Sunday School

Sunday School February 25th 2024

This topic contains 189 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 151 through 165 (of 190 total)
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  • #52958

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Enco,

    Whether your prognostications/assessments as to the American economy are accurate does not change the reality of so many who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous vicissitudes.

    Should we help the needy or let them suffer and die?

    #52959

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Enco

    There’s no greed involved in the inflation? Shortages of supplies and supply line problems drove the pandemic-related inflation,  but clearly a lot of companies are treating pricing like a ratchet system that can only go in one direction. Now that the supply and supply line problems have greatly eased, have the prices gone back down or have the increasing profits instead stayed in the companies?

    Of course, in this system we have now, the management has a duty to maximize profits on behalf of the owners/stockholders. The argument often goes that the profits go into R&D, but clearly they also go to line the top management’s pockets in the form or outrageously astronomical salaries and bonuses. People in top positions in top companies elsewhere feel satisfied with far more reasonable remuneration.

    Exorbitant CEO pay is a contributor to rising inequality that we could restrain without doing any damage to the wider economy. CEOs are getting ever-higher pay over time because of their power to set pay and because so much of their pay (more than 80%) is stock-related. They are not getting higher pay because they are becoming more productive or more skilled than other workers, or because of a shortage of excellent CEO candidates. This escalation of CEO compensation and of executive compensation more generally has fueled the growth of top 1% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving fewer of the gains of economic growth for ordinary workers and widening the gap between very high earners and the bottom 90%. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or were taxed more). (source)

    #52965

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Simon

    Men and women tend to be quite different in fundamental ways, some cultural for sure but others seem to be genetically predisposed or hardwired.

    I’ve been fascinated by the many different reactions to the movie Alien, and some reactions have been unisexual while others have been, so far, 100% gender-based.

    If you remember the movie, you’ll remember that there is a character named “Jonesy” (“Jonesie?”) who is a cat. While both genders may wonder why they brought a cat along (we cat owners know why), the females, almost every single one, are worried the cat might die or be left behind.

    I don’t dislike this difference. I think it defines what it means to be male or female and I don’t think it’s cultural. Culture may cultivate it, but I think females are born to be empathetic and caring to a greater extent than males.

    Me? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    #52970

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Jake,

    Whether your prognostications/assessments as to the American economy are accurate does not change the reality of so many who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous vicissitudes.

    Should we help the needy or let them suffer and die?

    Well, Hamlet 💀😉 we help them by not destroying the greatest economic powerhouse ever on Earth and meanwhile do whatever is non-sacrificial to see that they stay helped. Providing productive work and education on frugality and investment are the number one way to see that people stay helped.

    If you know of any open positions on the track like ticket sales, concessions, maintenance, feeding and grooming, announcing, let the homeless shelters know about them and help the homeless with jobs. It could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things for them.

    Meanwhile, King Lear, don’t sacrifice your kingdom (or this Republic) for a horse.🏇

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Adding a preposition to a great proposition
    #52971

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Enco,

    Even if our economy were a great deal stronger it would not alter the landscape of good and bad fortune. Tragedy, abandonment, destitution, mental issues et. al. cause the greatest vulnerabilities and suffering.

    So i ask what kind of a civilization do we want? Whatever our political leanings is it treason to modify political ideology to be better human beings?

    There are people who apparently make a living or perhaps supplement their welfare or social security by combing the tracks for discarded tickets and checking to see whether they have value. Recently there was a tote delay at many tracks in the USA and at one track in particular a big race was conducted without wagering and a subsequent race cancelled. The confusion caused patrons to throw away winning tickets that were scratched or had consolation payoffs utilizing ‘alls’ in the race run without wagering. Kind of demeaning though picking up tickets off the floor and rummaging through garbage cans. But hey gotta do what ya gotta do.

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    Good day.

    #52973

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    There’s no greed involved in the inflation? Shortages of supplies and supply line problems drove the pandemic-related inflation, but clearly a lot of companies are treating pricing like a ratchet system that can only go in one direction. Now that the supply and supply line problems have greatly eased, have the prices gone back down or have the increasing profits instead stayed in the companies?

    If greed were all that determined prices, then prices would go up forever without end. Prices are determined by Supply and Demand and Demand is increased whenever Governments increase the money supply. When Supply is limited (and at any fixed time interval and place, supply of anything is limited) prices rise. This is the phenomenon of Inflation.

    Inflation is one factor that decreases Supply of goods because it raises the price of components and ingredients and labor that go into production, transportation, and marketing of products and services.

    And when the printed money that creates inflation is spent on paying people not to work, then you see even less supply of goods and services, and you see companies raise starting pay from $8/hour to $20/hour, yet still unable to find workers. In short, you see what you see now.

    And when inflation decreases Supply of goods and services, it makes the economy’s whole supply chain more vulnerable to shocks and stoppages than it would be otherwise, such as when a bout of Bird Flu skyrocketed the price of eggs and chicken, or when problems in a single baby formula factory skyrocketed the price of formula and sent babies into Intensive Care Units from malnutrition.

