Author Topic: In Praise of Greed  (Read 5242 times)

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #87 on: May 04, 2013, 08:49:40 AM »
I never asked anyone to be politically motivated, I am asking that you don't ignore the facts and don't reduce everything to your own personal sphere. Your actions have an impact on the greater world. That's not a political doctrine, that's a fact. That you refuse to accept it and therefore must repeatedly paint it as a partisan belief is your problem, not mine.
Yeah, and you know...how much again?...about what I do in my personal life?  This is the point that I'm driving at.  You're making unwarranted assumptions about how other people here act and think based on responses to a post that was directed at junebug's monochromatic opinion about greed.  And as a result, you irritate other people so much that they aren't likely to give what you say much credence - which ends up reinforcing the bad assumptions you made.

Quote from: Hierophant
You find my attempt at conveying this "grating." So what? I am not singing you a song or writing a novel for your consumption, so how is this relevant to anything? I cannot see that as anything but an attempt at poisoning the well.
You're trying to convince people of something, yes?  So how do you expect to actually convince them with this kind of behavior?  Just because you're giving your opinion away for free doesn't mean that other people are going to accept it, especially when you're acting in a pretty abrasive manner as you communicate it.  If you want people to actually listen to you, you have to make at least some effort to make them want to listen.  So far, you're not doing very good on that score.

Quote from: Hierophant
Your arguing strategy is fallacious and inflammatory. Its sole goal is to divert away from the point and to impute me personal flaws that make what I say irrelevant. That I am politically biased, and therefore should not be listened to. But everyone is politically biased, so by that standard, what you say is equally worthless.
You're reading far too much into what I'm writing if you think I'm saying any of that.  All I'm trying to get across is that you aren't going to be very successful at getting people to listen to your opinions while you're busy haranguing them and grating on them.

Quote from: Hierophant
The fact is that ever since I started posting on this forum I have been targeted by personal attacks. But I am not an intellectual coward and I will not back down just because you try to bully me into backing down.
I haven't been trying to bully you or use personal attacks on you.  Indeed, I'm trying to help you get your position across constructively, in a way that people are likely to listen to.  You need to start exercising more tact; so far, I haven't really seen much of that, or even much of an effort to try to be.

But I have to ask - if you have been targeted by personal attacks, why haven't you been reporting them to moderators?  Seems to me that they would take exception to people using personal attacks as an attempt to dodge the actual meat of the argument.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #88 on: May 04, 2013, 08:57:42 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken. Politicians are owned.  They have been bought and paid for.  They can not be trusted and we've been living to comfortably to complain.  It is infringing upon our democracy and our right to clean air and water.  They give big corps. tax breaks to create American jobs and they send them elsewhere. I don't want people in other countries to be unemployed, but I do think you should have your own affairs in order to properly help another country to develop.  I just want the greed out of politics so they can objectively make decisions that benefit all our society not just the top 2%.
I don't think the system itself is broken, I think the problem is that many politicians subscribe to neoconservative/neoliberal beliefs which result in enshrining greed and political gain no matter what it costs.  It's a self-perpetuating problem, too, since as politicians continue to enshrine greed, the people who run for office will tend to be more greedy to start with.

Quote from: junebug72
I mentioned a Dr. Richard Wolfe in another post.  He is an economist that says capitalism doesn't work. He made a compelling argument against it but I don't know that his cure is possible.  I went to his website and asked some questions; I did not get a response.  He says socialism is the cure, don't know about that. I think we're too far into it to turn back now. Surely just a few regulations here and there and we could be back on the right track.
There is no 'cure', at least not in the sense that he means.  It's like entropy - we're stuck with it, no matter what, all we can do is try to minimize the impact it will have on us.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #89 on: May 04, 2013, 10:39:36 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Astreja

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #90 on: May 04, 2013, 12:48:57 PM »
I should not have responded with so much emotion and I am sorry for that.  I really do hope you can forgive me and sue me because I don't want anyone to think I'm just saying I'm sorry because I don't want to be sued but because I'm genuinely sorry for making a horses a$$ out of myself.

I accept your apology, Junebug; and no, I won't sue you.   Please be careful with words, because they pack an incredible amount of power and often do have real-world consequences if they negatively impact someone's reputation or livelihood.  That's why I try to remember to use the "preview" button before I submit posts on forums, because My first drafts can sometimes be unfit for polite company.

