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Are 99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism?

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152 replies to this topic

#141Eelco  Members

Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:03 PM

To chime in with my two cents, it appears to me that capitalism is not failing. What I do see is the middle class losing ground to the upper class, and siding with their soon to be peers, the lower class. Eventually the 3 groups polarize will completely, and the paupers will oust the princes.

Marx FTW! Seriously, I can see society diverge into two truely distinct layers due to technological or economical developments, but thats not whats happening today.

Whats happening today is in fact a massive increase in equality between the western marginally productive worker and the vast numbers of actually poor people eager to take their subsidized jobs. The supply of low-skilled labor has expanded enormously, and the supply of capital and high skilled workers relatively little. That is to be expected when most of the world is quite busy pulling themselves out of the dark ages. But this trend is probably already on the decline; now its china being asked to bail out europe. Their stocks of (human/technological) capital are growing, and its increased supply will make it relatively difficult to continue the trust-fund lifestyle that we have been enjoying; especially for those most reliant on it (the very very rich).

#142kseh  Members

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:33 PM

I really want to chime in with my 2 cents as well but I'm not so sure how to express those 2 cents.

I don't really hear a lot of good things about the OWS protesters. The media seems to make them out to be a bunch of people with nothing better to do trying to do something for a cause to make things better but no one can really come to a consensus on what those things are or how to go about it. No doubt there is a lot of things that could change to be make it so that people can have a better life. I don't know what those things are or how they should change. I'm not certain that even all the well educated posters to this thread that are able to articulate themselves well could come up with a direction to take the protests let alone a bunch of allegedly lowly educated, obsolete factory worker types. Although it could well be that they don't need a consensus if they just figure they have enough people and decide to do something or if one person can bullshit them enough into following him.

As for the original question, I don't think raising taxes on the rich will really address what I see as the general intent of the protest. That a corporation or someone should be taxed equally to everyone else appeals to my sense of fairness but it puts more money in the hands of the government when what I really want is more money in my hands. Getting money to the gov't for social programs is great and all since they can do more with say $500 per person than one person can do with$500. But I don't think the protesters are looking for more social programs. They want those other things that none of them can

#143Khaiy  Members

Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:41 PM

I really want to chime in with my 2 cents as well but I'm not so sure how to express those 2 cents.

I don't really hear a lot of good things about the OWS protesters. The media seems to make them out to be a bunch of people with nothing better to do trying to do something for a cause to make things better but no one can really come to a consensus on what those things are or how to go about it. No doubt there is a lot of things that could change to be make it so that people can have a better life. I don't know what those things are or how they should change. I'm not certain that even all the well educated posters to this thread that are able to articulate themselves well could come up with a direction to take the protests let alone a bunch of allegedly lowly educated, obsolete factory worker types. Although it could well be that they don't need a consensus if they just figure they have enough people and decide to do something or if one person can bullshit them enough into following him.

As for the original question, I don't think raising taxes on the rich will really address what I see as the general intent of the protest. That a corporation or someone should be taxed equally to everyone else appeals to my sense of fairness but it puts more money in the hands of the government when what I really want is more money in my hands. Getting money to the gov't for social programs is great and all since they can do more with say $500 per person than one person can do with$500. But I don't think the protesters are looking for more social programs. They want those other things that none of them can

Putting more money in the hands of government isn't what the protesters want either, at least not broadly; they just don't want such a huge proportion of it concentrated in so few hands. They're very clear on that, even though it's such a fragmented and leaderless group that more difficult things like specific policy ideas don't come through as clearly or coherently. There's no lack of ideas, including some pretty particular ones of varying quality. They're definitely not in favor of limitless welfare. Raising taxes on the rich (however you want to define that) certainly doesn't solve all problems, that's foolish. However, the current tax code very very strongly favors ever greater concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands. A different tax scheme might discourage that pattern somewhat, but it's certainly not going to be the whole solution.

