Monday, December 16, 2013

Pope Francis explains economics

31 comments:

JoJo said...

This Pope continues to impress me. He truly is a breath of fresh air. It's like, he gets it.

Ann ODyne said...

'Poor' of course, is not about lack of glamour, but is when you don't have access to or cannot pay for a doctor dentist or an education. So many nations with huge poverty also have hugely rich rulers that I want to nuke them with their own weapon$.
Good to see His Holiness distracting everyone from other Vatican issues though.
Bless you dear Deadhead flower

Mama Moretti said...

this guy is gonna make me go back to the church!

Sevesteen said...

If you had to be among the bottom 15% poorest in a country, but got to choose any decade, and any country with a population greater than Ohio--what would your top 3 picks be?

Sevesteen said...

(and to clarify--I mean as a native, knowing the language and culture)

Blue Heron said...

fantastic quote.

Daisy Deadhead said...

France, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Netherlands, Iceland, Australia... I can go on.

Govt health care started in Switzerland in 1994 I think? So, anytime after that. In short, these countries in my piece about health care: http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-enough-to-make-you-sick.html

I don't like constant rain so no UK for me. No offense yall. And likewise, I am not dissing Canada, but its cold as shit. If you have to be poor, the weather matters... and cold and wet sucks.

And I forgot, Sri Lanka. The poverty rate has dropped to 7% and I love the religion. Govt health care.

Also, Hong Kong is a contender, although the split between rich and poor is the largest in all of Asia. But those views! ;)

I know a local middle class Tea Partier who visited Chile on business and came back, packed up and left. He and his family love it there.

I thought, damn, when the diehard confederates move to Chile, we should maybe start to worry

Daisy Deadhead said...

Don't know about your "population rule"--no time to look up the populations right now.

My Occupy online discussion group says Argentina has health care co-ops and about the same level of poverty as the US, although some rural areas can be as bad as Mexico.

Also, Dubai, but just as I wouldn't enjoy UK weather, I wouldn't enjoy sexist Muslims running things so that is a definite minus. They have little tolerance for dissent, of course. Dunno how big the place is. Same is true for Qatar. You have to be rich (in comparison to us) to even live there, and no tolerance for hell-raising WHATSOEVER. (Dubai pretends it does.)

France would be #1 choice. Anytime, any decade. (I am told Italy is just as good, but too close to the Vatican for me. France is a skeptical country, LOL.)

What do I win?

Sevesteen said...

Population was to eliminate countries like Monaco or Lichtenstein-If I had to be "bottom 15%" without that restriction, I'd pick one of those. I'd be glad to give you Switzerland despite being smaller than Ohio, but mostly because it fits my argument--I'd rather be poor in a rich country than poor or middle class in a poor country.

For example--if you were in the bottom 15% in Sri Lanka--"90% of the households in Sri Lanka are electrified, 87.3% of the population have access to safe drinking water and 39% have access to pipe-borne water."

If 12% of your population doesn't have access to safe drinking water, at least 12% of your population is in poverty by any modern rational standard. I'm not sure what "access to pipe-borne water" means--but I'm guessing it's something that even the bottom 15% in the US would take for granted, let alone the bottom 60%.

I want a world where everyone can afford basic necessities and some luxuries. In general, countries that allow wealth and promote business are closer to that goal than ones more concerned with equality. "Equally poor" doesn't appeal to me.

Daisy Deadhead said...

I want a world where everyone can afford basic necessities and some luxuries. In general, countries that allow wealth and promote business are closer to that goal than ones more concerned with equality

Are you saying Japan or Taiwan do not fit this standard? Well, they both have nationalized health care, so they have managed to make it work.

Even in Switzerland is "rich"--they didn't have nationalized health care until 1994, long after many other poorer Western nations.

I consider health care a necessity and I don't think you do... that is the primary difference between us. I was raised by a (congenitally) disabled person/activist, who imprinted me with this concept: food, clothing, shelter, and I would add, medical care, are the basic necessities of life. As long as these are met, I approve. But they haven't been, so in that sense, even Brazil is doing better than we are.

Sevesteen said...

I didn't see anything about health care in the Pope's speech. Rather, I saw promoting the notion that being richer than your neighbors is inherently sinful, that profit is evil even if it helps the poor.

