william clegg


This conversation is closed.

Should we view wealth hoarding as dysfunctional as any other form of hoarding?

We tend to view those who acquire and accumulate "stuff" endlessly as hoarders who are dysfunctional and requiring health care assistance. Therefore, those whose lives are an endless accumulation of wealth and who use that wealth for little more than acquiring ever more "stuff" and/or endlessly stimulating as many pleasure centers as they can as often as then can seem to fall into that dysfunctional category.

Closing Statement from william clegg

We had quite a lively debate ensued on this topic. The majority of comments suggest that hoarding wealth is, in fact, dysfunctional and many offered insightful ways in which they saw that dysfunction being played out in the real world. They also point out that the harm caused by a wealth hoarder is generally imposed upon their community while for other forms of hoarding it is the hoarder themselves who bears the brunt of that behaviour.

There were a few who were opposed to the hoarding label and who appeared to have no problem with the endless accumulation of wealth, largely because they seem to believe that the wealth was still being invested but offered no validation of this premise. As well that seems to be a rather specious argument if all the investing does is acquire more wealth.

It was pointed out a number of times that hoarding can have very real health issues involved, both psychological and physical. However, whether those health issues are as problematic for the wealth hoarder who has estates with lots of gates, security and staff to hide behind as they are in the poor and middle class who are far more visible is uncertain. Although the number of wealthy celebrities who have overdosed on drugs and/or alcohol abuse may be one indicator.

But the most humorous comments appeared to take real umbrage with the mere suggestion that wealth was being hoarded and even employed old 20th century commie fear mongering to make their - rather dull - point. .

It seems that for the majority of contributors hoarding is hoarding and as such is as dysfunctional as other forms of hoarding but that we all experience the consequences of that dysfunction. .

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    Oct 24 2013: I think we have two separate concepts here.

    1. Does excessive self-indulgence qualify as a dysfunction?
    2. Does excessive self-indulgence hinder the progress of others?

    Spending money on yourself isn't indicative of a dysfunction. However, when the behavior begins to have negative impacts on the person, and the person refuses to correct the problem it becomes a dysfunction.

    Let's look at the latter in a different way. Does the accumulation of wealth by a select group hinder the progress of others? We need to ask ourselves a couple questions.

    1. Does this accumulation of wealth inhibit others from achieving the same state?

    2. Does the system itself have the capacity for all people to achieve the same state.

    Let's look at it like this.

    (++++++++++) Total resources available.

    (Poor(+) ------------- Middle Class (++) --------- Upper Middle Class (+++) ------------------ Rich (++++))

    The resource distribution makes it difficult to achieve states that are too far away from our starting point.

    Resource distribution.

    ((Rich) -----+++-------> (Upper Middle Class) -----++--------> (Middle Class) ------+---------> + (Poor))

    Hoarding assets disrupts the supply chain. It narrows the funnel in which the rich should be supplying increased assets down the pipeline. This is not happening.

    I don't see it as a dysfunction for the individual. However, it does create a very dysfunctional society.

    The only viable argument is that this system increases innovation by providing companies increased assets to create new products and hire more people.

    This argument is flawed. An increase in the distribution of assets would allow more people to start new businesses, grow existing businesses, and progress as individuals. This would increase innovation and social progress across the board.
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      Oct 24 2013: thank you for clarifying and expanding upon the question I posed. Obviously you have thought this through and you have preesented an insightful and unique perspective to the discourse.
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    Oct 23 2013: I wouldn't view wealth hoarding alone as dysfunctional unless it is accompanied by neglect towards other responsibilities- responsibility towards family, humanity and also nature. If a person can keep balance between these aspect of life (which I would think would be very difficult as hoarding is a preoccupation) I wouldn't view hoarding as an issue.

    Wealth however, should always remain a means and should not become an end in itself. Means to developing ones capacity and the capacity of others so that we can all become agents of change.
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      Oct 23 2013: excellent points and I agree that it is the dysfunction that is at issue here and we already view other kinds of hoarding as dysfunctional so why not wealth hoarding. It would seem that the type of sharing you talk about is the antithesis of hoarding.
  • Oct 22 2013: People seem to be 'judged' by how useful they are, not how much stuff they have. There is nothing wrong with having stuff and even a lot of stuff, if we share what we have. In fact this also applies to knowledge.

    The more we focus on ourselves, and our stuff, the more selfish and less human we become.
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      Oct 22 2013: Thanks Adriaan, the use of 'useful' is also relevant to the question I posed where the hoarder does nothing with the wealth but simply acquire more and more and endlessly indulge in pleasure center stimulus of which mere acquisition is a big part.

      your right of course, sharing is essential to usefulness from a community perspective and selfishness is not since it abrogates social responsibility. .
  • Oct 23 2013: I've asked this question before: Why do you need all that moolah?

    It is my right
    This is a free country
    None of your business
    No one can tell me what to do
    You are a communist

    All these answers just from asking a question. Not from a threat of taking their money away.
    They are a sensitive lot. Quite fearful.....like everyone else.

    I would examine the great dysfunction and crisis in Consciousness as it manifests in humans as a whole. That includes everyone, my friend. Turn the microscope inward. IN is the only way OUT.
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      Oct 23 2013: a 'great dysfunction' which is perpetuated in the way many celebrate and even idolize the hoarders of wealth
    • Oct 24 2013: good point. those are all really non-answers though aren't they, it's more about what they are not doing than what they are. people who are ridiculously wealthy but keep trying to get more are acting the same as if someone were to get to the front of the line and get their meal, but then just stay there.

      here in japan when you climb mount fuji there's a limit to the time you can stay at the top, because of course other people also want to see the view from the summit. can you imagine if someone whose time was up was asked to please start making their way back down the mountain answered "it's my right, it's a free country, you're a communist"? yet somehow when it's the same situation but in a different setting, somehow it's perfectly natural that they stay there earning most of the money so there's less for everyone else.
      • Oct 24 2013: Interesting point. We have a similar set-up in California (Half Dome in Yosemite). One purchases tickets in order to climb it....I believe on a raffle basis.

        But, point well taken on my non-answers.

        my point: It is easy to cause ripples and disturbance in the Quality of Consciousness in individuals simply by examining their life with their knowledge and awareness that the examination is taking place. Asking questions directly of them about how they live their life. Seeking understanding is sufficient. No action is required. No judgement is required. No hostility is required. Only open and very clear questions.......regardless of where on the spectrum that individual resides.

        In dialogue that is open and leaves nothing to defend, much can be discovered. In this enquiry we end up learning more about ourselves. We learn that everyone, pretty much without exception, has Fear & Scarcity issues. Everyone projects their ego as a defense.

        A war on wealth might be similar to the War on/of Terror or the War on/of Drugs or the War to Suppress the Mind via the American Education System and the Media Industrial Complex........a furthering fragmentation of consciousness.
        • Oct 24 2013: i'd very much like that to be true, but we live in a world where people choose to take more than their fair share even when they fully understand what they're doing and what it means to the people they're doing it to. understanding isn't only enough when the person is reasonable.
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    Oct 23 2013: envy is your sin
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      Lejan .

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      Oct 23 2013: Normally dysfunctionality is nothing to envy
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        Oct 23 2013: the fox and the grapes
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        Oct 23 2013: never too late
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        Oct 23 2013: if i'm your sole source of information, you are screwed. come on, learn to use google. you are young, you can learn new things!
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          Lejan .

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          Oct 23 2013: i am just not interested, thats all

          and what is a google?
        • W T

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          Oct 23 2013: Every once in a while, I don't mind getting my hands dirty Krisztian.....shhh, don't tell anyone.
        • W T

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          Oct 23 2013: Let me reply here again to your other comment below.....Yes, I agree with you. I did some light reading on hoarding.......and usually this kind of behavior has to do with keeping things even after they are no good. With money, it is a totally different thing.

          I know people who don't want to spend 5 cents on a piece of candy. They rather go without the candy because saving money is an obsession.

          With money hoarding, the kind of money that some regular 9-5 working class people might hoard, it is viewed as OCB....Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. Sadly, I know people like that........sometimes hoarding might be a sign of a dementia as well (in the elderly). I have friends who have dealt with this type of illness in their loved ones.

          I cannot state more, because I lack the knowledge.
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          Oct 23 2013: Thank you for getting me interested and for your explanation!

          Now I assume I am this fox in Krisztián's view, yet if I was unable to recognize that I can't get what I desire (grapes) any analogy wouldn't help my fox-wish either, would it? ;o)

          Or am I the grape? See, I am getting confused now! :o)

          But this is just the usual game between Krisztián and me. We confuse each other either on purpose or even without, which can be quite entertaining at times and thats what keeps us going. :o)

          Also Krisztián has a very very very long 'to do list', which does neither allow to read long comments, nor to write long comments, which makes me think he would probably be more happy on twitter than on TED, yet he might just not know about the paradise of the '140 characters' limit ... ;o)

          I don't know if there is another analogy within the animal kingdom regarding awareness of being contempt towards others, but from my experience, if there is any, it may well help to bring in another fox ... :o)

          And since I learned the following form Mary M. here on TED, I just can't help it to let the fox speak for himself:



          Thanks again, Carolyn, for your help!
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          Oct 23 2013: Carolyn, you might find it interesting to scam through my conversation of Knowledge being a Curse........a lot of insights have been brought out regarding what one does with knowledge.............

      • W T

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        Oct 23 2013: Huh......foxes make their appearance again on TED.....well, wadda you know.

        Here.....a lesson on Aesop's Fables.........short and sweet:


        This story helped create the American saying...."sour grapes".
        Meaning that, when people show they don't care for something, it is usually because they cannot have it. The are really envious/jealous.

        I think that is why Krisztian gave his insightful comment above........Envy is your sin.

