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Inequality

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 04:32
What is cultural evolution?  Don't you "vote" every movie you see, the radio station, worldhistoria.com, etc. etc?  "status quo" can actually be a fluid concept.  Change happens, whether it is noticable or not.  "You cannot step in the same river twice."  Like Glaciers or plate tectonics, change can be very slow, but also irresistable.  Of course, that doesn't mean that things will go the way you want them to.

There is a theory that part of the problem is excessive regulation.  Instead of doing what is good, people just go for following the rules.  Rules don't necessarily make sense, but that is okay, because as long as they're "just following the rules," they feel that they are absolved of responsibility.  It doesn't make sense to give someone with no collateral and no job a home loan, but that's okay, government want more people with home ownership and so we won't think about the ramifications.  From what I understand, the tone of the housing collapse was first set by the Carter administration calling for more home ownership.  I'm sure that nobody else got in the way.  It just took awhile for the chickens to come home to roost.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 05:11
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

What is cultural evolution?  Don't you "vote" every movie you see, the radio station, worldhistoria.com, etc. etc?  "status quo" can actually be a fluid concept.  Change happens, whether it is noticable or not.  "You cannot step in the same river twice."  Like Glaciers or plate tectonics, change can be very slow, but also irresistable.  Of course, that doesn't mean that things will go the way you want them to.

There is a theory that part of the problem is excessive regulation.  Instead of doing what is good, people just go for following the rules.  Rules don't necessarily make sense, but that is okay, because as long as they're "just following the rules," they feel that they are absolved of responsibility.  It doesn't make sense to give someone with no collateral and no job a home loan, but that's okay, government want more people with home ownership and so we won't think about the ramifications.  From what I understand, the tone of the housing collapse was first set by the Carter administration calling for more home ownership.  I'm sure that nobody else got in the way.  It just took awhile for the chickens to come home to roost.

Nice post.

We don't know what cultural evolution is and that is part of the problem.  While we have a good idea of how physical evolution works we have lagged far behind in the social sciences.  

Most all of the scientist I have worked with believe that sociology and psychology are pseudosciences.  They don't hold philosophy in much higher regard and mostly dismiss religion as self induced delusion.  
To rationally control our cultural evolution we first have to understand it, historian could help but most are more concerned with uncovering it than explaining it.

When I look at cultural evolution I see an almost uninterrupted co-evolution of technology and what it means to be human.  The current trend of rejecting science and technology as solutions to humanities problems for me is a rejection on emotional grounds of the nature of our existence.  If we reject sociology and psychology as pseudosciences and rely on philosophy and religion to guide us I feel the consequences will be severely negative.  When I say philosophy and religion I'm not so much talking about the formal traditions but the new wave of ideologies exemplified by environmental marxism and radical liberalism.  


Edited by wolfhnd - 25 Jun 2015 at 05:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 06:19
Sounds like your fellow scientists are probably just technicians.  In Europe, sociology and psychology are more like branches of philosophy.  In America, which is more in love with the statistical and experimental methods, sociology and psychology get "excited" about pretending to be like the "hard" sciences. Economics, the most mathematical of the social sciences, not so much.  Heisenberg lectured on philosophy, I would prefer Heisenberg and Schrodinger to your technicians any day.  I don't know about the religion of major scientists, it is probably all over the map.  Some fit their science into their religion quite well, Jews tend to look at science as being about creation, and you can understand the creator through the creation.  Some keep things quite separate.  It is more of a Protestant thing to think that religion is anti-science or in the case of lapsed Protestantism that science is anti-religion.

You might look at what Plato says about the technology of writing (a story about Thoth and Ra in the last few pages of the Phaedrus), There is a sense in which we are less than we were because of the technology of writing.  I am not sure how much we solve problems, and how much we are just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  But the protests to technology are very old, and you might just go back to the beginning (with Plato).  It's at the beginning that you can try to visualize things differently and if you are successful, ask a new question, and pre-empt the entire tradition.  Or maybe Plato will convince you, he does have a reputation as a pretty smart cookie.
Philosophy is by no means united.  I would suggest that you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Galileo, Descartes and Newton were doing natural philosophy.  Hawking's chair (not the one he gets around in) is in natural philosophy.  A lot of philosophy these days is philosophy of science, explaining better what science is, and how it works.  (Popper, Kuhn come to mind, even Russell to a certain extent).
btw Culture is not something you can totally understand, it is bigger than you, you are not bigger than it, but if you want, you can try.