And there's no need to tone down the intense emotions that you feel on behalf of the many people suffering on this planet.  In fact, there's power there too -- Power that can change the world for the better if you learn how to focus it and direct it to positive actions.  Trust that you can make a difference, and do something.  Anything.  Any good, no matter how small, is better than none.
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Offline Hierophant

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #91 on: May 04, 2013, 06:13:18 PM »
I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you. Maybe you're right and there's no point in me trying to tell you people anything. So far my success rate at doing this on this forum has been zero. You people are truly unredeemable... It's like talking to a brick wall.

Well, I gave it my best try. Have fun in the echo chamber.

Online Azdgari

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #92 on: May 04, 2013, 07:19:28 PM »
I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you. ...

Jaime was suggesting you report him (and whoever else, I'd be included in this I guess) for making personal attacks when you think they're making personal attacks.

He did not suggest you report people for ignoring facts.  Why not respond to what was actually written?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #93 on: May 05, 2013, 03:20:56 AM »
I have watched picture after picture of dead children stroll across my screen, so yes I'm quite disturbed when someones praises the very cause of those unnecessary tragedies.

I'm sure you can understand then how I feel when you praise a god who has decided on a system where he will do nothing to save them.

You say "if we weren't greedy, and took action, those children would live - therefore its our fault".
I say "if your god wasn't aloof, and took action, those children would live - therefore its god's fault".

Ultimately, I entirely agree that specific actions (or inactions) have an effect on others.  But unlike you, I do not absolve any individual - god or man - of blame if they have the ability to make change.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #94 on: May 05, 2013, 06:23:21 AM »
Where greed really gets ugly is when politicians take money and pass laws that are not in the best interest of "we the people."  That is why it's so bad right now. It is interfering with democracy.
You seem to be very vague here about "best interests" Do you mean, "my personal interests"? And "we the people" (i.e. the Tea Party) were defeated at the last presidential election so, the majority of the people were quite happy.

Get off my character GB. That is not vague. If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #95 on: May 05, 2013, 06:28:12 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

Are you American? It's the people protected under the Constitution.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #96 on: May 05, 2013, 06:31:33 AM »
Get off my character GB.

I was unaware that I was "on" your character.

Quote
That is not vague.

It is to me. The majority of the people are either rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, Chirstian or something else. They all have their own ideas, just like you have yours. I still don't know who you mean by "we the people".

If you had just said "people" I would have understood... but you didn't. You chose a slogan of a political faction and you must have intended to do that because you say that if you mean a thing you will type it.

Quote
If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.

Fine. There are laws about polluted water. If someone is being greedy, how do you stop them? What sort of laws do you want? How do you want to stop personal enterprise and freedom?

You seem to see problems but no solutions. Do you have any solutions?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 06:34:08 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #97 on: May 05, 2013, 06:48:30 AM »
That's where you're wrong, Hierophant.  Greed at a personal level is not a reflection of those policies at a world level.

For example, I'm greedy about sweets (and to a lesser degree, food).  I eat too much food in general and eat far too much junk food and candy.  That doesn't mean that I would let my greed for them run rampant if I were in a position of power.  You know why?  Because I'm not stupid.  I don't make the mistake of assuming that what I want is the be-all end-all of existence.  And that means that I can discipline my greed to an acceptable level.

You don't seem to understand that.  From what I've seen, you're missing the distinction between the kind of stupid, destructive greed that you're complaining about, and the kind of intelligent, benevolent greed that improves things for people.  And worse, you don't seem to care that there is a difference - as far as you're concerned, greed is greed is greed.

Maybe instead of breathing fire about this and scorching anyone who doesn't agree with you, you should take the time to review your facts and present them calmly.  Who would you be more likely to listen to, someone who laid out the facts in a rational manner and stayed calm throughout, or someone who ranted and screamed at you because you didn't agree with them?  You're coming across as the second right now.

What I got from that was we are pawns in a system designed to mislead people to believe that we all have equal rights to own a home, a car, have some kids and retire from a good job that appreciates your years of dedicated performance. That by participating in that system we are part of the problem.  The truth is the odds are not stacked the same, people of modest means do not have the same opportunities as their counterpart. Just like another poster said, capitalism only works when you have a lot of poor people to make it work.  That is just terrible.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #98 on: May 05, 2013, 07:00:36 AM »
Get off my character GB.

I was unaware that I was "on" your character.

Quote
That is not vague.

