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Self-made men, debunked


By Dan8267   Follow   Thu, 3 May 2012, 6:20am PDT   11,154 views   101 comments
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Heck, if you put any man in the middle of nowhere, Afghanistan, he will have trouble just surviving. He certainly won't be able to build a skyscraper, a computer, or an automobile without the help of other people. Well, not unless he's this guy. That guy is awesome.

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/30/self_made_men_debunked_salpart/

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CBOEtrader   Sun, 6 May 2012, 2:12am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 22

iwog says

TMAC54 says



The cost will certainly contribute to America's demise.


Every example in the world says you're wrong. Socializing health care makes it cheaper. Always.

That's crazy talk.

CBOEtrader   Sun, 6 May 2012, 2:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 23

Dan8267 says

If we forced, by law, that every person's take home income was equal to what they produce minus 10% for taxes and 10% for the employer's profits, we would all be vastly richer and our society more prosperous. Of course, there would be no billionaires, but at quarter of the populations would be millionaires and the 10th percentile would still be above the poverty line. And wouldn't that be a more opportunistic society?

I like the way you think, and I enjoy reading your posts...so I'm trying to sugar coat this...BUT...

Any economy that implemented what you suggested would devastate their production. It would be a stone-age economy within 6 months.

CBOEtrader   Sun, 6 May 2012, 2:41am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 24

Dan8267 says

Naturally, Fox News would viciously oppose my idea with every fiber of Fox's being.

Uh...so would any rational person.

Dan8267 says

Under my system the only way to make money is to produce wealth, not to control it with capital and/or politics

By definition, you can't have a command and control economy that isn't controlled via "politics."

Furthermore, economic decisions or "wealth", must either be controlled via economic interests or via political interests. There is no third option, though I'm willing to let you enlighten me.Dan8267 says

if and only if there are no parasites making their income off of other people's work, i.e., no executives, CEOs, speculators, etc.

Given proper regulation, these people aren't parasites. In fact, they serve a purpose, without which, no economy may funtion...unless you want to go back the stone age.

Dan8267 says

Naturally, that would put a lot of people in the "finance" industry out of work

There are a ton of legit criticisms of the way the finance industry works. However, you cant have civilization without a way to transfer capital efficiently.

Cro-magnum man had a larger brain than us AND was stronger. Why did we thrive, while they went extinct? We learned TRADE and DIVISION OF LABOR.

Without finance we would be extinct.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 3:38am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 25

CBOEtrader says

Any economy that implemented what you suggested would devastate their production. It would be a stone-age economy within 6 months.

I would think it would drastically increase real productivity and real GDP. Aren't people always arguing that everyone needs a profit motive to produce? Why should that only apply to the rich? Doesn't the middle class also need motivation to produce?

Think about all the wasted time at work because people are making the same crappy wage whether they work hard or do just enough not to get fired. Image how much more people would produce if they got to keep 80% of what they made and they knew that if they double their productivity, they'd double their income.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 3:39am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 26

CBOEtrader says

Furthermore, economic decisions or "wealth", must either be controlled via economic interests or via political interests. There is no third option, though I'm willing to let you enlighten me.

Software.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 3:42am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 27

CBOEtrader says

There are a ton of legit criticisms of the way the finance industry works. However, you cant have civilization without a way to transfer capital efficiently.

Transfer of capital could be done better without human beings, who have selfish motives, interfering with the process. Resource allocation should be a science, not an art performed by self-centered business men.

CBOEtrader says

Cro-magnum man had a larger brain than us AND was stronger. Why did we thrive, while they went extinct? We learned TRADE and DIVISION OF LABOR.

The removal of parasitic rent-seeking functions does not deteriorate trade or the division of labor. In fact, the removal of all rent-seeking functions and the streamlining of financial infrastructure would increase trade by reducing overhead including both waste and commissions.

Patrick   Sun, 6 May 2012, 5:19am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 28

It is often difficult to distinguish between parasitic rent-seeking and actual production. Is the capital gain on a passive investment in a growing company rent-seeking or productive behavior? It seems to have elements of both to me.

Also, how exactly do you measure the productivity of an office worker, so that he can claim 80% of it?

One distinction is clear to me though, thanks to Henry George: income from mere ownership of land is purely parasitic because no one created or maintained the land, while income from renting out a house on that land is actually productive, because the house required building and maintenance.