Edited by franciscosan - 25 Jun 2015 at 06:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 06:59
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Sounds like your fellow scientists are probably just technicians.  In Europe, sociology and psychology are more like branches of philosophy.  In America, which is more in love with the statistical and experimental methods, sociology and psychology get "excited" about pretending to be like the "hard" sciences. Economics, the most mathematical of the social sciences, not so much.  Heisenberg lectured on philosophy, I would prefer Heisenberg and Schrodinger to your technicians any day.  I don't know about the religion of major scientists, it is probably all over the map.  Some fit their science into their religion quite well, Jews tend to look at science as being about creation, and you can understand the creator through the creation.  Some keep things quite separate.  It is more of a Protestant thing to think that religion is anti-science or in the case of lapsed Protestantism that science is anti-religion.

You might look at what Plato says about the technology of writing (a story about Thoth and Ra in the last few pages of the Phaedrus), There is a sense in which we are less than we were because of the technology of writing.  I am not sure how much we solve problems, and how much we are just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  But the protests to technology are very old, and you might just go back to the beginning (with Plato).  It's at the beginning that you can try to visualize things differently and if you are successful, ask a new question, and pre-empt the entire tradition.  Or maybe Plato will convince you, he does have a reputation as a pretty smart cookie.
Philosophy is by no means united.  I would suggest that you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Galileo, Descartes and Newton were doing natural philosophy.  Hawking's chair (not the one he gets around in) is in natural philosophy.  A lot of philosophy these days is philosophy of science, explaining better what science is, and how it works.  (Popper, Kuhn come to mind, even Russell to a certain extent).
btw Culture is not something you can totally understand, it is bigger than you, you are not bigger than it, but if you want, you can try.

We started out so nice then you resort to personal attacks?  "Sounds like your fellow scientists are probably just technicians."  First I'm not a scientist nor a philosopher but the people I was refering to include world class physicists.  Most of the scientist that I know who are working in jobs that everyone would agree was hard science even think Pinker and Dawkins are nothing more than the producers of pop science.  Don't even get me started on how they feel about philosophers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 11:29
Ah, the good old debate over the religion of scientists.
If you want to ask "science" what scientists believe, then the studies have shown that the overwhelming predictor of what a scientist believes is what their parents believe. There is a higher proportion of atheist scientists but this is largely because of the demographics that tend to become university educated scientists.

franciscosan is also spot on when he says that monotheism is embedded into the philosophy of modern science. It's buried under several layers and lots of people will deny it, but if you dig down deep enough you'll realise that the basic assumption is the revealed laws of God are consistent and interrelated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 14:25
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Ah, the good old debate over the religion of scientists.
If you want to ask "science" what scientists believe, then the studies have shown that the overwhelming predictor of what a scientist believes is what their parents believe. There is a higher proportion of atheist scientists but this is largely because of the demographics that tend to become university educated scientists.

franciscosan is also spot on when he says that monotheism is embedded into the philosophy of modern science. It's buried under several layers and lots of people will deny it, but if you dig down deep enough you'll realise that the basic assumption is the revealed laws of God are consistent and interrelated.

Perhaps my point got lost all I was trying to say was that my personal experience is that sociology and psychology are not held in high regard.  Unless you are willing to rely on religion or philosophy as a guide then eliminating sociology and psychology from your bag of tools for social engineering leaves you with not much to go on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 20:43
If they are doing original research then they are scientists, if they are doing procedures that are well established, then I would count them as technicians, applying techniques not inventing them.  This is a distinction that a friend whom I called a scientist told me.  We often use the term "scientist" loosely, but you have a better perspective than I do, about what description your friends match.  I didn't expect to hurt your feelings, you know better what the truth is in this matter, and I thought that would be enough for you.  So don't take it personally if I am wrong, I was just venturing a guess.  For that matter, a technician isn't a bad thing, its just not as exalted in our society as a scientist.
Psychology and Sociology are, in German, called Wissenschaft (the W is pronounced as a V, German nouns are capitalized).  Wissenschaften (pl.) are bodies of knowledge, so chemistry and physics are Wissenschaften, but so is psychology, sociology or history.  It is recognized that each has their techniques and is valid in their own domain.  Part of the problem with sociology and psychology in the US is that they want the kind of validity that physics and chemistry have, but they don't have it.  In psychology or sociology, the object of your study can learn your theories and come to anticipate them, or foil them on either a conscious or unconscious level.  That doesn't happen with rocks, atoms or fruitflies.  It is because sociology and psychology (primarily in the US) pretends to have the validity of the "hard" sciences, that people consider it poorly.  If it didn't pretend (like it doesn't in Europe), and stuck to its own methods, it wouldn't have your problem, it would have an entirely different problem (for you), in that it would be much more of a philosophy.  