It is to me. The majority of the people are either rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, Chirstian or something else. They all have their own ideas, just like you have yours. I still don't know who you mean by "we the people".

If you had just said "people" I would have understood... but you didn't. You chose a slogan of a political faction and you must have intended to do that because you say that if you mean a thing you will type it.

Quote
If I had meant "my personal interests" that's what I would have typed.  I'm talking about "our" right to clean air, water and protection against irresponsible greed. To keep things fair for everybody.

Fine. There are laws about polluted water. If someone is being greedy, how do you stop them? What sort of laws do you want? How do you want to stop personal enterprise and freedom?

You seem to see problems but no solutions. Do you have any solutions?

Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #99 on: May 05, 2013, 07:01:20 AM »
The fact is that ever since I started posting on this forum I have been targeted by personal attacks.

But I have to ask - if you have been targeted by personal attacks, why haven't you been reporting them to moderators?  Seems to me that they would take exception to people using personal attacks as an attempt to dodge the actual meat of the argument.

I don't see why moderators would have any interest in stopping you ignoring the facts, esp since they probably agree with you.

Quoting the relevant parts of the conversation and bolding for emphasis.  It seems to me that you just shifted the goalposts rather radically when I suggested that you report people to moderators.  Before that, you were supposedly being targeted by personal attacks, afterwards, it was about people "ignoring the facts".  Care to explain yourself?

Online jaimehlers

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #100 on: May 05, 2013, 08:12:23 AM »
What I got from that was we are pawns in a system designed to mislead people to believe that we all have equal rights to own a home, a car, have some kids and retire from a good job that appreciates your years of dedicated performance. That by participating in that system we are part of the problem.  The truth is the odds are not stacked the same, people of modest means do not have the same opportunities as their counterpart. Just like another poster said, capitalism only works when you have a lot of poor people to make it work.  That is just terrible.
I don't agree.  Capitalism is not a system designed to mislead people into believing that they all have the same rights; it is not a system built on the backs of a lot of poor people.  The latter, especially, sounds a lot more like feudalism, which did in fact have a lot of poor people (peasants, peons, servants, slaves) who were kept impoverished by those in power.  Indeed, in most feudal societies, the people on the bottom were deliberately kept impoverished.  Take feudal Japan, for example.  On top, you had the shogun - the de facto ruler of the country.  Below him you had numerous daimyo, essentially clan leaders, and below them, the bushi (noblemen).  Below them, you had the various social classes (samurai, merchants, craftsmen, and peasants), who were far more numerous than the ones set on top of them, and had far less power to actually affect things.

There were literally dozens of peasant rebellions during the Tokugawa shogunate alone.  Virtually all of them happened because the peasants were effectively being abused - for example, charged such high taxes that they couldn't get enough food to eat (never mind buying stuff), or not given relief from taxes during bad years.  And they did this knowing full well that they would be executed for daring to rebel, even if that 'rebellion' was simply leaving their homes without permission and going to complain to the daimyo.  They never hoped to actually change the system to something a bit more equitable, either, because they knew it was impossible.

To paraphrase Churchill, "(capitalism) is the worst economic system in existence - except for all the others that have been tried before".  There are lots of flaws with capitalism - debt peonage being a major one, and there's plenty of others - but it allows for social mobility.  People may not have equal buying power, but they can save up money to buy things and improve their lot.  What other economic system has ever done that?

Offline Graybeard

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #101 on: May 05, 2013, 04:27:22 PM »
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

If, on the other hand, it means that my life won't change but babies don't starve, then I'll be up there with a banner. (What about fat people - I mean they could starve for a bit, couldn't they? Surely anyone who is fat is "greedy" by definition.)

Is there some cut-off point that indicates how many/much of whatever stuff we can have without being "greedy"? Because I'd like to run through a check-list. I've got 3 electric drills but I think I need them all - I could possibly do without the Makita one as it doesn't have a hammer-action.

If you get secondhand stuff, does that count as greed? Or does the greed relate to the person who had it before?
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Offline Tonus

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #102 on: May 07, 2013, 02:49:53 PM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken.

Greed doesn't play into it as much as it may seem.  I think our biggest problem in the USA is that we don't teach people about finances and economics.  We've been taught to consume with no real thought about how to save and invest and plan for the future.  We have politicized the issue as well.  You are either a lazy leech draining the productive members of society, or a wealthy leech draining the productive members of society.  You are either helpless and need more and more taxpayer dollars, or you are hopeless and need a swift kick in the ass to get you motivated.

