This conversation is closed.

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?

  • Feb 6 2014: Perhaps by being with that person and listening with empathy, compassion and equanimity. The way that i see it now is the more stubborn someone is in there ideas, the more they are relying on those ideas as security from fear of the unknown. Fear creates tension in the body. The more tension we have in our body's, the stronger our urge is to release it. If we are ignorant to this process, the release can come out in the form of anger, ill will and manipulation. If we can listen to people without reacting or creating aversion to what they are saying, maybe we can help them become a lighter person. Without putting our energy in reacting to their harm, we can also put that energy into creating good.

    It might work, it might not, but maybe it's worth a try
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: Joe, Mark Twain once said .. A wise man once said never argue with a fool because the people watching from a distance cant tell who is who.

    The reason I quote this is because we can have meaningful conversations in which ideas are presented and explored by each side in a respectful manner where we both learn and grow ... or we can have "arguments" where each side is entrenched and sure that theirs is the only way.

    When the administration posed the 1% argument .. then we had OWS ... the lines were drawn. There is no middle ground. I noticed that not one of the 1% rabid and vocal Senators and Representatives or members of the administration, including the president, have volunteered to lead and redistribute their millions. When this occurs then I will reconsider the argument.

    It is like Al Gore preaching global warming and flying in his polluting jet and homes that are not in the least energy efficient or nature friendly. OR If the House, Senate, and all government officials be mandatorily placed on Obamacare for the whole time they serve.

    In short, my point is that if we had strong, honest, transparent leadership that lead the way there would be less "arguments" and more support. We have become sheeple that buy the manure that these people are selling while they have become the elite, above the law, and not being held accountable.

    This applies to all parties and politicians ... Diogenes would die in Washington DC before finding a honest politician.
    • Feb 6 2014: Always love a good Mark Twain quote. Thumbs up. Having turned our democracy over to the rich, we'd have to side step it to get anything done for the common good. What's more, issues of environment and resources have become global issues. How are you going to sidestep all the governments in the world? Even the United Nations has a structure that's unlikely to get anything done. Even if we created virtual world-wide "franchise governments", so that folks could choose any form of government, where ever they lived, these virtual governments, even if they we're true democracies, might not manage to agree on a plan for planet management. If by some miracle, governments did agree to act for the common good, then we'd still have a pretty intersting ride ahead of us for the next 300 - 500yrs.
      • Feb 10 2014: First, we never had a democracy (mob rule, where 50%+1 can legitimately vote the 50%-1 to death). Second, we never turned the republic over to the rich. They always ran it.
        • Feb 11 2014: That is a fact. We must acknowledge the fact that it was an improvement from what came before.

          The unprecedented challenge we face is that millions of lives, if not billions, are directly dependent upon the continued functioning of our economic system. Such that the grocery stores remain stocked, the power remains on, the water continues to flow, and the gas pumps are filled so that we may travel to our place of work and put forth our share of productivity in order to reap our share of the benefits. The amount of work contributed, and the amount of benefits reaped, will never be entirely equal between all individuals. It's not in the nature of life on this planet, nor this solar system for all we know. For if all the matter was divided equally, there would be no critical mass able to begin the fusion process from which our sun draws its energy, and there would be no life as we know. Ironically, the division of matter between the bodies in our solar system is highly representative of the division of wealth between the bodies in our society.

          Moreover, the cycle of star birth-death-birth (via supernovas & their variations) supplies each subsequent solar system with an increased amount of complex elements from which the next generation of celestial bodies may use to produce increasingly complex life.

          All this is to say that each system peaks and collapses, but what rises from the ashes is increasingly complex, thus granting each new cycle the ability to create greater things than the last (generally speaking).

          The difference between the evolution of civilization and the evolution of the material content of the cosmos is that we must now grapple with the morality of losing billions of lives by allowing the system to collapse, or evolving the system we have to save those lives by sacrificing a small part of our individual selves in order to evolve our greater prosperity.

          The tough part is convincing people to evolve their hearts. But there will always be a rich peak.
    • Feb 6 2014: Bob, welcome to the conversation.

      You are depressing me! I am in agreement with your statements in such I cannot see a way out.

      My first thought was that someone on K street would blow out Diogenes's candle.

      Our little forum rife with disagreement is a start. We may not agree on the finer points, but the big picture humanity has to be front and center.

      The talk I linked describes a meteor as the congealing agent for common action. Is this our only hope?
    • Feb 8 2014: Robert,

      Once again, you've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
    • Feb 8 2014: HI Robert.
      Once again you've missed the point.
      You say: ".....if we had strong, honest, transparent leadership that lead the way there would be less "arguments" and more support......." Etc.

      You will never have strong, transparent leadership, etc. in a thoroughly corrupt system that thrives on corruption as its food. Never. Never.

      You can never replace one agenda with another because any agenda that gets a foothold will become corrupt because it all takes place in one arena and that arena is the totally corrupt system we already have.

      A system that cannot become corrupted has to be created and implemented but everyone says that isn't possible so they don't even think about it, which would require thinking in new ways and letting go of what you currently have in reality, in thoughts, in ideas and so on, in order to even begin finding a common ground to work from. Apparently many can no longer think for themselves.

      Human Needs as Human Rights might be a place to start and how to do it.
      Consider: a human cannot become a moral person unless and until they are free.
      If we were to look upon becoming a moral person as a form of healing, then the resources we work for and desperately need (we don't work for money. don't be fooled by that), can never be managed "morally" until they are free to all life, as that was the intention whether there is a Being or not. It is a sign of extreme mental illness, if not outright insanity, that people not only believe, but accept and continue on with, the idea that any one individual, group of people, country, corporation, military or otherwise can own or control any resource of the earth, which just happen to be a part of Human Needs.
      They also are incredibly mismanaged by those who control them, for two reasons: power and profit.
      There is no population problem. There is a mis-management problem and with fracking we can see just how willing they are to destroy the earth. They are sociopathic and psychopathic.
      Honesty from them?
      • thumb
        Feb 8 2014: Thank you or agreeing and arguing my point for me.
    • Feb 9 2014: Bob,

      Agree with you - Both parties have failed us in Washington.
    • Feb 11 2014: You're right, we need honest and transparent leaders. But that's not all we need.

      In order for those leaders to be successful, there must also be a change in the hearts and minds of those who are being led. If the sheep don't trust the shepherd, he won't have a herd, no matter how truthful and honest that shepherd may be. Success hinges on whether or not the people believe that those leaders are honest and forthright in their intentions as well as in their actions. And when you see the world today, all of the hate and sadism thrown from every corner by people loud enough & enraged enough to stand in front of a microphone so as to make their one pedantic voice heard by millions of people, could you imagine your voice standing out alone for what is right, even though so many other hearts feel the same yet would remain silent for fear of their own scrutiny?

      You need to check out The Giving Pledge. They're the billionaires of industry and technology, and so far they've pledge roughly 2 trillion US dollars between their 86 members for philanthropic purposes. Trillion was not a mistype. It's led by Bill Gates and Bill Clinton I believe.

      The government won't do it because it can't, it's confined to the will of the majority and the majority is pathetically ill equipped to understand and solve the worlds problems. The golden boys & girls of the corporate world will do it instead. I hope they go through with it, and I hope they use it well.
      • Feb 11 2014: Hi Kyle, in the spirit of my question, how would you discuss your points with the other group. Who says that Opportunity not charity are the hallmarks of society.

        How do we seek that common ground, short of a meteor strike ;)
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2014: Kyle, You have developed a conundrum or maybe a circular argument which I cannot solve. Hitler made socialist promises that the people believed in and supported ... but was hardly transparent in his goals. In 1916 Hipólito Yrigoyen was elected president of Argentina also making social programs and economic redistribution promises .... In all cases the free market was shut down by regulations and policies which led to the collapse. In short free market worked and socialism did not.

        Thus your conundrum: A liberal socialist being elected by a majority and 2) the "golden boys and girls of the corporate world solving the problems.

        The first spends through the Keynesian economics as fast as possible with no regard to budget and could care less about the ratio to the GDP or how to sustain programs they enact ... thus driving a national debit to in excess of 17 trillion ... print more money ... reduce working hours ... big government .... and so forth ... a nanny state.

        The second cannot stay in business when regulated out of any profit margin ... failure means less jobs ... reduced GDP ... political and economic instability ... import / export imbalance ... and followed by recession and depressions ... which we are on the cusp of at present.

        In 2008 2 trillion dollars was approximately on half of the national debit and would have solved many issues ... today 2 trillion is less than a eighth of the growing debit and will not make a dent also remember that the government and the debit are growing and the corporations and jobs are shrinking.

        It will take generations to solve these issues ... and yet only a short time to cause them.

        History has shown us ... yet we fail to read and listen to history.

        We have a great Constitution we are not using if any country is interested ...... free to loving and caring leaders.

        Thanks for the reply .. Bob.
  • thumb
    Feb 8 2014: I think it would be prudent to restructure economic compensation according to a different set of criteria than the current system allows. In my opinion, the current "standard of valuation" provided within the context and constraints of a monetary system that only considers generated profits and cash flow as the basis of compensation is dismissive of consideration that, in the eyes of our Creator, every every human life is regarded with a valuation of equality. Therefore, it seems reasonable that other factors must be considered in judging "human worth" in terms of more than mere currency in order to balance the equation in a manner that induces people to regard one another with an attitude that fosters a sense of equality in respect and dignity accorded to one another. I believe that there must be an element of discipline and sacrifice exercised by every individual toward effecting a system of control and oversight upon the propensity of humanity to succumb to the seductions of greed and avarice among a whole host of other denigrating behaviors that stratify and maintain a condition of adversarial competition that serves as the base of a system of human productivity riddled with redundancy, inefficiency and waste. It is also mired with every incentive to contrive unfair advantage and lends itself to abuse by those who are lazy and function according to predatory instincts of survival rather than mutual benefit and support of the whole of our species within patterns of ethics, honesty and integrity.
    To summarize my perspective of the system of economics that governs conditions within the world today, there appears to be every incentive toward a system of valuation that supports selfishness, dishonesty and covert mechanisms of control and protection rather than a disciplined system of valuation of the worth of humanity toward functioning with transparency, generosity and social concern for the well being, protection and provision for all according to "Higher Values".
    • Feb 8 2014: I agree with your yearning for a change to the economic system. Competitive economics has no value on a human. The only economic value is the future productivity stream of that individual, as we get older we all cross a line whereby we become an economic liability! Ha.
      Thankfully to be human is to put value on other humans. Biologically and not economically speaking we value one another. The system of economics is at odds with the system of our biological better nature.
      For the economic system to change we need to change our behaviour, a few at first...with other catching on to behaving in an ethical manner. more evolution than revolution. I have an essay on the subject. see
    • Feb 9 2014: Hi Richard Thank you for sharing your insight. I cannot add anything to your comments, except to thank you .
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: I rarely have any expectation of swaying the opinion of those I debate against. The idea, rather, is to win over the minds of passive readers, to keep my opponent's harmful ideas from spreading.
    • Feb 6 2014: How true! One of your exchanges on a religious topic, is a perfect example.

      I was moved by the tone of your replies. Even in the presence of persistent questioning you shined through. We do not agree on the topic yet I saw your replies as perfect compliments to your points.

      Mark one effected reader in your win column.
    • thumb
      Feb 6 2014: You make a good point here that a conversation is not only for the people engaging in it by actively expressing a view but also for people who may follow along considering the different points of view being expressed while evaluating the reasonableness and credibility of those presenting their perspectives.

      Part of what makes a person credible, I think, is if he actually shows he listens to the other person's argument rather than "standing on a soapbox."

      I agree with Joe that your willingness to put forward and explain your point of view with civility and to engage in fruitful exchanges with others provides value to the "passive" audience.

      In contrast, some people unknowingly talk on end without realizing no one else, other than the opponent in the debate perhaps, is interested any longer in following their style of speech-making. It's like the ineffective teacher who thinks that just because he said it, students are listening, understanding, and accepting it. Talking and communication are not the same.
  • Feb 18 2014: In the final throws of this conversation, I would like to thank all who participated! In some cases common ground was reached. In some cases the discussions wage on.

    Yet, as pointed out in the conversation... Isn't discussion, common ground by itself?
  • Feb 18 2014: Mike Colera wrote:
    "As one of the sociopaths that hoards wealth, let me give my side of the situation... at least as I have come to understand it.
    First I am retired. My wife and I live one a small pension and social security. "

    1) When talking about sociopaths that hoard wealth, we are not talking about people that put away 10-20% of the median income so that over 50 years of working they will have 5-10 years of income saved up.

    (current median in the USA being $50K, so $5-10K a year accumulated, meaning quarter to half a million dollars over a 50 year period of time.)

    We are talking about people that accumulate millions or tens of millions of dollars per year, We're taking about people that accumulate 1,000 years of income ( $50 million) 10,000 years of income ($500,000), or units that equate to 20,000 years of income (billions).

    These people are not planning on living in retirement for thousands or tens of thousands of years.

    The max income talked about in the OP is no measured in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and not
    over a lifetime, but per year.

    2) I hope you appreciate every day that small pension. My generation will not get pensions. My grandparents got pensions, my parents got pension buy-outs. My generation gets nothing.

    3) One way or another, it is the current working generation that provides for the retired. Whether that is government, like SS and MC, whether it is pension paid out of current profits or profits distributed via corporation stock shares, whether it is interest on debt or some other mechanism, it is the current workers that are providing for the elderly.

    Wouldn't it be great if we just accepted reality, and got rid of this silly notion that it is possible for everyone to save enough to retire on. Save enough what? Money? That is just other peoples' debts, requiring those other people to be in debt.
  • Feb 13 2014: I searched the responses here for ideological... seeking to find out what had been said related to the inquiry "How do you obtain common ground"? What methods do individuals use to sway the ideologies of individuals who in reality mean one thing while in actuality causing the opposite with each action they take... be it performing keystrokes, entertaining thought, feelings behaviors?

    I noticed how common wants can make common ground may lead to taking a first step... even then we still have to get over the hurtle of winer-loser games and embrace a winner-winner play where everyone wins. Oh 'challenges' into to the truth of something may be perceived as an inquisitive curious invitation to joint inquiry or as a provocative confrontation questioning that protests against someone. I have sort of found that there seems to be an inversely proportional emotive response dependent on factual veracity; that is the wise and rightful, those who hold the truth of something tend to remain calm and explain matters courteously, while 'the charlatans' tend to make a scene ... resorting to blame game tantrums that in essence 'demand' that others accept their opinions as valid independent of the validity of their opinions. In other words some still resort to emotional blackmail extortioning appeals to get their ways, rather than rational discourse based on what be appropriate. I wonder how the rational can create common ground with the irrational? Actually I know of the way, the challenge involve getting the irrational to be rational its a bit complicated especially when in the irrational logic the rational be irrational (and the irrational may seem rational ).

    Curiously the idealists may provide the means for the common ground, it seems to me a bit odd that in the setup of this conversation it be seen as what causes harm!

    I hold that the idealist ought to have a practical realistic course of action... appreciate what be, what ought be and act appropriately to make it be
    • Feb 14 2014: Esteban
      Very good point, my question did frame the idealist as the villain. You argue, that the idealist could be a nucleation point. I agree. We have seen the evidence throughout history both in harm and in good to society.

      What lies between the idealist ? That would have been a better question.

      I contend that the “rightful or the wise” is subjective. I have found calm idiots and fanatical wisdom. The task is to ascertain which is our, truth.

      Yet as you so eloquently posited , the search for our truth can be viewed as rational or irrational .
      A paradox ?
      • Feb 14 2014: Joe,

        To implement Don's point of moving from argument to discussion and maybe taking it a step further into a dialogue as I suggested. I would say: I point out that the idealists could be a nucleation point. Of course this also recognizes the fact idealists (and just about everyone) can be pro benefit and pro other stuff. We can frame just about everyone as this or that. The underlying point of course being why we do what we do? What is it that we promote with what we do/think/say/feel/express? For example why one seeks to promote the subjectivists position rather than the objectivist position in the form of a contentious duel that seeks to establish the subjectivist dominance?

        I 'contend' that the “rightful or the wise” is objectively absolute and that the task is to ascertain IF one's subjective truth corresponds with The absolute truth. From there each decides what to do: accept what we, deny what be, work with what be, play with what be, change with what be and/or change what be . We can go into ascertaining the truth of the matter from multiple perspectives. Ironically and paradoxically I hope you actually noticed the self-contraditory oxymoronic expression 'subjectivist dominance' and the notions that cultivates. What is it that we promote with what we do/think/say/feel/express? Do we actually want to cultivate and promote the idea of 'subjectivist dominance' ? Do we want to 'content' and duel over who is right? Maybe we ought to focus on collaborating and figuring out what be right and how we can play win-win-win games

        I told my sister how I like taking a complicated situation transforming it into a simple form finding a resolution there and transforming the results back into the complicated space. I mentioned how one can also do it the other way around, take s simple situation into a complicated form finding a resolution there (without getting lost in the complexities) transform the results back to the simple space. Work it rationally or irrationally.
        • Feb 14 2014: Esteban

          I will acquiesce and double my efforts in your area of expertise! In this pursuit how do I understand the objective absolute?

