Revolutions and Prosperity

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  • #26
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Revolution in the physical sense is evolved from the revolution of the minds taking part. I can assume the OP was making reference of violent revolution in societies throughout history ?

I think that revolutions are driven by subconscious acceptance of ideas born of want. As people look to better things, certain ideas are held on high by those that revere them, and considered in the subconscious by those that are indirectly affected. When ideas reach a critical mass of acceptance, they explode out into the collective consciousness and become woven into the fabric of our lives. Yes, as silly as it sounds, I believe that ideas can go supercritical too, perhaps that's a slightly abstract allegory.

Mirror neurons are possibly to blame for indecisive revolutions like Egypt, or what we saw in the LA riots, where it's more of a case of "monkey-see-monkey-do" and people are swept up into the mode, merely by seeing it happen. They don't know what they are rebelling against in a physical sense, only that they are acting against an idea/s that they feel governs their lives. In that sense, they are rebelling against something with no tangible reality in the attempt to enact changes in the physical world.

Usually the physical revolution happens because it is the easiest, it is a placebo for the necessary mental changes that would change life on the whole for a society.

Throw some Molotov cocktails, execute a leader, burn a store or two, this is tantemount to nothing other than disguising the problem in a new mask, it is scratching the surface of a problem/s that runs deeper. I think the only effective way to bring prosperity through revolution, is for the idea to be so grand and broadly sweeping that it transcends violence and becomes supplanted in the public consciousness.

OTOH, if we were all Ghandi-like, there would be no problems, and with no problems there would come no solutions. Without solutions we would have no learning, and without learning, life would cease to have purpose.

..., there is always the question, what does prosperity mean ? If there is no consensus of what is prosperity, than there is no concrete way to attain it, and violence will always stand in the way of mental clarity and communication. We have to define it before we can set a course to reach it.

I still think reality is just a trivial matter of semantics.:yuck:
 
  • #27
talk2glenn
Really? Could you give some examples where economic hardship is by far the primary motivator for revolution? It certainly wasn't the prime mover in the recent Middle East revolutions. It wasn't for the American revolution either - heck, for the American revolution it was mostly rich people leading the revolution. But the reason was political oppression. At best I think it can sometimes be considered the final straw whereas the underlying problem is typically lack of freedom.

Respectfully, I have to disagree. Generally, in the modern world, wealthy countries are democratic - I think this is the primary reason we don't see violent revolution there, versus elsewhere. It's a correlation versus causation thing. You also are not seeing credible unrest in the welathier dictatorships, like China.

The philosophical leadership of the American revolution was a wealthy elite, I grant you, but the populist motivator was decidedly economic; specifically, crushing taxes imposed by the Crown after the French-Indian war. George Washington didn't single handedly oust the British; he used an army of working proletarians to do it. The sort of people who have to wonder where there next meal is going to come from generally aren't all that concerned with more philosophical pursuits, like their representation in government. It's a simple matter of priorities. Food and shelter are at the top of the hierarchy; if a government can provide that, they've gone a long way towards securing their position.

In the case of the Middle East revolutions, the motivator is primarly economic, and not philosophical. The people aren't marching in the streets because they dislike non-democratic systems - they've always lived under relative states of dictatorship, but they are not always in revolt. So what's changed? The answer is economic circumstances - in the Middle East food accounts for between 25 and 50 percent of the average household budget, and there has been rapid food price inflation recently. This greatly erodes the purchasing power of Middle Eastern households. Couple this with a shortage of "acceptable" jobs for the youth (who are often over educated relative to their economy - the state subsidizes their schooling but then can't provide them with "satisfactory" employment given that education), and you have revolution.

History is filled with examples of poor democracies which fell in revolution (often but not always violent) due to economic hardship. The obvious examples are Germany, and just about all of the Latin American countries at one time or another. Post-colonial Africa also works. The common denominator is almost without fail (I doubt you could find any counterexample, honestly) relative economic hardship.
 
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  • #28
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Couple this with a shortage of "acceptable" jobs for the youth (who are often over educated relative to their economy - the state subsidizes their schooling but then can't provide them with "satisfactory" employment given that education), and you have revolution.

Makes you wonder - what are they teaching these kids? Would it not benefit the state to prepare the children for the reality of their world - and how they might contribute upon completion of studies? You don't suppose the teachers are critical of the "establishment" - do you?:rolleyes:
 
  • #29
talk2glenn
Makes you wonder - what are they teaching these kids? Would it not benefit the state to prepare the children for the reality of their world - and how they might contribute upon completion of studies? You don't suppose the teachers are critical of the "establishment" - do you?:rolleyes:

I can't tell you what the curriculum is like in an Egyptian university, but I can tell you the statistics are absurd. This is a country that is basically third-world in terms of living, infrastructure, and industrial standards, but something like a third of Egypt's young adults will go to college. Even if we assume that they're studying useful, technical fields like engineering and the sciences, and that the education standards are not abysmal (unlikely, but I can't say), I'm still at a loss to say where the economy is going to find a place for a third of its new-workers in technical professions.

