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News What does it mean?

  1. Jun 13, 2003 #1
    What does it mean?!?

    America seems to be at a crossroads. Us Americans say 'United we stand', even as certain people seek to make this country 'every man for himself'. We say 'We the People', yet large corporations have more say in the law than any million citizens. We all love the benefits of living in a free country, yet those who can most afford to pay for things are least willing to give anything towards the greater good.

    Isn't the benefit of living in a society best expressed in that society's ability to take care of the common people? Isn't the American ideal based on the idea of keeping the powerful from exploiting the weak? Do we not thing that the wealthiest nation on earth can afford to make sure no child is hungry?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2003 #2
    It won't work, it'll all be over soon, Bush will lose unless he starts another war ;) When people start running out of money they'll turn into liberals.
    Hey, if there were no hungry children, how would you get them to work in your factory?
    Those are just the forces at work in a capitalist republic. The American ideal is that all groups are represented, and policy emerges from consensus. In principle it leads to prosperity for the mainstream, and social mobility for the lower class.
    But the forces of capitalism are more powerful than the forces of government, depending on the character of the governors. Despotism and Communism are doomed to failure because government regulation can't keep up with economic changes. So there's got to be a constitutional middle ground for regulation that both protects the mainstream and allows the market to respond quickly. It's vitally important to get rid of Bush in 2004.
  4. Jun 14, 2003 #3


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    Re: What does it mean?!?

    No, but I think you should check your testestorone
    levels or something...:wink: You just seem a BIT tense...
  5. Jun 15, 2003 #4
    i am told that the western powers of the world have the ability to feed every hungry, third world country, and to illiminate hunger from the face of the earth (which, contrary to popular belief is still a problem in some places). the fact that we don't is based soley on greed. we (as a nation) are greedy.
  6. Jun 15, 2003 #5


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    The US government pays farmers not to plant crops and subsidizes the farm industry with the intent to sustain smaller less efficient farms...

    And have you considered the economic effects?


    Agriculture accounts for 50% of Ethiopia's GDP, 90% of its exports, and 80% of its total employment. For somalia, it's 40% of the GDP and 65% of the exports. For India, it's 25% of the GDP and 67% of the workforce.

    Imagine the turmoil if western powers flooded these countries with cheap abundant food; You've just put 80% of Ethiopia's workforce out of a job, and that's arguably far worse than the starvation issue.

    Other problems are that some governments refuse some types of food assistance, and some other governments embezzle economic aid intended to assist feeding their public.

    In other words, it's nonobvious that the fact we don't feed the world is based solely on greed.
  7. Jun 16, 2003 #6
    Okay, but the western world routinely strategically floods the markets of poor countries with an excess of cheap goods so to weaken the local economy (I seem to remember some footage of Haitians pouring out local milk by the ton because cheap foreign goods ruined the price- result of "free trade") Probably the local governments *cough* warlords in general stand in the way of the west's largesse.
  8. Jun 17, 2003 #7
    Originally posted by Zero
    America is all about image , looking good and using things as masks to hide the true ugly face. Those phrases such as "United we stand.. divided we fall" are just used by the government prevent people from questioning their actions. There is no longer people in "We" , there is however , We the big corporate executives , or We the greedy government officials. Why do you think many Americans claim that they "believe" in the importance of family and yet they follow the flawed teachings of a nuclear family? Why do you think some college admits people who "volunteered" (required to) to do work for the public? Why do you think they claim "Freedom of religion" and yet they allow religious words in money and the pledge of allegience?

    Again all about image , they do spend millions to billions of dollars yearly trying to "help" people around the world. You know it is ironic how the U.S. government just "donated" 15 billion dollars to help prevent AIDS in africa and yet they keep cutting fundings to schools in it's own country , claiming that they "don't" have enough money. It just frustrates me how some of my teachers spend up to 500 bucks a year in order to give students a proper education , not to mention they are already under paid.
  9. Jun 18, 2003 #8
    This discussion isn't about worldwide hunger. It is about the idea that the Government will step in to bail out failing businesses, yet there are children who don't eat on a regular basis. There are families living in cars, or working 4 jobs just to stay even.

