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David Hamilton

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If we want to become a green and sustainable economy, don't all of us need to demand better pay?

It sounds counter intuitive doesn't it? Pay people better, for a more sustainable economy? Even in America?

I think so... and here's why. Green technology is expensive... Wow, much shorter explanation than you were expecting wasn't it?

China invested 1.7 trillion dollars in "green technology", a large percentage of that was spent on solar panels... Does anyone in China get paid enough to buy solar panels? Isn't wage stagnation in America directly related to a percieved unfairness, to the idea that we are fat, and lazy, and over paid? Aren't we too broke to buy 20 thousand dollar solar installs for our homes?

Basically... Sustainable electricity and transportation, is going to be a bit more expensive than coal or oil, so don't we have to demand better wages, all around the world, if we every want to have sustainable power?

Isn't paying people less, causing pollution? As opposed to over consumption...

PS... I will admit that many Americans that can afford solar panels didn't buy them, and it is encumbent upon the upper middle class, and the stable middle class to purchase these things as they gain more income... but still, isn't it on everyones list of things to buy? Don't we all want electric cars? Don't we all want free energy from the sun? Is the problem maybe that Americans aren't being paid enough? And... You all just aren't being paid enough... even more so.

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    Dec 7 2011: My question would be how would money solve these issues in the first place? I think a more proactive approach from individuals would be far better than raising money or relying on government and corporations.

    But I get your point. If it is stated that more hybrid cars and solar panels are better for the environment they we should be paid a really good amount of money so we can afford these things. I understand the labor and science that goes into creating such things but it makes me question rather or not these products are really for sustainability or profit.
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    Dec 2 2011: In response to pocahontas water. The problem is that there is 20% ish of people in America who are just lazy, and there is a huge pollitical movement based around giving those people more money. These aren't all unemployed people, lots of them have jobs, but if you fire them they'll sue, lots of them are just happy to stay at a simple clerk job, where they don't move up, because there's no responsibillity, and it pays a living wage... The difference between America and Europe is that to get access to the real safety net here, like for example a high school that graduates more than 80% of its students, you have to work two jobs and have 1 or 2 kids, and your spouse has to work.

    Also we have 2 million new immigrants a year, from mostly countries that have 4 or 5 plus kids. Refugees, come here constantly. They're not stupid, they just come from a culture where if you didn't have 5 children, none of them would live. Takes a couple generations to change family patterns... Also they're the Christians saying "go forth and propagate". The evangelicals saying "it's not about the work, it's about the faith". So we're just constantly through public and private charity and partnerships having to provide for people that basically can't or refuse to provide for themselves.

    This is why I say however that working class Americans, are, for the most part, the hardest working people on the planet. We carry all of that. You think it's easy to make every culture in the world get along? Think it's easy to not have them starving. What we don't pay in taxes we give to charity. And, we don't want to buy third world labor products anymore, we want to make them ourselves and create more working class jobs, but our corporations won't pay us to make our own stuff anymore, and our government can't force them, in part, because it's a global sociallist economy we now live in, because we couldn't compete with the EU, if we didn't take advantage of China.
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      Nov 30 2011: A new system? What? Credits? I got news for you... That's just money. Any system not based an an excange of something of percieved value will have no incentives. If you give up the idea that if you work harder than the guy sitting next to you, you'll have more stuff... Then you won't work hard.
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        Dec 1 2011: It's hard to imagine world not run by money because we've been living this way for a very long time but a resource based economy is where we're heading gradually and incentivizing it won't be much of an issue. If all else fails, we can always go back to the gold standard which is better than this monetary system.
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          Dec 1 2011: How is the gold standard better? We'd have less money... So we'd have less jobs... So we'd have less products... And... it would still be a monetary system... The only difference is that America would be even more abusively wealthy, because we have way more gold...
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        Dec 2 2011: We don't NEED money! That's the point. You keep wanting more because that's the only way you can imagine humanity living. We have less products today because the market is artificially moderated. Most of these products are very cheap but are artificially priced much higher, not to mention the fact that they are designed to last only a short amount of time so you go back and buy more. That is the type of economy we live in and you're trying to rescue it? It's because of it that our species is rotting and our world is suffering today ecologically. There is nothing ECONOMICAL about this system. There never was. It was flawed right from the start. It's a fallacy to use that word at all today. Go through the history of the central banking system. Start understanding how this monetary system actually works and I assure you, after that you'll go with any other option because there is nothing more ridiculous than this system we've been living with somehow for so long.
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          Dec 2 2011: Brilliant strategy for replacing it... Money has only worked since... I don't know about when we moved out of caves... Your new system, which you describe in great detail here, makes so much more sense to me.
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        Dec 3 2011: There are a LOT of people a thousand times smarter than me who have been thinking about a new system and how the current system has been destroying our race for a very long time. We're just starting to realize what they were talking about. The primary reason why a resource based economy is going to be born soon as hard as it is to imagine at the moment is because technology doesn't require manually labour, which is why there aren't enough jobs today, not to mention the 1% who have been raping our economy in every possible way. This trend is going to continue from now on. No matter how many times governments promise to create new jobs, you'll see massive decreases every month...but my question to you: Is that bad? Most of the jobs that exist today don't compliment the human species or add value in our life. We do it only because we need money! I don't believe that we were designed to operate lifts all day as we used to before. Then came along an automatic lift and people complained. Compare this scenario with events taking place today!