    And, of course, inflation is piled on top of other government restrictions on Supply, such as price controls which create shortages or restrictions on production, such as bans on drilling for our own petroleum and restrictions on building new nuclear reactors, the latter of which we haven’t seen since 1978.

    Of course, in this system we have now, the management has a duty to maximize profits on behalf of the owners/stockholders. The argument often goes that the profits go into R&D, but clearly they also go to line the top management’s pockets in the form or outrageously astronomical salaries and bonuses. People in top positions in top companies elsewhere feel satisfied with far more reasonable remuneration.

    There is already a limitation on the pay of CEOs: If a corporation doesn’t produce goods and services that consumers want to buy, the corporation’s percentage of the market goes down to nothing, investors don’t invest in stock shares of the corporation, workers can’t get better pay and benefits and stop working for the corporation, the corporation goes bankrupt, and the CEO has no job. And the CEO can be booted out by shareholders long before the corporation goes bankrupt at the slightest sign of trouble.

    A lot of corporations are finding this out the hard way when they adopt all this Woke-y this Energy, Social, Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI/DIE) nonsense. ESG and DIE diverts them from making excellent products and services that consumers want to buy, diverts them paying shareholders excellent returns, and and diverts them from hiring workers based on character, merit, and ability.

    And since consumers, shareholders, and workers are often all one and the same, this makes ESG/DIE, as well as Inflation and government meddling in the economy, a rotten deal for everyone.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Addendum for clarity
    #52975

    Unseen
    Participant

    Well, Hamlet 💀😉 we help them by not destroying the greatest economic powerhouse ever on Earth and meanwhile do whatever is non-sacrificial to see that they stay helped. Providing productive work and education on frugality and investment are the number one way to see that people stay helped.

    There are a lot of assumptions there, one is  that reducing poverty providing living money for every adult person would somehow damage the economy, whereas more money in circulation would seem to boost the economy, especially if it comes out of the pockets of the rich who spend a greater proportion of their wealth outside the country than people of average means.

    Another one is that a large proportion of the homeless are there for the lack of work. A great many are literally unemployable. I know that for a libertarian, that means it’s time to die, right? Libertarians don’t believe in taking care of anyone. Just turn your head, pull the plug, move on, right?

    If you know of any open positions on the track like ticket sales, concessions, maintenance, feeding and grooming, announcing, let the homeless shelters know about them and help the homeless with jobs. It could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things for them.

    For a few, yes, perhaps, but probably just a few.

    Even if you give the ones who can learn some new employable skills (and, probably, habits as well), getting someone to employ them is a whole other hurdle.

    You can’t just walk out of a tent on the sidewalk into a job interview and have any hope of being hired. You want to be freshly bathed and well dressed in clothes that are clean and  not wrinkly.

    Also, unless they lie on their job app and curricula vitae, someone else is likely to be filling the opening.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    #52977

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Men and women tend to be quite different in fundamental ways, some cultural for sure but others seem to be genetically predisposed or hardwired.

    I would agree with that.  I’m not sure what they are.

    Frans de Waal says young female chimps and bonobos have been observed carrying around sticks cradled in their arms as if they were babies.  Young female primates love to play with the babies of their group-mates.

    #52979

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Jake,

    That’s a great idea on their part and at least shows enterprise an initiative.

    If it’s not being done already, someone a beat-up pickup truck, shovels, and a leaf-blower could clean the track stables, gather up Secretariat’s left-behinds, mix it with unwanted kitchen left-overs in an aerated compost bin, keep it stirred, and make nutriyion-rich compost for either their own garden or as a commercial product if some Karen or pencil-pushing bureaucrat doesn’t get in the way.

    My Grandpa’s garbage man (that’s what they called ’em back then) made his fortune one $10 can andcone Dumpster at a time!

    Somebody’s got the right idea!

    #52980

    Unseen
    Participant

    I would agree with that.  I’m not sure what they are.

    Men and women tend to be quite different in fundamental ways, some cultural for sure but others seem to be genetically predisposed or hardwired.

    I would agree with that. I’m not sure what they are.

    I think most of us understand what kind of behaviors are fairly instinctive (instinctual?). Relative to males, to protect their families more out of love than duty, for example. To be more cautious and risk avoiding. To want to be the pursued rather than the pursuer in the mating dance. Just some examples of things that seem to be fairly inherent.

    #52981

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    There are a lot of assumptions there, one is that reducing poverty providing living money for every adult person would somehow damage the economy, whereas more money in circulation would seem to boost the economy, especially if it comes out of the pockets of the rich who spend a greater proportion of their wealth outside the country than people of average means.

    Money is not wealth; money is a medium of exchange for obtaining goods and services which are wealth. Money is useless and worthless without goods and services to purchase and those come from productive work of the human body and ultimately mind.

    And people of every level of income spend money outside of the nation in the form of imported goods and services, and foreign companies also employ people at home as well. Barring obvious bad actors like slave drivers or industrial and military spies and plunderers of Intellectual Property, global trade, travel, and exchange is overall a good thing.

    Another one is that a large proportion of the homeless are there for the lack of work. A great many are literally unemployable. I know that for a libertarian, that means it’s time to die, right? Libertarians don’t believe in taking care of anyone. Just turn your head, pull the plug, move on, right?

