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How do you reconcile?

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Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
12-Oct-2020 12:37 Message #4794926
How do you reconcile your belief in capitalism and the attachment to money and wealth (assuming it can be described as a belief) with the idea of equality and caring for others? is it a crap or stupid question? Bearing in mind, with capitalism people will die if they have insufficent means to pay for things.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
12-Oct-2020 12:47 Message #4794927
I never understand what people mean when they say equality, do you mean we all have the same amount of money?
All jobs pay exactly the same?
Do you mean we abolish rich people (whatever they are) and any money a person makes has to be shared out amongst everybody else so we all have the same?

People die no matter how much they've got.....
Male
persona_non_grata  Male  North London
12-Oct-2020 13:33 Message #4794929
Capitalism is not a dirty word. Some like to pretend it is as it suits their argument. Capitalism can easily benefit everyone even if it is unlikely to do so in equal amounts. That doesn't bother me because I want to live a comfortable life with no money worries but I definitely don't want to be a billionaire so that earning money, investing and saving all become meaningless and the purchase of a much desired car, watch or painting no longer has any appeal because I could buy a dozen of each.

Capitalists can care for others as much as socialists and might have the finance to actually make a better job of it. Capitalism can provide the finance and facilities that keep poorer people alive. I cannot understand the reasoning of the rich/poor and left/right as if one is all good and the other is all bad.

I grew up in extreme poverty and have since had several changes of fortune. When I was cycling with a tent for a free holiday in a field I wasn't any different as a person to when I was taxied around and staying in a nice hotel. Money doesn't change you but greed does. When I had money I had opportunities to help others. Business associates I've known throughout my life have not all been greedy capitalists just hard working people who have expanded and taken on staff and in most cases done as much as reasonably possible to look after their staff. There are two sides to that coin as I found out when I first employed staff and I wanted to give them a lot more than I, or the business, could afford but you always try to be fair.

Greed is the dirty word.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 13:57 Message #4794935
"Bearing in mind, with capitalism people will die if they have insufficient means to pay for things."

Most developed nations (and many others) operate under a capitalist system - but also have a welfare system too.

In UK the poorest citizens are provided with a basic level of shelter and food - though most benefits are now paid direct to claimants who are obvs expected to use the monies for their intended purpose.

If we retain the right of welfare claimants to choose how the spend that money - we have to accept that some will do so unwisely and that may have dire consequences.

To entirely remove such risks would maybe need a system where the unwise spenders were confined to some kind of camp (like asylum seekers) and housed /fed in barracks style accommodation.

In terms of personal freedoms it seems to link with the thread a few months back around whether people should be allowed to use the NHS if they have a poor lifestyle or whether they should be subject to some constraints.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
12-Oct-2020 14:40 Message #4794939
Here you go terry, this is how caring and capitalism work side by side..

Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Recruiter The Trussell Trust
Location London, Salisbury or from home
Salary c. £62,000
Posted 16 Sep 2020
Closing date 12 Oct 2020...
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
12-Oct-2020 15:23 Message #4794940
Hierophant,

Ah, that is interesting. I liked your earlier post as your question would have been good for the title of a thread, but your question kind of highlights what you fear about equality.

I imagine we all have our own idea of what we expect from the term equality in the political sense, so my idea (or aspirations) might be different from people like Maglorian or Michaelt (with who you often associate me with - another assumption).

But I don't think Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Recruiter The Trussell Trust, Salary c. £62,000 is in my inequality definition at all. I don't begrudge that person a penny. It is reasonable they will have earned* it realistically, through getting higher level qualification and experience and £62,000 is 30% less than many GP's get.

Inequality in my opinion, comes more from the have nots and were minimum pay or benefits does not allow a decent quality of living where decent is having a home you are not afraid to get kicked out of, where you can go to the cinema once a month, and be able to afford a pair of shoes if you need them, without having to choose between heating and eating.

It is extreme inequalities that we mainly have in the UK where as mentioned a few times, the wealthy (do not) *earn
themselves to become billionaires, often on the back of people they employ being kept below minimum wage, and like instances at Sports Direct, where workers were unable to get to the toilet or stay off sick to the point one employee struggled so long she gave birth in the toilet.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sports-direct-worker-gave-birth-8131408

Unfortunately, capitalism if left to run riot, is like a black hole where once a business gains momentum, they don't have any morality to stop. Money and profit becomes a priority over and above those that actually earn the income, those employees.

So instead of passing some of the gains to employees, they stack up the cash and buy out other companies, strip them to minimum of their assets, then stash the money into the pockets of investors and shareholders at the expense of those getting health conditions working their backs out making sausages on the production line.

