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Required viewing: Why creating value is a *moral* imperative - Jonathan Haidt on the power of Capitalism

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Everyman

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Ok, last question then... I will start my own thread because I find this more intriguing for me....

Why do we have to work when productivity (measured by GDP or other indices you brought before) has increased bazillion of times since 1700s?
 
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SamRussell

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Ok, last question then... I will start my own thread because I find this more intriguing for me....

Why do we have to work when productivity (measured by GDP or other indices you brought before) has increased bazillion of times since 1700s?

You need to trade with others, and only producers get to trade.

You also need a purpose to be happy.

Working gives you both
 

Everyman

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You need to trade with others, and only producers get to trade.

You also need a purpose to be happy.

Working gives you both

Are you suggesting that we don't have to work anymore and we do it for pleasure now?
 

SamRussell

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Are you suggesting that we don't have to work anymore and we do it for pleasure now?
Erm... not quite.

We have to work for pleasure and because we need stuff.

If you want something that someone else has made, you need to make something to trade with them.

If you sit around all day for months on end doing nothing, you’ll become depressed
 
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ChrisV

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Ok, last question then... I will start my own thread because I find this more intriguing for me....

Why do we have to work when productivity (measured by GDP or other indices you brought before) has increased bazillion of times since 1700s?
because people are never satisfied

we're always going to want better, faster stronger everything
 

Tourmaline

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This was basically my point here. Everyone else isn't getting richer as fast as the richest since around 1970 or late 1980s depending on studies.

Why is this a problem?

The rich have their time and resources leveraged substainally more than the non-rich. As tech has progressed the power of leverage has increased massively.

Why do we have to work when productivity (measured by GDP or other indices you brought before) has increased bazillion of times since 1700s?

There's a lot more people to serve and a lot more work to do...

I think you've stared at too much FUD for too long. Much of your rhetoric reminds me of when I was very into stuff talking about 'the decline' and what not. How much silver do you have stashed away I wonder.
 

Everyman

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Why is this a problem?

The rich have their time and resources leveraged substainally more than the non-rich. As tech has progressed the power of leverage has increased massively.

It's not a problem. It's a feature of this world. It's also cyclical.

There's a lot more people to serve and a lot more work to do...

I think you've stared at too much FUD for too long. Much of your rhetoric reminds me of when I was very into stuff talking about 'the decline' and what not. How much silver do you have stashed away I wonder.

Interesting how fast someone can go from discussing a topic to discussing a person...
 
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Tourmaline

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@Everyman The way you're presenting things is like they're problems. But now you say they're features...that's rather conflicting.

Sorry to get personal, but just calling out a pattern here.
 

Everyman

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@Everyman The way you're presenting things is like they're problems. But now you say they're features...that's rather conflicting.

Sorry to get personal, but just calling out a pattern here.

You are right. I have had a period in my life that I was blaming the outside world and still probably do it.

Nevertheless... we cannot deny some facts about the times we are living in. People in 1700s could say the same 'we are living in the most advanced times'. Because they had more than the guys in 1600s. It's always true (or is it? look at Argentina in 1950s and now).

What I have found it's cyclical. So the OP started with the thesis of creating value and brought a lot of interesting stats. For me it's always in the details there, as I have studied a lot of these and also now other side...

To be less vague. You mentioned silver. What does it have to do with creating value?! I will try to make the connection if you allow. Silver to gold ratio was usually (historically) 8-12 to 1 (for every ounce of gold you get 8 to 12 ounces of silver). Today it's 75? 90? Only because banks and funds are manipulating the commodity markets by betting against it.

Again what does it have to do with creating value?

Today is harder than it was e.g. 50 years ago to focus on creating value because we are now in consumption-credit driven economy as opposed to commodity-production driven that we will soon go into (soon=decade?). Productive assets are cheap (sometimes sold for transportation costs).

So today you are punished for being productive and creating value, and many times you have to break laws or just don't follow them (why do you need to set up a company to produce and sell? ridiculous from the start?! you don't want to be a lawyer). And consuming and living beyond means is being promoted. Hence commodities are so cheap but real estate, stock prices are so expensive (and bringing zero or negative return)... Hence so many obese and unproductive people. And who needs another iphone i.e. what is the value-added of the newest phone over the one created 10 years ago (I personally don't see much, but see the waste that went into producing it...).


