Is America a Plutocracy?

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plu·toc·ra·cy

–noun, plural -cies.

1. The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.
2. A government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
3. A class or group ruling, or exercizing power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

Now, you might think I'm crazy to even suggest the possibility. I mean, we elect our representatives, right? So, they act in the interest of the People rather than those that paid to get them into office, right? Let's take a look and see whether American politics is for the People or the wealthy 2% and the corporations.

Cutting teacher training, job training, and help for the poor in favour of help for oil companies that trash our shores, companies who send their work overseas because it's cheaper than hiring US workers, and the top 2% income? That's a bit suspicious. Perhaps we should look at other programs that were cut or in serious danger of being cut.

Tax on Companies that ship jobs overseas- A bill that would have eliminated a tax break that companies get when they ship jobs overseas. Republicans blocked this, allowing companies to keep the tax break they receive when they ship jobs to other countries.

Political Ad disclosure bill- Would have required all donors to political campaigns to reveal themselves. Republicans blocked this, not once but twice.

Subpoena Power for the Committee investigating the BP Oil Spill – Give subpoena power to the independent committee responsible for investigating BP’s roll in the oil spill. Republicans attempted to block this.

The Small Business Jobs Act -would give LOCAL, community banks access to billions of dollars to loan to small businesses. Republicans blocked this, then attempted to block it a second time and failed.

...

Senator Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill – Makes it so that women raped overseas while working for foreign contractors have the right to have their case heard in an American court instead of having their case mediated by the company they work for. Only Republican men voted against this, but it passed.

Benefits for Homeless Veterans- Would have expanded benefits to homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children. Republicans blocked this.

...

The Jobs Bill- Offsets the payroll tax for 1 year for companies that hire new employees, or people receiving unemployment insurance. Also gives other tax incentives to companies hiring new employees. Republicans attempted to block this.

Wall Street Reform- Puts stricter regulations on the banks, preventing them from becoming “too big to fail”. Curbs reckless spending practices that caused the banking crisis. Republicans attempted to block this.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act- Pumped billions of dollars into state and local Governments to prevent us from sinking into a second Great Depression. Republicans opposed this but now want to take credit for the parts of it that we know are successful.

Oil Spill Liability- Raises the liability on what companies can be made to pay to clean up after an oil spill. Republicans blocked this.

...

Fair Pay Act of 2009- Also called the Lily Ledbetter bill. Requires that women receive equal compensation to men for doing the same work. Republicans attempted to block this.

Blocking legislation that would raise liability for causing billions of dollars in damages and attempting to block subpoena power to investigate should a company actually cause such damages? Hmm...That's a bit suspicious too.

They blocked taxes on companies that send jobs overseas, tried to block legislation that would spur local small business, and attempted to block legislation that would give companies incentive to hire new people. Next time a Republican asks "Where are the jobs?" point them to where they killed them. This too is awfully suspicious of a plutocracy. Tax breaks to corporations that don't need them(and send American jobs overseas) but try to block help for local small businesses that could actually use the help? That's REALLY suspicious.

Let's take a moment to see how the People balance the budget vs the allegedly bought politicians.

Now, let's look at what is perhaps the most blatantly obvious example of our government being more influenced by the rich and the corporations than the People.

Governor Walker of Wisconsin and his crusade against the middle class. Despite what the people of Wisconsin want, what the people of the US want, and despite the fact that Walker's proposal actually costs money, Walker is beating on with his fight. By the way, Wisconsin isn't even really broke.

FOX "News" has taken up his cause and used its standard tactics of dishonest footage and outright lies to do so. If FOX is on your side, you're probably on the wrong one. FOX even had a reporter claim to have been punched by a protester. Luckily, protesters have cameras and proved that as a lie. After FOX posted footage of a violent protest during a discussion of Wisconsin, the protesters took it in stride and brought inflatable palm trees so FOX could still use that dishonest footage.