Edited by franciscosan - 25 Jun 2015 at 20:44
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Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

What is a cannibis stat?  I mean, I live in a state where it is legal and I don't know what you are talking about.  Of course there is racism.  I don't think that President Obama would have been elected if some people weren't bending over backwards to show that they're "not racist," which in itself is racist.  But that racism has changed over time, for the better.  Next door neighbor to my mom (in "white" suburbia), is a big black dude who rides a Harley and wears skull rings and skull t-shirts (when he rides), my mom thinks he's a big teddy bear.  Look at commercials, they say "black is the new white" (yeah I've heard about that women's prison show, they ripped off the saying.)  Black actors are often used in commercials these days, and they even use them for the dufus parts where the guy doesn't know he could 'save 10%' on insurance, or 'could have had a V8.'  Nobody thinks twice about what race in commercial parts with a black man (actually biracial) in the White House.  Excuse me, the _black_actors_ think twice about it, and I am sure a third time all the way to the bank.  We are still working on racism and that will continue on.  But some of us are working on it by making it an issue, and others by not making it an issue, except when it really is.  As the Republican MLK jr. said, "judge by the content of his character, not the color of his skin."  As far as class is concerned, I thought people knew that WWI showed that people had more loyalty to their nationality than to their class.
lies, damn lies and statistics, I am not sure I should trust your judgment about black youths in upper middle class family, although one thing is that blacks often seem to want to show off the trappings of wealth, while Warren Buffet drives an old pickup.

I am an outside observer which gives me a vantage point no insider can have.

I spent 3 weeks in the US last year and things were not what they seem. Yes there were white waiters serving upper middle class highly educated blacks (it was a high tech industrial town) but it is here where the problem begins. 

The white kids were students at the local university which almost has no Blacks or Latinos (30% of the +3 million people living in the Metro area where I spent the 3 weeks were minorities including a highly visible Indo-Pakistani minority). Indeed there were more people out of state (from their unique accents) than locals. Where were the black and latino kids? In the inner city hanging out with no jobs nor any prospects of future.

I passed through the high school in white suburbia and passed by the inner city high school and the difference is stark. Local Television only covered the activities of the white schools in suburbia as if the inner city and ethnic white neighbourhood schools were on a different planet. I saw with my eyes what white flight means because people in those inner city schools were originally whites working in the factory I visited but moved to suburbia in the 70s to escape integration.

But perhaps the most contrast I saw was in policing. Both poor white ethnic neighbourhood and suburbs as well as Black/Latino* neighbourhoods had similar crime stats in 1990.

By the time I visited crime was visibly low across the board yet police exist in a larger percentage in white suburbia than in minority neighbourhoods where gang activity I was told was still strong. There was organised crime in the area I spent time in (Italian Mafia-Irish Gangs) but it was destroyed in the white areas where drug trade was taken up by black/Latino gangs in the unwatched inner city. However as I witnessed political corruption (in which Italian mafia gangs were complicit as news reports say) was amazingly prevalent (the area I lived was the state capital and it was not in the South).

You probably never thought of that but I saw it. In the area I was in unemployment was 8% yet nearly all the unemployed were black/Latino people. White kids find jobs easily (there is a strong union presence) once they leave school yet I found unemployed black graduates (lost their jobs during the crisis) while their white counterparts found jobs within a year.

As for class, just across the border in another state in a large city where minorities are almost none existent I read reports about a predator judge (elected of course) who prayed on poor white kids (hundreds of them I think) who committed small law violations sending them for lengthy sentences in the newly privatised juvenile detention center owned of course by the rich people in town (the judge was a dirty one) while excusing rich white kids for nearly everything. The state itself (with a low minority rate overall) passed aggressive laws against poor people that in effect re-created debtor's prisons. Not to mention the food stamps crack down and the tax cuts and enforcing eminent domain on farmers to benefit corporations (gas exploration).

This is reality, you simply don't see it because (like my positive experience with the NYPD) it did not happen to you.

* Latinos in the area I was in are relatively new arrivals largely from Puerto Rico and Central America not Mexico.