    Governments redistribute wealth, that is one of teh main duties of a government. The point of society is that we are all in it together, and we are supposed to take care of each other. I don't think we should try to make everyone a millionaire, but everyone should be able to maintain a basic standard of living.

    And claiming that poor people in other countries have it worse is no argument...that is like trying to get away with child neglect because you can show worse cases than yours.
  10. Jun 18, 2003 #9
    Why did they bail out Worldcom and Harken but not Enron, I wonder?
  11. Jun 19, 2003 #10


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    I didn't see anything interesting in this thread until this caught my eye:
    It is? I don't see that in the Constitution anywhere [?] [?] I believe I did read something like that in Communist Manifesto though. According to Marx, that IS a function of a communist/socialist government. But our government is not based on communism/socialism. Re-distribution of wealth is incompatible with the concepts of democracy and capitalism, ie freedom. Freedom includes the freedom to succeed and enjoy your own success. Unfortunately, freedom is a double-edged sword: you are also free to fail. If people are REALLY in trouble, we help them, but that only goes so far. There is a point at which people have to start taking responsibility for their own lives.
  12. Jun 20, 2003 #11
    Think more generally...governments poor our money, and use it for teh common good. That is redistribution of wealth. That is a main function of ALL government.

    And, again I say...what about children? Do we allow poor children to sink or swim on the abilities of their parents? Do we allow anyone in society to fail completely out of an attitude of 'not my problem'?
  13. Jun 20, 2003 #12


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    No, paying taxes to pay the salaries of Congressmen and police officers is NOT redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of wealth is taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor.
  14. Jun 20, 2003 #13
    Couldn't you say that the existence of government-funded armed forces that protect all its residents is redistribution of wealth? Money is taken from most residents, in differing amounts, and applied to the welfare of all, which is protection. Now, this is not giving green money to the poorer, but the money that is collected is transformed into military protection, which is provided to all in per-person amounts differing from the per-person amounts that the money was gathered in.
  15. Jun 21, 2003 #14
    Redistribution of wealth includes taking money from everyone, and building things for everyone. If not, rich people would have private roads to go with their private schools and private doctors.

    At some point, some smart person realized that it would help society as a whole to make sure that everyone lived at a certain basic level. Abject poverty hurts everyone, after all, so public services exist. Now, however, some people thing that what is best for this country is to let children starve, go without medication, and nopt have a school to go to. The funny thing is, most of them claim to be Christian.
  16. Jun 22, 2003 #15
    The Veterans of World War II opposed Hitler, fought for a representative government, fought for a fair system of justice, fought for Christian ideals of fairness and brotherhood. Today a small minority seeks to destroy that legacy, and exploit--not honor-- their efforts. Why do Governments redistribute wealth? Because Governments represent people, not companies. Democratic Governments protect the environment, enforce labor laws, and provide the supreme educational system the world over, as well as an efficient, powerful military.
    Are you living in the 80's? Welfare has been a state responsibility since Clinton, your arch-nemisis.
  17. Jun 23, 2003 #16


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    ?? When did I say otherwise?

    Zero and Dan: www.dictionary.com

    Sorry, but your definitions are wrong. And I think you know it too. Zero, your definition has evolved since you first postulated it.
  18. Jun 23, 2003 #17
    Well, definitions need to evolve, taking reality into account, don't they? Simplistic thinking is a conservative thing, remember? It is us intellectual liberals who are willing to work up the brain sweat.
  19. Jun 24, 2003 #18


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    Interesting insight into your psyche you have provided: you shape your definitions to fit your preferred view of reality instead of using pre-defined words to describe observed reality. Thats a backwards way of looking at the world. Ironic on a science BB (though you can see a lot of it in the "mystics and psuedo-science" forum).
  20. Jun 24, 2003 #19
    You left out:

    The act or process...not the theory, is what I was talking about when I was discussing what a government does.