3% raise in taxes on the top 2% is just too much, but a 10% pay cut for those making $50,000 is justifiable? And now there is legislation to block college students from voting because they're "voting as a liberal. That's what kids do". In Georgia, this bill cuts taxes on overseas corporations, raises taxes on gasoline, and makes food subject to sales tax. This one seems like blatantly padding the wallets of the super-rich at the expense of the poor and the middle class. So, have I caught the Glenn Beck crazies, or is there something to this? Edited by ydoaPs Link to comment Share on other sites US politics consistently attempt to thwart dependence on the wealthy by reducing the need to tax them to achieve sufficient public amenities without them. Likewise, many US citizens attempt to build and/or maintain their own homesteads with as little dependency on the rich as possible. The problem is that the wealthy attempt to invest their wealth in ways that create such dependencies so that they can exploit these for the purpose of increasing their wealth. The question, however, is whether this is as detrimental to other people and natural resources as the middle class's lifestyle and consumption patterns, since their numbers are far greater than that of very wealthy people. In fact, more so than being concerned about authoritarian control by a super-wealthy elite, I would be concerned about the inability to reform middle class culture, since these people have the power of normalcy to shield them against change. All any middle-class individual has to say to avoid change is to orient their behavior toward social conformity with other middle-class people. This way, this class can resist change just be deferring to the authority of "the majority" of people besides themselves. The main power the super-wealthy seem to have is to avoid the middle-class "rat race" and enjoy higher levels of consumption relative to average middle-class consumption. The main reason they are targeted so much is because 1) people are jealous and 2) there is a false belief that if their wealth was re-distributed it could somehow be transformed into significantly higher standards of living for everyone else. The simple fact is that the masses can only get what they produce. Wealth does not directly produce welfare, it buys it from others. So the level of welfare enjoyed by the minority of people who are very rich would spread too thin when distributed among everyone else. Edited by lemur Link to comment Share on other sites If wealth were redistributed it would certainly produce higher living standards for everyone else, provided we measure quality of life in terms of personal happiness rather than dollars. If you give 100,000 people living in dumpsters$100,000 to get food, shelter, and clothing you would make them all deliriously happy and nearly infinitely improve their pleasure in life, and if you achieved this by taking $10,000,000,000 away from Bill Gates'$40,000,000,000 fortune, you would have produced that massive gain in human happiness at no perceivable cost to the quality of Gates' life, since only his accountant would know whether he had $40 billion or$30 billion in terms of what Gates could actually humanly experience.

But of course America is a plutocracy, since money gets to vote along with real people by virtue of America's absurdly defective campaign finance laws.

In fact the phrase, "America is not a democracy but is in fact a plutocracy" was coined by Ramsey Clark, Lyndon Johnson's Attorney General.

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I think MI just sealed it. They're pushing through legislation which gives the governor the power to appoint an 'emergency manager' to take over all financial operations of a local government should they be deemed to be in a 'financial emergency'.

If this manager decides that the local government isn't doing a good enough job of doing its bidding, then "the emergency manager, in addition to other remedies provided in this act, may prohibit the official or employee from access to the local government's office facilities, electronic mail, and internal information systems." That effectively gives the manager the power to remove the elected local government from power.

The manager also can take "Any other actions considered necessary by the emergency manager in the emergency manager's discretion to achieve the objectives of the financial and operating plan, alleviate the financial emergency, and remove the local government from receivership." So, not only as we have seen above, does the manager have the ability to effectively remove the local elected government from office, it also has the power to do anything it wants as long as it can claim that it fits in with alleviating the financial emergency. The manager does not need to "receive public approval before he or she implements the plan or any modification of the plan", which means the manager doesn't even need to consider protests or public opinion.

The manager can "Make, approve, or disapprove any appropriation, contract, expenditure, or loan, the creation of any new position, or the filling of any vacancy in a permanent position by any appointing authority", "Reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms and conditions of an existing contract." at the "manager's sole discretion and judgment". Since the manager may "Act as sole agent of the local government in collective bargaining with employees or representatives and approve any contract or agreement" and the decision is at the "manager's sole discretion and judgment", the manager can effectively silence the unions as well as the general public.

Going on in the bill, we can see that the manager can do a bit more than keep the government from doing its job. The manager can "consolidate or eliminate departments of the local government." That's right, the manager can straight up eliminate entire departments.

While able to eliminate entire departments, the manager is not able to remove an elected official from office (though, as we have seen above, the manager can keep said official from performing his or her duties). But that's alright, because "Take any other action or exercise any power or authority of any officer, employee, department, board, commission, or other similar entity of the local government, whether elected or appointed, relating to the operation of the local government." You might think it's ok because it only has the power of the mayor rather than the actual office-the actual mayor can still do his or her job. If that's what you think, you might want to think again, because "The power of the emergency manager shall be superior to and supersede the power of any of the foregoing entities."

Think the school board or city council have any power? Think again, because the manager can "Remove, replace, appoint, or confirm the appointments to any board, commission, authority, or other entity which is a component unit of the local government."

At least all of those government employees are getting paid something, right? Nope. "Immediately upon the local government being placed in receivership under section 15 and during the pendency of the receivership, the salary or other compensation, including the accrual of postemployment benefits, and other benefits of the chief administrative officer and members of the governing body of the local government shall be eliminated."

If you think the governor being able to replace entire local governments with effective dictators isn't that bad, read section 5 subsection c.

c) The emergency manager may be an individual or firm.

That's right, the new dictator of the local government can be a company. A company set in charge of making all government contracts that is given the power to completely replace the existing government and do what it wants. What happened to democracy?

Can you imagine the outrage if Congress passed a bill allowing Obama to do this to state governments?