A little human progress is through altruism, but a lot more progress is a direct result of a desire for wealth. Property rights are essential for progress--as much as preventing fraud and abuse. Wealth and riches are created, not just stolen from others.

Daisy Deadhead said...

I was sharing about my own values. If I agreed 100% with the Pope, I'd still be Catholic.

Crazy Horse summed up my general view of property rights: "One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk."
I endure "property rights" (theft) only as a given, the way I endure the existence of the parasitic rich and all the other sins against humanity. Since its set up to benefit the thieves, everyone cannot be equally held accountable... but the people who DO propagate the sins WILL be held accountable. Which of course is why thieves like Ayn Rand didn't believe in anything beyond themselves (and their amphetamines, of course).

(((whistles second verse of Internationale)))

Sevesteen said...

If by "property rights" you mean real estate...well, many libertarians recognize that there are philosophical problems with the original title to land.

If you mean that I don't have the rights to the fruits of my labor...an accurate response is impossible within the terms of civility you request. Until we come up with a better class of human, property rights are essential--and the biggest advances in civilization come when even the poor have property rights.

Daisy Deadhead said...

But they never do eminent domain against Donald Trump, do they? They do it against my friend Billy Mitchell. Even though Trump went bankrupt and belly-up, he was allowed to keep several of his expensive properties. When they wanted my friend Billy's property to build a damn bridge, it was "fuck you" and they even forcibly removed him. From his paid-for property that had been in his family for generations.

Tony Montana quote: "You know what capitalism is? Getting fucked."

Until there is economic equality, we are run by the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Sorry, but those are my values.

I thought we were having a discussion about morality, which is what the Pope is addressing. Perhaps atheists do not understand that discussions about moral ideals are not necessarily "real life" --but are about what we consider 'perfection' (as the Methodists would put it), the 'height' of morality, what we ultimately consider true, right, ethical, good. (I am pretty sensible in my day-to-day politics and what I choose to spend my time doing.) Just like those guys at Duck Dynasty believe Jesus tells them to hate queers, I believe Jesus/Buddha, et. al. instruct me that riches are a source of distance from all that good and spiritual and are an enemy of society. It is right there in scripture, in fact, several different scriptures of several different faiths. If you disrespect all of that, fine, but be egalitarian about it; I am no worse than Rand Paul or anyone else who claims they are guided by higher powers or spiritualism of one sort or another.

Daisy Deadhead said...

In case you think I exaggerate, here is the ballad of Billy Mitchell:

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/articles/downtown_property_owner_to_run_f.htm

He lost the mayoral race, but progressives voted for him.

Sevesteen said...

If you are talking about eminent domain abuse in an argument on property rights, you're arguing on my side--especially when the eminent domain taking is for "economic development", code for business and government working together to screw someone. Ideally the law would protect everyone's property rights equally, and that's the goal I'll work towards.

What do you mean by equality? At one level I agree that people should be treated equally. At another, equality is impossible without eliminating the ability to excel. Should parents be prohibited from providing for their children's future, because it isn't fair to the kids with bad parents? Should smart people be allowed to use their brains to get ahead? What about someone of average intelligence, but willing to work harder than normal?

Ideally everyone would have the resources to succeed to the limits of their desire. In the real world there will always be differences, even if they are merely drive and intelligence. The only way to get equality is to hold back the most successful...even in cases where their success is good for mankind in general.

I'm not going to take my morality from the Bible--There are things I know are wrong, and I haven't figured out how to translate it in a way that doesn't put heterosexual old men from the right family above everyone else. It's possible to get rich morally although easier to get rich immorally. I'm not sure it is possible to become politically powerful morally, or if even the desire for that sort of power over others can be moral.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Sevesteen, keep in mind, you ask my opinion, you will get it. You are now asking about "Daisy's ideal world" I take it? Okay, but once I give my opinions/ideals, do not howl at me that you are upset by it or it won't work, I am crazy, yada yada... I've heard it all before.

You know I am a Buddhist, a Gnostic, a Rastafarian-fellow traveler, etc. etc. I read Tarot. I cultivate Sukha in my everyday life. In short, to an atheist like you, I am a major woo flake. And yet, you keep asking me these questions... (sigh) I don't think you will comprehend the answers, but here goes.

