Yarrr... Linux!

Pages

AuthorTopic: Yarrr... Linux!
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #75
These idle promises are what keep the proletariat supressed. I can't imagine much of anything happening if the system was honest about itself.

--------------------
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #76
Originally by Alorael:

quote:
If you know a way to make communism work, please share it. I think almost everyone acknowledges that communism is a great system on paper, where none of the problems that crop up in the real world plague it.
Uhh...make a RPG game in a working communistic country? Okay, out of ideas. Seriously, it is just constantly trying to find the right balance between pure capitalism and socialism.

Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
However, the good news is that it is likely that eventually mechanization will make menial labor jobs less and less useful and a high standard of living more and more accessible, with the result being that eventually everyone will be able to be a part of some sort of working class at least (rather than being desperately poor).
The problem is, menial manufacturing jobs are being replaced with menial service jobs. So it's not likely to become true. Expecially since there has been in increase in poverty and a decrease in the middle class for the past several years in the US.

I wonder how the economy and society would be different if money was pumped into the middle class instead of the poor and the insanely rich.

Originally written by Semodius:

quote:
Before I try to un-hijack this thread, I must congradulate everyone who posted here for their very excellent ideas!
Semodius, you will never get your thread back. Oddly enough, it's one of the more on-topic threads around.

Edit: Okay, that's enough. Dikiyoba has no more points (or anything resembling points) to make.

[ Tuesday, January 17, 2006 20:07: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #77
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

We don't seem to be particularly closer to it than we were back then.
We're a hell of a lot closer to it now than we were then. A far greater percentage is living at a far better standard than was the case a couple hundred years ago (and no, I don't have numbers to back this up, but it seems obvious, if you consider life expectancy, disease rates, the kind of work that we're doing, etc.).

I'm not saying what Marxists have said, that eventually industrialization will create a situation of plenty so that no one has to work very hard. I'm saying that it will someday be possible to eliminate the most bitter and extreme poverty, the way we've eliminated smallpox.

The problem is that we're still so far off from the "end result" that there's not much point in telling people to wait — we have to deal with the situation we have now and not just hope for a better future.

[ Tuesday, January 17, 2006 20:09: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #78
The newest generation of Americans are expected to live shorter lives then their parents. This, of course, is partially to blame because of our affulence and poor lifestyles.

Either way, it's not a good sign when adults say, "I'm glad I'm not in your generation. It's much more difficult." American society clearly isn't making the best of choices.

Okay, so Dikiyoba lied. Dikiyoba has more points (or something resembling them) to make.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #79
Eliminating poverty by increasing production and such has been an ongoing process for a long time now. Replacing humans with mechanization is only part of increasing production to make the goods required for higher standards of living cheaper and thus more universally accessible.

I'm not sure we'll ever be able to pay everyone a decent wage, but what can be purchased with an indecent (and not indecently large!) wage can keep growing.

—Alorael, who has low expectations for a speedy increase in conditions in the Third World, though. Production doesn't reach very far there and everything ends up waylaid anyway.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #80
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I'm coming closer and closer to the depressing conviction that my USA's standard of living is predicated on the poverty of several third-world countries. I would welcome some sort of disproof, but it seems that our proletariat became bourgeousie by turning itself into the white-collar controllers of an impoverished global proletariat, and that's ;_;
I'm not saying you're wrong, but why do you say this?

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #81
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I'm coming closer and closer to the depressing conviction that my USA's standard of living is predicated on the poverty of several third-world countries. I would welcome some sort of disproof, but it seems that our proletariat became bourgeousie by turning itself into the white-collar controllers of an impoverished global proletariat, and that's ;_;
I'm not saying you're wrong, but why do you say this?

Well, its seemed sort of obligatory given the social injustice fiber running through this thread. It does sort of contradict my other point about capitalist motivation, but one cannot disregard that capitalism may just be a bang-up system for promoting local (i.e national) accretion of wealth at the expense of inhabitants of other countries.
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #82
But what is the evidence or argument that has persuaded you that American wealth actually has been gained at the expense of the rest of the world?

I'm not just attacking you -- I have been wondering a lot about this point myself. So far, though, it just isn't clear to me that the rich world simply got rich by robbing the poor. So if you could explain your view to me, it might help me understand an important issue better.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4256
Profile #83
This may be outdated, but evolution is partially based on the fact that all species can and do overproduce. Technology and Mechanization do make life easier for a larger amount of people, but humans most likely will continue to 'overproduce' and thus I would doubt that poverty ever will be truely eradicated.

To eradicate poverty, you would have to have a strict breeding program, and thats a breach of freedoms as grievious as any. I suppose you could give people cyber children... but that just seems to be a lousy idea.

