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Luke Hutchison

TED Fellow, Google

TEDCRED 50+

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Is capitalism sustainable?

Bono stated in his TED2013 talk that the numbers show that we can eradicate all poverty worldwide by 2030. While I really hope that is true, it begs the question: Is capitalism sustainable? Is it possible to have a rich and middle class without a poor class? The sad reality of capitalism is that if there is an exponentially small number of people with exponentially large wealth, there has to be an exponentially long tail of much poorer people who are each contributing to that wealth. Not that we necessarily need an exponentially small number of people with exponentially large wealth, but would the world keep running without capitalistic incentives that increase the separation between rich and poor? Can we eradicate all poverty without the rich sharing their riches? What happens to civilization when nobody is willing to work in the factories and orchards, or build roads?

(Please don't take this question the wrong way! Personally I wish that nobody had to work menial jobs. I just don't understand how we can eradicate poverty when so many jobs will always translate into low-paid labor.)

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  • Feb 27 2013: To-- Luke,
    You stated that "Personally I wish that nobody had to work menial jobs."

    I don't think that eradicating poverty is possible in today's US capital based society.
    The argument that there is no better system, is false.
    There really is, but we must lead congress to the right answer.

    Corporate and Political reforms are unpopular, and our Congress must
    first be convinced to act to correct our basic system of Commerce.
    Elimination of Limited Liability Laws, the carrot to keep successful
    Corporations within US borders. They have been copied by foreign nations,
    who daily offer successful Corporations larger carrots.

    And Congress must somehow be convinced to eliminate nation-wide
    those 24/7/365 Lobbies which have paved the way to political riches
    with their golden bribes.
    An Example--
    The 1974 ERISA Act allowed pension fund savings to be taxed upon retirement when
    the retiree might be in a lower tax bracket. Banks, Insurance Corporations, and
    Financial Funds of every ilk, armed with a 10% penalty for early withdrawals ran
    daily full page ads for individual retirement account savings.

    It took about 20 years of intense Wall Street Bank Lobby efforts to get the Banks deregulated.
    Quickly Banks were solicited to invest into those murky High Risk circular Investments of Wall Street. .

    We call that -- a Bail Out of Banks that were deemed To Big to Fail.
    I call it, Jesse James rides again.

    Major University Law graduates head for Washington to get rich quick, and they have.
    Intel-Politicians, are today, actually rewriting 250 years of world history since 1760.
    (Better get an older world history book now, before they disappear, because they will.)

    However, unless the Media can become the people's willing partner, it cannot be done.
    Only 2 political parties select electable Politicians that run for office. Two choices only.
    The media works ONLY for the 2 political parties that pay their advertising bills 24/7/365.

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