Al-Jassas  


Edited by Al Jassas - 25 Jun 2015 at 23:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 03:30
You're right, it didn't happen to me, just as my experience doesn't happen to you.  I am sorry to say that I did not learn much from your account, because there is not enough 'texture' for me to grab a hold of it an apply it to what I know.  I live in Colorado, and Colorado is very different from the Eastern US or the Southern US.
They say that in Hollywood (or LA in general), you can tell how the economy is going by how good looking the wait staff is at restaurants.  One thing that white kids "know", is that entry level jobs are going to be there for them only until they get something better.  They don't feel trapped in such a position, same with Asians, same with Jews.  Employees like that type of optimism, even if it might be unwarranted.  I imagine that some blacks feel that such a position as an entry level job is demeaning, and resent it.  They might worry about getting trapped in a dead end job.  I don't necessarily know that that is true, but when one is always being told that one is "disadvantaged," it becomes easy to bear a grudge.  Which comes first, the poor attitude or the lack of a job?  They tend to feed into one another.  And yes people do stereotype, and the question for employers is whether someone starting out has a chip on their shoulder.  That doesn't make it right, but it's the reality that people often take shortcuts instead of getting to know a person personally.
Hispanics around here are very hard working, unskilled labor, but working hard at construction or landscaping for a slightly higher wage.  Those are the ones you see the most, besides Mexican restaurants or Peruvian bakeries.  They are not usually craftsmen because they are largely self-taught and don't have the attention for detail.  Unfortunately in America, the attention is on how quickly it is done, and so no matter what the task is, and who is doing it, they tend to crank it out quickly so they can get to the next job.  If you can find a good craftsman (of any race), they're worth their weight in gold.  

I think that it was David Brooks who noted how little excitement or alarm there is amongst whites, that soon we will be in the minority.  Nobody cares, except some lunatic fringe of white supremacists.  Ho-hum and that is how it should be.  Of course, the definition of "white" might change again, once upon a time, Italians and Irish were not "white," maybe Hispanics will become "white."  Not that it matters much to me. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 03:48
Here is a sociological question for you:  How do you break up those patterns that people always fall into?
How do you teach a black family that if they live in the suburbs, people might not be the friendliest for awhile, but nobody is going to burn a cross on your lawn and hoodlums are not going to be around to tempt your kids (or at least, not the same kind of hoodlum)?  How do you teach the white family that living in the city might be a little more risky, but there are much better cultural outlets in the city?  How do you teach the black family in the city to take advantage of the opportunities there?

Of course, most poverty in the US is rural and white, but the way it is always portrayed is as being black and urban.  Let's have an affirmative action not based on race, but based on need.  Of course, that would mess with the status quo to the benefit of poor whites and poor Asians, and at the cost to black middle class.  But shouldn't the middle class be able to afford college anyways? and merit scholarships should available to everyone who qualifies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 06:56
I agree with most of Al Jassas observations but you have to ask why can't Palestinians integrate into Israeli society or why the problems in Northern Ireland continue and the obvious answer is that people have come to hate each other.  There are no rational answers to irrational problems.

franciscosan  is absolute right that attitudes are the number one barrier to equal opportunity in the U.S. .  Some people will say that pointing out the obvious is a waste of time but I disagree.  There is too little focus on how self inflicted negative attitudes are an impoverishment all their own.  You only need to study concentration camps to see how attitude effects survival rates to realize how much we have to learn about controlling our own destiny.  Just as we need to make better thinking tools viral we need to do the same with positive attitudes.  

We can explore how psychology can be used to negate some aspects of inequality.  The better measure of poverty is happiness not material wealth and no amount of income equality based on relative poverty measures will resolve it.  Economic inequality however cannot be neglected for political and economic reasons related to stability and security.

Nutrition and the lack of universal health care may be one example of economic inequality that can makes it impossible for people to find a positive attitude.  It would be unreasonable to think however that legislative action alone will solve this problem.  In the U.S. one barrier to universal health care is the expectation of financial reward by health professionals and the cost of equipment.  With medical care moving toward 20 percent of GDP the effect on the economy of increased services is also no small matter.  It should also be considered that economic opportunity for the well educated in the U.S. is a major barrier as medical service people will simply move to better paying jobs if cost controls are implemented.  It would take at least 30 years to educated a new group of medical workers willing to work for lower wages and almost certainly requires free government financed education. 

I will try and find some studies on the effects of psychology on poverty as I feel motivated.


Edited by wolfhnd - 26 Jun 2015 at 11:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 12:17
When it comes to psychology nothing is more controversial than IQ.  That makes it an excellent point to start when discussing the psychological factors involved in inequality.

"

"

Before someone brings up the normal objects I have an artilce for them.

IQ tests are 'fundamentally flawed' and using them alone to measure intelligence is a 'fallacy', study finds

“The results disprove once and for all the idea that a single measure of intelligence, such as IQ, is enough to capture all of the differences in cognitive ability that we see between people,” said Roger Highfield, director of external affairs at the ScienceMuseum in London.

“Instead, several different circuits contribute to intelligence, each with its own unique capacity. A person may well be good in one of these areas, but they are just as likely to be bad in the other two,” said Dr Highfield, a co-author of the study published in the journal Neuron.