          A compilation of empirical evidence is obvious… cyanide is lethal.

          In ideological conversations, the delineation is not so evident.

          Our views of the world change, we rearrange them to suit the times, closing in on objective truths. What have we yet to discover, perhaps a redefinition of absolute truths.
          Further complications arise when lack of empirical evidence in ideological arguments bolsters subjective fallacy, and strengthens claims to wisdom. Where do I find collaboration in “unicorns exist “ ?
      • Feb 14 2014: Joe,

        Nice word there ... 'acquiesce' - accept something reluctantly but without protest

        The pursuit of the objective absolute is akin to the pursuit to understand the subjective knowledge that another holds ... with the variation than instead of focusing on 'the subjective knowledge another happens to hold' we focus on ''what be". In both cases to know the stuff an individual has to ensure the correspondence between that what they think to be, and what happens to be. A compilation of empirical evidence may help, though one still has to be able to interpret the empirical evidence which involves having access to it and being able to decode it appropriately.

        As you sort of mentioned in some cases we can look at factual observations to determine self-evident 'facts' ... though in reality the looking into the factual observations requires indirect factual observations with methods and tools that facilitate (or complicate) the looking into the matter. Of course some cases the delineation can be a bit more of a challenge to establish appropriately. There are even cases when individual views can influence what happens to happen and what is observed to happen. It's even possible that thoughts/ ideas/ actions/ beliefs/ attitudes/ etc... change the events that happen. All of this consider a willing agent who want to figure out what be and everything goes as intended (pure acceptance) To further complicate matters we could get into paradoxical fallacious cognitive dissonant situations that involve alternative considerations like denial and deceptions of the truth where what be the case is practically impossible to prove; never the less what be remains being what be.

        There are all sorts of nuances to this subject objective knowledge... never the less... the empirical evidence is obvious… individuals can share what they happens to hold with each other! Some even can think to be what happens to be!

        how does one understand the objective absolute?

        By understanding it!
        • Feb 18 2014: Esteban

          “Acquiesce “ I pulled that one from my Word of the Day calendar.

          These are difficult waters you propose I navigate! I find myself rereading your comments to make sure that no nuances escape. Within I find hints of Tao and Schrodingers Cat, combine that with my ignorance on the subject and rough sailing indeed. I am learning with each day.

          This conversation is coming to an end and I would like to thank you for your insight. You have helped me see a different view and I have enjoyed it immensely ! Hopefully we talk again!
      • Feb 18 2014: Joe,

        I just had the idea that entangles Schrodingers Cat with the notion of 3D perception.

        That is perceiving a 3D view involves taking two separate flat views and combining them in a particular way that produce a deeper view. Depth is a characteristic state that is an emergent combination of the states of two systems interlaced - once interacted but were then separated, and are now each in a definite state. The thing here is that there be three states coexisting; depending on which system one focuses on and 'measure' /observes there be subtle 'nuances'.

        This also is related to an expanded communication model I developed and use where there is a triad of meanings: 1-the intended meaning 2-the perceived meaning and 3-the shared meaning. Which is the important meaning? Well that depends, sometimes its one and sometimes it's the other and sometimes it's something else (which can be both of them or be something else). For example, when a boss is giving out an instruction 'to do something' (1) what is understood (2) is secondary to what is being stated. When one wants to give a gift (1) to someone, what is primary is what the other want's to receive (2) rather than what one wants to give. Of course when the three meanings are one and the same, which one one pick makes no difference at all!

        Indeed this conversation allotted time is about to expire. I am glad to have interacted with you and others here. I am particularly grateful of the opportunity to share a couple of ideological nuances which helped me to learn quite a bit. I realize that I brought into the conversation additional ideological topics please know and understand that it was seeking to create a broader common ground that be useful to better converse.

        In a different conversation I learned the usefulness of expanding and contracting notions, here I learned to observe a characteristic state being separated and reintegrated to construct a set of definite state one can measure and observe.

    • Feb 14 2014: Esteban

      I forgot to thank you for the wonderful summation of the conversation so far!
  • thumb
    Feb 13 2014: Joe, One more thing... your quote from Rousseau... he was expanding on the laws of Moses... showing how easy it is for man to capitulate to the vices of avarice, envy and stealing.
    But he is commenting on the rights of possession....
    My question is... wealth distribution, (universal) equality and Health Care are possessions? And how does one acquire these possessions?...
    Although these topics are presented by some as "common good" but can not be accomplished on what could be recognized as common ground. The best I can see is that each person has the opportunity to acquire the wealth that he can acquire.... that we can achieve equality at least in law....
    Health care? 6 years ago, I thought there was a plan to have some health care for those who could not afford healthcare.... instead we got a convoluted health insurance program that could at best make insurance companies better investment vehicles and at worse, increase federal deficits... in either case, those who need healthcare will not be better off. To be fair, a few may be helped and a few will be hindered... but on the national scale, it will be a wash...except in the financial debacle it has created.
    • Feb 14 2014: Mike
      Very good arguments! The ObamaCare disaster. I fooled myself once into thinking that it was a first step into Universal Health Care. That turned out to be of little truth or comfort. Your description, is lacking in street vernacular. A few &^%$#@ should be sprinkled in for effect.

      I see health care as a right, it sustains the very fabric of society , its people. To me, a market value on someone’s life is grotesque.

      From a motive prospective, yes, life is a very good motivator! One could argue that it is the driver of innovation and progress and rightly so. I have no qualms with that either.

      I see money as an economic tool only. When money is used as an excuse for not taking care of our own, I grow concerned.
      • thumb
        Feb 14 2014: Joe
        It is not about taking care of people. My complaint is that it's the Federal Government..
        As a student of the Constitution I see specific tasks assigned to the Federal Government, It is when the government gets involved in other areas... they seem to fail on a massive scale and waste money on a equally massive scale. That is the complaint you hear about the money. It is wasted.
        I live in Texas. There are towns 50 miles apart. People have to drive hour(s) to get to healthcare providers. Why not set up public health facilities in these towns.
        I live near a major city where health care is one of the largest industries. The joke goes you can't swing a dead cat and not hit 3 doctors. We also have a great number of citizens who.... poor and don't have health care insurance. Now they will be able to get insurance (at what personal cost, is unclear) but all these doctors in town have looked at the reimbursement rates and say too low, we can't accept this insurance. Now, I am sure someone will get an idea to fill this gap.... but the promises of the ACA go unmet and the cost at the Federal level has been estimated in the 12 digit range. As I said "so much money, so little results"
    • Feb 15 2014: Mike, we all know the ACA is a fiasco.
      I maybe more than the rest of you. Back in the day -- I spent a number of years administrating
      a Health Insurance Corporation. A wicked vocation.

      Back in the day, Hillary Clinton was given the responsibility to create a national HealthCare package.
      Bill Clinton really thought she could pull it off. But when she called upon the leaders of the Health Insurance Industry to help design her package, a wiser congress wouldn't agree.
      All that changed when Obama was elected. Today's Health Insurers will issue 30 million
      new Policies without paying acquisition costs for sales agent commissions. Commissions were
      running up to 25% of 1st year paid premiums, and 2.5% to 5% for future year's renewal paid
      premiums for the life of the policies. You can all compute those amounts that our new and better
      Health Insurers will find under their Christmas Trees in 2014, and each Christmas thereafter. .
      I returned from the pharmacy earlier this evening. I purchased 25 blood glucose strips to use while
      I try to find my supply from the VA. The cost, a mere $25.91. Hmmm, If I test 3 times a day I can
      enjoy 8 days of testing. $1+, for each prick of my finger. You had better believe I will use them
      very carefully, shaky hands or not. I don't think I will ask for re-imbursement from the VA. They
      didn't misplace my supply, I did. But, I can get even for my perceived overcharge. I will never
      visit that pharmacy ever again.
  • Feb 11 2014: The link I included in my post was pivitol for me. I read that and then absorbed myself in information relative to psychopathy, and sociopathy. I have been a student of neuroscience for the last 13 years. I began with a project on early brain development and drifted into the implications for emotional intelligence. Regardless of the unresolved aspects of the nature or nurture argument, how we experience the world individually is directly related to the biology we are wired to. Check out, "Incognito, The Secret Lives of the Brain" by David Eagleman.

    So if there is an element within our species that biologically has developed a neural processor which does not include emapthy, remorse, sympathy and a host of other emotions necessisary for basic human connection this can explain many acts of violence prevelant in our culture. The problem is we are focusing on the acts themselves rather than the neurological biology that may be the actual cause. I'm not suggesting there shouldn't be consequences for individuals responsible for acting out however if we cannot understand the biological underpinnings we will continue to put out the fires that are created rather than addressing the cause.

    As a theory let's consider that meanwhile there is another class of extremely high functioning sociopaths(simular to lawyer in the article, Confessions of a Sociopath, included in my first post) and psychopaths. These create and work in those same institutions and corporations that are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of million or hundrends of millions of individuals. We find ourselves horrified and in utter disbelief at frauduelent nature of the monitary sysem and political systems that mirror the biology of the minds that created them. If we continue to place our attention on the acts and systems these individuals are responsible for and fail to deal with its neurological and biological cause we will continue to fight the symptoms.
    • Feb 12 2014: I could only give you one thumbs up, else I would have spent my allotment on your reply!

      It would seem that the majority of the world leaders must have some of our sociopath lawyer in them.
      Actually all do and some are rampant sociopaths.

      I will have to do research to see if the trait is male dominant.

      I now have a new path to research for my answer!
    • thumb
      Feb 12 2014: So, the devil made us do it!
    • Feb 12 2014: I am not sure that we need to go as far as to say "is an element within our species that biologically has developed a neural processor which does not include empathy, remorse, sympathy and a host of other emotions necessary for basic human connection".

      Even people that have empathy are capable of separating humans into "us" and "them", and even many levels of us. We feel differently toward our family, ethnicity, religious affiliates, countrymen, etc.

      It becomes much worse when the cause and effect are not in obvious relationship.

      Back to the OP's mention of wealth redistribution, people seem to not realize that it is accumulation of mass amount of money by the few that make it mandatory that the majority be going into debt.

      The root cause of run-away debt is not people spending more than they earn. The root cause is people spending LESS than they earn, slowing the economy, causing governments to loosen lending conditions until more new money is created (by being borrowed into existence) then is leaking from active circulation via savings.

      Whether the rich do not realize their mass accumulation of money is forcing everyone else to go into debt, or they simply do not care, because those people are not "us" is irrelevant. Either way, it is the mass accumulation of money by the few that is undermining the economy.
      • Feb 13 2014: I think the common element here is fear. The sociopath fears societies and needs to hoard wealth. The only element which has proven to shield them in the past.
      • Feb 13 2014: Joe, thanks for that little connectiion.
        People who are color blind do not live in the same world as those who are able to identify colors. People who are unable to identify colors are not stigmatized and left out, and the vulnerability required to acknowlege this deficit does not have the same ramifications associated with their personal relationships.

        First let me say that, neurological, mental, cognitive and biological references to normal and abnormal do not necessisarily reflect the continum of let's say, born only with a brain stem on one end and Albert Einstein at the other. Hitler or Stallin on one end and Mother Teresa or Ghandi at the other. If those people demonstrate the ends of the spectrum, the rest of humanity falls somewhere in between.

        If you can imagine, coming out of the closet and acknowledging to your family and friends that you have never actually felt sad, even when your pupppy was run over and you thought it was amusing to watch your grand father die of cancer, and you don't feel ashamed or remorseful. The reason our imaging this doesn't apply is because we imagine this with a lot of emotion for which they have no capacity.

        The problem is how do we learn to live with them? How do I take myself out of the cattle pen?
        I have some ideas about this however time remaining this am does not allow me to continue.

        PS. Darrell, before the microscope and vacinations there were many ailments atributed to, The Devil, for which we now understand have basis is biology. I don't think you get a pass for destroying otherl people life or liberty because you have personal challenges. I don't think people who are proned to seizures that keep them from operating a vechicle on public roads, should be allowed a drivers license, I don't think that means people with seizures can't travel.
  • Feb 11 2014: Anyone else ever notice that ALL schemes of "wealth redistribution" have ALWAYS ended up benefiting the "redistributors" more regularly and more consistently than they ever benefited the people the "wealth redistribution" schemes were alleged to be helping? If I were wanting to come up with a scam to line my own pockets and smell like roses, I would base it all around some kind of "wealth redistribution".
  • thumb
    Feb 11 2014: Self interest is at the center of this discontent. Anyone who has ever found themselves in a wartime or other survival situation knows that common interest trumps self interest six ways to Sunday. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    But there are far too many people, especially in North America, who have never known a need for community and co-operative efforts just to survive. Even the homeless of North America have better supports in their lives than a third of the planet's population who have no supports at all. There are far too many that are much more interested in "being" right than they are in "getting it" right. Namely the arrogant who skulk amongst us.

    It seems the more comforts we enjoy the more self-interested we become and arrogance, selfishness, pettiness and mean-spiritedness are not far behind. Aspects of human behaviour that always become more and more prevalent as the abundance increases and diminish along with that abundance. .

    Here is an interesting aspect of human arrogance and mean-spiritedness that can be seen as the 'canary in the coal mine'. Whenever we hear an individual or a group or even an idea being denigrated, dismissed as undeserving of basic respect, or even vilified you are witnessing human arrogance and petty mean-spiritedness in action. Conflict and even violence will not be far behind.

    But what is most interesting in this observation is the need to first diminish the humanity of 'the other' before the mean-spiritedness can be manifested. We cannot be mean-spirited towards those people or ideas we have not first devalued. Once this sort of behaviour is recognized for what it is and challenged at the outset, the ability to develop common grounds and support common interests will flourish and humanity will have taken another step towards actual civilized existence.

    Until then we are doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes and obtaining the same results.
    • Feb 11 2014: William Thank you for joining in!

      The paradox you describe is disheartening, in truth and in despair. With each economic advancement meant to improve our lives we lose a social tool, the kinship with our fellow travelers.

      I would like to know more about the demoralization of “the others” view. Could the first steps in this process be inquiry?

      In other words, is the process of diminishment preceded by a question which at that very moment gives validation of “the other”.

      If so could the universal need to understand, ever so fleeting in time that it may be, be used as a tool to stop the rooted dogma and social pressures which lead to diminishment?
      • thumb
        Feb 11 2014: The first step in devaluing another seems to be "challenge".. Inquiry would be preferred and compromise - either of positions or goals - invariably precedes agreement if, in fact, agreement is the real goal.

        But challenge divides and simply seeks to win rather than to progress or move forward. Challenge only has winners and losers, neither of which are tolerable in a co-operative or functional society. Winners and losers only inhabit arenas of competition where losers have long memories and hold grudges while winners exalt the win and use it to suggest that "winners" are superior, or better, or more important creating division, disagreement, prejudices, arrogance and eventually conflict.
        • Feb 12 2014: William! you continue to educate me, and for that, I thank you.

          The "challenge", as you stated, is not from curiosity, it stems from preconcieved notions.
          At that point it is to late, fear and cognitive dissonance dominates the assault.

          I have seen the "attack" if you will, fade into understanding given enough time or a social event reframed the concept in the assailants mind.
        • Feb 14 2014: Consider that the challenge or inquiry can be a tool to foster learning and appreciate something or be a distraction... by the same token the preconceived notions can be a tool that fosters understanding rather than allow seductive deceptions to drown those who intent to pass the straight hearing the songs therein ...

          the "attack" will, fade into understanding given enough time or a social event that reframes the concept in the assailants mind... say like changing a fight into a dance....
    • Feb 12 2014: There is also an incorrect tendency for people to think that what is best for them is best for the whole.

      This is the essence of the divide in economics between the Austrian school and the Chicago school of thought.

      Austrians deny feedback loops where what is good for one may be bad for others. They see total good as the sum of personal goods. Therefore, anything that is good for at least one is good for all.

      The Chicago school of thought recognizes massive interconnections in the economy where what is good for one is bad for others. As a result, the Chicago school says that some things that are good for one may be bad for the whole.

      While the evidence is overwhelming in favor of the Chicago school... heck, it is a mathematical tautology, there are still a very large number of very rich people that are absolutely convinced (at least they pretend to be convinced) that what is good for them increases total good.
      • Feb 13 2014: I was entangled in a discussion with one of the Austrian boys, I left a little bit of skin in that one!