It's good to know these from the start of the game to position yourself better. But you are right. To focus on 'problems' and 'negative' side of our world is bad for creating and acting.
 

Tourmaline

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You are right. I have had a period in my life that I was blaming the outside world and still probably do it.

Nevertheless... we cannot deny some facts about the times we are living in. People in 1700s could say the same 'we are living in the most advanced times'. Because they had more than the guys in 1600s. It's always true (or is it? look at Argentina in 1950s and now).

What I have found it's cyclical. So the OP started with the thesis of creating value and brought a lot of interesting stats. For me it's always in the details there, as I have studied a lot of these and also now other side...

To be less vague. You mentioned silver. What does it have to do with creating value?! I will try to make the connection if you allow. Silver to gold ratio was usually (historically) 8-12 to 1 (for every ounce of gold you get 8 to 12 ounces of silver). Today it's 75? 90? Only because banks and funds are manipulating the commodity markets by betting against it.

Again what does it have to do with creating value?

Today is harder than it was e.g. 50 years ago to focus on creating value because we are now in consumption-credit driven economy as opposed to commodity-production driven that we will soon go into (soon=decade?). Productive assets are cheap (sometimes sold for transportation costs).

So today you are punished for being productive and creating value, and many times you have to break laws or just don't follow them (why do you need to set up a company to produce and sell? ridiculous from the start?! you don't want to be a lawyer). And consuming and living beyond means is being promoted. Hence commodities are so cheap but real estate, stock prices are so expensive (and bringing zero or negative return)... Hence so many obese and unproductive people. And who needs another iphone i.e. what is the value-added of the newest phone over the one created 10 years ago (I personally don't see much, but see the waste that went into producing it...).


It's good to know these from the start of the game to position yourself better. But you are right. To focus on 'problems' and 'negative' side of our world is bad for creating and acting.

What do you mean by it's cyclical? What is cyclical? If we have had it better every century, where is it cyclical in that at some point it's worse?

Well doomsdayers tend to be silverbugs. Once the whole system collapses people will still have value in silver coins and what not and hence it'll be real wealth.

I cannot begin to agree that today it is harder to create value. Today it is many times easier because of the internet being mature and everyone having a computer in their pocket.

I don't know why you say we're punished for being productive or creating value? That is not what I see by any means. At least in the USA you do not need to setup a company to produce and sell. As long as you report your taxes you'll probably be fine. However it certainly makes it easier because by having a corp or llc you get a lot of benefits.

It doesn't seem like you're trying to find the value add between the latest smartphone and one ten years ago. I have been using smartphones for 15 years now. My 10 year old smartphones are much slower, cannot handle as many apps, cannot handle as powerful of apps, have far limited capacity for storage, have much smaller screens, have worse quality screens, are made of worse materials. Need I go on? I have a 4 year old smartphone currently and I do see the value in a brand new smartphone too, they're just better all around but less drastically compared to 10 years ago. And yes better in ways that are noticeable and significant.

I probably spend more time looking at the positives than the negatives. I think you do the opposite. Just take a look at your signature. It pours out negativity.
 
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WillHurtDontCare

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@ChrisV I like your posts because they always seem to be so positive and you just seem genuinely excited to be alive.

That being said, I can't consider capitalism miraculous. I don't buy into the capitalist vs socialist dichotomy where it's a spectrum between the two. Hell, in some senses they aren't that different (Eric Hoffer said that "communists make great capitalists").

I'll also point out that when I say capitalism, I mean capitalism within all the current political, social, cultural, and technological global system. Capitalism with 1800s technology is very different than capitalism with 2000s technology. So there might be other elements to tweak to get closer to what I'd want out of the world.

My general problem with capitalism is that it has made money the foundation of too much of life. Beyond that, it was once a proxy for value, but now you can make a lot of money doing things that make the world worse (IE flash trading on Wall Street). The status aspect that comes with money also causes problems. Lawyers are higher status than plumbers, but if all of the lawyers and all of the plumbers in the world disappeared, which group do you think that we'd miss more?

A problem with capitalism that makes me particularly irate is seeing stuff like the image below. My thoughts only religion are likely quite nuanced so I don't actually endorse a particular religion. There are quite a few good ones, but the value in religion is that it provides deep meaning, identity, and structure to life. It isn't just about a moral or ethical code or the particulars of each creed, but it is about providing a richness, intensity, and profoundness to experiencing life.