        He was alluding to the fact that some people might view wealthy people are hoarders of money. And, he is saying, with his short comment, that since you cannot possess the money yourself, you call them a name............."hoarder". But at the root of the name is a feeling........envy.
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          Oct 23 2013: the american saying is also a hungarian saying, if you encode it "savanyú a szőlő" :)

          thanks for doing the dirty work for me!
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          Oct 23 2013: And how does this analogy pair with dysfunctional behavior?

          As little I know about Krisztián's world view, it seems to me, that dysfunctional behavior in this context is rather promoted than ever questioned. Thus, and to diffuse any form of critical thinking, further investigations and reflections have to be branded and coined as 'bad' and this as soon as possible and wherever it happens.

          This is why he is using the terms 'envy' and 'sin', because by our cultural background nobody likes to be or to appear envy or sinful.

          This method is not new and often used to prevent uncomfortable questions, justifications or even worse.

          In some parts of the world one can even end in jail when certain 'taboos' are touched and all of them are in direct relation to the maintenance of power. Politically, economically and religious.

          The 'fox' is just a mild form of it, yet clever, as it comes with an auto-redirect protection mechanism who scares those who don't detect the mechanism.

          As our species has gatherers DNA, hording is almost part of our instincts and thereby prone to develop abnormalities and uncontrolled behavior, which I consider dysfunctional and this without any envy or sin attached to it.

          When someone is hoarding beer mats or stamps from all over the world, we call him/her a 'collector' and someone who smiles about it or finds it odd we wouldn't call a sinner, because it wouldn't make sense in the context, provided, he isn't interested in beer mats or stamps himself and thereby a collector as well.

          Yet when it is about money, as you rightly stated, it gets assumed, that all of us are collectors as well and we get therefore coined as sinful and enviousness the very moment we start asking questions about hording it.

          I agree that from a collectors perspective it might seem odd as well, that my use of beer mats is to save the table underneath my glass, yet hording beer mats usually doesn't hurt other people, so I don't mind him/her doing it.

          to be continued
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          Oct 23 2013: Yet if he/she would start to sell anything else to gain more and more beer-mats to satisfy an endless desire for more, than it would begin to hurt the family, and this would be the point were hording gets out of control and becomes a dysfunctional behavior. Would we consider it sinful or enviousness if the family would start to question this sort of destructive behavior, or would be rather consider it helpful to get professional help for the collector who got out of control?

          It is the extremes which turns normal and harmless behavior into destructive ones.

          Now why cant we raise the same question on money?

          Why is any criticism of destructive hording in this area immediately branded and coined?
          Why do we accept gambling as addictive yet never question its influence on the stock-market?

          To effectively block this sort of criticism, you present the critics as little envious characters filled to their ears with their sins, and while doing so it keeps others to think the same way and more importantly, to ever get the idea to call for professional help.

          Quite simple strategy, effective as well, yet try not to buy it.
        • Oct 24 2013: i think you're lumping all earning of money into one basket. hoarding money and having money are 2 very different things, and to dislike one doesn't mean you are envious of the other.
      • W T

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        Oct 23 2013: Let me come back and say that hoarding is a dysfunctional behavior.
        We have watched many documentaries on this terrible illness.

        But never with money..........

        I do know that old timers, because of distrust, hid (hoarded) their money in the walls of their home.
        Some died and never told a soul where they kept it. Only to have it be discovered by the new home owners.
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          Oct 23 2013: if someone really wants to be super over precise, it is possible that someone is a pathologic hoarder of money. but that condition is rare, and probably nobody would open a conversation about them. maybe a psychiatrist, i don't know. i don't even know if it has been studied.

          when a layman talks about hoarders of money, he usually talks about CEOs and owners of huge companies. i doubt that anyone with a serious mental/behavioral condition of hoarding can become anything of the sort. the very essence of business is spending money. hoarders don't spend.
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          Oct 24 2013: ... shhh, don't tell anyone.

          I heard that! I mean, I read that! Which brings us back to the Entropy question ...

          lol ;o)
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        Oct 24 2013: Rats!!

        You know, people do hoard money. What is it about money that when you start to make lots of it you want more and more and more?

        I have seen this kind of obsession with all kinds of things......collectibles mostly......baseball caps, model airplanes, antique, perfume bottles, etc.......

        It is kind of an addiction..............Some people might just be addicted to money............or the things money can buy?

        What do you think of this?
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          Oct 24 2013: If hording money would be as harmless as hording beer mats for their beauty and fun, I wouldn't mind it much.

          Unfortunately, the hording of scarce items will consequently result in people who don't get to have them as well or to little to be of any real use.

          The problem of money is, that it is not only scares, yet only comes to live with its equivalent of dept. So ones it gets horded (or in this case increased), which is not as literally as Dagobert Duck does, than those who have it produce all of those who have to carry the dept of it.

          If goods and services were related to the time it takes to make them, and money just a medium for the exchange process, than hording would not be possible beyond anyones maximum time per day. So with little sleep one could hord a little more, yet never beyond the equivalent of 24 hours a day. So slightly more wealthy people would be slightly more tired. Thats it.

          But if you were to find this horded 1 million dollar in your drywall and would invest it in some company for interest, than you could cosily sleep on your sofa, while other people work for and in your interest. Some days later, you then have 1,05 million dollar while you were sleeping and the procedure goes on. This way, more and more people have to work more and more for your benefit and you are still in your pajamas. And this sort of hoarding creates a lot of tiered people, who get to work harder and harder and a view lucky people like you who 'found' the critical mass for the process to perpetuate itself for you by others.

          This sort of hording isn't just unfair, it also creates really difficult and even lethal conditions for the majority of people while a view get to decide if Monday is more suitable for a Ferrari or a Maserati ... :o)

          And no, I love my car and wouldn't change it, although I can't fix much on it on my own anymore ... lol :o)
      • W T

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        Oct 24 2013: I appreciate the explanation of the million dollars. And all the cause and effect relationships.

        I think that the hoarding of money is going to get worse. And I also think that the hoarding of gold has begun.

        On the weekend I listened to a program on addiction.
        In one of the pieces inside the show they discussed "cereals". Specifically three types of cereals that are only manufactured in the month of October. Do you know what people do with the cereals when they show up in the market?
        Here, you can listen to the three minute piece yourself....


        Perhaps with money it is the same. People are afraid it will run out? So they hoard it?

        This hoarding of money and your explanation kind of reminded me of Hans Rosling's talk "The magic washing machine" Have you seen it?


        {forgive my jumping around a bit in my thoughts......it is the connections I made....hope you are not dizzy}
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          Oct 24 2013: Dizzy or not I jump my best to keep up with you or close behind.

          The change in hording gold rather than money is only a matter of trust and stability of both of their values, thats all. And today any metal outweighs the value of paper, which was different in the past, where paper was very scarce and high in value.

          The serials example is actually exemplary for the driving force for hording, which is scarcity.
          Scarcity is also a dominating figure on how 'value' gets defined, which thereby links both of them together. Artificial scarcity is one way to manipulate prices and markets.

          For some reason my brother is an unlucky fellow if it is about products he really likes. As if by some magical force, any product he tries and falls in love with is doomed to vanish off the shelfs because they didn't turn out to be profitable for their producers.

          Chocolate, soft drinks, toothpaste, you name it. As soon as my brother gets to know and like them, those products will have a maximal life cycle of about one year and then they are finished. This causes my brother at times to hoard what ever he can find left of it, so at least he has a little longer to enjoy them.

          This only happened once with me and Cherry Coke, which I liked, than it was not available anymore in Germany and when it returned many years later, I liked it again. But I didn't hord anything when I knew it would go.

          Maybe this is because I have no 'collectors' DNA which my brother has, I don't know.
  • Oct 22 2013: interesting question! it's been clear for some time that we are missing out on many benefits by not having a 'salary cap'. every dollar that a person earns is a dollar someone else can't earn, so when someone already has more than they could possibly ever use, all they're really doing is blocking other people from also becoming wealthy. also when someone has that much money they can't really do much with it but keep it in stocks, gold, or whatever else, all of which effectively keeps that money out of the economy, meaning reduced sales and therefore profits world-wide from money being hoarded by people protecting their wealth. a good historical example is benjamin franklin. after becoming very rich through his very successful printing business, he retired and spent his time inventing, giving all his inventions to the world, patent-free.

    the same thing is true for patents and copyrights. i'm a teacher, and i learned a number of years ago that current teenage students have no idea what star wars is. around the same time i read a story in a newspaper about a guy who wanted to build a life-size at-at walker in his backyard for people to come and see, and george lucas protected his copyright, telling the man not to do it, and thereby completely shooting off his own foot. think of how many dads would've brought their kids to see it, and how many of those would've then wanted to know more about star wars, and how many new star wars fans would've emerged. there's a point where a movie, game, or product has made most of the money it's ever going to, and by protecting copyright we are actually blocking people who might have great ideas for spinoffs and sequels. as long as the law gives original creators a share of whatever these new works based on their ideas make (say 10%?) then why should copyright owners be able to block follow-on works even 10 years or more after their creation?

    by 'protecting' wealth, by failing to give way, we actually make less wealth.
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      Oct 22 2013: thanks Ben for your excellent response and insightful analogy. Anyone remember the brothers - Bunk? - in Texas who tried to hoard the world's silver supply?

      I also like the analogy of the town's apple tree. The tree is capable of producing enough apples for everyone to have some for themselves, but if one person takes half the apples the rest of the townsfolk will suffer as a result.
      • Oct 22 2013: good point with the apple tree. there are those that say well if he earned half the apples then it's not fair to prevent him from claiming them, to which i'd say what was he doing continuing to work after he'd earned a tenth of the apples?
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          Oct 22 2013: Of course, there would be no way one person could 'earn' half the apples if it is a community resource. At least, not without corrupting the community standards.

