Future resolution of division in US society?

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chownah
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by chownah »

The discussion about people being equal with respect to division in the US society seems to be off the mark to me. I think that the american idea of all people being equal is meant to apply in the realms of "in the sight of god" all people are equal and "under the law" all people are equal.

In general people who are more smart have always dominated people who are less smart. This is not a deep truth....it is not a hidden truth....it seems odd that there is discussion as if there was someone here who did not recognize this. Even the way vast majority of liberals recognize......
chownah
Justsit
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Justsit »

I think you misinterpreted my statement, No Mind. I meant that it is extremely difficult for anyone who is not already wealthy to get elected to the Presidency or US Senate, not that it is or should be a prerequisite to have those positions.

Personally, I don't care what level of society a candidate comes from or how wealthy they are, as long as they exhibit the qualities of an effective leader: intelligence, honesty, integrity, confidence, compassion, flexibility, etc.

"...neither is a million a large sum." Compared to what? The median household, not individual, income in the US in 2015 was $56,516. That means half of all American households live on less than that amount. Median wage in 2015 was
$28,851. In 2015, 13.5% (43.1 million) Americans lived in poverty. Sixty-six million Americans have NO savings; 47 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover even a $400 expense without borrowing money or selling something.

The bottom 80% of Americans have just 7% of the nation's wealth:
Image

The top 1% own 40% of the country's wealth:
Image

Graphs from here: http://www.businessinsider.com/inequali ... ink-2015-6
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No_Mind
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by No_Mind »

Justsit wrote: A person must be wealthy to be elected to the Presidency or the US Senate; in the House of Reps, not as much, but reps have less power. Wealthy investors run the stock market, and wealthy CEO's run the corporations Together, these are the major players in economic decision making, and together they stack the deck in their own favor. Over the past 35 years or so, the middle class has slowly been eviscerated by the plutocracy.

Wealth may be the result of high IQ, but not necessarily. Often the money is inherited, or comes via huge corporate bonuses, or from financial investments (i.e., unearned income). Right now in the US, you can have a whopping high IQ and an impressive resume and still not be able to find a job due to age, sex, gender, etc.

Basically, IQ only measures problem solving ability in a test environment. Many people with high IQ never have financial success, and many people with moderate intellect achieve lasting greatness. Other factors including ambition, persistence, opportunity, the ability to think clearly — even luck - play a part in "rising to the top."

I think US democracy will disintegrate from greed as the wealthy decision makers wield immense power and those left behind compete to survive on the dregs. We have met the enemy, and he is us.
Not that I am targeting your post Justsit but I want to present both sides of the argument.

Mary Barra current CEO of GM was born to a die maker who worked at Pontiac; Jack Welch the legendary ex-CEO of General Electric was son of a train conductor; Lloyd Blankfein current CEO of Goldman Sachs is son of a postal clerk; Larry Ellison the Executive Chairman of Oracle was raised by his aunt ..

The list of CEOs from lower middle class background is endless.

If one grudges CEOs high salary .. understand that they devote their life predicting a very difficult world while maximising share holder returns.

Anyone who doubts the ability of a CEO should first buy lemons, make lemonade, sell it and try to turn a profit by end of the day while predicting accurately how their living room would look after 10 years.

Only then would one appreciate the difficulty of running a $100 billion global conglomerate making eighty different products in 23 different countries, manoeuvring through difficult tax laws and trade laws, and at same time envisioning where the company would be in 10 years.

Most CEOs are not really paid very much .. Mary Barra (GM) receives $28 million, Jeffrey R. Immelt (GE) receives $26 million, Satya Nadella (Microsoft) $17.7 million, Sundar Pichai (Google) receives $50 million. When you consider the complexity of their work .. it is not really very large sum.

Sandra Bullock earned $20 million for her role in Gravity. Running GM must be harder than that.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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No_Mind
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by No_Mind »

Justsit wrote:I think you misinterpreted my statement, No Mind. I meant that it is extremely difficult for anyone who is not already wealthy to get elected to the Presidency or US Senate, not that it is or should be a prerequisite to have those positions.

