Economic inequality...

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Oct 3, 2022.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Are you arguing that cleaning up the inner city (not gentrifying some prime neighborhood overlooking the ocean) is a bad idea and that you would move to Watts if it had a decent grocery store and no drug dealing on the corner?

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    Being poor isn't a genetic defect. If you give people safe neighborhoods they will take care of the rest. Your argument (which I know can't be your intention) seems to be that if you improve their local conditions they would have to move so you can never improve their conditions. Inner city living isn't always cheaper. You can find basic housing in safer areas for the same rent.

    Giving someone free nursery care isn't going to mean much if they get shot going to the nursery. Having local jobs isn't good for the local neighborhood? We're not talking about Google moving into Watts. We're talking about people being able to open more Mom and Pop retail.

    You're saying if we did that, everyone would have to leave? There is already section 8 housing. Clean up the inner city and create more section 8 housing. That's more effective than providing free nursery care for every kid in America hoping that the trillions spent will help just one kid get out of poverty.

    I agree that as a blanket statement you can argue either side. In general, IMO, that is frequently the case. Consider medical care, not everyone has it, it's more expensive (as a whole) here than most anywhere else and it's far from the best. When I was a kid, we didn't have medical insurance, you just paid when you needed medical care. As a kid I remember the doctor actually making a house call a time or two.

    Throw in insurance, partial coverage, then if you are left out it's pretty much unaffordable for many. When you add insurance, guarantees, assistance, it still has a cost to the system and that cost generally goes up, not down. That cost is also generally ignored. You could go to the doctor every day and justify it as "well, it's free" but if everyone did that the system would implode.

    I do actually favor universal healthcare but there needs to be some buy in cost and use cost (just as with anything else).

    Guarantee student loans and tuition goes up. Before the latest guarantee program no one was complaining about unreasonable tuition. Now people who probably shouldn't go to college have loans they can't pay and they are no further from poverty as evidenced by the fact that they still aren't earning enough to even pay for their student loan and tuition now is even higher.

    People who could afford a house were buying houses then came the sub-prime mortgage mess that almost brought down the financial system. When trying to guarantee that everyone could buy a house, that doesn't mean that everyone could afford a house. Nothing changed there.

    These are cases of assistance trying to change the outcome by not really changing anything and just making matters worse.

    Aid to Africa and decades of no improvement. Would it be more helpful to let your children stay at home until they are 30 or try to equip them to go out into the world on their own at an earlier age? There are exceptions of course but assistance often results in delaying the progress that you are looking for.

    There are more direct ways to solve some problems IMO. Even just giving a rent free apartment to all homeless would be more effective and cheaper than the total cost to the system presently. That's assistance of course but it's much more targeted (and cheaper) than the present "assistance" that has very little to show for it.

    Inner cities haven't changed in decades or on the street homelessness or mass exodus out of poverty. It's more likely that the Cuban guy escaping by life raft with no assistance will be doing much better after 20 years than is the case for most inner city residents.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2022
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Here (US) doctors have to pay for their insurance. A Nurse Practitioner here is between a Registered Nurse and a Doctor. A RN here goes to college for 4 years in many cases (1 1/2 years to 4 years of training). A Nurse Practitioner takes between 6 and 8 years of study.

    Both Doctors and Nurse Practitioners are paid well enough to cover that insurance. I don't see how a system can exist where the people don't make enough to more than cover their required insurance. Whether the hospital is paying it or the medical person is paying for it the cost to the system is the same and has to be paid for.

    I, obviously, don't know about your specific situation. I don't know what that has to do with this thread though.

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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No. I am saying that if you "clean up" an area so you can (in your words) "moving new businesses in" will drive the current residents out.

    Now, if your goal is only crime reduction, great. I'm all for that. But that mission-creeps to get a new upscale clothing store in, a Starbucks, a microbrewery etc (i.e. all things that upscale people like) you will drive the current residents out.

    It has links to genetics, but I agree that it is not CAUSED by genetics.

    We differ about what "improving their conditions" means. Reducing crime? Great. Moving new businesses in? That worsens their condition by making them homeless.
    From the African Development Banking Group:

    Over the last two decades, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Africans’ quality of life improved significantly. Sustained economic growth and better governance have raised the quality of education, healthcare, and other basic services, while creating more and better jobs and livelihood opportunities. All of this has reduced the proportion of Africa’s population living in poverty.,better jobs and livelihood opportunities.

    ?? Those are orthogonal choices. It's like asking if you would rather your child be a banker than play golf.

    Whether or not people live at home with their parents or on their own matters not at all to me.

    Whether or not those people have the education and training to support themselves matters a great deal.
    We differ there. I think you are seeing a very carefully selected set of results. Remember how Solyndra was used as how much Obama's programs sucked? You could not watch a news show without an anchor mentioning Solyndra. But Tesla - a beneficiary of the same program - was never mentioned, nor the 92% of companies that it funded that succeeded.
    Good idea. Or simply (partially) subsidize the rent. Which we do.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    If you move Starbucks into the middle of a "ghetto" you aren't going to get upscale customers and no one is moving out. Don't move in Starbucks. Move in "Mavis's Food and Dine". The point is to clean up the crime for the residents so that they can safely develop their own neighborhoods just like everyone else does.