          However we are taking about wealth hoarding and there are countless billionaires and multi-millionaires who never "earned" a cent of the money. They either inherited it or scammed it in some boondoggle or crime.

          Consider the relatively recent U.S. financial fiasco where plunderers made off with trillions and taxpayers where left with the subsequent losses? Or the billions that criminal enterprises have netted over the years dealing in guns, drugs and slavery.

          Then there is the very real fact that a true Capitalist does not toil, their money toils for them through the enterprises they own. Sure they may put in time making deals here and there, but the wealth invariably flows from the enterprises and those who toil for them in those enterprises. This is their 'capital' and it is the minions that toil in those enterprises who create - but keep little of - the wealth which is part and parcel of that capital.

          So, have they truly "earned" the wealth?
      • Oct 22 2013: yes it depends entirely on how we define 'earn'. say someone owned all of the land in the village and 'earned' half the apples by allowing all residents to live on his land. less insightful people would probably call that a fair trade, because without this deal they wouldn't have anywhere to live. it's the same as the ridiculous suggestion that people should be grateful to their employer for paying them, because "without the employer you wouldn't even have a job!"

        a cap on income would pretty much solve this hoarding. there'd be no point buying more land to rent out because you couldn't earn any more from it, you couldn't pay employees less to fill the director's bonuses because they're already at the maximum, etc.
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          Oct 23 2013: I think a great start would be to stop treating the wealthy as if they were celebrities and according them special privileges. Personally I think trying to tax the income of the wealthy is a waste of time. there are just too many ways in which they can hide their money.

          But what about a 100^ luxury tax? Got a private jet or 150ft+ yacht or exotic automobile you want to land or operate in this country? Pay a premium for the privilege. Want that $50k pice of bling? its now #100k. And since so many wealthy love to brag about and/or flaunt the cost of their 'stuff' as a status symbol, such a tax would simply be supporting them in that process :)
      • Oct 23 2013: we actually have something like that in australia, a 25% luxury tax on anything over $50k. what happens is the companies that sell these more expensive goods then reduce their staff levels and pay them less, compared to cheaper competitors, and claim that they "have to" for their goods to remain competitive with those priced slightly cheaper. if we added a 100% luxury tax it'dbe handing the wealthy an excuse to pay their employees less: "because our cost of living just doubled!" this is why i think the only way round it is an income cap. and even that would be difficult.
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          Oct 23 2013: agreed, income inequality is becoming more and more of a problem especially since there are far more people than there are jobs for them. There is a movement afoot in a number of nations to implement a Basic and Guaranteed Income to ensure everyone has enough income to ensure they have food shelter and a modicum of comfort. Here is one I am familiar with
          Here is an interview with one of our senior senators on the subject

          Because of the kind of predatory, small minded profiteering you describe above it is time to view poverty and income inequality as threats to our basic freedoms. ,
      • Oct 24 2013: sure i agree with a minimum income, to which people can aspire to increase by working harder and smarter, but is that enough? what's to stop people from keeping employees on this minimum income even though their benefit to the company is much higher, just so they can keep more of the profit for themselves? over the last few decades productivity has increased as with new technology workers are able to make more in the same time, yet average wages have risen much less than this, and wealth at the top has increased many hundreds of times more than this. it's clear where the money earned from the workers producing more has gone. what will a minimum wage / guaranteed income do to address this?
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          Oct 24 2013: well, for me the main purpose of a min-com is to provide a citizen greater freedom of choice. unlike today an employee would not be completely at the mercy of such employers. The min-com could allow that person the freedom to leave the job if being mistreated or disrespected and to find something better. It would also allow a person the freedom to look after a sick or dying relative, to have as much time as they wish for grieving, to expand upon their education and training desires as a few examples.

          Of course all that would be dependent upon the structure and focus of the min-com legislation and the government in power at the time, but freedom can become a very contagious experience and not many politicians can long denying a freedom the people are clamouring for :).
      • Oct 24 2013: that's true, but it's still not a solution. people leaving a job where they're never offered a fair raise or a chance to get into the upper tiers because they're already occupied or soon filled by someone else who's already rich for a job where exactly the same thing happens isn't solving anything.

        a lot of people these days say well leaving a company to find a better one is great, but there aren't any better companies. there can't possibly be, because if there were that company's higher costs associated with giving their employees a fair go would put them at a competitive disadvantage. take america for example, you've got all those people claiming to be patriots and all about how great america is, but they'll fire their american countrymen at the drop of a hat if the opportunity to employ someone in another country for less is there. even if someone really did want to do the right thing they'd get voted out of the director's chair for not maximising profits and stock returns.
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          Oct 24 2013: Of course a min-com is but one form of greater economic freedom. But once the concept of freedom to choose how to spend your limited time on this planet catches hold others will figure out the rest of the pieces required for that freedom.

          In fact, there are already have a number of nations. albeit with smaller populations, where the nation's wealth pays for everything and every citizen shares in that largesse from health care and education to gas and housing.. That means that tens of millions already know and live freedom from the coercive "jobs" mantra. The seeds are planted. All they need is care and nurturing to blossom elsewhere :)
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    Nov 2 2013: This is a great show which puts financial dysfunction and hoarding in the spot light:-


    Episode 517 demonstrates systemic dysfunction...Also, why should people in Romania have to put their lives in front of the Chevron's fracking hell coming their way. The corporation and the financial parasites that feed upon destruction hoards oil and shale gas to exploit the market when the price is high, whilst the Romanian environment is historically utilized to hoard homegrown produce to survive.

    The share holders of Chevron don't have to tolerate the poisoning of the water table and destruction of the arable quality of life from the comfort of their affluent environ...would this qualify as theft in your mind?
  • Oct 31 2013: What gives you the right to say that hoarding is dysfunctional? If anyone wishes to collect mass quantities of anything that is their right as long as they do not engage in theft to do so.
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      Nov 2 2013: firstly, anyone has the right to label anything as they see fit. secondly, one can clearly exercise their rights and be dysfunctional in doing so. Drinking and eating to gross excess are two simple examples. Greed, no matter how it's dressed up, is dysfunctional, and should not be given a pass and rebranded as a mark of success.
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      Oct 28 2013: Thank you Carolyn for making this distinction. Your right about the differences and for me I suspect the real difference is simply one of a culturally shared perspective and little else. In words, a different attitude towards wealth and resources. .
    • Timo X

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      Oct 30 2013: It is interesting how Euro and- Americanocentrism can express itself as the glorification of 'native cultures' who are 'more in tune with their environment' and live in some sort of unspoilt paradise. Such people are in dire need of a history lesson.
  • Oct 27 2013: It's is important to differentiate ones that are good at managing money (and therefore wealthy) from others that have a pathological need to hoard money, such as the Molière's Miser.

    Placing every wealthy person in the second category sounds like a perilous anarchistic concept.
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      Oct 27 2013: which is why I singled out hoarders and, plunderers the more criminally inclined as examples.
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    • Timo X

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      Oct 27 2013: So the accumulation of wealth is a typically European phenomenon?
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    Oct 27 2013: In my view: hoarding has been happening and will continue to happen. since wealth is seen as a major incentive for any action or activity until we come to know a better alternative for hoarding wealth hoarding will continue. wealth represents a lot more than just money, it represents status, respect, pride, prestige and the most important one security. so the question is "Is there a better alternative?". cheers
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      Oct 27 2013: agreed, which begs the question WHY are the wealthy accorded any kind of status, respect or prestige in the first place?
      Beyond the hoarding issue, we have all kinds of historical evidence showing that many family fortunes and plenty of arrogant billionaires have been made by ripping off taxpayers through government boondoggles and criminal enterprises such as bootlegging during prohibition in the past and drug smuggling more recently. Then there are the countless stock and investment frauds perpetrated by crooks who then became "shrewd entrepreneurs' throughout the past century, but which pale in comparison to the more recent heist where corporate crooks robbed millions of investors of trillions of dollars and then the cost of that fraud was dumped in the laps of U.S. taxpayers by colluding politicians. What about those who did nothing to "earn" the wealth other than simply being born into it? .

      Surely wealth in and of itself is the poorest reason to accord honours such as prestige, respect or status without first determining just how that wealth was acquired?
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    Oct 26 2013: If wealth is a common idea applicably manifest in the reality we share, its democratic value as a measure of justice for all is in our ability to make it viable for purpose in function between the present populous and the future generation.

    Consolidated in the hands of the few, wealth is an unattractive, dysfunctional impediment to the terms and conditions of a fair and healthy social contract. Who under any democratic option, would choose to harvest wealth into the hands of a 1% class. . Problem being the ability to harvest wealth dominates the system function leading to money shortage and money printing which in turn leads to deflation, which directly impedes the spending power of the masses.

    The main asset of wealth known to me is the planet and it's surroundings, followed closely by the variation and diversity of species all gathered like lucky prisoners in the one penal colony doing time. If the wealthy knew they were wealthy from birth, would they tolerate the perversion of their time by the few hoarding the significance at a major cost to their credibility. If we ditch differentiation (discrimination) in pay and put all the money on equality, I think you would solve way more problems than you would create!
    • Oct 28 2013: In ancient Greece,

      (according to Bertrand Russel iirc) the measure of wealth was the amount of time a person could spend with his family, friends, drinking, contemplating etc,

      and the word cretin was originally used to describe people driven by their own selfish interests and little interest in common causes.

      I'd say it's a value problem, and probably should be treated as such and then other elements of the solution should fall in place spontaneously.

