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> Thou shalt make this much money, and no more, Cui bono? Cui malo?
akaCG
post May 18 2015, 10:07 PM
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This thread is inspired by ...
QUOTE(droop224 @ May 14 2015, 09:55 AM) *
...
If we created a society that allowed for incentives but controlled it, would that be a bad thing? For instance... if you labor in this country, whatever your job you could be assured that no individual labor is ever valued more than "10 times" another individual labor. Would you support it, yes or no, why?
...

Without further ado, here are this thread's 2 debate questions:

1. How would capping the highest annual income that one can earn at no more than 10 times the lowest annual income affect the poor in the U.S.?

2. How would doing so affect the U.S. economy in general?


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Dingo
post May 18 2015, 11:26 PM
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1. How would capping the highest annual income that one can earn at no more than 10 times the lowest annual income affect the poor in the U.S.?

To upgrade the question, what kind of economy is sustainable and how does limiting the difference between high and low income play into that?

A fellow who developed extensively on this topic is the English philosopher-economist E.F. Schumacher. As I recall he set the ideal spread in income as 7-1. But he went way beyond that. His idea was doing more with less and saw the whole ideal of massive personal accumulation as simply playing havoc with this sustainable future. He shared with Gandhi a belief in the human superiority of village economics including the idea of making technologies appropriate, generally small, to reflect community values.

Here is a taste of his thinking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Is_Beautiful

QUOTE
Schumacher argues that the modern economy is unsustainable. Natural resources (like fossil fuels), are treated as expendable income, when in fact they should be treated as capital, since they are not renewable, and thus subject to eventual depletion. He further argues that nature's resistance to pollution is limited as well. He concludes that government effort must be concentrated on sustainable development, because relatively minor improvements, for example, technology transfer to Third World countries, will not solve the underlying problem of an unsustainable economy.

Schumacher's philosophy is one of "enoughness", appreciating both human needs, limitations and appropriate use of technology. It grew out of his study of village-based economics, which he later termed Buddhist economics
----------------------------------------------
Schumacher was one of the first economists to question the appropriateness of using gross national product to measure human well-being, emphasizing that "the aim ought to be to obtain the maximum amount of well being with the minimum amount of consumption". In the epilogue he emphasizes the need for the "philosophy of materialism" to take second place to ideals such as justice, harmony, beauty, and health.





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akaCG
post May 19 2015, 12:29 AM
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"Dingo":

By all means, feel perfectly free to start your own thread(s) on the subject of E.F. Schumacher's and/or Gandhi's theories regarding "ideal" societies and such.

Meanwhile, however, ...

This thread's debate questions are:

1. How would capping the highest annual income that one can earn at no more than 10 times the lowest annual income affect the poor in the U.S.?

2. How would doing so affect the U.S. economy in general?


Very much looking forward to your answering them, should you decide that you are able, as well as willing, to do so.

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Hobbes
post May 19 2015, 04:48 AM
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FWIW...I think Dingo was answering the question, at least indirectly.

For myself, first, I would like one to define 'laborer'. I don't think you will find a very big difference in pay between 'laborers'...there isn't any reason to pay a laborer any more than any other laborer. What about knowledge works? Entertainers? Musicians? Athletes? All those with a skill, included 'skilled 'labor'...which is what most 'labor' really is. Why should there be a cap on how much one gets for one's skil? Should Michael Jackson only have made 10 times what someone did at McDonald's? If he did...would he have made music...and would anyone have had the money to buy it? Michael Jackson isn't a laborer might be the argument. Ok...what differentiates him from someone who was?

1. How would capping the highest annual income that one can earn at no more than 10 times the lowest annual income affect the poor in the U.S.?

