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Author Topic: Basic income guarantee - opinions&criticism welcome  (Read 14166 times)
miln40
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September 18, 2012, 08:30:58 PM
 #101

I think it will always be possible to sell your BIS, even if it's not supported by the state.  I can always sign a contract saying "from now on I swear I'll give all my BIR to XXXX".   It's basically a eternal debt contract, but your proposal makes this idea not so ridiculous.

"Worthwhile" is very relative.  It all depends on your time preference regarding consumption.

Some people might prefer having 100 BIR right now rather than waiting 100 months.  So they might accept to sell their BIS against 100 BIR.

More generally, some people might be more "carpe diem" oriented, so they'll just sell their BIS to people who think they'll live two hundred years (I'm exaggerating).

Interesting argument. I can't deny the possibility, but then things are not so different from nowadays, where people apply for a credit and then pay it back almost eternally, relative to their lifespan (30-years to repay your education loans, anyone?) So that's one way the system won't change at all Smiley
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Private contracts do exist.  And even if courts decided not to defend them, reality would, as screwed people would get angry and would use violence.
So, again like today, I guess. Sorry my system is not perfect Wink

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Ok, that's one thing.  But can I be exempted from tax then?
You will be completely free to vote against any proposals for tax increase, campaign against them on blogs, and if you still run against a majority, then emigrate. Not so different than nowadays.


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You can buy stocks with no more than a few dollars.  That's a start.  Maybe the OP has spent much more in contributions to the pirate party.  Which to me is ironic.
LOL, I am the OP, and I've spent 50 EUR to pay my yearly membership fee. That's as much as I can give them.

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I do not trade.  I receive only dividends indeed.

Well, consider this:  I did not steal those shares from this guy.  I bought them.  So in a sense, I rewarded him for the good work he's been doing.  Without people like me, his job would have had much more difficulty to find a correct price in the market.  I hope you can understand that.

Are you going to tell me that receiving money from doing nothing is fine as long as you don't pay to do that, but if you do that without stealing anyone, by investing wisely, it becomes morally wrong?
I didn't mean to morally judge you, just wanted to mention the existence of the argument against stocks. I do understand that the stock market provides a useful service (with the exception of high-frequency traders, them I do hold to be parasites on a system)
 
Still, to live on dividends, you do need a significant capital. What would 10 USD invested in stock bring your yearly as a ROI? A cent? ten, maybe? To survive on dividends you do need a substantial capital. I'm not going to ask you how much yours is, but you do agree with me that it must be at least a 5 digit figure with today's dividend rates. Such a sum would be unachievable for a lower-middle class person, even with hard work.

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grondilu
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September 18, 2012, 08:54:03 PM
 #102

So, again like today, I guess. Sorry my system is not perfect Wink
That was not my point.  If your system is like today, then people will be able to sell their BIS.  They would basically endebt for life.  They would not care much since it's the State that would repay this debt.  I'm pretty sure bankers will be very happy with your system.

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You will be completely free to vote against any proposals for tax increase, campaign against them on blogs, and if you still run against a majority, then emigrate. Not so different than nowadays.
Yeah, great.  Vote like majority, obey or get the fuck out.  Wonderful.

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LOL, I am the OP, and I've spent 50 EUR to pay my yearly membership fee. That's as much as I can give them.
Well, you could have spent those 50 EUR to buy a share and you would have received about 1 EUR a year by doing nothing.  That would have been much more of a actual step towards your project of basic income.

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Still, to live on dividends, you do need a significant capital. What would 10 USD invested in stock bring your yearly as a ROI? A cent? ten, maybe? To survive on dividends you do need a substantial capital. I'm not going to ask you how much yours is, but you do agree with me that it must be at least a 5 digit figure with today's dividend rates. Such a sum would be unachievable for a lower-middle class person, even with hard work.

It very much depend on your lifestyle.  Also, I do not only live on dividends.  I have other financial assets.  That's not the issue anyway.