--------------------
"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are false'."
Posts: 564 | Registered: Wednesday, April 14 2004 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #84
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

But what is the evidence or argument that has persuaded you that American wealth actually has been gained at the expense of the rest of the world?

I'm not just attacking you -- I have been wondering a lot about this point myself. So far, though, it just isn't clear to me that the rich world simply got rich by robbing the poor. So if you could explain your view to me, it might help me understand an important issue better.

I'm not trying to say that it's a zero-sum game; it seems obvious that the global standard of living has, in fact, risen, and economists with many more years of study and wisdom than I swear that wealth can be created. What I'm after is that a certain amount of manual labor has to be done for the world to run properly, and that there is a ceiling for the ratio of white-collar workers to blue-collar workers, and it seems to me like it's got to be below one, perhaps even one half. It just seems like a disproportionate amount of Americans are engaged either in white-collar work or in providing services to white-collar workers.

Given my earlier assertion that there is a limit to just what portion of the world can be doing white-collar work, it follows that the accretion of white-collar workers (and service workers who exist for the convenience of affluent white-collar workers) in any one place merely means that there are more blue-collar workers elsewhere. Of course, I'll concede that I have no idea whether that ratio can be technologically extended upwards, or whether we've even reached it with the technology we've got, but when not only your manufacturing, but even your radiology and tech support are carried out in other countries because people are willing to work for so much less, it seems only a matter of time before people closer to home start making a fortune on supervising them instead of American corporate management people.

EDIT: I guess the concise way to say all that is that American economic primacy does not appear to be based on superior productive capacity; rather, it appears to be due to the simple fact that we have so much money. Since money is an abstraction, I'm nervous about whether an economic superiority based now, although not formerly, on an abstraction holds any real water.

I'm just a high school student, so you're probably better off wandering into your college's economics department, but I appreciate the confidence.

[ Wednesday, January 18, 2006 08:50: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #85
Well, you may be right. Economics is complicated. I am sure, though, that whatever it is, it isn't just a bunch of abstract notions, so that a few new global laws could straighten everything out. The wealth and poverty of nations is staggeringly large amounts of very real stuff.

An example that sticks in my mind is this article on concrete, written by someone named David Owen, and originally published in The New Yorker in 2003. It explains a lot about contemporary concrete construction techniques, then at the end it wanders off into a description of the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is about 6 million tons of concrete, it was finished in 1936, and it will take another fifty years or so yet before it completely cools down from the internal heat of setting. Blah, blah, blah -- awfully big dam. Then the final line:
quote:
Anyway, here's the point I want to make: New York City adds concrete to itself at the rate of approximately one
Hoover Dam every eighteen months.

That's wealth, and it's wealth that is still accumulating fast, while most of the humans in the universe are still lucky to have rooves.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4239
Profile #86
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

But what is the evidence or argument that has persuaded you that American wealth actually has been gained at the expense of the rest of the world?
Just one example:
Once, long ago, in the dim and distant past, farmers in places like Africa or South America or wherever survived on subsistence farming. They grew enough to feed themselves, plus maybe a little extra to sell and buy a goat.
Then the richer West came in and said "We'll pay you money to grow coffee instead!" And so the farmers grew coffee and had a moderately higher standard of living for a while. And they were happier.
Then the capitalistic tendencies of The West asserted themselves, and suddenly there was a little more coffee than we needed, and coffee became worth less. And so the companies paid the farmers less money for the coffee they grew, and then suddenly the farmers weren't getting paid enough to feed themselves. So they couldn't farm any longer, and they no longer had the resources they needed to grow edible crops even if they'd had enough saved to survive until their crops became edible. So they moved into the slums of some big city and tried to find work there.

This story is the reason for the excellent Fair Trade organization (or whatever exactly it is). They guarantee a minimum price for coffee that allows farmers to be sure of a living wage. They do this by charging the consumer slightly more, but that's made up for by it being genuinely good coffee.

--------------------
There are two kinds of game players...those who are newbies, and those who were.
Posts: 322 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #87
Yes, prosperity does allow us to build quite a lot. I take part of your point as being that while our wealth may not correspond directly to production capacity, it definitely represents goods, and you're right. We exchange a lot of goods here in America, and we design a lot of them, too. Construction is an interesting exception in that it's all done here, but most manufacturing is done overseas.

My main point is that I don't think Americans can continue to design and reap the lion's share of the profits from products that we don't make here. The law of averages will even things out eventually. We're at an apex right now; I think that eventually the Chinese, the Malaysians, and the other exploited countries are going to start designing their own products, and employing Chinese and Malaysian marketing firms, so we'll be forced to make more here, and then we've got the conundrum of whether workers will ever be able to afford what they make - the more the average factory worker makes, the higher prices will be, ad infinitum.