The research involved an on-line survey of more than 100,000 people from around the world who were asked to complete 12 mental tests for measuring different aspects of cognitive ability, such as memory, reasoning, attention and planning.

The researchers took a representative sample of 46,000 people and analysed how they performed. They found there were three distinct components to cognitive ability: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.


I think that there are several additional comments that should be made.  First culture and it's transmission is poorly understood.  There is an obvious advantage in a culture that has a written language and high rates of literacy.  Another area that is seldom considered is that culture and brain development are obviously linked.  One only need look at studies of children raised in isolation with little mental stimulation to see the physical effect on the brain.  An additional area that is often studied but poorly understood is the extent to which language is a cognitive tool.  It is clear to me that people that consider themselves highly intelligent seldom consider that they are standing on the shoulders of innumerable generation that preceded them.  The nature of the human brain means that no one is born "intelligent" but that the brain evolves in the environmental stimulation it finds itself in.  Different individuals have varying degrees of ability to incorporate stimulation into mental development but babies are pretty stupid.

A final comment would be anytime you see terms such as fallacy beware.  Logic is dependant on the quality of the data available to a degree few people seem to understand.  Good data is in general is of more practical valuable than perfect logic.
 


Edited by wolfhnd - 26 Jun 2015 at 12:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 12:18
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

I agree with most of Al Jassas observations but you have to ask why can't Palestinians integrate into Israeli society or why the problems in Northern Ireland continue and the obvious answer is that people have come to hate each other.  There are no rational answers to irrational problems.

Wrong question for obvious reasons, the situations mentioned above are not comparable.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

franciscosan  is absolute right that attitudes are the number one barrier to equal opportunity in the U.S. .  Some people will say that pointing out the obvious is a waste of time but I disagree.  There is too little focus on how self inflicted negative attitudes are an impoverishment all their own.  You only need to study concentration camps to see how attitude effects survival rates to realize how much we have to learn about controlling our own destiny.  Just as we need to make better thinking tools viral we need to do the same with positive attitudes.  

And those attitudes came as a result of what?

Here is a hint:


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

We can explore how psychology can be used to negate some aspects of inequality.  The better measure of poverty is happiness not material wealth and no amount of income equality based on relative poverty measures will resolve it.  Economic inequality however cannot be neglected for political and economic reasons related to stability and security.

Total BS. The happiest countries in the world are the rich countries and the happiest people are the upper middle classes who are financially secure enough not to worry too much and poor enough to guarantee no major upheavals in family life because it is not worth it (to be more direct, the divorce settlement will be too small to be worth going through the process to begin with).

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Nutrition and the lack of universal health care may be one example of economic inequality that can makes it impossible for people to find a positive attitude.  It would be unreasonable to think however that legislative action alone will solve this problem.  In the U.S. one barrier to universal health care is the expectation of financial reward by health professionals and the cost of equipment.  With medical care moving toward 20 percent of GDP the effect on the economy of increased services is also no small matter.  It should also be considered that economic opportunity for the well educated in the U.S. is a major barrier as medical service people will simply move to better paying jobs if cost controls are implemented.  It would take at least 30 years to educated a new group of medical workers willing to work for lower wages and almost certainly requires free government financed education. 

I will try and find some studies on the effects of psychology on poverty as I feel motivated.

Virtually all countries in the world outside the US have affordable HC yet inequality and structural racism/classism is still present albeit at a lesser extent than the US. Plus the overwhelming majority of people are not directly affected by it.


What this thread should ask is the tough question that everyone is dancing around and no one wants to say:

Since inequality is the natural consequence of the socio-economic system at place what is the best way to solve it? redistribution of wealth or implementing policies aimed at enforcing social mobility?

Al-Jassas 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 12:48
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

I agree with most of Al Jassas observations but you have to ask why can't Palestinians integrate into Israeli society or why the problems in Northern Ireland continue and the obvious answer is that people have come to hate each other.  There are no rational answers to irrational problems.

Wrong question for obvious reasons, the situations mentioned above are not comparable.  



Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

franciscosan  is absolute right that attitudes are the number one barrier to equal opportunity in the U.S. .  Some people will say that pointing out the obvious is a waste of time but I disagree.  There is too little focus on how self inflicted negative attitudes are an impoverishment all their own.  You only need to study concentration camps to see how attitude effects survival rates to realize how much we have to learn about controlling our own destiny.  Just as we need to make better thinking tools viral we need to do the same with positive attitudes.  

And those attitudes came as a result of what?