Thing is, the way I see it, share and stock markets are the only thing that could fulfill the function you are promoting.  It is basically designed for that:  allowing people to share the excess of wealth produced by companies.  The only feature that does not fit your concept, is that shares and stocks are not evenly distributed.  So most people can not live on dividends because they just do not own enough shares.  And yet, globally if the wealth is somewhere, it is there.

So what's the way to make this distribution more even?  Do you have to steal to people who have some, in order to give to people who do not have any?   It won't work:  you're a living proof of that.  If you don't have shares, it's not because you can't, it's because you don't want to.  You prefer giving money to political organizations.

Instead of using force and stealing people to give shares to people who do not even want to own shares, you should promote the idea of owning shares.  Eventually, if more people get convinced that it's ok to invest and receive money from doing nothing, the distribution of shares will be more even.
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September 18, 2012, 09:49:21 PM
 #103

«
- Mr Smith!  Good afternoon!  I'm so glad you could come visit me.  Please sit down and tell me:  how did it go?
- Well, it went fine.  I went to the town hall, I signed a few papers, they took a DNA sample, my fingerprints and a photograph.  Did not take long, and when it was finished I was kind of happy.   That's great, I'm now assured that I will receive 100 bucks every month, no matter what happens.  This new basic income law is really wonderful.  I can't wait to receive my first payment: it will help for our project of holidays with the kids in a few weeks.
- Mr Smith, what if I told you that you do not have to wait?  That you can go on holidays with your kids right now, and with an even better budget that what you were planning?
- What do you mean?
- How old are you Mr Smith?
- 54, why?
- Let me check my computer...  Ok, what if I told you that you can leave this room with precisely 23,134 new bucks on your account?
- Twenty thousand bucks?  You're kidding?
- Not at all.  That's several years of basic income.  And you won't even have to pay us anything, since we'll just transfer automatically the amount every month.  You'll have nothing to worry about, just enjoy your holidays with your kids.  You'll be able to do this several years without spending a penny.
- Yes, but when it run out, I won't receive anything more.
- Well, you do have a job, and it gives you your real income, right?  I'll help you with that:  we'll make some investments and soon enough you'll receive pretty much as much money as if you were still entitled to basic income.  Plus, when your 23,134 bucks do run out, statistically, you'll be dead.   You know Mr Smith, we live in a great time, but humans are still mortals.    I am too and actually statistically I should die before you do.  So you see I don't tell you this to scare you or anything  Wink
- Well, I guess this makes sense.  And twenty thousand bucks is a nice amount of money.
- Isn't it?  So let's do that, shall we?  Here is the document.  Please sign here.
- Ok.  Done.  When is it that we'll talk about those investments to replace my basic income?
- We'll have plenty of time to do that.  Right now my schedule is quite busy.  You see, we now have a lot of cash entries coming from the state.  Next month for instance, we'll receive your first payment and we'll use it with others to buy other basic income from other people.  Mathematically, it's complicated, but it works.  Just do not worry and enjoy your holidays with your kids.  It will be the first of a long series, and the State pays it all!
- That's great indeed.  Thanks so much.  I'm so glad I have such a good banking adviser.
»
miln40
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September 18, 2012, 11:32:47 PM
 #104

«
- Mr Smith!  Good afternoon!  I'm so glad you could come visit me.  Please sit down and tell me:  how did it go?
Thank you for the well-illustrated example. This indeed proves another problem with the system. Now I know you'll hate to read this because it smells of socialism, but since BIG is supposed to cover amenities, this can be achieved with a system, similar to the coupon one. You have essentially two currencies, with one covering basic amenities (food, shelter) and the other which we all know and love and which can buy vacations, nice cars, coke and women. Then you can be certain that the income from the state would go only towards amenities and what you earn extra goes to the pleasures in life.