We are greedy, I think that's an essential part of our nature, and it's an evolutionary mechanism.  Only the most selfish organisms survive long enough to mate and propagate the species.  We have progressed to a point where we can consider the possible harm that being selfish can do.  But greed is still, IMO, a deeply-ingrained part of our psyche.  What I think we should do is use both of those factors to our advantage.  Teach people how to build wealth-- let their greed help them instead of harm them.  Once they have built wealth, the desire to show that we are not selfish will prompt most of them to be generous with that wealth.

Keeping people ignorant about finances and economics is what keeps the vast majority either treading water or barely scraping by while a relative few build enormous wealth and enjoy a level of luxury that we cannot imagine.  We talk about wealth distribution, but the best way to do that would be to give everyone the knowledge to build and manage wealth.  Self-interest is the most powerful motivator, IMO.  We just need to point it in the right direction.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #103 on: May 07, 2013, 06:13:44 PM »
Just a general observation. I personally have a tendency to get so overwhelmed by the complexity of an issue like 'how much is too much' that I end up not identifying and eliminating aspects of my life that really need it.

Another way of putting it, I sometimes get too lost in the many shades of grey to recognise the black and white when I see it.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #104 on: May 08, 2013, 03:04:57 AM »
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

I quite agree - let's hear what the changes are going to be first.  Not so much the mud huts thing, but everything else - and an analysis of any knock-on effects that would occur.

For example: companies are required to donate 10% of their pre-tax profits to food programs in the third world.  Sounds super, yes?  Easy solution, everything fixed!

Well, famine may be fixed, but what else has happened?

  • Tax revenues just fell by 10%.  What effect does that have on healthcare spending, welfare, unemployment benefit?
  • Reported profits just dipped 10%.  What effect does that have on the stock market, and hence people's pensions?
  • Are ALL companies taking this hit? What level do we stop?  Are we going to be driving into bankruptcy the mom and pop corner store that is barely scraping by as it is?
  • What do those companise do about the lost profit?  Do they raise their prices by 11% to keep their profits stable?  What effect does that have on the consumer?  With the cost of a weeble now 11% bigger, will people still buy them?  Is that BIG company going to go under?  Will hundreds, thousands of jobs be lost?
  • Junebug mentioned that some organisations/governments divert aid resources to the wrong place.  Will all of that 10% go to food programs?  Or have we just upped the arms spending of the tinpot dictatorships by 10%?

So yeah - I want to hear a whole lot about this "change" before I raise my banner high and join the back of the march.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 03:06:34 AM by Anfauglir »
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Jag

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #105 on: May 08, 2013, 08:49:52 AM »
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, what are you waiting for? Some of us are already doing that and we could certainly benefit from more participation to reach these massive numbers. Quit waiting for everyone else to get involved and get yourself involved now to help make the changes you're complaining about. You are as much a part of the problem as any other American, so what are you waiting for?

There are countless organization in need of support, whether that comes in the form of donated dollars or donated time. If you can't add to the dollars, add to the hours. This isn't rocket science, it just requires people to care enough to take action - talking doesn't amount to results, only action will.

If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change - are you organizing anything to reach massive numbers of people? No? Then find a group that already exists and go help them change the world. Again, I don't care what you believe, I care what you do.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
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Offline Jag

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #106 on: May 08, 2013, 09:07:59 AM »
Just a general observation. I personally have a tendency to get so overwhelmed by the complexity of an issue like 'how much is too much' that I end up not identifying and eliminating aspects of my life that really need it.

Another way of putting it, I sometimes get too lost in the many shades of grey to recognise the black and white when I see it.

To borrow a phrase from jb - THAT is human nature.

I think I told you that my oldest brother has lived in Australia for ... wow, it must be about 25 years now. He first went for 6 months, then came back to the States long enough to sell pretty much everything and go back for 3 years. It became permanent, but one observation he's made several times over the years that really stands out is the difference between American consumption and what he sees elsewhere. According to him, Americans in general have a strange approach to purchasing - we think in terms of cost as opposed to value. From his perspective, remembering that he grew up here, we've learned to accept cheap and disposable over more costly but more durable. It irritates him to no end, but it's difficult to tell if that's because he's pretty frugal by nature or if it's reflective of how different the consumer values appear to him now that he doesn't live here. He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