The world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population..
https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/worlds-billionaires-have-more-wealth-46-billion-people

So as a socialist, my aspiration is to redistribute the balance so that the billionaires have more social responsibility, now they have made good, to pay tax to bring up the standards of those not so lucky. I'd also like to see more money in the system to really help people work, even providing jobs in community that doesn't produce goods, but services, including promotions of healthier environments, less litter, for all of us to enjoy.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 16:35 Message #4794944
"Inequality in my opinion, comes more from the have nots and where minimum pay or benefits does not allow a decent quality of living where decent is having a home you are not afraid to get kicked out of, where you can go to the cinema once a month, and be able to afford a pair of shoes if you need them, without having to choose between heating and eating."

There has to be some element where the welfare system does not incentivise households away from working - as otherwise we have a high level UBI ushered in by the back door.

I earlier mentioned the example of the 60 yr single Londoner guy in the Job Centre TV documentary - who was after 10 yrs on benefits forced to take a job cleaning trains full time on min wage for 37.5 hrs weekly. After stoppages from his wages he was left with only £30 a week extra compared to his former tax free benefits (mainly housing benefit for his London housing costs). We could argue that a net extra 80 pence an hr for working is insufficient incentive to look for work - and I am sure that guy was bright enough to work that out 10 yrs ago. That said the UK min wage has more than doubled over past 20 yrs whilst anyone over 50 will have to take pretty much whatever low paid job is offered if they want to escape a life on benefits.

Another big anomaly arises from the fairly recent intro of OBC (Overall Benefit Cap) which in London for a workless working age family claimant is capped at £23k pa and elsewhere at £20k pa - and a lot less for childless couples/singletons.

OBC can act as a strong incentive for at least one family member to at least seek a part time min wage job - not for the extra net earnings - but simply and crucially to get that OBC cap removed from the household.

For example in central London a larger working family which is entitled to a 4 bed property can claim over £30,000 pa just in LHA to cover the rent - but if nobody in the family is working they are capped at over £7000 pa less. In effect a part time job for say 20 hrs a week nets them the min wage total of £174.40 weekly plus a weekly top up of £134.61 by removal of OBC cap. In effect that solitary part time worker is netting say £15.45 hr - almost double the min wage.

So the family has a major incentive to work - but the single man/woman almost nil.

Obvs the family example could not be living in London in a 4 bed property without being able to pay the full rent so would be forced to downsize locally or vacate London/SE altogether.

We could argue that for the single person both min wage and Tax/NI thresholds are too low - though both Tax/NI thresholds have seen significant and unusual uplift in recent years.

Converse applies for the larger family example where it would indeed pay one of them to work for almost nothing to get OBC removed for the household. That situation easily avails workers willing to pick up litter etc.

It would challenge the most socialist Chancellor to balance those two opposing strands in society - ie paying workers a properly decent wage - whilst not having benefits at such a high level as to prompt the bulk of workers to look for some excuse not to work. We also need to ensure there is still some profit potential for the circa 4.5 million SMEs who employ most UK workers - and if wages rise too high that incentive is obvs reduced - perhaps to the point where there is no longer any point in keeping the business going.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
12-Oct-2020 16:54 Message #4794946
"but your question kind of highlights what you fear about equality."

How bloody dare you Lyn!!!
I'm not one of your despised billionaires thank you very much. In fact I would venture you're wealthier than I am so don't start assuming stuff about me and accusing me of being scared of equality.
If anything you should give me some of your wealth from years of cossetted public service, you know to even things up a bit.
I know what it's like to have fuck all, so take your assumptions and stick them where the sun doesn't shine!...
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
12-Oct-2020 17:21 Message #4794949
Hierophant,

It is clear that you read more into a comment than there actually is written, and then strike out at someone where you assumption is wrong.

We are not comparing personal wealth, the question is to do with capitalism, which associates with wealth of the few at the expense of the many, but we are getting nearer and closer to more billionaires and more poverty of those left.

What is astounding, is you are and have been aware what it feels like to have nothing, but seem quite happy to impose that on others thought condoning increasing differential of incomes. You have said before you had been failed by the system so I know you are unlikely to be that rich.

I won't swear at you though, for getting it so wrong.
Female
Andromeda  Female  Berkshire
12-Oct-2020 17:39 Message #4794951
We all need millionaires and billionaires to maintain our very existence unless we envisage ourselves and everyone else with no money and no possessions sharing a life of squalor by today's standards living in self assembled huts and only having the land to work on.
The wealthy are the ones paying almost all of the taxes which provide our benefits and money for education, policing, local authorities and much more. They are also the ones with companies which give employment to their own staff and in turn often keep dozens of smaller companies in existence. I was driving down the road recently in quite a nice area and looking at the gardeners, painters builders all doing work for those with enough money to pay.