Personally, I don't care what level of society a candidate comes from or how wealthy they are, as long as they exhibit the qualities of an effective leader: intelligence, honesty, integrity, confidence, compassion, flexibility, etc.

"...neither is a million a large sum." Compared to what? The median household, not individual, income in the US in 2015 was $56,516. That means half of all American households live on less than that amount. Median wage in 2015 was
$28,851. In 2015, 13.5% (43.1 million) Americans lived in poverty. Sixty-six million Americans have NO savings; 47 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover even a $400 expense without borrowing money or selling something.
Obama was not wealthy when he was elected to Illinois Senate. Clinton was not wealthy when he became Governor of Arkansas.

Sen Bernie Sanders has net worth of $160,000, Sen Mike Lee has net worth of $120,000, Sen Lindsay Graham has net worth of $90,000. Many are in fact deep in debt as the following shows --

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter ... s-united-/

Rep Paul David Tonko has net worth of $8,000, Rep Donna Edwards has net worth of $4,000, Rep Corrine Brown has net worth of $3,500 .. I can go on

The median argument is pointless when it comes to economy. Central tendency is defective measure of most economic data. Statisticians say that temperature at the anus is perfect 99.6° F when a person has their feet in an oven and head in a freezer.

Median IQ in USA is 98 and UK is 100. But do you carefully read posts which are written by those with median IQ? Or do you spend more time reading posts written by Ven. Dhammanando or ancientbuddhism?

Importance of the median and perceived evil in skewness from it is way overhyped. 2% Brahmins will always rule the other 98% below them. That is the way the world is.

Edit Add

this is a mail I wrote to a friend few years back --
I really admire Dr Manilal Bhoumik, a fellow Bengali. Born in 1931 he came from an impoverished village in Midnapore, Bengal. To provide him enough food his grandmother died (in 1942 Great Bengal Famine) from starvation. He joined Scottish Church College in Calcutta and graduated in physics in 1948 scoring 90% our equivalent of a A+ or A++ .. his score remains unbroken to this day (it was in Calcutta that he bought his first sandals .. till then he had been walking around barefoot). He did his M.Sc at Calcutta University under guidance of Dr Satyen Bose (of Higgs-Boson fame and creator of the Bose–Einstein statistics). He completed his Phd in quantum physics from the Kharagpur IIT (India's MIT) which had just opened. Receiving a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 1959 Bhaumik went to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for post doctoral studies.

He first worked at Xerox and then at Northrop Corporate Research Laboratory where he became director of the Laser Technology Laboratory. He is credited with being developer of excimer laser used in eye surgery. His contributions to the development of new and high power lasers merited his election by his peers to be a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Subsequently he turned to the stock market and real estate and made himself into a very rich man by the time he was 50. He lives in a plush Bel Air mansion and has set up several charities to help poor and needy students. In 2016 he gifted $11 million to UCLA for setting up Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics (the last sentence was not in my mail but an addition)
Every time I blame my circumstances for being an everyman; every time someone in the West complains of how low median income is and how they are discriminated against .. my thoughts turn to this man and his achievements. If he could but we could not .. then surely the fault lies with us and not the economy and society. At least we have enough income to consume 1,500 calories of nutritious food and buy a shoe .. something this man did not have while growing up .. but nothing ever deterred him from being the best he could be.


:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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mikenz66
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by mikenz66 »

Justsit wrote: "...neither is a million a large sum." Compared to what? The median household, not individual, income in the US in 2015 was $56,516. That means half of all American households live on less than that amount. Median wage in 2015 was
$28,851. In 2015, 13.5% (43.1 million) Americans lived in poverty. Sixty-six million Americans have NO savings; 47 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover even a $400 expense without borrowing money or selling something.
I commented on minimum wages over here: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 04#p419604

The NZ median wage is 32,000 USD, which is a little above the US number.
In comparison, the US GDP is 50% larger.

