It is better to want to grow what you have than it is to want to acquire what others have because they have it...

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I would like to start a discussion on the virtue of gaining wealth by focusing on "growing" what you have, as opposed to wanting to "acquire" what others have. Esoterically, this is known as "coveting." It is also known as "the grass is greener on the other side of the hill."

I would like to gather together wealth by improving upon what I already have. Now, that is not meant to mean that I am saying that people should buy nothing new to them. It is an attitude of saying to yourself,"I would like this, and I would like to improve that." The opposite is coveting, "I see what my neighbor has! I want what they have, and I am going to get it even if it means being hostile towards them!" It would be like going to the stock market and having one of two attitudes: the first being that I can buy stock because I would like to, and buying stock because other people are wealthier than you are and you want their wealth even if it means impoverishing them."

Sort of like "keeping up with the Jones'," except that I deem coveting to be much more than this. Some may say that it is human nature... I disagree. I suggest that it is human nature to want things, but not necessarily because others had it first! So what if my neighbor has something that I don't? It is actually self destructive to waste life trying to have just as much or more than others. If I can make myself wealthy by improving upon my own efforts, that is fine! However, I suggest that there are lots of people out there who want to be rich simpy because others are rich.

My philosophy is, if you are wealthy, that's great! However, it is just a terrible situation to have to strive for wealth simply because you can't stand others having more "stuff" than you do! In fact, I theorize that if people focused on growing their own wealth independently of whether or not other people are wealthy, it relieves a great burden in one's mind.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

Comments

It seems to be all karma. For some people attaining wealth is easy but others just surviving is difficult. Why? I know brilliant people who have trouble surviving and stupid people who have vast of amounts of wealth. Why? Must be karma.

The other problem is the person who comes to the picnic and takes about 90% of the food leaving everyone else with the meager 10% left on the table. Wouldn't you want to do something about that? IOW, it's not about coveting it's about restraining those whose greed is a disease.

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

That's a nice philosophy Mica but if you aren't trying to "keep up with the joneses" then the millions spent on marketing is a big fail and it doesn't bode well for the big companies that want us to spend. That's what's ironic about our economic situation. Tax breaks for big corporations means less money for the general spending public. Less money for the public means less spending which in the end will cost big corporations millions more than what they save in tax breaks. I think Sheryl Crow could put that into a song or something. LOL

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

As Milton Friedman wrote in his book, Money Mischief, "The money supply at any given time is finite...controlled by the Fed and to a lesser extent by other financial institutions. While it isn't obvious, for one to have more, another has to have less."

It's kind of like I told a neighbor today who was on his way to the semi-weekly sale of his blood plasma, "the top 1% wants every last drop of it" .They are well on their way towards obtaining it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Really Poly again with that?

A car travelling down the freeway at any given point of time is stationary! While this makes sense in the study of physics you have to understand that TIME and the fact that it exists, and is in motion, is an extremely important part to the the theories of economics.

Think of Thoms axe handle analogy he repeats often. When the entrepreneur carves an axe handle he has CREATED wealth for himself and the whole of society. The Federal Reserve then has the obligation to increase the money supply equivalent to the value of that crafted axe handle.

The bong smoking OWS flea bagger who watched hi craft the axe is NOT poorer because the worker created the axe handle. Nothing has been stolen from him. In fact, he himself, while doing nothing, is actually richer by the simple fact that the axe handle now exists in the world.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote Calperson:

Really Poly again with that?

A car travelling down the freeway at any given point of time is stationary! While this makes sense in the study of physics you have to understand that TIME and the fact that it exists, and is in motion, is an extremely important part to the the theories of economics.

Think of Thoms axe handle analogy he repeats often. When the entrepreneur carves an axe handle he has CREATED wealth for himself and the whole of society. The Federal Reserve then has the obligation to increase the money supply equivalent to the value of that crafted axe handle.

The bong smoking OWS flea bagger who watched hi craft the axe is NOT poorer because the worker created the axe handle. Nothing has been stolen from him. In fact, he himself, while doing nothing, is actually richer by the simple fact that the axe handle now exists in the world.

How long is a piece of string?

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

Yep. And on a day when there is twenty trillion bucks in the economy, that's how much there is on that day. Divide it up and for one to have more of it, another has to have less.

When there is thirty trillion, bucks in the economy, divide it up...and for one to have more of it, another has to have less.

It shouldn't have taken an economist of Friedman's stature to point out the obvious....but evidently, it did.

It's impossible to cut a pie with everyone having the largest piece of the pie, isn't it?

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

It's impossible to cut a pie with everyone having the largest piece of the pie, isn't it?