Wages at the bottom would drop. Fewer consumption items would be bought, and at lower prices...meaning more companies would have less to spend on 'laborers'


2. How would doing so affect the U.S. economy in general?

It would lower it. First, all those earning above that cap would immediately earn less, thereby lower their spending, thereby lowering production, and thereby lower GDP. This would then lower wages across the board, causing a further lowering. The goal of achieving equality by lowering everybody would begin to become a reality.
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Dingo
post May 19 2015, 11:39 AM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ May 18 2015, 05:29 PM) *
"Dingo":

By all means, feel perfectly free to start your own thread(s) on the subject of E.F. Schumacher's and/or Gandhi's theories regarding "ideal" societies and such.

I dealt with the substance of your question, just not in the fashion you wanted. I understand you have a bunch of set piece responses you're wound up for but the ideal of capitalism and the freedom to make gobs of money was not exactly my focus. I took it out of the box you wanted to confine it to. You stick with your inch deep approach and I'll dig down. flowers.gif

------------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 18 2015, 09:48 PM) *
Should Michael Jackson only have made 10 times what someone did at McDonald's? If he did...would he have made music...and would anyone have had the money to buy it?

If Michael Jackson was part of an artist consortium why not? And perhaps that consortium would be supported by taking a large chunk from his recording sales, absorbing most of the costs that he would otherwise have to pay. And why wouldn't folks be able to buy the recordings, particularly if you upped the low end?

An interesting question to explore, how much did Shakespeare make relative to his actors? I think the idea that material motivation is the be all and end all is a fallacy that say Schumacher challenges.
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Hobbes
post May 19 2015, 06:56 PM
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QUOTE
If Michael Jackson was part of an artist consortium why not?


Because that would have been costing MJ...hundreds of millions of dollars, for one. Second, because that then impacts how many pursue that skill.

QUOTE
And perhaps that consortium would be supported by taking a large chunk from his recording sales, absorbing most of the costs that he would otherwise have to pay.


And MJ should be fine with said consortium taking all his earnings....because why again?

QUOTE
And why wouldn't folks be able to buy the recordings, particularly if you upped the low end?


The low end wouldn't be upped, it would drop. Fewer dollars chasing goods means fewer goods at lower prices, lowering GDP, lowering wages, etc.

QUOTE
An interesting question to explore, how much did Shakespeare make relative to his actors? I think the idea that material motivation is the be all and end all is a fallacy that say Schumacher challenges.


It's not the be all and end all...but it IS important. How aware were people of Shakespeare in Shakespeare's time? How many people outside London got to see him? How many people inside of London got to see him, or his plays? It's not a fallacy, at least not in today's society. If you don't think people do things for money, please elaborate on all the other 'real' reasons people work at Wall Street.
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akaCG
post May 19 2015, 08:36 PM
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Let's say the minimum wage were raised to the $15/hr level that so many Libs/Progs are pining for these days. On an annual basis, that adds up to $31,200.

Implementing "droop"'s proposal would mean that the maximum annual income that anyone could earn in the U.S. would be ... $312,000.

Under said limitation, for example, ...

Bruce Sprinsteen & The E Street Band would only be allowed to perform a ... 1 hour 15 minute concert (that way, each of the 7 band members reach the max of $312,000). Per year. That's it. Any other income-producing activities would be strictly verboten to all of them. 'Til the following year, of course, when it would not be at all surprising if a new song were to become part of their repertoire, perhaps titled "Shorn in the U.S.A.".


Source:
http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifest...cert-per-night/

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Gray Seal
post May 19 2015, 10:01 PM
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The means for determining the highest wage would be a 40 hour week based upon ten times the minimum wage?

What would happen is that other means of receiving compensation would exist other than money. If government bans the use of money then transactions will be done via some other means. Bartering would make a come back.

It will be very difficult to mass produce anything and be paid for doing so.

Transactions will be more expensive which will drive down the economic status of all people, including the poor.

Would a low economic status for all result in a more satisfactory life for everyone? I doubt it.
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akaCG
post May 20 2015, 12:46 AM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 19 2015, 07:39 AM) *
...
An interesting question to explore, how much did Shakespeare make relative to his actors? ...
...

