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Old 09-23-2013, 07:26 PM   #661
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Citizens United being overturned is the only place to start, really.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:29 PM   #662
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Citizens United being overturned is the only place to start, really.
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Citizens United being overturned is the only place to start, really.
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Citizens United being overturned is the only place to start, really.
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Citizens United being overturned is the only place to start, really.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:39 PM   #663
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The one good thing I'll say is that, at least on a presidential level, Citizens United failed to serve it's intended political purpose. Despite the Koch Brothers and the shadowy group run by Rove (American Crossorads?), Obama still won big. Maybe money doesn't matter at least on a national level. State level politics might be different.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #664
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The one good thing I'll say is that, at least on a presidential level, Citizens United failed to serve it's intended political purpose. Despite the Koch Brothers and the shadowy group run by Rove (American Crossorads?), Obama still won big. Maybe money doesn't matter at least on a national level. State level politics might be different.
One could have argue that Citizens United simply ensured that Obama won by less of a margin than he otherwise would have (he might have, for instance, won North Carolina without it). But I tend to think that, at least with presidential elections, the ad market is saturated beyond usefulness well before the extra money from Citizens United hits.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:13 PM   #665
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No, but I also don't think that eliminating inequality altogether is a desirable goal.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:57 AM   #666
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No, but I also don't think that eliminating inequality altogether is a desirable goal.

Just curious - why not?
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:02 AM   #667
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The one good thing I'll say is that, at least on a presidential level, Citizens United failed to serve it's intended political purpose. Despite the Koch Brothers and the shadowy group run by Rove (American Crossorads?), Obama still won big. Maybe money doesn't matter at least on a national level. State level politics might be different.
Wait... so Obama didn't benefit from the ruling? I wasn't aware that he self financed.

No good has come out of citizen's united.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:16 AM   #668
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Just curious - why not?
Two reasons. First, it's impossible, and setting it as a goal will lead to nasty results.

Second, some degree of inequality is necessary to create incentives to make money by means of innovation.

This is not to say that I find current levels of inequality in the United States acceptable. I don't.

I cling to some hope that we are just in a cyclical malaise still, and that that is producing this inequality. If that is the case, then there is actually a lot of room for hope, because the United States arguably has very strong structural fundamentals that could drive a strong and broad growth trend. From what I understand, incomes for lower and middle income people in the US have only very recently stopped falling, and this could be the long-delayed start of something good. Investors have been very friendly to the US this year, and that could help things. This is what raw neoclassical economics would more or less predict, and it's my strongest hope. My greatest fear is that something frightening and structural is happening in the background. And government policy really can't effectively handle structural issues very well.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:31 AM   #669
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Second, some degree of inequality is necessary to create incentives to make money by means of innovation.
I agree, people are motivated by rewards, as are most sentient animals - but those rewards do not necessarily need to be "money."
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:04 PM   #670
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I agree, people are motivated by rewards, as are most sentient animals - but those rewards do not necessarily need to be "money."
What else should they be?
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:42 PM   #671
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What else should they be?
Contribution to humanity (just about every theoretical physicist, pastor, priest, nurse, EMT, teacher, fireman, artist...).
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #672
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Someone studying particle physics for example - wants enough money to KEEP studying particle physics. That's it. I suspect very few are motivated by "getting rich" - although I will concede that some have moderate economic success with book sales, TV appearances, professorships...

I think the same is true for most people. If you guaranteed to meet their basic human needs - they would pursue what truly excited them and we would see MORE innovation, not less.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:28 PM   #673
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Yeah money is a rather simplistic motivator of innovation. If we go back a few centuries when scientists were drawn mainly from the wealthier class of people, they were able to pursue their scientific hobbies because money was not much of a concern or they had a patron who could take care of their costs.

Many scientists and engineers with their intellect I would imagine could pursue much more lucrative careers elsewhere.

In agreement with Aeon, I think in life we would genuinely rather pursue what interested us if we didn't have to worry about money. Money is a concern only because we need it to achieve a certain standard of living for ourselves and families, beyond that I am not convinced it motivates much of anything.

See I am not convinced capitalism is our long term answer. The very idea that we need there to be inequality to drive innovation and money making the world over I find wretched. What happens when the cheap Chinese labour we use to make our electronics or the Indian workforce doesn't want to produce our cheap clothes for the minuscule wages they earn? Standards of living will increase in these countries and as they do, their wages will also increase until the point where we need someone else that is cheap to exploit. It may end up being our turn, who knows, I still find it extremely wrong and something we should seek to address, but I do not think capitalism as it is would survive us addressing these issues.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:58 PM   #674
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Yeah money is a rather simplistic motivator of innovation. If we go back a few centuries when scientists were drawn mainly from the wealthier class of people, they were able to pursue their scientific hobbies because money was not much of a concern or they had a patron who could take care of their costs.

Many scientists and engineers with their intellect I would imagine could pursue much more lucrative careers elsewhere.

In agreement with Aeon, I think in life we would genuinely rather pursue what interested us if we didn't have to worry about money. Money is a concern only because we need it to achieve a certain standard of living for ourselves and families, beyond that I am not convinced it motivates much of anything.

See I am not convinced capitalism is our long term answer. The very idea that we need there to be inequality to drive innovation and money making the world over I find wretched. What happens when the cheap Chinese labour we use to make our electronics or the Indian workforce doesn't want to produce our cheap clothes for the minuscule wages they earn? Standards of living will increase in these countries and as they do, their wages will also increase until the point where we need someone else that is cheap to exploit. It may end up being our turn, who knows, I still find it extremely wrong and something we should seek to address, but I do not think capitalism as it is would survive us addressing these issues.

very interesting post.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:39 AM   #675
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I cling to some hope that we are just in a cyclical malaise still, and that that is producing this inequality. If that is the case, then there is actually a lot of room for hope, because the United States arguably has very strong structural fundamentals that could drive a strong and broad growth trend. From what I understand, incomes for lower and middle income people in the US have only very recently stopped falling, and this could be the long-delayed start of something good.
It's nice that you are hopeful, but I have a very different view.

The reality is that for almost the entirety of human history, people lived in some sort of feudalism/fiefdom state. There was the wealthy, educated aristocracy that owned land, and then everybody else beneath them and these people generally had terribly hard and patently unfair lives. With the advent of the industrial revolution, things began to change, but only so slightly - consider for example, that many people here have seen Downton Abbey, whose social/class structure was still in place less than a century ago.

The US (and Canada and Australia and NZ) were unique that in the course of human history they alone never experienced such a socioeconomic structure. The closest you came was slavery in the US, but that was atypical and certainly not feudal. In any event, I can't speak for Aus or NZ as I am not familiar with the state of economic inequality there but in the US, it is approaching shocking levels. Canada is somewhat better due to better social safety nets, but let's not kid ourselves, we have nothing to crow about up here either.

Americans and Canadians have no historical understanding of this type of inequality and are largely ignorant as to its full effects. Europeans, nations colonized by Europeans in Asia, Africa & South America understand it very well because even though the formalities of a feudalist society have ended, the effects carry on to this day. There is a context for them that we don't have and I believe this lack of context is what allows people like INDY and Ted Cruz to hold many of the views that they hold.

We're cycling...but not in a good direction, instead, we're cycling back to what humans innately know.
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