Edited by ydoaPs
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If wealth were redistributed it would certainly produce higher living standards for everyone else, provided we measure quality of life in terms of personal happiness rather than dollars. If you give 100,000 people living in dumpsters $100,000 to get food, shelter, and clothing you would make them all deliriously happy and nearly infinitely improve their pleasure in life, and if you achieved this by taking$10,000,000,000 away from Bill Gates' $40,000,000,000 fortune, you would have produced that massive gain in human happiness at no perceivable cost to the quality of Gates' life, since only his accountant would know whether he had$40 billion or $30 billion in terms of what Gates could actually humanly experience. Why don't you ever take the long-term effects and price-restructuring that would result into account? If you gave homeless people$100,000 each, they would start consuming more presumably, right? This would result in, say, more revenue for local fast-food restaurants. That revenue would be distributed more to the owner of the franchise and to the corporate suppliers than to the restaurant employees, correct? Then, some more jobs might be created due to increased business, but they would be minimum-wage jobs, right? In the mean time, the homeless person with $100,000 isn't going to want to take the job in fast food until their$100k runs out, right? So who is going to take those fast food jobs if money gets redistributed from the rich to the poor? The answer is that they're going to raise the price of fast food until enough revenue is available to raise wages to levels that people are willing to take the job. However, if the price of fast food increases along with the wages to produce it, all that happened was inflation. The basic economic relations remain that impoverish some people to motivate them to take undesirably (relatively) low paying jobs. So what did you solve by redistributing the money from the rich to the poor?

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"So what did you solve by redistributing the money from the rich to the poor?"

Some degree of the unfairness.

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Personally, I think our democracy has been anesthetized. We have so little time to educate ourselves on important issues so we listen to crafted words that fit what we want to hear. Is this being done by the wealthy and the mega-corporations? I think so. Is it a coordinated attack? Perhaps, but I'm not as sure.

It seems crazy that anyone would want our children's education budgets to be cut while keeping subsidies for well-established industries like sugar and oil. But if I were CEO of a big multi-national with an eye towards privatizing all education, I'd make sure public education looked pretty bad so people would see my company as the solution. And you watch; they're claiming teachers make too much now, but just wait until it's all privatized, then we'll pay even more and everything will have great justification.

I got an email recently quoting how much teachers in Wisconsin make. The author made sure to use the word "compensation" and not "salary", but I think most people who read the email will think of the numbers, which includes salary, benefits and everything, as what the WI teachers "make". This type of spin is used all the time and many don't realize it.

The other part of this issue that really bugs me is how most people think we're so divided as a country. When someone mentions defense spending, conservatives say, "We need the military to defend our borders against invasion", while the liberals say, "We shouldn't just give the military a blank check to spend on whatever they want." The pundits and partisans would have us believe we're completely at odds, arguing over a fence, but the vast majority of people I've talked to agree with both those sentiments. Same thing with welfare. One side says, "I don't mind my taxes helping a widow with three kids so they're not starving and homeless", and the other says, "I don't want my taxes paying for a healthy person to sit on their butt drinking beer and watching TV all day." This is all common ground but it gets trampled over and I think it's being spun this way on purpose.

I know the power of marketing and advertising. Add in politics and spin, throw in heaps of money and the average person stands no chance in ever figuring out what's really going on. I believe in a market economy but I think our government should provide more checks and balances for citizens and less unbalanced advantage for big business. For me, it's not about wealth and it's distribution. For me, it's about modern society and what our pooled resources can do for us, without fear of being manipulated for profit. There are certain things that I feel we owe ourselves because of our intelligence, our prosperity and our compassion. Our civilization deserves to be more civil.

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"So what did you solve by redistributing the money from the rich to the poor?"

Some degree of the unfairness.

There is nothing fair about subjugating everyone to the same corporate hierarchies. Those corporate systems are in themselves unfair systems of distributing resources and responsibilities/labor. By redistributing wealth and/or income, all you do is increase corporate revenues, which makes it possible to increase their power to create the kinds of inequalities that they do.

If you wanted to increase equality, the best way to do so would be to have people who make more money simply conserve instead of spending it. It doesn't matter how much or little money a person makes if they are living about the same as other people with less income/wealth. Then, if you really wanted to make economics fairer, you would try to integrate different jobs some so that people would have more diverse responsibilities, e.g. managers do some floor work, cleaning, etc. and floor workers, cleaners, etc. gain some managerial responsibilities.

Edited by lemur
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The fact that different countries of the world are consistently different in the degree of inequality of income distribution shows that economic policies can be adopted which maintain either a more or a less even distribution of wealth.

Consider this line of inference:

1) If we truly value all humans equally, as we profess to, then we would feel ourselves obligated to distribute the nation's wealth so as to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

2) People are made many, many times more happy if the same amount of money is devoted to answering their basic needs than if it is devoted to providing them with luxuries far in excess of their human needs.

3) So, the more equal the distribution of wealth in society, the more the society cares about maximizing the true happiness of all its people, which is consistent with the avowed equal valuing of all people in that society.

The GINI index: The GINI index is a measure of the unequal distribution of wealth in a society. A score of 0.0 would represent a society in which the wealth was perfectly equally distributed among its people, while a score of 1.0 would represent one in which one person had everything and everyone else had nothing.