We have very different values systems, as I think I have said several times, on this thread and in others. You keep asking me questions based in your value system, not from mine. Therefore I have to keep clarifying that these ideas you take for granted, are simply not the moral/spiritual framework I am coming from, nor where I think the Pope is coming from.

So, keeping all that in mind, here are the best answers I am capable of:

What do you mean by equality?

Same as the dictionary definition.

Should parents be prohibited from providing for their children's future, because it isn't fair to the kids with bad parents?

In a society that provides basic needs such as health care, education and clean water (etc), no individual needs more than, say, $25 million; and that is a damned high figure. (I know socialists who offer a much lower figure!) You can buy Bentleys, Vera Wang dresses, antiques galore and a trendy co-op in Park Slope, with that amount. Any more than that, should be forfeited it to the appropriate re-distributors-of-wealth--ideally I'd prefer these be independent orgs instead of the govt, but in some (rural) areas it will probably be governmental. (The Mormons have their own welfare system for church members and discourage govt dependence.) If Bill and Melinda Gates or whoever does NOT participate, they should be shunned as selfish swine and (speaking of eminent domain) possibly evicted. Tax exiles will be charged an exit fee, their pricey private airplanes confiscated until they pay it, then they can leave and not be allowed to re-enter the country without an entry fee. The exit fees will be steep, at least half of what they refuse to forfeit. The entry fees will likewise be steep... it will be therefore be in their interest not to have to pay either one.

In addition, the Church should deny sacraments to whoever will not forfeit. Yes, time to go back to the Middle Ages on this one! (Other religions: withdraw equivalent spiritual provisions accordingly.) Whoever does not forfeit their proper share and tries to hide money should be shunned socially until they do. I would stop short of jail, because I think actual, proper shunning (look how we've dropped the number of cigarette smokers) is far more effective as well as humane.

Should smart people be allowed to use their brains to get ahead?

The words "excel" and "get ahead" mean something very different to you, than to me. To me, getting ahead is, again, about peace of mind, attaining spiritual truths and doing the ethical thing. That is AHEAD. This definition does not require "brains".

2b continued

Daisy Deadhead said...

Reply to Sevesteen, part 2

What about someone of average intelligence, but willing to work harder than normal?

"Let no man speak to me of work"--Andre Breton.

They work harder for... what? At painting or music or art or building houses or planting mustard greens and potatoes or something else to share with others? That's nice... but I think you are talking about money again, right?

Ideally everyone would have the resources to succeed to the limits of their desire

Earthly desires are an illusion, and we should not readily give into them. Buddha said that, not me.

Just because someone "desires" something does not make it something they should do. Desires should be deeply interrogated and examined by everyone, and children should be taught these skills in meditation classes starting in kindergarten and going all the way through school (this is why its important to neutralize the fundies). Everyone desiring the same thing at once has frequently brought us to war and/or dangerous shortages, and is now leading us to deadly climate change. Our desires and goals themselves must change, so that our neighbor's well being is as important as our own.

That's the goal, what our desires should be, and what we should be working for.

Desires change radically... your capitalist assumptions about what "success" is --are pretty recent in human history, and seem to be morphing right now, as people find them unattainable and shallow. For example, right NOW, many young men would rather stay in their parents' basement playing World of Warcraft and jerking off to porn than moving out, working to achieve $, making a family, etc. "Desires" can and do change, in fact, virtually every couple of generations.

In the real world there will always be differences, even if they are merely drive and intelligence.

These are illusory differences also, prized differently at different times. Just as fat women were prized in the middle ages and thin women are prized now. Arbitrary, and these standards will pass away. We need to look beyond the ephemeral. THAT is the goal.

2b continued

Daisy Deadhead said...

Reply to Sevesteen part 3

The only way to get equality is to hold back the most successful...even in cases where their success is good for mankind in general.

What a strange thing to say.

Equality is a fact already. All souls are equal before Jah, before God, etc. It is recognizing this basic truth, that will bring earthly equality. (You seem to think "equality" means "identical" or "the same"--not sure why you mistake these definitions.)