Patrick   Sun, 6 May 2012, 5:37am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 29

TMAC54 says

I am consistently disappointed by any agency that does not have to compete for it's earnings.

Health insurance companies do not have to compete for their earnings.

It's just pay or die, with your options limited to two or three identical insurers with identical premiums. They just pretend to compete.

And how would it limit your options in any way if you were granted another option: the option to buy into Medicare?

So you're saying getting a fourth option takes away from your freedom somehow?

CBOEtrader   Sun, 6 May 2012, 7:49am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 30

Dan8267 says

I would think it would drastically increase real productivity and real GDP.

The concept is valid. It's the implementation I had a problem with.

You suggested a forced 90% of productivity compensation to employees.

1)You would need an enormous bureaucracy to determine "production" and "compensation" per employee.

2)Human capital is only one aspect of a business. With the advent of technology and industrialization it is often a smaller part of the puzzle than other capital. The difference in the ratio of human capital to machinery or pure money capital is vastly different. You can't command and control % of "productivity" compensation per employee without devastating 95% of companies.

3)What company uses 90% human capital and only 10% machinery/technology/money? Sales perhaps? That's about it. Any high paying job is typically high-paying due to exactly the opposite ratio. My industry takes that to the extreme, where a group of a few hedge fund types might control $5 billion in capital-- however, every lawyer, corporate executive, and software engineer is the beneficiary of leveraging huge capital.

In short, you have to let the free market determine the cost and value of human capital.

I am reminded of Henry Ford, who famously paid his employees well above any other factory wages at the time. He was fabulously rewarded for this strategy, as were the employees-- but it was not, and could not happen via a command and control approach.

The free market will work miracles if you let it.

CBOEtrader   Sun, 6 May 2012, 7:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 31

Dan8267 says

Transfer of capital could be done better without human beings, who have selfish motives, interfering with the process. Resource allocation should be a science, not an art performed by self-centered business men

Sounds nice...but what does that mean?

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 8:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 32

Patrick says

It is often difficult to distinguish between parasitic rent-seeking and actual production.

True, and that is where the difficulty in implementing a rent-free society lies. At this point, I can only advocate studying the idea not a specific implementation.

However, I have found that if an idea is pursued, society has a way of generating and refining solutions to even the most difficult problems.

Patrick says

Also, how exactly do you measure the productivity of an office worker, so that he can claim 80% of it?

Yep, business has to be turned into an objective, engineering discipline. So far, we've only been taking the approach of turning engineering into a business.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 8:57am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 33

CBOEtrader says

t's the implementation I had a problem with.

Yeah, because I don't have an implementation yet, just an idea. The next question is how to implement such a society. I think it will take many changes big and small. I have a few ideas on what some of those changes are, but not all of them.

For example, I think we need to move away from hierarchical power structures including corporations and towards a peer-to-peer power and distribution architecture. I.e., no CEOs or executives, just workers producing some function. Each node performs a specific function and services all other nodes on the network. Compensation flows as a function of how much a service is used. Any service can be replicated in multiple nodes for competition.

In such a network, there is no root, no headquarters, no board of directors. Direction is given entirely by market demands. No hierarchies and as such, no opportunity to steal production from other nodes. Individual nodes have no power, but ad-hoc networks of nodes can produce great things.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 8:58am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 34

Patrick says

It's just pay or die, with your options limited to two or three identical insurers with identical premiums. They just pretend to compete.

All oligopolies behave this way. In function, oligopolies differ in no ways from monopolies.

Dan8267   Sun, 6 May 2012, 9:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 35

CBOEtrader says

Sounds nice...but what does that mean?

The history of mankind could be viewed as subjects and disciplines moving from the arts to the sciences. This happened first with math, then physics, then chemistry, then biology, then ecology. Continuing this trend, one would expect government, economics, and social studies to make the transition next.

When a subject or discipline becomes a science or engineering field, it hardens. People stop talking about it in vague, unquantifiable terms and start talking in very specific, standard terminology. The subject becomes precise.

Of course, no one images that the subject could be a science. How could science possibly explain the creation of a baby, they'll say. But eventually it does with perfect precision.

nw888   Mon, 7 May 2012, 11:28pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 36

"All you well off business owners listen up. It's because of me you've become wealthy, because I pay for the infrastructure!!"