        I'm not saying that jobs don't need to exist and we should all be lazy bums doing nothing but when you're spending 8 hours of your life working (much more in 2nd and 3rd world countries) most of the days of the week, if not every day, it better be something that puts value into your life as a human being, puts your talents/skills to good use, so on and so forth, as opposed to dumbing and numbing you down because at that point the only value you're getting out of approximately 2000 hours of working per year is only money. I firmly believe that technology is going to save our species (or destroy it if we allow it to). These mundane jobs are going to and need to disappear for our species to truly discover its potential and start moving forward. We don't need more money or a better economy as everyone keeps asking for. What we need is CHANGE more than ever. Fixing this system is going to give these bastards more chances to manipulate us.
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          Dec 4 2011: The problem with this philosophy is that technology hasn't replaced those jobs yet. Work still needs to get done, and this generation of perpetual children, of which I am a part, was already taught "You don't have to farm. You don't have to make clothes. You don't have to be responsible for generating your own resources... Technology will figure that all out"...

          Unfortunately this same generation didn't learn to be engineers or programmers, so we're not figuring it out... We're operating on the false premise, that it's already taken care of, while abusing slave labor... It's unacceptable. We need to be willing to make our own shit, if we want to consume it... You know what kind of society makes you do that? A capitalist one, where if you don't work, you don't eat.
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        Dec 5 2011: The generation you're talking about forms the minority of the world David. The rest of the world is working its butt off starting from a very, very young age to just make it through the day. They know zip about capitalism because they have no options and in most cases will never know what a hundred dollars looks like in their entire life. They know very well what "if you don't work, you don't eat" means though. They know it better than anyone!

        This capitalistic system does not allow people to move forward, educate themselves properly, and go beyond so many of the obstacles we face today. I don't agree that the majority thinks that everything is supposed to be or is already taken care of. In fact, I'd say most people are starting to realize just how bad it really is unlike a few years ago otherwise the Occupy movement wouldn't exist, and believe me, they aren't a minority. Their numbers will especially skyrocket if/when the government seriously starts targeting the internet because then all the techies are going to come out. That's when everything will be blown out of proportion.

        I agree that we need to shift but to say that only a capitalistic system makes you do that is a fallacy. What it really does is give you a false sense of security by giving you more stuff or giving you the hope that you can get whatever you like if you make more money. But now that the economy is collapsing on its head, our ecology is dying, etc. people are starting to realize just how ridiculous this system really is. That nice feeling it used to create to make everything seem ok is disappearing and once its gone, people will hate this system. They'll have no incentive to use money. And of course there will be jobs in the future that need to be taken care of regardless of what system we incorporate but it doesn't have to be based on a fraud monetary system that gives you 2 coins and takes 4.
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          Dec 5 2011: The capitalist system isn't failing. The sociallist system we replaced it with in the 70's and 80's by deciding that the Chinese government was a fair trading partner despite having no human rights... that's the system that is collapsing. The idea that the government cares more about people than people care about themselves. The idea that we don't have to plant crops to eat anymore. Those are the sociallist ideals that are collapsing our economy.

          You are aware that Nebraska just passed a harsh immigration law... then it offered 2nd generation immigrants 12 dollars an hour to pick fruit... It didn't get picked. It spoiled on the vine... American's won't do that work anymore... because we're communists. We should be able to collect unemployment for nothing instead of picking crops...