Yes, but get up in the morning and jump on the freeway. What do you see? Thousands upon thousands of your fellow Americans going out to create and bake more pie. Go out there and provide a good or a service that your fellow man needs and you too will be rewarded with pie.

Pie is not something that is doled out from up high via Big Brother. It is created and baked via the most industrious and hard working people on the planet. Get out of their way and let them bake pie for themselves.

Don't sit on the couch and bake yourself with pot and then complain that someone else is taking the "pie" away from you.

Never forget, "For a man to recieve a dollar without working, another man has to work for without recieving."

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote polycarp2:

When there is thirty trillion, bucks in the economy, divide it up...and for one to have more of it, another has to have less.

It shouldn't have taken an economist of Friedman's stature to point out the obvious....but evidently, it did.

The reason why Friedman is widely ridiculed is what is obvious, and his theory is easily disproven by even a layman of economics.

Say I get up in the morning and build the guy down the street a carport. By the end of that day the total sum value of society has INCREASED by the monetary value of that carport. At the end of the day, there is MORE value in the community than there was at the start of the day.

Friedmans theory is no more valid than a scientist mapping the trajectory of the ex-space shuttle has it rockets out of the atmosphere. At any given point of the time the shuttle is "X" miles north or south of its launch pad and "Y" miles high above the launch pad. To constantly bleat that the shuttle is in fact stationary at any one of these mapped points borders on the absurd.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote Calperson:
Quote polycarp2:

When there is thirty trillion, bucks in the economy, divide it up...and for one to have more of it, another has to have less.

It shouldn't have taken an economist of Friedman's stature to point out the obvious....but evidently, it did.

The reason why Friedman is widely ridiculed is what is obvious, and his theory is easily disproven by even a layman of economics.

Say I get up in the morning and build the guy down the street a carport. By the end of that day the total sum value of society has INCREASED by the monetary value of that carport. At the end of the day, there is MORE value in the community than there was at the start of the day.

Friedmans theory is no more valid than a scientist mapping the trajectory of the ex-space shuttle has it rockets out of the atmosphere. At any given point of the time the shuttle is "X" miles north or south of its launch pad and "Y" miles high above the launch pad. To constantly bleat that the shuttle is in fact stationary at any one of these mapped points borders on the absurd.

No crap Sherlock. You added value at the cost of your labor plus materials. It's an even trade. In order to give someone had to take. Now all you have to do is charge him a price worth more than your labor and you have removed the balance. That's capitalism.

You have more and he has less. The "value" you added to the world extracted wealth equal to or more than the value you added. You've not actually added anything to the world.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

And...you didn't add a penney to the money supply that day. It remained the same.

"The money supply at any given time is finite." For one to have more,(of what exists at the time) another has to have less.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The national wealth is $60 trillion. If this is evenly shared by 300 million people, each would have $200,000 per man woman and child. A family of five would have 1million. America is not at all poor! There is tremendoes inequality of wealth.

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pshakkottai
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Jul. 11, 2011 10:27 am
Quote Calperson:
Quote polycarp2:

When there is thirty trillion, bucks in the economy, divide it up...and for one to have more of it, another has to have less.

It shouldn't have taken an economist of Friedman's stature to point out the obvious....but evidently, it did.

The reason why Friedman is widely ridiculed is what is obvious, and his theory is easily disproven by even a layman of economics.

Say I get up in the morning and build the guy down the street a carport. By the end of that day the total sum value of society has INCREASED by the monetary value of that carport. At the end of the day, there is MORE value in the community than there was at the start of the day.

Friedmans theory is no more valid than a scientist mapping the trajectory of the ex-space shuttle has it rockets out of the atmosphere. At any given point of the time the shuttle is "X" miles north or south of its launch pad and "Y" miles high above the launch pad. To constantly bleat that the shuttle is in fact stationary at any one of these mapped points borders on the absurd.

But adding value took time and money/resources. Friedman's comment holds time constant. You can't alter the variable and then say his statement is false. You are arguing against something he didn't say. I am no fan of Friedman but lets keep the critiques of him logical at least.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

That said, the original post is way off. The rules are manipulated by those who already have money to insure that those who don't will never get it. Those who break out are abberitions of the system - mistakes, not the rule. No system is perfect so some people get through. Or you might consider that that is part of the system - let enough people through to make the system stable - that people believe it is possible but not enough to upset the balance (or rather imbalance) of power.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

To all those who are here,

I am still intrigued with this issue. What Captain Bebop is refering to is when a person comes and takes all or most of the wealth at the very onset of economic activity. To clarify what I am saying, lets say I went out and bought a car. Lets say that at the very beginning of ownership I didn't have much money and bought the least expensive car that was still brand new. A person who lives next to me bought a faster and better new car. I have many options about what to do, but they all boil down to this: Do I allow myself to desire the other person's new car, tempting myself to become hostile towards that owner? Or, do I buy some new upgraded equipment for my car so that it is more appealing. My car may not be as good as my neighbors, but I can choose to get angry about it, or I can make the best out of my own car with upgrades.

