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Thomas Anderson

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Did I just help society, or hurt society?

I just drove 1/2 mile to a fast food restaurant, in a car that gets 35 miles per gallon. I went through the drive through, and it took 3 minutes. I then drove home, and ate two chicken sandwiches with mayonnaise and lettuce on rolls, and a large cola, all for 4 dollars and 19 cents.

Did I just help society, the economy, and my own personal health, or did I just hurt society, my own personal health, and the economy?

I would appreciate all points of view! Thank you!

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Closing Statement from Thomas Anderson

Thank you very much for participating in this debate! I did not get any points of view from the restaurant industry. I guess if I were a reporter, that would be a "no comment"?

TED is awesome.

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  • Dec 20 2011: The only way you've helped society, is by stimulating the economy.
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      Dec 20 2011: the economy is stimulated by saving, not consuming
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        Dec 21 2011: Huh? Must the old theory that when you buy from a business you stimulate the business yield to a new theory? (You stimulate the business by not buying from the business?) I'd love to see the math.
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          Dec 21 2011: that theory you refer to is 80 years old. my theory is more than a 100, with its roots as old as twice as much.

          the "math" is this easy: either you produce consumer goods or you produce capital goods. consumer goods just make you live for another day. capital goods increase future production. we work less yet have much more than our ancestors. it is because of all the capital accumulated throughout countless centuries, always adding more to our heritage.
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        Dec 21 2011: I appreciate your explanation, Krisztián. These 2 theories are not in conflict. It's not an either-or between producing capital goods or consumer goods. A healthy economy needs both at all times. Of course if there's a shortage of lendable capital, then saving will help build that. But if there's not, consumption adds to corporate profit and confidence and also provides capital. I've never heard a company urge the public, "We wish you would buy a little less of our product, and save your money instead." And I don't think I ever will.
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          Dec 21 2011: it IS a choice between consumer goods and capital goods. what is not clear on that? any resource, any hour of work is put either in this or that. the more we save, the more capital goods we have. capital can come from savings only. there is no other source of it, unless our good UFO friends start to donate some.

          you can damn surely bet on no company producing consumers goods will urge you to consume less. but i can also assure you that if you do, and that company must shrink in result, other companies producing capital goods will be grateful for the cheaper resources. don't stop at the first step of logic. follow it all the way to the end.
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        Dec 22 2011: We're pretty far from the topic of this conversation. I'll just recommend any basic text in economics. Read up on the connection between corporate profit and capital investment. That could be an eye-opener.
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          Dec 22 2011: you are very kind. how many "basic texts" you have read on economics? can you recommend one? i must have read the wrong ones, since i derived my above conclusions from my study material that consists of 12 hours of audio lecture, and 10 books. but i'm always ready to learn new things about "corporate profit" and "capital investment".
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        Dec 22 2011: Hi Krisztian,
        How does one get interested in economy so much?
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      Dec 23 2011: "The only way you've helped society, is by stimulating the economy."

      Not necessarily, all that has been done is the buyer supporting state subsidized foods and so hurting locally grown food.

      I would say the defendant is guilty of three charges: health, economic, and green house gas damage. ;)

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