Economic inequality is what ails us

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Ricter, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. Ricter

    Ricter

    "It's money that matters

    A new book says economic inequality is the social division we should be worrying about

    By Jenna Russell
    February 21, 2010

    If you like to think of America as The Greatest Country on Earth, and you’d rather not examine its claim to that title too closely, “The Spirit Level” will not be your favorite new book. On nearly every one of its 250-plus pages, a stark, unflattering graph shows the USA topping the charts among developed countries for some social ailment: drug use, obesity, violence, mental illness, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy. But authors Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, a pair of British social scientists, have another, more enlightening point to make..."

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/02/21/its_money_that_matters/?page=full

    For a little more background, if interested, see also "relative deprivation".
     

  2. "a stark, unflattering graph shows the USA topping the charts among developed countries for some social ailment: drug use, obesity, violence, mental illness, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy."

    also one of the most religious countries with 70% claiming to be christian. i wonder.
     
  3. 151

    151

    "It is economic inequality, not overall wealth or cultural differences, that fosters societal breakdown, they argue, by boosting insecurity and anxiety, which leads to divisive prejudice between the classes, rampant consumerism, and all manner of mental and physical suffering."

    I would argue they have it backwards. The issues that foster societal breakdown are

    "Insecurity and anxiety, divisive prejudice between the classes, rampant consumerism, and all manner of mental and physical suffering."

    These issues are caused not by money and the lack of it but by weak people with little to zero character.

    I think of it as the Forest Gump effect. A relatively unintelligent uneducated man can find a relative amount of success in life by adhering to age old principles of wisdom, most requiring the man to have what we call character.

    His success if not wasted moves his children one rung up the ladder.


    On another note, and I can't take credit for this I read it somewhere. If we as a society would only compare ourselves to those whose standard of living is below ours we would all be much happier.

    But instead everyone compares their lives to the lives of the rich and famous. And that is not a fair comparison because most of us have not done what the rich and famous have done, so why are we comparing apples to oranges.
     
  4. Ricter

    Ricter

    These are statistical relationships, not Newtonian physics. Just as the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer does not mean that every individual who smokes will get lung cancer.

    Day in and day out most of us do not compare ourselves to either those way above or way below us, we compare ourselves to others around us, the ones we can see. The most acute sensation comes from, e.g., learning that a co-worker with the same attributes as yourself is getting paid more than you are. Which is why that data is so closely guarded by payroll and HR departments.

    As for your weak people of low character assertion, can we conclude that you believe the less stratified societies are so because their members have better character?

    At any rate, the advice to look downwards and be happy with what you have can be viewed as wisdom, or with suspicion. I guess it depends on who is giving it. Which brings us right back to relative deprivation.
     
  5. 151

    151


    I would say we can conclude that societies with less "Insecurity and anxiety, divisive prejudice between the classes, rampant consumerism, and all manner of mental and physical suffering", may very well attribute that to a society with more character.

    As for who people compare and judge themselves against, in my experience the majority look to celebrities, which is strange.

    I do not work in an office building enviroment so I can't comment on your suggestion but I can certainly see where it could be true.

    It may be a failure on my part but I can't see where the difference in wealth between myself and say, Warren Buffet, matters in the least.

    I am starting to think the practice of comparing ourselves to others is the root of the problem. It seems that might be a character flaw.
     
  6. geeze they discovered poverty consists of all things "a lack of resources" otherwise known as POVERTY.

    Now how long will it take for liberal geniuses to figure out poverty has causes?

    :D
     
  7. Mav88

    Mav88

    Forced equality of economic outcomes has been tried, it's called communism and it doesn't make people very happy.

    It's amazing that so-called social scientists get paid. No attempts at sorting out the other infinite set of variables which influence incomes and something called happiness which can't be measured really- organize some stats to support your pre-determined conclusions (and yes that's obvious here) and punch out a paper.

    I can do the same thing: Swedish suicide rates are higher than the US, Swedes are less happy, socialist redistribution depresses happiness.

    I can tell Ricter isn't a trader. Real traders want opportunity, not equality. Equality isn't even a desireable outcome.
     
  8. Lucrum

    Lucrum

    A chronic case of Liberalism is what ails you.
     
    #10     Feb 28, 2010