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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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  • Mar 14 2013: Capitalism is responsible for the Culture of what our Political System is today. While you try to blur the lines between the "Barter" system and Capitalism, it cannot be done. And do you seriously believe people have to be told what is right and what is wrong?? Now this is where our natural instincts do kick in! Humans quickly understand our environments and discern the what is or is not right. What they have to be taught is there is "Consequence" for such actions and why. The real question is why do so many continue to steal knowing there is such consequence? Because deep inside people long to operate outside the system we have in place!! "Get over on the system!"
    Mike you make the assumption, even-though I stated just the opposite, that a child would be "told" what to be. And that is not it at all! In fact it would be completely the opposite. Children would have exposure to many things during their formative years. Adults would help to pay attention to the child's development and help recognize their 'gifts' and make sure to expose them to things that also compliment those gifts. Support roles in our society would have as much weight as principles roles. Schools can be geared towards learning skills at a much younger age, because we are no longer Test Score Driven. We could have rotation systems in which everyone gets a chance to enjoy sitting in the box at a ball game or on the front row. While many things will have to ironed out, as it stands, the human being who asks not to be born, is worth very little at birth if they are of a struggling family. In fact, people kill their children because the money they have to spend to take care of it is just not there. When will human life become more important than money? When money no longer exists.
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      Mar 14 2013: What if all these untold children in your scene all decided to be computer programers, or game creators, or just sit on the couch? Who produces the food, the clothing, the shelter for that generation or the next. I read Bradfords Diary many years ago. The story of how the first full year in the new world they plowed and planted as a community, and that winter almost starved to death. The next year, they parceled out the land snd seed according tof the size of each family, and basicly said "sSink or swim on your own!" The result was a bumper crop! When people understood that their lives depended on their own work, they worked!

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