        The persistent thought that Macroeconomics was the only metric needed, drove the conversation into the dust.
        I should have bailed earlier so I accept partial blame for the failure to communicate.
      • thumb
        Feb 17 2014: Assumptions are just as detrimental as challenges. Objective inquiry and active listening are not skills Western society promotes. In fact, the opposite where arrogance, ego, scorn and indifference are mores often the case.
    • Feb 14 2014: I agree Bryan, that's why when you revalue weatlth, it's always done by the same group with a different smile. Maybe the trick is not to play the game. Instead of Wealth Redistribution, we Revalue Wealth. What if you considered yourself wealthy if you had real friends and your family loved you and one another. Things like Christmas, Birthdays, and Anniversaries didn't include debt or a trip to the mall. Revaluing Wealth might be Emotional Wealth, which would take the power away from the ones we are giving it to. We are playing their game and they could care less if children are being raised in front of a TV or a strangers house because mom and dad both have to work so the family can have a toaster and designer jeans.

      The industrialist needed to sell their mass produced products in a utilitarian society, so they created a marketing scheem that would transform us into consumers. The model T ford was producted as a utilitarian product, the Mustang and Corvette were manufactured for consumers. I don't see a solution of one size that fits all however as I write these lines I feel a need to a simpler life with more emphasis on and emotional connection.

      Also I have to look inside myself and wonder if it not just easier to play to the game that has been so ingeniously crafted which plays to my ego and those sociopathic, narcassistic, egotistical, tendencies we might all share?

      Which brings up the point about self interest. Self interest is what would suggest that I understand and participate in survival of the group because the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Self interest seems only negative when its need for MORE creates a lifestyle that is unsustainable for the group or the planet.

      I still hate that bumper sticker, Be The Change You Want To Be, or something like that because a part of me argues weather or not my change will matter or be enough. Am I just waisting my time or maybe my kids can figure it out.
      • thumb
        Feb 17 2014: Possessing wealth equals status and accords privilege. It always has. But that does not mean we need to continue with that attitude. The greatest social control ever devised has always been one's status in the community. Change that and you change the world we live in.

        The latest ism = capitalism that is - to dominate the planet emphatically embraces accumulating wealth solely for the purpose of self-indulgence and pretence. Does anyone think the wealthy will willingly surrender their status and privileges?
    • Feb 14 2014: being interested in "getting it" right by "being" right - means one chooses to embrace what be right as 'thier' way of being... this means one gives the value to an individual or a group or even an idea that is evaluated as it ought to be valued. Some want every opinion to be as valid as any other opinion when the truth of the matter is that the right opinion has much more value than the wrong opinion.

      Some seek equality by diminishing the value of others where as some seek equality by appreciating the values of each... be on the lookout for words that lead to appreciation and understanding and those that invite to a different adventure... keep in mind that ideas may seek to sneak in disguised and in the company of others rather than stand on their own ... who in their right mind would choose the fake coin when next to it be the genuine one? Which one would you take?

      Recognizing behaviors for what they be may help to develop common grounds and support common interests required to flourish . humanity will have taken another step towards actual civilized existence when each seek the better ways to be and shares the stories that help to cultivate such ways.
  • Feb 8 2014: Joe West.
    Hello, from the idealist.
    What methods will you use to sway me from my well meant keystrokes?

    Can anyone explain "Universal Single Payer Health Care"?

    I firmly believe that we Americans are paying 150 cents or
    more for each dollar's worth of Health Care services.

    Insurance is not Health Care services.
    Coverage is not Payment in Full for Health Care services.
    (Unless of course you are a member of congress, the
    administration, or the supreme court.)

    I spent years in the business of paying Health Claims.
    There is no way in hell that Insurance is a Good Buy.

    We Americans pay to our Government far more in Taxes
    than we receive back in benefits. And to saddle us all
    with Insurance Premiums and IRS penalties, is Insane.

    The Litmus Test. -- In the last 100 years in America
    Taxed-Payers have paid enough to the IRS for the
    US Government to provide all of the following needs.
    1. Unconditional Basic Income,
    2. Pure Water,
    3. Adequate Food,
    4. Effective Waste Management,
    5. Clothing,
    6. Housing, (not real estate)
    7. Healthcare, (not health insurance)
    8. Utilities.
    INSTEAD -- The US Government spent our needs on;
    1. Protecting us all with never ending Wars that kill and
    maim innocent men, women, and wee babes, including
    our sons and daughters,
    2. Providing us with Justice to keep Prisons overflowing,
    Justice denied to those who cannot pay.
    3. Allowing Banking Cartels to dip their beaks and rape
    our treasuries causing Depressions and Unemployment
    4. Spying and Surveillances of us all as if we were criminals.
    • Feb 9 2014: Universal, single-payer healthcare.

      Healthcare that is like the interstate highway system. Government provides it and all can use it.

      Some of it is funded via direct tax (vehicle registration and gasoline tax... or in the case of healthcare, taxes on employers or something akin to the Social Security tax).

      Some of it is funded via general revenue (income tax).

      You may even have some co-pays to discourage over usage.

      Most of the people in the world live under universal payer health care. Of course, that is a bit of an unfair statement since more than 2 billion of the planets 7 billion humans live in India and China and both have universal healthcare. So does much of Europe.
      • Feb 9 2014: Darrell, thank you for such a valid explanation.

        With Universal, single-payer healthcare, there could be reciprocity* between nations --
        *the relation or policy in commercial dealings between countries by which corresponding advantages or privileges are granted by each country to the citizens of the other.

        Perhaps our President and his followers were a bit misinformed about the workings of
        insurance vs healthcare.

        I want to chastise the Governors of States, and the Insurance Regulators for not being
        wise enough to understand that a raise in both State and Federal taxation would be a
        better idea than to load another layer of Corporate Profits onto the backs of sick people.

        The IRS penalty, for non-purchase of insurance, requires a steady income stream, which
        requires continuous employment. This is a fine idea. But where are the jobs?
        When the economy takes the next hit, and that is anticipated shortly, this house of cards
        will fall apart.

        The "Pot" that needs to be filled to pay for healthcare services should be located inside
        our US Treasury, and payments regulated by both State and Federal Laws. To allow
        any Corporate/Organization with a history as bad as the Insurance Industry has shown
        in the last 110 years is folly indeed. We elders of this once great nation know the horror
        stories of valid claims being denied by insurers and policies being full of exclusions and
        restrictions. The Insurance Industry have their own printing propaganda presses, and
        a history of using their insured's medical data to raise premiums to keep profits high.

        The proof is coming soon. But not soon enough.
    • Feb 9 2014: Hi Frank

      I have no intention of swaying you from your path, in fact I applaud it! Your key strokes are the 9th symphony to my ears.
      • Feb 9 2014: Joe, A story to thank you

        As a Boy Scout in a small community we took camping trips, and were allowed freedom to
        explore without restriction. We could and did get hurt from time to time. In today's world,
        the Scout Master would never have been permitted such supervisory behavior. But that
        was 65 years ago, and we were a different breed. Indestructible, as our hero Fathers were,
        who fought in WW2.

        Camped below Superstition Mountain, we decided to climb it. 5 or 6 of us climbing up a
        vertical face with the first couple of boys carrying the ropes. As we climbed, using finger
        and toe holds, the soft face would crumble. Holds were getting fewer to find. Being the
        last climber, I soon found little to grasp.

        Picture, my situation.
        No more finger and toe holds. Standing flat against the face. Looking downward.
        The face I stood against was a 40 yard long sky-slope with a projecting lip, and a 90 foot
        free-fall to be endured.

        I called up to the others, explained my situation, asking them to throw a rope down to me.
        It seemed an eternity had passed, but the rope came down and landed on me. I grabbed
        it with both hands. But since I had been holding on with stiff fingers, stuck into holes,
        my hands were unable to close around the rope. Oops.

        I began to slide downwards. Praying for a knot at the end of the rope. Scraping my shirt
        and then my flesh as I descended towards the lip. No knot.

        Like the Wiley Coyote I slid over the lip and enjoyed the best feeling in the world. Free-fall.

        90 feet later. I crushed a small mesquite bush, and landed on a hard pile of rocks.
        I moved out from under the deluge of rocks that followed me down, and lay back down.

        Boy Scouts are known for "Being Prepared", and this was my Troop's day to shine.
        They made a stretcher from cut branches, and carried me to safety.

        What if the boy above, holding the rope, had tied a knot in my end?
        He may have followed me down. Scary
        • Feb 10 2014: Good story! I could feel the tension. Funny how these childhood incidents shape our lives.

          In todays age the lawsuits would be flying fast and furious

          I for one am glad you found a soft mesquite on the way down and can join us here today!
          What was the outcome of the day, how did your parents take the news?
    • Feb 12 2014: Government confiscates wealth at gunpoint.
      Government sets prices for all medical procedures and enforces them at gunpoint.
      Government doles out payments.
      • Feb 12 2014: Bryan,
        You are more than right.

        I assume gunpoint is a metaphor to show how we must bow to government
        decisions that they make in our behalf.

        Seems we have little say about IRS penalties for our lack of purchasing
        insurance from those Corporate Insurance Crooks who can't seem to
        stop stealing from us.

        With today's several hundred Lobbyist's vying to pay bribes to each of
        the 535 members of congress, millionaires are created even before being
        elected to high office.

        A sad day for Americans who seem to forget that the Media is paid to sell
        Candidates to voters. Candidates who most all are pre-selected privately
        inside closed doors, by Republican and Democrat party leaders.

        Obama's just raised $60 to $80 million for November elections. Peglosi,
        only $30 million as she testified to on Jan 30th's John Daley TV show.

        I could continue, but you get the idea.
        I think Gerald Ford was the last good President. Before and After all Crooks.
        • Feb 12 2014: It's not really a metaphor. Refuse to pay taxes and see what happens. People with guns will eventually come for you if you persist in pushing the point. These are probably not bad people. They are probably quite good people who are doing their best to live up to a genuine sense of duty to their society and fellows, but they are still gun-carrying people who act at behest of government.

          All governments, ultimately, rest upon a foundation of violence. All government programs, ultimately, rest upon the use of violence. Don't believe it? Refuse to go along with any rule/law/regulation/whatever that government imposes. Instruments of violence will be used to impose the government's will.
  • Feb 7 2014: Would like to make one quick point :"If you really want to create equality abolish the law of inheritance. so that every one has to start from scratch "
    Would love to hear your opinions...
    • Feb 7 2014: It would level the playing field! I see that in two ways.

      1 ) If sons and daughters are forced to enter the system with the same odds as everyone else, then the families would make sure that the current social structure is equitable.

      2) Money would not be the major driving force of wealth, it would be knowledge. Since there are no laws restricting the flow of knowledge to offspring.

      Welcome to the conversation!
      • Feb 7 2014: Exactly...also social class will also disappear....
    • Feb 7 2014: Confiscating all wealth at death would not make everyone start from scratch.

      I wealthy person can provide a better neighborhood, better education, better role models, better supervision, better contacts, better starting place in the job market...

      You think Bill Gates' kids didn't have a better start than a poor child born to an unemployed single mother living in an inner city slum full of drugs, crimes, low budget schools.... Bill Gates isn't dead, so his kids haven't inherited anything yet.
    • Feb 8 2014: Rakesh, That is a partial fix.
      Another partial fix is to abolish the Corporate and Political Laws of Limited Liability,
      creating a level playing field for all citizens.
      No more carrots (entitlements for the living wealthy) from Congress.

      I am a harsh jury of one. I would put Bill Gates in the Hoosegow and confiscate
      his fortune, for lying to, and spying on, his customers. I am one of those customers
      who cannot abide sneaky people. I'll bet the moderator axes this opine.
    • Feb 10 2014: Won't work. What is to prevent "gifts" or other forms of property transfer? Legislating to utopia always fails.
  • Feb 5 2014: Yes. Recognize that these are all distractions and shell games designed to just oust one group of oligarchs and replace them with another group of oligarchs. No revolution has ever lasted. The last group of oligarchs is ALWAYS replaced by another group of oligarchs. FIND A NEW WAY.
    • Feb 5 2014: Hi Bryan, thankyou for joining the conversation.

      No empire has ever lasted, how true.

      Is balanced anarchy the answer? This coming from a very good Tube video by James Burke.
      • Feb 5 2014: Having seen anarchy in action at our local Occupy encampment, I believe it can only work in a small, self-selecting group that already agrees about everything. The moment there is the least bit of disagreement, it shuts down and nothing can happen.

        "You can't tell me what to do."

        "I am not telling you what to do. We are all trying to decide together what we are going to do."

        "Well, I will only go along if what we decide to do as a group is exactly what I want to do, because anything else is the majority raping the minority."

        "How about we do what you want and what the group wants."

        "Well, the only thing I want to do it to not do what he wants to do..."

        We spent weeks trying to come up with a list of our top... I mean first... important issues to rally around. FAIL!

        No one would agree to any set of issues that didn't have their pet issue as the umber one issue.

        Then people stopped going to the Occupy encampment.
        • Feb 6 2014: I once thought, incorrectly, that we can change, aren't we the government?
          Not realizing that it is singular goals which hinders change.

          So now I try singular common goals. Like life and health, from your tale above, that stragedy is a hard road also.
        • Feb 8 2014: Darrell,
          Sadly I must agree. People are selfish.
          One on One works. Add a third and the whole thing falls apart.

          I look about me and there is nothing to be done to overcome apathy.

          The people in Washington DC are very smart.
          They do not value integrity.
          They are there to get the money.
          They are aka: Lawyers.
      • Feb 10 2014: I did not write "no empire has ever lasted". I wrote "no REVOLUTION has ever lasted". Big difference. Read what I actually wrote.
  • Feb 5 2014: From my experience, there's no real way to convince fanatics of anything.
    Convincing a man is often less about your arguments and rhetoric, and more about the recipient's willingness to listen. If that willingness to listen isn't there, you're out of luck.
    • Feb 5 2014: Hello Nadav!
      I have seen that often here in the conversations. When there is no agreement to be reached and it is best to part ways with some measure of civility.

      It frustrates me when this happens, being the optimist I keep thinking if I only tried this or that.
      • Feb 6 2014: A wise man once told me, optimism is the better of the two attitudes. They're much happier then the pessimists, despite never getting to say "I told you so" half as often.
        • Feb 8 2014: Nadav,
          Optimism doesn't work with Psychopaths.
          Remember, I told you so. lol
    • Feb 5 2014: Very true.
  • thumb

    W. Ying

    • +1
    Feb 5 2014: .
    The common ground is to quit INVALID HAPPINESS,
    which makes greed, inequality, depression, .... all evil.
    • Feb 5 2014: Welcome to the conversation W. Ying

      Some people find peace in strife, where challenges are there happiness. Others find happiness in tranquility. The rock in the stream.
      Sadly others find comfort in conquest.
      I do see your point, that Invalid Happiness is any which damages others. Is this correct?
  • Feb 18 2014: This has been a great topic, but it is ending soon.

    I'd like to say this before the topic closes...

    Whether intentional or based on flawed reasoning, there is a political faction that seeks policies that will lead to the destruction of the middle class and a return to the Gilded Age of a few very, very rich people and masses living in poverty. This faction is well on its way to achieving that end.

    There is another faction of the political spectrum that claims to want to reduce inequality, but whether through devious intention or flawed reasoning,supports a mechanism that creates dependence on an inefficient bureaucracy.

    It is my opinion that we should seek socio-economic policies that promote opportunities to perform meaningful work for good pay, for all, but do so in a way that encourages work (among the working aged.who are sound of body and mind) rather than dependence on government.

    Looking to history, this means a steeply progressive income tax with lots and lots of deductions for actually spending...

    Money is the life blood of an economy, and it only works when it is moving! Keep the money moving!
    • thumb
      Feb 18 2014: Least we forget, the money is just an instrument, a convention that we have agreed upon. It is not real, in the sense that a tree or a person or a lake is real. It is nothing more than a human made system of convenience and, as such, can be restructured in any form we wish.

      Which is why a Basic and Universal Income is growing in popularity every day around the world. At least for those who are able to think outside the box and are not tied to outdated and small minded ideologies. It is timely that the humanity of a population be given more priority than simply exchanging labour for wages. But only time will tell if such a change of perspectives will win out.
      • Feb 18 2014: Money is more than just some esoteric bit of nothingness.

        It is a measure of value, and that requires both supply and demand.

        In the modern economy, money is created when it is borrowed into existence (or converted from near-money into money when a bank buys a bond that has already been borrowed into existence).

        It is the demand from people in debt needing to get money to repay their debts that creates the fundamental demand for money, in the modern economy.

        It is printed on each and every bill in the USA. This note is legal tender for all debts public and private.

        If you just print up money and tell people it has value, with no real foundation to create demand for money, then the money will not retain any value.

        And what you call "exchanging labour for wage" is actually the production of goods and services for something that has value equivalent to those goods and services.

        Let's see your own "outside the box thinking". If we are to hand people money whether they work or not, why would anyone work? If no one is working, then where would the goods and services coming from that people are "buying" with the money we are just handing them.

        Oh, sure... some people will do things just because they enjoy it... and that will produce some goods and services.... But I do not know anyone that would choose to be the toilet cleaning janitor, the fry cook, the welder, the plumber, the roofer, IF they are not getting paid to do it.