      Until the value system is shifted any other solution is doomed to corrupt itself irreparably and then regress into current or worse state of things, see eastern European communism, the early ideals, the later corruption and fall and the kind of capitalism it eventually generated as a historical example of this failed experiment.
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        Oct 30 2013: "There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance" - Ali ibn Abi-Talib

        "All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation" – Walter Benjamin

        Global equality is a value system in which humans are the principle intrinsic value of wealth, without prejudice within law as a rule, since, only humans can distribute the amount of time a person could spend with his family, friends, drinking, contemplating etc,. Whose rule of law is viable to decency, goodwill, civility, whose rule of law is real to common community wealth before private oligarchy?

        Whose right to wealth is right, whose right to poverty is right, whose right to common wealth as a common value system is overdue by several centuries, what is a good value and a bad value system in the undemocratically evolved / devolved state of things as they stand today?

        What is a fair, a responsible and a transparent value system of recognizable order and goodwill for the next generation? What should humans be responsible for, between work and education?
        What quantity of wealth as a reflection of financial income is quality or inequality of income and what feels right (the minimum wage, the living wage, the sustainable quality of life), what feels wrong, individual private financial independence and collective public financial accountability responsible for the credibility of a civilized agreement?

        Is individual negotiation for remuneration in work fit for purpose in relation to personal responsibility for individual carbon footprints or would a collective negotiation for remuneration in work define a community approach to the sustainable quality of life?

        Why should one human earn more or less than the next human in a community based value system?
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    Oct 25 2013: The way we have started to define "wealth" has been very problematic. Yes material wealth is important but whatever happened to "ethical and social wealth"? Shouldn't we be hoarding them as well. The good thing about trying to hoard them all is that you make this world a better place. When we defined poverty as only material wealth, the solutions we came up with took away the "ethical and social resources" of the "poor". We broke families and communities (rural migration) so that all could have material wealth (that's what we lied about). The whole plan from the beginning was so that some 20% could hoard the 80% of the resources of the planet and leave everyone poor in all aspects of life. We even made sure that quality education for "world leaders" was reserved for those who hoard material wealth.
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      Oct 24 2013: softcore option: take their wealth away, it just hurts them
      hardcore option: put them in a behavioral correction facility

      ps: for those that believe in fixing people against their will, i recommend reading up on the case of alan turing.
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        Oct 24 2013: But it is OK to fix people against their will the moment they take away some of your accumulated 'stuff' in despair of their survival, right?

        Would that be soft or hardcore by your definition?
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        Oct 24 2013: why is this OK but not the other?

        My book allows people in order to survive to take what they need from others who have more than they need to survive if they can not get it otherwise. Not in yours?
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        Oct 24 2013: Also in my book is the right of any community to fight anything and anyone destructive to it.
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        Oct 24 2013: ' ... that is the question?' - Yes

        'for example theft' - with named exceptions and dysfunctional hoarding, of course.
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      Oct 24 2013: So Theodor, how do you make your connection to what you heard somewhere, what you think is in my book and what I wrote what is in my book?
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          Oct 25 2013: I see what you mean now, it was my comment above the one on which you commented, which may have cause my confusion.

          Yes, thats in my book, yet it is just a small excerpt of it and came without much detail and context, what probably caused confusion as well.

          The term 'survival' is key and got nothing to do with hording, power, influence or any other agenda or interest. So in order to 'survive', humans need certain basics to be able to do so, and if for whatever reason they can not get it otherwise (via work, help, etc.) they are allowed to take it from others which have more than they need to secure their basics.

          In short, the protection of a human live has priority over the protection of private possession, at least in my book. Maybe the term 'Petty larceny of food' may explain better what my intention is. It is not to confuse with any ' ... minority to take whatever course of action it deems appropriate to safeguard its interests' beyond the needs for plain survival.

          Also dysfunctional hoarding on large scales by a minority could cause artificial shortages for a majority, which, even if it does not endanger their basic survival, allows the majority to secure their interest towards the minority. in my book, which is based on the fairness principle, yet this is where it usually becomes very difficult and highly depends on the conflict of interests itself.

          An artificial shortages on beer mats (as collectibles) has a different weight than an artificial shortages on rice, which may get bought and stored in large quantities by a few to artificially rise the price for rice for many. This sort of market manipulation has nothing to do with the original idea of markets and is therefore destructive for any society as it allows 'financial capital' to disturb the usual exchange of goods and services.
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          Oct 25 2013: I agree with what you say about acute poverty and that those people often lack the energy to claim their share for the basics. Yet this usually happens due to system failures within the political realm or due to force majeure, such as insufficient harvests due to weather conditions. For both the world usually reacts helpful to those in hunger and try to support the people in need by food care programs or educational help programs. But this is based on donations and not to help the poor in their behalf by plundering 'their' rich. Yet I would welcome a fair and equal world council, which would fight in their behalf if the cause of their suffering was based on a local corrupt political or economical system. I didn't say this comes without conflict, as it usually doesn't.

          Ideas are as easy as lip service, I highly agree. Yet if we don't have any ideas in our books, we wouldn't know what to do if the time has come to finally take action. Call it ideas, ideals, world view or morals - we should have them and hopefully never have any reason to act upon them, as when we do, things can become very messy.

          I was thinking about what would happen if the USA would stop their food stamps program to balance their recent budged 'theater' yet fundamental dept crisis, as never in the history of that nation before, so many people were depended on it. What would happen if millions of people wouldn't know how to get foot within a first world country. Would there be riots? Would they act before they are to weak from malnutrition? Would they act in accordance to my book and take from those who have more than they need for survival? Would they break into supermarkets or private homes in their search for food? I think they would. All of this would happen and this even pretty soon, because their 'collective memory' about 'good times' would directly bring them to action to fill their stomaches. This would cause instability within this society, which will be reason not to stop food-stamps.
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          Oct 25 2013: High obesity and criminal rates are no positive indicators for a healthy society. On the contrary, and both have their reasons within the current system.

          Studies in Germany showed, that obesity and crime is directly related to relative poverty, integration and education. And to break this link, one got to end poverty, re-integrate and increase education.

          Switzerland has just started a political debate weather or not a 'basic income' shall be introduced or not. If this finds their majority vote, this would mean, that every citizen would earn a basic income of 2.500 Euro per month and this regardless if they work or not. This would be a very interesting experiment to follow, how and in which way the society would change and this negatively as well as positively. Therefore I hope they decide for it, so all other nations could learn from it as well. And in case it doesn't work out as assumed, they can easily change it back at any time, because Switzerland is way more flexible as direct democracy as many other democracies we know of today. I for my part am very curious.
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          Oct 25 2013: Ah, I forgot to mention this, Switzerland is also going to decide democratically, to reduce the difference of the minimum wage and the maximum wage to a maximum of 12.

          This means, that the highest possible income could only be 12 times higher than the lowest possible income, which was 2.500 Euro a month if the basic income would pass as well.

          You can imagine that some people are not very happy about this idea, yet it remains to be seen, if those people are enough to form the majority vote.
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    Lejan .

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    Oct 23 2013: As part of the 'golden rule' I wouldn't mind wealth hoarding if it does not effect other people.
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      Oct 23 2013: a effect referenced by a number of our responders below :)
    • Oct 24 2013: me neither, but it does. a dollar paid to person A is a dollar that person B can't be paid.
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        Lejan .

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        Oct 24 2013: This is due to the fact, that money is deigned to be scarce and does not represent the equivalent of 'working hours' anymore. It can even 'work' on its own, which actually causes all the problems we observe.

        Its time for a remake, I think.
        • Oct 24 2013: i think i agree, money isn't the problem, a system where it's ok for it to be unfairly distributed is. just imo if a business increases profit by 10% it should be illegal to pay less than a 10% raise to all employees of that company, rather than what happens now where the directors take all the credit and the bonuses and the people who actually did the work are lucky to get a 2-3% raise.
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        Oct 25 2013: Absolutely, that why I think we should gradually change the usual corporations into workers cooperations, as it not only prevents wealth to distribute unevenly, but also comes with many other positive and stabilizing factors to benefit the overall common good.
  • Oct 22 2013: Assuming all they do is sit on their money and wait to die, then sure. Thing is though, most people of financial means aren't like that.

    Just because your net worth is x doesn't mean you have x dollars waiting in the bank doing nothing. The vast majority of it is typically invested in some thing or another, with a much smaller backup fund waiting in reserve in case the investments go south.
    • Da Way

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      Oct 22 2013: I agree with Nadav. If you sit on money like a hoader you don't actually get very far. Most of the super-rich are not dysfunctional, quite the opposite, they are very functional and they have a very dynamic relationship with their wealth. At the same time, most of these people have a good work/life balance. Once someone reaches financial independence, they either earn for fun/challenge or spend their time doing other things. I would imagine you dysfunctional 'money hoarder' would be quite rare.
  • Oct 22 2013: For some money and stuff are nothing more than a scorecard. What they seem to want is power - industrial, political, economic, etc. The money and stuff are after thoughts. If you include power, than I would agree with you.
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      Oct 22 2013: agreed, acquiring and hoard wealth invariably translates to power as well.

      And amazing enough, many willing surrender that power to them simply because they have accumulated wealth!
  • Nov 3 2013: I think wealth hoarding is dysfunctional because as many hoarders do they become more isolated and paranoid that someone will take what they value away.
    so many wealthy people in the post industrial revolution of the west they are addicted to stimulants because they live in the now and are competing with the other wealthy people who are only focusing on the now.; for these people money has become a way to measure winning. the rest of us it is survival.
    do the personalities of the extremely wealthy change or grow or are they psychologically suspended in a state of youth and ability
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    Oct 31 2013: Extremes tend to get labelled dysfunctional or exceptional.