In short, I still think that it is dangerous to want what others have, especially if you can improve upon what you already have. I am thankful to Polycarp2, but this goes beyond currency and money supply. I don't want to ramble over and over, but I still think it is better to avoid wanting what others have, even if there is a "bottleneck" of wealth caused by the limits of wealth in a society as a whole. I also thank Cal Person for participating.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

I am not trying to say that there should be poor people, especially if being poor keeps a person from obtaining what they need to live. What I am talking about is "hostility" towards those who have more than I do. Ah2 is right in a way, because there are those people out there who like to commit economic sabotage out of a desire to keep what they already have. But, that is not what I am aiming at, exactly.

I am not saying that the poor should like being poor and the rich should keep people down. What I am aiming at is hostility, anger, and yes, coveting what people have, for the simple reason that I do not have it.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Quote captbebops:

The other problem is the person who comes to the picnic and takes about 90% of the food leaving everyone else with the meager 10% left on the table. Wouldn't you want to do something about that? IOW, it's not about coveting it's about restraining those whose greed is a disease.

Precisely.

The standard game of monopoly has 2 endings.

1 - One player has all the money, and everyone else is broke.

or

2 - One brother catches the "banker" brother using the bank as his personal funds, and beats his brother senseless.

Conservatives are under the impression that option 1 sounds great.

The last Czar of Russia did too. Up until him, his wife and family were ushered out into the snow in their pajamas.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

You have more and he has less..... You've not actually added anything to the world.

He has the carport I just built him!

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote polycarp2:

And...you didn't add a penney to the money supply that day. It remained the same.

No, I added to the WEALTH of society as a whole that day, as did millions of my fellow 53%ers. It is the job of the Fed to correctly gauge how much wealth creation is going on to print the exact amount of money accordingly.

Print too much like Obama is doing now, (he has basically instructed Bernanke to print day and night in an effort to devalue the USD against the Chinese Yuan in a straight up currency hot war) and there is inflationary pressure on all goods.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote ah2:

Friedman's comment holds time constant. You can't alter the variable and then say his statement is false.

Have a look at a clock right now, watch the second hand progress forward. I'm sorry buddy, but time DOES exist no matter how much pot the Thom Hartmann community smokes.

You CAN say his statement is false becuase he includes a variable (stopped time) that has never existed on this planet in this dimension, or in our human experience.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am

Phaedrus76,

Let me use the Monopoly game as an analogy. My issue here is not that the poor should stay poor, or that the rich should conspire to manipulate the system to themselves and only for themselves. What I am saying is that people should "buy properties and develop them" more than they should focus on "indiscriminantly buying up properties while not developing any of them." OK, so that wasn't such a great analogy.

I guess that I am arguing a moral and philosophical attitude of managing one's own property with out craving the properties of others in a way that is conducive to envy and greed. I'm not really talking taxation and government, even though it is possible for people within the government to be envious. I just think that it is best in my life and potentially the lives of others to try not to get angry when others have more than I do AND - to not devour resources so that no one else can focus on their own life.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Quote Calperson:

You have more and he has less..... You've not actually added anything to the world.

He has the carport I just built him!

Did you build it out of thin air? If you got your supplies at the Home Depot then you added as much value to his property as you took away from Home Depot. You moved a value from one place to another. You haven't created anything "extra". Everything on this earth from a jet to a sponge came from the earth and it will ultimately return to the earth. It's an exchange.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am
Quote micahjr34:

Phaedrus76,

Let me use the Monopoly game as an analogy. My issue here is not that the poor should stay poor, or that the rich should conspire to manipulate the system to themselves and only for themselves. What I am saying is that people should "buy properties and develop them" more than they should focus on "indiscriminantly buying up properties while not developing any of them." OK, so that wasn't such a great analogy.

I guess that I am arguing a moral and philosophical attitude of managing one's own property with out craving the properties of others in a way that is conducive to envy and greed. I'm not really talking taxation and government, even though it is possible for people within the government to be envious. I just think that it is best in my life and potentially the lives of others to try not to get angry when others have more than I do AND - to not devour resources so that no one else can focus on their own life.

Actually you are making a great point. The problem is, the very rich have a clear battle plan, are very envious of the serfs who are holding on the appearance of a middle class. Trolls like Gov. Walker in Wisconsin are doind everything they can to wreck this country, end unions, and use free trade policies to torpedo stable jobs in the USA.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

The mass is conserved but the value has increased. You have created value by virtue of your labor.