:heart:
Mike
Alexander____
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Alexander____ »

There is a suggestion in research that the environmental factors of poverty itself can contribute to low IQ:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976
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Mr Man
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Mr Man »

David N. Snyder wrote:
The Buddha wrote:"Birth makes no Brahmin, nor non-Brahmin, makes; it is life's doing that mold the Brahmin true. Their lives mold farmers, tradesmen, merchants, and serfs. Their lives mold robbers, soldiers, chaplains, and kings. By birth is not one an out-caste. By birth is not one a Brahmin. By deeds is one an out-caste. By deeds is one a Brahmin."
(Majjhima Nikaya 98, Vasettha Sutta 57-59)


Note especially the last 2 sentences:

By deeds is one an out-caste. By deeds is one a Brahmin

So there will be varying levels of attainment, varying levels of qualities among humans, but based on deeds, merit. All levels, high or low available to all, based on deeds, merit.
The Sutta offers a contrasting view to the actuality of the society at that time and is an exhortation, not an explanation (of the society).

The reality of society as it is (in the US), is that future position is largely determined by birth. Social mobility is declining and income inequality is increasing. In my opinion the cause for this is structural and not because of "different and varying temperaments, abilities and qualities", which do of course exist.
Phena
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Phena »

No_Mind wrote:Note iii -- in hushed voices we sometimes discuss in our drawing rooms if universal suffrage should be withdrawn in India and replaced by an electorate which has received minimum education .. at very least a high school diploma with good grades.
Regardless of whether the educated or uneducated have the vote, the whole political system is dominated by corporate interests. Democracy is just an comforting illusion for those not paying attention. Politicians answer to their corporate masters. Nowhere is this more evident than in the US, where until recently it was corporate rule by proxy, but now with Trump and his cabinet this step has been removed.
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Phena »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Mr Man wrote: Did you mean the whole of No_Mind's post or just the bit you quoted when you say
David N. Snyder wrote:"what you wrote appears to be completely compatible with the Buddha's teachings"
Do you believe that all "men" have equal rights and that everyone is free to climb to the top? Did the Buddha teach that in relation to society?
Sure.
The Buddha wrote:"The wise and virtuous shine like a blazing fire. He who acquires his wealth in harmless ways like to a bee that honey gathers, riches mount up for him like ant hill's rapid growth. With wealth acquired this way, a layman fit for household life, in portions four divides his wealth: thus will he friendship win. One portion for his wants he uses, two portions on his business spends, the fourth for times of need he keeps."
(Digha Nikaya 31)
Unfortunately the wise and the virtuous are in the minority here in regards to wealth. And on the whole it is the unwise, unvirtuous and greedy who have accumulated power and wealth, and they aren't being at all generous with it; hence the growing disparity of wealth worldwide.
Phena
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Phena »

Mr Man wrote: Not sure if that is the case amongst posters to this forum. The Admin team certainly leans heavily to the right, in my opinion (not 100% though ;) ).
I wondered if anyone else had noticed this bias. There is of course still Mike, now that tilt has departed.
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No_Mind
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by No_Mind »

Phena wrote: Regardless of whether the educated or uneducated have the vote, the whole political system is dominated by corporate interests.
What is the evidence that the political system is dominated by corporate interests? Do politicians receive bribe from corporates .. yes .. but do they govern exclusively for corporates? No ..

If corporates were that powerful then no tort suit would ever have succeeded.

The point I am trying to make .. from 12,000 miles away so my vision maybe blurred .. what is the evidence that big business has Washington in its back pocket? Corporations try and avoid tax. Besides that what shenanigans do they regularly involve themselves in? Maybe a leaking oil pipeline here and there, a nasty HMO or two, few factories being sneaky and discharging untreated industrial waste in the river .. and so on

How is poverty in USA related to what corporations do? It is counter intuitive. Corporations would like Americans to be wealthier so that they can buy more.

You make it sound as if USA is a place where the wealthy systematically oppresses the poor. There is no evidence to back that up and if you have evidence I would like to hear of it (real evidence not a sound byte from a left leaning activist).

