I think the US if following. In fact, socialism cannot survive without large corporations.

    If this current administration was concerned with people being able to pursue the American dream, then they would be helping small business and the ability to create small business which employes up to 2/3 of the work force every year in the US. Instead, they are focused on business that they say are "too big to fail". If these businesses had been allowed to fail, small businesses would have had to picked up the slack at some point. But as it stands now, small business was left out in the cold to survive on their own during brutal economic times. In addition, we are about to see more regulations and taxation that will effect small business such as the new NHC plan and possibly cap and trade. Corporate America will find a way to survive despite these changes, however, more small businesses will go belly up or be discouraged from even forming.

    As was already said, America is far from a capitalist system. We have been gravitating toward the progressive utopia since the turn of the 20th century, as you all well know. From a conttrol freak socialist type of government, it all makes sense. Reduce the level of compitition by favoring large corporations. Then find ways to manipulate these large corporations to do your bidding. It certainly is far easier than controlling a myriad of small businesses. In fact, it is a little too easy if you ask me. The government may not own them on papaer, but they may as well....except for the ones they do own on paper thanks to the last two administrations. LOL!!

    All I can say is, good luck with the elections in 2010 and 2012 with ballooning unemployment!!!