    Your solution can't be to keep the neighborhoods as is?
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    See post above. "Now, if your goal is only crime reduction, great. I'm all for that."
  9. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    If the inequality is the result of decades of misinformation about economics what do you think can be done about it?

    Adam Smith and Karl Marx did not live in a world with planned obsolescence. John Maynard Keynes probably never saw a television commercial for automobiles.

    Where have economists provided data on the annual depreciation of automobiles since Sputnik?

    Then there is land ownership. Who has to come up with the money to pay who to live on the planet? Is rent payment part of this contribution to inequality?
  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Something interesting happened during Covid - it caused most everyone who had a job that could be easily performed outside of their respective office buildings, to work from home. Productivity was just fine, in fact, studies have shown that many employees from various industries, performed better working from home.

    So, now many CEO’s want their employees back in the office. It could be due to the unnecessary real estate that they’re paying rent on, but I think there’s something more psychological and subtle at play.

    I work from home, and my firm made a decision to keep it that way. But I’ve noticed this trend of employees begrudgingly heading back to the office and I think it has to do with the classist mentality that is so pervasive in corporate America. If everyone is working from home - titles don’t matter as much. Your coworkers can't see what you're wearing. No one sees your car, whether it's expensive or not.

    Everyone working from home, creates a more level playing field. Now, only your performance matters. You can’t stand around joking with the CEO, hoping to become one of his/her favorites. Only your performance matters when you’re working from home. And all of those secondary things - like clothes, shoes, purses, cars, etc... are no longer things that employees are being secretly judged on, outside of their work performance.

    If you look at who wants everyone back in the office, it's the C-suite. Not HR. Not the middle managers. It's the C-suite - the highest paid positions want all the significantly less paid, to hustle back into the office, waste money on gas, and sit in hours of traffic. Classism is pretty pervasive in corporate America.

    And while this may seem like an irrelevant point, classism goes on in every facet of society. That is partially why we see the gap between the wealthy elite and extreme poor, continue to widen. It’s a mindset and that is what drives actions for or against certain groups of people.

    It’s also a mindset that drives predatory capitalism (example Bed, Bath & Beyond) and out of control consumerism. And that mindset sets the tone for classist societies. And classism by default causes racism, sexism, and all other societal problems.

    I definitely see why people leave their corporate jobs, sell everything, and live off the grid in a tiny house, in the middle of a forest.

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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2022
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree with your last statement, I definitely see why people want to get away from corporate jobs (for the most part) when they can. I felt the same way and really appreciated that aspect when I switched industries. After another layoff I felt that way even more and started investing and taking control of my own destiny even more.

    I think there can be other reasons for wanting people to be in the same office other than classism, although I'm sure that's probably unconsciously in there as well. I don't think anyone wants employees in the office so that they will have to spend more on gas, fancy clothes, etc. Those are side-effects, as are judging cars, clothes, etc. which is human nature for some.

    Of course it's the C suite pushing this rather than HR, HR doesn't run the company. Regarding increased productivity, I'm sure that is an industry by industry thing in the long run.

    Undoubtedly the forced experiment of having so many people work from home has changed mindsets of both the employees and the C suite and the way corporate life is going to look from this point on. That's my take on it anyway.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Since everyone has to live somewhere, what is unequal about that?
    Accountants "account" for depreciation when applicable to the tax code or to a business. I don't know where you're going with this one? What does this have to do with unequal wealth?

    Yes, we have a lot of consumable goods now compared to the days that Adam Smith lived in. So? That may be bad for the environment but where is the connection to inequality?
  13. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    Air conditioners and washing machines for homes wear out and therefore depreciate. Can that be filed with the IRS?

    Two families could both live in $400,000 homes. One could have a mortgage with the owner having only 30% equity while the other could be the result of an inheritance and wholly owned.

    Ownership of land!? The difference between Manifest Destiny and Lebensraum is that the 7th cavalry didn't have tanks and gas chambers in 1880. Talking about economic inequality without mentioning the military and economic power games that preceded the current situation makes no sense. Like it came about by magic.

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  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    For a business yes, for a home no. So what? It's the same regardless of whether you are wealthy or not.
    Yes, two people could live in a $400,000 house and have differing equity. So? Is the one with more equity somehow keeping the one with less equity from having more equity?

    History is what it is but if you are poor today and someone else is wealthier, what does that have to do with Manifest Destiny? If you are a Native American, sure, you have a better argument to make (although that was a long time ago). Otherwise, what's the point?

