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Author Topic: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?  (Read 160021 times)

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1300 on: September 20, 2020, 09:54:57 PM »
Perhaps the wealthy need a “Minimum Required Distribution” each year of a specific percent of their wealth, which would increase with their age — like the 401(k) in the U.S. does.  But the wealthy’s MRD proceeds can’t be used to further enrich themselves or their family.

Once upon a time the rich paid more taxes than the poor.
But as Warren Buffet said some time ago - "My secretary pays a higher tax rate than I do, Can that be right?".

Tax laws are written by the rich for the rich and passed by a Congress that is full up people who are bought and sold. Is the UK any better? Yes, but we are playing catch-up as fast as possible.

Any system that is corrupt ends up in the same place. And if you think your 401(k) is going to be worth more each year, ho hum. For years the SEC has allowed pension plans to assume real growth beyond reality. Even the actuaries have been compromised.

The distribution amount required for a 401(k) MRD (and my imaginary MRD on the wealthy) is not tax-based.  It’s a percent, based on one’s age, of the total amount in the account, period.

The withdrawal is, however, 100% subject to taxes, like regular income —  and fair taxation on that amount is a relevant, but separate, question.

The idea is:  one must continue to draw down the account, by an increasing percentage each year, so that by an actuarially-determined age, the account will be zero.  Such a regulation for all required wealth, once a certain wealth level was achieved, would help prevent the accumulation of massive estates, by requiring that “investments,” as described in the Twitter thread I posted above, are withdrawn and spent on non-personal and non-familial purposes every year.

How exactly the total wealth of a person would be determined is of course another question. ;)

Edit:  quoted gerontocrat’s entire quote.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 10:12:43 PM by Sigmetnow »
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interstitial

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1301 on: September 20, 2020, 10:27:43 PM »
I wish they wouldn't be allowed to get so big in the first place. when one player gets too big everyone suffers. Redistributing the wealth after the fact ignores all the damage they do accumulating all that wealth.

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1302 on: September 21, 2020, 07:09:20 AM »
World's richest 1% cause double CO2 emissions of poorest 50%, says Oxfam
Charity says world’s fast-shrinking carbon budget should be used to improve lot of poorest

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/21/worlds-richest-1-cause-double-co2-emissions-of-poorest-50-says-oxfam
  by Fiona Harvey

 Excerpts: (bolding by me)

The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half.

The report, compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, warned that rampant overconsumption and the rich world’s addiction to high-carbon transport are exhausting the world’s “carbon budget”.

Such a concentration of carbon emissions in the hands of the rich means that despite taking the world to the brink of climate catastrophe, through burning fossil fuels, we have still failed to improve the lives of billions, said Tim Gore, head of policy, advocacy and research at Oxfam International.

The global carbon budget has been squandered to expand the consumption of the already rich, rather than to improve humanity,” he told the Guardian. “A finite amount of carbon can be added to the atmosphere if we want to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We need to ensure that carbon is used for the best.”


The richest 10% of the global population, comprising about 630 million people, were responsible for about 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period, the study showed.

Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.

..a finite carbon budget of how much carbon dioxide it is safe to produce, which scientists warn will be exhausted within a decade at current rates.

Oxfam argues that continuing to allow the rich world to emit vastly more than those in poverty is unfair. While the world moves towards renewable energy and phases out fossil fuels, any emissions that continue to be necessary during the transition would be better used in trying to improve poor people’s access to basic amenities.

The best possible, morally defensible purpose is for all humanity to live a decent life, but [the carbon budget] has been used up by the already rich, in getting richer,
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1303 on: September 21, 2020, 08:03:09 AM »
The "Sin of Wealth". Interesting article Sig.
Good posts by Steve, gerontocrat and interstitial imo.

I am not really knowledgeable about 'magical' Finance (i.e. the rich people's world), but this is strange to me:
"Money is an IOU on goods and services."

I think this is incorrect.
How is trillions of money-printing by central banks in any way an IOU on goods and services? It comes out of thin air.

The speculative 'market' also makes
A house as a good has not the value of the bricks and mortar, but a speculative market-pricing. If it gets more expensive, how is that extra money in any way an IOU on goods and services?

+
I'd say that the sin of wealth is not just *wasting resources on yourself*, but also *withholding capital from society by storing enormous amounts in off-shore accounts*. Dead capital, extracted from the exploited poor and nature.