    I guess it depends on how you value the outcomes and whether the process and outcomes provide some sort of net benefit, whether the behaviour is out of control like an addiction or obsession etc
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    Oct 30 2013: Hoarding of wealth is irrational, against Humanity and society laws. Become philanthropy, spread love and earn respect. After All, what are you going to take along with you be, courteous.
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    Oct 28 2013: If you are the 1% who hoard wealth,your view of wealth hoarding will be totally the other way around.
  • Oct 28 2013: As over the years we tend to try to solve the wrong problems. We know that the choice between right and wrong is an innate characteristic in us all. What we fail to recognize is that as long as we have free will we have the opportunity to choose corruption over other potential solutions. Removing the desire of choosing corruption is a multi-faceted problem. As a society first we have to choose to remove corruption from all areas of life:
    * People - As I stated above it is an innate characteristic. How do we eliminate the temptation of corruption?
    * Industry - How can we get the private sectors to police themselves to keep society safe?
    * Politics - Politics is about power and control. How do we remove the power and control from politicians?
    * Money - Of course it's all about money because money is seen as a way to gain power to most, rather than to give substance.
    * Recognition and Reward - We reward bad behavior because we set wealth and status above recognition of those that give service and sacrifice.

    We have had tremendous examples throughout time that have shown us how to live without corruption but, we are ourselves are unable to set the example because of the fear of falling behind those who are corrupt. As hard as we try, corruption still comes from within not from the outside. I can only control myself and set the example.
    It is a difficult problem and I believe can only be solved over time, but time is running out we need to act now by standing together for what’s right and accept nothing else.
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    Oct 28 2013: Hi William,

    Great question! I think it's imnportant at this time.

    To get any addition to the comments below, I think the concepts of wealth and hoarding need to be totally stripped down to their functional meanings. I'll have a go at that, and try to get some idea at the basic level:

    1. Hoarding. Lets assume that "hoarding" is simply to acquire a store of potential consumption.
    Why would you do that?
    The easiest answer is: to overcome a time where no acquisition is possible - for instance laying away a store of food for winter.
    In that light it's an act of expanding adaptability to encompass variability - e.g. seasonal.
    Not all variability is seasonal - for instance one might hoard food to survive the passing of war, or one might put-away money "for a rainy-day".
    2. Wealth might be described as the measure of acquired adaptability.

    Nothing can be said to be wealth if it is not potentially consumable. Marx called this "use value".

    However, there is also exchange value - and this can be hoarded as convertible wealth - same principle in practice, but exchange value is prone to speculation regardless of utility.

    The next question that needs to be answered is "wealth for who?".
    If the answer is a single individual, then it cannot be sustained by the community the individual inhabits. When personal wealth is hoarded, it is at the expense of the adaptability of the community.

    Then there is family hoarding or hoarding on behalf of any other subset of the community.

    All hoarding done by an individual or sub-community is at the expense of the community and should be viewed as dysfunctional by the community.

    And there we hit problems. IN this age in western culture, there is no such thing as a community. We live in artificial definitions such as suburbs, cities, towns, states and nations - none of these are real and all of them are dysfunctional.

    The measure of dysfunction is if it impacts community or not .. And you need a real community to know that.
    • Oct 28 2013: Mitch, it's not that there's no more communities, there's actually more communities then before (just not as tight-nit as before),

      global community, country community, state community, ...

      I'd say this particular dysfunction occurs in pretty much all of the top community concepts
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        Oct 28 2013: Hi Borna,

        Yes, I think you are spot-on there.

        We have lost the functional definition of community.
        Most of us participate in many disjunct partially functional ghost-communities in order to each cobble-together a fully functional life.

        I would define a tight community as one that caters to the entire needs-list of its members and can operate autonomously, but is enhanced by inter-community trade in surplus.

        Only the deeply tribal enjoy this level of community at the moment. We demonise such lifestyles, but I think they have lessons we should learn.

        Adding those lessons to our current knowledge might yield a far better social base by which to measure such issues as dysfunctional hoarding and social balance.

        It is my opinion that we have drifted too far from our default community forms - too far to use default community to grapple with our major modern dysfunctions - problems. that have been under control for hundreds of thousands of years - and only recently becoming species-threatening imbalance. I think that over-crowding communities has caused this - too much reliance on political/military strength over human values. There are better ways to do it.
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      Oct 28 2013: Thanks for fine job of defining hoarding and its variations. Your absolutely right about sustainability being central to the concept as well. Methinks this is where the real disconnect lies.
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        Oct 28 2013: Thanks William.
        I think the discussion gets mired in political assumption and in-between-line-reading of stuff that is not there.
        Hoarding is only dysfunctional if it harms others.
        As I say - it's an obvious method for gaining a wide margin of adaptability in the face of large variability of change. When resources are committed to infrastructure, they pass from adaptability to adapted - like when you build a house - it is built to the current range of variability - wind, rain, sun, flood, fire etc - and if the variability exceeds it, then it cannot adapt.
        There is a temporal factor to it - if you try to adapt to too-wide a period, then the range of adaptability will be enormous - and exceed any amount of committed resource .. Taleb describes this as fragility. WHereas a hoarded store of resource can be deployed in a finer, more adaptable measure for the shorter period. So the deployment of a hoard also affects the issue.

        Not sure if any of that makes sense.

        After the measuring-stick of the community, you also have to consider ecological services from the bio-diversity .. the community measure is somewhat vague, but it's better than the infinitely open measure of fractured humanity - and I think we get exploited via that deficit.
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          Oct 28 2013: The disconnect seems to be in whether the community has any input into the fate of its resources. While this might have been the case in the past, today politicians and political parties who can be bought and sold like trading cards along with companies that have absolutely no interest in communities other than as a labour resource and improving profit margins get to decide the fate of the community's resources.

          There used to be lots of small logging communities on the this Pacific west coast that had their own vibrant economies and practiced sustainable logging that would have guaranteed jobs for generations to come. Then the multi nationals moved in and recruited political support for clear cutting which became the norm and within a decade or two the forests were depleted, all the accessible premium wood was gone and then the mills and finally the towns shut down one after the other.
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        Oct 28 2013: Hi William,

        Yes - that's how it works when you shift governance from the community to the merchant.
        Mercantile processes are necessarily external to a community.
        If the community is functional, it only uses commodity trade outside of the community - trade in surpluses.
        Most functional communities don't even use money because they have an existing "strength-in-numbers" which is defended by unity. In fact, money is the chief instrument by which communities are fractured. Then, once money is established, armies can be paid.
        There is a non-monetary model that Genghis Kahn invented to unite the Mongol communities - plunder. But he did not try to fracture the tribes - they were maintained through the Kahn system of leadership.
        So there's the second instrument of fracture - warlord-chiefs.
        Once you have money and non-democratic leadership, you have the end of community - it bloats out like the big chicken-liver they kept in-vitro .. never stops growing .. but never becomes a chicken. Cancer does that as well.
        Community will self-maintain if the carcinogens are controlled.
        What we need is some kind of community immune response.
        If we don't develop one, the cancer of mercantilism will decide for us in the big collapse.
        Detroit is a good example of what happens in the collapse.
        I think it helps to keep communities small enough for everyone to know everyone - when they get too big, one is forced to tolerate strangers, and strangers cannot be trusted.
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          Oct 28 2013: I see online referendums helping to balance those agents of power and control you mentioned.

          i wonder if the online community is the new frontier? I live in a small community of 4,000 or so people and we have the local watering holes, market, community hall and 2 papers plus a very active gossip tree, so there is a lot of involvement in local issues.

          But it is Ted that gives me the opportunity to explore a better cross section of diverse observations and attitudes on a variety of issues. Something that would problematic to create and maintain with such a small population never mind on one's own in the real world.

          Both depend upon the sharing of ideas and opinions in aid of our never ending quest to understand. .
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        Oct 29 2013: Hi William,

        I think the internet is a new thing that we don't really understand yet.
        It has opportunities and dangers.
        But I think that if we get our physical communities strong, most of the dangers go away.
        Online democracy sounds like a great idea, but my experience in the computer industry gives me pause .. the technology is punctuated by layers of unaccountable techno-priesthoods - the programming languages are 3 or 4 layers above the truly opaque technologies of hardware and micro-code - and it is there that security is a joke - in amongst the registers and machine-codes, things can be done that no one will ever find-out.
        Every fortune-500 company has a skilled hacker on huge money with access to the top levels.. and even those guys can see only so much.
        Whenever there is motive to exploit, it will be exploited.
        So you address the motives.
        A community where everyone is known cannot be blind-sided. The rest just takes care of itself.

        I would hate to lose the amassed knowledge of the internet .. but I think of the library at Alexandria.

        We get the almost magical opportunity in TED and other such curators, to gain an overview never before possible - it is the task now to codify it all so it cannot be so easily lost.
        Community is the bedrock foundation and knowledge will be re-built from there .. but it takes thousands of years to recover from general collapse. The codification will shorten that period considerably - if community survives enough to host it.
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          Oct 29 2013: Yet it is the best alternative I have seen being offered as an alternative to the existing failed multi party, representative - that's a laugh - system.
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        Oct 29 2013: Imagine this form of democracy:
        There are no political parties - only civil projects.
        Online vote is by allocation of a mandatory flat-tax to projects at the voter's discretion.
        The tax works as a percentage of income - it is diverted to the tax-account upon input to an income account.
        No citizen can have any other account except the income account and the tax account.
        Voting is real-time - so there are no elections.
        Funds that remain in the tax account longer than a year are cancelled - destroyed, so they do not create a floating pool for corrupt exploitation. This also prevents inflation.
        Politicians then become project managers - the projects are presented online with full cost/benefit statements - these proposed projects are valid only for a year and have to be re-costed if target funding is not achieved.
        The voter is presented with a list of proposed projects, and can split funding over the list - in this way, only things important to the voter get funded.
        Any essential infrastructure project will remain on the list, and re-costed until the community decides the priority has become urgent.
        All citizens receive a mandatory payment for intangible services - this forms the entire social safety-net .. and it's just a number in an account that happens every week. Those who are called to produce above and beyond that do so for social prestige - not military might.
        The military is a project, as are all social institutions - re-costed every year.