          The EU is even worse... they have never made enough food to survive. Sociallism, is what is turning Americans into the lazy assholes Europe has always been. They always import their food from third world countries, we never did, we shipped food all over the world. Capitalsm is the only system that has ever created a country that built more shit than it consumed... We don't do that anymore, that's why no one likes us.
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        Dec 6 2011: We can go into details and what not but it's capitalism that has created this massive divide between people which has given birth to this dangerous hierarchy where those who have more money can do whatever they want, including destroy our world. The minority has way more than it needs while the majority suffers and that will never change as long as this system is in place because it was designed to operate this way. Its brothers, the economic and monetary systems make it even worse with their flaws and when you bring all three of these systems together, you have one very big problem. You're right, the capitalist system hasn't failed, it did exactly what it was built to do, take the money from everyone's pockets around the world and put it in the pockets of the 1%. Now you can argue that people are lazy or that this shit happened because of corrupt people or what not but that's just shadowing the cold fact that the monetary, capitalistic, and economic system are inherently corrupt, forming the corrupt trinity that's raping all of us one way or another to the point that governments around the world can't even pay their debts off any longer even if they brought together every single cent they owned. That's the problem right there and once it goes, everything will change, including how people behave. When complaining about laziness and so on, you need to take into consideration where all this started from mate. How it all developed. You reap what you sow. America is so rich today because of slavery, not because Americans were hard workers. I'm not saying there aren't hard workers but the majority grow up with massive, careless expectations and desires. These systems were not designed with responsibility, respect, and global consideration in mind. So to say that these systems aren't failing us is far from reality. The only people they aren't failing on are the 1%.
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          Dec 6 2011: The vast majority of Americans grow up as working class citizens. Slavery didn't make America rich, because we weren't the only slave owners, so that wasn't a competitve advantage, it was the norm. In the northeast, is where wealth has always been concentrated, and it has never had slaves. Slavery was the horrible tragedy that held America back in productivity for hundreds of years. Paying workers with evil capitalist incentives, is actually a lot more productive than slavery ever was... People were just awful people, worldwide, when int came to slavery, up until the 1800's, it wasn't an American thing.

          Where does slavery still exist legally? All those countries that Westerners are "taking advantage of". All those poor people that enslave their women to marriage or death, ya we're the ones treating them bad. Your entire argument is based on false premises. You're really arguing for a return to slavery, the monetary system is the only thing that seperates freedom from slavery to the state.

          When we didn't pay people, it was called slavery... but somehow, now that we do pay people, that's the real slavery, we all shouldn't get paid. It's an argument riddled with internal contradictions. People get paid better, and expect a higher standard of living in capitalist societies, because other societies abuse people. America until very recently didn't import anything compared to what we gave the world for free.

          Capitalism and democracy, are feeding all of the third world countries by the way... If we collapse, the first thing to go is people farming for countries that aren't even their own. Why would Americans make any more food than Americans need, unless there was a profit motive? You don't understand the consequences of your arguments, and it's sad how many people would be unified in agreement with you right now, because they don't think critically.

          America was rich and fat way before globallization, and way after slavery. You need us, not the other way.
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        Dec 7 2011: I didn't say slavery was American but to discredit the amount of work those slaves did that led to progress for America is a fallacy. Attempting to make your argument a little more valid, you bring up issues in different countries, which are based on complicated issues such as religion and so on, not slavery per se. I never blamed the US for any of that so that's another fallacy. And finally your argument about slaves not getting payed vs people getting payed has nothing to do with anything I said.

        The corrupt trinity is modern slavery at its best David and if you don't see that, you don't enough about these systems. You think that they are the only solution because you can't imagine what a new system would be like. You're speaking in the exact way that the people who formulated these systems wanted you to. It's because of this way of thinking that we're stuck with these systems in the first place. The monetary system is entirely based on debt... which you can never pay back even if you lived thousands of years. It's a constant cycle of pain. It never ends. That's worse than slavery because at least slaves had a chance of being freed. We don't. And to claim that it's the only system that provides us with an incentive is blind thinking. Our ancestors lived hundreds and thousands of years without bullshit systems like these. Their incentive was progress and life itself while these systems that supposedly provide us with (forced) incentives don't allow progress to happen. It's very heavily moderated. So even our progress is enslaved...

        Capitalism and democracy feeding the world? Well that explains why most of the world is starving lol. Which planet do you live on mate? Why would Americans make more food than Americans need without profit in mind? Good point. Look how retarded we've become. We wouldn't help each other without money in mind. That's what these systems have led us to. I understand the consequences of everything I say and that is going on today.
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          Dec 7 2011: You want to enslave us to feed everyone elses children, that we didn't have sex to produce, and they can't feed... For no profit... If you think anyone is dumb enough to do that you're nuts. If you think all of the rest of the world is just chomping at the bit to feed lazy American children of people who can't afford to be parents... You're in a fantasy world.

          You just believe that everyone is just desperate to help everyone else... and it's capitalism that's stopping them... that's nonsense. If you want to work for free in a capitalist society... Go ahead, it's called volunteering, people don't do it, because we're animals, we're greedy little monkeys, we want more stuff to impress our significant others, and get laid. You are denying our basic fundamental cognitive make up.