    And I wasn't talking in political jargon, but in general definitions, as the above "acot or process" definition is. Redistribution is changing the distribution. That is exactly what military, police, public roads, etc. spending does.
  21. Jun 25, 2003 #20


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    No, I didn't leave anything out. That other definition is a general definition of "redistribution" and is not applicable to economics. In economic terms, "redistribution of wealth" (which is the term Zero used) means taking wealth from those who have it and giving it to those who don't.

    Dan, this is REALLY getting tiring. If the dictionary definition isn't good enough, type "redistribution of wealth" into a goole search and read as many of the ~156,000 hits as you feel you need to understand the concept better.

    I need to revive a dead thread....
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2003
  22. Jun 25, 2003 #21
    That's odd...maybe it is because I am mostly self-taught, that I use words that make sense to me, even if they don't match a dictionary definition I have never read. Maybe a more appropriate phrase would have been 'pooling assets for common goals', but it comes out to the same thing; societies collect money, them use it where the leaders see fit.

    This whole 'take from the rich and give to the poor' is a hateful statement meant to denigrate the poor. Of course, once you dehumanize a group, it is easier to allow their children to go hungry. I don't accuse you of wanting poor people to suffer...I accuse you, and people with your attitude, of having a basic lack of empathy towards your fellow Americans. Statements like the one above, to me, signify that we should change the Pledge of Allegiance to read, "...Two Nations, depending on your tax bracket...."
  23. Jun 25, 2003 #22
    I'm sure that "redistribution of wealth" is dumbed down to mean "take from the rich, give to the poor," but I don't go by political rhetoric, I like to deal with reality. In reality, giving poor people rich people's money, and spending money on national defense, both redistribute money, and that money, ideally, would benefit poor people just as much as the richer ones who pay more money, so that money is given to the poor, just indirectly, and in the form of protection and what-have-you.
  24. Jun 26, 2003 #23


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    Well that does explain a lot. There are many words that are commonly misused. I prefer being correct, so I look them up when there is a question. There is a danger of finding I am wrong of course and so sticking my foot in my mouth, but I have found that paying attention to definitions and always checking myself makes me LESS likely to be wrong.

    It is difficult (impossible) to have a meaningful discussion if one of the parties is making up their definitions as they go along.

    The thing is though, Zero, I think that you DO know the definition and you knew it when you first posted the term but for some reason you don't feel like supporting your position anymore. If you changed your mind or realized you were wrong, thats fine. So I'd like to clarify:

    Zero, do you believe it is one of the main duties of a government to take money from the rich and give that money (cash money) to the poor, ie welfare?

    Yes or no? I won't argue against it (been there, done that), so no need to try to justify it. I just want to know your opinion.
    Dan, the definition was unequivocably clear. Thats a re-wording, but that is EXACTLY what the definition means.

    The spending-money-on-infrastructure thing is not redistribution of wealth because a road doesn't increase my wealth (and otherwise, ALL government spending is redistribution of wealth). Cash money going into my pocket is what increases my wealth.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2003
  25. Jun 26, 2003 #24
    Russ, I believe that you miss the ****ing point by dumbing down every issue in that sort of Fox News way that you have perfected so well...

    The point is, as I have stated repeatedly, but I wil say again in case someone has listened to too much right-wing radio and now has an IQ of a squirrel; A society, in my view, takes care of its members. If it is 'every man for himself', it is not a society. I think America is best served by making sure that its children have hope for a future. That is ALL children, not just the children of the wealthy. If that means 'taking from teh rich to give to the poor', then so be it...if the rich don't like it, why don't they stop paying taxes?

    Oh, wait, that is what they are trying to do!
  26. Jun 26, 2003 #25
    Well, apparently you only define wealth as green money, not as what that cash is used for, because money is only useful for gaining other things from it, after all. And roads, protection, etc. are things that that money can help a person gain. Whether you spend the money, or it is spent for you, I don't think that it makes much of a difference in this issue. And, actually, the building of roads does increase your wealth, as in money in your pocket, by allowing you to get to your job, and all the other transportation that goes along with it (transportation of goods, etc.).
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