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pshakkottai
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Jul. 11, 2011 10:27 am
Quote Bush_Wacker:
Quote Calperson:

You have more and he has less..... You've not actually added anything to the world.

He has the carport I just built him!

Did you build it out of thin air? If you got your supplies at the Home Depot then you added as much value to his property as you took away from Home Depot. You moved a value from one place to another. You haven't created anything "extra". Everything on this earth from a jet to a sponge came from the earth and it will ultimately return to the earth. It's an exchange.

No the carport has increased the value of his house, it has also increased the value and longevity of the paintwork on his car. It has increased the happines of his wife and little baby who don't get wet or sunburnt. If you watch HGTV you will see endless shows about people updating their kitchens or bathrooms and then observing the increase in the property value. When you sell a house realtors will tell you to slap on another lick of paint, to increase the value far more than the cost of the paint and labor.

While I agree with you on the exchange with the earth that is not what polycarp is talking about. He is talking about another human. He believes that the flea bagger who sat across the street in the park smoking spliffs and watched me build the carport is some how POORER because of the transaction. As with the axe handle, the fact that it now exists has the made the ENTIRE community RICHER. No one had had anything stolen from them.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am

This is great guys, but there is something that is bothering me.

That is the issue of currency. Let me explain why!

If I bought my car and my neighbor buys an even better car, that's just dandy. I can just choose to improve upon my car and not envy his (or hers!). However, one form of asset that can complicate things even more is money, particularly if a person has lots of money in the bank and tells no one about it (which is a good thing considering all the crime in this world nowadays). Have any of you all out there that noticed people tend to get excited more by property bought with money, than about money that's in the bank or otherwise hasn't been liquidated yet? I have seen people bragging about how awesome their new car is, but no one I know has ever boasted, for example, about how much they have in the bank, in bonds, etc.

Why is that? Is this the type of question that psychology can answer? It is kind of counterintuitive to me.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Quote Calperson:
Quote ah2:

Friedman's comment holds time constant. You can't alter the variable and then say his statement is false.

Have a look at a clock right now, watch the second hand progress forward. I'm sorry buddy, but time DOES exist no matter how much pot the Thom Hartmann community smokes.

You CAN say his statement is false becuase he includes a variable (stopped time) that has never existed on this planet in this dimension, or in our human experience.

I guess y0u don't understand Friedman's statement. "At any given time the money supply is finite" No more will exist at any given time than exists at the moment. For one to have more of it at any point in time, another has to have less of it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:
Quote Calperson:
Quote ah2:

Friedman's comment holds time constant. You can't alter the variable and then say his statement is false.

Have a look at a clock right now, watch the second hand progress forward. I'm sorry buddy, but time DOES exist no matter how much pot the Thom Hartmann community smokes.

You CAN say his statement is false becuase he includes a variable (stopped time) that has never existed on this planet in this dimension, or in our human experience.

I guess y0u don't understand Friedman's statement. "At any given time the money supply is finite" No more will exist at any given time than exists at the moment. For one to have more of it at any point in time, another has to have less of it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

No I understand it, I'm just saying it's worthless. Saying to the person that just got hit by a car that at "any given time" the car was stationary isn't going to help them.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&gs_nf=1&cp=45&gs_id=g&xhr=t&q=%22At+any+giv...

The google machine is also proof positive that no one takes this theory seriously. The only search results that return are from polycarp himself proving that there is no one, anywhere, on the entire world wide web who takes it seriously enough to even discuss.

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 9:21 am
Quote micahjr34:

I am not trying to say that there should be poor people, especially if being poor keeps a person from obtaining what they need to live. What I am talking about is "hostility" towards those who have more than I do. Ah2 is right in a way, because there are those people out there who like to commit economic sabotage out of a desire to keep what they already have. But, that is not what I am aiming at, exactly.

I am not saying that the poor should like being poor and the rich should keep people down. What I am aiming at is hostility, anger, and yes, coveting what people have, for the simple reason that I do not have it.

micah you are misunderstanding the hostility. Despite the accusations of communism on almost a daily basis, liberals, in general, have no problems with differentials in wealth and/or people becoming rich. The anger comes from a system that is rigged to play favorites and as the Cons like to pretend Dems do "pick winners and losers." You know how Cons like to accuse liberals of the very things they are doing? You see this all the time - like the violent rhetoric debate after Gabriel Giffords was shot - all of a sudden it was the Dems who use hostile rhetoric.... yeah my ass. Well the picking winners and losers is the same thing. When the Dems suggest using governmental intervention to level the playing field that IS ALREADY RIGGED TO FAVOR THE WEALTHY, we are accused of "picking winners and losers." In actuallity our economic system is already set up to do that. When Dems suggest redistibutive policies it is TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD NOT TO in your words covet or take what someone else has.

