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Old 11th June 2019, 04:29 PM   #1
Brainster
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Fully Automated Luxury Communism

Now that new, improved Socialism 2.0 is here thanks to Bernie Sanders and AOC, can the updated communism be far behind? No, thanks to the New York Times' opinion page.

In a way, it seems a throwback to only 2-3 years ago. Remember when everybody's job was going to be lost due to automation?

Quote:
Automation, robotics and machine learning will, as many august bodies, from the Bank of England to the White House, have predicted, substantially shrink the work force, creating widespread technological unemployment. But that’s only a problem if you think work — as a cashier, driver or construction worker — is something to be cherished. For many, work is drudgery. And automation could set us free from it.
Meanwhile, in the real world the machines have so far failed in their ruthless quest to eliminate jobs. The US unemployment rate is 3.6%, the lowest it has been in almost 50 years. But to a communist, that sounds horrific:

Quote:
To say the present era is one of crisis borders on cliché. It differs from the dystopias of George Orwell or Aldous Huxley, or hell in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. It is unlike Europe during the Black Death or Central Asia as it faced the galloping Golden Horde. And yet it is true: Ours is an age of crisis. We inhabit a world of low growth, low productivity and low wages, of climate breakdown and the collapse of democratic politics. A world where billions, mostly in the global south, live in poverty. A world defined by inequality.
He notes some interesting new technologies, like lab-grown beef, and the potential for asteroid mining. The problem? No surprise here:

Quote:
But there’s a catch. It’s called capitalism. It has created the newly emerging abundance, but it is unable to share round the fruits of technological development.
Let's remember that the last time communism was tried on a vast scale, it couldn't even provide fruit, let alone the fruits of technology.
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Old 11th June 2019, 04:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Let's remember that the last time communism was tried on a vast scale, it couldn't even provide fruit, let alone the fruits of technology.

Yeah, I suppose there's no choice except for an increasingly tiny fraction of the very rich continuing to get richer, and everyone else getting poorer, indefinitely. Nothing could to go wrong with that plan.
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Old 11th June 2019, 05:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Yeah, I suppose there's no choice except for an increasingly tiny fraction of the very rich continuing to get richer, and everyone else getting poorer, indefinitely. Nothing could to go wrong with that plan.

I understand rewarding an insightful inventor with tons of money for some world-changing technology. I don't understand very well why his great-great-grandchildren need to be rewarded at the same level.
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Old 11th June 2019, 05:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I understand rewarding an insightful inventor with tons of money for some world-changing technology. I don't understand very well why his great-great-grandchildren need to be rewarded at the same level.
Because private property is a thing. And most people through most of history have considered providing for their descendants after their death to be one of the most meaningful dispositions of their private property.

Not understanding this is, I think, an anti social trait.

And also a communist trait. But I repeat myself.

---

I think a lot of the anti inheritance attitude is rooted in a belief that individual wealth belongs to the state, and that the individual is merely borrowing it. They're supposed to return it to its rightful owner, not pass it on to their family and friends.

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Old 11th June 2019, 05:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Yeah, I suppose there's no choice except for an increasingly tiny fraction of the very rich continuing to get richer, and everyone else getting poorer, indefinitely. Nothing could to go wrong with that plan.
Income inequality is increasing dramatically but that doesn't translate into everybody else getting poorer. The poor are getting richer too, just at dramatically lower rate. Poverty measured globally and poverty in the US are on the decline. Inequality has its own issues for sure.
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Old 11th June 2019, 06:11 PM   #6
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Yeah, it's all getting better, isn't it.
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Old 11th June 2019, 06:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Because private property is a thing. And most people through most of history have considered providing for their descendants after their death to be one of the most meaningful dispositions of their private property.

Not understanding this is, I think, an anti social trait.

And also a communist trait. But I repeat myself.