Living here myself, it's hard to know how accurate his opinion is - I don't have enough exposure to cultures outside the US to know how much truth is in that perception, but it seems like a reasonable conclusion. Any thoughts mm?
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Offline Astreja

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #107 on: May 08, 2013, 01:16:08 PM »
He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

I think the "not enough" culture and the craving for quantity over quality may be closely tied to the cloud of advertising propaganda that is prevalent in many cultures, not just in North America.  Have there been any studies that compared individuals' perceptions about consumption and possessions with their media diets?  (In other words, are people who watch prime-time TV more likely to feel deprived of "the good life" than someone who just occasionally turns on the car radio or glances at a newspaper?)
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Offline Astreja

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #108 on: May 08, 2013, 01:19:28 PM »
If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change...

Not only that -- Ever tried organizing "massive numbers"?  More often than not, it ends in tears.  Small groups of independently empowered people are just more effective on the ground.
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Offline Jag

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #109 on: May 08, 2013, 02:00:24 PM »
He also claims that culturally, we're conditioned to confuse "more" with "better" and have discarded the idea of "enough" entirely.

I think the "not enough" culture and the craving for quantity over quality may be closely tied to the cloud of advertising propaganda that is prevalent in many cultures, not just in North America.  Have there been any studies that compared individuals' perceptions about consumption and possessions with their media diets?  (In other words, are people who watch prime-time TV more likely to feel deprived of "the good life" than someone who just occasionally turns on the car radio or glances at a newspaper?)

There have, actually. I'll find a few and link them for you - as soon as I'm done prepping for and taking the final in my Psychology and the Media class today. Good timing huh?

If everyone waits for "massive numbers", nothing will change...

Not only that -- Ever tried organizing "massive numbers"?  More often than not, it ends in tears.  Small groups of independently empowered people are just more effective on the ground.

I completely agree with you. Grassroots level movements tend to result in the most lasting and pervasive changes, and by definition the movement toward change starts small. The effectiveness is the result of gaining adherents or supporters, not the other way around.

I'm somewhat analytical about which organizations I get involved with - I heavily favor those that go after the causes, and am less inclined to participate much with the ones that address the symptoms. Hoping not to offend anyone, but Feed my Starving Children gets a little of my support, while I continue looking for a local group that does something to address the problem in a more sustainable way. Kiva International is among my favorites, because attacking the root of the problem they set out to help solve is exactly what they do.
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Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #110 on: May 11, 2013, 07:37:11 AM »
I should not have responded with so much emotion and I am sorry for that.  I really do hope you can forgive me and sue me because I don't want anyone to think I'm just saying I'm sorry because I don't want to be sued but because I'm genuinely sorry for making a horses a$$ out of myself.

I accept your apology, Junebug; and no, I won't sue you.   Please be careful with words, because they pack an incredible amount of power and often do have real-world consequences if they negatively impact someone's reputation or livelihood.  That's why I try to remember to use the "preview" button before I submit posts on forums, because My first drafts can sometimes be unfit for polite company.

And there's no need to tone down the intense emotions that you feel on behalf of the many people suffering on this planet.  In fact, there's power there too -- Power that can change the world for the better if you learn how to focus it and direct it to positive actions.  Trust that you can make a difference, and do something.  Anything.  Any good, no matter how small, is better than none.

Thanks for accepting my apology.

That's the same point I tried to make about words.  It is my life's challenge to be "impeccable with my word".  I'll have to admit I was pretty sore from the attacks on my character from my thread, but that's no excuse. 

I see your point and the story I posted on "Believing...", points out the benefits of greed to the individual but points out the harm to society.  Greed is just like any other self pleasure it is up to the individual to control it.  That's where things get tricky.  You don't want government involvement  but I don't see any other way. When individual greed harms society what do you do about it?  How do you fairly deal with it?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #111 on: May 11, 2013, 07:42:59 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

The people protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline The Gawd

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #112 on: May 11, 2013, 08:32:15 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people"
Could you define who you mean by "we the people"? Thanks.

The people protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.
I do see the American government as a greedy organization that causes a lot of bad in the world due to its greed, specifically. I can agree with you on that.

Online junebug72

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #113 on: May 11, 2013, 09:09:07 AM »
Do you guys think that the political system,(American), that is supposed to protect "we the people" from individual greed is broken.

