Should Poverty Be Comfortable?

by WhoWee
Tags: comfortable, poverty
P: 1,117
 Quote by thephysicsman Making money involves productive work. If this is not heroic, what is?
There are all these people who insist that money is the measure of work-productivity, but I think if you look more closely the two aren't the same. Some work produces great value but makes relatively little money, e.g. changing the oil in car regularly to get more miles out of the engine than if you rarely change it. Other work makes a lot of money but doesn't produce much tangible economic value, e.g. decorating retail displays, tearing ticket stubs, etc. Of course these tasks all have a function within the system they are embedded, but in a larger scheme they do not produce economic value the way things like farm-labor and construction do. So when more people could be producing more building materials so the price of building materials could be low enough for poor people to afford, but they are working in jobs to manage and market building materials at as high a price possible to increase profits, is this work really heroic for the poor? Yes, I'm aware of the argument that by pushing the price for building materials up, it stimulates more production of those products which ultimately results in a more abundant availability and the surplus trickles down, but I don't know that it really always does as efficiently as it could or should.
P: 1,123
 Quote by arildno Money has some extra values beyond the item you can buy with it: You can buy something else for it instead, and you also have a freedom on the spending rate of your money. It might be justified that those added values are precisely what people on welfare should be debarred from: 1. Money is not given out, but food articles, clothes etc. 2, Furthermore, the spending rate of their valuables can be controlled by limiting the amount they are given each time (possibly increasing the frequency of hand-outs). Rather than giving the equivalent of a month's allowance (which could easily be frittered away in a day by bartering or re-selling), a daily allowance will probably reduce the percentage of abuse of welfare. That such a situation might feel humiliating to the recipient is a rather irrelevant point. Because being in need is not the same as suffering an injustice.
I think one of the problems with the US system is we (taxpayers) don't enjoy any buying power. Given the amount of money spent to house and feed people - we should be able to buy more (stuff) for the same amount of money. The most obvious example: States and US Government should buy food at wholesale - not retail. Historically, the Agriculture department has even paid farmers NOT to produce crops.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...070100962.html
"Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post. " In the overall budget,$1.3 billion is (spent roughly every 8 hours?) - not a big number. However, if the same amount of money was spent purchasing crops from the farmers - wouldn't that be better (for the taxpayers)?

To expand on the point of "That such a situation might feel humiliating to the recipient is a rather irrelevant point. Because being in need is not the same as suffering an injustice. " - I see nothing wrong with the Government buying certain generic goods and staples directly from producers including: generic soups, cereal, and bread, cheese, (throw in some soaps and tooth paste), milk, eggs, meat, vegetables, fruit, and condiments.

People on welfare don't NEED over-priced processed foods - they NEED basic sustenance - anything more is a waste and a luxury (IMO). I don't want anyone to ever go hungry. We can feed more people for less money (again IMO).
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 12,016
 Quote by thephysicsman Sure. You would be fools to do so, but that would be your right.
Why fools?
Why am I fool to push a businessman out of business if he is a racial bigot, for example?
I do not want such men to prosper in their private life, and I find it eminently rational, and within my rights, to reduce their opprtunities for it. By legal means, of course.

 Making money involves productive work.
The classical Randian fallacy.
 If this is not heroic, what is?
Hmm, let's see.
That's a really hard one.
Does saving a boy from drowning in a pond meet your "standards" of heroism?
P: 89
 So when more people could be producing more building materials so the price of building materials could be low enough for poor people to afford, but they are working in jobs to manage and market building materials at as high a price possible to increase profits, is this work really heroic for the poor?
It is heroic to persue your own happiness. If managing and marketing makes you happy, this is heroic.
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 12,016
 Quote by thephysicsman It is heroic to persue your own happiness.
Tell that to Jared Lee Loughner, and other guys like him.
I'm sure they agree with you.
P: 89
 Quote by WhoWee I see nothing wrong with the Government buying certain generic goods and staples directly from producers
The government spends other people's money on things that they maybe don't want to spend them on. You seriously see nothing wrong with this?

 Quote by arildno Why am I fool to push a businessman out of business if he is a racial bigot, for example?
I didn't say that. You would be a fool if you pushed a productive businessman out of business because he invested his money instead of giving it away to the poor.

 Quote by arildno Why fools? The classical Randian fallacy. Answer is: not necessarily.
How so?

 Does saving a boy from drowning in a pond meet your "standards" of heroism?
Yes, unless you put yourself at risk.
P: 1,117
 Quote by arildno Why fools? Why am I fool to push a businessman out of business if he is a racial bigot, for example? I do not want such men to prosper in their private life, and I find it eminently rational, and within my rights, to reduce their opprtunities for it. By legal means, of course.
I used to think this way but there is something to fighting fair. For example, you should realize that much racist bigotry occurs because people boycott institutions that are not racially exclusive enough (i.e. "white" enough). So it is ethically a bit nicer to raise the issue for discussion instead of immediately punishing a business "without due process." Granted sometimes you are convinced "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that a business is corrupt and you just can't stand to contribute to it by being a client, but also realize that legitimate businesses can be harmed by public campaigns created to scapegoat certain businesses to foster success for their competition.

