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Morality of Wealth





Afaceinthematrix
There has been a recent thread pondering the question: Should rich people give their money away?

Many people have agreed that they should give their money away but that it should be required... but should it? Should wealthy people be forced to give their money away? Is it immoral to have a disproportionate amount of wealth while millions or billions of people struggle to eat?

Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?

Is it moral to have extensive (or even not so extensive) wealth while people starve?
fx-trading-education
I think it is neither moral or fair to have extreme wealth and extreme misery. And of course as it is even not based at all on your level of skills or usefulness to the society then it is of course even worst.

But our world is also not fair and not moral so what can we expect?
And as the world is ruled by the people who take advantage of the misery of others and of the unmorality and unfairness, how can we help that it would improve?
Hogwarts
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?


That's debatable as to if farmers are important. Yes, the industry is more important; but farmers are practically a dime a dozen compared to musicians capable of entertaining hundreds of thousands. Don't breach the line of "importance of an industry" and "importance of an individual working in that industry". Those are two completely different things Sad
Solon_Poledourus
Here is a solution:

Remove the value of monetary wealth.
Stop handing your money over to the elite by spending it. Burn it, and quit your job. Find some land and squat; hunt and fish for food. If millions start doing it, hell even if thousands did it, what are they going to do? They won't flood the jails or courts with people who are only trying to survive. When the big-wigs who own all the money suddenly see a HUGE drop in profits, due to millions of voluntarily jobless/homeless former employees, they will either offer alot more money for wages, or the corrupt society they have built will come crashing down. The only reason there is an elite class which is disproportionately wealthy is because we keep letting them create the illusion of a scarcity of resources, thus justifying an increase in cost and price to the consumer(you).
Take that illusion away and the wealth means nothing.
deanhills
I don't think there is anything immoral with having wealth. History of humans has shown that there are always those that have more and others who have very little. It must be built into the sociology of mankind. I believe that if it should be made to be immoral to have wealth, then perhaps people will only produce as much as they need for themselves. Why go to extreme lengths of earning lots of money and then to give this away to the poor? Sounds a bit incompatible with the human nature that we know on earth.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
I believe that if it should be made to be immoral to have wealth, then perhaps people will only produce as much as they need for themselves.
Imagine that... people producing only what they need. No excess, no waste. Wealth is built on the fear of not having enough to survive. If one knows how to survive, amassing wealth is an unnecessary concept.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I believe that if it should be made to be immoral to have wealth, then perhaps people will only produce as much as they need for themselves.
Imagine that... people producing only what they need. No excess, no waste. Wealth is built on the fear of not having enough to survive. If one knows how to survive, amassing wealth is an unnecessary concept.
Problem is that not all humans are equal in looking after themselves. Hence why the wealthy in the United States are paying most of the taxes that go to Government and services for everyone.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Problem is that not all humans are equal in looking after themselves.
Nature used to solve this problem rather efficiently.
deanhills wrote:
Hence why the wealthy in the United States are paying most of the taxes that go to Government and services for everyone.
Except that our tax laws are designed to promote poverty. The less money you have, the more likely it is you get screwed by the IRS on a regular basis. People work all year long, file a tax return, and many times end up owing even more money to the IRS. Audits are more common among working class than among the wealthy. In fact, the only time the wealthy get screwed by the IRS is when they actively break tax laws.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Problem is that not all humans are equal in looking after themselves.
Nature used to solve this problem rather efficiently.
Yeah right Laughing
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Hence why the wealthy in the United States are paying most of the taxes that go to Government and services for everyone.
Except that our tax laws are designed to promote poverty. The less money you have, the more likely it is you get screwed by the IRS on a regular basis. People work all year long, file a tax return, and many times end up owing even more money to the IRS. Audits are more common among working class than among the wealthy. In fact, the only time the wealthy get screwed by the IRS is when they actively break tax laws.
Looks as though it pays to be wealthy in the United States Laughing I'm poor but I actually like the idea of wealth, most people dream about it.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Looks as though it pays to be wealthy in the United States Laughing I'm poor but I actually like the idea of wealth, most people dream about it.
I actually detest the idea of money. I think creating value out of something that is essentially worthless was one of the stupidest ideas ever conceived. The ability to feed, clothe, shelter and educate myself is the only wealth I need or want. Everything else is excessive waste and completely pointless. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down a winning lottery ticket. But I would most likely give most of it away, once I put myself where I want to be.

On my own little island... Poledourustan. OK, I will come up with a better name...
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Looks as though it pays to be wealthy in the United States Laughing I'm poor but I actually like the idea of wealth, most people dream about it.
I actually detest the idea of money. I think creating value out of something that is essentially worthless was one of the stupidest ideas ever conceived. The ability to feed, clothe, shelter and educate myself is the only wealth I need or want. Everything else is excessive waste and completely pointless. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down a winning lottery ticket. But I would most likely give most of it away, once I put myself where I want to be.