You, I think, are starting with a poor assumption that the wealth people currently have or accumulate is rightfully theirs to begin with - that our economic rewards are true, natural, and actually deserved. No.... not by a long shot...

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Ah2,

What I am talking about is having a personal *attitude* of being angry and envious when others have more than I do. I recognize that when the government taxes and uses that money gathered, it is using it to build roads, maintain bridges, and house schools for example. What I am refering to is more about individuals coveting from other individuals, not individuals coveting from society or "the commons" as it is called. The only time the society covets from the individual (which is not what I was refering to...) is when tyrants ruling who are unaccountable for their use of power and the treasury.

Ah2, thank you for keeping me on my toes while at the same time being polite. That is why I like this site so much!

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

Ah2,

I must apologize because I think I was miscommunicating here, at least when it came to my communications with you. I shall try to say it a different way.

The concept I am saying is not necessarily involved with either taxes or government. While it could be a case of "society" as a whole coveting what individuals have, I do not necessarily define taxation as coveting. Refering to the analogy of buying a car, what you have interpreted me as saying is that it is coveting for there to be a tax and laws concerning that car. Not so! The message I was getting at is in terms of relationships between people and other persons, so to speak. I was refering to people coveting from other people, not the government coveting from its own citizens! While such a situation can occur, it is slightly wide of what I was attempting to communicate.

micahjr34
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Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

The problem with the carport analogy and the axe handle analogy is that they do not consider a highly organized, compartmentalized industrial society, which needs enormous amounts of capital invested over long periods of time for it to produce anything. For example, at the beginning of WWII, the US had hardly any planes. They had to retool the factories and plan down to the minutest detail the entire construction and supply chain process. This took nearly two years. Work was being done but nothing was being produced. When the system was ready, we were producing 6000 planes a year, with a very small work force. This kind of system eats up a lot of resources in planning without production, leaving a part of the population high and dry. Then the system itself reduces the need for people when it is set up. Someone is always going to loose. Someone is always producing more than one person could, not because of anything they did personally, but because of the system of organization. (if it takes 1 person a year to make a widget, then 1000 people could make 1000 widgets in a year. But if there is an assembly line of widgets then 1000 people could make 10,000 widgets a year, once the system is up and going). This surplus of production is unevenly distributed, and it is not based on ability or input, but on position and manipulation. The system creates the extra output, not any individual. Also this does not take into account the natural resources themselves, which no man created. Why do we pay oil companies for oil? We should only pay them for the work done extracting it. How much of our production is directly related to the use of coal? Notice that production and coal use go hand in hand as distribution and oil use do.

This has not always been so. But now it is almost always so. You would not believe the number of people involved in creating the salad that sits before you at lunch, or the enormous and complicated supply chain needed for that.

What does all this have to do with envy? I believe the envy argument is a false premise. Sure, everyone wants the most they can get with the least amount of effort, but this should not be construed as envy. One person's Ferrari does not negate my bicycle. But financial manipulation, theft of pension funds, looting of corporations negates a lot. And the people who do these things spend a small portion of their ill gotten gains on propagating the belief that they are 'producers' and 'job-creators' and anyone who does not agree lives in 'envy' of those who have more. That is crap and this is all a game of which we are all victims. People should be able to keep the fruits of the production they are responsible for. But a select few keep much more (I'm looking at you Romney, or Soros, if you prefer) while other people are systemically excluded from the ability to create much or even anything.

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planetxan
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Well said Planetxan. Envy, greed, prejudice, etc are universal and base attitudes within the human condition and will always be there. Good parents work to mitigate unwholesome behaviors in their children and nurture more virtuous behaviors. Many of our institutions work for the same goals.

Immaturity will always be part of our nature and can never be expunged, but it can be overwhelmed by virtues. The focus on envy or coveting is counterproductive. It's falling for a devils trap, like responding to a caleperson post.

Jesus focused on teaching generosity, not fighting envy. The Dali Lama teaches the same....one cannot fight ill-will with more ill-will, one must overwhelm it with compassion

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MEJ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Probably wanting enough money to provide for a shelter, and 3 meals a day...the basics to maintain life..., isn't jealousy.. It's a biological necessity. Not everyone is addicted to accumulation for accumulation's sake.

I'd suggest the right wingers read Friedman's book, " Money Mischief". Considering that they spout most of his theories as a justification for further enriching the top, they ought to at least know the results of doing that.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Polycarp2,

I am not against people taking care of their needs. What I am saying is that it is a negative thing to want what others have because of the mere fact that I myself do not have it. It is not coveting to want food, clothing, shelter, and the other necessities of life. What is coveting is looking at your neighbor's stuff and wanting it, just because they have it and not myself.