We are all one people, one entity, and awareness of this knowledge is the recognition of equality, what the Rastas call "inity". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyaric#I_words)

I'm not going to take my morality from the Bible

That's obvious... but there is also what the Book of Jeremiah called "the law written upon the heart", what Thomas Aquinas called Natural Law. We all have this innate moral sense. (The people who do not, we call sociopaths, and it is readily evident to us that they are somehow lacking it.)

It's possible to get rich morally although easier to get rich immorally. I'm not sure it is possible to become politically powerful morally, or if even the desire for that sort of power over others can be moral.

Riches and power (and fixations on too much drugs, food, sex, narcissistic entertainment) are earthly temptations that we should rise above. This should be a stated goal of culture. We probably cannot entirely succeed, but our present culture fetishizes these things to a sick, depraved degree. We need to counteract it in a major way, as Occupy Wall Street tried to do. The Rastas use the word BABYLON, and I find that is the one I keep coming back to. "Babylon is a system that treats a person like a dollar bill"--Groundation (band) We should not embrace Babylon but denounce and separate from it whenever we can, even though (same song says) "everywhere you go/Babylon is there"... we must learn to recognize Babylon for what it is, just like learning to recognize equality.

Not participating in the wanton torture and slaughter of animals for the pleasure of the human palate for example, is one of the simplest steps one can take to begin. Meat is Babylon at its most brazen, and yet, people are still very attracted to it, so we see we have a long way to go.. before they see a slaughtered, tortured animal on the plate rather than something they want to put inside themselves.

Much work is to be done, of course. And that is why I worry, we can't do it all... but as I said in my Nelson Mandela post (quoting TS Eliot): For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Sevesteen said...

We absolutely have different value systems. You preach peace and tolerance...but your view of government and society requires a good bit of violence and coercion against those with differing beliefs. (I'm fine with voluntary shunning...but confiscation and taxes require force). I want as much interaction between people as possible to be voluntary and uncoerced.

The dictionary definition of equal is useless here without proper context. Yes, All people are created equal, and are endowed at their creation with certain inalienable rights. It is also obvious and indisputable that some people have advantages when compared with others--brains, beauty, drive, empathy (which can be used for evil as well as good) or merely luck. You are lucky enough to live where being a vegan is practical without extreme changes to your lifestyle.

I wasn't really expecting answers to my examples of unequal birth, rather pointing out where unconditional equality can't be mandated--even if the government treats people as equally as it should, some people will always have better opportunities than others.

...and obviously, some people through their own actions lose their right to equal treatment.

Money and success aren't the same thing. I think in most cases money allows people to do what IS important to them, while other people put more value on things money can't buy. I'm probably somewhere in the middle--I want enough money that I can live comfortably middle class without worrying about day to day money, but I don't have a whole lot of desire for Western luxury items. (I realize that compared to much of the world I already live in luxury, and I'm grateful for that)

Our neighbor's well being should matter, but it will NEVER be more important than our own--nor should it be. If a large majority was 1/4 as concerned with their neighbor's welfare as their own, that would be sufficient to make the world glorious.

I like helping people when it's reasonable, and especially when there's something I can do more efficiently. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I can solve someone else's problem and make at least a small part of their life easier or better.



Daisy Deadhead said...

Sevesteen: You preach peace and tolerance...but your view of government and society requires a good bit of violence and coercion against those with differing beliefs.

That is actually the system we have right now. Its called drones, attacking people who have done absolutely nothing. I hope you are as outraged about that too. There are people sitting in military-silos, directing drones all day long, with our money and our govt's power behind them. We are therefore culpable for that. Likewise, some people having astronomically-more than others, who have nothing, is something else we are ALL culpable for, since we ALL allow it to continue.

I don't "preach peace and tolerance"--in fact, I try to refrain from "preaching" at all. (engaging in polemics is not "preaching"--its standard political discourse in the West) As I've said many times, one big departure from Western religions is: Christianity exhorts us to "spread the good news" and make converts, while Buddhism mostly counsels us to shut up. I have tried to adhere to that standard, and I only discuss these things when I am directly asked (like now) or if the context comes up.

All people are created equal, and are endowed at their creation with certain inalienable rights.

