Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Society - Inequality vs. Equality

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vox Clamantis View Post
Noam Chomsky likes to suggest that people deliberately vote against their own economic interests because they know the vote in and of itself won't affect whose interests the politicians defend (i.e. the corporations). I guess he thinks that if people felt more empowered, they'd tend to vote to their own benefit.
I disagree with Mr. Chomsky; I think people vote against their own interests out of ignorance and fear, and are overly influenced by flashy campaign ads.

Food for thought:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19351183

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkWren View Post
I find it interesting that a decision made based on self-interest leads to a more equal society. It goes to show that we're all in this together, and promoting inequality only hinders society.
So therefor promoting inequality is impossible, because doing so would be in self interest?

A thought- the issue may not be about a perception of what is fair so much as what the percieved cost of fairness is- would you rather live in a fair world with 16th century medicine or an unfair world with 21st century medicine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
A thought- the issue may not be about a perception of what is fair so much as what the percieved cost of fairness is- would you rather live in a fair world with 16th century medicine or an unfair world with 21st century medicine?
I'm pretty sure almost no one believes more egalitarian societies result in such incredible disparities or immense costs.

While I have no doubt that there are extreme libertarian types who see things this way, the vast majority of humanity is much more reasonable, especially with countless real examples of socialist democracy resulting in prosperous and relatively equal paradigms to consider.

EDIT: To be clear, yes, I understand the point you're making on the perception of tradeoffs, using hyperbole; however, I do not believe most reasonable people buy into a false correlation of diminished progress/technological advancement and improved economic/social equality ('Communism' as it has existed is not an instance of this), or any other like tradeoff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
So therefor promoting inequality is impossible, because doing so would be in self interest?
No; I was referring to that specific decision, as framed by the article, as being a selfish one that is also good for society as a whole. Obviously, there are selfish decisions that people make that are not good for society and promote inequality.

Actualy I suspect that, while my example was certainly extreem, most Americans do believe that any mechanism used to achieve equality will also stifle progress *and* economic growth. Most Americans, I would venture to sya, probably even believe that teh rest of the world using egalitarian political models are only doing as well as they are because they are riding the US's coat tails- making use of our progress and economic development to provide for their egalitarian societies.

Not that I personally believe in that view- though certainly in extreem cases it might be somewhere close to correct- at least with regards to technological development, but the point is that if most Americans- which are not teh majority of humanity- believe it then this easilly explains why the US follows a less egalitarian economic model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Actualy I suspect that, while my example was certainly extreem, most Americans do believe that any mechanism used to achieve equality will also stifle progress *and* economic growth. Most Americans, I would venture to sya, probably even believe that teh rest of the world using egalitarian political models are only doing as well as they are because they are riding the US's coat tails- making use of our progress and economic development to provide for their egalitarian societies.

Not that I personally believe in that view- though certainly in extreem cases it might be somewhere close to correct- at least with regards to technological development, but the point is that if most Americans- which are not teh majority of humanity- believe it then this easilly explains why the US follows a less egalitarian economic model.
Part of it is also the American perception that we are in the middle class - you can ask someone who makes <$30k per year and someone who makes >$300k per year and they will both claim to be in the middle class. We don't see wealth distinctions, which I think makes us less sensitive to the wealth disparities that do actually exist, so even though we "know" there's a huge wealth disparity in the US, we don't "grok" it.

Actually we do see wealth distinctions, we just reference them by our own standards rather than realistically. The person making $300,000 a year will describe themselves as 'upper middle class' and the person making $30,000 a year as upper lower class, while the person making $30,000 a year will describe themselves as lower middle class and the person making $300,000 a year as upper class or lower upper class...

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Actually we do see wealth distinctions, we just reference them by our own standards rather than realistically. The person making $300,000 a year will describe themselves as 'upper middle class' and the person making $30,000 a year as upper lower class, while the person making $30,000 a year will describe themselves as lower middle class and the person making $300,000 a year as upper class or lower upper class...
Isn't that what I said? I should perhaps edit my prior post to say "We don't see wealth distinctions accurately", but the sentiment seems to be the same.




 

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