Well, you could have spent those 50 EUR to buy a share and you would have received about 1 EUR a year by doing nothing.  That would have been much more of a actual step towards your project of basic income.

It very much depend on your lifestyle.  Also, I do not only live on dividends.  I have other financial assets.  That's not the issue anyway.

Thing is, the way I see it, share and stock markets are the only thing that could fulfill the function you are promoting.  It is basically designed for that:  allowing people to share the excess of wealth produced by companies.  The only feature that does not fit your concept, is that shares and stocks are not evenly distributed.  So most people can not live on dividends because they just do not own enough shares.  And yet, globally if the wealth is somewhere, it is there.

So what's the way to make this distribution more even?  Do you have to steal to people who have some, in order to give to people who do not have any?   It won't work:  you're a living proof of that.  If you don't have shares, it's not because you can't, it's because you don't want to.  You prefer giving money to political organizations.
So if I invested these 50 EUR, I would get 1 per year. Let's scale that. If I invested 50 EUR today, and don't touch it, I will get 134 EUR in 50 years. If I keep investing 50 EUR every year, after 50 years I'll have 4591 EUR. And in 50 years inflation would have diminished that value significantly. I much prefer giving the money for a cause I believe in.
My point is that to live off a seed capital, you need a significant amount to start with. I'm happy for you that you have that, but many people don't and never will, since they have to pay bills while working on a minimum-wage job. I can have shares, but that's not going to help me if I don't inherit a decent amount of money in the first place. Since I am not lucky enough to have rich parents, I will have to work for my living, which is OK, because I definitely won't make minimum wage with my qualifications. So to summarize, a life in which I can live off interest from my savings is not a possibility, no matter if I give some money to a party or not.

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September 18, 2012, 11:50:44 PM
 #105

[But no, you want your share of the cake, without putting any fucking effort about it, not even spending a penny.  Seriously, this is despicable.

That's not the problem its trying to address. Tell me this:

How does a man earn $1 from a wealthy person who wants nothing from him?
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September 19, 2012, 12:09:25 AM
 #106

Thank you for the well-illustrated example. This indeed proves another problem with the system. Now I know you'll hate to read this because it smells of socialism, but since BIG is supposed to cover amenities, this can be achieved with a system, similar to the coupon one. You have essentially two currencies, with one covering basic amenities (food, shelter) and the other which we all know and love and which can buy vacations, nice cars, coke and women. Then you can be certain that the income from the state would go only towards amenities and what you earn extra goes to the pleasures in life.
So you're basically talking about food stamps.  Like in war time.  I don't know what to answer.   It's just too odd for me.

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So to summarize, a life in which I can live off interest from my savings is not a possibility, no matter if I give some money to a party or not.
Yes.  A life in which you can live happily doing nothing all day is not a possibility for everyone.  Does that really surprise you?

How does a man earn $1 from a wealthy person who wants nothing from him?
I don't know.  I guess you think he should just steal it.  Or ask the government to steal it for him.
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September 19, 2012, 12:20:29 AM
 #107

It's always fascinated me how some people think they deserve things from other people for doing nothing.
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September 19, 2012, 01:49:12 AM
 #108

How does a man earn $1 from a wealthy person who wants nothing from him?
I don't know.  I guess you think he should just steal it.  Or ask the government to steal it for him.

Of course I don't...stealing is not ethically acceptable to me, but I do know that after exhausting all attempts of bartering, he will either steal it, murder him or starve to death. I can't think of any other alternatives myself, can you or anyone else?

Do you think it's more morally outrageous for a person to starve to death or starve to steal? I'm going to assume we both think starving to murder is the absolute worst one.
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September 19, 2012, 01:52:39 AM
 #109

It's always fascinated me how some people think they deserve things from other people for doing nothing.

No one does...we're talking about scraps from the dinner table.
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September 19, 2012, 01:59:09 AM
 #110

No one does...we're talking about scraps from the dinner table.

Miln40 is not.