An even more interesting (as well as ... deeper) question to explore, given that we're talking about minimum/maximum (not average/maximum) income ratios, is ...

How much did Shakespeare make relative to whoever had the job of, say, ... sweeping up/mopping up whatever the Globe Theatre's audience left behind?

I've not been able to find any info as to the latter type of people's "wages", I'm afraid. But I was able to find how much, say, a skilled worker in a London shoemaker's made in 1588, on average: about BP4.00/year.

Meanwhile, ...

Mr. Shakespeare, just from his share in the Globe Theatre, made ... about BP200.00/year.

About a 25/1 ratio.

And then there was the income he derived from selling his play copyrights and/or somesuch, and eventually from his investment properties in both Stratford and London, etc.

Goodness only knows what the ratio between Mr. Shakespeare's annual income and the annual income of the aforementioned sweeper/mopper would have been, had there been a way for him to, say, sell DVDs of, say, "Best Globe Theatre Performance Series: Hamlet", "Best Globe Theatre Performance Series: Macbeth", "Best Globe Theatre Performace Series: A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Best Globe Theatre Performance Series: The Taming of the Shrew", etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. etc., ... etc., not just regionally, but nationally. Let alone ... globally.



Sources:
http://elizabethan.org/compendium/86.html
http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/shkworth.html


EDITED TO ADD:

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
The means for determining the highest wage would be a 40 hour week based upon ten times the minimum wage?
...

If "droop" et al. have their way, ... Yup.

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
...
What would happen is that other means of receiving compensation would exist other than money. ...
...

Bingo!

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
...
... Bartering would make a come back.
...

Bingo!

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
...
It will be very difficult to mass produce anything and be paid for doing so.
...

Bingo!

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
...
Transactions will be more expensive which will drive down the economic status of all people, including the poor.
...

Bingo!

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 06:01 PM) *
...
Would a low economic status for all result in a more satisfactory life for everyone? I doubt it.

Some (e.g. "Dingo" et al.) people, believe it or not, actually think that it would.

Good luck getting them to specify (even in approximate terms) what a "satisfactory life" consists of. After all, they et al. tend to go "crickets" on you as soon as you ask them to specify what a "living wage" is.



This post has been edited by akaCG: May 20 2015, 12:54 AM
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Dingo
post May 20 2015, 03:23 AM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ May 19 2015, 05:46 PM) *

It appears what Shakespeare got from play writing was quite modest. Acknowledging that he probably needed more to have the security to write his plays, the question becomes how much did he need given a multiplicity of possible arrangements?

-------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE(Gray Seal @ May 19 2015, 03:01 PM) *
What would happen is that other means of receiving compensation would exist other than money. If government bans the use of money then transactions will be done via some other means. Bartering would make a come back.

Bartering doesn't have to make a come back, it's already here. I'm quite familiar with it. There will always be an underground economy however the big visible stuff would simply be counted as money.

QUOTE
It will be very difficult to mass produce anything and be paid for doing so.

Without makiing a value judgement entire societies have mass produced stuff without anybody making a profit. Think Hitler take down, eastern front.

QUOTE
Transactions will be more expensive which will drive down the economic status of all people, including the poor.

That's a faith statement.

---------------------------------------------------

QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 19 2015, 11:56 AM) *
QUOTE
If Michael Jackson was part of an artist consortium why not?


Because that would have been costing MJ...hundreds of millions of dollars, for one.

So what? Apparently you are not concerned necessarily about MJ pursuing his artistry, just making massive amounts of money.

QUOTE
Second, because that then impacts how many pursue that skill.

Hmmm, more distribution of money to artists would seem to mean more artists.

QUOTE
QUOTE
And perhaps that consortium would be supported by taking a large chunk from his recording sales, absorbing most of the costs that he would otherwise have to pay.


And MJ should be fine with said consortium taking all his earnings....because why again?