I'd guess that the vast majority of the Egyptian economies needs are low- and medium-skilled labor in industry and agriculture. But instead of providing technical training for its population in preparation for entrance into these fields, the government pushes higher education. A lot of this is western influence - we convince them that higher education will lead to improved economic and technical circumstances, but I don't see any evidence that this works. It takes time to educate, but it takes more time for economies and labor market preferences to change. In the United States, it took the better part of a century. China is moving faster, but still highly dependent on low- and medium-skilled labor in the factories.

On that note, China is itself facing a similar crisis - its turning out new college graduates faster than the labor market can demand them, even as it grows and modernizes significantly faster than Egypt. This with an admission rate of only about 19%, substantially lower than that of Egypt. What the Egyptians were thinking, I cannot say. There is, frankly, no way a third of its college-aged population is qualified for higher education and needed by the domestic economy.
 
  • #30
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I can't tell you what the curriculum is like in an Egyptian university, but I can tell you the statistics are absurd. This is a country that is basically third-world in terms of living, infrastructure, and industrial standards, but something like a third of Egypt's young adults will go to college. Even if we assume that they're studying useful, technical fields like engineering and the sciences, and that the education standards are not abysmal (unlikely, but I can't say), I'm still at a loss to say where the economy is going to find a place for a third of its new-workers in technical professions.

I'd guess that the vast majority of the Egyptian economies needs are low- and medium-skilled labor in industry and agriculture. But instead of providing technical training for its population in preparation for entrance into these fields, the government pushes higher education. A lot of this is western influence - we convince them that higher education will lead to improved economic and technical circumstances, but I don't see any evidence that this works. It takes time to educate, but it takes more time for economies and labor market preferences to change. In the United States, it took the better part of a century. China is moving faster, but still highly dependent on low- and medium-skilled labor in the factories.

Does it seem reasonable to compare Egypt to Louisiana - both economies related to oil and transportation - neither the economic leaders in their region? While Egypt is arid - much of LA is swamp - both unusable for conventional agriculture. Both are also linked to tourism.
 
  • #31
Does it seem reasonable to compare Egypt to Louisiana - both economies related to oil and transportation - neither the economic leaders in their region? While Egypt is arid - much of LA is swamp - both unusable for conventional agriculture. Both are also linked to tourism.

As much as I'm tempted for all kinds of reasons... I think in the end the federal support makes all the difference, along with freedom of travel and communication.

Still... not a bad comparison, except that LA is not much in the USA, whereas Egypt is considered the foremost Arab nation. I'm not sure how much mentality matter in the case of your model though...
 
  • #32
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As much as I'm tempted for all kinds of reasons... I think in the end the federal support makes all the difference, along with freedom of travel and communication.

Still... not a bad comparison, except that LA is not much in the USA, whereas Egypt is considered the foremost Arab nation. I'm not sure how much mentality matter in the case of your model though...

I'm not sure which one receives more (total) support?

That aside, had New Orleans ever been lost to a foreign power - the US would've been cut in half and trade/expansion greatly limited. It could be argued neither would have been important without their river. btw-I plan to refrain from all Memphis/Pyramid proximity comments - other than this one.

Back to the point, without the oil industry, shipping, and tourism - what would students in Louisiana prepare to do - hunt and fish?
 
  • #33
I'm not sure which one receives more (total) support?

That aside, had New Orleans ever been lost to a foreign power - the US would've been cut in half and trade/expansion greatly limited. It could be argued neither would have been important without their river. btw-I plan to refrain from all Memphis/Pyramid proximity comments - other than this one.

Heh... I wouldn't have lasted so long, bravo!

Back to the point, without the oil industry, shipping, and tourism - what would students in Louisiana prepare to do - hunt and fish?

Hmmmm... yep, that seems to be part of it, but they also have the option of leaving the state without having to change citizenship. I doubt that so many would be able to share that kind of limited resource pool effectively... it would be make-work.

I don't agree with the totality of your comparison, but in a limited sense I can see the similarities.
 
  • #34
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Heh... I wouldn't have lasted so long, bravo!



Hmmmm... yep, that seems to be part of it, but they also have the option of leaving the state without having to change citizenship. I doubt that so many would be able to share that kind of limited resource pool effectively... it would be make-work.

I don't agree with the totality of your comparison, but in a limited sense I can see the similarities.

The whole point is education should have practical applications in sync with opportunities. The majority of college students in the midwest might be justified in studying agriculture - not marine biology? If a desert based country - void of oil - decided to focus all resources on the development of wind and solar (?) it might make sense to encourage students to enter those fields. Happy and fully employed people don't usually hold revolutions (or even start selling drugs or robbing people to make ends meet or to ward off boredom).