--

A thought on economic production:
All the construction work going on in large mansions for e.g. the creation of a 'new' garden, a new interior decoration or a billiard room is non-productive work. It is non-production and a waste of labour and materials.
Production would mean building a house for people who have no house.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

blu_ice

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1304 on: September 21, 2020, 01:40:41 PM »
Nanning, an employee is willing to perform work for her/his employer in exchange for money because the employee trusts that money can be exchanged to goods and services later.

That's money being IOU.

House is worth what somebody else is willing to pay for it. That's why a house built on a beautiful beachfront property can be worth gazillions while a similar house in a middle of nowhere wasteland can be financially worthless.

kassy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1305 on: September 21, 2020, 01:51:37 PM »
Quote
Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.

..a finite carbon budget of how much carbon dioxide it is safe to produce, which scientists warn will be exhausted within a decade at current rates.

So that is about 29750 and 85000 euros.

From REaC thread:
Thanks for that, nanning. Many won't believe it.

From an earth perspective (which really should be the main perspective we all view things from), the central function of modern industrial society/economy is to transform the riches and beauties of the earth into toxic waste and trash.

And the global wealthy (which probably includes most posters on this forum) are the juggernauts of that economy.

These numbers combined with the recent bbc survey tell a simple story.

New worldwide Poll on climate change concern and need for action:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54208995

I think we will do capitalism until it really does not work and then we will be surprised at how quick the wheels come off.

On an individual level we basically want to hang on to what we have, also relatively.

And on an international level we have countries competing for which they also need money/growth to but more military stuff.
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jens

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1306 on: October 08, 2020, 08:25:04 PM »
I think we will do capitalism until it really does not work and then we will be surprised at how quick the wheels come off.

On an individual level we basically want to hang on to what we have, also relatively.

And on an international level we have countries competing for which they also need money/growth to but more military stuff.

Ultimately everything comes down to a simple reason - brain evolution of the primates called humans. Humans by and large simply haven't developed what I would call 'collective intelligence'. There just hasn't been enough evolutionary pressure for this to happen yet. And there is nothing to do about it, since evolution is a slow process over many millenias. Humans are what they are with their limitations, just a species of animals with prehistoric brains.

Somebody might say that humans have the ability to organize collectively and civilization is proof of it. I'd say civilization has been developed despite the limitations of humans, not because of them. If we zoom into civilization, we see endless in-fighting, power struggles and trying to use other people for your own gain.

Civilization has happened for a very practical reason. A human struggles to survive alone in the wild, and needs other people for survival. So it's easier to survive together. However, despite this fact humans have endlessly tried to use others and control others to gain power over others for egocentric reasons. Human brain has been largely evolved to deal with immediate affairs, which affects them directly for livelihood/survival, and not with affairs that are far away.

There has been no "harmonious co-existence" or "big picture". Just an endless struggle between egos. Once such civilization hits trouble, even more so self-made trouble, all these animals called humans could think of is trying to save their own asses.

But never mind. That's just the nature of evolution on a planetary scale. And ultimately the species called homo sapiens hits the wall due to their own limitations in making sense of the world. The rise and fall of humans - it was what it was, would an imaginary historian say about it retrospectively. I'd say good riddance, knowing fully well I'm part of this species as well.

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1307 on: October 09, 2020, 07:21:11 AM »
Interesting thinking there jens. You are quite definite but I think you are wrong in your thinking because of your civilisation bias (bubble).
In my view, civilisation is not 'developed' but happened because of the rise of supremacy in certain tribes. The rise of insanity.
Please do not mix up "humanity" with civilisation humans. The civilisation culture is insane (supremacy) and that insanity is in the brains of everybody except those who live outside civilisation. (modern) Civilisation has lost all connections to living nature and civilisation humans have damaged psyches. Therefore you cannot find human characteristics representative of humanity at large in civilisation humans.
As a metaphore; you do not study animals in captivity to find out how their species react to stimuli and how their culture works.
You use the term "collective intelligence", but are you able to define what you mean by that?
In the mean time, the non-civilisation tribes go on happy living in living nature, observing the total destruction. Happy that is, until civilisation comes knocking at the door.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

jens

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1308 on: October 09, 2020, 12:57:58 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts, nanning. I sound quite definitive, but I have to say that's just the way I am as a person and how I express myself - I am very straightforward. But this doesn't mean I can't discuss about things when presented with good arguments.