          "The corrupt trinity is modern slavery at its best"... Ya, all us poor slaves with Iphones, even in countries where designing an Iphone would be considered an affront against god punishable by death. Capitalism is trying to set the world free, and no one will let it, because you want to hold on to theocratic, and monarchial principles, where we "all serve the common good"... I call that slavery.
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        Dec 8 2011: The reason why we're having a hard time feeding people is because food is artificially priced owing to a supposed lack of it when in reality technology today allows us to effectively feed the majority of the world quite easily in ways I'm sure you find hard to imagine. Water can be easily purified for consumption all over the world using a number of surprisingly cheap technologies. But why do you think these approaches aren't being taken? Because it's not profitable! Hence my point. Anything that isn't profitable isn't done, even if it can save our world. That's not slavery, that's outright imprisonment and you're here joking about it by talking about us having iphones or what not. This is a modern variant of slavery, not the traditional and quite obvious form where you get zip and have to work all day. In this variant, you get toys, false hopes, and little jobs to make you feel secure and ready to go with the flow. Look at the big picture here David. The way you talk is almost like I'm targeting America. You're not talking to a goddamn terrorist here. This is about every country taking a step forward, not just the US. Nothing here is one-sided and its not just about food. It's about every aspect of our lives. One country was never supposed to feed every other country. The US does it for profit, not because it's the Messiah. But if certain technologies and initiatives were adopted, there would be an abundance of resources. No one would have to work to feed someone else. In fact, there would be so much that you'd be gladly giving it away. And before you come back to call bullshit on this, research these technologies. Start with water purification.

        Capitalism helped in certain ways but is destroying our planet in even more ways. You're second paragraph proves my point. To claim that we are genetically designed to be disgusting is foolish and inane. How we're treating each other today in the ways you described is primarily based on the systems that run everything.
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          Dec 8 2011: The US does it for profit... No one else does it... period. The profit motive, feeds places, where there isn't fertile soil. The profit motive is thus good, because it gets us to think about other people, by thinking about ourselves.

          The problem is that most countries don't believe in biology, chemistry, evolution, science, survival of the fittest... they believe abject religious nonsense about how we're all meant to love one another. Everything I say about the nature of human cognition is a proven scientific fact... It's not disgusting, it's reality, and people need to learn to live with it. These aren't opinions. People work hard to aquire things for the people they love, and propagate the species, just like penguins... "Here's a shiny stone, can we have sex yet?"

          To believe anything other than that, is to choose to believe a book written a thousand years ago rather than hundreds of years of experimental proof. I don't think you're a terrorist, I think it's tragic how many people agree with you. I think it's tragic that we're all following Marxism down the rabbit hole to misery and slavery... but I don't think you're trying to do it. I think you're a good person, and you believe what you think is best, but the philosophy you have chosen to accept is the one dooming America, Europe, and China to failure. When we collapse, the first people who lose... is North Africa.

          It's tragic, but that fruit that spoiled in Nebraska didn't make a spoiled American family starve, it made someone who lives on infertile land starve, we produced enough food for ourselves still, most countries don't.

          It's not false prices btw. If anything capitalism lowers the cost of food everywhere in the third world, it would cost a lot more to buy food in a desert if we weren't there. Does that cut into third world farmin jobs... yes, fair argument, but those jobs would raise the cost of food, because the land is less fertile, and the farmers have less access to technology.
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          Dec 8 2011: Could warehouse farming, and solar farming save us... Of course, but it's expensive, way more expensive than paying American farmers... So back to the original point, we need to pay laborers better so they can start city warehouse farms, and other small businesses. We need to pay laborers better so that we can build a green economy. We don't need to give up on the monetary system entirely, that would make everything in the third world get worse instantly. Most third world countries have too many children, fight too much with their neighbors, and don't have good farm land, so if they had to be self reliant, things would be worse.

          This magic future where Africa, China, and India, all have plenty of resources to give it's people what they want if only the capitalists would get out of the way... Is nonsense. Some people were born in places that have less precious metals, and less farm land, and the western world is trying to distribute those things to those people... but we won't do it for nothing... No one does anything for nothing. We don't necessarily need to charge the third world, and often we don't, often taxes pay the farmers in America, or the Fed does. The farmer feels like he's getting a stable living out of feeding all those people though, and he should. He shouldn't be forced to farm, and expect nothing.
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          Dec 11 2011: I think you responded before I finished, as my second paragraph actually talks about technologies I've already researched, and can in fact save us... They're expensive though. They require people working in a factory making solar panels, and glass for concentration. Cities are greener than rural communities. New York is the greenest city in America. We should be building up, and banding together in things like City 2.0... again though, we need a medium of exchange to offer some people to build it.

          I talk about America so much, because it's the only rich country that has ever been both capitalist and an exporter. There is over a 100 year period of time (which does not include the last 30 years), in which America was actually the great benefactor of the world. We actually fed the hungry. I admit, now we mostly talk about it, and we're resting on our laurels, but my point is that no sociallist, monarchy, dictatorial, or theocratic state ever did that.