Greed doesn't play into it as much as it may seem.  I think our biggest problem in the USA is that we don't teach people about finances and economics.  We've been taught to consume with no real thought about how to save and invest and plan for the future.  We have politicized the issue as well.  You are either a lazy leech draining the productive members of society, or a wealthy leech draining the productive members of society.  You are either helpless and need more and more taxpayer dollars, or you are hopeless and need a swift kick in the ass to get you motivated.

We are greedy, I think that's an essential part of our nature, and it's an evolutionary mechanism.  Only the most selfish organisms survive long enough to mate and propagate the species.  We have progressed to a point where we can consider the possible harm that being selfish can do.  But greed is still, IMO, a deeply-ingrained part of our psyche.  What I think we should do is use both of those factors to our advantage.  Teach people how to build wealth-- let their greed help them instead of harm them.  Once they have built wealth, the desire to show that we are not selfish will prompt most of them to be generous with that wealth.

Keeping people ignorant about finances and economics is what keeps the vast majority either treading water or barely scraping by while a relative few build enormous wealth and enjoy a level of luxury that we cannot imagine.  We talk about wealth distribution, but the best way to do that would be to give everyone the knowledge to build and manage wealth.  Self-interest is the most powerful motivator, IMO.  We just need to point it in the right direction.

Then who is going to work for minimum wage, that is the backbone of capitalism and how people get so filthy rich.  It is also impossible to have nice things, save money and all that good stuff making minimum wages.  The minimum wage should be calculated by adding the cost of the American Dream which is around $3000.00@ month in NC and the employers annual income.  The min. wage in NC is $7.50@ hr that's $1200.00@ month. Not to mention those jobs suck real bad.  For companies that can afford to pay better and don't that harms society.  Companies like Wal- mart, Fast Food Ind..

I think you're right our educational system does need improvements. That's what seems odd to me.  While the filthy rich were getting richer our schools got poorer, especially in poor communities.  Then that's something mom and dad should teach their kids but there's a lot of moms and dads that don't know it to teach it.  That's why I say the odds are not the same.  For many the odds are against them the day they are conceived.  How is that a fair society?


I do see the American government as a greedy organization that causes a lot of bad in the world due to its greed, specifically. I can agree with you on that.

Thanks Gawd that means a lot to me.  My partner and I were just discussing this last night and we both decided we feel so helpless.  You have to focus on what's good in your life but you can not ignore what's going on around you either. 

I would like to add to Tonus's idea to also educate in politics.  I mean these people are given a lot of power and control and I think they make it hard on purpose; to keep the poor, uneducated tired worn out workers out of it.  There are so many areas in need of improvements it's hard to know where to start.  In a country as large and advanced as ours I don't see any reason we can't address them all!!!  The hard part is getting people to agree!!!
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Jag

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #114 on: May 11, 2013, 09:49:34 AM »
Much better, junebug, these are specific things we can discuss. Which one would you prefer? I'll start with more on education:

I'm of the belief that improving our educational system, a complete overhaul in fact, would be the most important step for future generations. I'm not convinced it should be the first one though - those changes would take a couple of decades to manifest fully and we don't have time to waste. It can't be the only step, it has to happen in concert with other changes directed at altering the behavior of people already out of school - the adults are far more guilty than the children and we have more power to make a difference.

I don't like the idea of more government involvement, but certain standards have to be set, and overseen to ensure that every child who gets an education is learning the same basic principles and skills. I'm not at all sure of how to go about  seeing that home school curriculum adhere to this though. Maybe we need to tackle public schools first, then worry about how to deal with homeschoolers.

Critical thinking is no longer part of the typical school curriculum, and it has cost this nation beyond measure. The entire foundation of Civics/Social Studies has been twisted into very superficial coverage of our rights and entitlements, with little if any attention being paid to our collective responsibilities. The job of American citizens, our role of participants in government, has been downplayed to the point that people seem to forget that we the people are the ones with the power.  Our individual and collective focus is on "me" not "we" - that needs to change.

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: In Praise of Greed
« Reply #115 on: May 11, 2013, 09:51:26 AM »
Yea I have an idea, people coming together in massive numbers to demand change. When it happens I'm going to be there, are you?  Let's save them starving babies GB!!! What do ya say?

Well, I say, let's hear the ideas about this "change" before I get behind them. If it means my walking everywhere, living in an unheated mud hut, washing in a river and eating leaves, I'm not going to be there.

I quite agree - let's hear what the changes are going to be first.  Not so much the mud huts thing, but everything else - and an analysis of any knock-on effects that would occur.

Planning on detailing these changes you are after Junebug?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?