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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No_Mind
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

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Phena wrote: Unfortunately the wise and the virtuous are in the minority here in regards to wealth. And on the whole it is the unwise, unvirtuous and greedy who have accumulated power and wealth, and they aren't being at all generous with it; hence the growing disparity of wealth worldwide.
Let us assume you have an idea .. a great idea. You accumulate $100,000 from family and friends to bring that idea to market. You work 16 hours a day for 6 years. You are successful and a decade later you are worth $400 million.

It was your idea that led to your wealth. Does not mean you should pay the clerk in your office more than a shabby, loss making business would. Because you had an idea your are the engine of the world. The clerk is replaceable. There is no need to be generous with him. If he left his job ten thousand more would instantly fill his place. You are irreplaceable so you are worth $400 million; his talents are worth $40,000 in the market place.

At most it can be expected that you will pay your taxes and donate some of your wealth to charity. Making and keeping wealth is not unwise, unvirtuous and greedy (it is exactly on this point that I cannot agree with Western Buddhists ..)

All human beings are not equal. The minimum wage and median income and all of that is what the market decides it to be, not what few corporations decide it to be. Economy is too large a force to be run on whims and fancies of a few. It is very much like the weather and finds its own stasis.

If labour was in short supply, wage would rise. No corporation wields the power to prevent it.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by Justsit »

No_Mind wrote:How is poverty in USA related to what corporations do? It is counter intuitive. Corporations would like Americans to be wealthier so that they can buy more.

You make it sound as if USA is a place where the wealthy systematically oppresses the poor. There is no evidence to back that up and if you have evidence I would like to hear of it (real evidence not a sound byte from a left leaning activist).
From 12,000 miles away, apparently you cannot see how the wealthy do indeed systematically oppress the poor. Where do you get the idea that they don't??? Exactly what evidence do you want?

Re:Washington in their back pockets - ever heard of PAC's? Lobbyists? Good ole boy networks? The Koch brothers? Collusion?

The modern US corporation cares about nothing but profit; their only loyalty is to the almighty dollar. And they certainly don't give a flying you-know-what if Americans are wealthier - they'll take their business elsewhere if needed.

I don't have time to convince you of something that is perfectly obvious from this vantage point. The evidence is readily available, do your own research - and be sure not to just look at sound bytes from right leaning activists. :smile:
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No_Mind
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by No_Mind »

Justsit wrote: Re:Washington in their back pockets - ever heard of PAC's? Lobbyists? Good ole boy networks? The Koch brothers? Collusion?

The modern US corporation cares about nothing but profit; their only loyalty is to the almighty dollar. And they certainly don't give a flying you-know-what if Americans are wealthier - they'll take their business elsewhere if needed.

I don't have time to convince you of something that is perfectly obvious from this vantage point. The evidence is readily available, do your own research - and be sure not to just look at sound bytes from right leaning activists. :smile:
All of which .. lobbying / caring for profit / taking business elsewhere if needed, is exactly why that CEO is paid :?

Let us say the top 500 companies in USA succeeded in convincing their shareholders to wind up the company (liquidate it .. not take it elsewhere). Can you imagine what would happen? The poor will be poorer. It would end civilisation as you know it. No power, no internet, the shelves empty, no jobs, no cars, no gasoline.

Is it in our interest that businesses thrive based on profit motive .. yes, yes and yes.

You have never lived in a de-industralized economy. I have for the first 2.5 decades of my life. I know what it is .. what it feels like to drive around in an ancient Morris Oxford .. and I know how important capitalism is to economic health of a country. I have not benefited due to my own peculiar proclivities but millions around me have a better, healthier and more comfortable life today than before. We consider our wealthy to be rockstars of our country.

Point is .. do you (not you personally) have freedom to belong to that club you speak of? Absolutely. Anyone is allowed in -- from son of a postal worker to daughter of a die maker.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
chownah
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Re: Future resolution of division in US society?

Post by chownah »

No_Mind wrote:
Point is .. do you (not you personally) have freedom to belong to that club you speak of? Absolutely. Anyone is allowed in -- from son of a postal worker to daughter of a die maker.
Yes, many americans believe that america is exceptional because any child born there has the posibility of growing up to be a rich and greedy horses ass. This does not mean that it is ok for those horses asses to run the gov't....which they do....
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