          The Romans did it for awhile, though in a much more archaic form, before devolving into an tyranical empire. The British did it for awhile, before becoming an incredibly oppressive empire itself... Finally, America did it for awhile... and now it is devolving into an empirical sociallist state, that is oppressing people. All three started as democratic capitalism, and devolved into an empire of sociallism. I imagine theres a few similar naratives of German history, though we're actually taught very little about German history here in the US, and honestly, it's history has been destroyed and burned a few times.

          I am America centered because I live here, and I've visited 15 or so other countries, I speak from experience... I don't think we're better than anyone, as people. There's good and bad people all over the world, I think democratic capitalism, a free market, put in check by educated consumers, and informed legal decisions... Is the best working model people have yet come to for governance.
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          Dec 11 2011: Also... I would be very happy if you simply linked to a model you would follow. If there are already free technologies out there, that the western world refuses to take advantage of because of capitalism, link to one, and i'll turn it into a non profit right now, but I'll still pay myself a living wage.

          Maybe you're not a Marxist, maybe you're not a theocrat... but those camps have 2 billion people in them. Democratic capitalism has two billion people in it's camp. Of the 3 ideas, it has proven superior... Please link to fully functional thought out model for something we could switch to.

          That's the problem my homeland, America has, we don't like our model, we want to fix it, but all the other working models, that have support are disgusting, and require slavery to the state... Please inform me to a new model, but until you can please don't attack the best system we have.

          "Democracy is the worst form of government, except of course, every other form that humanity has ever tried." Winston Churchill

          Capitalism is the worst form of economic governance, except of course, every other form that humanity has ever tried.
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    Nov 29 2011: Poor people don't own cars and don't buy airplane tickets.
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      Nov 30 2011: They don't buy green tech either do they? Make us poorer and we won't own cars, or buy airplane tickets... then in about 50 years, we don't have any more electricity, and we can all go back to being happy noble savages... Like in the Dark Ages. My point is simple, can we get to a green economy, if we think Americans have too much money?

      Also, owning a car is a necessity in America because the nearest job is 30 miles away from where you can afford to live. People always forget that with America's wealthiest nation status, comes the worst distribution of wealth in the first world.
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      Nov 30 2011: Just so you know though, we don't need more relative wealth. The opposite, we milk the system and get paid a bit too much better than everyone else right now... but we need to distribute our wealth better, and pay working people better, but so does everyone else. The solution is higher wages everywhere not wage stagnation here. We all need to negotiate better salaries.
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        Dec 1 2011: I just don't think the solution is higher wages.

        If the guy building solar panels is asking for a higher wage also, how is this a rationnal solution?

        Rather, I think more money should be invested in scientific research, since only knowledge can make something cheaper.
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          Dec 1 2011: All people asking for higher wages increases the percent of the cost of the item as related to labor... but it doesn't increase the resource value. So people experience a greater income growth than they experience a price hike. You pay the guy making solar panels a dollar an hour more, but the price goes up 50 cents because land, silicon, and ceo's still cost the same. So now we have more purchasing power, and relatively cheaper products.

          I'd just like to ask... What kind of standard of living do two people working 120 hours a week deserve? Don't they deserve better then they're getting? There was a time when a white man, could earn enough to support a 4 person family on 40-60 hours a week, without importing all their shit... Why does no one have that now?

          I really think this relates to something I discussed earlier. I think in the 1980's a flip switched in liberal America, and instead of raising everyone to the standard of living of a white man, through education, small business loans, and wage inflation... we instead decided "White men are too rich, even if they work in a factory 60 hours a week, so we need to lower their standard of living to make it fair"

          It's a race to bottom mentallity, rather than a race to the top, and I can't help but feel that after 60 years of automation, and technology, there is no excuse for every working person man or woman, no matter what color or nationallity they are... to not be able to support a family, in the same way, on one income. Maybe I'm just naive. It seems absurd though, we should all be able to afford these things if we work hard.
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        Dec 1 2011: The problem seems a political problem, then.
        Sadly I don't know enough about life in the USA. Are you serious when you say a wage cannot support a family with 4 kids?
        I mean, is it that such a poor family cannot afford vacations, wide TV screens or ipads, like everybody else. Or is it that such a family cannot pay for food and has no access to healthcare?

        If it's the latter, then your government is doing a bad job. And indeed, something should be done about it. This is off topic, but I'd appreciate it if you enlighted me about America's poor people, what they can and cannot afford.
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          Dec 1 2011: It's strange... because I don't want to defend us too much, we are better off than most, but poor people in America work their asses off for their little perks. I think real American working life, is unimaginable for most people, because of the odd contrast of great and horrible things.

