A Conversation for Margaret Thatcher - British Prime Minister 1979 - 1990
Researcher 203508 Posted Nov 8, 2002
Of course I think you are wrong, the establishment of the welfare state following pressure from the working classes in the wake of the second world war gives the lie to the inevitability of abject poverty for those that can't cut it in a world of pure capitalism.
But re Thatcher, was she a disaster? Well yes, for large numbers of people she was, for the greedy and avaricious and the increasingly wealthy then maybe no, but who cares about that tiny minority?
Come the revolution.....
Skatehorn Posted Dec 5, 2002
"for Bill Gates to be that wealthy a whole bunch of people need to be less wealthy"
Sorry, but that is just a complete lie. You should apologize for saying it.
Bill Gates business ethics can be questioned, as Microsofts court appearance shows, but it is in no way necessary for people to be poor so that someone else is rich.
It works like this: I have lots of widgets which (because I have so many of them, and can easily make more) I don't value terribly highly. You, on the other hand have no widgets, can't make one, and want one quite a lot, so you value widgets highly. We therefore swap some of your money - which you value less than a widget - for one of my widgets - which I value less than your money. So we're both better off. If I do a similar swap with millions of people I a) make millions of people a little bit better off, and b) make myself a whole lot better off. Ergo, it is not necessary for others to become poor for someone to become rich. QED.
Researcher 203508 Posted Dec 5, 2002
I will apologise for nothing, you make widgets that I don't really need, I give up what little income I have to participate in your widget driven society, you get richer I get poorer, although I do now have a house full of widgets that gave me pleasure for about 15 minutes.
If we had a model in which any new product proportionally increased the number of reasonable paying jobs in the market then you might have a point, we don't so your point is hardly watertight.
Perhaps and apology from yourself?
Researcher 203508 Posted Dec 5, 2002
Oh yes, and you need to study a bit of predicate logic, QED should only be used at the end of a piece of logic that requires no further explanation
Skatehorn Posted Dec 8, 2002
If you don't need them then why do you buy them?
If you don't like the "widget driven society" then why do you want to participate in it?
If you get poorer you only have yourself to blame; nobody makes you part with your money for something you value less.
If you haven't learnt that buying widgets that only give you 15mins pleasure is a bad deal then you can't be very intelligent, or you're just not trying to think for yourself.
What does it mean to say that a new product "proportionally increased the number of reasonable paying jobs" - proportional to what? What good is a "reasonable paying job"? What does "reasonable" mean in this context?
Your response shows only that you are utterly confused about the issues.
Finally QED is short for "quod erat demonstrandum" and means "which was to be demonstrated". It should not "only be used at the end of a piece of logic that requires no further explanation" but can be used at the end of an argument, once the conclusion aimed at has been arrived at and stated. I think that you are the one in need on further study.
Researcher 203508 Posted Dec 8, 2002
I do not need a latin lesson from one as unfamiliar with the subjest as you, I can speak the language and understand far better than you what 'quod erat demonstrandum' means, a I am sure you are aware these things rarely translate well. You did not 'arrive' at any reasonable conclusion so QED is not valid, dare I say it QED.
Who has a choice about what society they participate in? You demostrate your ignorance in asserting that, and you obviously labour under the misapprehension that the consumer society produces mainly useful output, go ask the parents of any teenager that is pressuring them into buying the latest £150 Nike's. Does he need them? Can they 'afford' them?
My point, although I am starting to understand that you do not have the wit to pick up what are fairly simple concepts, is that new products DO NOT demonstrate any correlation between their value and their ability to contribute to society as a whole. IF you could demonstrate this (are you keeping up?) then my original point might be less valid, you can't, it isn't.
To go back to the original issue, the polarisation of the distribution of wealth in consumer societies continues apace and this does not happen as the result of some freak accident, it happens because we allow people to become obscenely wealthy at the cost of those that make up the bottom links of the wealth chain. One way in which this occurs is through the process of feeding people aspirations that they can only achieve through stretching their meagre earnings or by going into debt. I do not suppose Gates is worrying too much about the repayments on his Mastercard, the average UK household is carrying credit card debt alone of more than £6,000.
So there was the matter of an apology?
Skatehorn Posted Dec 10, 2002
QED: Since I have never studied Latin in my life, you may well know a good deal more about it than I do, however since my use of "QED" was tongue in cheek, I'll let you have the point.
You said: "Who has a choice about what society they participate in? You demostrate your ignorance in asserting that". You're confusing the issue here, and I did not assert that one can choose the society they are born into. Clearly nobody has a choice about which society they were born in, and limited choice about which society they live in, but we do still have choices within that society one of which is whether to buy widgets or not. Or more specifically whether the money we have is worth more to us than a widget or not. Nobody puts a gun to your head and says "you must buy this widget" nobody forces anyone to buy any consumer goods. Yes adverts attempt to persuade us, and many succeed in changing our judgements of (material) value, but the final decision about whether to buy something rests with the individual, if they make a bad choice they can blame no one but themselves. Thats as true for the parents of the teenager demanding the new Nike's as anyone else. Whether any particular teenager "needs" them, or whether the parents can "afford" them is a matter solely for the parents and teenager, I am not competent to pass any comment.
You also say that I "obviously labour under the misapprehension that the consumer society produces mainly useful output". Whether a product is useful or not is something that can only be judged by the person deciding whether to make the purchase. If people buy widgets then I infer that they find them useful. I know of no other meaningful definition of "useful" - can you provide one?