        That is how I see online-democracy. It would be very technically easy to implement if you got the community to assent to it - it's cheap to do this.
        Debt is promises - a community will know what can and cannot be promised. Best to not commit further than a year, humans are inept beyond the base cycles of life. Maybe have a volcano fund if there's one nearby.
        Everything not covered by the civil deployment of tax is catered for through default reciprocity - we all have that .. it's a mistake to legislate it.
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    Oct 27 2013: Wealth hoarding is far worse than many other addictions/forms of hoarding.

    It requires the individual who is hoarding to disregard other people completely.
    To look at other human beings as less and undeserving of basic primitive living necessities.
    For a person to become devoid of compassion and lose most if not all of their emotional connections to the world around them, it's basically saying that they are a sociopath. My knowledge is limited at best however I've come to understand that remorse or guilt are almost non-existent in sociopaths.

    Is a person who lacks the ability to feel compassion for others still considered human? What is the definition of humanity???
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        Oct 28 2013: Yes I did go from wealth hoarding to sociopathic behavior.

        There are subtle differences between diagnosing someone as a sociopath and commenting on the similarities between their sickness and the sickness that is sociopathy.

        Do you have an argument that challenges my view or do you think that I should find your comment to be obviously enlightening of your perspective?
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        Oct 29 2013: As with anything there are multiple variables to be considered before making a determination.

        Does the collection process or the collection of the items cause harm to others?

        A collection of stamps, art, or figurines would under most circumstances be considered harmless.
        A collector incorporating scamming and manipulation tactics into the process of collecting has stepped across a defined line and has now put the acquisition of the item above maintaining a level of common decency and respect for others.
        Crossing that line again and again turns a collector into a hoarder whether they have elaborate displays or large properties matters little.

        The sociopathic behavior comes from the enjoyment of collecting at the expense of others. The desired item to be collected can be anything but the accumulation of wealth is one of the most harmful.

        Millions of people, think about that for a second...millions of people, that's crazy to me sorry but we're talking millions of people in America alone are being directly affected by the hoarding of wealth. Wealth beyond many of our wildest dreams, wealth that continually grows more wealth. Wealth at the expense of...MILLIONS of people.
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          Oct 29 2013: Hmmm, but who says that wealth is automatically accumulated through illegal means or in a way that's harmful to others ?
          In addition you mention collections just as stamps, art, etc. as harmless, but those collections might be a significant portion of a person's wealth considering that some art pieces are sold for tens or even hundred of millions.
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        Oct 29 2013: Read my response again and instead of automatically playing devil's advocate try to understand the point being made.

        Don't get hung up on the small details, step back look at the grand picture.
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        Oct 29 2013: Identifiers of Sociopathy;
        Notice if the person exhibits a "lack of conscience". Signs of sociopathic behavior are usually present in childhood, so take note if you witness a person torturing or killing animals, showing no emotions when something bad happens to someone else, or showing "no guilt or remorse for any of his own actions".

        Recognize patterns of pathological lying. Sociopaths will continue to lie about things even if they are caught doing them. They can also be very charming and get others who are blind to their behaviors to side with them.

        Notice if a person has an "inflated sense of self-importance or narcissism". A sociopath behaves as if she is the "only person who matters and she will have complete disregard for everyone else". Although she has the ability to charm people, she will take advantage of them at the same time.

        A sociopath is a person who completely disregards and violates the rights of others while refusing to conform to societal norms.

        Characterized as the inability to care about right or wrong behavior and how it affects other people. Symptoms may include lying, violence, lack of remorse, agitation and poor work ethic.

        The disempathetic type is able to feel an emotional connection to a restricted group of people. This group may include friends, pets or family members. The sociopath regards people outside of the group as objects. Typically, people have a wide circle of empathy for others; however, many people may feel no compassion for certain people like murderers or criminals. The sociopath differs from normal people by having a tiny group of people whom they seemingly care about.

        The dysocial sociopath is psychologically normal, yet aligns himself with a group that regularly breaks social norms. These people have a circle of friends or co-conspirators for whom they feel genuine affection; however, they disregard the feelings of people outside this group.
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        Oct 29 2013: 1.Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
        2.Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
        6.Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
        7.Conventional appearance
        8.Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
        9.Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
        10.Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
        11.Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
        12.Incapable of real human attachment to another
        13.Unable to feel remorse or guilt
        14.Extreme narcissism and grandiose
        15.May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
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        Oct 29 2013: Your topic of conversation is Wealth Hoarding. I don't think your reference was for people who hoard enough to retire comfortably, I'm guessing you're talking about extreme amounts of money.

        In order to live out every day of your life as a top 1%er in this country you would have to have the ability to completely ignore...well...everything that is going on with the other 99% of the population of the country.
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          Oct 29 2013: Why's that ? For example, Bill gates makes your 1 %, yet he spends significant amounts for philanthropic causes. It seems your hypothesis doesn't hold.
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        Oct 29 2013: So you feel as though the 1%ers in the country don't ignore the needs of the other 99%?
        You feel they are doing all they can philanthropically?
        You feel their business practices are not harmful to people and the environment?
        The 1%ers have all earned their wealth without taking it from other people/businesses?
        The 1%ers don't use their influential powers over gov. to make sure that they continue to win the game of life generation after generation?

        Oh wait...because Bill Gates who is so far up there on the wealthy chain gives a small % of his wealth to some good causes that means the rest of this doesn't hold true as an hypothesis though right?
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        Oct 29 2013: So you're saying there's no way that they are afflicted with sociopathy? Why not?
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        Oct 29 2013: Sociopathy is just a name for someone who is emotionally disconnected from the world around them. Someone who can commit acts of harm upon others and justify it without remorse. Are you saying that America is the only place where people like that exist?
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        Oct 29 2013: Ok well...bye. :)
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        Oct 29 2013: Which is?
  • Oct 25 2013: Are you suggesting we take the earned money from these insane people and give it to other insane people who don't have the ability to earn, or worse yet to an insane government run by insane corporations, or perhaps we should deposit it all in the account of William Clegg.
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      Oct 25 2013: As long as you make sure it goes to the right William that is :)

      However, the only assertion that can honestly be implied in the question above is that hoarding is often associated with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) .
      • Oct 25 2013: My observation was (forget the insane we are all insane to some degree) why would you steal wealth from people who know how to manage it and give it to people who do not. If you do not like money just stop printing it.
        Actually I like that idea, then people would have to trade services(real services) and products (real products), like timebanks!
  • Oct 24 2013: Wealth hoarding may be a "dysfunction" but it frequently is also a crime and America could be better served by severely punishing the "white collar crimes" and "legal" manipulations of law and court that make it possible.
    Ask Bernie Madoff's many victims, some wealth hoarders themselves, who patted themselves on the back for finding a great way to profit without earning anything and you'll find they are far less pitiable and worthy of having our justice system fight for the return of their lost money than the many thousands of employees whose earned pensions have been "legally" ripped away from them in leveraged buy-outs used to enrich through stripping away of other people's money.
    Ask the thousands whose health insurance has been abruptly canceled so that corporate raiders could throw million dollar parties with money that should have paid their insurance premiums.
    Our current bankruptcy system so favors business over people that no jobs, pensions or other earned benefits are safe.
    We have a time honored diagnosis for self-aggrandizing personalities: Narcissism. Let's not give any further excuse to money hoarders than that.
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    Oct 24 2013: Enough Already....
    There are people who accumulate wealth. The only question if any should be.... was it done legally?
    Yes.... OK, did they bury it in a pillow case in their back yard?
    No... Then no problem.

    Are the people who have no talent for the accumulation of wealth?
    Yes.... And these people have difficult times, some to the point of survival. Should these people take guns and rob wealth from those who have wealth?
    No... that's illegal and further, it is not nice.

    Should government take wealth in the form of taxes and give it to those who have no wealth?
    That seems to be the major question of this conversation....
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      Oct 24 2013: Your statements makes it seem like you believe wealth is obtained through talent. This really isn't a rule. Many people have obtained wealth through very unethical business practices.

      We cannot say poor people are poor because they have no talent. I hope that's not what you are trying to imply here.
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        Oct 24 2013: Mike appears to think that his opinions are the most salient ones. However, there seem to be a lot of others in this forum who believe otherwise. Therefore we have an excellent example of opinion verses discussion and, Henry, thanks to your response and others it seems that opinion is not fairing very well :).
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          Oct 24 2013: Mr. Clegg.
          Of course my opinions are the most salient ones. I wouldn't make them if I thought otherwise.
          But, before we can have discussions (or debates) each of us must have opinions or if I didn't I would just be reconfirming your opinions and my comments would be superfluous.
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        Oct 24 2013: Henry...
        Maybe I didn't say it well.... people who obtained wealth by illegal means should be punished. I am appalled that punishment is not metered out. Some say because of political influence or bribery and those political members should also be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

        Poor People. People are poor for so many reasons. Yes, some have no talent. Some have no education. Some have no opportunities. Some have no resources. Some have no.... There are a thousand reasons that effect someone from gaining wealth.
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          Oct 25 2013: You are right. Everything is relative as soon as you cross the threshold where needs become wants.
          If you live in a place where everybody's medium of transportation are his own legs then owning a bike might make you wealthy in the eyes of your peers.
  • Oct 24 2013: sure i agree with a minimum income, to which people can aspire to increase by working harder and smarter, but is that enough? what's to stop people from keeping employees on this minimum income even though their benefit to the company is much higher, just so they can keep more of the profit for themselves? over the last few decades productivity has increased as with new technology workers are able to make more in the same time, yet average wages have risen much less than this, and wealth at the top has increased many hundreds of times more than this. it's clear where the money earned from the workers producing more has gone. what will a minimum wage / guaranteed income do to address this?
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      Oct 24 2013: it will do nothing for that disparity but you do make some valid points about inequity. While a min-com is one way of addressing income inequality and wage slavery it is only tangentially related to wealth hoarding.
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      Oct 24 2013: That's simply a question of offer and demand. If you have lots of people offering their work at minimum wage, why would anybody voluntarily raise the minimum ?
      On the other hand, look at highly qualified people in some exotic fields of expertise. They are paid handsomely. That's how the economy works.
  • Oct 24 2013: The Difference is you don't have to worry about making it impossible use yr front door or Cps Coming take yr kids away.
  • Oct 24 2013: Ben, I don't do real estate.
    My friend does. He owns 100 houses and all are full.
    He is a landlord, a job he hates. You couldn't get me to do it.