The garbage below is just vulgarity. The idea of taking human nature related to the sacred and using it to make money is, well, blasphemy.

Years ago on Reddit I saw a comment on American sports that went something like this "they take your primal need to belong to a group and they sell it back to you." I all but stopped watching sports after that, save glimpses at the gym or if I'm at a bar.

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I'm not against making money. I'm not even against making an obscene amount of money - I think that it's cool that Elon Musk plans to build the death star and rule the galaxy with a space fleet.

But capitalism has this nasty way of turning everything that really makes life matter into an opportunity to make money, and in the process it cheapens those things.
 

ChrisV

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I’m not a proponent of unfettered capitalism. See the last video I posted, and my comments Earlier in the thread on Denmark/Norway/Europe.

Mixed economies work best, and that’s not my opinion: that’s the consensus among economists.
 
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ChrisV

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Also, did you watch the video? The video is titled "Three stories about capitalism."

The first story is "Capitalism is the worst thing to ever happen and is akin to slavery!"

The second story is "Capitalism is the best thing to ever happen and there are no issues with it"

The third story is the one that he says is the truest. "Capitalism has its problems, but in general has built a significantly better way of life for us."

I've gone through this data very deeply.

There are a LOT of benefits to mixed-economies like Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

1) Denmark, Norway and Sweden have significantly lower unemployment (technically higher labor-force participation rates) And it’s not a small difference. US = ~60% Labor Force Participation, Scandavanian countries = ~75% Labor Force Participation. While it sounds intuitive, there’s no evidence for the hypothesis that the idea that ‘if you just give people money, they’ll have no incentive to work and just stay home all day;” in fact experiments in Finland found that it didnt change employment status at all. It made them no less (or more) likely to get employment. People don’t only work for money, they work because it gives them a sense of purpose.

2) Despite having a lower Per capita income, Danish people are the happiest in the world. The rich are happier. The poor are happier.

3) In societies with lower income inequality, everyone is less stressed, crime is lower, health is better, mental health is better, it's easier to start a business, social mobility is up

32345

4) One argument is that if the profit motive is blunted, it would reduce innovation. Sounds intuitive, but again, no evidence. In fact we see a rise in innovation in nations with less inequality. Germany, France, Italy all have extensive social safety net programs and I see no evidence of reduced innovation. There are a lot of great companies from the Scandinavian countries as well… Spotify, Electrolux, H&M, etc. Norway is the home to the Nobel Prize and a utopia for scientists and scientific discovery. I see no lack of innovation from countries with strong welfare systems. And SOCIAL MOBILITY is f*cking amazing in countries with these types of programs. Economic mobility is essentially ‘how likely is it for a poor person to become very rich” The data on this is VERY clear.

5) It’s significantly easier to start a business in Canada than the US, despite similar cultures.

Here’s probably my biggest argument for a strong mixed-economy. So on this forum we used to all watch this show called "The Undercover Millionaire." There was a part where the star of the show, Glen Sterns made an excellent point. When he was creating his business he said something along the lines of "before you can start a business you have to have the basic needs covered." I think that strong social programs are the reason that starting a business is so easy in Canada or Denmark. When there's a safety net, and failure doesn't equate to homelessness for your whole family you are free to explore other creative and entrepreneurial pursuits. I mean, the advent of capitalism and modern society CAME FROM people having enough food after agriculture was developed. Agriculture was invented and all of a sudden people didnt have to spend all day hunting food. All of a sudden they had the time to invent calculus, and science,

Once people have the basic necessities covered they can actually innovate, which leaves us ALL better off.

So anyway, I digress. Capitalism is great. Bus so are strong social safety-nets.
 

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socaldude

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It's human nature to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but the data doesn't support that idea.

Like any economic system, douchebags can and will infiltrate it from within and rise to the top. The problem then becomes a people problem not so much an economic system problem. Capitalism works but not when it’s misanthropic and predatory and nobody can agree on anything.

Unfortunately, I’m not so optimistic as resource allocation goes out of equilibrium and we overtax resources with over reproduction of people, and we cut the same pie multiple times ignoring scarcity of resources.

Economics mirrors human psychological laws, not the other way around. Our current problems are just that, a people problem.
 
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