On my own little island... Poledourustan. OK, I will come up with a better name...
I love money. I'm not passionate about it for myself (I guess I can be labelled as poor), but I have a great admiration for the art of making money. And the characters who are making it. Smile
Afaceinthematrix
Hogwarts wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?


That's debatable as to if farmers are important. Yes, the industry is more important; but farmers are practically a dime a dozen compared to musicians capable of entertaining hundreds of thousands. Don't breach the line of "importance of an industry" and "importance of an individual working in that industry". Those are two completely different things :(


Being a dime a dozen doesn't make their importance any less legit. The fact of the matter is that farmers, construction workers, garbage collectors, etc. are all a dime a dozen but they contribute much more to society than many people in respected careers like musicians.

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Here is a solution:

Remove the value of monetary wealth.
Stop handing your money over to the elite by spending it. Burn it, and quit your job. Find some land and squat; hunt and fish for food. If millions start doing it, hell even if thousands did it, what are they going to do? They won't flood the jails or courts with people who are only trying to survive. When the big-wigs who own all the money suddenly see a HUGE drop in profits, due to millions of voluntarily jobless/homeless former employees, they will either offer alot more money for wages, or the corrupt society they have built will come crashing down. The only reason there is an elite class which is disproportionately wealthy is because we keep letting them create the illusion of a scarcity of resources, thus justifying an increase in cost and price to the consumer(you).
Take that illusion away and the wealth means nothing.


I do not think that there is enough land to support billions of people in substinance farming and hunting. But what if there were government forced levels of income to where everyone with the same education level made the same amount of money? I wonder what that would do to society.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?


That's debatable as to if farmers are important. Yes, the industry is more important; but farmers are practically a dime a dozen compared to musicians capable of entertaining hundreds of thousands. Don't breach the line of "importance of an industry" and "importance of an individual working in that industry". Those are two completely different things Sad


Being a dime a dozen doesn't make their importance any less legit. The fact of the matter is that farmers, construction workers, garbage collectors, etc. are all a dime a dozen but they contribute much more to society than many people in respected careers like musicians.

Well, for one thing, you're going to have a serious numbers problem. If you pay every farmer millions, you'll have serious problems coming up with all that money. Also, if everyone has millions to spend, it won't be long before everything you want to buy costs millions. It is impossible for everyone to be rich, because that would just raise the costs of everything until rich is no longer rich.

Is it moral to hoard tons of resources while others starve? No.
Is it moral to force those hoarders to distribute the resources to the needy? No.
Hogwarts
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?


That's debatable as to if farmers are important. Yes, the industry is more important; but farmers are practically a dime a dozen compared to musicians capable of entertaining hundreds of thousands. Don't breach the line of "importance of an industry" and "importance of an individual working in that industry". Those are two completely different things Sad


Being a dime a dozen doesn't make their importance any less legit. The fact of the matter is that farmers, construction workers, garbage collectors, etc. are all a dime a dozen but they contribute much more to society than many people in respected careers like musicians.


No, but they can be replaced so easily it's not funny. To stay in the job, you need to be the lowest bidder. If there are lots of bidders (i.e. people capable of that job), there will be more competition. Therefore, they will be paid less.
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
It is impossible for everyone to be rich, because that would just raise the costs of everything until rich is no longer rich.
This is exactly why I loathe the idea of money. It creates an illusion of worth, and people are judged and classified by this imaginary value. By it's very nature, "Monetaryism" forces a majority of people into the losing end of the scale against nearly impossible odds. The worst part is that we have been so completely indoctrinated into this system that we accept it as a natural fact of life.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I do not think that there is enough land to support billions of people in substinance farming and hunting.
You are absolutely right. And I think that's a good thing. If we were to all farm and hunt to support ourselves, our families and our friends, the population would eventually balance itself out. Which would solve a few other problems in the process.
deanhills
Hogwarts wrote:
No, but they can be replaced so easily it's not funny. To stay in the job, you need to be the lowest bidder. If there are lots of bidders (i.e. people capable of that job), there will be more competition. Therefore, they will be paid less.
Not to mention that they do not need any education for the position other than basic training on the job. I compare this with a dental surgeon who comes highly qualified to sort out dental problems of a life-threatening nature and surgeons who save lives. As Hogwarts pointed out, there are not that many of them and their services do contribute to society in a meaningful "value" way.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many of the most important jobs in society make much less money than many less important jobs. One of the most important jobs in a society is farming. Farmers also work extremely hard. So why should they get paid less than a rock star, professional athlete, dirty businessman, etc?


That's debatable as to if farmers are important. Yes, the industry is more important; but farmers are practically a dime a dozen compared to musicians capable of entertaining hundreds of thousands. Don't breach the line of "importance of an industry" and "importance of an individual working in that industry". Those are two completely different things :(


Being a dime a dozen doesn't make their importance any less legit. The fact of the matter is that farmers, construction workers, garbage collectors, etc. are all a dime a dozen but they contribute much more to society than many people in respected careers like musicians.