    Ben, I think I know what you mean. You mean profit sharing instead
    of expansion. Providing the employees with a greater raise, instead
    of increasing the company's profits.

    That works great for the employee, who is off work on a weekend when
    an emergency requires his services, and he says no. The Landlord is
    responsible and must do the job himself, or pay someone else to do it.

    If on the other hand the employee was required to say yes, then Ben,
    I would agree with you.
    If your scenario was 4.5% productivity, and only 37 houses at 50% full.
    would your argument still hold water?

    Everyone wants control. Not many will do the things necessary to be
    successful. And employees have their own place in the pecking order.
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    Oct 24 2013: Well there is a term for those who endlessly accumilate wealth as a need, though not 100% accurate the closest term I could come to was a "workaholic". Iny my own opinion, when someone is so rich that they can use a 100dollar bill as toilet paper, and then there are those who don't eat for weeks, SOMETHING is dysfunctional in the global economy. Even for someone working 3 jobs a day and can barely make ends meet... BUT yeah in some way if someone HAS to keep accumulating wealth, it is a mental health problem, because too much of anything is bad for you
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    Oct 24 2013: The one great thing about hoarding money , is that you have no problem with volunteers offering to help you get rid of some of that nasty old money .
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      Oct 23 2013: quiet a spiel there laddie, but seriously lacking in any form of response to the question posed above...
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          Oct 24 2013: my condolences, I wish you a speedy recovery :)
        • Oct 24 2013: you made a nice spiel, but did you deliberately avoid adding any reasoning to support your conclusions, or did you just forget?
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        • Oct 24 2013: So if wanted to put William's argument into a more simplified version would it be?

          People who obsessively accumulate 'stuff' are hoarders
          Some overly rich people obsessively accumulate money
          Money is 'stuff'
          Therefore overtly rich people are hoarders

          If so, it sounds pretty logical to me, bar the statement 'money is stuff' which is the part of the argument which makes it so debatable.

          Can we consider money 'hoardable' since it is only a represented value?
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      Oct 25 2013: I cant reply on 3rd level comments, so let me answer here on your 'worker's utopia'.

      I don't know what makes you think about Marx when I talk about workers cooperations, yet what you concluded in your 3 step program indicates, that you don't know what you are talking about. Are you still stuck in cold war ideology?

      Workers cooperations are no utopia, they are in many countries already, got nothing to do with communism and most people who work there won't change back into usual corporations, because they feel much better within conditions which they can influence in their behalf. Does this endangers your believes? Well, if you believe in democracy, I think, it shouldn't. But maybe you don't, I don't know.

      Maybe it helps if you inform yourself what the idea of a workers cooperation is and what makes people decide to work rather there than elsewhere. Maybe then you see, that there is nothing to fear for democracy to turn into communism. On the contrary, as it introduces the spirit of democracy even deeper in any democratic society.

      Or is democracy the same to you than communism?
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          Oct 25 2013: Now that was my cats idea, so don't blame me for it, as she doesn't like either/or ideology.

          I don't like it much either, yet just cut my fingernails... :o)

          The reason why some workers cooperations act like usual cooperations is, that they have no other choice sometimes to survive on the market, so they have to play under the same 'rules'.

          I personally think, that all the positive elements of a coop can not outweigh any questionable exploitation on global markets, by the simple fact, that even the highest motivated 'first world' worker can not compete against desperate 'third world' workers who have no other choice but to work for 8 cents per hour. Market mechanics can't fix that,in fact, it creates it, and therefore such decision has to be made politically and this where it became very difficult lately, as governments to often decide in the interest for cooperations rather than in the interest of the majority of the citizens.

          An interesting 'difference' which I noticed in UK coops, is their conscious decision to stabilize and support their local economy and markets. They choose local products over imports and also work together with local producers to make them more healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

          Yet the 'spirit' of a coop can only be as good as the joint 'spirit' of all the workers. So of course there is no guarantee that a collection of turds will not happen. Yet my experience with normal people is actually quite positive, so I am not that afraid for coops doing just the same thing as usual cooperations. In fact, there are many good reasons that most of them won't.

          Of course members can be fired within a coop. What makes you think they can't? If someone behaves in a way, that the majority of their colleagues do not tolerate, and when open conversations about this doesn't help, they just vote him/her out. This is important, as otherwise lazy and destructive people would endanger the whole enterprise.
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          Oct 25 2013: Cats are quite easy to understand.

          Mondragon has a two-class worker system and migrant workers are the first to go, because they have no coop worker status. As much as I know about it, this is in revision as it actually undermines the original idea.

          During less profitable times coops try to keep all the workers, yet this can only work to a minimum income limit, as otherwise no one would be able to 'survive'. Yet the usual 'hire & fire' procedure is not in their books as it is in others. But constant 'low performers' will be sorted out of course, as nobody likes to support parasites. The word 'constant' is of significance in this matter and not to confuse with temporal ones which can and does happen to all of us.

          I don't understand what you consider re-branding of capitalism. Could you elaborate on that?

          And what is your understanding of 'the right' in this context?

          How would you like the economical system to be?
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          Oct 25 2013: Living with a cat certainly helps to understand them. And they are cuddly too.

          I think our whole economic model and practice needs a complete makeover and this pretty soon, if we wish to proceed within our cultural and social evolution, what I personally do.

          The current market mechanics has some major flaws which will reproduce its negative consequences over and over again, unless it gets adjusted. It is also intrinsically incapable to drive decisions and adoptions to our alway changing environmental conditions which are neither welcome nor popular, yet necessary when seen from a wider perspective than just 'profit'. The use and distribution of resources is poor and wasteful and it is neither sustainable nor compatible to our natural environment.

          I also noticed, that most people don't like their work yet are forced to do it for the money, which causes all sorts of secondary negative effects and doesn't really imply the same and hopeful freshness of the slogan of the 'individual right to pursue wealth'. I agree that nobody said that it was going to be easy, yet nobody said either that it would be that disappointing for so many. To many for my liking.

          I also have a different view on governments, not about what most of them have become today, yet about what most of them were originally meant to be, at least within democracies.

          To me it is a contradiction to form a society, a group of people one one side, yet on the other side declare anyone free to do whatever they choose to, because then I don't need any society in the first place and all of us randomly does what they like. I would welcome the idea to have such a place, so that anyone who hates governments and/or societies could go there, but it seems we have missed this chance and are lacking a large enough space to build it.

          Yet as I prefer to live in a society at the moment, I have to take on certain responsibility towards my society and to give and take my share to it. Somewhat like in a relationship.
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          Oct 25 2013: And like there the 'give and take' element should be equal as otherwise the whole thing runs out of balance and the relationship fails.

          This is why I prefer direct democracy for a political system, as the majority vote indicates the general wish of most people, as well as I would adopt this democratically system within the corporate world, ad this as a wide spread option so that people could choose what they like more to work in.

          I would also prefer effective measures against corruption in both, the political and the economical world, and as more transparent things become and as more people get decide democratically, as better it is.

          Yet also a majority vote is no guarantee, that those decisions are always the best ones, so it becomes even more necessary for a broad and unbiased education and free of charge to all people, so that decision making can benefit from it.

          I would immediately integrate closed economic cycles in which resources get processed in circles and thereby ensure their sustainability. In addition to that, the whole economy has to be freed off their dependency towards fossil fuels, as we know they won't last forever and additionally endanger our climate. Technology wise, this is already possible, that it isn't realized is due to the flaws in our current economy.

          We can do way better than what we keep sticking too. And I think, its worth to change.
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          Oct 26 2013: Fairness can be misguiding at times, I agree.

          As a start I think it would be good to fix obvious problems of our current system by learning and also accepting its weaknesses and introduce patch-fixes to gradually transform it into a more stable, more reliable and more sustainable form, which integrates people and not separates them. By no means this is going to be easy, but if we don't do anything we then already know that the whole thing is going to collapse one day or another, and this is something we should better not try out.

          The beauty of electric cars is their efficiency, yet it got to be seen and calculated within the whole picture.

          After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany decided for a mid term energy change and to boost regenerative energy production over fossil energy and to close down all nuclear power plants. This is going to be a very interesting experiment if this can be managed and how consequent, reliable and sustainable it will become. My personal favorite is geo-thermal energy to constantly bride the natural fluctuations in solar, tidal and wind energy production.