That is not to say that I wouldn't like to see more wealth filtered down to those at the bottom and nobody should be fully employed and still have to struggle.

I don't believe we are getting more billionaires as at last I think even the wealthy are feeling the pinch for a multitude of reasons. I don't believe we are getting more poverty either although I do think that the expectations of the poor can give that impression.

Away from the political rhetoric much loved by many I see the real gap between rich and poor narrowing significantly. It is when the extremely rich billionaires are compared to the homeless and unemployed that the gap seems to be a lot less fair than it actually is.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 17:55 Message #4794954
Plus if we take a hypothetical example of one billionaire who has exactly £1 billion sat in cash in the bank - if we redistribute that equally across the circa 28 million UK households they would each receive a one off sum of around £36 - though there may well be better uses in society for such largesse.
Male
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire
12-Oct-2020 18:06 Message #4794956
There's a billionaire pledge that's been around for quite a few years now......I've always been a bit sceptical of it though....

I'm not sure what the current state of play is......but it was started by Bill Gates.....and billionaires pledge to give at least half of their billions away when they die.....

The trouble is.....I don't think it's been really tested yet......I don't think Steve Jobs was signed up.....

My scepticism thinks that they are getting publicity for signing up.....and people think 'That's really nice of them'.....and in the meantime....their business grows.....which could actually be good for when the handing over happens....

I think they started out with 40.......and when I last looked it was hundreds of them signed up.....
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 18:46 Message #4794957
Irrespective of that billionaire pledge - death duties will likely take close to half.

Most UK households do not need to worry about paying 40% of the excess over £325k on their Estate (higher thresholds apply with a surviving spouse or property left directly to kids etc etc ) but those with substantial assets have to work quite hard to escape duties.

USA has higher IHT threshold at around $11.4 million for singles and twice that for married couples and a 40% rate on excess - but several States also have local taxes too.
Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
12-Oct-2020 18:49 Message #4794958
I see equality as people having equality of opportunities, that it shouldn't matter your background, your sexual orrientation, your gender, your skin colour, place of birth or whethr you identify as male, female or both or neither. Those things shouldn't make a difference to how and where you learn or how youre able to contribute to society.

I think we could do with a few less billionaires and more equal spread of wealth so as no one has to fear not having anywhere to live, or eat or to clothe themselves and their families. I'm not against billionaires, but I am against greed and that includes those who get rich on the backs of others, that includes not paying enough tax and trying to get out of paying minimum wage let alone a decent salary.

For to many people the safety net has gaping holes in it, people are in the position of having to choose between heating and eating, even when they're doing all the "right things".

But I fear this thread is going to turn into another benefit bashing and bullying one rather than any attempt to answer Terry's question honestly, that would be a terrible shame.

Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 19:45 Message #4794962
"How many billionaires live in the UK?
The number of billionaires living in the UK has risen to more than 100 for the first time, according to the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List. There are now 104 billionaires based in the UK with a combined wealth of more than £301bn, the list says."

Spread that £301 billion around circa 68 million UK population and it gives each person a "one off" sum of around £4500 which is not gonna change anyone's life esp if spread across an average lifespan.

Last time I checked the top and bottom quintiles by household earned income had around a 15 fold disparity top v bottom - but when the effects of Taxes and Benefits were factored in the disparity fell to 4 fold - showing the substantial redistribution which takes place within the system.

As I flagged above the UK min wage has more than doubled in past 20 yrs whilst the average wage is up only around 30% so the gap is narrowing. Increasing the average wage only helps those who have jobs - whilst lots of people are too old/disabled to work.

With over half of UK households being net takers from the Tax/Welfare system - it follows that whilst we retain the 63% benefit taper applied to net extra earnings - any wage increase will see an effective marginal tax rate of 74.84% - until all entitlement to benefits ceases.

For many low paid part time workers (8 million work part time in UK - 25% of the workforce) it could well be that extra hrs worked can mean a drop in household income when extra costs of commute/childcare etc are factored in - alongside the benefit taper.

In conclusion it is impossible to look at how we improve UK living standards without looking carefully at how both the Tax/Benefits systems operate.

If we had say one rich household for every poor household it would be pretty simple just to split the net worth equally - job done.