To assess whether the U.S. should count as a plutocracy (governed by the interests of wealth) or a democracy (governed by the interests of the many), consider the degree to which it cultivates a maldistribution of wealth so that the need for basic human necessities which would most benefit the huge number of poor and lower-middle class people is left unaddressed so as to maximize the wealth devoted to luxuries for the few:

GINI Number:

United States 45.0

Israel 39.2

United Kingdom 34.0

Netherlands 30.9

Germany 27.0

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Marat, why don't you ever acknowledge what happens to the wealth/money after it's redistributed?

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Marat, why don't you ever acknowledge what happens to the wealth/money after it's redistributed?

Why don't you acknowledge what happens to the wealth before it is redistributed?

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Why don't you acknowledge what happens to the wealth before it is redistributed?

What? That it was unfairly distributed in the first place? No kidding, that's the reason for seeking economic justice. The problem is that people abuse the concept of inequality to promote redistribution, which results in greater inequality. The question is how to intercept historical unfairness in a way that REDUCES unfairness instead of reproducing and augmenting it, which is what re-distribution does. Do you not see how this game works?

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But if you look at historical GINI data, you see that the GINI number remains fairly steady in countries over the years. This demonstrates that countries which distribute money more equally do not indirecetly create worse inequality down the line by doing so, as you suggest must occur. If countries with more equal wealth distribution had to fall into the trap of creating a greater rebound inequality from that, then the historical GINI tables would show all nations converging upwards to some higher GINI number (greater inequality) by some covert economic laws which could not be defied by social policy.

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"There is nothing fair about subjugating everyone to the same corporate hierarchies."

A corporation doesn't actually want money because it doesn't really exist.

It is an abstract concept built up by people who want money.

If you were to tax those people at some punitive rate then the corporations would go away because they would no longer serve their purpose.

I realise they would be replaced by some other means by which rich people would strive to get richer at the expense of their fellow man, but that's not a reason not to try

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But if you look at historical GINI data, you see that the GINI number remains fairly steady in countries over the years. This demonstrates that countries which distribute money more equally do not indirecetly create worse inequality down the line by doing so, as you suggest must occur. If countries with more equal wealth distribution had to fall into the trap of creating a greater rebound inequality from that, then the historical GINI tables would show all nations converging upwards to some higher GINI number (greater inequality) by some covert economic laws which could not be defied by social policy.

If such governments would continue to re-distribute wealth and income, they would appear to maintain more equal resource-distribution, but pre-tax revenues and incomes would be artificially high due to subsidized spending. You may say that this wouldn't matter if these revenues and incomes would continue to be taxed and redistributed but it would virtually eliminate the ability of people to forge their own economic paths and privilege those who conform to corporate structuring. So while social-economic differences might not show up in terms of comparing incomes and net-worth as much, they would occur in terms of various forms of structural inclusion and exclusion. What's more, corporate revenues and taxes would grow in a way that allowed business and government to buy up increasing amounts of private property and control its uses and prices.

For example, if government had more money to spend on public housing, public housing corporations would buy or lease properties and control access to who could live where and who could maintain, renovate, and build. Private individuals would have difficulty acquiring property at the high prices created by subsidies and would thus have to take on more wage labor to pay for property. So while there would be more jobs, there would also be less opportunities to buy a low-priced property and fix it up to live in by using your own labor. You can tell people that they should be happy to have a job but what if they prefer to put more of their labor into their own property?

With a system of low-redistribution, the wealth gap may grow to high levels but at least it levels off as money gets concentrated in certain accounts. This creates fiscal discipline that puts pressure on businesses to either cater to current spending levels or give up and sell their equipment to people who are willing to work for what people can afford to pay. That way, poor people don't have to rely on money re-distributed by a government that has the power to stop or curtail their subsidies. Instead, they gain relative economic independence to produce for themselves according to what resources become available to them through consolidation sales of businesses that are folding. So, which would you say gives more power to the poor? 1) redistributing money in a way that maintains class-hierarchies and makes them dependent on government or 2) allowing fiscal discipline in consumer spending to push businesses to consolidate and turn over resources to them so that they can control them for themselves?

"There is nothing fair about subjugating everyone to the same corporate hierarchies."

A corporation doesn't actually want money because it doesn't really exist.

It is an abstract concept built up by people who want money.

If you were to tax those people at some punitive rate then the corporations would go away because they would no longer serve their purpose.

I realise they would be replaced by some other means by which rich people would strive to get richer at the expense of their fellow man, but that's not a reason not to try

Corporations are basically means of controlling supply-chains to the maximum degree possible. This way, prices can be relatively fixed along with wages, contracts, etc. Corporations do formally what many people would do informally if there were no corporations. E.g. people would build up informal networks of trade-favoritism and supply their favored clients with the best merchandise at friend-prices. Others would get excluded and relegated to less favorable form of labor serving the people with the power to control the more desirable forms of labor. The exception would be if people would treat each other fairly and each take their share of undesirable labor instead of (ab)using their economic power to leverage other people to do it for them. It is conceivable that individuals could voluntarily float between different forms of labor with the intent of producing sufficient basic necessities and infrastructure so that everyone would have a basis from which to pursue their own economic activities. This sounds a bit communist but it would not have to involve abolishing private property rights. It really just comes down to an ethic of approaching economics constructively instead of exploitatively.