          So cross the fingers with me, because if 'we' can do it, everyone can do it and then, every one likes to do it because they know it can be done for any industrialized nation. Well, we'll see....
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    Oct 23 2013: it's a game to some. unfortunately this accumulation of an over abundance of dollars holds way to much power. for some it also feeds frail and/or dysfunctional. some really have nothing much to offer the world outside of a lot of money in the bank' no, not hoarding
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    Oct 23 2013: Hoarding something means to me that this something just accumulates without having any particular use.
    In most cases, that's not true for wealth. People usually buy stuff for a reason and in most cases use this stuff, at least for a certain period of time.
    Frankly, I don't really know anybody who hoards wealth just for the sake of hoarding.
    • Oct 24 2013: i wonder if they end up hoarding because they're so used to trying to get more and really haven't even considered just retiring even if they're only 40. ben franklin retired when he realised the money he was earning from his printing business would cover everything he could possibly need, but today multi-billionaires just keep on going.
      is there any particular use to keep working when the interest, dividends, and rent on money you've already made is paying a couple million a year?
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        Oct 24 2013: Hi Ben, I think in all fairness, some people, even billionaires, are just passionate about what they are doing and that's what keeps them going.
        I think, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are such examples. Bill Gates is actually giving away a lot of his wealth for his philanthropic projects.
        • Oct 25 2013: passion for what you do is great, so when you have more than enough money, why not keep doing what you love without taking any payment? there's just no reason to keep gathering all the wealth you can, and worse than that is people who intentionally leave others without their due just so they can have more. i'd love to see a "benjamin franklin" law.
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        Oct 25 2013: I don't see any wrong in accumulating whatever wealth one wants as long as this is done in an ethical fashion.
        • Oct 25 2013: i agree with that, so i guess my problem is more with how it tends to be accumulated these days rather than the accumulation itself. one exception to that though i think is real estate. it's a kind of wealth that cannot be hoarded in an ethical fashion. i you have a lot of land it deprives others of the opportunity to also buy land. the only option you're leaving them with is to rent from you.
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        Oct 25 2013: As to real estate: The only fair solution would be not to allow real estate to be bought at all because if I have the financial resources and another person has not, why shouldn't I buy whatever I want to buy.
        Unless you favor Marxism. people's economical situation will vary widely. And, if we believe in freedom of choice, everybody should be allowed to make choices within the society's legal and ethical framework.
        • Oct 26 2013: or a limit on the value of real estate you're allowed to own? you should be able to buy whatever you want buy for sure, but not up to the point where you're making it difficult or impossible for other who also want to buy. say you own $100m of real estate and want to buy another place valued at $10m, you have to sell $10m worth of whatever you already own before you can buy it. the best of both worlds, i'd say, and i think that'd fit your criteria of being able to make choices within a framework.
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    Oct 23 2013: No!
    To say that the accumulation of wealth is some sort of mental dysfunction is insulting to the thousands of couch owners who decide what are mental dysfunctions.
    To say that persons got wealthy because they swindled national governments out of great amounts of money
    and are not in jail or had returned the funds only attest to the failure of the governments to protect their constituents. To cry about bribes, legal loopholes etc. only point to the failure of the electorate to select those who will protect the country from such shenanigans.
    I do remember learning about medieval philosophy in which there was discussion about the 7 greatest sins.
    Which in my review didn't seem to be all that bad, but I digress.
    One mentioned was envy.
    Some of the comments below struck me as being a tad envious.
    Maybe they were not the greatest sins because of importance, maybe they were the greatest because they were so common.
    So, instead of complaining about the wealthy become one. Do what I do. Buy a lottery ticket every week and pray. It hasn't worked for me, but at least I am not wallowing in self-pity.

    I wonder why self-pity is not a great sin.... it seems so common.
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      Oct 23 2013: Actually it is the hoarding that is in quest here, not the mere accumulation....

      yet there does seem to be a fair bit of wallowing in self interest going on here :)
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        Oct 23 2013: Of course, I don't know all the wealthy in the world, only a few that I know are not hoarding their wealth and I have heard stories of others not hoarding. My local PBS station has a number of programs made available due to contributions by little known foundations aka old family money. Dare I mention the Gates Foundation and their contributions. Even during my employment in Saudi Arabia, I witnessed huge programs spreading the wealth and then there is Dubai.
        I see hoarding as accumulation and then holding on to it... not letting it go.
        The comedian Jack Benny made his life as a stingy persona with a huge underground vault only seen by his long suffering chauffeur.. That was one. But I don't believe that it is that common.
        Most of my experience is that those who have accumulated great wealth seem to want to continue investing to see if they can make more. I will concede that there are a few who create wealth illegally and immorally, but I have to say that wealth hoarders are so few to be none.
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    Oct 23 2013: Every political leader or government worker should have the same salary. I believe this would be a good start for improvement. Time to really make a sacrifice to show who you really are and what you are about speaking of dysfunctional.
  • Oct 23 2013: william clegg
    Gabriola Island B.c.

    I cannot agree with you sir.
    I accumulate, and always have. I enjoy stuff. Mostly gold stuff.
    My son is ever asking me, "Where did you bury the gold, Dad?"

    I would wonder about those "health care assisters", and "those who
    would determine" who is dysfunctional.

    To those hoarders who's houses are full, I would say, buy another house
    and fill it up.

    Call me dysfunctional, but I like gold better.
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      Oct 23 2013: thanks for being so Frank :)
      • Oct 24 2013: William, we all try to live up to what people call us. hehe
    • Oct 24 2013: when you own 100 houses and all are full, is it still not time to say "look this is enough, and my employees have just bumped productivity up by 10%, so they deserve more than the 2% raise i offered them just so i could buy house 101"?
  • MR T

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    Oct 22 2013: Mo' money mo' bitches - I believe the saying goes
  • Oct 22 2013: Sadly, the impact to society at large is much less significant when people hoard things in a small apartment than when they hoard vast quantities money which is no longer circulating in the economy.
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    Oct 22 2013: William, I feel Yes.
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    Oct 22 2013: Hoarding of any type comes from a "scarcity" mind, rather than from a sense of abundance. It seems then, if we wish to promote abundance rather than scarcity, sharing is "in" and hoarding is "out".
  • Oct 22 2013: There is a big difference between those who accumulate things versus those who accumulate wealth. Wealth can be propelled forward through generations, raising the standard of living for one's progeny. There is nothing wrong with wealth, or the accumulation thereof. There is a reason that Hollywood Stars and the like decry wealth, yet refuse to just give it away. Linking the two is comical.
    • Oct 24 2013: could there be something wrong with the way wealth is accumulated?

      i think hollywood is a good example where both the good and bad of wealth is prevalent. you've got some stars who spend all their money on private jets and drugs, and you've got other who donate $1m at a time to aid agencies around the world, as well as donating their time.

      hypothetically speaking, a hollywood actor could get rich by either doing a really good job, or buying up production companies to see that no-one else gets the high-paid jobs. i would say there's nothing wrong with the former method of accumulating wealth and everything wrong with the latter.
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    Oct 22 2013: This is a excellent question to support the Communist manifesto, protest. with the OWS, or just voice your hatred for the 1%. All espoused by the elite of the communist party ... as long as they do not have to abide by this rhetoric.

    Exactly what is the purpose of this question? Where are you wanting this to go ....
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      Oct 22 2013: to stimulate 21st century discourse such as found below ... :)
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      Oct 22 2013: Careful Robert.... Their might be a Communist under your desk.... or in your garden...

      Is this really the depth of your understanding?

      Me thinks your living in the past, my friend. It's a new world today. Living with unlimited desires and a finite planet. Could there be a connection??? That's not about an 'ism'?
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    Oct 22 2013: .

    We should.
    "Hoarding" or greed is the root of all evil.
    It makes the self-extinction of humankind.
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    Oct 22 2013: Of course you must also consider that if wealth hoarders didn't have money in the bank then I wouldn't be able to borrow money from the bank to start my own business. Wealth is only out of the loop when it's converted to stuff like Picasos as they silently hang on a wall.
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      Oct 22 2013: Sadly, such is not the case. Consider the Canary Wharf development in England where some billionaire's used their status to garner more billions in loans from banks for the project which, eventually, failed. The 'company' defaulted on the loans while not one cent of the billionaires own money was ever at risk, they still got to keep the exorbitant 'management fees' they charged the project and kept for themselves. Meanwhile, the banks customers and shareholders were left with dealing with the abandoned debt.

      Then there was the PPP - private, public partnership - scam which almost bankrupted Ireland where companies partnered with government on big projects. The privates took all the profits and left the government with all the cost and debt when many of the projects failed.

      And there have been countless such boondoggles over the ages which I am sure other readers can comment on. .
    • Oct 23 2013: Peter, borrowing money from a bank is like
      hitting yourself in the head. You can stand it the first few times,
      but after a while it really hurts.

      A story --
      In 1974 banks ran full page ads to get your IRA and 401k bucks.
      The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 was born.
      Banks were prohibited from investment over 10% in risky ventures.
      Depositors were penalized 10% for early withdrawals before age 60.
      (Note the similarities to Obamacare. the soft enforcement approach.)
      Taxes on retirement saving were deferred until withdrawal.
      The hope was that taxes would be lower at retirement time.

      Then the LOBBY gangsters got to work. Each year a little bitty bid
      at a time, they had the Congress slowly dismantle Bank regulation.
      20+ years later, Wall Street and Mortgage Bankers were offering
      the Banks (sheep) funny paper. 15 years later, an Emergency Bank
      Audit was conducted nationwide. Not long after that Henry Paulson
      made his Theatrical Appearance to tell the Congress that the sky was

      We who care lost our rear-ends... Wall Street slid through their mess
      and yesterday JPMorgan and BofA paid some fines to stay out of prison. .
      There is a lot more, but you get the picture. Most people have forgotten
      they were raped. None of the Investors world-wide who lost their shirts
      will ever forget.

      You won't this history in any of your books. They write it the way Winners do.