EDIT: People romanticize subsistence farming just a bit. The assumption is always that everyone got by, but bad harvests meant a lot of starvation deaths. I honestly don't think it was that much better (although it probably was better).

[ Wednesday, January 18, 2006 14:21: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #88
The basic problem with the coffee price cycle is capitalist greed, but not that of "the West". Coffee demand doesn't drop much; what lowers prices is overproduction. And rich investors are not deliberately financing overproduction -- they lose money in a coffee glut.

Growers expand production in order to make more money by selling more beans. But coffee plants take years to mature enough to harvest; so there is bad inertia in the response of supply to demand. Prices rise, everyone plants more coffee to cash in, a few years later all this extra production comes online, there's a huge glut, and prices crash. Everyone cuts back their worthless coffee production, the glut dissipates, there isn't enough production any more to keep up with demand, so prices rise. Rinse and repeat.

The Fair Trade strategy, as I understand it, is to get consumers to accept higher costs by moral suasion, and then hope that this gives the growers enough income to be content with, so that they aren't tempted to futile overproduction. That may be the tricky part.

I realize that this is often a matter of providing the growers with a very modest recompense, far less than what we take for granted in the First World. But it is still grower contentment, and not subsistence, that is the issue. Because if I'm a coffee grower who is finally getting by because of higher coffee prices, it's not like I'm going to know my place as a mere Third Worlder, and accept the just getting by with permanent joy. Like any human being, I'm going to start thinking about doing better than barely getting by. And with good coffee prices, and me already being a successful coffee grower, I'm going to think about growing more coffee. And every other coffee grower is going to be thinking the same. In fact, it's a kind of Prisoner's Dilemma.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4239
Profile #89
I was using "The West" in a humorous sense to mean The Man, Those With Money, etc. ;)

quote:
Originally written by SoT:

[qb]The Fair Trade strategy, as I understand it, is to get consumers to accept higher costs by moral suasion, and then hope that this gives the growers enough income to be content with, so that they aren't tempted to futile overproduction. That may be the tricky part.

I realize that this is often a matter of providing the growers with a very modest recompense, far less than what we take for granted in the First World. But it is still grower contentment, and not subsistence, that is the issue. Because if I'm a coffee grower who is finally getting by because of higher coffee prices, it's not like I'm going to know my place as a mere Third Worlder, and accept the just getting by with permanent joy. Like any human being, I'm going to start thinking about doing better than barely getting by. And with good coffee prices, and me already being a successful coffee grower, I'm going to think about growing more coffee. And every other coffee grower is going to be thinking the same. In fact, it's a kind of Prisoner's Dilemma.
First thing to understand about Fair Trade: You get better coffee. Seriously.
Second thing: Fair Trade companies often have a much lower profit margin (if there's any at all) than most coffee distributors, and the farmers have a correspondingly much higher income level which is guaranteed to cover the costs of growing that product and providing enough money to care for a family. I refer you to http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/downloads/pdf/five_guarantees.pdf
Second, I'm guessing there's actually not much need to worry about overproduction by somebody within Fair Trade: they admit themselves that they don't take all the coffee their members produce because there isn't enough demand, and if you're a coffee grower you only have so much money even on Fair Trade. It's not like it's a trivial thing to buy the land and labor you need to grow more.

--------------------
There are two kinds of game players...those who are newbies, and those who were.
Posts: 322 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #90
Don't forget about the part that advertising plays in the third world. It used to be that citizens of these places could survive on subsistence farming because their needs were met, and their wants were low. First world corporations realized the market size in these countries and sought to embrace it by informing all these satisfied people that it was wrong to not have Nike or Levi or Marlboro.
It is my belief that, more than any other factor, perceived poverty in third world countries is increasing due to the increasing imports to these countries. I place the blame firmly on irresponsible product marketing, which doesn't seem that uncharacteristic when taken in the context of credit card marketing in the United States.
No wonder the Islamic fundamentalists don't like us so much, we really are evil.

*this message sponsored by one of them really nice corporations*

--------------------
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4239
Profile #91
quote:
It is my belief that, more than any other factor, perceived poverty in third world countries is increasing due to the increasing imports to these countries.
<$1/day is not percieved poverty. :( I mean, my family spends ~$1/meal/person, and while if you grow your own stuff it might be a little cheaper, that leaves out clothing.
Not to mention any possibility of exiting poverty.

--------------------
There are two kinds of game players...those who are newbies, and those who were.
Posts: 322 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6689
Profile #92
Dude I love coffee!

--------------------
--Dachnaz
Posts: 50 | Registered: Saturday, January 14 2006 08:00

Pages