Going back to the car analogy, it is not coveting to want to have a car. It is not coveting to want to have a nice car. It is not coveting to own a car. It is not coveting to have something. Polycarp2, I know that you are a monk, so this may not apply to you, but wanting to have money, even enough to just survive, is not what I am talking about. I am just talking about the act, and only the act, of wanting something, not necessarily because you or I need it, but because someone else has it. As I said above, it is "keeping up with the Jones's." It is wanting to have something someone else has, not because you want to use it, but because you do not want others to use it! It is the ethical equivalent of "hoarding." Just like a packrat wants to have things but never uses it, the "coveting" that I am talking about is wanting things that others have, not because you or I can use it, but because I can't stand another person having something that I don't. I hope that this clarifies what I am saying.

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

If you were to simply replace the words "money" and "wealth" from this conversation with the words "happiness" and "health" then it would all make so much more sense. If you are truly happy and healthy then there is no way that you can have "less" than anyone else.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
Joined:
Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

Thank you, Bush_Wacker! Doing that would make my point much clearer. Since I have been using terms involved only with property, everyone has assumed that I am talking "property rights," but I am not just talking about "things," but also feelings, thoughts, relationships, knowledge and wisdom...

All those reading this thread! I am not talking just libertarian property rights, I am talking about everything, tangible and intangible! I am talking about the essence of being a person, not just what they own or how much money they have or do not have in the bank. : D

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

Quite frankly money and wealth are connected to happiness and health in this country. That doesn't solve anything in the conversation.

I acknowledge that there are a fair amount of people out there that simply will always want more and approach life with an unhealthy attitude in regards to "keeping up with the Jones's" as it is called. The issue I was was bringing into this is that it is not as simply as having the right mindset. When you are are scraping by and can't even pay your bills despite having dual incomes and full time employment - and we aren't talking lavish lifestyles here either - the anger is not directed at the other people but at the system which is severely broken that restricts one's access to money and wealth and severly limits if not destroys any sense of upward mobility or "growing what you have." When you are in danger of losing your home or have to skip meals to save money, happiness is sort of out of reach. When you have no money and the health bills start to pile up, health deteriorates.

I appreciate the spirit of the post micah but it seems to lack an acknowledgement of some peoples' lived realities.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Ah2,

Then I guess that this conversation needs to be less about growing things for yourself and more about what people can grow together as a community. Never the less, I feel that "keeping up with the Jones's" is a syndrome that is a real problem in many people's lives.

Peace!

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

Ah2,

Know what I think is a good idea that is relevant to this topic? How about community lawnmowers! In stead of each individual homeowner in a neighborhood buying a lawnmower for their yards, how about if one lawnmowing device is owned by the community? For example, each homeowner can take turns mowing their yards, or even hire a local person or volunteer to mow the lawns. The community can take the money saved by not everyone buying a lawnmower, to help improve the neighborhood?

Or how about a community garden, like they have in NYC or Detroit? They have volunteers or even school children who need a job, go and farm vegetables for food. They can sell the vegetables to benefit the community, or even donate the food to a worthy cause somehow.

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Quote ah2:

Quite frankly money and wealth are connected to happiness and health in this country. That doesn't solve anything in the conversation.

I acknowledge that there are a fair amount of people out there that simply will always want more and approach life with an unhealthy attitude in regards to "keeping up with the Jones's" as it is called. The issue I was was bringing into this is that it is not as simply as having the right mindset. When you are are scraping by and can't even pay your bills despite having dual incomes and full time employment - and we aren't talking lavish lifestyles here either - the anger is not directed at the other people but at the system which is severely broken that restricts one's access to money and wealth and severly limits if not destroys any sense of upward mobility or "growing what you have." When you are in danger of losing your home or have to skip meals to save money, happiness is sort of out of reach. When you have no money and the health bills start to pile up, health deteriorates.

I appreciate the spirit of the post micah but it seems to lack an acknowledgement of some peoples' lived realities.

My point was that if you are happy making 20 grand a year that is all you need. I know people who live on that income and live in a single wide trailer. If you ask them they will tell you that they are happy and healthy and satisfied. I also know people who make over 100 grand a year that are so stressed out all of the time that their marriage is in deep jeopardy. Their need for a huge house and nice cars feeds into their stress and ultimately their health and happiness. I would rather see people envy of other people's happiness than envy of other people's posessions. In that regard actual money isn't the issue.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
Joined:
Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

Bush_Wacker,

That is the point I have been trying to make all along. Bush_Wacker, you know how to communicate. In just one post you said what took me nearly 40 posts with others to make. I envy you! (pun intended)

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Quote Bush_Wacker:
Quote ah2:

Quite frankly money and wealth are connected to happiness and health in this country. That doesn't solve anything in the conversation.