As for the protesters themselves, there's a wide cross section of people- -it's definitely not all workers without college educations. In fact, most of the coverage I've seen has focused on middle class recent college graduates. They might not have "better things to do" than protest, but then again there isn't enough work for them. Not even close. And the current state of the economy is a product of unrestrained corporate greed and power (among other notable things). And worse still, the people who drove the unrestrained corporate greed and power were able to because they convinced the government to let them, and are generally still quite wealthy and powerful while most Americans are sitting in a crater of wealth, opportunity, and voice in government deeper and broader than any seen in decades.

But they don't seem to want to operate the way that you're suggesting, becoming a specific organized movement and a distinct force in politics, a la the Tea Party. My sense is that the protesters perceive the whole system as fundamentally rigged by and in favor of the rich, and that doing things like becoming formally organized would only lead to them and their message excluding more and more people, and then being co-opted by the corruption of the system anyways.

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#144Gamer Gamester  Members

Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:41 AM

There's no way any human can generate as much value as certain humans are being compensated for. Value creation is largely distributed, but the compensation seems rather consolidated.

#145dpaek85  Members

Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:44 PM

The United States does not use so much capitalism. Countries around the world such as China is more capitalistic than the United States as of late.

Top private businesses and top political leaders have very close ties, how is this capitalism?
I've read articles where political leaders are making salaries of half a million dollars, since when was serving as a politician a career choice instead of a choice to serve the country? There is a reason why political offices are meant to serve in terms.
When some of the largest businesses in this country fail, they are rewarded by the government with bailout money. How is this capitalism?
The government allows the FED to print tons of worthless paper money to inflate the value of the dollar to fix short term economic problems, how is this capitalism?
The government provides tons of loans and benefits to home-buyers who cannot responsibly afford their homes, how is this capitalism?
The government provides tons of money towards students allowing school prices to continue to rise in one of the worst economic times of U.S. history, how is this capitalism?

A government in general is a deficit to a country's economic spending. I am not saying government is bad, there are many reasons why a government is required and necessary. But right now, government & the FED is destroying this country's economy, not capitalism.

I don't understand why people think collecting MORE taxes is going to possibly fix the issue. No matter where the money comes from, a government just collecting more money to spend it the same way it's been building its giant deficit over the years is NOT going to fix the problem at all! If a government knew how to make profit from the money it collects, it wouldn't need to tax its people to begin with. What do these people think the government is going to do with the money from taxing the wealthy? I think some politicians are looking for a big raise sometime soon... which of course will funnel back to corporate ties.

R.I.P. - capitalism in the U.S.

#146way2lazy2care  Members

Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:32 PM

Another good one:

#147Kaze  Members

Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:33 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

#148Sirisian  Members

Posted 12 November 2011 - 07:59 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

Saw that one the other day. I believe it was a joke. Like he's trolling.

#149way2lazy2care  Members

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:01 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

Eh. It's kind of valid when a bunch of recent college graduates are getting upset because they didn't get jobs the day the graduated are protesting the lack of jobs. In reality as a college graduate there's one employer that will instantly hire you, give you work experience, pay for your room and board, give you a fairly competitive salary, great benefits, great pension, and pay off your college loans. It's interesting how few people even see it as a viable option.

I say this somewhat ironically as I wouldn't have thought about it as an option either when I was post-graduation job hunting.

#150Khaiy  Members

Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:17 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

Eh. It's kind of valid when a bunch of recent college graduates are getting upset because they didn't get jobs the day the graduated are protesting the lack of jobs. In reality as a college graduate there's one employer that will instantly hire you, give you work experience, pay for your room and board, give you a fairly competitive salary, great benefits, great pension, and pay off your college loans. It's interesting how few people even see it as a viable option.

I say this somewhat ironically as I wouldn't have thought about it as an option either when I was post-graduation job hunting.

It's certainly valid. However, it's validity is degraded a bit when there are fewer job opportunities than there have been for the last couple of decades, jobs that are available have lower compensation than in the last couple of decades, current circumstances depress lifetime earning potential, and joining up with the military right now means signing up for likely serving in some wildly unpopular military actions, which a lot of those protesters also may have protested against (both the engagements at all, and also the way that they were run).