    Even if you give the ones who can learn some new employable skills (and, probably, habits as well), getting someone to employ them is a whole other hurdle.

    You can’t just walk out of a tent on the sidewalk into a job interview and have any hope of being hired. You want to be freshly bathed and well dressed in clothes that are clean and not wrinkly.

    Also, unless they lie on their job app and curricula vitae, someone else is likely to be filling the opening.

    Homeless shelters can and do provide a place to clean up, wash, dry, and iron clothes, and make applications and learn job skills, and employers hire from there too. But they also require residents to respect the rights of both staff and other residents and to live by rational rules and structure to get the homeless where they want and need to be. The homeless who want it can and should get it.

    However, too many homeless do not want any of that, and that is no one’s fault but theirs.

    And you are proposing a common economic fallacy pointed out by Economist Frederick Bastiat in his classic work :The Law:

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    Just because someone objects to government going beyond protecting Individual Rights, doesn’t mean that person wants nothing to be done about other problems. That’s a Non Sequitur.

    But you’ll believe what you want to believe anyway–or what you think you’re determined to believe anyway–so screw it.
    🔩

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Punctuation to avoid a run-on sentence
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Grammar
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Punctuation. Because I can choose to do so
    #52985

    Unseen
    Participant

    But you’ll believe what you want to believe anyway–or what you think you’re determined to believe anyway–so screw it.

    What’s good for the goose, as they say.

    #52986

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Enco

    As for your favorite economist, Frederick Bastiat, he argues for a very limited role for government, focused solely on protecting individual rights. However, some government intervention, like building roads or regulating pollution, can benefit everyone.

    He emphasizes individual self-interest as the driving force in economics, but this ignores the importance of cooperation and social well-being.

    In The Law, he doesn’t fully address how unchecked free markets can lead to wealth concentration and exacerbate inequality. You do agree that the current disparity between the rich and poor is dysfunctional, I hope(?).

    The Law may be a classic, but so is Marx’s Das Kapital. It, due to its age (published in 1850), doesn’t fully consider the complexities of modern economies, like the rise of monopolies or the need for social safety nets to prevent the gap from resulting in widespread social turmoil.

    Finally, Bastiat’s theory is based or relies on a concept of natural rights. This is problematic. The concept of natural rights is an invention, a conjecture standing in need of proof.

    Got any?

    #52997

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    You obviously haven’t read a word of Bastiat. Bastiat sang praises to the benefits afforded to humanity by trade, especially in Economic Sophisms and Economic Harmonies.

    Trade is the result of individuals accumulating the fruits of their labor to the point of excess and voluntarily exchanging those fruits with other individuals who accumulated the fruits of their labor to the point of excess. Division of labor also helps each party to specialize and focus on specific products and services and find ways to produce more, better, faster, and cheaper. Voluntarily done, everyone gains from the process and no one is a victim.

    Speaking of Karl Marx, today is the anniversary of his death and someone pointed out that he chose a grave site on private property instead of a State pauper’s field, so even Marx practiced Capitalism:

    https://x.com/cafreiman/status/1768239530388160571?s=20

    Das Tomb: Karl Marx’s Resting Place Has an Entry Fee
    History’s foremost advocate of abolishing private property would probably turn in his grave if he learned that it’s not free to visit… his grave.

    By Joe Pinsker
    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/das-tomb-karl-marxs-resting-place-has-an-entry-fee/412411/

    As for Natural Rights, to paraphrase the beer commercial, “What’s More Natural Than Natural Rights?”

    The Natural Universe is all that exists, there is no Supernatural, so all Rights, of necessity, are Natural.

    As for those who deny Natural Rights, I’ve always responded with the most accurate paraphrase of Gary Cooper in The Virginian:

    “You wanna call me a slave–SMILE!”

    Y-E-E-E-E-EP! 🤠

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Re-phrasing the paraphrase
    #53003

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen, You obviously haven’t read a word of Bastiat. Bastiat sang praises to the benefits afforded to humanity by trade, especially in Economic Sophisms and Economic Harmonies. Trade is the result of individuals accumulating the fruits of their labor to the point of excess and voluntarily exchanging those fruits with other individuals who accumulated the fruits of their labor to the point of excess. Division of labor also helps each party to specialize and focus on specific products and services and find ways to produce more, better, faster, and cheaper. Voluntarily done, everyone gains from the process and no one is a victim.

    The thing is, Bastiat, as you describe him,* seems to lack a theory of value. The value contributed by labor is emphasized by Marx. When a bunch of flour and yeast and water are turned by a baker into bread, clearly the value of the bread would be nil if someone hadn’t mixed the dough, baked it, and packaged it.

    (I’m not a Marxist per se, though I see his theories as revealing the weaknesses and gaps in other people’s theories, while explaining some undeniable truths.)

    I’ve said many times before, though not recently, that there are only two kinds of rights, enforceable legislated rights and imaginary rights.

    * Yeah, I haven’t read any books by Bastiat and won’t, either. Not for the benefit of arguing in a post in a forum.

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