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Does the OP imply that Republicans are rich and Democrats are poor?

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Those corporate systems are in themselves unfair systems of distributing resources and responsibilities/labor. By redistributing wealth and/or income, all you do is increase corporate revenues, which makes it possible to increase their power to create the kinds of inequalities that they do.

You better not let the corporations find out about this brilliant discovery of yours. If they did, they might all get together and start demanding that they pay higher taxes and have their wealth redistributed so that they can get more. Or they could just get together and do it themselves, throwing money at everyone so that the corporations can get it all back and more.

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You better not let the corporations find out about this brilliant discovery of yours. If they did, they might all get together and start demanding that they pay higher taxes and have their wealth redistributed so that they can get more. Or they could just get together and do it themselves, throwing money at everyone so that the corporations can get it all back and more.

You don't think corporate support was behind the recent fiscal stimulus project? How did Obama and other democrats get elected? Who was benefited by the bailouts and the notion that corporations are "too big to fail?" Redistribution has been going on sense the new deal in the form of military and other government spending that creates jobs, project budgets, long term low-interest loans, and other means to artificially boost spending and GDP. These all promote corporate business growth. How much do you think corporate people would like to be disbanded and relegated to free trade with other unemployed poor people?

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But if you look at historical GINI data, you see that the GINI number remains fairly steady in countries over the years. This demonstrates that countries which distribute money more equally do not indirecetly create worse inequality down the line by doing so, as you suggest must occur. If countries with more equal wealth distribution had to fall into the trap of creating a greater rebound inequality from that, then the historical GINI tables would show all nations converging upwards to some higher GINI number (greater inequality) by some covert economic laws which could not be defied by social policy.

I don't think the GINI data can tell you if a country is a plutocracy. One person could theoretically have 98% of the wealth, but not care at all about politics.

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Does the OP imply that Republicans are rich and Democrats are poor?

I think the USA is no doubt a plutocracy, and to think that Republicans only like rich people or that Democrats only like the poor is silly. Both extremes consist of rich people who are in control of every thing, very few if any poor or even middle class ever really gain any power in the government, our entire country is all about the worship of wealth and the people who create it. Never mind that all the wealth of this country was made on the backs of the poor and middle class, the truly wealthy are the ones who run things and make sure in the end all wealth is held by a few at the expense of the many.

Whether or not this is moral or immoral is left to us to say after the rich of the party we like tells us it is or not, it's all smoke and mirrors in my estimation, one side might use a little more lube than the other but in the long run they still stick it in just as deep and frequently they just have different strategies to accomplish penetration...

Edited by Moontanman
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I think the USA is no doubt a plutocracy, and to think that Republicans only like rich people or that Democrats only like the poor is silly. Both extremes consist of rich people who are in control of every thing, very few if any poor or even middle class ever really gain any power in the government, our entire country is all about the worship of wealth and the people who create it. Never mind that all the wealth of this country was made on the backs of the poor and middle class, the truly wealthy are the ones who run things and make sure in the end all wealth is held by a few at the expense of the many.

Whether or not this is moral or immoral is left to us to say after the rich of the party we like tells us it is or not, it's all smoke and mirrors in my estimation, one side might use a little more lube than the other but in the long run they still stick it in just as deep and frequently they just have different strategies to accomplish penetration...

Why couldn't you look at it as a republic of relatively independent worker-owners where there just happens to be a large number of people trying to control other people's labor and other resources to create their own aristocratic society/ies? I would say US laws generally are more favorable to people doing their own labor and trading in relatively affordable properties compared to, say, Europe where it seems like no one's allowed to do anything for themselves without government and/or union permission. Granted corporations attempt to exploit these self-employed people as much as possible in the financial benefit of managers, shareholders, and employee wages/benefits/etc. but you could view the whole project of true republicanism to consolidate these corporate organizations to the minimum possible in order to maximize the number of self-employed people who have to do their own labor to get by. Yes there is an enormous will to corporate dependency and division of labor, but there's just as strong a will to relatively independent self-employment - it's just that the media tends to ignore this class of people in favor of corporate middle class culture.

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"So what did you solve by redistributing the money from the rich to the poor?"

Some degree of the unfairness.

So at what point does one become unfair as one gets rich? The one millionth sale of that widget they mass produce that people demanded for their happiness? The return on a financial investment that company used to loan money to people to buy houses? When they splurged and bought a yacht that paid the salaries of their employees to build it? When did their equal access and equal protection under the same exact laws create unfairness for someone else?

Do you pay more for things than they cost? Do you forego the sale price and pay full price so those workers get a fair wage? When you're comparing products, you don't compare prices right? Making cheap things requires cheap means. That means labor and materials - materials that are also fabricated with labor. And you're not unfair, so surely you wouldn't do the same thing businesses and corporations do, right?