    How does a wealthier person today have anything to do with why someone else is poor?
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Ideas are shared more readily when you sit in an office with someone, and can casually bounce ideas back and forth. If you're at home you have to make the effort to share, and most might not bother unless there is a scheduled "team social call" of suchlike.
    There may be an overriding directive from upon high, but I found that it is mostly a direct line-Manager thing... if your immediate boss was someone who liked to micro-manage, and only felt in control if he could actually see you, then you'd be called into the office whenever possible to work. If you had a boss that trusted you to get your work done, that treated you more as a grown-up, then they might leave it to you whether to work from home or not.
    There will undoubtedly be new "HR theories" about how to maximise productivity, how to assess how your business best operates with respect to employee location (home v office v hybrid etc), and a loud voice in the HR team can very much influence the business directive on the matter.
  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    That’s the narrative that’s being pushed - returning to the office five days per week is for “collaboration” of ideas, but this seemed to work just fine over Zoom during the Covid lockdown.

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    My firm downsized their office space and it’s there if you need to meet with clients or attend monthly meetings. And, I can get on board with a hybrid model, where employees can find a balance of working from home and in the office.

    Since The Great Resignation* employees are more in control now than the employers, and that’s not necessarily a good thing, either. But, pendulums have a way of swinging back to the middle eventually, where everyone can come away feeling satisfied.

    I brought this up because it serves as a microcosm of a grander classist mentality that exists in society, which drives the disparity between the rich and poor. This isn’t too say that individuals can’t overcome and break through these glass ceilings, but collectively, we have a problem. Systemically, we have a problem.

    *Great Resignation - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2022
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You're saying that we have a problem with classism that is driving the rich/poor gap in a systemic sense.

    Would you say that the most direct way to get out of poverty is for the individual to take steps to get out of poverty or to try to pass a law that attempts to reduce systemic classism? It's a loaded question of course but I'm not being sarcastic and I am interested in your response.

    I'm just not clear how you legislate "systemic classicism reduction"?

    Here is where I'm coming from. I think poverty is in your bank account and in your mind. The bank account poverty is easier to deal with than the mental poverty. If you already have "middle-class values" if you are poor, it's probably only temporary and you'll adjust.

    If you have poverty in the bank account and in your outlook, I don't know how much "society" can do about that.

    Most people working in retail don't live in high crime/gang/drug environments and getting out of poverty is as "simple" as getting a roommate, living within your budget and working toward getting a higher paying job.

    If you work in retail, live with gang member and drug traffic on your street, think that maybe selling drugs would be better than working in retail and most of your friends are in prison anyway so going there isn't a big deal...that's true poverty.

    However that isn't going to be positively affected by the government giving you some check for $500 every month or paying for free nursery school.

    Such a person could move out of that high crime environment and would if they had a middle-class mindset. There are plenty of cheap, run down, apartments in much safer neighborhoods (just look around any university town). They don't have to stay there just because they work in retail. Others work in retail and don't have to live in that environment.

    Those with a good mindset are going to get out of poverty on their own. Those without that mindset are going to stay in the inner cities and most government assistance just enables poor decision making rather than helping them get out of poverty, IMO.
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member


    12% in poverty, 88% not in poverty. 3% that probably need help in any society (mental illness, low IQ, disabilities).

    For the rest, you don't make it harder for the 88% just to deal with those who seem to think that government assistance should be a permanent thing.

    There was a hispanic family of 7 or 8 shown where one guy was well spoken and they had been employed setting tables? There was also a young baby living in that house?

    Why have a baby while you are talking about needing government assistance? Why can't that well spoken guy become a plumber, electrician, cop, join the military, sell insurance.

    No one can make a living setting the table, or cutting grass, cleaning houses, working entry level retail. You can do all those things if at least one person in the family is working toward a better job.

    There would be more money for the 3% if the rest were doing something to actually get ahead. The musical chairs analogy is not a good one. There are plenty of jobs. People keep talking about "good jobs".

    What they mean is jobs that pay more than they should pay. You don't want to upgrade your skills but you want to be paid as if you did. That does work anywhere.

    In that hispanic household, someone could be going to a community college to become a nurse. Someone could become an electrician. Someone could quit having babies that they can't currently afford. If the family is living in NYC (?) they could move to a more affordable area more in line with their "skills".

    This program would have you believe that the government should be supporting (at least in part) one third of the population. That's nonsense.
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  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    More emphasis should be on how to be prosperous rather than how to eradicate poverty. You are never going to give someone so much money that they will become prosperous. People become prosperous when they strive for more than not being poor.

    Should someone focus on not starving or would it be better to focus on how they can get a better job and how they can improve their skills? Just giving aid isn't working. World poverty has gone down in recent decades and some might say that all the aid going to Africa is paying off but Africa has changed little. The world statistics on poverty are primarily just from the gains that have been made in China over the last few decades.
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Of course they did. They bought horses which were guaranteed to die. Indeed, they often worked them hard enough that they died early. It was a good economic tradeoff for them.
    If everyone has to pay rent/mortgages/property tax - then no, it's not inequality. Everyone is in the same boat. You could argue that it's not EQUITY but that's a different argument.

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