You say that your point is "new products DO NOT demonstrate any correlation between their value and their ability to contribute to society as a whole". But what is the "value" of a product? You seem to think that the value of a product is somehow an objective property of the product (please correct me if I'm wrong). Similarly how does one determine the contribution of a new product to "society as a whole"? The point that you fail to grasp is that "value" is a subjective concept. The value that you place on a widget will be different from the value that I place on the widget, and my value will also vary in time as my preferences and resources change. Because value is subjective there can be no other test of whether a widget adds value to society than whether people buy it or not, if you disagree can you provide an alternative test?
Researcher 203508 Posted Dec 10, 2002
Ok, I think I can conceed that 'value' can be considered a moving target, if either of us had the time or the inclination we would probably end up with a whole series of values that we would want to consider.
The 'value' that interests me in this is the day to day well being of people within any particular society, lets call the value the relative distance between you and the breadline.
Sure nobody points a gun at my head and forces me to buy the latest Nike's, but they do not need to, prejudices, aspirations, sheer greed and many other human traits contribute to the non-physical pressure that we all labour under. I like to think that I make purchasing decisions based on rational rather than subjective decisions, but frankly I am aware that I kid myself, I love gadgets that will eat up far more of my income than they can contribute to either my or our wellbeing. I wear branded clothing (well some of it), I drive a 'nicer' car than a 1985 Skoda Estelle, not because that fine automobile could not do the job but because I assune that I will be judged somehow by using it.
As it happens I both do ok for myself and can balance my need for gadgets with my need to pay the bills, but a lot of the prople most deprived of money to feed their families are the most desperate to demonstrate that they are participating in the wealth of the rest of us.
The value that I like to consider is the simple one of wealth, how far it is from the top to the bottom and what trends are developing and what proportion of the population find themselves where on the ladder. It seems pretty clear that the gap is widening and the poor are becoming disenfranchised at an alarming rate, when I have (relatively) so much this troubles me.
While I will not make any apology for my original point about Bill Gates and his ilk, I will apologise for my jibes in my last posting, this is a subject I feel strongly about but I should know better than to resort to cheap scores rather than just making my point.
Fizzicist Posted Dec 23, 2002
Ultimately value is governed by what someone is prepared to part with to acquire something else.
You are clearly not prepared to part with £150 for a pair of Nike's. Fair enough. I agree, neither am I.
However, you're prepared to part with similar quantities in the name of all that is gadget. Fair enough.
My point is, that whilst you may rant against consumerism/capitalism/whatever you want to call it, you're not contributing a viable solution to the problem. There mere fact that you think it's evil that someone should earn themselves a fortune is an argument in favour of it, on the grounds that should you come up with a gadget and make a dickload (technical term) of money, you would no doubt think it perfectly fair that you were rich, and that you should be able to decide what to do with your money.
Who am I to tell you not to buy gadgets with your hard earned? No-one. That's who. You wouldn't expect it and I don't do it. On that same premise, who are you to tell people who have earned their own fortune what they should do with it?
QED? (seeing as everyone is arguing about it)
Researcher 203508 Posted Jan 5, 2003
I may not have contributed a viable solution to the problems of wealth distribution, mainly because that has not been the purpose of this discussion, but that does not mean that there is not one.
It seems that all the arguments in favour of capitalism start and end at the extreme premise of 'if I made it I can do what I like with it', essentially your point above. But this ignores a startling number of realities that most of society would consider second nature. Taxation for instance, while it is popular today to try to decrease it and use it to fund weapons and trade wars rather than health and education, it is a reality of life (one of two?).
So my response to the above is, you can only choose to buy the Nikes if your disposable income allows, for me that would be what is disposable after making sure that people are not starving/homeless/working three jobs and still not meeting the rent etc. After that please feel free to spend whatever you like on whatever you like.
Researcher 214892 Posted Jan 11, 2003
Scott Samuel calculated that in 1984 unemployment caused 3,000 deaths per year in Britain from those who commit suicide or become physically ill as a result of losing there job, hows that for competition and free enterprise? Also unemployment in 1985 reached it's highest point since the depression, unemployment appeared to be her economic policy to buffer inflation - Thatcher mistook economic welbeing from social welbeing.
Researcher 203508 Posted Jan 23, 2003
There is always a price to pay, and invariably it is too heavy, but what do you do when your two party system effectively becomes a one party system?
Researcher 212534 Posted Aug 30, 2006
Appreciably it's a very old thread but I'm bored and haven't been here for three years or so.
Well, in the meantime I've been made redundant, lost the lot and bounced back (sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise). So logically my capitalist views should have changed and the welfare state that looked after me in the dark times should be something I support more now?
Nope. It was of no help at all and simply left me feeling even more bitter about the amount of tax I've pumped into the system that I wasn't allowed to rely on when it all went wrong.
No doubt my state pension will be worthless at a later date as well.
Can open, worms everywhere.
Key: Complain about this post
- 21: Researcher 203508 (Nov 8, 2002)
- 22: Skatehorn (Dec 5, 2002)
- 23: Researcher 203508 (Dec 5, 2002)
- 24: Researcher 203508 (Dec 5, 2002)
- 25: Skatehorn (Dec 8, 2002)
- 26: Researcher 203508 (Dec 8, 2002)
- 27: Skatehorn (Dec 10, 2002)
- 28: Researcher 203508 (Dec 10, 2002)
- 29: Fizzicist (Dec 23, 2002)
- 30: Researcher 203508 (Jan 5, 2003)
- 31: Researcher 214892 (Jan 11, 2003)
- 32: Researcher 203508 (Jan 23, 2003)
- 33: Researcher 212534 (Aug 30, 2006)
- 34: flyingmadbongo (Jul 12, 2008)
- 35: alphabudd1 (Aug 3, 2008)