"All" is an absolute term. "Most" is a relative term. If you act in a play presumably most of the money you generate goes to the theater production. This isn't far out stuff.

QUOTE
QUOTE
And why wouldn't folks be able to buy the recordings, particularly if you upped the low end?

The low end wouldn't be upped, it would drop. Fewer dollars chasing goods means fewer goods at lower prices, lowering GDP, lowering wages, etc.

We're not talking about less money. We're talking about more equitable distribution.

QUOTE
QUOTE
An interesting question to explore, how much did Shakespeare make relative to his actors? I think the idea that material motivation is the be all and end all is a fallacy that say Schumacher challenges.


It's not the be all and end all...but it IS important.

How important beyond a certain point is the question. I read one study that said making more than $70,000 a year added nothing to people's happiness quotient.

QUOTE
How aware were people of Shakespeare in Shakespeare's time?

Not that many by modern standards. My interest is the relation of quality of production to material reward beyond a certain point.

QUOTE
If you don't think people do things for money, please elaborate on all the other 'real' reasons people work at Wall Street.

Odd to start off with a statement I never made and then give as the Holy Grail example of the necessity of obsessive money grubbing the outfit that took us into the toilet.

This post has been edited by Dingo: May 20 2015, 03:32 AM
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Hobbes
post May 20 2015, 04:30 AM
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QUOTE
QUOTE(Dingo @ May 19 2015, 10:23 PM) *

Because that would have been costing MJ...hundreds of millions of dollars, for one.

So what? Apparently you are not concerned necessarily about MJ pursuing his artistry, just making massive amounts of money.


Ah, the joy of being part of the far left, flippantly (and joyously) taking money from others.

The part you are missing is that MJ most likely wouldn't have done nearly as much..if even any...of his artistry.

QUOTE
QUOTE
Second, because that then impacts how many pursue that skill.

Hmmm, more distribution of money to artists would seem to mean more artists.


And what money would be distributed? The artists wouldn't have any incentive to make more, so they'd stop, and many artists wouldn't even start.

QUOTE
QUOTE
And MJ should be fine with said consortium taking all his earnings....because why again?

"All" is an absolute term. "Most" is a relative term. If you act in a play presumably most of the money you generate goes to the theater production. This isn't far out stuff.


Ya, it is. MJ didn't act in a play, he planned the play, was the play, owned the play, etc. So, your analogy doesn't apply....and you haven't answered the question.

QUOTE
We're not talking about less money. We're talking about more equitable distribution.


Just because you're not talking about it doesn't mean it isn't what would happen. This is the part of the scenario that its advocates definitely don't like to talk about.

QUOTE
QUOTE
It's not the be all and end all...but it IS important.

How important beyond a certain point is the question. I read one study that said making more than $70,000 a year added nothing to people's happiness quotient.


Except people don't get paid in happiness, they get paid in money. Nor do they buy goods with happiness, but with money. But, yes, I have seen similar studies. But it changes once you get past a certain amount...an amount that wouldn't even be allowed in the stipulated system. Would George Clooney be happier without all his money? Doubtful. Which brings up another interesting point. All those on the left, supposedly advocating for the common man...do they all give back most of their 'undeserved' wealth? Do any of them, in fact? Nope. It's awfully easy to talk about taking from the rich, except that even those advocating it don't like it taken from them, nor do they willingly and gladly give it up. Ironic, no?

QUOTE
QUOTE
How aware were people of Shakespeare in Shakespeare's time?

Not that many by modern standards. My interest is the relation of quality of production to material reward beyond a certain point.


How important is quality if few get to partake in it? I brang that up because, if we were to put Shakespeare in today's society, and limit his income, the same would likely apply....many wouldn't even know he existed. Recall Akacg's point about no reason to distribute DVD's etc.

QUOTE
QUOTE
If you don't think people do things for money, please elaborate on all the other 'real' reasons people work at Wall Street.