I'd like to continue a thread on this topic. I think it's ludicrous to have so many college students (US) spend their first 1 to 2 years in college (basically) repeating high school - many become discouraged and drop out. I'd rather encourage under-achievers to focus on a 2 year technical degree and make them employable.

This would free up funds (and seats) for more deserving students - the underachievers could always go back pay their own way (from wages) if so inclined to finish the 4 year degree.
 
  • #35
The whole point is education should have practical applications in sync with opportunities. The majority of college students in the midwest might be justified in studying agriculture - not marine biology? If a desert based country - void of oil - decided to focus all resources on the development of wind and solar (?) it might make sense to encourage students to enter those fields. Happy and fully employed people don't usually hold revolutions (or even start selling drugs or robbing people to make ends meet or to ward off boredom).

I agree, but... you'd be mandating what people learn, even more than current pressures. I'm not sure that it's a wise idea in the long term... it strikes me as a way to limit the knowledge-base of the public. You may avoid turmoil, but at the cost of almost mandating a working-class, which while realistic, is counter to the very nature of the supposed "American Dream".

I'd like to continue a thread on this topic. I think it's ludicrous to have so many college students (US) spend their first 1 to 2 years in college (basically) repeating high school - many become discouraged and drop out. I'd rather encourage under-achievers to focus on a 2 year technical degree and make them employable.

I think there's a lot to dislike about the current system, but as it's mostly a business model, the pressures are to accomodate student's desires, not their needs. I'm not sure how you change this when everyone involved won't want to be a part of that kind of change. If you make the thread however, PM me, I will come.

This would free up funds (and seats) for more deserving students - the underachievers could always go back pay their own way (from wages) if so inclined to finish the 4 year degree.

Again, good results, but the methodology would need to be draconian I think. Find a doctor who doesn't pine for a perfect human model, but only a psychopath says, "hey, there is none, lets get Mengele in here!"
 
  • #36
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I agree, but... you'd be mandating what people learn, even more than current pressures. I'm not sure that it's a wise idea in the long term... it strikes me as a way to limit the knowledge-base of the public. You may avoid turmoil, but at the cost of almost mandating a working-class, which while realistic, is counter to the very nature of the supposed "American Dream".

I think there's a lot to dislike about the current system, but as it's mostly a business model, the pressures are to accomodate student's desires, not their needs. I'm not sure how you change this when everyone involved won't want to be a part of that kind of change. If you make the thread however, PM me, I will come.

Again, good results, but the methodology would need to be draconian I think. Find a doctor who doesn't pine for a perfect human model, but only a psychopath says, "hey, there is none, lets get Mengele in here!"

I'm not suggesting a hardcore mandate - just a realistic approach to offer better choices. If enough students in Iowa want to study marine biology - have at it? As for the college business model - I agree and the Government involvement in the funding of education is part of the problem. Last, the college freshman with a 16 on his ACT and a GPA of 1.6 that needs to make up 2 years of high school before he'll be teachable at the college level - MIGHT not be serious about education. I think he should be tested out and given a choice of lesser (2 year) degrees (at Government funding). You call it draconian - I call it taking responsibility for personal choices.
 
  • #37
I'm not suggesting a hardcore mandate - just a realistic approach to offer better choices. If enough students in Iowa want to study marine biology - have at it? As for the college business model - I agree and the Government involvement in the funding of education is part of the problem. Last, the college freshman with a 16 on his ACT and a GPA of 1.6 that needs to make up 2 years of high school before he'll be teachable at the college level - MIGHT not be serious about education. I think he should be tested out and given a choice of lesser (2 year) degrees (at Government funding). You call it draconian - I call it taking responsibility for personal choices.

I think you're ideas are great, I just don't think they'd work in this country... at heart, I'm an authoritarian pragmatist, but here I feel the need to go all, 'advocate al diaboli'. The private and public tests now are absurd, not hard enough, yet still manage to carry bias.

I'd need to see a body that could enforce new regulations, or movement from the private sector... I don't think that EITHER of us want to see "Department of Education 2.0" with more funding and a STRONG mandate...

Definitely fodder for a thread... and yeah, if your first 2 years of college are re-learning HS... take some time off, and what better way than on a farm, or learning a trade, as you say? How... to make them.... how to induce... tough.
 
  • #38
jjoyce
Could we call a government ( the U.S.), that spends $250,000 a year per family of four in poverty, on welfare programs, and has a poverty rate that has been increasing since the 1960's when the war on poverty started, a fraud ?
 
  • #39
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Could we call a government ( the U.S.), that spends $250,000 a year per family of four in poverty, on welfare programs, and has a poverty rate that has been increasing since the 1960's when the war on poverty started, a fraud ?