People get rich making other people happy. That's the only way the private sector can do it. No one is prevented from selling stuff they make, going to get a job working for someone else, living off of the land out in the boonies...no one is prevented from hunting and gathering or trading with other humans. It's all open. It's called freedom. You can starve too, if you want. I'm not sure how you twist "fair" to suggest that taking from someone who will to give to someone who won't, is reducing unfairness.

The only people getting rich at the expense of others' happiness, is voters that use the republic to mine money they can't earn by making other people happy. And I agree. It's grossly unfair to reward poor people off the backs of those who create and promote voluntary trades with mutual satisfaction.

I never thanked a tax collector after business. I always thank the QT guy when I buy my coffee and gas in the morning. I even thanked a room full of people after agreeing to over a hundred thousand dollar purchase - which is appropriate since I only had about 2 grand at the table. People with money are constantly carrying people without. It works out for us. I get a house, they get a profit.

People without are constantly making excuses for themselves for being without, and the most popular direction is externally. Class envy is school yard antics. It works because personal accountability and honest self appraisal just takes too much discipline and creates discomfort for the ego. Awe...poor ego.

If you can't make it in America...man, you can't make it anywhere.

As for the OP. America is only as much a Plutocracy as you allow it to be. The rich have means to amplify their speech. Legally, that's all they got. Collusion happens, which is illegal and I believe is rampant. Regulations enable that entire racket. But voters are independent of control by central privateers. We always hear people going on about so and so "buying" the election, and all this...but it's a bit disingenuous. No one paid me to do squat at the voting booth - otherwise I may have. (j/k)

No, I think it was Hamilton but I'm not sure, who said something to the effect that all governments boil down to aristocracies (not quite the same thing I realize, but close enough) because people naturally pay more attention when they have skin in the game. The nature of the masses to be largely apathetic and disinterested leaves mainly those who have something to lose and can't afford to ignore their government.

Edited by ParanoiA
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So at what point does one become unfair as one gets rich? The one millionth sale of that widget they mass produce that people demanded for their happiness? The return on a financial investment that company used to loan money to people to buy houses? When they splurged and bought a yacht that paid the salaries of their employees to build it? When did their equal access and equal protection under the same exact laws create unfairness for someone else?

Unfairness begins at the moment people begin building networks of exclusive supply-chains and coercing people into doing relatively undesirable labor or exploiting them through manipulative trading. Most people I talk with about economic unfairness usually end up saying something like, "well life's just not fair and you have to learn to deal with it," at some point in the discussion. That shows that 1) they admit unfairness is present and 2) they're willing to accept it if/when it benefits them.

People get rich making other people happy. That's the only way the private sector can do it.

Why do people need to get rich? Why can't they just sustain themselves with their own labor and help others do the same by sharing advice?

No one is prevented from selling stuff they make, going to get a job working for someone else, living off of the land out in the boonies...no one is prevented from hunting and gathering or trading with other humans. It's all open. It's called freedom. You can starve too, if you want. I'm not sure how you twist "fair" to suggest that taking from someone who will to give to someone who won't, is reducing unfairness.

Have you seriously thought about hunting and gathering? Even if you owned property without debt, how would you pay taxes? Health care? goods you can't make yourself? The problem with the economy is that in order to get access to relatively basic necessities, people are expected to totally submit to the terms of employers. Where's the freedom (free trade of labor) in that?

The only people getting rich at the expense of others' happiness, is voters that use the republic to mine money they can't earn by making other people happy. And I agree. It's grossly unfair to reward poor people off the backs of those who create and promote voluntary trades with mutual satisfaction.

It goes beyond making other people happy in limited ways. Control capitalism is rooted in the belief that people can only be happy if everything about their lives is totally under control and they are directly responsible for very little of their own welfare.

I never thanked a tax collector after business. I always thank the QT guy when I buy my coffee and gas in the morning. I even thanked a room full of people after agreeing to over a hundred thousand dollar purchase - which is appropriate since I only had about 2 grand at the table. People with money are constantly carrying people without. It works out for us. I get a house, they get a profit.

Money doesn't do work, people do. If people who do things with money tried doing them with their own labor, how far would they get?

Granted, I'm not propagating the Marxist belief that labor is everything and management is nothing, but I do think there is a tendency to look at economics as money doing something in itself outside of the labor and other resources that go into production and distribution.

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Unfairness begins at the moment people begin building networks of exclusive supply-chains and coercing people into doing relatively undesirable labor or exploiting them through manipulative trading.

That doesn't explain why it's unfair. That only explains that it's unfortunate that someone should have to sacrifice one thing for another thing. I would like to go to QT and get a slurpee, but I'd also like to watch Southpark. I will have to sacrifice one for the other. Who is being unfair to who? Is Southpark being unfair for airing their show while I want a slurpee? Is QT being unfair because they won't deliver a slurpee to my house? Am I being unfair because I cannot split myself in two?