But you don't believe in a creator, so where do those rights ultimately COME FROM, in your personal belief system? It seems to you, they are arbitrary, so what is the big deal? (Who or what are you accountable to, if you fail?)

I wasn't really expecting answers to my examples of unequal birth

Did you read what I said, or just not understand it? I BELIEVE THERE IS NO SUCH THING. You are describing an illusion, based on what we have been taught to value. Do you think I am lying about being a Buddhist or a Gnostic? If you accept that I am telling the truth about that, you must understand that I do not believe that anyone is lesser or more than anyone else. I cannot hold that opinion and practice Buddhism; in fact, I believe one cannot hold that conviction within the context of Christianity either, but I see that people do it, in fact, do both. But the text is very specific in both belief systems, particularly within Mahayana Buddhism.

I am adhering to what I believe is true, which is the heart of a major belief system--it isn't something I made up. Please show respect and stop assuming I am deliberately "not responding"... that IS the response.

some people will always have better opportunities than others.

And my idea of "success" and "opportunities"--etc, are fundamentally different than yours. Rather than show respect and understand that I am telling the truth about that, you revert to your own belief system and judge me that way. (sigh) Was hoping you were different than the fundies, Sevesteen, but scratch the surface of many libertarians and I find fundamentalist Christian values lurking underneath, and the accompanying concept that nobody can possibly truly differ on the basics. (This is a major reason I am skeptical of libertarianism.)

I simply do not subscribe to your definitions, and you refuse to understand, appreciate or respect that basic fact. But yes, I have had this conversation before, many times. MANY times.

2b continued

Daisy Deadhead said...

Reply to Sevesteen continued

Sevesteen: but it will NEVER be more important than our own--nor should it be.

Yes, it should be. It isn't, but ultimately, should be. That is what we should be striving for at all times.

(That is what I loved about the end of BILLY JACK, go watch the clip again.)

This is the big difference between us. I am not odd or dumb or wrong to have my beliefs. If you are a libertarian, at least respect my right to believe as I do, and please do not revert to your own belief system to tell me I must not REALLY believe mine. (That is as offensive as believers telling atheists they REALLY MUST believe in God, deep down inside. I take you at your word, so please take me at mine.) Not kidding, not joking, not making it up. All souls are EQUAL before God, before Jah, in Samsara, etc... this is an article of faith for me, okay? The idea of intrinsic inequality is heresy and anathema. The task is for all of us to RECOGNIZE our common equality/humanity.

Yes, I do, I really do believe this. Do not patronize me by telling me I did not address an idea that you subscribe to and I pointedly have told you I do NOT. ("inequality of birth"-- eeeeyuck... I actually regard this concept as the whole basis for nazi-style eugenics, which I believe will be the end of the world as we know it, check out Margaret Atwood's ORYX AND CRAKE and YEAR OF THE FLOOD. That's it; that is absolutely it.) Please don't try to tell me I "did not address" something I regard as heresy. Of course I didn't. It's untrue, illusory and just plain wrong. Further, I think holding such a view is morally reprehensible and will ultimately lead to our extinction.

I have dedicated my life to what I believe is true and right. Bottom line. Since you think its nonsense or wrong or whatever, it is absolutely the basis of our disagreement, what we each consider moral, true, and right.

Of course we disagree.

Sevesteen said...

A child born with Down's syndrome or in Somalia deserves the same rights as everyone else. When those rights are violated, their treatment and life is unequal--and that matters more than some philosophical equality.

I haven't doubted that your beliefs are sincere. You are apparently determined to mischaracterize mine.

"I actually regard this concept as the whole basis for nazi-style eugenics"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Daisy Deadhead said...

Sevesteen, was Godwin a privileged and arrogant white man determined to shut up people on the Left? (REASON magazine, huh? Well, that's all I need to know.)

A child born with Down's syndrome or in Somalia deserves the same rights as everyone else. When those rights are violated, their treatment and life is unequal--and that matters more than some philosophical equality.