Care to post some links that support your post - then we can discuss?
 
  • #40
russ_watters
Mentor
20,577
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Also explain how that fits the definition of "fraud".
 
  • #41
jjoyce
There are plenty of links to the statistics on wasted govt spending in welfare and education, if you can't find them then your not looking very hard. As far as how that fits the "definition of fraud", I'm asking ?

At what point do we start to question whether or not our government is making a serious effort to resolve problems like poverty, and education. The education of our kids is declining, and poverty levels keep going up. Is more money always the answer ? or is the govt just stealing and wasting our money to grow and empower itself ?


Just asking.
 
  • #42
149
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There are plenty of links to the statistics on wasted govt spending in welfare and education, if you can't find them then your not looking very hard. As far as how that fits the "definition of fraud", I'm asking ?

At what point do we start to question whether or not our government is making a serious effort to resolve problems like poverty, and education. The education of our kids is declining, and poverty levels keep going up. Is more money always the answer ? or is the govt just stealing and wasting our money to grow and empower itself ?


Just asking.

The PF rules require you support your own posts. I know you're new - so WELCOME! When you post some support, we'll be able to advance our discussion.
 
  • #44
378
2

Total means-tested welfare spending in FY 2008 amounted to around $16,800 for each poor person in the U.S.; however, some welfare spending goes to individuals who have low incomes but are not below the official poverty line (about $22,200 per year for a family of four). Typically, welfare benefits are received not just by the poor, but also by persons who have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($44,400 per year for a family of four). Around one-third of the U.S. population falls within this lower income range. On average, welfare spending amounts to around $7,000 per year for each individual who is poor or who has an income below 200 percent of the poverty level. This comes to $28,000 per year for each lower-income family of four.

Interesting numbers, I would need some time to digest (understand) them.

Meanwhile, going back to your previous statement:
"that spends $250,000 a year per family of four in poverty"?

Unless I am too tired, I am seeing one extra zero in your statement :biggrin:
 
  • #45
149
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Thank you for welcoming me !

http://www.heritage.org/research/re...st-of-means-tested-welfare-or-aid-to-the-poor

http://alineofsight.com/policy/most-expensive%E2%80%94and-least-successful%E2%80%94war-us-history [Broken]

http://www.galvestonogp.org/GHA/SR_67.pdf

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2481846/posts

Let me start over by saying that I don't disagree with you - the "war on poverty" is a total disaster - IMO. As for links :smile:- you might want to read the guidelines regarding news sources?
 
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  • #46
378
2
you might want to read the guidelines regarding news sources?

I read The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank and the authors appear quite solid (particularly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rector). If you are finding something wrong with that, I guess I might also have to refer to the guidelines :redface:.

All other links were duplicates of the first link.
 
  • #47
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I read The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank and the authors appear quite solid (particularly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rector). If you are finding something wrong with that, I guess I might also have to refer to the guidelines :redface:.

All other links were duplicates of the first link.

IMO - the Heritage Foundation is quite reputable. However, I've been somewhat discouraged in past discussions from citing their content to support my comments - and encouraged to find more mainstream sources. I was just trying to keep the new member out of trouble with the rules - nothing else.:redface:
 
  • #48
jjoyce
My bad, my numbers are transposed the actual projections are $1 million for a family of four, and $250,000 per person.

"According to President Obama's budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018). This spending will equal $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four."

The reason I originally dodged your request for links was not to be rude, but I know the typical response to these statistics is to say that they come from "right wing think tanks" and infer that they are not accurate, but I believe they are accurate, and the only media that prints these statistics are right wing, the mainstream media does not talk about it or refute them, and that does not mean they are not accurate.

I am not advocating stopping welfare programs that are effective and useful. I think we need to question what is working and what isn't, the idea is to help people, not grow government.
 
  • #49
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My bad, my numbers are transposed the actual projections are $1 million for a family of four, and $250,000 per person.

"According to President Obama's budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018). This spending will equal $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four."

The reason I originally dodged your request for links was not to be rude, but I know the typical response to these statistics is to say that they come from "right wing think tanks" and infer that they are not accurate, but I believe they are accurate, and the only media that prints these statistics are right wing, the mainstream media does not talk about it or refute them, and that does not mean they are not accurate.

I am not advocating stopping welfare programs that are effective and useful. I think we need to question what is working and what isn't, the idea is to help people, not grow government.

We had a similar discussion a few months ago in this thread:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=465591

You might find it interesting?
 
  • #50
378
2
My bad, my numbers are transposed the actual projections are $1 million for a family of four, and $250,000 per person.

"According to President Obama's budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018). This spending will equal $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four."

That's not per year.

What you said earlier ("that spends $250,000 a year per family of four in poverty, on welfare programs") and what you quoted are not same statements.

[https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=465591&page=14"]
 
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