        This was the fatal flaw of Socialism. If you get paid whether you work hard or not, no one works hard. Then, everyone has money, but there is nothing in the stores to buy with the money.

        What is your "outside the box" thinking that gets around that problem?
    • Feb 18 2014: Darrell,

      The two factions you mention seem like opposite sides of the same flawed/flake coin...

      We need sound genuine real coins rather than imitations...

      where would the goods and services come from ? well from "outside the box thinking" its evident that from The Others out there... :-)
  • Feb 17 2014: Buckminster Fuller,

    He reminded me that we brought politicians into being because we thought they would solve problems, he eloquently states why that's not possible, because problems can only be solved through design.

    If you think about the two biggest factors involved in evolutiion it is nature and nurture. Nature the genetic componet and nurture the eviornment. Pressures necessary for genetic evolutiion are created by the enviornment and until recently , life has only responded to those pressures and was molded by a purely natural enviornment.

    Tool making has allowed us to design our enviornment and thereby participate in our own evelution. This includes architecture and institutions such as capitalism, socialism, monarchies, tribal leaders, currencies, political, religious and philosophical ideas which are aspects of our enviornmental designs. A cursury study of history is like visiting a museum filled with the artifacts of those attempts to modify our enviornment for one purpose or another.The one thing they all have in common is, the scales are always tipped in favor of thoes who were responsible for implimenting them and those with an ability to capitalize on them.

    The reason I joined this conversation was to put forth the idea that the game is set up by highly intelligent psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissist, who have been unwittingly aided by the creative energy of individuals they have brought under their charismatic spell. Repeatedly these intellectuals and creative indiviuals were used and discarded when they saw their ideas being used heartlessly against the very people they were supposed to be helping.

    We now live in a digital enviornment controlled by the Media..our most creative energies are stollen by or layed at the feet of large heartless corporations, controlled by individulas incapable of most human feelings. Marketing gives corporations a smile and a heart for us to love and buy into.
    • Feb 17 2014: I believe individuals choose how to be through a process that involves :
      1- part nature,
      2- part nurture,
      3- part the individual
      4- and part a couple of other factors

      BTW It's possible to transcend and outgrow 'problems' especially when embracing certain story-lines and holding particular enabling tools! The game and playing field has been temporarily taken over by 'the bullies' dew to a multitude of factors; thought its time for each player to determine if they will now play better games on the field or be constrained to the bulling cell that encapsulate the bulling ways once and for all... of course anyone can come out of the cell or go into the cell dependent on how they choose to play. Unwittingly aid by the creative energy of deceived individuals will cease to help the bullies as everyone and everything recognizes the games being played and only visionaries are allowed to move forward the activities and ideas taking place. The charismatic spell is a thing of the past replaced by the conscientious inspiring actions of individuals and collectives who recognize that only win-win-win interactions can truly be enriching. What is about to happen is that them 'stollen ideas' and energies will transform and change it all for the betterment of each and all tipping the field in favor of the creative benevolent visionaries that will benefit even from the copycats actions. The controllers will become controlled once and for all while individuals get to be individuals and play their role into what happens next. As everything turns into a wonderful fun dance!
  • thumb
    Feb 17 2014: /
    Joe, you want common ground for common good. Haza. My teacher said:

    Method 1: utilize the consent of the governed.
    Method 2: allow the political leaders to be answerable to the people alone.
    Method 3: establish a limit to the powers of government.

    Usurpations? Really?? I think these are not accomplished by particular rich people so much as by constitutionally recognized entities called corporations. This will continue to corrupt the underpinnings of representative government until corporations are no longer recognized as having [human] rights and money is no longer considered speech.

    BTW: 1 is from the declaration, 2 is from the constitution (see especially federalist #51), 3 is from several well-established but sometimes poorly interpreted constitutional amendments. (1st, 4th, 7th, 14th, etc)

    Well, on second thought, I have little basis for my ungrounded faith in human decency. The USA is only 5% of the world population anyway. If we considered "universal" health coverage WORLDWIDE we'd have to be *concerned* enough to stop children from dying like flies from starvation. (Then again, if it could happen to the Grinch...)

    Good luck Joe

    BTW If you and your readers are not a piece of spyware or a "bot" then I think we might already have quite a bit of common ground.

    • Feb 18 2014: Hi Mark, Thank you for your reply. The weekend called me away from the keyboard. I agree common ground is discussion! Even heated debates must have something learned.

      Our countries tendency to separate the corporation from the individuals who run the corporation is detrimental to an extreme, it places the board members in anonymity. A bad thing indeed.

      I think the anonymity enjoyed by investors needs to be removed also, whenever I hear that the price of (substitute your favorite commodity here) has risen due to (natural disaster of the day) I correct them by saying “No the price went up because of people”

      Our cognitive dissonance towards children is mind bending, I as you, can see no justification in allowing murder in the name of money.
  • thumb
    Feb 17 2014: any time we put "being right" ahead of attempting to "get it right" we foster conflict and division.
    • Feb 17 2014: William,

      I think I get what you said regarding individuals who put the appearance of being right ahead of the facts... at the same time I think that 'being right' dew to the fact of being right is ok... it's the people who are wrong and want to claim to be right when they aren't that fosters the conflicts and divisions... especially with the people that get it and happen to be right.

      "being right" stems from actually "getting it right" ... which takes a step further the 'attempting to'; into 'managing to' and 'getting to'...
      • thumb
        Feb 18 2014: The debate over slavery has gone on for centuries.

        Slave owners believe themselves to be right in their subjugation of those they deem to be less than themselves and, within that limited population they are right. Meanwhile the emancipationists believe themselves to be right and within their community find just as strong support. Both can even become extremely righteous about their rightness and spout all kinds of doctrine and history to back up their beliefs.

        Given that there are millions of people around the world who are, to this very day,, enslaved it would appear the jury is still out on which is "getting it right" although most folks would seem to support the emancipationists. .
        • Feb 19 2014: Of course that shifts this debate from the issue of "being right" because one actually "getting it right" ... to perceptions that this or that individual or group have.

          Again if we move a step further from the 'attempting to'; into 'managing to' and 'getting to'... be right and get it right we may find to stand on common ground.

          We are all enslaved to believe while some are free to choose what to believe...
          We are all enslaved to choose while free to choose what to do (even it that means doing nothing)...

          Hope you make the right choices.

          allotted time is about to run out... so be it...
  • Feb 16 2014: Esteban, I have to agree that , "impossible to change," is not accurate. I would say many of the institutions are not worth fixing as they are obsolete. I think we will slowly realize that the enviornmental pressures responsible for the evolution of the institutions that are supposed to assist us, which were orginally designed for our survival have been kept in place to keep us seperate and afraid of one another.

    Pink Floyd talks about those institutions in many of their songs.

    "Us And Them"

    Us and Them
    And after all we're only ordinary men
    Me, and you
    God only knows it's not what we would choose to do
    Forward he cried from the rear
    and the front rank died
    And the General sat, as the lines on the map
    moved from side to side

    Black and Blue
    And who knows which is which and who is who
    Up and Down
    And in the end it's only round and round and round
    Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
    the poster bearer cried
    Listen son, said the man with the gun
    There's room for you insid
    Down and Out
    It can't be helped but there's a lot of it about
    With, without
    And who'll deny that's what the fightings all about

    Get out of the way, it's a busy day
    And I've got things on my mind
    For want of the price of tea and a slice
    The old man died

    It is difficult for me to see all the ways I've been groomed to accept the unacceptable. I also don't think it's impossible for me to change and for that change to have an effect on those around me and I recognize that the formula for this change is an inside job.
    • Feb 16 2014: Dale,

      Haven't you heard it's an ideological 'battle' of words... for the survival of ideas feelings thoughts ways of being?

      see all the ways we've been groomed to accept the unacceptable ...
      ... and reject the acceptable for being unacceptable...
      ... the thing is, its possible for me/you/us/others to change and for that to have an effect on everything!

      Yes the formula for this change is an inside job AS WELL AS an outside job...
      ... fortunately outsiders and insiders can collaborate to get it done!

      I am thinking of cleaning a window, it's got to be done from both sides to get the job done appropriately!

      Let keep it simple by accepting the acceptable and rejecting the unacceptable through appropriate 'recycling'

      Before I forget, and while I remember, whenever I see that metaphor of 'a battle', I think of 'a dance', for I have learned that when invited to fight one must keep from forfeiting and keep from getting into it by means of graceful movements.
      - If one fights, win or lose one becomes a fighter
      - if one doesn't fight:
      . a) one may forfeit the fight and allow the fighters to win the fight by default
      . b) one choose to dance (and may even convert fighters into dancers)

      When one dances everyone wins, when everyone dances it becomes a party!

      I like that notion involving the idea that many of the notions are just not worth fixing as they are obsolete! Of course we need to recycle them obsolete stuff into useful new stuff rather than just put it out of sight where we hope it will stay. Like I said to someone else : A clear mind knows what be in it's place and what be out of place... and what needs to be moved from one place to another to ensure that each speck be where it ought to be, as it ought to be, in the form of how it ought to be. To get the job done appropriately it's got to be done considering all facets... and possibilities... of course some possibilities ought to remain as such just possibilities.

      Let's collaborate to clean windows
  • Feb 16 2014: The common ground is to start with the basic rule that the use of force is not allowed except to protect against the use of force. Thus any trading or exchanges must be done freely.
    Governments rely on the use of force to achieve their social engineering goals thus violate the principle of free trade.
    So the first rule is change the governments to not rely on the use of force but instead use free trade just as any other entity. Thus the current system of taxation must be abolished since it relies on the use of force. Hence health care must be follow the same rule: that of free trade and not the use of force. Since the ACA is a tax, it relies on the use of force thus is against free trade and freedom.

    The second common ground is that natural resources belong to all people of the world thus must be shared equally by all people in all countries. Thus what we need is one world government to ensure resources are allocated fairly.

    I always wonder when I see a piece of land for sale, where did the owner get this land? If we look back a couple of hundred years ago the piece of land was not owned by anyone. Then some government claimed ownership. Then someone purchased it or acquired it somehow. Now that person selling it for millions of dollars. In the beginning the government claimed the land and likely stole it from someone else. We must see the foolishness of this and go to a policy of all land, minerals, and natural resources belong to humans as a whole rather than individuals.
    • Feb 16 2014: Jacque ,

      I think that the common ground involves actions that commit 'the ground rules' to a particular set of principles that have little to do with possessions and forceful appropriations that result in hoarding resources; and have much to do with enriching symbiotic interrelationships. The current system of licensing moved from a mediating enabling facilitator to a frictional regulatory arbitrager who interferes into private dealings.

      I think that we need to take the issue of belongingness and possessiveness a step further and consider that the natural resources belong to nature, people who take stuff from nature must enrich it, and the place they took it from. It's not about allocating the bounty / spoils / resources equally it's about ensuring that what each does has beneficial repercussions throughout. When someone mentions they own a piece of land I wonder if they realize that they only lease it and if they realize what you said that they lease it from usurpers. The thing with certain developments is that they attract poisoning polluters and looters. The current system of looters must be abolished. Thing is that some still go for the opportunistic seductive temptation to just take by force rather than work to have willing consent.
    • Feb 18 2014: Your first premise is incorrect.

      For billions of people to get along, there have to be rules. Without the use of force, there is no way to enforce rules.

      I work hard to produce stuff. It is my stuff. Without that ownership right, there would be no reason for me to produce, and therefore, no stuff. Even if you do not intend to use force to take my stuff, I can use force to ensure that you do not.

      We collectively build infrastructure, roads, parks, utilities, and establish rules for their use. You must follow those rules, or we can use force against you.
      • Feb 18 2014: Darrell reading your comment above reminded me of a Stephen Crane poem

        "It was wrong to do this," said the angel.
        "You should live like a flower,
        Holding malice like a puppy,
        Waging war like a lambkin."

        "Not so," quoth the man
        Who had no fear of spirits;
        "It is only wrong for angels
        Who can live like the flowers,
        Holding malice like the puppies,
        Waging war like the lambkins."

        This conversation is coming to an end and I would like to Thankyou for your comments and insights. Your contributions to my conversation and my knowledge have been invaluable. Hopefully we will talk again!
        • Feb 18 2014: Excellent point in the poem.

          I would love to live in a world where everyone acted in a way that produced optimal outcome, without rules or risk of use of force.

          In my experience, that is an unrealistic hope.
      • Feb 18 2014: Darrell,

        I find rather humorous to observe how individuals tend to project unto others their stories and thus tell others what actually applies to them ! It would be wrong of me to tell you that you are wrong even when you are wrong; for the right thing to do involves telling you what be right and focusing on what be right to cultivate what be right. There are ways for billions of people to get along, that have nothing to do with rules nor enforcement by force! I once was told that the more rules one needs to love, the further from love one be.

        I wonder about the veracity of the premise 'there have to be rules' ?
        I also wonder about the assertion that to enforce rules requires the use of force.
        There are other notion in what you stated that I also consider one should think about.

        It's quite evident to me that embracement of principles and values by individual choice can lead billions of people to just get along because each chooses to do it! Like I told my brother the other day, Why is it that do we need to pay 'the bullies' for protection from 'the bullies'? In other words without 'the bullies' it would be unnecessary to pay for protection from 'the bullies'!

        In regards to the notion that you work hard to produce stuff that it is your stuff, that 'Without that ownership right, there would be no reason for me to produce, and therefore, no stuff' we should look into the matter deeper. First we would have to see if someone has taken and usurped stuff that actually belongs to someone else to posses it, change it, claim ownership over it. Second I would explore whether someone works hard to produce descendants and whether the descendants actually belong to them; Who has an ownership right over them offsprings? Can the owner do as they please with them offsprings? Seems to me that the tenants of the land have revolted and laid claims of ownership to the land that they where provided to tend and cultivate into a lush wonderful garden through the use of love.
        • Feb 18 2014: There is a saying "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch".

          Even a society where everyone chooses to live in harmony, would require rules (written or unwritten) so that people would know what that harmony is. In the most basic example, which side of the road to travel on.

          Walking through a crowded theme park on a busy day, we can see the massive inefficiency that comes from lack of such standardized rules. There are frequent cases of deadlock, where no one can move, because there are no rules as to which side of the walkway one must walk on.

          And the worst, is that it only takes on bad actor, who chooses to not live in harmony, to destroy the most harmonious of settings.

          I have seen tens of thousands of people harmoniously standing in line for their turn, when one person chooses to violate the rules of polite society, and jump into the front of the line.

          In a dream world, perhaps 100% of the population would choose to obey social moral constructs without risk of force... it is my experience that in reality, it violates human nature.
      • Feb 18 2014: Darrell,

        The good news is that it only takes on good actor, who chooses to live in harmony, to bring about the most harmonious of settings... Yea I understand of how one individual can spoil it for everyone, especially if everyone allows that individual to influence what happens and what they do. (I do realize the ambiguous form of that last statement where 'they' refers to both the spoiler and spoilee). I am basically saying that the one who jumps into the front of the line can gain an advantage because of individual actions that individuals could choose to change. There is a bunch of stuff that could be done to prevent the spoiler from spoiling it for everyone... some of it could be based on rules and regulations and enforcement of them ways... some of it could be based on emergent dynamics set into motion by one good actor... "Hey everyone look this guy is jumping into the front of the line, lets give him a round of applause and make him and everyone aware of what they have just done" of course the attendant at the from of the line will politely escort them to their appropriate place ...

        People don't need to know rules to know what harmony is... in fact just saw a report on how babies know, can tell and have a preference for the nice bunny... even at three month old!

        Look at the following ted talk for why 'rules' need not be when simple principles be followed...

        • Feb 18 2014: You assume that shaming will prevent people from line-jumping?

          Your experience is far different from mine.
      • Feb 18 2014: Actually I realize that shaming will not prevent some people from line-jumping... that is why I mentioned that "of course the attendant at the from of the line will politely escort them to their appropriate place ... " which could be the end of the line, the theme park's entrance, or their own little holding block! Evidently this may even involve a bit more than just someone asking them nicely. I am sure that if everyone got involved into doing their part to prevent such incidences such incidences would disappear. Please observe that the preceding statement is factually correct.

        My experience is that people will do a lot of things dew to pear pressures often without even questioning what it is they be doing, or even why they be doing it. It's time to use that positively and ensure individuals do what ought to be done. For the record note that sometimes allowing someone into the front of the line be the right thing to do! That is why I said 'do what ought to be done'...
  • Feb 16 2014: What someone did in ( ) brought to my attention something I found pertinent to this conversation.

    preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience like awarding everyone in a particular species a status that they may or may not have is quite different from awarding somebody in particular that fits a given criteria a distinctive 'title'. When one uses words like the ones you use not only does it shifts the focus of this conversation it also cultivates the ideas most associate to them words and curiously does something that is the opposite of congruency between word and deed. I perceive that your statement "this nasty species that watches millions die while they play... has not one human hero" seems to denotes that the species being referred to isn't human.