He just explained above that he won't buy shares because it would not allow him to live without working.  So to him it is everything or nothing.

When someone enters the stock market, he usually does NOT intend to become filthy rich by doing so.  Most of the time it just gives some nice complement to other incomes.
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September 19, 2012, 02:18:04 AM
 #111

Of course I don't...stealing is not ethically acceptable to me, but I do know that after exhausting all attempts of bartering, he will either steal it, murder him or starve to death. I can't think of any other alternatives myself, can you or anyone else?

There is no magic.

If someone has really no economic value whatsoever, which by itself is quite a harsh hypothesis but that was your hypothesis, then indeed I see no way for him to earn his life other than owning some capital or relying on charity.

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Do you think it's more morally outrageous for a person to starve to death or starve to steal? I'm going to assume we both think starving to murder is the absolute worst one.

To me it's beyond moral.  I'd totally understand if someone tries to steal because he's desperate or something.  But I also totally understand the person who will defend his property.
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September 19, 2012, 03:39:39 AM
 #112

Of course I don't...stealing is not ethically acceptable to me, but I do know that after exhausting all attempts of bartering, he will either steal it, murder him or starve to death. I can't think of any other alternatives myself, can you or anyone else?

There is no magic.

If someone has really no economic value whatsoever, which by itself is quite a harsh hypothesis but that was your hypothesis, then indeed I see no way for him to earn his life other than owning some capital or relying on charity.

What seems harsh today becomes less harsh in the future - robots and AI basically feed off stars directly; something humans can never do. If 90% of people are not the owners of said robots (the best capital possible), how will they get what the robots produce? Sure some portion would be able to convince the owners to barter, but ultimately the owners will be satisfied at a particular point, and people will be unemployed longer than it takes for them to starve - this is a far cry from having no economic value whatsoever. We cannot hibernate when energy becomes scarce, like robots can.

The only reason this isn't happening *today* is because of government interference (or stealing, as you put it). Charity doesn't stop death, and you have to decide if you're ok with that. It seems that most people are not.

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Do you think it's more morally outrageous for a person to starve to death or starve to steal? I'm going to assume we both think starving to murder is the absolute worst one.

To me it's beyond moral.  I'd totally understand if someone tries to steal because he's desperate or something.  But I also totally understand the person who will defend his property.

It may be, but you can still answer the specific question can't you? Or is it too personal to answer?

Which is worse, to you - a person starving to death before stealing, or stealing before starving to death?

As a side note, I agree that people have a right to defend their property, and the more powerful on the day will win. This scenario where there is one absolute winner and one absolute loser can and has been replaced by a compromise to reduce risk (perhaps ironically, created by the one with the food).
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September 19, 2012, 04:30:15 AM
 #113

What seems harsh today becomes less harsh in the future - robots and AI basically feed off stars directly; something humans can never do. If 90% of people are not the owners of said robots (the best capital possible), how will they get what the robots produce?
Then convince people to buy robots, a.k.a. capital.   Let the market work, the yield of capital will raise, so that having very little capital will be more and more interesting.

The transition to a society where all work comes from non-human capital, if it happens, will be smooth.   So you must let price mechanisms and market adjust to it.  Not an arbitrary system decided by bureaucrats.

If people don't want to buy capital, not even a single share that only costs a few dollars, I don't want to hear them complaining about how poor they are and how I should give them some shares that I did buy.   And please do not tell me they don't have any money to spend for these stuff.  Unless they are completely destitute, they do.


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The only reason this isn't happening *today* is because of government interference (or stealing, as you put it). Charity doesn't stop death, and you have to decide if you're ok with that. It seems that most people are not.

I've just realized something about what you write.  You keep talking about starving people, and yet this whole proposal is about some kind of a universal basic income.  I mean it's for everyone, not just for homeless people, isn’t it?  You don't live in a country where homeless, starving people are at majority, do you?

