Economic inequality...

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

1. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
I
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?

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

3. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
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.

5. billvonValued Senior Member

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20,898
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.

?? 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.

7. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
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. billvonValued Senior Member

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20,898
See post above. "Now, if your goal is only crime reduction, great. I'm all for that."

9. psikeyhackrLive Long and SufferValued Senior Member

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1,213
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. wegsMatter and Pixie DustValued Senior Member

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8,813
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.

Last edited: Oct 6, 2022
11. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
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. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
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. psikeyhackrLive Long and SufferValued Senior Member

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1,213
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. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 14. SeattleValued Senior Member Messages: 8,277 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. SarkusHippomonstrosesquippedalo phobeValued Senior Member

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9,882
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. wegsMatter and Pixie DustValued Senior Member

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8,813
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.

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. SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,277
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.