Odd to start off with a statement I never made and then give as the Holy Grail example of the necessity of obsessive money grubbing the outfit that took us into the toilet.


You didn't make the statement, but you are certainly implying it. Yes, Wall Street would be the epitome of what you and others would point to as flaws in the current system. Not even disagreeing...but why are they there? To make lots of money. Not many there do it just for the joy of it. It is the perfect example of how money does indeed motivate people to do things.

This post has been edited by Hobbes: May 20 2015, 04:34 AM
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Dingo
post May 20 2015, 09:20 AM
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I took the liberty of correcting who quoted what.

QUOTE(Hobbes)
QUOTE(Dingo)
QUOTE(Hobbes)

Because that would have been costing MJ...hundreds of millions of dollars, for one.

So what? Apparently you are not concerned necessarily about MJ pursuing his artistry, just making massive amounts of money.


Ah, the joy of being part of the far left, flippantly (and joyously) taking money from others.

The part you are missing is that MJ most likely wouldn't have done nearly as much..if even any...of his artistry.

This pretty much sums up the rest of your post also. Money accumulation is the driver of all good, the more the better. As to MJ he was a druggy who finally overdosed not to mention having mangled his face with grotesque plastic surgery and lived as a kind of child recluse. No, money isn't everything. Furthermore as a youngster he established himself as an artistic phenomenon at Sun Records under the notoriously penurious Berry Gordy, long before he took on the role of Hollywood's wealthy creative man-child.

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Hobbes
post May 20 2015, 05:37 PM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 20 2015, 04:20 AM) *
I took the liberty of correcting who quoted what.

QUOTE(Hobbes)
QUOTE(Dingo)
QUOTE(Hobbes)

Because that would have been costing MJ...hundreds of millions of dollars, for one.

So what? Apparently you are not concerned necessarily about MJ pursuing his artistry, just making massive amounts of money.


Ah, the joy of being part of the far left, flippantly (and joyously) taking money from others.

The part you are missing is that MJ most likely wouldn't have done nearly as much..if even any...of his artistry.

This pretty much sums up the rest of your post also. Money accumulation is the driver of all good, the more the better. As to MJ he was a druggy who finally overdosed not to mention having mangled his face with grotesque plastic surgery and lived as a kind of child recluse. No, money isn't everything. Furthermore as a youngster he established himself as an artistic phenomenon at Sun Records under the notoriously penurious Berry Gordy, long before he took on the role of Hollywood's wealthy creative man-child.


A nice soliloquy on your feelings about capitalism, but fails to address my point: when people stop earning benefits from their work, they tend to stop doing the work. Capping the benfits ALSO therefore caps the work, which is why it will end up lowering the pool for everybody. Take the real world example of communist Russia...farmers didn't receive additional benefit for any additional work, so they didn't do any additional work, and Russia wasn't able to feed itself, despite having sufficient farmland for doing so.

Let's take MJ out of it...who the person is isn't relevant.

Someone (maybe even you) has a skill or knowledge that people are willing to pay above this cap for. Why shouldn't they (or you) be able to accept their offer, and receive the benefits?

Also, back to the supposed standard bearers, and how they don't follow this edict, yet continue to receive support. Why do all those on the left continue to support those who CLEARLY do not believe in this mindset? The Clintons made $30M+ last year in speeches. They (and everyone else claiming to be left wing yet reaping all the benefits from this system) are just as bad as all those on the right the left despises, yet never get called out on it. The irony and hypocrisy here is two sided. First, those in power clearly don't believe in their own message. Second, as they continue to receive votes and support, clearly those supporting them don't believe in the message either. All a bunch of propaganda. Which is a third irony. Those on the left LOVE to talk about all the right's propaganda, as if only those on the right do it. Nothing could be farther from the truth...and a very good argument could be made that it is worse on the left.

This post has been edited by Hobbes: May 20 2015, 06:06 PM
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AuthorMusician
post May 20 2015, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 19 2015, 11:23 PM) *
QUOTE
If you don't think people do things for money, please elaborate on all the other 'real' reasons people work at Wall Street.