Therefore, mentioning starving people to promote a basic income sounds pretty sketchy.  I'm sorry to tell you that, but it can very well be understood this way:

« We should take to the rich in order to give to starving people.  And I want my cut. »

Starvation really sounds like an excuse to get a free share of the cake.

That's why I will NOT answer your questions about starving people.  We all have moral issues when we walk in the street and encounter a destitute human being.  Assuming you are not completely poor, you do have too.  You could give a homeless person half of your income to save him.  I guess you do not and I do not ask you why.   So please don't ask me why I don't like the idea of giving away to strangers a capital that I worked to earn.
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September 19, 2012, 04:35:25 AM
 #114

How does a man earn $1 from a wealthy person who wants nothing from him?
He doesn't, he earns it from someone who does want something from him. If nobody wants anything, then he's the only person on Earth who doesn't have everything they want. I can live with that problem.

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September 19, 2012, 04:49:50 AM
 #115

I think the wealthy man can pretty much always come up with something he wants... somebody to mow his lawn, wash his car, produce clever widgets in his factory, mine his uranium, stand guard along his borders, pick up his trash, farm the food that is sold in his grocery store, act in the movies he enjoys watching, be the serviceman that repairs the elevator at the apartment building where he keeps his mistress, heck, be his mistress...

All of these things require a participatory economy, some might even suggest they are a (shudder to speak the word) a JOB. Suggesting that everyone is entitle to have everyone else take care of their needs and wants without contributing back doesn't work. Even Marx saw that there had to be a little "from each according to his ability" to go with the "to each as much as his evil, slimy, lazy ass wants to suck away from other, needs". No society can survive with a non-participating entitlement class. Nor should one. Economic imbalance does not a moral imperative make.

The German example is a very clear one. Reunification brought a huge segment of state-supported entitlement supporters into the German economy, and tore it apart. Germany has long attracted a huge number of immigrants who welcome an opportunity to work at better wages than home, but all too often they end up resented by the native Germans, and are forced onto the dole by Germans who resent those who compete for the jobs, swelling the welfare ranks as it happens. No thanks. Not a desirable or defensible option.


 
 
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September 19, 2012, 05:28:31 AM
 #116

Starvation really sounds like an excuse to get a free share of the cake.

That's why I will NOT answer your questions about starving people.  We all have moral issues when we walk in the street and encounter a destitute human being.  Assuming you are not completely poor, you do have too.  You could give a homeless person half of your income to save him.  I guess you do not and I do not ask you why.   So please don't ask me why I don't like the idea of giving away to strangers a capital that I worked to earn.

Feel free to ask me why, or you can continue to presume. I'll have to make whatever presumptions I can as you've chosen not to illuminate me.

Starvation only came up because somehow this turned into a welfare debate. You refuse to accept that there is a good reason state welfare exists, even if it is a "lesser evil" solution, and that it is a natural consequence of capitalism without conscience in a human population.

People won't buy robots, and they will starve, and they will either die or destroy. We should just kill them now, right? How much of law is to protect people from their own stupidity?

How does a man earn $1 from a wealthy person who wants nothing from him?
He doesn't, he earns it from someone who does want something from him. If nobody wants anything, then he's the only person on Earth who doesn't have everything they want. I can live with that problem.

Yeah fair enough, fuck him, but what are you going to do to convince the society that steals from you to give it to him to stop doing it? Just not pay taxes? Start a revolution? How much power do you have?

I'm not saying it's "right" that people get something for nothing (not that anyone ever actually does - it can all be rationalized somehow), but that it is what's going to happen anyway whether one likes it or not.

I think the wealthy man can pretty much always come up with something he wants... somebody to mow his lawn, wash his car, produce clever widgets in his factory, mine his uranium, stand guard along his borders, pick up his trash, farm the food that is sold in his grocery store, act in the movies he enjoys watching, be the serviceman that repairs the elevator at the apartment building where he keeps his mistress, heck, be his mistress...