          There are lots of working poor people, who put in 50-60 hour weeks, and don't have health insurance. Those same people, also will have an I phone, or a big screen TV... Because they bought one at Wal Mart for 600 dollars, and health insurance would cost them 300 dollars a month. So they have these cool toys, but they can't come close to affording health insurance.

          At the same time, the emergency room treats these people, all mostly for free. Because they give the family a 5000 dollar bill, but the family can't pay, so they just don't pay. For the rest of their life they get phone calls from debt collection agents. The hospital then has to screw other patients, and charge them more money, to cover the loss to working poor people. So The Hypocratic Oath, basically gives us national health care, but it keeps our poor people constantly in debt.

          Also, working conditions in Europe are way better than America, and they always have been. They get 5 weeks paid vacation, we get 0 mandated, but most people negotiate 2. They have a way higher minimum wage then us. They have national health insurance, and the EU imports just as much cheap junk from China, and other third world countries as us, but because we feel guilty about it, we've kind of let ourselves be labeled the fat rich people. Europe has always been aristocratic, sociallist, empirical, and lazy, so they don't really mind, and there media is happy to lampoon us as the greedy ones.

          We used to work even harder, and not import anything, we used to be self sufficient, so we feel guilty, they never have been, so they don't. The narratives in the world nowadays are really fascinating.
        • Dec 1 2011: There is something that I don't understand here. How can you be poor and in the same time to have 3/4 children? Why someone would make those kids if he knows he cannot afford to give them decent life. And I wonder why as poorer you are as more kids you have got. That is so weird to me. And then, I don't think that you can categorize poor people by country like your examples for USA or Europe. To be poor has one definition - lack of basic things like healthcare food clothes shelter. So if you guys have all that, then I dont think that you are poor. And if what you have is in bad condition then work a bit more to make ur conditions better. Honnestly, I think that most of the people in EU/USA who are poor are also a bit lazy. Coz at the end of all there are opportunities to increase your wealth
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          Dec 1 2011: Best example I can give you, is my life. I grew up in an affluent suburb, but I did that because I was an only child, and my parents worked 3 full time jobs, so that I could get into the school district, of an affluent suburb. My dad delivered pizzas, and newspapers, 40 hours a week each, most of my childhood, and my mom was a secretary... And, yet I'm often told how easy I must have had it having grown up in the "rich" neighborhood.

          I don't think many people reallize there are a lot of spoiled rich people in America, but at least half of the people, even in the richest neighborhoods, have nice toys, because they're crazy hard workers. The question is do hard workers deserve that many crazy toys, or were we a bit too greedy? I think a little bit of both, but I really think in a "faith" based economy, we can print and redistribute our way into everyone having an awesome standard of living, as long as we still make people work hard for what they earn... could be naive though, i admit it.
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          Dec 7 2011: Gerald,

          life in the U.S. is not as grand as you think it is. I mean it does have its benefits and of course its better to live here than most other places (like Africa, India, etc) but its not paradise as many claim it to be.

          There really is not much to add more than what David stated. It also depends on where you live as well. I'm 22 and I support myself but man do I have to work my butt off. I honestly do not have time for things and I'm still finishing up school. But this is because I live in California. If you live in states like Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico or pretty much any place not named (New York, California, Florida, etc) you can actually do pretty good for yourself financially. Most of the southern states as well as the Midwest usually have jobs. I will say though, if you are an individual that likes to go to the beach, go to the mountains and like to be outdoors and have fun, living in the south or Midwest is not the place for you to be.

          Now in regards to the government and corporations there is a lot of corruption that goes on but its all systematic and behind closed doors and is usually justified by politics and law. the U.S. is built upon giving people their individual liberties and individual rights and they know that if they were to be open with their corruption, the American people would not tolerate such actions.

          Plus we focus too much on sports stars, movie stars, singers, etc...I'd rather be in Canada if you ask me
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        Dec 2 2011: Thank you for the fantastic response. I understand better now.
        In France, about half of your salary is taxed, and every good you buy is 20% taxed. It's just taken away from you, and I think this is right.
        Your portrait of the American poor show that humans waste their wealth on social status, instead of comfort or security. This is just how we've evolved our relationship to wealth. In a factory parking lot, you can't always tell which car belongs to the boss anymore... because some of the poor blokes there happily get in debt to afford a higher status vehicle.
        This should be known about human nature, and governments that expect people to invest into health and security are wrong. Healthcare should be for paid for by the government, so should retirement and education.