What do I mean by 'collective intelligence'? By and large I mean taking into account as wide implications as possible with every action you take in your everyday life. Perhaps this sounds like a lot of 'calculating', like being a super-computer taking account millions of variables before taking a decision. But of course this has to happen naturally, pretty much instinctively, to take the best possible decision at any given moment.

What concerns the rise of civilization, I have understood it is largely tied to grain production and thus permanent settlements. Humans in certain regions discovered grains that they can grow and which can offer them comfortable surplus energy. This means - if tribes could do that once stumbling across excess resources, can we really say they were truly harmonious with nature, or instead they had the underlying potential to be corrupt if you give them such opportunity with excess comforts?

In short - tribes are happier in nature, but how well are they conscious of the reasons behind it? Which means tribes can be corrupted if you change the environment, if you aren't conscious enough about reasons of happiness. Animals are also happier in nature than in captivity, but the thing is that they themselves don't know why is that so. They just operate based on natural reactions.

"Rise of supremacy/insanity" as you say doesn't happen just out of nowhere or without reason. I'd say everything that has happened in the history of humans, is part of an evolutionary process in the grand scheme of things.

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1309 on: October 09, 2020, 06:21:17 PM »
Captive animals lose not only their freedom, but also their habitat and culture.
I think you are wrong in thinking the animals "operate based on natural reactions". Animals have much more intelligence and creativity then that.
All life is a system. It defines sanity. Go out of that system and you have become insane. Thinking that you are above all other animals/lifeforms does that. Do you think that you as a person, are better or more worth than another human?
There's no 'great scheme of things'. Just sane life on Earth trying to survive the destructive insanity from humans and their technology.
About the video: The San tribes. 200000 years of non-agriculture and having food when agraric tribes are starving as mentioned in the video. Alas, the past couple of hundred years of expanding civilisation did them in after 200000 years!. Pushing buttons.

this has been posted before but perhaps forgotten. anyhow, it's impotant for my arguments
(27m06)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

jens

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1310 on: October 09, 2020, 07:47:04 PM »
My point about the "grand scheme of things" is simple. As we consider humans part of nature, it means everything humans do and have done is also "part of nature". And this includes development of civilization.

Thus human 'insanity' is also part of nature. It's not something that suddenly appeared from space out of nowhere and is completely alien.

In case of disagreement you can offer your explanation, what triggered humans to start with civilization and abandon their "harmonious" tribes. And how did this trigger appear at all? Which criterias and conditions does this trigger need to fulfill to push the button of "let's start with civilization"?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 08:00:44 PM by jens »

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1311 on: October 10, 2020, 10:12:14 AM »
Going outside of living natures bounds by one or more tribes (the men, not the women) by feeling supreme over other living nature triggered first insanity and later agriculture (which is certainly a manifestation of supremacy over other lifeforms) which became 'civilisation'. First at isolated places around the world, to later, via wars and colonisation, form one global civilisation.
Watching the San peoples video, at one moment the interviewer tells us that the women of the tribe do the gathering and the men the hunting. When the men return from the hunt feeling grand and powerful, they automatically, culturally get put down by the women. This is extremely important because here is the key for the 200000 years of sanity. The women berate the men in order for them not to get supremacy ideas with their hunting skills.

I wish this makes it more clear to you what I mean. Please ask if some things are not really clear. It is a small change in your brain, but a real 'mental leap' and gives a large change in your world view.

To readers: I'm sorry that this is not obviously about capitalism, but at the core it is because capitalism is essentially the supremacy effect of richer/powerful people over all other people troughout the history of civilisation. The insane groupfantasy of rich people that think they are better and more worth than poor people. Conquest, armies, wars, colonialism, material accumulation. To gain. More more more.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 10:18:33 AM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

gerontocrat

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1312 on: October 18, 2020, 04:46:14 PM »
Small headline from Bloomberg News today...

The 50 Richest Americans Are Worth as Much as the Poorest 165 Million.

Capitalism gone rogue?

"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

nanning

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #1313 on: October 20, 2020, 06:51:10 AM »
"are worth"...   this is the problem

One of those 50 rich people is thus 'worth' as much as 3300000 poor people. Do you think this is sanity?
(not addressing gerontocrat)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?