Here is a hint:


Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

We can explore how psychology can be used to negate some aspects of inequality.  The better measure of poverty is happiness not material wealth and no amount of income equality based on relative poverty measures will resolve it.  Economic inequality however cannot be neglected for political and economic reasons related to stability and security.

Total BS. The happiest countries in the world are the rich countries and the happiest people are the upper middle classes who are financially secure enough not to worry too much and poor enough to guarantee no major upheavals in family life because it is not worth it (to be more direct, the divorce settlement will be too small to be worth going through the process to begin with).

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Nutrition and the lack of universal health care may be one example of economic inequality that can makes it impossible for people to find a positive attitude.  It would be unreasonable to think however that legislative action alone will solve this problem.  In the U.S. one barrier to universal health care is the expectation of financial reward by health professionals and the cost of equipment.  With medical care moving toward 20 percent of GDP the effect on the economy of increased services is also no small matter.  It should also be considered that economic opportunity for the well educated in the U.S. is a major barrier as medical service people will simply move to better paying jobs if cost controls are implemented.  It would take at least 30 years to educated a new group of medical workers willing to work for lower wages and almost certainly requires free government financed education. 

I will try and find some studies on the effects of psychology on poverty as I feel motivated.

Virtually all countries in the world outside the US have affordable HC yet inequality and structural racism/classism is still present albeit at a lesser extent than the US. Plus the overwhelming majority of people are not directly affected by it.


What this thread should ask is the tough question that everyone is dancing around and no one wants to say:

Since inequality is the natural consequence of the socio-economic system at place what is the best way to solve it? redistribution of wealth or implementing policies aimed at enforcing social mobility?

Al-Jassas 

Almost all of these responses miss the points entirely.

First no two situation are ever going to be the same and the comparison between the integration of Palestinian and Israels and solving the problems of Northern Ireland was simply to point out that there are psychological barriers that superceed all other factors.  The racial conflict in the U.S. is so deeply ingrained that it is a barrier to addressing inequality.  It's not just a case of discrimination but of a failure to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

You only need to look at the World Happiness Report  http://worldhappiness.report/  to see that where there are no wars or other social upheveials the correlation between happiness and economic well being is less obvious than would be expected.  Happiness is more correlated with social stability and absence of absolute poverty than relative poverty. 

The reference to nutrition and health care was only meant to be an example of some physical barriers to equality.  Sick and poorly nourished people have little opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities available to others.  For example the presence of malaria and the tsetse fly and there effect on economic development are well documented.  More importantly health effects the ability to maintain a healthy attitude and the ability to take advantage of opportunity.

Redistribution of wealth in the U.S. has been proven to be a cause of the desolation of minority communities.  Prior to the great society programs of the 60s teenage pregnancy was lower in black  children than white children.  Welfare proved to be a two edged sword which is why we are having this discussion. 


Edited by wolfhnd - 26 Jun 2015 at 12:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 18:51
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

 

Almost all of these responses miss the points entirely.

First no two situation are ever going to be the same and the comparison between the integration of Palestinian and Israels and solving the problems of Northern Ireland was simply to point out that there are psychological barriers that superceed all other factors.  The racial conflict in the U.S. is so deeply ingrained that it is a barrier to addressing inequality.  It's not just a case of discrimination but of a failure to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

The situation in Palestine is that Palestinians are neither citizens so that they have all the rights of Israeli citizens nor independent so that they could establish their own state and run it as they like. 

The Irish situation is people willingly disenfranchise themselves because they refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen. They have the right to claim Irish citizenship and live south of the border as Irish citizens but they refuse to do so, they want to force the majority in NI to accept their position and leave the union which they do not want to.

In what we discuss here were are talking about causes of inequality, some are structural like racism, classism and poverty (minority cases) and some are because self inflicted wounds (White majority case) for political reasons (Kansas basket case voting to increase taxes by $1000 on the average family to give the 1% families $26000 in tax cuts because it is 'Merica, f**k yeah!).

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

 
You only need to look at the World Happiness Report  http://worldhappiness.report/  to see that where there are no wars or other social upheveials the correlation between happiness and economic well being is less obvious than would be expected.  Happiness is more correlated with social stability and absence of absolute poverty than relative poverty. 

And social stability is a function of economic well being. If your economy is horrible or geared towards a small minority and the rest are dirt poor (China) you lose that happiness. Indeed you will get inequality in happiness.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

 
The reference to nutrition and health care was only meant to be an example of some physical barriers to equality.  Sick and poorly nourished people have little opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities available to others.  For example the presence of malaria and the tsetse fly and there effect on economic development are well documented.  More importantly health effects the ability to maintain a healthy attitude and the ability to take advantage of opportunity.

