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Old 10-01-2006, 04:05 PM   #31
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Economic inequality is worse in many western countries. As for the comfortable "normal" standard of living, is it really what we claim it to be? How many of us, or in the US cannot afford health care? The cost of education is killing young people and the families who are trying to support their kids. We live in a credit card 'interest free period' world and most of us struggle daily, weekly, monthly. How many of us will pay off a mortgage in our lifetimes? How many of us can envision the day we even get a mortgage? We're choking on our own flashy excess, yes, but we're also relatively fucked, comparatively, and not exactly living in ideal conditions others should strive for. I think the way many of us live is ridiculous - which then makes how some others live just criminal.
I agree. Lately I feel like my happiness is completely superficial. Yes, I have a nice apartment and we have a car to share and two pets, but I would trade it all in a second if I could afford to fix one of the many health problems that are painful on a daily basis and not be drowning in debt already by age 17 and worrying for my parents because of the mortgage and cost of sibs high school education. And then compared to how the majority of the world lives...I can't even begin to sort it out in my head....
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:10 PM   #32
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I'd put up with some crud to make more money, but I really don't know how much. That's the $64,000 question.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:44 PM   #33
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So is inequality better than everyone being poor but equal?
Take Australia. We have one of the highest gaps of economic inequality. The difference between our richest and poorest is huge. The effects of it are far reaching. 19% of our population live below the poverty line. Overall, our standard is wonderful compared to theirs, but I'd not wish ours as an ideal on anyone.

Is it better? I'm not sure. We at least have access to the credit cards and revolving lines of credit which will sink us, which is more than we can say for other places. I dont know. Who's willing to compare daily struggles? Not I. I haven't walked in their shoes. I'm sure ours looks nice and glossy on the outside because we have the plastic waste to make ours look wonderful. Look at everything from our diets slowly killing us, to upward deviance filling our jails.
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:50 PM   #34
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So is inequality better than everyone being poor but equal?
Remind me again why those are my only two choices?
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Old 10-03-2006, 03:38 AM   #35
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Economic inequality is worse in many western countries. As for the comfortable "normal" standard of living, is it really what we claim it to be? How many of us, or in the US cannot afford health care? The cost of education is killing young people and the families who are trying to support their kids. We live in a credit card 'interest free period' world and most of us struggle daily, weekly, monthly. How many of us will pay off a mortgage in our lifetimes? How many of us can envision the day we even get a mortgage? We're choking on our own flashy excess, yes, but we're also relatively fucked, comparatively, and not exactly living in ideal conditions others should strive for. I think the way many of us live is ridiculous - which then makes how some others live just criminal.
Fair enough. Sounds like the story of my life.

We touched on this issue somewhat during the summer with the question of whether money makes you happy. You've made a pretty good argument that no, it doesn't.

But it still doesn't really address the question I raised--happiness aside--should our standard of living be something to strive for? And if not our standard of living, what would be the "ideal" standard of living and what would it take for all of the world's population to live at that level? If the way others live is criminal, than can we realistically solve such problems without a drastic change in the way we all live? What's the baseline standard? I think we can all agree that things like "stupid poverty" can be solved without upending the world as we know it. People need clean drinking water, sufficient nutritious food, preventing of disease like malaria, dysentery, etc, housing that protects one from the elements. But is there anything else? Are these basics enough? Because I can tell you as one who lives in a place where there are a lot of sweatshops, that those workers have those basic needs met. In fact, as another poster pointed out the reason that they're working under the conditions they are is because they are making better money than they've ever made in their lives!
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:58 AM   #36
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i dont think ours is ideal. there's even not a clear 'ours' as mine is different to yours and that which you have when you go back to the US. 19% of my population below the henderson poverty line is not good enough. that's not worth striving for. free medical and education is. we're halfway there. even that said, i dont think paying for higher education is such a bad thing. making it more affordable is.

and ideal situation would be wages which everyone can live off. it doesn't have to be affluent, but doable in the least. free access to education and health. the rest will come naturally from that.
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:37 AM   #37
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yeah it was called the living wage, angie. Just another relic of the past in our brave new Australia.

I'm not being snarky, I agree with you actually. But the disconnect between what we'd like to see and the fact that we're racing at warp speed in the opposite direction, is hard for me to ever get around.
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