Odd to start off with a statement I never made and then give as the Holy Grail example of the necessity of obsessive money grubbing the outfit that took us into the toilet.

I thought it was a bit odd to tack that at the end too.

So what motivates those who decide on Wall Street? I don't have a clue. Would have to ask them, and I bet the answers would be all over the map. The work looks terribly boring from here, but then I have no interest in trading for a living. Maybe work on algorithms for the edge computers? It'd be technically interesting but morally offensive, so maybe not.

I can think of a perfect example of people working really hard for little or no pay: writing fiction. In order to plow through the first novel, the writer has to get something out if it other than money. That's because the first novel usually stinks, doesn't get published, and if it does, fails to make any significant income for anyone. My favorite writer on writing (currently) explains it as a journey of self-discovery. Yeah, I'll take that.

Music is another excellent example of people working a lot for very little money. What are the motivations? Well, connecting with an audience is one. The feeling is very unique, and I suppose theatrical actors feel the same way when it clicks. Another might be exercising discipline, doing it over and over again until it comes out right. There's a meditative quality to having mastered a piece as well, so playing music is good for your health.
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Hobbes
post May 20 2015, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ May 20 2015, 12:49 PM) *
I thought it was a bit odd to tack that at the end too.


It is, I think, the perfect example of people doing things solely for the money.

QUOTE
So what motivates those who decide on Wall Street? I don't have a clue. Would have to ask them, and I bet the answers would be all over the map. The work looks terribly boring from here, but then I have no interest in trading for a living. Maybe work on algorithms for the edge computers? It'd be technically interesting but morally offensive, so maybe not.


You don't have a clue? You don't think that maybe.....it's for the money? Lots of interviews out there with those doing it saying that's the reason..and there isn't much other reason to do it. It's essentially the same work an engineer or financial accountant would do, but those people get paid a fraction of the amount, and that's why those people pick Wall Street.

QUOTE
I can think of a perfect example of people working really hard for little or no pay: writing fiction. In order to plow through the first novel, the writer has to get something out if it other than money. That's because the first novel usually stinks, doesn't get published, and if it does, fails to make any significant income for anyone. My favorite writer on writing (currently) explains it as a journey of self-discovery. Yeah, I'll take that.


You might...but would most people? How many fewer books do you think would get written if nobody got paid anything for it? Yes, there would be some, maybe even a lot. But fewer? Absolutely.

QUOTE
Music is another excellent example of people working a lot for very little money. What are the motivations? Well, connecting with an audience is one. The feeling is very unique, and I suppose theatrical actors feel the same way when it clicks. Another might be exercising discipline, doing it over and over again until it comes out right. There's a meditative quality to having mastered a piece as well, so playing music is good for your health.


Music is fun. You think you're going to find any ditch diggers doing it just because they really like digging? Again, lots of people might want to be an astronaut, but we only need so many astronauts

I am curious. I'm assuming both you and Dingo do all your work for free? If not...why not, if working for money is so very evil? Are you evil?
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Dingo
post May 20 2015, 08:47 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 20 2015, 10:37 AM) *
A nice soliloquy on your feelings about capitalism

Ever here me pontificate about the joys of socialism? Generally I consider myself an ethical pragmatist and stay away from "ism" talk.

QUOTE
when people stop earning benefits from their work, they tend to stop doing the work.

Of course folks want material rewards for their work generally, the question is how much do they need?

QUOTE
Take the real world example of communist Russia...farmers didn't receive additional benefit for any additional work, so they didn't do any additional work

Actually it was common for Soviet farmers to have private plots which they used to support themselves and sell the surplus. The Soviet Union certainly supplies a lot of negative examples, nevertheless with even all their problems they more than any other country smashed the Nazis and they produced their share of high standard AK-47 type technologies to do it.