Well, for one thing, you're going to have a serious numbers problem. If you pay every farmer millions, you'll have serious problems coming up with all that money. Also, if everyone has millions to spend, it won't be long before everything you want to buy costs millions. It is impossible for everyone to be rich, because that would just raise the costs of everything until rich is no longer rich.

Is it moral to hoard tons of resources while others starve? No.
Is it moral to force those hoarders to distribute the resources to the needy? No.


I'm not saying that we should pay every farmer millions. The point of this topic isn't even about equality. I just brought up the idea that people who essentially contribute nothing to society except a little entertainment (like professional athletes) make far more money than they deserve and way far more than people who actually do contribute a lot to society. Even though, as Hogwarts said, farmers are a dime a dozen, they contribute more to society. While entertainment is an important part of keeping us sane, I think it's ridiculous that an athlete can sign a 20 million dollar contract that they're going to just blow on frivolous living while people starve...

While I do like socialism, I'm not going to endorse my political beliefs here because this isn't the topic for it. I'm just going to re-ask my original question: Is it moral to have extreme wealth why people starve?

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I do not think that there is enough land to support billions of people in substinance farming and hunting.
You are absolutely right. And I think that's a good thing. If we were to all farm and hunt to support ourselves, our families and our friends, the population would eventually balance itself out. Which would solve a few other problems in the process.


You are right that things would eventually balance out, but at what cost? Would things balance out quickly enough? We, as a human race, survive by large scale farming and 21rst century farming techniques. I have a feeling that if people all of a sudden had to survive off the the land, the billions of people on this planet would flood into the little forest/land that we have left killing off everything to eat and clearing land for farming that by the time the population did balance out, resources would be wiped out. It would then take industrialization to be able to extract additional resources.
Solon_Poledourus
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
You are right that things would eventually balance out, but at what cost? Would things balance out quickly enough? We, as a human race, survive by large scale farming and 21rst century farming techniques. I have a feeling that if people all of a sudden had to survive off the the land, the billions of people on this planet would flood into the little forest/land that we have left killing off everything to eat and clearing land for farming that by the time the population did balance out, resources would be wiped out. It would then take industrialization to be able to extract additional resources.
I don't think people would be able to rush into places and clear them for farmland all that quick. In fact, almost nobody would. So few people actually know how to farm anymore, and they would either be dependent on those who can, or they would die off. Starvation and poverty would create the opportunity for a pandemic which could previously have been contained, but would now run rampant. Hundreds of millions would die very quickly, I think.

On the original topic:
No. I detest the fact that people such as athletes and actors get multi-millions for movies/seasons. These people don't contribute anything of substance to society. Here are a few quotes from some overpaid athletes:

"I'm rich. What am I supposed to do, hide it?"
-Detroit Tiger Lou Whitaker, arriving in a stretch limo for a players' union meeting during the 1994 baseball strike.

"People think we make $3 million and $4 million a year. They don't realize that most of us only make $500,000."
-Pete Incaviglia, baseball player, 1990

"I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
-Shaquille O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece

Not only are they overpaid for doing nothing of value while others starve, but adding insult to injury, it seems like the more they earn, the stupider they are. They are qualified for nothing other than throwing a ball(or whatever), and seem to think the world revolves around them, and that they actually deserve this much money.

How many professional athletes or actors would do their jobs for an average living wage?
Afaceinthematrix
^^Your scenerio is probably more likely to happen. Although I would still fear that if it did happen there would be mass extinction of animals that would be hunted by the billions (literally) and ecosystems that would be destroyed. But the alternative - people quickly dying - is also likely.

I'm not all for people dying, though (although I do think that it would be a good idea to slow down the human population growth so that it's at a stable rate). I just think that it would be a better idea to change how we operate.

Now getting to your quotes.... Those are quite sad. Another one that I heard (I posted this in another topic a while back also) was from the rapper "50 Cent." He said, "I'm the high school dropout making more than his teachers." I do not see any justifiable reason why that should be. Now don't get me wrong, I think that entertainers are an important part of society because they keep us sane. As you may be able to tell from my avatar, I'm a huge music fan. I've always loved Metallica (along with dozens and dozens of other bands). When I was growing up during the nineties and early two thousands, I was a huge fan of the World Wrestling Federation. I do love entertainment and think that it is important. But why should the entertainers make more than people, like teachers, that contribute far more to society than them?

I agree with what you said in that they are highly overpaid while people starve. Here's an idea... Should jobs be valued in usefulness by the government and then taxed accordingly to have money distributed out to the poor? So an athlete that makes $500,000/year (which, despite what Mr. Incaviglia said, is a shit load of money that could help many families), or 3 million, or 4 million gets taxed heavier than a teacher, farmer, etc.?

With the current system, if you make more money you get taxed at a slightly higher rate, but should it also be that if the government decides that your job isn't as valuable to society you also get taxed higher? What would be the implications of that?
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