Firms don't coerce anyone into doing undesirable labor, rather firms will pay for labor on the same terms you will pay for a candy bar. Are we coercing Hershey's to let those chocolate wonders go for under a buck? We sure won't pay for them when they're 5 bucks, so apparently we're shaking down the chocolate factory.

Their monetary allocation for labor is only dependent upon generating an income for the entrepreneur, just as the production worker gets an income. Since they take the risk - and I note that no one is bitching about how unfair it is that they don't get to share in the failures - they get more flexibility on the reward, though ultimately still checked by competition.

If competition drives price down, they're stuck on how much they can spend on labor and capital and still provide income for factors of production. Without any one factor of production, you have no firm. Since I'm stuck on chocolate at the moment..how many chocolate firms do not pay income to the entrepreneur? There's no legal requirement for an owner to profit. So how come they don't exist? They should be able to beat *ALL* competition since they do not require entrepreneurial profits. Where is this chocolate paradise of fairness?

Let me be clear...there is nothing sacred about labor. I repeat, your labor is not special. It's just what you bring to the table to trade with other people when you have nothing else they might want. Nobody is coercing you for your labor, rather your labor is a part of the supply and demand reality and it gets no special treatment. If one guy does nuclear engineering, he'll make a ton of money and the companies that hire him will probably feel like it's not fair. If one million guys do nuclear engineering, they won't make much money at all. Same as all goods and services. I don't have to work for anyone, I can mine my wealth right out of the land myself. I choose not to. Who is coercing who?

Fairness is a moral imported in the context of an objective, predictable system. It is imported into the system precisely for its ability to inflate value without adding anything tangible. Anyone on the short end of a stick will use moral appeals to get a better grip.

Meanwhile, what do they do to add or create new value to their labor and skills? Are they paying attention to supply and demand and maneuvering themselves for higher pay? If they're more interested in loving their job than pay, then are they doing that? Or are they expecting someone else to ignore supply and demand and pay them what they want doing exactly what they like to do?

Sounds more like we're defining unfair as unfortunate. If that's a "that's life" argument, I'll defend it. I'm far from done.

Why do people need to get rich? Why can't they just sustain themselves with their own labor and help others do the same by sharing advice?

Why do people need....now there's a can of worms. I don't know why people need to watch American Idol, but they do.

I would imagine the answer to your second question lies in productive efficiency. Division of labor might be a subject to explore here. Am I supposed to build my own house? Kill and cultivate all of my own food? When do I get to build my own cell phone? You giving soldering lessons? I'd like to get a better idea of what you're suggesting, because obviously I'm interpreting it as a kind of Luddite-meets-noble-savage fantasy.

Have you seriously thought about hunting and gathering? Even if you owned property without debt, how would you pay taxes? Health care? goods you can't make yourself? The problem with the economy is that in order to get access to relatively basic necessities, people are expected to totally submit to the terms of employers. Where's the freedom (free trade of labor) in that?

Yes, I have. In fact, this is one my arguments about retirement. I watched my Grandmother get soaked out of her piddly SS checks with taxes and the like. There are a number of people in the country that do extremely small scale cattle raising just to cover property taxes and insurance for their homes out in the country.

But the point is, in my opinion, that's all you're owed by anybody. You have no 'right' to demand society give you something, so I see no issue about fairness when you don't receive anything.

People don't have to submit to the terms of employers for basic necessities, that's merely the most popular choice since they don't want to build something in their garage and sell it. They don't want to synthesize labor and capital into goods and services on their own and they find it very easy to just show up and provide unskilled, not-very-damn-special labor for them. The problem is when they expect to be paid greater than supply and demand realities.

Freedom doesn't mean that it's free to live and people just give you shit (sacrificing their freedom) it means you're free to make a living for yourself. You are free to attempt to convince anyone, anywhere to give you stuff. Most people won't though. They are free to not give you stuff. They then, generally, require you to do something for them in exchange for something for you.

If you have a problem with fairness in our economy, maybe you should start by paying double for everything you buy so you can start leading by example.

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That doesn't explain why it's unfair. That only explains that it's unfortunate that someone should have to sacrifice one thing for another thing. I would like to go to QT and get a slurpee, but I'd also like to watch Southpark. I will have to sacrifice one for the other. Who is being unfair to who? Is Southpark being unfair for airing their show while I want a slurpee? Is QT being unfair because they won't deliver a slurpee to my house? Am I being unfair because I cannot split myself in two?

I don't understand what this analogy specifically addresses? Sacrifices may be voluntary or coerced. When they're coerced, it is likely to be unfair to the person being coerced if the person/market doing the coercing isn't taking their best interest into account.

Firms don't coerce anyone into doing undesirable labor, rather firms will pay for labor on the same terms you will pay for a candy bar. Are we coercing Hershey's to let those chocolate wonders go for under a buck? We sure won't pay for them when they're 5 bucks, so apparently we're shaking down the chocolate factory.