I agree with you on the importance of nutrition and good HC systems in economic development. Mental development has a direct relationship (not just correlation) with nutrition. Malnourished children from the liberated Nazi camps are a testament to that. Disease epidemics have in the past caused social and economic upheavals that in some cases (Europe 14th century) lead to great developments and Egypt (14th century too) collapse of social and economic structures.

However with regards to 1st and most developing countries these are not acute enough to be considered primary factors in inequality and social mobility. 

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

 
Redistribution of wealth in the U.S. has been proven to be a cause of the desolation of minority communities.  Prior to the great society programs of the 60s teenage pregnancy was lower in black  children than white children.  Welfare proved to be a two edged sword which is why we are having this discussion. 

Things were going great in the US until the 1980s when the US started its "war on crime" which saw 1/3rd of all black males having a record or in prison that prevents them from having a job.

Sexual liberation and destruction of sex education are the prime reasons for teen pregnancy which in my US visit was shocking (A teenage Hispanic girl with a child and a pregnant 15 year old White girl in Suburbia) and this is in a state known for its liberal attitudes towards sex education.

Al-Jassas

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 21:04
Interesting topic - inequality....       you all could make this forum more equal and redistribute the expenses we have for domains, server, host, software etc...
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I understand what you are saying wolfhound, but I got the impression that part of the reason for happiness statistics is that some countries are not doing that well on GDP, GNP whatever, and so they're coming up with a new statistic to change the nature of the conversation.

Once upon a time, every girl knew that if she got pregnant, she would have to drop out of school.  Now, however, they have nurseries in the high school so when a girl gets pregnant, the baby is right there, for all her friends to see and think, "I want one of those!"  I am not sure it's an improvement.
There really are such things as welfare mommas.  Girls who, all they want to do is have a baby and collect welfare.  I mean, not that welfare is the only reason they want to have a baby.  Having a baby makes them, especially in the eyes of a baby, important.  That doesn't mean that it can't work out, but if you believe that it is best to do the right thing for the right reasons, well that is not the case here.

It is actually very easy to make everyone equal.  Take all the rich, kill them and keep their stuff.  Of course, some people will complain when you keep the stuff of the rich, kill them too.  And keep their stuff.  Repeat this process until there are no more rich, and no complainers.  Of course, there will be one person (and their cronies) who is rich, or rather, is powerful in society, you.  Or in the Soviet camp, Stalin.  But if you think that you can somehow "scientifically" manage it so everyone is equal, well at some point you will have to figure out whether you are on the side of the takers, or the makers.  Do you live your life, tending your own garden, and giving helpful hints to the neighbors?  Or are you thinking about the beam in your neighbor's eye, or the BMW in his garage?  Now, I am not saying that government is the only predator out there, but government can destroy you, imprison, rob all your wealth or kill you and tell everyone that it was your fault.  "Yes, we picked him up on a summons for a traffic ticket, but he was a dangerous criminal and we are fortunate that he was shot escaping the jail."  Government has a monopoly on the _legitimate_ use of force in society.  Religion cannot kill you, business cannot kill you, and if they do they are considered to be criminal, only government can legitimately take all your possessions away, or even your life.


Edited by franciscosan - 27 Jun 2015 at 13:40
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Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Interesting topic - inequality....       you all could make this forum more equal and redistribute the expenses we have for domains, server, host, software etc...
It's very easy - please remember to click one or two banners a day.  

We have no funds for next term, so please - do not forget...  Clap

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Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 

Not enough talent? That begs the question of why not, in a community of 315 million diverse people, nominally at least a functioning democracy.

There has been a rightest trend in the US that is long standing, but today such notions have been honed to a fine edge by the very small minority that benefits the most from them. The ideologues and the ultra rich got their start with the Reagan administration, and have been tenacious since.

I am talking about the post WWII era until the ascendency of Reagan. Virtually all Republicans were either bland (Dewey), strong statists (Eisenhower, Nixon), originally Jewish and too socially liberal (Goldwater) or outright dumb (Ford). 

Reagan changed everything, he ruled liberal California and showed that you can make people feel good about voting against their interests.

Indeed he did. And this odd phenomenom continues today.

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 


Yes, there was poverty back then, but it also also indisputably a time of rising wealth, and increasing equality. After the poverty of the depression, and the sacrifice of the war, there was some trepidation that the unwashed masses might just renege on their duties unless the pie starting getting cut in similar size pieces. And so FDR's reforms were kept, and even upgraded. A middle class with wages meant the purchase of consumer goods, and hence the industry and employment that flowed from that. It was  a heck of a lot better than depression politics and business as usual. 

