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william clegg

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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.

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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 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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