You can't assess what kinds of exploitation and/or coercion are going on based on the price of a commodity. The money-exchange results in a set of material relations that may or may not be exploitative/coercive. By buying the chocolate, you might be assisting the managers to coerce the workers in some way. If you are a chocolate addict, the workers are exploiting your addiction to pay their wages and may be exploiting the managers to provide certain levels of job security. Exploitation and coercion can go in any direction, and even multiple directions simultaneously, like any other form of social power.

Let me be clear...there is nothing sacred about labor. I repeat, your labor is not special. It's just what you bring to the table to trade with other people when you have nothing else they might want. Nobody is coercing you for your labor, rather your labor is a part of the supply and demand reality and it gets no special treatment. If one guy does nuclear engineering, he'll make a ton of money and the companies that hire him will probably feel like it's not fair. If one million guys do nuclear engineering, they won't make much money at all. Same as all goods and services. I don't have to work for anyone, I can mine my wealth right out of the land myself. I choose not to. Who is coercing who?

When a person is economically independent and they decide to sell their labor in exchange for wages, that is un-coerced trade. The question is at what point people have little if any choice EXCEPT to sell their labor. Obviously, at the point someone gives you the choice of selling your labor or losing your life, that is coercive, but what about the broad spectrum in between?

Fairness is a moral imported in the context of an objective, predictable system. It is imported into the system precisely for its ability to inflate value without adding anything tangible. Anyone on the short end of a stick will use moral appeals to get a better grip.

I'll agree that people can abuse the will to legitimacy/fairness to achieve unfair ends, but if you would completely reject the very possibility of fairness, why would you criticize people abusing it arbitrarily as a means to dominate and exploit others?

Meanwhile, what do they do to add or create new value to their labor and skills? Are they paying attention to supply and demand and maneuvering themselves for higher pay? If they're more interested in loving their job than pay, then are they doing that? Or are they expecting someone else to ignore supply and demand and pay them what they want doing exactly what they like to do?

You're implying that there is merit in the things you say and that merit should matter. Why should it? It is "fair" to allocate resources on the basis of some person/people's notion of what constitutes "merit" and what doesn't?

Sounds more like we're defining unfair as unfortunate. If that's a "that's life" argument, I'll defend it. I'm far from done.

You can say, "that's life," but does that erase the fact of unfairness? You have yet to explicitly state whether you believe the concept of fairness totally bankrupt/fictional or whether you consider it a valid concept on some level.

Why do people need....now there's a can of worms. I don't know why people need to watch American Idol, but they do.

They don't, but they need food and shelter and certain other things to maintain their health.

I would imagine the answer to your second question lies in productive efficiency. Division of labor might be a subject to explore here. Am I supposed to build my own house? Kill and cultivate all of my own food? When do I get to build my own cell phone? You giving soldering lessons? I'd like to get a better idea of what you're suggesting, because obviously I'm interpreting it as a kind of Luddite-meets-noble-savage fantasy.

All I'm saying is that cell phones and everything else is built by humans and/or human technologies. So, theoretically, it is possible for everyone to participate in the process of making things according to their level of interest in the product. I.e. as free as people are to contribute their money to the processes they want in the form of stock investments, why shouldn't people be just as free to contribute their labor, buying and selling as much or as little as they want at will?

But the point is, in my opinion, that's all you're owed by anybody. You have no 'right' to demand society give you something, so I see no issue about fairness when you don't receive anything.

Not give you someTHING, but to prevent unnecessary levels of structural constraints from emerging to limit your otherwise greater freedom to make economic choices. Some levels of freedom are unacceptable because they require constraining the freedom of others. However, when freedom is being constrained in favor of others, isn't it reasonable to expect these to be replaced with something that allows the maximum amount of freedom for the maximum number of people?

People don't have to submit to the terms of employers for basic necessities, that's merely the most popular choice since they don't want to build something in their garage and sell it.

What would you build in your garage and how much could you sell it for? Enough to pay taxes and insurance and bills? And even if that was an option, why would that legitimate employers exploiting their position of relative economic power to sollicit excessive levels of submission from employees?

They don't want to synthesize labor and capital into goods and services on their own and they find it very easy to just show up and provide unskilled, not-very-damn-special labor for them. The problem is when they expect to be paid greater than supply and demand realities.

I agree that there is too little critique of the "employ-me" right to a job attitude. Employees should be and view themselves as co-investors in the businesses they work at, since that's what they are.

If you have a problem with fairness in our economy, maybe you should start by paying double for everything you buy so you can start leading by example.

Actually, I think the opposite is the case. Current prices are set at levels that create excessive amounts of profit and middle/upper class income. Some people think the way to achieve greater fairness is by raising prices and paying higher wages from the bottom up, but I think this would just result in more economic exploitation. I think it would be far better to lower prices by cutting expenditures from the top-down, since that would reduce consumer-dependence on income and require middle/upper class people to do more with less money, which would mean doing more things for themselves. Then, if the economy would reach a point where people were free of economic coercion, they could voluntarily cooperate to produce whatever they wanted and it would be fair because it wouldn't constrain anyone else's freedom to choose their own path.

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