    (snipped) Would like for you me and others to please focus on the central issue of fostering certain behaviors when the opportunity presents itself... As a metaphor how and what does one feed 'The Wolves Within' (see native tale story).
  • Feb 15 2014: So long as there are non-negotiable items, there will be problems. The best example in my mind was Michael Collins who compromised and was assassinated for the Irish treaty in 1922.
    • Feb 15 2014: Wayne,

      I think the sotry-line that there will always be problems to be problematic :-) and prefer to hold an alternate notion which may enable us to find out the truth of the matter.

      I can foresee a situation where there are non-negotiable items in which everything works out just fine (where there be no problems). I can also foresee situations where some will manage to find problems even where everything is just fine... it seems some just have to find and/or create the problems that they know how to solve :-)

      personally I advocate we move from problem-solution dualistic ideological stands towards a more singularly organic ecosystemic interactive flow. I do understand how some deal with non-negotiable items by accepting or rejection the stuff... 'my way or the highway' kind of way... of course when one tells them it will be the highway which happens to corresponds to my way rather than your way... they rarely followthrough and embrace the highway... some are stuck within the ways they know. If they happen to stand on the side of non-negotiable items its rather easy to reach agreements amongst them standing on the same side, it is when some need to change where they stand and move over into the side of non-negotiable items that issues may surface. Look at it this way, scientists all agree to side by the facts though they may disagree as to which be the facts. similarly true believers seek the truth of the matter and in a way both religious and scientist agree to embrace the truth of the matter though they may question what be the truth of the matter.

      Some question to find out the truth, and some question to distract from finding out the truth! Of course some just dialogue and converse to expose the truth of the matter.
      • Feb 16 2014: Can you give an example?
        • Feb 16 2014: Indeed, I can give an example, multiple examples! I think you can think of examples that will help you & others validate/invalidate the point and will then proceed to accept/reject the examples considered as being valid/invalid. Some will manage to find a way and/or create a way to maintain what they think to be; some will manage to find a way and/or create a way to transcend what they think to be through thinking anew way. That last part in actuality just expands what they think, so, in a way they do and don't 'transcend what they think'.

          In the case of problem-solution-opportunity sotry-line, I thought it rather amusing to construct the notion "that there will always be problems to be problematic". Kind of self-mantaining to have the problem as problematic! I know that how one sees a situation affects what one does in the situation. The thing is that we sometimes see a situation in a particular way, rather than contemplate the full range of possibilities. Yesterday I was waiting in line and initiated a conversation with someone. I wanted to know what they thought could be done to change the system the situation what others thought/felt/did. More particularly wanted to focus on the notion of what each could do to better the situation, as a means to explore if each was doing it and as a means to change the situation. The response was something along the lines people will change when the system changes but the system isn't going to change and people are not going to change. When I insisted a bit into the matter of what I had asked related to what they thought could be done to change the system the situation what others thought/felt/did, i sensed a bit of hesitation and reluctance to continue the conversation.

          Another example of shifting a dualistic ideological stands involves moving from subjective cold-hot claims towards the objective assessment of the temperature. Instead of 'the problem', use the situation, and focus on what to do with it, use opportunity!
      • Feb 18 2014: Esteban,

        You did not give me examples. Let me give you a situation. You are a Catholic Priest and your sister raped. You are the only relative of your sister and there are complications. The doctor says the child needs to be aborted or both will die. What is your decision?
        • Feb 18 2014: Wayne,

          I did give you examples which you apparently didn't get...I can think of examples of dilemmas similar to the one you posted. Say a mother with a child escaping war... with a bunch of other people... the child misbehaves and the mother kills the child... will you praise the mother as a heroin or scorn her as a cruel villain?

          In the case you mentioned it boils down to a mother expecting a child who has life threatening complications where either the child and mother die or the child dies and the mother lives... my answer is pro life... Of course the way you set up the situation there seems to seek to distract what be going on...
      • Feb 18 2014: Esteban,

        A friend became a priest and that situation occurred. He chose against abortion and both died. I envy his faith.
        • Feb 18 2014: I heard the example of the mother having to smother their infant to keep them quiet and keep the group safely hidden. Needless to say many actual situations in practice are 'complicated'...

          Catch 22 sort of things... still ideological topic exploration and guidelines can be useful to determine what to do...and maybe even constrain what one chooses to do when the hearing the siren call. Odysseus and the sailors facing the Sirens...

          I can understand your friends choice ... sometimes one has to have faith and allow God's will to be done while conserving the peace... of course sometimes it's difficult and problematic to discern the truth and sometimes it's simple and straightforward to know what to do...

          As I mentioned earlier I would prefer to hold an alternate notion which may enable us to find out the truth of the matter. I can foresee a situation where there are non-negotiable items in which everything works out just fine (where there be only good options).

          The problem of choosing which one isn't so much of a problem as which one prefer the most...
  • Feb 15 2014: A statement I read in the seventies has continued to act as a filter off and on. After reading this whole conversation this morning it resufaced in a new light. "There has never been a world war waged that was not first waged within the hearts of men." If I buy into that then I can see that nothing has come into being that was not an outgrowth of what is in our collective consciousness To include all the intitutuions, finanacial, political, relegious, educational and even our individual roles we play in our families and communities.

    It would appear those institution we hold in disdain or simply mirrors of ourselves. Changing them is impossible but finding the opportunity for my personal healing and growth may be the most powerful part I can play.

    I have found that resisting anything gives it energy and attaches me to it at a deeper level.
    • Feb 15 2014: Dale,

      The notion that "Changing 'them' is impossible'" implies that changing you/me/us/others is impossible. From empirical evidence it just seems self-evident (at least to me) that it is actually possible for you/me/us/others to change; especially if each puts their hearts/minds/spirits to it. You put fort an interesting notion regarding the stuff at the hearts of men and how that can lead to a manifested reality. With that in mind/hear/spirit I posit we each ought consider that "Changing 'me/you/us/others' is possible" In fact it's inevitable to influence each other fortunately each may choose how to influence and how to be influenced.

      Like you I found that resisting something gives it energy and attaches me to it at a deeper level...
      From energy medicine practices I learned a simple three step 'antidote' that seeks to cultivate what ought to be. It involves :
      1- Recognize what be
      2- appreciate what can be
      3- consciously choose the better ways

      A glass is alway full; full of what is the key to full understanding!

      Indeed - individual personal healing and growth may be the most powerful part the individual can play... and it may involve changing what the individual does (or just change how the individuals does it). The right attitude/disposition can change it all.

      I have found that telling someone not to think of an apple leads them to thinking of an apple and ways not to think of stuff. I have also found that telling someone to think of this or that tends to get them to think of this and that and a couple of other things including the ways to think of stuff; giving it energy and feeding this and that and a bunch of other stuff at a deeper levels and higher domains.

      What I am still working on involves conversing on ideological topics that lead to full engagement and inspiring actions especially when it involves changes that seem impossible which actually happen to be rather possible and practicably certain to happen sooner or latter. (better sooner)
  • Feb 15 2014: Common ground for common good...Philosophically poignant! Cognitive psychology and experience will tell us that the wide range of individual perception would taint any attempts to find universal common ground on any subject. However, utilitarian democracy would have us believe that through representative government, common ground is "achieved" by majority rules. Indeed, the wide range of ways that nations organize and distribute their resources is further evidence of the difficulty to achieve common ground. How should one define common ground and common good? should common good be measured as a minimum? or a middle? For example: the idea of a minimum wage or a welfare system generally is to secure a _minimum_ of economic power for survival. Why is it ideologically acceptable to systematically "secure" (or maintain) a portion of the population at minimal standards? Should the objective be to raise absolute minimal standards to a middle (a common) standard? And how to bridle the egos of those who think they are superior, who society considers superior, who possess some superior gift or skill, into believing they do not deserve economic favor/advantage that is measurably and "equivocally" superior at the expense of others? For example at the expense of the lives of those who do not receive medical services because they know they cannot afford them or those who lose their livelihood by attempting to pay for "the superior" for medical services. To expand on an analogy from another discussion: we let the toilet cleaner die because even the doctor's kid can clean the toilet and the doctor can save the politician and the corporate boss. Why is it ethically acceptable to consider a doctor more valuable than a toilet cleaner? If nobody cleaned the toilets, ever, we would all need doctors more often. So which idealist are we swaying? the doctor or the toilet cleaner?
    • Feb 15 2014: Kae,

      I hold to believe that through appropriate representativeness a single murmur can suffice to guide the attempt to find universal common ground on any subject, the key resides in "appropriate representativeness" to the individual voices. In other words give 'the superior truth' a true superior voice while constraining the distractors. Equality can be a double edge knife used by some to promote inferior ways as equal to superior ways which actually prevents 'equal' treatment ... To use the example of the toilet cleaner and the doctor ... regarding some health issue and some assessments. Give the appropriate representativeness to whomever hold the right assessment; be it the toilet cleaner or the doctor. It may be that the toilet cleaner knows the better answer and ought to be recognized and rewarded. Unfortunately presently many resort to pseudo analysis / evaluations that have more to do with what seems to be than what happens to be. Like Tarzan they sway from tree to tree jump and fly vine to vine ...

      From the linked article - The rule that each is to source the inputs from the best and least-costly producers – whether or not those are in house or from others– can certainly kept individuals, and groups at the cutting edge of new technologies. The thing is that many give more representativeness to their stuff and devalue the others stuff rather than appreciate the stuff itself for what it be. This is part of the present market dynamics - of sell high - buy low. Cooperatives dynamics follow a different matter along the lines of to win each has to win . The article mentioned this notion as a familiarity with and sense of responsibility for the enterprise as a whole... The fundamental idea as I see it involves a shift from how do I make a profit at someones else's expense towards how do I make a profit through getting others to make a profit ...
  • thumb
    Feb 14 2014: I think a lot of us see similar big visions, we just struggle because there's no way to easily describe whole-life solutions, they're kind of complicated by definition, aren't they?

    I'd very much like to combine efforts!
    • Feb 14 2014: Knowing what to do is the simple part...
      doing it, now, there is the challenge...
      individuals need to train for the situation...
      so that if they come face to face with it they react effectively and appropriately...
      • thumb
        Feb 14 2014: "individuals need to train for the situation...
        so that if they come face to face with it they react effectively and appropriately..."

        I think that there's a benefit in being well trained and in thinking progressively more responsibly as the issue needs it, yes.

        I also think that if you're going to design for a better future, you need to focus very heavily on how evidence indicates we tend to behave, despite any wishes for a more enlightened version of humanity.

        I'm strongly of the opinion that any really powerful solution takes both into mind, you set a higher default bar for civilization and create a good vision for the future while at the same time engineer the world around people so that it's not so absurdly difficult to be a good person and to get useful things done.

        • Feb 15 2014: Indeed I would only change :

          the part that stated - it's not so absurdly difficult to -
          for something like - it simplifies and facilitates to -

          Which should be something rather simple to do :-) (well I think it's not so absurdly difficult to do and hope you see it the same way... it focuses on cultivating the stuff that most would find facilitates and simplifies life ) I always seek to remember and tell others to focus on the concepts they want to cultivate... I think you me and most would like to cultivate what simplifies and facilitates being good and getting useful things done...
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2014: Yeah, your phrasing was more artful. Agreed. :)

        "I think you me and most would like to cultivate what simplifies and facilitates being good and getting useful things done..."

        That is definitely part of the dream, yes. :)

        A major component of the whole Awesome, Inc/Coopernation idea is to use the hiring line both as a way to get in some basic principles on hiring (REALLY basic, third grade stuff) and to let people move into situations where they're having a good life while not being constantly driven to do things that ruin the lives of others.

        Once that option is open to people it's not going to be easy to compete with, and the more people join something like that the less there are making messes that need to be cleaned up
  • thumb
    Feb 14 2014: Perhaps one of the most fruitful steps toward achieving some common ground on any issue is to treat the process as an ideological discussion, rather than an ideological argument. Only if the various parties agree that the others' opinions may be worthy of their consideration, and might influence their thinking to some degree, will a discussion be worthwhile.

    Parties entering the discussion with the sole intention of maintaining their particular status quo should be identified by the others and treated accordingly.
    • Feb 14 2014: Don,

      I think that moving from ideological argument to ideological discussion ...
      ... is a step toward achieving some common ground on any issue.

      I also think that moving into an ideological discussion ... may be a step away from achieving some common ground when such requires appropriate ideological dialogue.

      Moving from argument to discussion to dialogue involves steps toward achieving some common ground on any issue.

      Please note and consider that appropriate ideological dialogue seeks for each party to first understand the stances then the possibilities and finally treat each accordingly to how each ought to be treated.

      I noted how some insists that other embrace their position while they demonstrate an unwilling to give up their position and embrace the others position. Only when the various parties agree to embrace the position that is appropriate to embrace and actually incorporate such position will there be an agreement that satisfies everyone. Hope you perceived the shift from 'their position' to 'the appropriate position'. The decoupling shift from someones possessiveness towards what be factual observations can open the door to common ground. It is not about who be right (and who be wrong) it is about what be right. On a more neutral form It is not about who's opinions ought be accepted and followed; it is about what ought to be embraced and sought. In other words Only when parties agree that what be going on may be worthy of their consideration, and might influence their thinking to some degree, will a conversation be worthwhile.

      I can foresee conversations where it is quite desirable and vital that some parties entering the interchange do so with the sole intention of maintaining their particular status quo ... just as I can see how detrimental it be for some individuals to insist on maintaining their particular status quo. THE particular status quo involved matters and should be identified and treated accordingly. Keep what right
  • Feb 13 2014: In order to obtain human common GOOD it is necesary that we speak in terms of human-fundamentals.

    A n ancient wise quote says ::

    Useless indeed are These:
    A vocation that demeans human spirit=
    An Economy which is not self-sustaining
    And - a human concern which is'nt Kind !!
    • Feb 14 2014: Vedapushpa Iyengar

      I agree in that "In order to obtain human common GOOD it is necesary that we speak in terms of human-fundamentals". With that in mind and what followed I would posit to revise the wise quote as:

      Hold a vocation that appreciates human spirit= with an activity that is self-sustaining benevolent and enriching
      coupled with - a human concern ( (in medieval Latin‘be relevant to’) for what be fundamentally GOOD!
  • thumb
    Feb 13 2014: Joe,
    As one of the sociopaths that hoards wealth, let me give my side of the situation... at least as I have come to understand it.
    First I am retired. My wife and I live one a small pension and social security. Over the years our children grew up and left home, we looked at our retirement, The advice was to get out of debt and get prepared for retirement. So we did. We purchased nice furniture that would last us. We got a good car that would last us. We were living in a rental so we saved all we could to put into a retirement home. We planned to have everything we needed to retire on hand and paid for when we stopped earning income. We did. And now we are only facing a small mortgage payment on our retirement home. We were not able to save enough to pay it off... that would have been better.
    But, we are hoarding our money... the little there is... The dentist tells me the replacement of my bridge will cost $12K. I can live on soup. There is the knee replacement and cataract surgery... that will just about wipe out our savings.... So, not yet, I don't need to walk around that much and there is nothing really worth watching on TV....
    Now, I am a member of the silent generation, my wife is a baby boomer.... I hear that there are thousands of baby boomers entering retirement every month. I read that in a few years... a good fourth of Americans will be retired, drawing social security and living on pensions... most will probably be small like mine. We will not be spending money... we will hoard as much as we can to face our geriatric situations. We are sorry we are not going to keep up the dynamics of America's Economic Engine. We started our run at the "American Dream" from nothing as we came out of the Great depression and we learned to make it and live a good life. I have no sympathy for youth who want to start at the economic level of their parents and find that they can't or a government that fosters this view. I have become a sociopath.
    • Feb 13 2014: Mike you are running the economic engine! Same as the hundreds of thousands of other pensioners, include me in 5 years.

      Darrell has a valid point about money circulation and extreme wealth, yours is circulating, too much circulation is going to health care, if you ask me!

      You are not even in the same boat as the sociopaths we are using as a reference :)
      • thumb
        Feb 14 2014: Joe, that's the point. Retirees do not do not generate the economic engine. We are saving money for those emergencies. Young people buy houses, cars, appliances and IPhones and do it every three years. They have children and buy all sorts of stuff for their young families. That is where the economy is being generated. My car is 10 years old and I will keep on the road until one of us dies.
        I just replaced my 2003 IMac, with great consternation.
        Darrell has little grasp of the real world economics, circulation or extreme wealth. There are only two sources of money. Currently this government is trying to control money by printing more as did the Germans in the mid1920s, That did not work out well. The other method is to fix money to valued property like gold or as the US has on the good faith of the government.
        He goes after the wealthy, OK there are about 1000 people in the world who have assets of over a billion dollars... if we were to convert it all tomorrow, it wouldn't cover our national debt.
        Further, liquid assets are limited even for the wealthy. Their assets are in properties, from fine art to land, to stock certificates, etc. Any of these are only as valuable as for what they could be sold.
        Consider the number of people who bought homes a few years ago... way more then they could afford (another conversation) and.....took out a mortgage. Then the market fell and these people were stuck with the high mortgage and when the housing market fell so did a lot of jobs compounding the problem. Not to worry, the government came in and saved so many... with what, money they printed. When I was young and old German man showed me with his hands how many Marks it took to buy a loaf of bread. I am dreading the day that I will show a young man with my hands how many dollars it took to buy a loaf of bread.
        • Feb 14 2014: I have to disagree Mike, with every oil change or tires you buy, you drive the economy. I once took a car to 475,000 miles (it got 52 mpg so I was never giving her up!) the auto parts store knew me by first name and shouted it in unison when I walked in.

