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Thread: What do you want to do with the little people?

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    What do you want to do with the little people?

    This topic is about what a society should do with work-marginalized workers/citizens


    There are a lot of discussions about how mega wealth is okay because they "did something" that made them deserve to reap benefits on the labors of people who are not paid enough to live decently.
    There are also discussions of how automation is a great thing in pursuit of lower cost products and higher margins for investors.
    There are also discussions about how we need to stop using fossil fuels and go to nuclear, which needs far less labor.
    There are also discussions about how today's economy needs higher education or training to remain viable in a living wage.
    There are discussions about replacing fossil fuels with renewables that move the jobs to geographically new (and potentially crowded and expensive) areas.
    There are discussions about how a "market wage" is justifiable as the intersection between what a powerful employer will offer and a powerless worker will accept.

    There are many more discussions of various stripes that have one thing in common:
    They advocate for the reduction in jobs (or pay level) for those who are not trained to work on the Right Thing (tm)

    Here's my question for discussion and producing a viable answer:

    What do you DO with the people unable to train or move?

    Maybe they can't move because they are a caregiver for a disabled or elderly person who needs to remain.
    Maybe they can't go to college and become a programmer because they are in the lower half of intellectual capability - they just plain aren't smart enough.
    Maybe they can't go to college because they are a caregiver.
    Maybe ADHD makes them unable to perform a trade, and working at a big box store is what they can do - and they'd be happy there if only it paid enough to live on.
    Maybe they got sick from coal mining and would not be hired by a windmill firm due to the impending obligations?

    So what you we propose that we DO with all of these people?

    Do we want them to just die from starvation after their job are automated?
    Do we want to empty out the rural states and force all of the people there to move to squalid tenements near a factory in a high cost dense population?
    Do we want people who aren't smart enough to become engineers and doctors to just die of preventable diseases because they can't afford health care or a safe house?


    I think about all these people who are against progressive taxation or universal income or raised minimum wages, and I wonder
    (a) what is it you think will happen to all of these people? You think they'll suddenly become suitable for college? or
    (b) are you actually okay if they all just die?
    (c) what are justifiable reasons to allow someone to live (or be raised in) abject poverty?
    (d) if we don't think that, what should we DO to plan for them to continue living without abject poverty?
    (e) other? What else? What do you think should happen to them?
    Last edited by Rhea; 02-28-2021 at 07:44 PM. Reason: add option (e) - I didn't intend to predict others' answers

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    Not exactly, a lot of conservatives are just totally fine with poor people dying.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GenesisNemesis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    Not exactly, a lot of conservatives are just totally fine with poor people dying.
    Ah, but are they also okay with the onset of renewable energy replacing coal, and a strong emphasis on pursuing higher education?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    Nope, sorry, I did not intend that.
    Add option e
    (e) other? What else? What do you think should happen to them?

    I genuinely do not know what others think should happen to them and I would like to know. I wonder if those are their answers, but I don't know, so I am asking. I added (e) to make that more clear.
    Add (f) - (zz) if you've got 'em.

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    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    "Straw man"? I've seen all of those points raised here.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

    Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich.

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you only accepting answers from people who agree with all points in the straw man you constructed in the top half of the post? Because this may be a short thread if so.
    Oh, wait, you are saying the TOP HALF is the straw man?
    I created this post because threads where people say exactly that have always made me wonder, "so what DO you think those people should do?"

    So yeah, I guess this is addressed at those who think there should be no minimum wage, or those who think the minimum wage should not rise with inflation, or those who say people should "just go to school" if they want better pay, or those who say, "those job were never meant to provide a living wage".

    If you've never thought something that sounds like you don't care about the resources or struggles of those advocating for progressive taxation, welfare, minimum wage increase or universal health care, then, indeed this question is not for you. Although I welcome your opinions, but, yeah, that's the position that I don't understand and I am trying to.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    I guess it just seems like a weird mish-mash of conservative/liberal talking points, to me. Most people are not out to "kill the poor" by any and every means possible, I don't think. Like, I can understand the need for a conversation about how a transition from coal to wind power will affect the job market. But that to me is not the same conversation as what to do about nuclear power, or what the role of automation should be in manufacturing. I'm not sure how to respond to the OP meaningfully without writing a monster paragraph on each of the issues raised.

    And then it ends on this seeming accusation that anyone who advocates any of the above wants poor people to die, or at least does not care whether they do or not. And I do not think that is true. Most everyone I meet thinks that they are the champions of the working class, somehow or other. Is there anyone who doesn't think their paradigm is, in and of itself, the best of limited options and the option that will ultimately benefit everyone?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Good question, Rhea! A good question without easy answers.

    At some point the best option will be to follow some variation of Andrew Wang's proposal: basic income for everyone. Many developed countries already have a "safety net" much better than the U.S.'s: at least children are taken care of without wresting them from their parents. Many developing countries have non-government safety nets, e.g. free food and shelter in temples.

    At some point, society may need to re-calibrate what its real needs and wants are. Do we really need to eat so much beef? Is our frantic automobile-crazed life-style necessary? Do we really need to encourage an unsustainably high population? Mixing metaphors I worry that the human species — much like the apocryphal lemmings which race off a cliff — may have "painted itself into a corner."


    Simple solutions like minimum wage hikes may be misdirected; it would be much better to focus attention on affordable healthcare, childcare and education. Wage hikes do NOT help the unemployed. As wages increase, unskilled workers will face increased price competition from robots and from workers in low-wage countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    ... There are a lot of discussions about how mega wealth is okay because they "did something" that made them deserve to reap benefits on the labors of people who are not paid enough to live decently.
    ...
    There are plenty of steps that should be taken to reduce income inequality. "Right-to-work" laws should be repealed. Tax codes should be made more progressive. Regulations to curb pollution and to improve consumer and employee safety should be strengthened.

    But the meme that great wealth is built by exploiting cheap labor is, at best, misleading; pushing this false meme just helps right-wing propagandists. Drug companies make huge profits — are their employees mistreated? Are Microsoft employees not paid enough to live decently? — I thought people were usually delighted to get a job at a company like that. Who has Warren Buffett exploited? How about Elon Musk? Unless I am mistaken, many of the companies that will be hardest hit by minimum wage hikes are tiny businesses where the owners themselves are barely making ends meet.

    Of course we need to increase taxes on corporations and rich individuals. But progressives need to focus their message on helping many millions of Americans, and NOT on "punishing" the rich.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Why can't we eat them? I say shut off all unearned benefits and aid to persons who are unable to support themselves. Balance this out with massive inheritance taxation to pay for the new program enforcement. This way even the wealthy and privileged will have to earn their keep no matter how wealthy their parents. Fair is fair.

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