Truth is of course that for every rich household there are hundreds of thousands of poorish households - so any respreading of wealth gets severely diluted.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
12-Oct-2020 19:48 Message #4794963
So you forcibly take a billionaires money from them?
Who decides how much you leave them with?
What about millionaires, Paul McCartney is worth about £700 million, he doesn't need all that, would you take it from him?
JK Rowling is worth more probably but doesn't really employ people, she has created her wealth basically alone from her writing talent.
Or do you view creative wealth as different to business wealth, more acceptable perhaps?....
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 20:17 Message #4794966
The respreading was a hypothesis to illustrate the relative futility thereof insofar as nobody gets anything remotely life changing in UK.
Male
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia
12-Oct-2020 20:46 Message #4794967
Well it's not a gotcha question is it?
People say billionaires should share their wealth, it sounds simple but how do you make it happen?
Obviously the tax system plays a part, but is it fair to tax a wealthy person say 90% or something similar? Is it fair to take wealth from a person who may have started from nothing and built a business empire or a singer/writer who has sold millions of records or books purely because of their talent?....
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
12-Oct-2020 21:02 Message #4794969
It's far from simple to make that respreading happen - not until we have a unitary planet wide tax system - assuming such a proposal was even tabled.

Even if it was made to happen - ensuring that such a respread remained static would mandate massive ongoing state interventions in to personal freedoms.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
12-Oct-2020 21:31 Message #4794973
WH,

I see equality as people having equality of opportunities, that it shouldn't matter your background, your sexual orrientation, your gender, your skin colour, place of birth or whethr you identify as male, female or both or neither. Those things shouldn't make a difference to how and where you learn or how youre able to contribute to society.

My sister always advocated that view similarly, by saying we all start from the same point, until her youngest child, her long waited son, 6 A star grade A levels, fell apart around age 23 and then started having epileptic attacks, getting sacked, and now on benefits. Except though my sister doesn't see herself as well off, her husband, a retired police inspecter had their mortgage subsidised in the 60's and they own two houses and effectively pay their son's mortgage. They are terrified of his future as they are in their 80's now.

Why I am telling you this?
A recent book I completed supports my view.
"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.
Part of the synopsis -
Why do some people achieve so much more than others?
He shows that success is more surprising and fascinating than ever imagined as it is more about where we are from, what we do, and they even a genius doesn't make it alone.

It turns out, a lot is due to luck as much as hard work, and many hard workers don't become successful, and that a lot is being in the right place at the right time.
Female
NoSaint  Female  Devon
12-Oct-2020 21:41 Message #4794974
It turns out, a lot is due to luck as much as hard work, and many hard workers don't become successful, and that a lot is being in the right place at the right time.

I have always believed this.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
12-Oct-2020 21:53 Message #4794975
Found this website that compares tax in relation to income in different countries.
https://www.uktaxcalculators.co.uk/world/tax/compare/united-kingdom/against/france/
I picked France to try it.

£30,000 pa in France you pay 2.7% less
£130,000 pa in France you pay 4.6% less
£300,000 pa In France you pay 1% more
£1m pa in France you pay 5.5% more

so at around £250,000 is where the change happens.

so at 250K in Italy is 3.3% more
But Switzerland is 18% less. (Known for hiding great sums from tax in other countries)
but
In 2014, Swiss voters rejected a proposal to introduce what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world at CHF 22 per hour. Just over three-quarters of voters were against the legislation.

While some campaigners were concerned about rising costs for employers, many argued that a minimum wage in Switzerland would have little effect. The overwhelming majority of Swiss employees already earn a salary well in excess of the proposed minimum.

Despite rejecting a minimum wage in the national vote, the cantons of Jura and Neuchatel have minimum wage levels of CHF 20 per hour (which is £16 ish)

Come to your own conclusion.
Male
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire
13-Oct-2020 07:44 Message #4794991
Capitalists can care for others as much as socialists and might have the finance to actually make a better job of it. Capitalism can provide the finance and facilities that keep poorer people alive. I cannot understand the reasoning of the rich/poor and left/right as if one is all good and the other is all bad.

Exactly right. You are also right that greed is the dirty word.
Male
Pboro Trevor  Male  Cambridgeshire
13-Oct-2020 09:03 Message #4795002
People will also die, as they did in Russia, when the state could not provide everything

Trevor
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
13-Oct-2020 09:50 Message #4795009
Some interesting comments, though not sure they answer the question of how one reconciles their belief. For me, it's accepting this method we have is so ingrained we simply can't think of an alternative, that plus mankind is not a peaceful species, we are still after all this time of existence, a species of fighters for no other reason than we like to fight.
I think png summed up my thoughts, it's not wealth that is one of the problems, it's greed, and that shows in some people whether poor or rich. I could also expand the question and ask, is there a choice?

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