        So this changes the content of our debate. I don't think American citizens should be paid more, since they'd only buy more crap to impress neighbours. Instead, the US government should secure a higher standard of living for them... AND should pay for research in green technology.
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          Dec 2 2011: Yes, as I mentioned with Salim, this is the way California is trying to go to... We're trying to create incentives for building with green tech, and tax breaks etc. This is also what we failed to do with Obama. That's why so many of us are upset now, we voted for Obama for national healthcare, and a big green tech investment, haven't gotten either. We wanted to get taxed for that specific social safety net. We hate the 2 years of unemployment though, we don't dig bankruptcy protecting the poor blokes that buy expensive cars.

          Capitalism is the solution to those problems though, those idiots are supposed to be miserable and fail... and we're not letting it happen anymore. That's why we're often frustrated by the sociallism capitalism debate. We want sociallized healthcare... We don't want sociallized labor conditions, we carry the lazy, and stupid people enough. We don't want more 30,000 dollar cars in warehouse parking lots. We want people to get fired way more often. We want more solar panels, but we still like the idea of being able to buy them ourselves, because most of the people would if they had the couple thousand to put down on the install

          Still it does come down to being paid more in the end though... because currently, being green, is way more expensive than having health insurance, AND more expensive than the stupid trinkets we buy... So both the EU, and America, still to this day, still need laboring people who work 2 and 3 jobs especially, to have a more capitalist ladder to be able to buy that kind of technology, because those people want it. Research is good too of course, I'm always a fan of increasing research budgets.

          I'm just saying that China's state run green tech bid, is reliant on Europeans and Americans having money to buy green tech, meanwhile us normallizing trade with China is making our laborers stagnate... So they can't afford it. And our rich, basically want the world to burn... At least that's what it seems like : p
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        Dec 2 2011: You make good points.
        I believe in capitalism as well, despite appearances. The socialism I know results in a slow-motion market and it was almost impossible for me to find a job while I was a student. It wasn't absolutely necessary either, this is why, probably. The government paid for half my rent, the university fee, and I had a small "salary" of 220 euros each month. This barely pays for the rest of the rent and food. But it's enough and it allows anyone to afford higher education. Not that diplomas favour employment (but that's another story).
        With retrospect, I would trade my 220 salary for a real 220 euro salary doing a real job, and learning about the world, a few hours a week. Education should remain free of course.
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          Dec 2 2011: That's interesting... We don't have free education here, and I'm for free education... but I'm also for paid education, supplemented by scholarship. I like the idea that some Universities, and High Schools, can just pay really great teachers really well to have 15 person class sizes. I think if entrance was based on merit instead of wealth, such an idea is fantastic. It allows brilliant children to hang out with their peers.

          I want to move towards access to education for all, but similar to the problem you're having Sweden is having a problem with "professional students"... People who just stay in university forever, and never want to get a job. They study art, history, philosophy... It's nice, but basically workers are getting taxed so they can be aristocrats, lol.

          I would suggest my only problem with the EU narrative nowadays is that Americans tend to get labeled as "too lazy to do some jobs"... and I just think that's even more true in places where university education is free... Because once you graduate with a masters... You don't want to go farm, or work in a factory for awhile. I think both of our worlds need to take responsibillity for the fact that some of us should be making clothes, and furniture, and computers again.

          I think there's a happy medium somewhere. I mention free internet education that gets you trainee jobs on here a few times. It's not as good as real college, but it shows you learned the basic principles of engineering, biology, etc., so you can use it to assist someone paid well for a few years, and doing the grunt work, but that work validates the degree and fills in your blanks.

          I do think we need to be telling people in China and everywhere else there's a big trade imbalance though... "No we don't need to get paid less... Our corporations need to pay you better, and we need to buy the next wave of awesome technology, all together".
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    Nov 28 2011: Responding though I am neither an American nor an economist.
    Just curious , from where that extra money will come ?
    Will not than again push the price up of green technology (the marketer there keeps eye on affordability as well before fixing price I guess)?

    Better solution seems to me to conrol individual self buying spree (just thinking of huge buying spree despite of current economic situation on this black Friday, how many of those buying are real necessity , how many are instinct ?) ......

    Looking for more durable products than current disposable junks in different category can be another option to rduce throwing waste in environment.....
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      Nov 28 2011: I think I would agree with you in America... but my point remains valid almost everywhere else doesn't it? I mean... There's no amount of savings, or responsible spending, that's going to lead to a Chinese family putting something that costs ten thousand American dollars on their roof, and they don't even get that much sun.

      Communist, and sociallist countries are investing in technology that their people could never afford... in the hopes that they can sell us goods that we can no longer afford here in America. This is the inherent problem with supply side economics, and state planned economy... They just don't think about these things until it's too late.