And I think I have probably done more in my life to ensure those rights than you have. (sigh) Is it time to ask for your human rights resume? My record on social justice, my work on the rights of EVERYone, goes back 40 years. Yours? Please do not act all self-righteous, because I *will* ask for your references. In addition to breaking rules by libertarians associated with magazines that admire amphetamine addicts run amok (Ayn Rand), I also demand that people who invoke others' oppression to best me in arguments, provide a comprehensive list of their own political activities helping these people they supposedly care so much about, proving they are not simply using (exploiting) these people simply to make points. What disability rights organizations have you been personally affiliated with? What work have you done? My resume is pretty substantial, and I will show you mine if you show me yours. But if you have no WORK RECORD in this regard to contribute, please save the self-righteousness.

Ants all look alike to me, but there are likely disabled ants, and obviously different colonies of ants and different colors of ants. Some are big, some small, some bite, some don't. I am sure if I was an ant I could see which ones were lazy and which ones were hard-working, but from here, they appear as one entity. And to God (or as Harlan Ellison might say, whatever passes for God), we are ants, and appear as one interconnected entity. We ARE one interconnected entity. Without others, we would die. It is when we forget God-consciousness and revert to ego that we lose sight of that.

And I should have added...

your view of government and society requires a good bit of violence and coercion against those with differing beliefs.

Correction: Not "differing beliefs". CRIMINALS who exploit the labor of others. There is no way anyone, not a single person, can make $25 million all by themselves, without robbing the earth of resources and others of their labor. IMPOSSIBLE. Therefore, this is theft, and I am proposing they forfeit what they have already stolen.

JUSTICE is what I am talking about.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Reply to Sevesteen continued

There is an old plantation-style house here in town worth a bundle--I just passed it driving home today. It was designed, built and the household run by enslaved people; they even chopped down the wood for it. Everything, done by 18th century African-Americans. But do the families of the enslaved have any ownership of it now? The white family who passed it down, makes constant money renting it out for special occasions, and if they should ever sell it or open it for tours or whatever, they will pocket the money, with nothing for the families of the people who designed, built and ran it for generations FOR FREE. They get nothing, the white family who just happened to be related to the original owner, will get that money. That is just one example.

I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars for companies that paid me very little, I have sold lots of stuff (with my considerable retail talents), and often on no commission at all. The CEOs of these companies make millions, doing very little, maybe nothing at all. They do not MAKE that money by "hard work"--they made it through MY hard work, and that of other people like me. They deserve less, and I deserve more. And similarly, the USA has exploited people around the world and THEY deserve more, too.

No Justice, No Peace, is not just some bumper sticker slogan; to me, it is an essential truth, part of the Natural Law I mentioned upthread. We can never achieve peace as long as we consistently cheat each other. And the root of cheating is believing that somehow, one person "did more" than the other, or was related to the "right people" or had the "right job description" based on going to the "right schools". This is all illusory, and these ridiculous and meaningless labels are part of what has created Babylon.

I don't know why anyone would endorse it, unless they think somehow, they will be rich someday too, and then they can take a turn being the superior person. Otherwise, what is the draw of Babylon?

Sevesteen said...

I've never claimed a human rights resume, nor claimed that yours was inadequate. I claimed that people's circumstances were unequal--and that brought insulting comparisons to Nazis.

Apparently our definitions of civility are in quite different neighborhoods.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Went to the Solstice tonight. Merry Meet and alla that stuff, Sevesteen.
Happy Yule.

Anonymous said...

was hoping to get an answer to this --

"But you don't believe in a creator, so where do those rights ultimately COME FROM, in your personal belief system? It seems to you, they are arbitrary, so what is the big deal? (Who or what are you accountable to, if you fail?)"

i notice atheists never answer this

we obviously care LOTZ more than they do, which is why they shrug off the query while for us it is of prime significance

Anonymous said...

& happy st stephens day, ms deadhead

Saint Stephen will remain, all he's lost he shall regain,
Seashore washed by the suds and foam,
Been here so long, he's got to calling it home.

Daisy Deadhead said...

THANK YOU, ANON! :)

"One man gathers what another man spills" (I always thought that was a good description of blogging!)

Anonymous said...

Sevesteen, you're kinda being a jerk to Daisy everytime you write something and she responds. Just let it go bro. Any reasonably intelligent person can follow logic, you don't need to go nuclear. Do the gentlemanly thing and let the lady be right.