QUOTE
Someone (maybe even you) has a skill or knowledge that people are willing to pay above this cap for. Why shouldn't they (or you) be able to accept their offer, and receive the benefits?

They can pay me what they want, but that doesn't preclude a responsible society extracting their version of a surplus to pay for public services. If $20,000 a year is a minimum I can't imagine how my motivation to engage in a line of work would be inhibited by a $200,000 a year cap.

QUOTE
Also, back to the supposed standard bearers, and how they don't follow this edict, yet continue to receive support.

Nor should they. You play by the rules of the existing game. I can enjoy the game of Monopoly without necessarily buying its implicit ethics. I don't believe in theft but if theft is a condition for existence I expect I'd do my share of thieving.
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akaCG
post May 20 2015, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 20 2015, 04:47 PM) *
...
Of course folks want material rewards for their work generally, the question is how much do they need?
...
They can pay me what they want, but that doesn't preclude a responsible society extracting their version of a surplus to pay for public services. ...
...

Hmmm ... where could one find an example of a society where notions such as the above have been implemented over a sufficiently long period such that their effects have had enough time to manifest themselves? ... gimme a minute as I rummage through my computer files ... hang on ... let's see ... oh, there it is! ... found it!

Bolding and coloring mine:
QUOTE
...
Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city — tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.
...
Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it — and the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite. “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution,” wrote Alfred Cuzan, a professor of political science at the University of West Florida, “Cuba’s wealth before 1959 was not the purview of a privileged few. . . . Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. ...
...
But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”
...
Cuba has a maximum wage — $20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.”

Even employees inside the quasi-capitalist bubble don’t get paid more. The government contracts with Spanish companies such as Meliá International to manage Havana’s hotels. Before accepting its contract, Meliá said that it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The Cuban government said fine, so the company pays $8–$10 an hour. But Meliá doesn’t pay its employees directly. Instead, the firm gives the compensation to the government, which then pays the workers — but only after pocketing most of the money. I asked several Cubans in my hotel if that arrangement is really true. All confirmed that it is. The workers don’t get $8–$10 an hour; they get 67 cents a day — a child’s allowance.
...
The government defends its maximum wage by arguing that life’s necessities are either free or so deeply subsidized in Cuba that citizens don’t need very much money. (Che Guevara and his sophomoric hangers-on hoped to rid Cuba of money entirely, but couldn’t quite pull it off.) ...
...

Much, much, much more at: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_2_havana.html

ps:
I can only imagine how much all of that "recycling" of '56 Chevys and stuff must warm the cockles of your ... cough ... "ethical" ... cough ... "pragmatist" heart, "Dingo".



This post has been edited by akaCG: May 20 2015, 11:32 PM
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Hobbes
post May 21 2015, 03:53 AM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ May 20 2015, 03:47 PM) *
Of course folks want material rewards for their work generally, the question is how much do they need?


Is it? Therein lies the difference. I would think the question is how much should they receive? What someone needs doesn't determine the value of what someone is offering. Do you pay more at a store when they are going out of business? They clearly need more...but generally have to charge even less.

QUOTE
QUOTE
Also, back to the supposed standard bearers, and how they don't follow this edict, yet continue to receive support.

Nor should they. You play by the rules of the existing game. I can enjoy the game of Monopoly without necessarily buying its implicit ethics. I don't believe in theft but if theft is a condition for existence I expect I'd do my share of thieving.


Fair enough, although that doesn't remove the hypocrisy, most especially from the supposed leaders of the movement.

As for Russia, its ability to force its citizens and soldiers into sacrificing themselves for the war effort would not, I would think, be what you are advocating, despite its success in achieving its goal (at a tremendous cost in lives). For the farmers growing successfully on their private plots, that is demonstrating my point. The land they didn't receive additional benefit for barely grew anything. The land where they did benefit they tended much more vigorously, and grew far more from it.
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post May 21 2015, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ May 20 2015, 03:20 PM) *
I am curious. I'm assuming both you and Dingo do all your work for free? If not...why not, if working for money is so very evil? Are you evil?