I acknowledge that there are a fair amount of people out there that simply will always want more and approach life with an unhealthy attitude in regards to "keeping up with the Jones's" as it is called. The issue I was was bringing into this is that it is not as simply as having the right mindset. When you are are scraping by and can't even pay your bills despite having dual incomes and full time employment - and we aren't talking lavish lifestyles here either - the anger is not directed at the other people but at the system which is severely broken that restricts one's access to money and wealth and severly limits if not destroys any sense of upward mobility or "growing what you have." When you are in danger of losing your home or have to skip meals to save money, happiness is sort of out of reach. When you have no money and the health bills start to pile up, health deteriorates.

I appreciate the spirit of the post micah but it seems to lack an acknowledgement of some peoples' lived realities.

My point was that if you are happy making 20 grand a year that is all you need. I know people who live on that income and live in a single wide trailer. If you ask them they will tell you that they are happy and healthy and satisfied. I also know people who make over 100 grand a year that are so stressed out all of the time that their marriage is in deep jeopardy. Their need for a huge house and nice cars feeds into their stress and ultimately their health and happiness. I would rather see people envy of other people's happiness than envy of other people's posessions. In that regard actual money isn't the issue.

Bush Whacker, there were people in the Holcaust that said they were happy. There is an important concept in psychology in which people will slide their expectations depending on their situation to cope with horrible horrible conditions. While this might help someone in an immediate psychological sense and give them some peace of mind - very important - you CANNOT use that subjective perception as an an objective measure of one's wellbeing. I am willing to bet that your person living off of $20,000 a year in a doublewide does not have adequate health coverage and if they ever had a severe medical issue would probably not be doing so well.

That said, there is a point in there about just how much we can tolerate or cope with and much of our expectation about living conditions is probably vanity. I don't disagree. The main point here is that subjective happiness is not the same was wellbeing and it is far from something some political theorists call a flourishing life - a lot of literature on this I hope you consider.

I think part of the issue I have with the framework presented here is that it seems to have the same discourse underlying it that the rhetoric coming out of the powers that be after the recession - "get used to the new normal." Accept the least common denominator in terms of living conditions. A better question might be - Would your friend living off of $20,000 and in a double wide have a more flourishing life and have more opportunities to maximize their human potential to do good if given more resources?

Another way to go would be to consider the happiness index studies out there. There is good research out there that shows once you break the $250,000 per year mark that more income has no statisitcal impact on your subjective level of happiness. If we are looking at only happiness (which I think is limited) and wish to maximize this as a society in general, would it not stand to reason to cap salaries at $250,000 a year and distribute the remainder to those who make less? That don't have homes at all? That have no healthcare?

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Ah2,

I thank you for pointing out to me that this situation is more serious than I thought. While I do believe that it is good to improve upon one's self, you are painfully correct about how "the system" can be geared to keep people from doing that. It would be tiresome to envy what others have, but in a system of "crony capitalism" where the powers that be can bribe and cheat to make it difficult for others to be able to upgrade one's own car so speak. And to take this analogy to different level, what would be the use of owning your own car if your neighbor can bribe the gasoline store owner into charging higher rates per gallon for everyone? Or the grocery store owner to raise prices on food? Clothing? You are right in a very important way. While what I was saying is good, I didn't take into account that people are dealing with a system, not just their neighbor.

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 3:57 pm

Bush Wacker wrote: : My point was that if you are happy making 20 grand a year that is all you need. I know people who live on that income and live in a single wide trailer. If you ask them they will tell you that they are happy and healthy and satisfied

poly replies: It sounds as though they are on to something. As one of the greats in psychology (Abraham Maslow) noted, once the basics of life are obtained...adequate food, clothing, shelter....only then can one develop their capacity to be a whole, happy and, complete human being. A dozen pair of shoes and a 2,500 sq. ft. house isn't essential to that, and a person can make themselves miserable thinking it is..

Some run after happiness in a shopping mall. If that worked, one trip would do it. Gratification and happiness/contentment are two very, very different things. People confuse the two.

One can either live a happy, content life...or spend a lifetime pursuing it with all the wrong actions.

We all have preferences. I'd be delighted with a 250 sq. ft. house with a small garden. Basically, one room with cooking/bathing facilities and a small yard attached. It isn't, however, essential. which is a good thing....because I can't find one in Colo. that I can afford.. They are all above my Soc. Security income. Basic needs...the conditions for happiness/contentment....are still fulfilled without the preference.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I care not at all how wealthy someone is as long as no one dies due to the fact of having no access to wealth or basic survival needs,clean drinking water,proper health care, food,shelter clothing and access to education and equality of opportunity.Basic human dignity is the birthright of everyone,why should one struggle to even survive where there is more than enough for everyone?

