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Ideological topics: Wealth Redistribution, Equality, Universal Health Care are quite contentious. Is there common ground for common good?

How do you obtain common ground in an ideological argument? What methods have proved fruitful in the past? Is there even a solution?

I am still working through Rousseau’s Origins of Inequality but, this statement stood out.

“Thus, as the most powerful or the most miserable considered their might or misery as a kind of right to the possessions of others, equivalent, in their opinion, to that of property, the destruction of equality was attended by the most terrible disorders. Usurpations by the rich, robbery by the poor, and the unbridled passions of both, suppressed the cries of natural compassion and the still feeble voice of justice, and filled men with avarice, ambition and vice.”

What methods do you use to sway the idealist who in reality means no harm yet causes harm with each keystroke?


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    Feb 6 2014: Imagine a city called Equally Great:
    - 100,000 families
    - parents' age ranging from 25 to 30, years of education of each parent is 21 years
    - each family has 2 children, ages range from 1 to 3
    - family income in every household is $200,000 per year
    - they all live in 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2,200 square-foof homes
    - each family has a net worth of $ 2,000,000.00
    - each family has 2 credit cards with $100 balance
    - each family has 2 cars, $50,000.00 per car
    - each family has one dog

    All the families are identical.

    Fast forward ten years, what will we see?

    Fast forward twenty years, what will we see?
    • Feb 6 2014: I see your point, the equality would vanish and the cream as dictated by wealth not substance would rise.

      I prefer...

      Imagine a city where cooperation is key to survival. Where Money is just a means of commerce and life is prized above all.
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        Feb 7 2014: Mr. West,

        Variety and Diversity are laws of the universe. The instinct to survive and thrive are also intrinsic part of nature. We, humans, have evolved to the point where we are intelligent enough to question a lot of things and desire a lot of things.

        "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
        Courage to change the things I can,
        And wisdom to know the difference." Proverb
        • Feb 7 2014: Rodrigo, What you said about the variety and diversity is very illuminating and to the human history..
          I have only a simple comment about the word "diversity" as used as a tool to the concept of "equal rights" by the government here. And this concept of diversity in college education, employment, etc.has been used to achieve so-called "equality" on everything especially on income. However, I do agree with most of you about the futility of absolute equality in income or other means, which logically should be based on knowledge, ability and amount of work of the individual person or family. In other words, we can't influence the nature-made diversity by artificial government policy to completely eliminate the natural diversity, even though a government safety net for the unfortunate few is certainly necessary. Look at the years of litigation on "diversity", the courts' decisions have been running around a circle of conflict definitions in recent years.
    • Feb 7 2014: Your equity dream world requires either everyone is spending every dollar they earn, or if they are saving any money, then someone somewhere has to be going into debt to grow the money supply.

      However, I'll play along. Some would spend less than their full income, draining money from active circulation in the economy. This instantly drops the income of someone else, since everyone's income is someone else's' spending. The person that had their income fall would then have to cut their spending, and so on through the economy in a negative feedback loop of falling spending causing falling income causing falling spending causing falling income...

      As the economy began to shrink, people would demand something be done to stimulate spending. Government would lower interest rates and loosening lending standards until someone/anyone decided to borrow some money and spend it.

      This increasing debt, new money creation, spending without income would restore economic growth, and make it possible for those that spend less than they earn to accumulate money, only because others are spending more than they earn.

      The people that have been accumulating money and lending it to others would see their incomes increasing as they not only make money from their jobs, but also from interest on the loans. On the flip side, those in debt, would see their disposable income fall as they have to pay more on interest.

      Eventually, the people with money would stop lending to those in debt, and instead demand repayment of the loans. Now here is the kicker. The people in debt can not possibly pay back the debt unless the people with money first spend the money! But the people with money will not spend, because they like being rich.

      People in debt, unable to repay because the people with money will not spend, are foreclosed on. The people with money buy the assets and use the money to repay themselves. They get angry that they did not get fully repaid, even though they now own everything.
      • Feb 9 2014: Darrell
        Since we are here in the fantasy world may I have your opinion on another version of the monetary system ?

        What if a government set the pay scale based on societal gains? Medical, Engineering, Construction would be at the top of the scale.

        The government would “create” money to pay salaries based on this metric. Any ancillary business would draw from that pool etc…..

        But foremost any trade would require delivery of the commodity , and usury would be outlawed
        • Feb 10 2014: You would have the same fatal flaw of Socialism.

          If your pay is set by decree rather than market forces, and is fundamentally detached from personal performance, then there is no incentive to work especially hard.

          In the cut-throat world of capitalism, it is perform or find another job, probably at less pay. This pushes people toward hard work and productivity. This is why the capitalist economy has shelves loaded with cutting edge goods and services.

          The socialist society, where employment is assured and wage uniform, there is no incentive to effort or productivity. This is why socialist countries have lines of people waiting to get into stores that have empty shelves.
        • Feb 10 2014: Then innovation and invention would die except for the government-selected areas. Adaptation would never happen unless there were enough outside pressure to force an "adapt or die NOW" choice. The system would collapse under its own top-heavy bureaucracy (USSR) or become the most unequal in the world (China--worst inequality of any industrial nation).
      • Feb 11 2014: Good point, let us amend the statement, the government sets the base pay, peers give raises.

        I see the government setting societal jobs, based on what the country needs. We need doctors, engineers and construction. Let the free market dictate the rest.

        To some extent the free market would be a metric to the base pay for necessary jobs. Which of course change as we change.
    • Feb 7 2014: Inequity starts, not when people start spending more than they earn. It begins when some start spending less than they earn, forcing government to loosening lending to the point that others begin spending more than they earn.
      • Feb 9 2014: Money is a regretable security. I pound the pavement trying to get people to undersatnd that if we had basic securities, health, retirement. Our economy would benefit greatly from the need to sequester money.
        • Feb 10 2014: It takes a great mind indeed to realize that the young ALWAYS pay for the retirement of the old.

          Whether we pay it via tax (government payout and healthcare), via product costs (employer provided pension benefits), via interest (elderly have bonds and bank balances that are loaned out to the indebted young) or via dividends (elderly own stocks, receiving payouts of the profits from purchases made by the young) are just methods of intergenerational transfer.

          Pretending that "savings" is somehow mandatory, or ever a "better" method of intergenerational transfer is very small minded.

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