          If your savings are in a bank, they use that money in the economy.

          Now multiply your efforts by billions of folks doing the same. We are the economy!

          We should start a conversation on the Housing bubble. That is one of the biggest shell games ever. The truth is finally coming out in the miniscule fines levied against the banks for their contribution to the fiasco. It would be interesting to see where public perception lies.

          A loaf of bread or a gold necklace is a man-made value. One could be thousands of dollars; we decide which one it is.
      • thumb
        Feb 14 2014: Joe,
        Sorry, I didn't make myself so clear... Yes, I have a little money in the bank that supports the economy. And a few shares of stock that pays a small dividend, and buying those items of food, clothing, etc. to sustainment, all investments in driving the economy. But, my point is that my contribution today is a fraction of what it was in my hay day and most retiree's live on and expend half of what they did in their prime years. If you count the raise in retirees coming, it means that more people with only half of the economic impact and you got what we have today.
        I am still not clear on your point of what is a right. I see that there is a right to healthcare in the sense that healthcare is made available. For example, if you are sick and the law says you can not go find medical help it was illegal. I hear that. But, there is healthcare out there, So, if someone is sick, they can go see a doctor. So, the issue becomes about payment for services. And that has nothing to do with heath care. That is about the money. Your point is money should not stand in the way of getting healthcare. I agree. So the question comes down to who's money?
        • Feb 14 2014: Our contributions fade as do our labor, sad, but then I am looking forward to it. I suspect I will consult during my retirement, but as you said my labor and economic contributions will fade.
          AARP finds worth in our numbers, that is slim comfort

          Payment for health services has a lot to do with health care on a personal level. Imagine the following, far to real scenario…

          I see a person who has back pain putting off a visit because they do not have the money for copay etc… Before long cancer is rampant and the cost skyrockets for us and the patient. If no payment was required, I foresee an early visit and lest costly and successful treatment for all involved.

          But this does not address who pays for the care.

          In my opinion the payment comes from all of us. A universal tax, the hospitals are managed so that payment is tied to outcome. There cannot ever be a profit and salaries are a line item budget with no pork allowed.

          The government would have to be involved, I know this is a concern and rightly so. We have seen the outcome of many government projects. I put forth that the failure was not based on the government but on who controls the government. Which in todays world is business. From both parties the lobbyist flow like water.

          They would of course be removed and the people would decide their fates in health care via democracy.
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2014: OK, a universal tax. This is already here, Medicare and Medicaid are levied on most all salaries and then it is effective after age 65. Still an additional monthly premium is paid with a deductible and a 20% copay.
        There are exceptions to the age limit, disability for one.
        The cost is regulated by the government to hospitals and doctors, but the medical providers are under no requirement to provide services at the government rates.
        But we are speaking of health care for all...there are 320.000.000 Americans. I could not find a total cost for all Americans, but I have seen estimates in the $2Trillion range. I can believe this number.
        Now lets make all medical centers non profits with budgeted labor costs. I am not sure how you address the small independent medical providers, so let's ignore them for now. Since most for profit medical facilities report less then 15% gross profit we can pad that down a bit and say that the revised total universal medical cost is... 1.75T.
        There are about 62 million employed people and another 20 million who are underemployed or looking for work that can be taxed in some manner. Half of Americans are retirees, children, etc. etc.that are not taxed or pay little tax. So all things considered to add universal free health care would require a real 33% tax hike from all tax payers, all other Federal expenses continuing..
        OK, now the problem would be to for people decide their fates in health care democratically.
        What am I saying Joe, my derived cost estimates for universal health care is mind boggling to me.
        Although universal health care maybe a great idea, I just can't see coming to fruition in any circumstances.
        • Feb 18 2014: Hi Mike, my once empty nest has had a fledgling return. Please except my apologies for the late reply!
          The point of both our entries into medical economics, show that the answer is to revalue money. We could argue Medicare and supplemental insurance and government vs private, till the cows come home. The point will still remain that money is, the constructive and deconstructive force in our lives.
          A tough cookie, how do we “find” (in quotes because we create it) money to pay for peoples health? I do not have the answer, I just have a hope.
      • thumb
        Feb 18 2014: Joe,
        There s a way to help. I am not sure of all the economic implications... for one in many of the big cities, we are overbuilt in medical facilities .
        The military offers to young bright people a medical education in return for a period of time in the service. There is a large medical teaching facility in my area of San Antonio. Graduates of military medical education receive compensation at reasonable rate and have no student loans hanging over them
        The military has managed to provide first class medical services. They have found that when they provide medical insurance for those service member unable to use military facilities, the cost has risen .
        Again, if the government was to provide medical clinics to provide basic medical services at little or no cost, and leave huge expensive illnesses to catastrophic insurance coverage.... Now what?
        • Feb 18 2014: Community service in exchange for education, that is a very good idea. To some degree this is being done in corporations also. In engineering there are several companies who pay for your advanced degrees. Here we see social engineering at its best. Are we not skirting with socialism though?
        • Feb 18 2014: The medical insurance companies and care providers won't allow government to offer direct services as it would be cutting into their profit margins.

          Politicians are forced to work within the constraints that ANY healthcare reform must increase the profit margins of all involved. Otherwise, the PAC money that would come down on the head of the politicians is staggering!
      • thumb
        Feb 18 2014: Could be.
        But, The USA has slipped more and more into a socialistic government over the last 50 years.
        I am not pleased with that, but a number of Americans are. Politically, I guess I am more of a libertarian then a socialist, I see government following a specific set of rules for conduct as determined by the governed. Our constitution defined a number of tasks for the Federal Government as a constitutional republic and left the rest of governance to the individual democratic states. What has happened here is the Feds have taken more and more from the states. The federal government has almost become a monarchy. The outcome has been that in the last 50 years, the USA was the highest in education, and freedoms and a number of other categories of quality of life and today we are less educated, less free and less of everything when compared to international standards. A century ago, many European countries ended monarchies and went on to establish socialist governments. There seemed to be a need to have a strong centralist governance by the people. American was founded by people who were not part of the majority classes of Europe. Minority religious groups, displaced royalty, adventurers, etc.,etc. That attitude of individualism, religious ethics, and all has all but disappeared. We are becoming the Europe of the early 1900s, looking to a strong central government to provide goods and services that are "too hard" to do for themselves. That is why my original question to this conversation... arel these services, health care and wealth distribution a right?
        • Feb 18 2014: Mike,

          Your comments induced the idea that health and wealth have little to do with bestowed rights; they have more to do with intrinsic 'properties'. Maybe the crux of the matter involves a misunderstanding surrounding the notion of 'a property':
          - the right to the possession, use, or disposal of something; ownership: rights of property.
          - an attribute, quality, or characteristic of something: the property of heat to expand metal at uniform rates.

          Recently I have formed the notion that regulatory organism should be advisory mediators rather than delegated arbitrators.

          some think they can legislate properties into being when the truth of the matter is that at most they can just influence the individual choices made.

          you asked "are these services, health care and wealth distribution a right"?

          I think they aren't a right to posses, use or dispose of. I think that health care and wealth distribution are attributes, qualities, and characteristics to be cultivated and tended.
        • Feb 18 2014: Interesting that you chose "over the last 50 years" as the period over which we have become more socialist.

          What was the top income tax rate 50 years ago? Hint 91%.

          So are you saying that a more progressive income tax code is less socialist than what we have today?

          Could you provide an example of what you consider to be more socialist today than 50 years ago?

          You do know that the definition of socialism is a form of government where the government owns all the businesses. Oddly, it was you that said we can't judge the size of government by the number of people that work for the government since they government has privatized a lot of what it does to contractors. That would be, by the definition of socialism, LESS socialist.

          i think the big problem is that you have bought the lie that ALL government regulation is socialist, and ALL government action intended to reverse inequality is socialist. NOTHING could be further from the truth!

          The income tax, as it existed 50 years ago, shows the government was FAR more active in reversing inequality than it is today!

          Stop believing the lie and look at the actual definitions and the actual reality!
      • thumb
        Feb 18 2014: Esteban,
        Our conversation is about how your attributes could be cultivated. Some say yes and others say no. I don't see them as attributes to be cultivated. That implies that they would elevate society in some manner. That argument could be made. But, I asked if these were rights under law. And they are not. To execute either as described would require government taking and giving. That violates the equal protection clause as I read the constitution. But, it is not that the government has not beaten that clause into the ground, so this would just be another example when the erosion of the constitution is discussed at some future time.
  • thumb
    Feb 13 2014: So, what if hit things from a different angle?

    We already have corporations that have principled hiring (i.e. no asshats), including a larger number of co-operative ones

    And we know that part of the problem with 'big' issues is we're not biologically designed to care about (or even KNOW about) more than a hundred and fifty people or so.

    And we know that when it comes to productivity, intrinsic motivation is king.

    So what if you create a corporation that's designed to expand as quickly as possible while encouraging people to lives that don't play off our weaknesses so much? Something like this?

    (Awesome Incorporated: Employee/Citizen/Owner's handbook)

    While there's no 'perfect' solution, we're not finding many flaws in that approach (though it is just a rough draft, life's been complicated)
    • Feb 13 2014: Hi William, thanks for joining in the conversation.

      I skimmed over the E/C/Owners handbook (will read more this weekend), from what I have read so far is this idea one of a global corporation which replaces segmented governments?
      • thumb
        Feb 13 2014: Yup. It may be better described as a framework, because other than raising the bar on civilization internally it's designed to be extremely flexible, with people choosing between whole-life solutions that are designed to cluster those that get along well together while pointing everyone who joins in a very basic positive direction.

        The capitalism-abusing angle is more to speed the transition along than anything else, and the idea of an uber-skunkworks is a whole lot more marketable than the more vague 'enable us to break away from this mess in a useful way' idea that's at the core.

        That approach is also really new (a couple of weeks old maybe) so I'm sure it could use some refining, I was mostly hoping to get enough pieces in a couple of small readable documents that it would be readable yet still contain enough information to encompass what kind of has to be a pretty thorough set of solutions.

        I do really like the idea of hitting the people with resources where they have few defenses (i.e. by being completely honest and sincere and treating them like regular human beings). I know from some past experience that there are those that will find that refreshing if not positively habit forming.

        • thumb
          Feb 14 2014: William,

          I think I may have been working on a theme that is pretty much related to you topic. I will be more than happy to exchange ideas and opinions to where we can pave the way to successfully apply those ideas.
    • Feb 15 2014: William,

      I too have been working on a theme that is pretty much related... please consider the ways to enrich each one and each other... will be looking into the document... and will post additional comments...

      My two cents thus far would be to rephrase the statement:

      One other thing that may stand out is a general lack of negativity.
      One other thing that may stand out is a general 'inclination' towards positivity. Yea it's a bias in how we think / feel act to show preference for someone and something good, benevolent, desirable, beautiful etc...

      Edited to add that my two cents extends to revising the document to ensure a positive framing... for example
      I think the idea is for it to be a dynamic document, at least for a while... We always seek to keep going including additional enriching stuff that's how we work to move forward... see whats there and what ought to be there and do what ought to be done by doing it
    • Feb 15 2014: William,

      Please advice what you think I ought to do given the following situation:
      - In principle I find the fundamental idea of the document good
      - in practice I find certain framings of the document 'questionable'

      I understand the stand put forth while hold that there is actually a better stand to hold.
      - In principle I find everyone would want to embrace the better stand to hold
      - I know from past experience how some react when presented certain ideas especially when it pushes them to embrace changes that they rather not do.
      - So rather than do the work and then be accepted/rejected I would like to invert the situation.

      I know the veracity of the statement "Nobody has any power over anybody else that’s not given by consent, and that consent can always be immediately revoked".... hardly reflects the actual reality being live in ... In fact to me its self evident that individuals and groups do have power over others that isn't based nor given by consent. To me its evident that whomever is right holds the right to be heard while whomever is wrong doesn't hold such right. I assume that you are the kind of individual who understand to focus on the issues at hand rather than who decides them issues. I wonder if you are willing to accept that there are individuals and groups that do have power and influence over individuals and groups? For that matter some individuals may have more power and influence than others? I think this is a vital issue/value to consider.
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2014: I think you summarized where we'd run into some concerns fairly well. Nicely observed!

        Honesty, when it comes to any sort of principles we're not individually very legalistic. . . rather we tend to think in scenarios and stories. . . and with how much variety there is even in how we interpret phrases I kind of figured it was a fools errand to depend on them much.

        So instead I like to think of them as stage setters, and I think it's the whole 'I'm making this commitment as part of getting a job and I'd hate to get fired!' angle that makes them valuable. We don't hire people who struggle with the concept. We worry about those who DO when we run out of those who DON'T. (Not that we're neglecting anyone, but for the sake of argument . .in the first stage we're focused on the already converted)

        With respect to power and consent, I'm a very big fan of putting a firm line out there because that's where the bar is SUPPOSED to be set on an individual basis, and that's something people should always be able to fall back on if things have gone horribly awry.

        That doesn't mean that groups and individuals won't have plenty of interactions, and there are layers of consent and we frequently give others 'power' temporarily. . . that's how we get economy of scale, after all!

        What it DOES mean is that consent line is the final straw. There is no ability to be TOLD by somebody else to hurt anybody else, because you're also not capable of giving up that right (in the Awesome, Inc. view).

        And that's where the mind hack is in that one, it's a right that you're allowed to give up, thereby removing one of the most common rationalizations for doing horrible things in this world.

        That being said, there are probably even better approaches, but I had to start somewhere! :)
        • Feb 15 2014: William,

          I like thinking in scenarios and stories. . . and with how much variety there is even in how we interpret phrases I kind of figured it be a wise errand to depend on individual principles to guide, and facilitate all sort of stuff.

          I woke up with a rather simplistic idea related to the stage setters and rules of the play:
          It goes like this:
          Act 1 - Somebody wants and seek agreements
          Act 2 - Someone enters and chooses to agree or disagree
          Act 3 - Somebody agrees with someone to agrees to agree or agrees to disagree
          Finnalle - Someone reconsider whether they choose to agree or disagree

          Note that that: be there agreement or disagreement with someone, somebody wants, seeks, and attains the agreement... whether it be to agree or to disagree depends on what someone chooses. If someone wants agreements they better choose to agree.

          I noticed a key idea in your statement above:
          "making this commitment as part of getting a job"
          Note that the word 'commitment' == the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. a conscious agreement and/or engagement that 'restricts' freedom of action... it's given by consent, and that consent can always be immediately revoked (though that would change the state or quality of being dedicated to the cause).

          Curiously Awesome Incorporated open door policy implies that there isn't someone or something who hires individuals ... those who want to work there, work there... those who don't want to work there --- well they will still work there; under the illusion of working elsewhere or under some deception of not working there. Of course everyone who works there consents to follow the guidelines to work there one way or another.

          I too am a big fan of consent and having a definite firm line that individuals ought be able to choose ... I choose and prefer agreements ... if someone wants to agree or disagree... I will agree and insists on agreements ! (for an agreement is what disagrees with disagreements)
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2014: Oh! Just something to add!

        None of that means there aren't lots of ways for options to be set up that reward dedication to commitments, after all that can be a very valuable trait. So there's room for journeyman type systems, achievements (heh), and all the rest. Those would all just be options, valued as appropriate rather than turned into debt hammers.

        Lots of ideas were left out because it's been more a drive to get things read, y'know? I've got no real media skills, and there's lots of subtle interplay that it's difficult to get into without turning it into a novella. I was going to actually do another post here asking for help now that we've got something more specific (since that was invariably the big issue last time around)

        I think we all have to deal with that in one way or another. . . our real vision is too broad in scope and filled with 'obvious' things to be expressed in it's entirety, but when we get around to providing detail we risk alienating those who had similar visions but took different paths and also getting so attached to one particular elegant nuance that we disregard approaches without it.

        I've tried as much as possible to keep that in my head over the last couple of years, but I still catch myself there plenty. This is HARD! :)
        • Feb 15 2014: What it DOES mean is that consent line is the final straw. There is an ability to be TOLD by somebody else what to do - if someone chooses to do it or not; it's someone's choice! In other words somebody can invite someone to the dance/banquet/play AND someone has to consent to the invitation by doing what is required to dance/banquet/play. The thing is that everyone be at the dance/banquet/party some perceive it and some still have to learn to perceive it.