---

I think a lot of the anti inheritance attitude is rooted in a belief that individual wealth belongs to the state, and that the individual is merely borrowing it. They're supposed to return it to its rightful owner, not pass it on to their family and friends.
It's about meritocracy.
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Old 11th June 2019, 06:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
Income inequality is increasing dramatically but that doesn't translate into everybody else getting poorer. The poor are getting richer too, just at dramatically lower rate. Poverty measured globally and poverty in the US are on the decline. Inequality has its own issues for sure.
I don't think it's a good metric to merely consider the two extremes (rich vs poverty); after all, isn't the American middle class shrinking? And doesn't that support Myriad's point?
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Old 11th June 2019, 06:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
It's about meritocracy.
I doubt it. But make your case.
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Old 11th June 2019, 07:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I doubt it. But make your case.
Being born to rich parents is not a meritorious achievement under any standard.
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Old 11th June 2019, 10:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Now that new, improved Socialism 2.0 is here thanks to Bernie Sanders and AOC, can the updated communism be far behind? No, thanks to the New York Times' opinion page.
He calls it "Fully Automated Luxury Communism".

I call it Techno-Utopianism.

The main problem as I see it with Techno-Utopianism (like what the author describes) is that it makes a lot of assumptions about the future which may or may not come to pass. Another problem is a naive view of human nature. Even if we had all the technologies necessary for a Techno-Utopia, I worry that people would still mess it up anyway because there are too many idiots and megalomaniacs and anti-social types and so on.

Still, I do hope that it comes to pass some day, and not some kind of Techno-Dystopia like in every episode of Black Mirror. If the Chinese rule the world in the future, just imagine that kind of surveillance state.

Rather than abolishing Capitalism, make Capitalism obsolete, I say. Make it so that everyone has their basic needs met, and let Capitalism take care of things that aren't basic needs: art, entertainment, luxury goods, etc. Capitalism needs consumers, and consumers need money.
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Old 11th June 2019, 11:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Because private property is a thing.

Indeed, it is! Liberty, Equality and Private Property: As Good As Their Reputation?
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Old 12th June 2019, 01:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
Being born to rich parents is not a meritorious achievement under any standard.
The merit that is being rewarded in that case is the merit of the parents who earned the property that they passed on to their children.
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Old 12th June 2019, 02:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
The merit that is being rewarded in that case is the merit of the parents who earned the property that they passed on to their children.
That's not how meritocracy works.
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Old 12th June 2019, 02:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
That's not how meritocracy works.
Meritocracy doesn't allow for the giving of gifts?
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Old 12th June 2019, 02:28 AM   #16
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An economy based on allocations by A.i. might potentially be much less wasteful than a market economy.
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Old 12th June 2019, 03:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
Income inequality is increasing dramatically but that doesn't translate into everybody else getting poorer. The poor are getting richer too, just at dramatically lower rate. Poverty measured globally and poverty in the US are on the decline. Inequality has its own issues for sure.
Except of course they are, because wages are stagnant adjusted for inflation and things like housing, medical care and education are inflating far faster than inflation. But never let facts get in the way of ideology.
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Old 12th June 2019, 03:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Meritocracy doesn't allow for the giving of gifts?
But then we can't pretend individual merit matters all that much when it can be purchased by your parents.
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Old 12th June 2019, 03:12 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I understand rewarding an insightful inventor with tons of money for some world-changing technology. I don't understand very well why his great-great-grandchildren need to be rewarded at the same level.
I lived my first 31 years in a socialist regime. One of joke that was going around (and for which you could go to jail) was:

"Do you know why we are building Communism for our kids?"
"Because the brats don't deserve anything better!"
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Old 12th June 2019, 03:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Meritocracy doesn't allow for the giving of gifts?
Meritocracy allocates wealth and power according to ability. Inhereted wealth (which means inhereted power) skews that.
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Old 12th June 2019, 05:51 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
That's some dense language that seems to be being used point out what many have observed more clearly for a long time- it's a dog eat dog world.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:01 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
Meritocracy allocates wealth and power according to ability. Inhereted wealth (which means inhereted power) skews that.
The ability to do what, though? Seems like the answer is that "meritocracy" allocates wealth and power to those with the ability to accrue wealth and power. A bit circular, no?

I have been in sales for a number of years, working for people of varying levels of integrity.
My job is to motivate people to pay more than they "should" for things. Of late I have questioned why being "stupid" is considered such a character flaw that our culture approves of the "smart" preying on them.
Is it illegal, or immoral, to be less smart than I am?
Why am I-and those that I work for- rewarded for being able to outsmart someone else in a particular transaction to their detriment? Is that truly "merit"?
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
The ability to do what, though? Seems like the answer is that "meritocracy" allocates wealth and power to those with the ability to accrue wealth and power. A bit circular, no?
Sure, absolutely.

Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
I have been in sales for a number of years, working for people of varying levels of integrity.
My job is to motivate people to pay more than they "should" for things. Of late I have questioned why being "stupid" is considered such a character flaw that our culture approves of the "smart" preying on them.
Is it illegal, or immoral, to be less smart than I am?
Why am I-and those that I work for- rewarded for being able to outsmart someone else in a particular transaction to their detriment? Is that truly "merit"?
I dunno. I think it's morally wrong. I don't think much of meritocracy myself. In my ideal world, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need would be law.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Meritocracy doesn't allow for the giving of gifts?
Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
Meritocracy allocates wealth and power according to ability. Inhereted wealth (which means inhereted power) skews that.
You have to ask if we're truly living in a meritocracy to begin with.

I am a believer in private property and that people should be able to pass most of their wealth to their heirs. But for the very wealthy at least, I also think it's fair for the government to take a haircut, above say, 5 million.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:12 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Now that new, improved Socialism 2.0 is here thanks to Bernie Sanders and AOC, can the updated communism be far behind? No, thanks to the New York Times' opinion page.

... remainder snipped for brevity ...

Let's remember that the last time communism was tried on a vast scale, it couldn't even provide fruit, let alone the fruits of technology.
Well, ...

Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:13 AM   #26
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Im a pretty extreme libertarian. The notion that property rights include the ability to dictate it's disposition after death is not given.

When you are dead, you don't own the stuff anymore (but neither does the government).
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:14 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
You have to ask if we're truly living in a meritocracy to begin with.

I am a believer in private property and that people should be able to pass most of their wealth to their heirs. But for the very wealthy at least, I also think it's fair for the government to take a haircut, above say, 5 million.
I don't see the US as a meritocracy. It's the great American myth. The US is an oligarchy.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:15 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
I don't see the US as a meritocracy. It's the great American myth. The US is an oligarchy.
How do you figure?
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Rather than abolishing Capitalism, make Capitalism obsolete, I say. Make it so that everyone has their basic needs met, and let Capitalism take care of things that aren't basic needs: art, entertainment, luxury goods, etc. Capitalism needs consumers, and consumers need money.


This. The underlying problem here is that both communism and capitalism were developed in a world in which material wealth was fundamentally limited. When faced with the problem that we can't make everyone rich, what do you do?

In capitalism, you say, fine, let everyone compete, and some will be rich, some will be middle class, and some will be rat-ass poor. In communism, you say, fine, let's make everyone equally not-quite-rat-ass poor.

But in a post-scarcity economy, that problem simply doesn't exist. Given sufficient technology, we could make everyone "rich". That is, adequate housing, food, entertainment, fulfilling work/hobbies, and what not.

The problem is how to get from here to there.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:33 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
How do you figure?
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

Quote:
Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
Quote:
Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.
Quote:
When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:38 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
Sure, absolutely.



I dunno. I think it's morally wrong. I don't think much of meritocracy myself. In my ideal world, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need would be law.
That's a pretty vague motto.

Their ability to do what? Lie convincingly? Beat people up? Tap dance?

And "need"is also problematic, although less so for obvious reasons- water,food,air being necessary to sustain life.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:41 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
Income inequality is increasing dramatically but that doesn't translate into everybody else getting poorer. The poor are getting richer too, just at dramatically lower rate. Poverty measured globally and poverty in the US are on the decline. Inequality has its own issues for sure.
Nope.