Things really are bleaker for recent graduates than they have been for their predecessors. The fact that the economy can operate as a de facto press gang to shunt people into the military, which is conveniently a black hole of government spending, doesn't really even that out. Plus the government could fund something other than the military to do the exact same thing.

-------R.I.P.-------

Selective Quote

~Too Late - Too Soon~

#151Alpheus  GDNet+

Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:58 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

Eh. It's kind of valid when a bunch of recent college graduates are getting upset because they didn't get jobs the day the graduated are protesting the lack of jobs.

Next day. Six months from now. What's the difference?
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#152Burnt_Fyr  Members

Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:32 PM

To chime in with my two cents, it appears to me that capitalism is not failing. What I do see is the middle class losing ground to the upper class, and siding with their soon to be peers, the lower class. Eventually the 3 groups polarize will completely, and the paupers will oust the princes.

Marx FTW! Seriously, I can see society diverge into two truely distinct layers due to technological or economical developments, but thats not whats happening today.

Yet in the rest of your post, you appear to agree...

Whats happening today is in fact a massive increase in equality between the western marginally productive worker and the vast numbers of actually poor people eager to take their subsidized jobs.

See above... middle and poor becoming one.

... But this trend is probably already on the decline; now its china being asked to bail out europe. Their stocks of (human/technological) capital are growing, and its increased supply will make it relatively difficult to continue the trust-fund lifestyle that we have been enjoying; especially for those most reliant on it (the very very rich).

The rich being deposed. When you shuffle around the blocks at the bottom of the pyramid, the top comes crashing down, because it cannot support it self.

#153JustChris  Members

Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:48 PM

Another good one:

Isn't that slightly undermined by the paychecks and tuition coming from by tax dollars.

Eh. It's kind of valid when a bunch of recent college graduates are getting upset because they didn't get jobs the day the graduated are protesting the lack of jobs. In reality as a college graduate there's one employer that will instantly hire you, give you work experience, pay for your room and board, give you a fairly competitive salary, great benefits, great pension, and pay off your college loans. It's interesting how few people even see it as a viable option.

I say this somewhat ironically as I wouldn't have thought about it as an option either when I was post-graduation job hunting.

It's certainly valid. However, it's validity is degraded a bit when there are fewer job opportunities than there have been for the last couple of decades, jobs that are available have lower compensation than in the last couple of decades, current circumstances depress lifetime earning potential, and joining up with the military right now means signing up for likely serving in some wildly unpopular military actions, which a lot of those protesters also may have protested against (both the engagements at all, and also the way that they were run).

Things really are bleaker for recent graduates than they have been for their predecessors. The fact that the economy can operate as a de facto press gang to shunt people into the military, which is conveniently a black hole of government spending, doesn't really even that out. Plus the government could fund something other than the military to do the exact same thing.

There are enough jobs for most people, I think, but they are often mis-matched. Okay so there are some people that completely went left field and expected to find something in what they went to school for quickly. But most people took more mainstream paths that are regarded as safe, and want careers for their skills, not mere throwaway jobs that are not relevant to what they took education for.

I consider job matching to be a massive logistics problem that needs to be solved if we want our economy back on track. Employers in various cities say that there is a low supply of skilled workers, including in the programming industry. But what they really mean is it's more of a lack of skilled workers that want to work for the lower-than-average wages that they offer.

Someone told me about a story where a guy took a long hibernation and woke up in the distant future. He found out that the key to immortality has been discovered and no one dies of old age. But he discovered a large social problem behind all this. The younger generations have been complaining that they couldn't find work, because the increasingly growing older population have firmly seated themselves in the top positions and won't let go of them. A hyperbolic situation but it supports the idea that the 99% vs 1% problem is also generational.

Re: dpaek85 and government being the problem more than capitalism, this is true. But we should more evenly place blame on both parties, the government and the companies that choose to conspire with them.

Instead of being upset only at the chronic lobbyists, we should especially be upset of the fact that government is worth lobbying to. We can't get rid of lobbying completely.

If we tried to do that, corporations will switch to more overt methods of bribery, so long as members of government are willing to accept it. I refuse to believe it's impossible to fight corruption within the government.
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