          Each is also capable of giving up and picking up rights (in the Awesome, Inc. view). In actuality each holds the rights what they give up is their will to use them rightfully. "that's where the mind hack be" some invite you to choose to do something and you choose to do it rather than doing something better... the idea "it's a right that you're allowed to give up" invites you to give up a right rather than use it rightfully! I will skip going into the other ideological topics surrounding that notion that are included in your post by saying what I rather focus on wonderful thing in this world!

          when we get around to providing detail each will choose to deal with that in one way or another, some will choose to agree some will choose to disagree some will choose to 'alienate' themselves (or more appropriately how to a-lien-ate --- I just discovered how lien fits in there perfectly) now how to put at a distance - as it ought to be. I am ok with those who had similar visions and took different paths and also get so attached to one particular elegant nuance that we can basically disregard approaches with it. what be a bit of a concern be those who get attached to particular nuances that just aren't beneficial to them nor others. The ones who choose 'disagreements' rather than seek 'agreements'.

          I will agree and insists on agreements ! (for an agreement is what actually gives each what they desire). Someone said in order to change, the system has to change --- in reality we be the ones who change stuff - us things
  • Feb 12 2014: To: Bryan Maloney.

    You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
    Awarded this day for private honesty in citizenship.
    Thank you for your wise and true remarks.

    When our US Government can stop funding Soldiers to War on the poorest peoples
    in the world, we might have a fair government. Not so now. Only a corrupt one.

    Interesting exercise: Google the 1940-2014 list of nation's of the world economies.
    They will be numbered. Match them with the Wars that the US has engaged in since
    WW2. Google has that information also. Wikipedia too. As you match up, you will
    see quickly that since Germany in WW2 the US has only gone to War with nations
    who are listed at the very bottom of the list of world economies.

    As poor as all these nations are, the US lost many of those Wars.
    And most of the US's history has had President's who lied to get Wars started.
    Congress hasn't actually declared any Wars since Bosnia.

    Keep voting you poor fools.
    • Feb 12 2014: Congress has not declared war since June 5th, 1942.

      The USA has declared war a total of 8 times for a total of 5 wars,

      1812 (British Empire)
      1846 (Mexico)
      1898 (Spain)
      2x 1917 (April Germany, December Austria-Hungary)
      3x 1941-1942 (Dec 8 Japan, Dec 11 Germany and Italy, June Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania)

      Of course, the Constitution of the USA grants the president powers of Commander in Chief of the armed forces, allowing him to do pretty much anything he wants with the military without declaration of war.

      Pretty much the only exceptions I am aware of are to house the military in private residences of USA citizens without fair compensation to the owner and orders that violate the Constitution. Even then, that second one has been ignored without ramification (like when Jackson used the Army to relocate Native Americans after the Supreme Court has ruled the orders a violation of the Constitution. Folklore is that when Jackson heard of the Supreme Court ruling he said "They made their ruling, but let's see the enforce it." In other words, the military was going to do what the president (a popular and successful former general) said, not what some judges said.

      Congress declaring war is pretty much irrelevant to the powers of the president to use the military as he sees fit.
      • Feb 13 2014: Darrell, Thanks for the correction.

        I was taking it off the top of my head, and at my age, that is asking a lot.

        The latest top-down list of economies of all the nation's is out, I think Wikipedia. .
        If you have a moment or two, you might want to match up the US's Wars vs the Poor,
        by where they fit economically then and now. There are a number of organizations
        other than nations that the US made War upon, and are still doing so today. Most
        unheard of yet by American citizens who get their news through the media.
        I did all of that, and saved the data to my old Office 2003 Word, and cannot find any
        of it on my new Win8.1 Gateway computer, after I had saved it to my external harddrive..
        Pulling out my hair doesn't seem to help.

        I plan a return to XP. My friend who lives at the artic circle tried to convince me
        to buy Apple or Mac. He laughs easily today.
        The 2 or 3 new Drone bases inside central African nations may be easy to locate,
        as they most likely are supporting the State Dept's private contractor mercs.

        I know it all sounds like a conspiracy theorist's hair brained scheme.
        But you might like to check it out.
  • Feb 12 2014: Joe, It is almost funny --
    I talk about our government now.
    I despise that Business has replaced government(s) world-wide with Las Vegas High Rollers.
    It is the same no matter where you go.

    In this nation the Corporate CEO's capture 100's of Millions of Dollars as they show enormous
    Loses and Profits that trickle down to their stockholders.. Whether they win or lose they remain.

    I was somehow surprised to find that out of those economic statesmen who met at Davos for
    a World's Economic Forum, to get prizes and awards, and make their speeches, 85 of them
    had all together, self-wealth that exceeded the wealth of the entire block of 3rd world nations.

    I know there are good people in the world, but for them to rape our US Treasury and change
    our US Government without asking the citizens first, just because they decided to do so and
    express feelings that it is in our own best interests, is wrong.

    I notice that these Wealthy, good intentioned peoples, have all the money they need, and
    haven't shared their wealth. They just keep piling it up.

    If you think I will cause harm with my keystrokes, I cannot. The Wealthy who are leading our
    nation with a Business platform will only ignore me.

    Has anyone noted how well Obama can ignore things. It became his first duty as president.
    Ignore, Ignore, Ignore. If you folks would look back a bit at each issue, Obama was never present
    until much later. Interesting huh?
  • Feb 11 2014: much of what we see in nature is shaped by the relationship between predators and prey. those humans who feel are simply the prey for those who are incapable of feeling who are the designers of the big game. I see your question as an attempt to understand what you see as the inequality of man which should be the expected outcome from heartless Institutions, including political, economic and corporations that have simply learned to domesticate their prey. As long as we play the game the predators have created we can expect the same results.
    it is hard to imagine people with no capacity for remorse or impathy with the inability to value other humans at a heart level. This link is an interesting read and very revealing with regards to how things have gotten to be the way they are.
    • Feb 11 2014: Disturbing article! I prefered the life I had before I read that!

      We all like to think that it is not real or we will never encounter someone like that. As you point out it/they are there and knowing this is the first step.
    • Feb 12 2014: I see this argument all the time.

      The rich deserve to be richer than everyone else because they earned it... and for the most part the "earned it" involved ruthless self-interest over civilized behavior.
  • Feb 10 2014: much of what we see in nature is shaped by the relationship between predators and prey. those humans who feel are simply the prey of those who are incapable of feeling are the designers of . Your question is an attempt to understand what you see as the unequality of man which is the expected outcome from heartless Institutions, including political, economic and corporations that have learned to domesticate their prey. As long as we play the game the predators have created we can expect the same results.
    • Feb 11 2014: Hello Dale, thank you for the reply.

      If we are surrounded by the game, where is the exit? Having witnessed the herd mentality of cattle going to slaughter I can see your points. So…
      Could we play within the system to effect a change? We know the route ahead leads to desperation with that knowledge can we separate ourselves or more importantly change the direction of the herd?
  • Feb 10 2014: Joe, thank you for your kind words.
    You asked...
    "What was the outcome of the day, how did your parents take the news?"
    The Boy Scouts carried me a mile or so to a station wagon and lay me
    across the backs of 3 upright seats. The long ride to the hospital was
    pretty painful. Doctors massaged a kidney from under my lung back into
    place, and a few days later I was allowed to go home.

    Other than telling the Scout-Master to not let me climb anymore,
    My parents were proud of the Scouts, and the Scout-Master.
    Unlike today, there were no harsh words, nor lawsuits.

    Mesquite is not a soft bush. Full of long sharp thorns, it is a most
    unpleasant desert plant to land upon. I had a lot of scrapes and holes.

    The Troops received an award and some merit badges. Parents were
    made proud, and the newspapers ran the story.
    I did climb again, and there is another story to parallel the last one.
    It seems I always had to learn the hard way. Always...
    • Feb 11 2014: Thank you for the ending! I was being tongue in cheek about the mesquite ;) I have yet to encounter a soft one either. Maybe the wiry devil helped disapate the impact, gives me chills thinking of hitting one of those at close to 50 mph
      • Feb 11 2014: Joe, 90 feet is as long as a very tall telephone pole, and when we add in
        a 40 yard slide, things could have been worse. lol

        The best feeling in this world is the free-fall. I loved it.
        If suicide planners knew about it, they would all jump to completion.

        The Sudden-Stop? My jury is still out.
        I will give one last Story before getting serious again ---
        Boy Scouts can be great explorers in wilderness areas.
        They often find fun in daring each other to do wild and crazy things.

        My Troop, 279, if I can remember correctly came across a swinging bridge, for sheep
        or maybe goats to cross. It connected 2 sides of a canyon with a stream running below.
        It was high enough over the water to be scary. But we all dared each other to jump from
        the center of the bridge into the sandy area below. I wasn't the first, but when a couple
        of others had done the deed, I decided I could too. I did, and it was fun.

        I was climbing the canyon wall to get back up to the swinging bridge and jump again.
        I was about 50 or 60 feet up when a plant, I was holding to help me climb, came loose.
        The Wily Coyote comics appears once again.

        I was falling feet first, down the face of the wall. I looked down to see where I was going
        to land, and to my dismay, I saw only sharp hard rocks and boulders. Oops

        When needed, the human mind can work in super-sonic time. A decision was made
        not to land on those hard rocks and boulders. A secondary landing place was quickly
        computed. It was filled with sand, no rocks to be seen. Aha !!! I warbled to myself.

        I quickly changed my feet down approach into a feet thrust into the wall, and a springing
        motion to allow me to throw back my head and complete a backflip in the air. I landed,
        face down in the sand, with my head 3 inches from a really sharp ugly boulder. The rest
        of my body landed on the sand, away from the rocks.

        My Judo instructor earlier had taught me to "tuck and roll"..
        • Feb 12 2014: "The best feeling in this world is the free-fall. I loved it.
          If suicide planners knew about it, they would all jump to completion. "

          Your killing me Frank, I had tears in my eyes, after laughing so hard. I am adding your above phrase into my lexicon! Properly attributed of course.

          I saw a science show where the study was to determine if the brain accelerated during free fall. They concluded that it did not, I think they may need to revisit the study.
  • thumb
    Feb 10 2014: YES, there is always a common ground for common good - especially in theory. Making it a reality is another matter.
  • Feb 7 2014: Biology now suggests that co-operation [even altruism] exists in plants, animals, including primates/humans and promotes long term survival. Self-interest is present in the natural world as well and often operates anti-cooperatively.
    What do you want? Which leads to a better survival, a more pro-social society or a society where more unfettered individual freedom (including greed) is paramount and promoted?
    Human activity shapes the world we experience be it societal or environmental and fuses with the other organic or non-organic changes occurring in the world and universe.
    Evolution tinkers and allows some of us DNA-based creatures to survive this ever -changing world.
    Both co-operation and self-interest have been seen to be effective in their own ways in the natural world. Co-operative cell networks have led to long-term plant and animal species survival.
    Can we more universally choose one behavior over the other and make it more common.
    Evolution will then allow the common behavior that is chosen [co-operation or self-interest] to continue and be successful in its' own way with its' own consequences.
    What do you want? Which way leads to a better more long-lasting survival?
    Can we choose?
    • Feb 9 2014: Hello Allan, Thany you for your reply. I choose the cooperative path you speak of.

      I think economic tools have given some of us the ability to chose a path of self interest. Which is against the natural path of evolution.

      The problem is that money can be used for good also and has become so entrenched in society that I cannot see any path forward which does not include money in some form.

      How can we eliminate the greed and death associated with money. A question we will need to adress if we wish to progress.
      • Feb 10 2014: What evidence is there that such a pure "cooperative path" is biologically possible for humans?
        • Feb 10 2014: Pure self-interest dies with the individual so, clearly, true self-interest lies in cooperation.
          Governments serve to optimize cooperation. Rather than voting republican or democrat,(two sides of the same bad penny), perhaps we should be able to opt into franchise governments, the way we do insurance or fast food. If we want to worship capitalism, maybe we should allow a free market for government itself. Perhaps the 1% would like to try getting along without the 99%.
  • thumb
    Feb 7 2014: Our very old ethics that are expressed in the prehistoric Golden Rule are still provoking a very "convenient" excuse for the most horrific deeds throughout our history to this very day.

    Wondering... Can our future be very different from today's reality in the most wonderful ways?

    Can it be a future in which one celebrates his or her Personal Independence Day, every day; where the Golden Rule is thoughtfully corrected, and advises:

    Never treat others as you would like to be treated yourself - unless they agree to it first - because what "works" for you may be damaging for others.

    This new rule on ethics (I've made it up and just suggest it) might work beautifully ..
    • Feb 7 2014: I agree 100% with your statements ,As your name implies, you bring the truth.
      May I use your rule in other conversations?
      • thumb
        Feb 7 2014: My new Golden Rule?
        Never treat others as you would like to be treated yourself - unless they agree to it first - because what works for you may be damaging for others.

        Absolutely. Yes - I'd be honored !

        (and yes, "nova vera" in latin means "new truth" - I feel, this name I'm glued to, demands me to be ultimately responsible for what I do, or say.. )
    • Feb 10 2014: The Jewish version of the so-called "golden rule": Do not do to another what he finds hateful.
      • thumb
        Feb 10 2014: THE GOLDEN RULE - CLASSIC (I came to realize - many of them are confusing and have provoked endless bloody terror, fights and wars)


        What you don’t want done to yourself, don’t do to others.
        -Sixth Century B.C.


        Hurt not others with that which pains thyself.

        -Fifth Century B.C.


        In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting
        upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves.

        -Fifth Century B.C.


        Do not do unto others all that which is not well for oneself.

        -Fifth Century B.C.

        Classical Paganism

        May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me.

        -Plato - Fourth Century B.C.


        Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.

        -Mahabharata - Third Century B.C.


        What is hateful to yourself, don’t do to your fellow man.

        -Rabbi Hillel - First Century


        Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.

        -Jesus of Nazareth- First Century


        Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.

        -Sixteenth Century A.D.
  • Feb 6 2014: Provide everyone with the basic needs of survival free garanteed. Make the punishment for intentional crimes not led to by ignorance, a quick painless death. Make education free. Insanity is grounds for a medical cure or death. Ignorance is the only defence, the response to which is confined reeducation. Beyond these there would be no prisons. Basic transportion and communication are part of the basic needs of survival. Couples not working or otherwise supporting the system would be limited to two children. While grumbling about expenses, the rich would like the tight government controls and the sense that no crime is justified. The poor have food , shelter, medical care, and access to education to rise out of poverty.
    This would be stage one...
    • Feb 6 2014: Bradley, welcome to the conversation. I almost hesitate to dip my toe into pool on this one. To much death. Is there another view which does not eliminate the disinfranchised?
      • Feb 7 2014: Sounds like a totalitarian death machine on first impression doesn't it. It's not. It's more like sweden or Norway. Death rates fall as do the rates for crime and illness. The poor were disenfranchised by the lack of opportunity imposed on them by the desparate struggle to survive. Stage two is where those so motivated can use free education to learn to be doctors and lawyers, engineers, teachers, writer, artists, etc.. For everyone fear of failure fades a little. We try to live by doing the things we love doing.
        In stage three fear fades a little from all aspects of life and we begin to realise that putting 60% of our national budget into a military industrial death machine is less efficient than providing food shelter, medical care and education to the rest of the world...
        • Feb 9 2014: Bradley! Now this I support. Very good observation, how much creation has our current economic system lost because people were afraid to fail. Not because of their dream, but because of the posssible damage their attempt woul bring to their family.
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: Joe,
    I don't even try. Nadav had it right. I have only been involved with TED Conversations for a short time and at first I thought it was about conversation. But, I learned soon that it could be a platform for very committed idealists (aka fanatics).
    I saw patterns forming as when a comment was with rife absolutes and only referred to data that was generated by promoters of the subject matter concept. When a challenge was presented, it was immediately disregarded as idiocy and your sources were irrelevant. I once tried to find common ground between "scientists" and "creationists"... I got slaughtered. I was called names I had to look up. I must say though, the Christians were more charitable then the scientists.
    All in all, I back off when I run into "committed commentators". Although, I still say to all you cosmologists.... the moon is made of green cheese....
    • Feb 6 2014: Mike
      It seems that the amount of time invested in an idea correlates to self identity.

      Having to reframe their views is a direct assault on their lives. I can see how that would bring out the singled minded pursuit and hostility.

      That is a tough nut to crack. Does a break from the conversation help when you return?
      In other words did some in the conversation realize the damage done and welcome you back?
      • thumb
        Feb 8 2014: As you can see below, Joe, Darrell makes my point. But, he was nicer about it then most.
    • Feb 7 2014: The source of frustration is easy to understand.

      Some people believe only that which there is data and evidence to support belief in.

      Other people believe whatever they want to be true.

      When they collide, you have the irresistible force (logic, data, cogent argument) bumping into an immovable object (faith).