This is the central question facing humankind.

The incentive of most of humankind is to achieve,acquire,obtain things.Those who do not care about things let them go easily.Our present incentive for greatness has to do with the accumulation of all the world has to offer,all of the world is in various stages of struggle.Enormous portions of the population are still struggling for simple physical survival,will they have enough food.shelter,warmth they live day to day .

Smaller numbers have the basics but worry about having more a modest but decent home a better tomorrow ,they work hard and fret about getting ahead.

By far the smallest number have all they could ever ask for the worlds richest 5%?,everything the other two groups are asking for ,many in this group are still asking for more.

There is a fourth group ,it is a tiny group detached from the need for material things,they are only concerned with spiritual truth,spiritual reality and experience.These people are living from the soul level they know or have remembered who they really are.They see life as an unfolding process not as a struggle a process of self-definition of growth and being.

If you want to understand more of this the information comes from Conversation with god book 2 ,author Neale Donald Walsch ,

The truth shall set you free

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team
Joined:
Dec. 24, 2010 3:53 am

Can i add something here guys ,i live in Scotland and two thirds of this bonnie land is owned by just over a thousand people ,we have a population of over 5 million ,is this feudal or what!!!

The land is owned by dukes,lords.ladies and sir,s ,stolen from the people hundreds of years ago and divided up amongst the landed gentry ,Scotland must be one of the most feudal countries on earth.

The monarchy still hold all the power here god bless America and the founding Fathers ,the land is for the people...evolution is slow on this celestial sphere that belongs to life?

namaste my American friends i like what you guys are saying here!!

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team
Joined:
Dec. 24, 2010 3:53 am

I care not at all how wealthy someone is as long as no one dies due to the fact of having no access to wealth or basic survival needs,clean drinking water,proper health care, food,shelter clothing and access to education and equality of opportunity.Basic human dignity is the birthright of everyone,why should one struggle to even survive where there is more than enough for everyone?

This is the central question facing humankind.

The incentive of most of humankind is to achieve,acquire,obtain things.Those who do not care about things let them go easily.Our present incentive for greatness has to do with the accumulation of all the world has to offer,all of the world is in various stages of struggle.Enormous portions of the population are still struggling for simple physical survival,will they have enough food.shelter,warmth they live day to day .

Smaller numbers have the basics but worry about having more a modest but decent home a better tomorrow ,they work hard and fret about getting ahead.

By far the smallest number have all they could ever ask for the worlds richest 5%?,everything the other two groups are asking for ,many in this group are still asking for more.

There is a fourth group ,it is a tiny group detached from the need for material things,they are only concerned with spiritual truth,spiritual reality and experience.These people are living from the soul level they know or have remembered who they really are.They see life as an unfolding process not as a struggle a process of self-definition of growth and being.

If you want to understand more of this the information comes from Conversation with god book 2 ,author Neale Donald Walsch ,

The truth shall set you free

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team
Joined:
Dec. 24, 2010 3:53 am

Again it is not just about being content. The other thing to consider is that if the labor market is only willing to pay people $20,000 a year, you are only going to have single lonely people living in trailers. You can't raise a family on $20,000 a year. So, saying something like "all you need is 20K a year..." is limited in vision and does not account for the plurality of life.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Probably $15,000 per year per person would be minimal in our country. The U.S.. generates about $40,000 per year per person.... That would still leave a hefty chunk left over for the super rich to gamble with on derivatives markets. They'd still receive nearly 2/3 of the national pie.

Wanting more, more, more is a cultural thing. If it were human nature, it would be found in all societies throughout history. It isn't. It was pretty lacking in most Native American cultures before the European conquest. Ditto some egalitarian cultures in the Fertile Crescent.

Some societies are like squirrels...their populations gathering and storing up more than they'll ever need. Others aren't.

First Americans fill their closets, then their garages, then their storage sheds, then they rent a space specifically for storing what they'll never see or use again so they can make room for even more. LOL

Perhaps banksters and folks like the Walmart Waltons should be checked to see if they have squirrel dna. Personally, I think they are afflicted with an obsessive addiction for money...a mental disorder rationalized somehow as being natural and something we should all strive for. in order to finally be happy. .I've been there, done that. It isn't true...at least not for me.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Currently Chatting

The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

Most of us know how taxpayers subsidize Walmart's low wages with billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, and other financial assistance for workers. But, did you know that we're also subsidizing the retail giant by paying the cost of their environmental destruction.

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