 Quote by thephysicsman It is heroic to persue your own happiness. If managing and marketing makes you happy, this is heroic.
Heroic to whom? Let's face it, everyone commits actions that are beneficial to some and detrimental to others - so everyone is a hero in some ways and a villain in others. The best we can do is try to maximize benefit and minimize detriment as much as possible for whomever possible, including ourselves.
 P: 220 Is it me or has this gone off topic?
P: 1,117
 Quote by BilPrestonEsq Is it me or has this gone off topic?
To you, everything in any thread that doesn't focus on fractional reserve banking is off topic it seems.
P: 220
 Quote by brainstorm To you, everything in any thread that doesn't focus on fractional reserve banking is off topic it seems.
You obviously didn't read my posts.
P: 220
 Quote by arildno And why cannot this be counter-acted by demonizing, non-violent boycott campaigns? For example: "Do you want to trade with that OGRE?? Are you equally disgusting yourself?" Nobody has a law-protected privilege to make money. Not even uncompassionate ogres. The crucial point here is what are the morally justifiable actions to take against ogres. Social ostracization and financial boycotting campaigns are no infringements on the ogre's rights. If an ogre goes broke because people are disgusted by his lack of compassion, I fell no tears for him.
Why would anyone want to depend on the possibility of this happening? So you would bet the lives of your family members on this happening?
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 12,016
 Quote by BilPrestonEsq Why would anyone want to depend on the possibility of this happening?
Why should it remain just a possibility?
People are perfectly capable of regulating their own communities, when aroused.
Placing (hopefully) benign bureaucrats to do the work you personally are responsible for doing merely makes you into a passive observer.
Nor will they be efficient at doing that work, either, without thereby arousing you from apathy.
Nor will they generally be benign, either, but more interested in getting a bigger office next year.
P: 220
 It's not a burden! People with real compassion help because they want to help. They enjoy it! It's a win-win situation.
Again would you like to bet your aging family members on that? So no more social security we will just rely on the kindness of others to make sure millions of people are taken care of. That idealistic approach is irresponsible and naive.
P: 220
 Quote by arildno Why should it remain just a possibility? People are perfectly capable of regulating their own communities, when aroused. Placing (hopefully) benign bureaucrats to do the work you personally are responsible for doing merely makes you into a passive observer. Nor will they be efficient at doing that work, either, without thereby arousing you from apathy. Nor will they generally be benign, either, but more interested in getting a bigger office next year.
As long as it's not a law it will continue to be only a possibility. I hear you the thing is it is not a realistically viable solution as you are betting real human lives on possibilities.
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 12,016
 Quote by BilPrestonEsq As long as it's not a law it will continue to be only a possibility.
Really?
I didn't know that there was a law against going to work in shabby, stinking clothes.
In the vast majority of firms, however, you'll not find a single employee dressed like that. Not to mention on CEO level. :-)

Can you cite me the law paragraph that makes effective this kind of practical boycott?

Hmm..??
P: 1,123
 Quote by thephysicsman The government spends other people's money on things that they maybe don't want to spend them on. You seriously see nothing wrong with this?
I don't want anyone to go hungry. I just want the Government to seek value - to feed more people for less cost. Yes, I want the Government to spend our tax money more efficiently.
 P: 1,123 In an effort to get back on track - the Government has studied basic needs of the poor. http://www.amstat.org/sections/srms/...005-000618.pdf I think it's safe to assume that opinions vary over time as to the definition of a "need". In 1811, (I'll assume) electricity and running water were not considered basic needs. I'll also assume hungry people would have been grateful for the ingredients to bake a loaf of bread.
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 12,016
 Quote by WhoWee In an effort to get back on track - the Government has studied basic needs of the poor. http://www.amstat.org/sections/srms/...005-000618.pdf I think it's safe to assume that opinions vary over time as to the definition of a "need". In 1811, (I'll assume) electricity and running water were not considered basic needs. I'll also assume hungry people would have been grateful for the ingredients to bake a loaf of bread.
Hungry people today will ALSO be more grateful to get a loaf of bread (even if they have to bake it) than to get electricity and running water.

So, some needs do not, actually, vary very much across the millennia.
Those are the ones that are the truly basic needs.
Breathable air is another such basic need.

We might call them vital needs if you like.

 Related Discussions General Astronomy 10 Linear & Abstract Algebra 2 General Discussion 9 Academic Guidance 2 Current Events 13