Partly so, as is every human being. No, I don't work for free exclusively, and as I've noted many times, I did most of my bread making in IT. Writing and music don't have regular paychecks, and whatever money comes in is not W2 stuff.

Common rationalization for not paying musicians is that we do it for fun. Listening to music is fun. Being a musician is something else altogether, as is being a writer. Both require a lot of self-discipline to get it right. Noodling around on a few chords or composing for a website comment area are different activities.

So glad to see that you've encountered interviews with WS types that indicate they are in it only for the money. I'd have to conduct my own interviews to make that conclusion. As I wrote, from here it looks terribly boring, but looking in from the outside seldom leads to accurate conclusions.

Several years ago I visited the trading floor at the Chicago Exchange. Seemed to me that ego plays a big role for those on the floor. It might be a more important motivator than simply money. There are parallels of that in music and writing (not listening or reading).

I'm not sure what motivates me to put in all the research, study, and practice that goes into playing music and writing stuff. I am sure it's not the money. If you're trying to make the point that all people work only for money, then I have to say you're full of sour notes and scribbles. But I don't think that's the point you're going for because it's very illogical, given the complexities of the human experience.

I think of writing as scratching an inherent itch. Music has a bunch of attractions, for example the mystery of how changing one crummy note by a half step in a triad makes the difference between happy/bright and sad/dark. It's also attractive for the technologies that go into acoustic and electric instruments.

Would I do it for no pay? Hell, I've been doing that all along, and not merely because it's fun. Music and writing are integral parts of my life, like eating and sleeping. Other musicians and writers know exactly how it works, not necessarily why. I don't spend a lot of time trying to analyze my motivations, but I do know for sure what doesn't motivate. It'd be nice to pull in some money via these activities, but it's not why I do them.

From another viewpoint, focusing on writing a bestseller is a sure way to produce a bad novel. Writing music that appeals to a broad market is different, good example of that is KISS. John Renbourn (RIP) is a good example of not doing that. Renbourn reinvented how acoustic guitar music can be played. KISS hauled in a lot of dough for performing bubblegum pop devil crap (this statement intentionally over the top).

Maybe a parallel would be genre fiction, your mysteries, romances, thrillers and so on. However, keeping the genre fresh is difficult stuff. Yes, the plot is a formula, but the characters and twists need to be different, and most importantly, good.

My writer's mantra: Need to create something other people want to read. Musician's: Get it clean (clarity), accurate (play what I hear internally), and true (no bull pucky). Money will then follow, so forget about it.

Another important thing about music, for me, is facing my stage fright head-on via gigging. That's also why I did a speech minor in college. Other people face their fears in various ways, bungee jumping being one of them, also sky diving. The list is very long, thereby demonstrating that money isn't the primary motivator. Some of the activities have money-making potential, but certainly not all of them. Great example of that is a person who joins the armed services without the overall goal being to haul down big bucks as a mercenary/contractor. Sure, some do exactly that, going for the brass ring and all. I'm not saying that money isn't a motivator, but I am saying that money isn't the only motivator and probably is the worse one of all. If that's the only focus in life, it's wasting time from my point of view.
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Dingo
post May 21 2015, 10:40 AM
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I think with all the efforts of this country to destroy Cuba they haven't done so bad. CG's contempt for their relative healthcare success and the appreciation many 3rd world countries have for Cuba's contribution to developing their health facilities and training their doctors and providing them healthcare services despite few resources is exactly what I would expect from a guy with an extremist rightwing ideology.

QUOTE(Hobbes)
For the farmers growing successfully on their private plots, that is demonstrating my point.

Yes, I can vouch for the productivity of backyard gardens. What this has to do with diverting some bloated wealth to public uses I haven't a clue.

This post has been edited by Dingo: May 21 2015, 10:44 AM
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