      The frustration comes from both sides. If you would let go your dogma and look at the data.... If you would just stop focusing on the data and listen to your "common sense" of what everyone knows...

      I have seen this situation in a more literal sense. I have sat on a beach in Hawaii and watched the irresistible force of a volcano colliding with the immovable object in the form of the Pacific Ocean. The result, of course, is a LOT of steam and noise.
      • Feb 9 2014: This brings us full circle, with the boiling sea and fiery lava, the end is a land mass teaming with life. An agreement between nature.

        Yet as men we flounder.
      • Feb 10 2014: There is insufficient data to support belief in inferential reasoning. David Hume pointed that out centuries ago. Nevertheless, scientists (like me) use inferential reasoning.
        • Feb 10 2014: Because deductive reasoning requires perfect data, which we do not have in regards to reality. Therefore, inferential, while flawed, is the best available regarding knowledge of reality.

          This is the essence of the spit between pure philosophy and natural philosophy that occurred a couple hundred years ago.
    • Feb 7 2014: And for the record, there is no middle ground between science and creationism.

      Science teaches us to believe only that which there is sufficient data to support belief in, and then only as strongly as the evidence supports.

      Creationism is the story of one particular religious faith. It requires that you accept without data, despite data, simply because some people 5000 or so years ago made it up.

      Science starts from the foundation that there is no magic. There are natural processes that we do not yet understand, but all must fit without a few basic laws such as the conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, probability and chance.

      Creationism starts with magic, has magic running through its every fiber and is completely inseparable from magic.
      • Feb 10 2014: What fields of science are you published in? Are yo the D Shimel who published on tuberculosis? I'm asking because the extremity and severity of your statement is generally more common among science groupies than actual working scientists. Most of my work has been in neuroscience. I can tell you from direct experience working in science that what you describe as "science" is some kind of public school nonsense. Science teaches us to construct models that are temporarily useful and then discard them as they become untenable. All models are wrong. One is to "believe in" none of them--merely use them as long as they aren't too unwieldy. Science does NOT "start from foundations that there is no magic". Science doesn't even address that question. It's a non-issue.

        Thus, I must ask, what journals are your publications in? I can be looked up in Pubmed or the other life science indeces. Are you a scientist or merely a science groupie?
        • Feb 10 2014: These working models... They accommodate the possibility of magic?

          Nothing... magic... something.

          Is that a viable scientific working knowledge?

          I ask, because as a computer programmer that doesn't work in science, my public school understanding of science is that scientific models require natural processes rather than magic, to be viable.

          If magic has no place un scientific models, is that not the same as assuming it is not real?

          All that IS real does have a place in scientific models, does it not?

          If real, then accounted for in scientific models.
          Magic not accounted for in scientific models.

          I'm, no scientist, but my basic critical thinking class from public school taught me:

          If A then B.
          Not B.

          Therefore, not A.
      • Feb 10 2014: Models that neither include nor exclude something say nothing at all about it. Lack of inclusion is not necessarily explicit exclusion. A model for idiopathic neurological disorder etiology doesn't explicitly include gravity. Does that mean the model explicitly REJECTS gravity?

        Your "logic" is extremely simplistic and simple-minded.

        Again, I must ask, are you a scientist or merely a science groupie?
        • Feb 10 2014: But science is not a single model. Science is the sum of all models.

          There are scientific models that incorporate gravity, therefore, science as a whole treats gravity as real.

          Again, I will state, I only have a public school understanding of science...

          And again I must ask, is a scientific model viable if it incorporates magic?

          You seem to be attempting 2 things here:
          Appeal to unqualified authority. You are a scientist, so you have a better definition of science than a university (even public university) text book.

          Rationalizing. Your argument that some models ignore gravity therefore all science does, is so specious that it reflects greatly on you. I suspect you are suffering from cognitive dissonance.
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: Joe,
    Thinking about this, I am not sure there is a common ground between idealists in contentious topics. I once tried to take a middle ground in a conversation about science and creationism. I was called a complete idiot and condemned to hell.
    Another point is the use of superlatives by idealists. All rich are usurpers and all poor are downtrodden... All? Can I find one rich man who did not usurp anything or a poor man who is not down trodden?
    The other tactics used by idealist,,, one of my favorites is the authoritative quote/statistic. In a conversation about climate change, an idealist went on for 2000 characters and repeatedly quoted from IOCC reports to support his arguments. An organization that is in existence to address Climate Change could be considered 100% objective?
    No idealist will concede his position, because I think he is an idealist.
    But how do I deal with idealists? With humor!

    And what I find even more "humorous" is after I have made a rather outrageous statement, the comeback is "where is your proof"? I have come to the conclusion is that idealists have no sense of humor... of course, not all of them!
    • Feb 6 2014: Hi Mike, I am glad you joined in. We have talked before and I value your viewpoints, in fact your statements have swayed me to rethink some of my ideas. To remove some of the tint from my rose colored glasses.

      As you know, print is a hard medium to work in, I have lost humor in my conversations and have dropped someone else’s humor on more than one occasion. It is a shame that humor is often missed in the conversations, since it is a great means of bringing people together.

      Until I hone that skill I have to rely on emoticons.
  • thumb
    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.
      • thumb
        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.
  • Comment deleted

    • Feb 6 2014: Hi Lilly. There is compassion and empathy in many people. I have noticed that these traits seem to take a much more subtle form than the destructive traits which can make it seem like it doesn't exist. I feel the pain you describe, selfish desire is deeply rooted in our species. But there are some out there who have removed these roots and many who are in the process of removing.
    • Feb 6 2014: Lilly I am glad you brought sports, I cannot think of a more divisive and detrimental activity to society than national sports!
      It cuts at the fabric of cooperative behavior, allows the idea of conquest .. oh you got me started
  • Feb 5 2014: Our ideology is so competition driven we are conditioned to compete, finding common ground doesnt get results. I need to find ground on which i have advantage! Its my view that the free market fails on supply of commonly demanded goods. eg clean environment, fair opportunities, etc
    We can succeed in a market economy by being selfish, being altruistic is risky with no secure return.
    Its my view that necessity, the mother of invention shall drive a change. The change is currently emerging - the social business sector is emerging and may ultimately go mainstream and dominate all markets.
    see where i have an essay on this subject.
    • Feb 6 2014: Conor , direct and to the point! Competitive nature is in all of us as is the ability to suppress those desires for the common good. I like to think of dinner table conversation, tit for tat , at desert we all walk away satisfied.
      But I see your honesty in describing the anonymity which surrounds the current global markets, any advantage at any cost , just keep me hidden and sheltered.
      Will the emerging social sector be able to compete if the very nature of the markets are not social?
      • Feb 6 2014: Thats the problem right there, the markets are not social, neither individual or company are taking responsibility for our commonly desired requirement. With anonymity we consume and chip away at the common good - to our own and our childrens detriment. Anonymous market activity does not care because our reputations are hidden.

        Reputations need to become visible - can a scheme emerge which enables responsible consumers
        to build and display their ethical reputations. Can this behaviour trend into the mainstream as individuals do not wish to be seen as individuals of no reputation. (shady...)

        Modern tech can deliver a solution to this by enabling individuals and companies/social business to build and display their reputations.

        Envisage this.. individuals who make charitable donations gather electronic reward points. Electronic reward points maybe also being gathered by supporting social businesses, maybe by reducing utility bills/energy consumption, or gathered by using public transport.

        Individuals and businesses who are socially responsible and cooperative to our common good can build their ethical reputations. These reputations can be displayable on outgoing email, social media.
        When we have a reputation to build and maintain common ground for the common good may be real estate gold!
        • Feb 7 2014: Yes! Very true words. I think you have struck upon the chord of the conversation. We need to be honest and transparent in the markets. That would be a very good start.

          Then reward those who are, till that behavior is second nature!
  • Feb 5 2014: If the corporation were an individual, its life would be enhanced by mutually beneficial relationships. Abusive relationships, such as exploiting employees or taking advantage of the surrounding community will end badly. Isolation will end badly as well.

    Individuals can survive without corporations, many may want to, like children not wanting to leave the nest. I can't imagine corporations surviving without people. However, that reminds me of a funny joke: The plant of the future is a man and a dog, the man's job is to feed the dog, the dog's job is to keep the man from touching the machine.
    • Feb 6 2014: Rick.. that is a very effective reply. It reminds me of a thought experiment I once heard.

      Take the CEO of a company, send him on vacation for 2 weeks

      Take the equivalent of the CEO’s 2 week pay from the workers and sent them on vacation for 2 weeks.

      McDonalds for example..
      CEO makes $9,247 an hour, average worker 7.73 hr.
      That is 95,699 people on vacation for 2 weeks.

      Question, which vacation has the greatest impact on the corporation?
  • Feb 5 2014: Government has made it "too easy" to be rich and "too easy" to be poor. Not sure we are that far ahead of where we would be in equality distribution without government. We often ignore the wealth redistribution that goes from hard working people to bureaucrats.

    We make it too easy to be unemployed.

    Companies don't exist without hard working people. Companies don't exist unless there is a community to support them. Companies need to be held in higher regard in the communities, and more needs to be expected from them. Start with corporate governance, all companies must have boards with people that represent the employees, the environment, and the community. No more boards of directors that help each other get rich, pay less taxes, and not care about contributing to society.

    Abled bodied people need work, in the absence of employment, the government should provide sustenance in exchange for civil duties.
    • Feb 5 2014: Hi Rick welcome to the conversation.

      I agree with your points, especially “ Companies don't exist without hard working people..”

      When faced with the ideal that a corporation is an individual, who has no responsibility accept to itself , how would you argue your case?

      To you and I, it is apparent that a corporation could not survive without the people, to someone else it is apparent that the people could not survive without the corporation.

      Pardon the circular logic, but that type of thinking is often the case, in past conversations, I have seen money held above its creators so many times I have lost count.
  • Feb 5 2014: Enquiry into the Other is the only way to find common ground.
    • Feb 5 2014: Good morning Scott
      Is the Other you speak of myself ? If so I do see your point, a reevaluation of my beliefs has often led me to new discoveries.
      If the Other is my conversation partners, then how do I follow up the enquiry ?
      • Feb 6 2014: Hi Joe, Apologies for my delinquency.....Here is my take, for low worth.

        A. Enquiry into the Other is seeking to recognize WHO they are. Not what they Believe.
        B. Enquiry into Yourself is seeking to recognize WHO You are. Not what you Believe.
        C. A and B are One in the Same.

        All of the "problems" you mentioned in your set-up, cease to become problems when We know who we really are. But, as Jung would say, "there is no coming to Consciousness without Pain."

        Thankfully, the same "problems" will eventually drive us to that ultimate conclusion. Until then, we will debate and war and anguish over Beliefs, never ever bridging the gap between us.

        These 'problems' are symptoms. Treating the symptoms is mucho importante....but it's not the only game.

        Great day to ya
        • Feb 7 2014: Scott, I was hoping to hear from you again, education is never tardy!

          In trying to understand the Other, how do we separate the believes from the person. Aren’t the two linked?

          Pardon my inept questions in this arena, I find it very informative in trying to grasp the divide between the displayed persona and the Other which resides within that person.

          If I can understand that separation, I may be able to understand the willingness some people have to deny their fellow travelers, life and basic needs.

          Thank you for your time and patience.
      • Feb 8 2014: Good morning from a finally rainy California. Regarding a person's willingness to deny others support in life........Empathy for 'another' being is an effortless quality or symptom that naturally emerges out of One who simply recognizes who they, themselves, truly ARE, and subsequently who the 'other' truly IS. If Empathy is lacking, it is neither good nor bad, but rather a reflection, or symptom, of who they 'believe' themselves to be and who they 'believe' the other to be......mainly, they view themselves as separate beings, with a separate consciousness and a separate unconsciousness. This belief is not bad. It is not wrong. It simply IS. Most live their entire life with this perception that stems from their belief which they were simply taught by those who came before them. It is our societal conditioning that goes largely unquestioned. Most of us die in this state of perceived separateness which, again, is neither good nor bad. This is who we largely and currently are as a species.

        While I am not a Christian religiously speaking, it is said that Jesus exclaimed "forgive them father, for they know not what they do.".........for they know not WHO they are.

        Deep enquiry into One's Self allows us to see the transient and illusory nature of our own beliefs and the beliefs of others. We can examine and debate beliefs until the cows come home, perhaps never reaching a conclusion. Eventually, we begin to wonder WHO is it that holds these beliefs that change and wax and wane over one's lifetime. Seek deeply enough and you'll see. Thereafter, a different intelligence begins to bleed through the canvas of your life.

        In short, you are not your beliefs. There is no gap between you and the Other. It is only misperceived. These are only words......vastly limited. Hold them lightly.
        Superb day to you
        • Feb 9 2014: Hi Scott, your rains mean that our cold is coming to an end! Both reasons to celebrate.
          In your reply I sense the Tao. Am I correct in this, if not please excuse my ignorance again.
          Are there any books or films you recommend?
      • Feb 9 2014: Howdy. It was funny that your email arrived while my wife and I were drinking coffee and listening to an Audio book on the Tao and Wu Wei. I've read many books over the years but always circle back to the Tao Te Ching. I find it unmatched in its simplicity and application. If you've one that is similar for you, I'd greatly appreciate the tip. I always enjoy reading recommendations.
        Wonderful evenin.
        • Feb 10 2014: I will look into that book, thanks for the tip.

          I have only read one book on the subject and it is the Tao of Pooh. Not a solid treatise but a start for me.
          We are in the thirties Wendesday! Good news for the East.
          Take care
  • Feb 5 2014: I think what you require are mission statements by the government agencies that manage wealth distribution and health care. As the tax system was used to target persons it deemed un- american, if the agency had a mission statement of fairness and respect for the taxpayer and was proactive in the decision making tree to enforce such, the agency would be easier to approach. The same for health care. If it had started out as bi partisan and good for all Americans, it wouldn't resemble the cancer riddled body it looks like today. If the legislation had a mission statement to seek common ground that didn't say it was a democrat party grab for power of the small business who support the republican party, then it might look like the plan all America wants.
    • Feb 5 2014: Hi Dino
      The common ground is that we all need health care at some point, I cannot for the life of me make some folks understand that this is an issue which effects everyone. It should be as automatic as breathing. Take care of ourselves first, then worry about the other issues.

      Have you been able convince others of your beliefs?
  • Feb 5 2014: I wish I knew.

    One thing I do know is that when it comes to inequality, there is a lot of false information. It is very strongly held, wrong information that some people have integrated into their personalities. To question the information is to risk death of personality. There are many people who have personal gain associated with this false information that work diligently to ensure the false information is deeply engrained in our cultural belief systems.

    All I can do is attempt to counter the false information with the occasional dose of truth.

    I, for one, hate the term "redistribution". It implies taking from some to give to others. It implies taking from producers to give to people that do not produce.

    I prefer instead the use of economic tools designed to get people with money to spend it, increasing demand, creating job opportunity and increasing total wealth. We also establish a long-term sustainable model where work is rewarded and non-productive is punished.

    Equality was shrinking quickly when we used the tax code to encourage the rich to spend.

    Universal Healthcare is a more difficult issue, made more difficult by the cost. We want to provide healthcare, but so far have been unable to make a dent in the healthcare lobby that is determined to retain its fat profit margins. IF we could reverse inequality AND crack the healthcare lobby, then providing healthcare for all would become a much easier problem to address.

    Healthcare actually requires few natural resources to provide. It is mostly human labor intensive. We have the humans that need jobs, and the people that need healthcare. The only real barriers to putting those people to work providing that care is the fat profits and the inequality in the larger economy.
    • Feb 5 2014: Hi Darrell, Thank you for the reply.

      I have read some of your post and was impressed with your usage of facts and data to back up your points. Do you find this approach useful?

      From my vantage point, I have looked up some of your stats and found the ones I researched to be valid. It helped me to build a trust in your comments.

      Has some of your data been ignored in the discussions?
      • Feb 5 2014: My dad sends out Republican propaganda. I counter with links to actual data. He gets angry and then won't take to me for months at a time.

        On Christmas this year, I pointed my father-in-law to a resource that explains how money is actually created in the economy. He kicked me out of his house and I am not allowed to return until I apologize for questioning his authority.

        Yeah. There is a high degree of rejection of truth.

        The Republican party has successfully convinced its disciples that anyone not "with them" is evil and must be destroyed. To even question the propaganda is evil and will destroy the country and our way of life.

        By the way, the Democrats have attempted to do the same.

        It seems that NO ONE in power wants a population that looks to actual data and thinks for themselves.
        • Feb 5 2014: Darrell, hopefully there were not nights on the sofa!

          I do not have your courage when it comes to family, although I should.

          From what I have read from you and others, the truth is best self-discovered.

          Once I tried to train a Great Dane to stay within the yard, to no avail. I put up an electric fence and one day later, problem solved. He still hates the fence even though it has been switched off years ago.
          How is the spark (pun intended) started?