Yes, I agree this is mostly the case today, but how long is the list of things that can't be replaced by self-supporting machines? I can only really see the creative arts as being uniquely human. Just how interesting is that?

I'm not talking about people not participating because they're lazy, I'm talking about people not participating because there is nothing to do.
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September 19, 2012, 05:40:43 AM
 #117

Feel free to ask me why, or you can continue to presume. I'll have to make whatever presumptions I can as you've chosen not to illuminate me.

Starvation only came up because somehow this turned into a welfare debate. You refuse to accept that there is a good reason state welfare exists, even if it is a "lesser evil" solution, and that it is a natural consequence of capitalism without conscience in a human population.

Even if there is a good reason for state welfare (hell saving lives is a good thing, I can agree with that), this is NOT what your proposal is about, as I've mentioned above.

I want your reaction on the paradox I've pointed out:  you claim your proposal is for poor, starving people and yet you want to give the same amount of money to everyone, including people who don't need it.    Doesn't make much sense.

Really it almost seems that you're exploiting poverty for your profit.
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September 19, 2012, 05:53:38 AM
 #118

I think the wealthy man can pretty much always come up with something he wants... somebody to mow his lawn, wash his car, produce clever widgets in his factory, mine his uranium, stand guard along his borders, pick up his trash, farm the food that is sold in his grocery store, act in the movies he enjoys watching, be the serviceman that repairs the elevator at the apartment building where he keeps his mistress, heck, be his mistress...

Yes, I agree this is mostly the case today, but how long is the list of things that can't be replaced by self-supporting machines? I can only really see the creative arts as being uniquely human. Just how interesting is that?

I'm not talking about people not participating because they're lazy, I'm talking about people not participating because there is nothing to do.

Child care. Customer service. Actor. Director. Sex worker. Designer. And that's just a few off the top of my head. If it requires dangerous, dirty, or repetitive labor, it probably will be automated. If it requires thought, decision making, or creativity - or even just a "personal touch" - it will not be automated. As Joel said, If someone cannot find anyone for whom he can do something, then he's the only one on the planet without everything he needs.

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September 19, 2012, 06:07:51 AM
 #119

I've just realized something about what you write.  You keep talking about starving people, and yet this whole proposal is about some kind of a universal basic income.  I mean it's for everyone, not just for homeless people, isn’t it?  You don't live in a country where homeless, starving people are at majority, do you?

Therefore, mentioning starving people to promote a basic income sounds pretty sketchy.  I'm sorry to tell you that, but it can very well be understood this way:

« We should take to the rich in order to give to starving people.  And I want my cut. »

I wanted to address this separately, as it deserves it. The starving people are not a primary driving force to advocate a system like this - they just benefit slightly more than others. When I was talking about starving people, I was leading to welfare as an example of social expectations within humans trumping the economic efficiency of capitalism - we care about each other, unfortunately, even when we don't expect to or want to, and it overtakes our normal sense of unemotional rationality.

This scheme (not my scheme although I would like to see it tested) is not an equalizer in the way that communism was, and those who choose to just soak up basic income and do nothing else will likely be worse off than before when they had a job - the price of basics might come down due to subsidization, but the price of everything else would go up to compensate, if I'm not mistaken.

Just being alive is given a particular status by society, and different cultures have different idea of what that level should be, led by prevailing proportions. In some cultures starving to death is ok, in others it isn't. Even though the Germans might grumble about the people immigrating and going on welfare, they're still not taking that food away. It's possible that they believe a higher minimum standard of living is more important than a higher maximum standard of living. This does not mean that a person cannot still personally aim to have the highest standard of living possible for themselves (and family) if they so choose.
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September 19, 2012, 06:07:56 AM
 #120

I'm not talking about people not participating because they're lazy, I'm talking about people not participating because there is nothing to do.
So long as there is at least one other person who doesn't have everything they want, there's something to do. I can live with the possibility that one person might not get everything they want.

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