The large debt acrewed from the war shrank rather drastically with the growth in GDP, and that was what enabled the pay off of the debt. Politicians are still hoping for the same sort of thing today, although it is more problematic, as we don't have the particular circumstances of the post war era. The progressive tax structure was instrumental in providing for a more socially just society than what had preceded it. Taxes are at historic lows today due to the obsession with self interest in society, and the voracious efforts of the ultra affluent to maintain their position.

As for the highway system, yes, there have been murmurings about it being all about defense. But when you look at it, this is actually pretty absurd. Who is going to mount a massive, globe spanning, air-sea invasion in the nuclear age? A few bombs would end any such folly, if there was even any need or desire for it after an exchange of missiles. Evacuate the cities on the interstates? How long does it take you to drive home in a normal rush hour? Ad a few million more cars, with hysterical drivers, and see how fast things move.

I'm not trying to paint the '50s as perfect, but just pointing out that some reforms had been proven by then, and taken to heart, such as social security, unemployment insurance, public education, banking reform, and a progressive tax system. That's why the '50s looked rather different than the '30s.



 

The rising wealth was a result of the US being for 15 years after the war the sole industrial power in the world with the British idiotically and systematically destroying their industry through nationalisation. Not to mention the flood of money coming from processed WWII checks for GIs returning home.

The US nearly rolled back everything FDR passed during Truman (46 destruction of the Dems) but it was Soviet threat that saved the Dems again and returned a solid left wing majority that remained for 50 years.

As for debt, I know enough about debt dynamics to follow prof. Krugman's points (remember my discussions with the late Graham). My point is on a Gold standard paying out debts was paramount and this is why huge tax rates were imposed at the time. By the late 60s taxes were virtually half what they were 10 years before. Taxation was definitely not for redistributive purposes. The Great Society program, the largest welfare program in the US (larger than anything FDR put together) was instituted during a general reduction of taxes period.


Yes, the US was, for a short time, the sole major industrial power, which was of course a huge advantage. However, we have seen other times in history when one entity reigned supreme, and yet the fruits of such power fell into only a small number of hands. Look at Britain in the 19th century.  If 19th century sentiments still held sway in Washington in 1945, then it is likely that those historical windfalls would have gone to a much smaller minority than they did. The GI checks correspond exactly with my point. It was the belated realization that the so called market was limited, and a positive, stable society would only come with intense government intervention in the economy that the middle class society of the post war period was born. 

As for rolling back FDR, I'm not sure what you mean here. The concepts of unemployment insurance, pensions, deposit insurance, public works, and other such measures endured, and indeed have become the corner stones of modern society.

Taxes were high in the '50s, but they were also at considerably higher levels at other time in relation to today. The salient point here is that it worked quite well- the economy boomed along, and "entrepreneurs" did not take their money and flee to Panama, or some such haven, but remained and participated in the economy. Krugman's point was that much of the debt was not acutally "paid", but lost value as the economy inflated. If you made $100k/yr AJ, and found yourself in $180k debt, you'd be in trouble. If a few years later, you were making $500k/yr, you would likely chuck your bottle of Prozac.


Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:


Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



Sure there are some extremists in Europe, but how many in Scandinavia, Germany, France, or the UK would accept the American financial arrangements for medical care or education? A small minority, I'd suspect. Medical care and higher education that is in financial reach are considered basic elements of society in much of the richer nations; the most opposed can be found in N America.

UKIP in the UK, PVV in the Netherlands, FN in France all advocate strong for free market (as in US style) reforms to the economy and in the case of UK full  privatisation of the NHS and opening the door for free market competition. Not to mention full dismantling of the welfare state as we know it there. These parties are either in 2nd, 3rd or 4th place in their respective countries.

But they do not have the popular support to be elected. A significant distinction.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2015 at 01:31
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Interesting topic - inequality....       you all could make this forum more equal and redistribute the expenses we have for domains, server, host, software etc...
It's very easy - please remember to click one or two banners a day.  

We have no funds for next term, so please - do not forget...  Clap

Perhaps members should click according to the ability of their index finger, and receive according to their need for internet surfing (sorry Karl).LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2015 at 02:52
I tend to think the GIs earned their payment.  

If you mean by "against their interests" that they care about something social, cultural, moral, religious, well then, yes.  If you mean that they vote against their "class" interests, well yes they do that too, but then again that has been true since WWI, when workers sided with their fellow citizens against the workers of other nations, who were also siding with their fellow citizens.  If you are waiting for the workers of the world to unite, well then I'll have you note that personal interests have shown that nationalism is stronger than class, and I would venture to guess that religion is a stronger force then either nationalism or class.
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