Quote:
...in the years since 1996, a new group of
American poor has emerged: families with children who are living on virtually no income—$2 or less per person per day in a
given month. These are America’s “extreme poor.” The U.S. official poverty line for a family of three would equate to roughly $17
per person per day. What scholars call “deep poverty”—incomes
at less than half the poverty line—is about $8.50 per person per
day,
over four times higher than our cutoff. This new group of
American poor, the extreme poor, are likely experiencing a level
of destitution not captured in prior poverty measures, one that
few of us knew even existed in such a rich country.
The purpose of this article is to expose the rise of extreme poverty and to examine how the safety net is—or is not—addressing
it. We cannot fully address why extreme poverty is on the rise, but
it may well be related to the landmark 1996 welfare reform
Quote:
Trends in Extreme Poverty
Are more people in extreme poverty now than 15 years ago? No
matter which of the three measures we use, the answer is yes
Quote:
The bottom line is that extreme poverty has grown sharply
since welfare reform.
And though means-tested public programs
have done much to stem the tide, growth in extreme poverty is
still substantial even after accounting for major federal meanstested transfers.
https://inequality.stanford.edu/site...haeferEdin.pdf
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:46 AM   #33
uke2se
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
That's a pretty vague motto.

Their ability to do what? Lie convincingly? Beat people up? Tap dance?

And "need"is also problematic, although less so for obvious reasons- water,food,air being necessary to sustain life.
It's from Marx. It has to do with those who are able to taking care of those who aren't able. Basically describing a decent society.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:46 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And most people through most of history have considered providing for their descendants after their death to be one of the most meaningful dispositions of their private property.

Not understanding this is, I think, an anti social trait.
I doubt most people throughout history have had much of anything TO pass down to their kids, much less enough to qualify as "providing for their descendants after their death."

Your sentence might be accurate if it read "Most fantastically wealthy members of the hereditary aristocracies through most of history have considered providing for their descendants after their death to be one of the most meaningful dispositions of their private property", though.
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Old 12th June 2019, 06:59 AM   #35
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Perhaps there's a difference between Granny leaving you $2000 and her good china and Mrs Vanderbilt leaving you three mansions and $200,000,000? Unless it's very good china indeed.
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Old 12th June 2019, 07:38 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
This. The underlying problem here is that both communism and capitalism were developed in a world in which material wealth was fundamentally limited. When faced with the problem that we can't make everyone rich, what do you do?

In capitalism, you say, fine, let everyone compete, and some will be rich, some will be middle class, and some will be rat-ass poor. In communism, you say, fine, let's make everyone equally not-quite-rat-ass poor.

But in a post-scarcity economy, that problem simply doesn't exist. Given sufficient technology, we could make everyone "rich". That is, adequate housing, food, entertainment, fulfilling work/hobbies, and what not.

The problem is how to get from here to there.

We should table this question for about 90 years, until we're no longer dependent on fossil fuels for our "post-scarcity" condition. By then a lot of currently entrenched oligarchies will be gone, and the population will be more environmentally sustainable.
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Old 12th June 2019, 07:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Because private property is a thing
So is feudalism.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
most people through most of history have considered providing for their descendants after their death to be one of the most meaningful dispositions of their private property.
AKA feudalism.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think a lot of the anti inheritance attitude is rooted in a belief that individual wealth belongs to the state, and that the individual is merely borrowing it.
No, it comes form the historical perspective that feudal societies are an anathema to both freedom and economic success. Modern free societies heavily based on merit, not something you have inherited form some ancestor 20 generations back.
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Old 12th June 2019, 07:48 AM   #38
The Great Zaganza
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The one thing parents have provided to their children, historically, is their profession and social rank.
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Old 12th June 2019, 07:56 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
Being born to rich parents is not a meritorious achievement under any standard.
Agreed. But I invtited you to make a case that "it's all about meritocracy." Why should I care that inheritance isn't based on merit, if "it" (whatever "it" is) isn't actually "all about" merit-based inheritance.

My original statement was that gifting your descendants with your wealth has been an important value in most cultures throughout human history. This concept of the value of inheritance is not all about meritocracy.

So maybe you should start making your case by explaining what "it" is, in your "it's all about".
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Old 12th June 2019, 08:08 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
In my ideal world, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need would be law.

I have extensive abilities but relatively small needs. I've therefore chosen employment that satisfies me emotionally and morally, but is only minimally "productive" (and commensurately, only minimally rewarding) economically.

The present system therefore regards me as an underachiever, which can feel a bit insulting, but it makes no attempt to intervene against my own preferences.

Your "ideal world" would demand more from me based on my ability, yet based on my needs, would provide no additional reward. Therefore if someone should attempt to impose it on me, I'd instead apply those same abilities to thwarting them.
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