      Black Friday, may have been a waste, but I assure you working people weren't spending enough money to buy solar panels on it either. Something a lot of people tend to forget about America because of its "wealth and greed" status in the world is that 70% of families here work 80-100 hours per week and are constantly miserable, with no time for their family, and at best a couple hundred bucks to spend putting a smile on there kids face. We traded happiness for greed, but no one likes to remind themselves of that when looking at our GDP. We make stupid short term decisions, like Christmas overspending, drug addiction, and alcoholism... mostly because they keep housing so expensive here that we only get a few dollars a week in disposable income, so alcohol and marijuana are cheap fun.

      Again... There's no excuse for the upper middle class in affluent American neighborhoods, to have not bought solar panels, and I'm not defending that. Lots of people bought there kids a car, or bought a yacht. As for the solution to the money supply problem... print it and hire people building stuff. If we just spent 2 trillion dollars building solar panels in America, we would have simultaneously created a few hundred thousand jobs that could have bought the panels. China probably created a million jobs, but can't buy them.
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      Nov 28 2011: We live in a world where our currency is no longer backed by gold, or anything else. It's faith currency, lets have faith in it. Stop giving it away, and start hiring people, and lets pay them enough that they can buy the stuff we want to buy.

      Increasing the price of wages, doesn't increase the price of the raw material, so if you give people more money for labor, the cost of goods will go up less then their purchasing power.
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        Nov 28 2011: Hi David
        I am with you about the point of distribution of wealth which is in line with Pareto principle, 20/80 rule. when smaller percentage of population in an economy controls the majority of wealth then those problems you mentioned seems inherent.

        Increasing wage seems a smaller tactics of doing that. About out sourcing , guess job issue may push government think differently sooner or later if they really care for vote even not people.

        However for new innovation, adoption process seldom is linked with purchasing power. There are lot more psycho-social factors linked. Think of the computer, when it was invented and when it entered in almost every home in developed economy if not everywhere.......

        Green technology still at it's infancy , unless people are really aware and compassionate about environment or society very few will spend extra dollar to buy it that's what I feel.
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          Nov 29 2011: I agree with you up to a point... and that point is a weird one... Sexy. Most innovations, have found their way into the hands of famous, wealthy, influence makers, long before the average man wanted it... With solar we have something different. All rich people in California, should own solar panels, but they don't because the "real" reason to own solar, is that it pays for itself eventually.

          Rich people don't care about that, middle class, and poor people care about that. If they had access to loans, that were equal to their energy bill... and at the end of the loan, they owned panels, and had broken even... Lots of middle class people could get into that, but our credit, and buying power dropped dramatically over the last few years.

          Unlike with almost everything else, cell phones, cars, computers, iphones... Solar panels, will never be "cool", and "sexy". They're not status symbols. They should be, but it's not working, wealthy people aren't leading the way, so we may need to raise the standard of living in the middle if we really want to blow things up. It would be easier if we could just get Kim Kardashian to lay naked across some solar panels... but, alas it seems like this is the only product people won't trade their self respect to sell : p
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        Nov 29 2011: Understand your frustration specifically about solar panel. Also your point of sexiness is valid. But thats the job of marketier. A mobile phone is just a gazzete to communicate , no apeal in it until marketer made it sexy or status symbol or image of contemporariness etc.

        Think of consumers of cell phone how many of them uses all the option it has before discarding it buy the new model. It becam so disposable. In software , there was nothing much called sexiness but many of were made sexy , or convenience or swiftness or security that's why some sell more than others.

        Think of organic food or present trend ayurvatic cosmetics, how marketer of those industries made them symbol prestige , image etc etc

        Solar panel might need that kind of marketing effort though I am not an expert of that industry. Otherwise only increasing affordabilty by offering more money in the hand of consumer will not sell it as you gave the example of affluent calfornians.....

        Consumer actually don't buy the physical product itself rather go for intangible value proposition that it offers......

        Other can work here is bringing regultion to make people bound to buy solar panel. In my country there is a boom in real estate industry but on the other hand enegry sector is struggling. Instead of one unit house they have to supply electricity to 20 apartments in same place which replaced a sigle unit house... while electricity production has gone down. So government has made a regulation (good or bad can't say) to get an electricity connection apartment complex has to prove it will generate own electiricity through solar panel..... sales of solar panel went up then despite of it's high price.
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          Nov 30 2011: I agree. That's the policy our people are working for here. Housing market is down, so it's not the best time to do it, but I think new constructions have to have solar by a certain date here. The only other solution would be low interest, no interest loans, grants, or tax incentives for the middle class. Middle class Californians really want this stuff if you can get it in there hands because it's a value proposition.

          Also... I just have to say... There's something cool and sexy about being able to make a phone call anywhere in the world, just intrinsically. We forget that nowadays, but it really was awesome, even when they were bricks, you don't need advertising for wireless communication... imho.