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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 15 2013: Ms Donovan, respectfully, I was off-topic to begin.
    Commentaries I read, pulled that blurb out, I think.
    "Would the world keep running without capitalistic incentives that increase the separation between rich and poor?"
    Yes, in spite of the bourgeoisie or the lower echelon people. Workers or non-workers. My presumption being; any given group of people, when faced by a common or uncommon need will do what they must to make it happen(survive). Be it cave dwellers or Marxist kingpins, social value goes out the window when you get right down to it. One may lay and starve or adapt by whatever means, and "oddly" some form of capitalism is usually involved in such evolution of fulfilling need. It "seems" as a society evolves, man's ego does as well, and thus begins the groundwork for social-strata, association, assimilaton and other inate and learned behaviors. I hope I haven't missed the point

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