--Elmer Fudd middle class taxpayer who paid a total of $1437 in taxes last year and needs to take credit for people's success to compensate for his own feelings of failure.

ArtimusMaxtor   Mon, 7 May 2012, 11:34pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 37

I don't hate Democracy. I just wonder why there is only Democracy, Socialism, Communism and dictatorship. I guess there are a few small others. It makes me think they can't count past 4 and come up with anything else. I think they are all bullshit. When fucking France has the same monetary system based on loans and lending. WTF is the difference. For fucking freedom fighters. This peoples sure loves the debt cage. Don't live a fucking childs fantasy. Because Monday morning comes and so does the end of the month and reality. So you play the game. The people that are "really" at the top. Are laughing at your people. I don't think the whole thing is so GD funny myself. Your never going to "reform" a debt merchant they are stubborn little bastards that love to swindel.

Artimus 8:00 o'clock Remeber I warned you if a debt merchant gives you flowers and balloons and wants to be your friend. Tell him to fuck off and walk away.

Auntiegrav   Tue, 8 May 2012, 12:45am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 38

Let's start at the beginning.
1. What are people FOR?
2. What is Good, and what is Bad?
3. What is government/socialism/authority ?
4. What is money?
5. What is Opportunity and where does it come from?
6. What enables people to take advantage of opportunities?

Note: none of these questions are "Why" for a reason.
1. To be useful to the future of the universe over and above what they consume in resources (to give more than we take).
2. #1 pretty much defines "good" and "bad" because failing to do so means eventual extinction.
3. Tools that people choose to utilize in order to make survival more convenient and productive. If they become too productive/consumptive, then the available resources disappear or are contaminated with complexity (see "enough").
4. A tool that increases the efficiency of trade and production/consumption.
5. Opportunity is the occurrence of resources (people, places, tools, time, money, materials) which randomly becomes present to people, depending on initial conditions and circumstances (insert Chaos theory explanation here).
6. Preparation and willingness to take risks (combined).

If people are uneducated or unwilling to take risks, then they cannot take advantage of opportunities when they occur. If OTHER people hoard resources or control the resources, then opportunities are no longer presented randomly to those who are willing and able to take risks (the masses, for the most part).

The Redistribution platform is dependent upon overconsumption in order to have a place to tap resources for redistribution. It is not about normalizing the randomness of opportunity.
The Free Market platform is about hoarding resources by those who already have the resources under their control, in the guise of "we earned it".

Democrats do not stand for labor: they stand for the Labor Business.
Republicans do not stand for free markets, they stand for THEIR markets (mostly military and oil consumption).

There is no "Generosity" party.
Civilization IS socialism. How we choose to implement social/herd tools are a matter of how we choose to apply either wisdom or selfishness or blind authority.

"Every newspaper has a Business section. None of them have a Labor section." -Joe Bageant.

The ironic part is that when we are young (unprepared), we are more willing to take risks than when we are older and more able to be successful at it.

bob2356   Tue, 8 May 2012, 1:40am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 39

CBOEtrader says

The free market will work miracles if you let it.

There is no "free market" other than places like Somalia and Nigeria. In a true free market the person with the most guns sets the market. All other markets work within the legal and political structures of the society in which they exist. All markets must be balanced somewhere between predatory monopolies like the "guilded age" of the robber barons and overbearing government control like the former Soviet Union.

I would have thought the crash of 2008, brought about by a lack of regulation not over regulation, would have at least muted the senseless bleatings of the "free market" crowd. Businesses, especially large ones, are like small children and satellites. They must be constantly watched over or they will wander off and create mischief.

I'm not talking regulation of operations here, although some is necessary like not allowing dumping of deadly poison in rivers. Anyone remember the Cuyahoga river being so polluted that it actually caught fire in the 60's? Or all the superfund sites filled with deadly toxins? Meat packing in filth? Strip mining? The free market crowd never seems to get around to explaining exactly how the wonders of the free market will address these kinds of issues where business reaps huge private profit but the public is left poisoned and sick/dying/dead.

What I'm mostly talking about accountability, transparency, and a level playing field which are all sorely lacking in the US today. Many large businesses talk ad nausiam about the "free market" but endlessly manipulate the system to squash competition or manipulate markets in their favor.

Are there stupid, overbearing, senseless regulations. Of course there are, thousands of them. I've owned my own business and dealt with the inane crap enough. That's the nature of government. But simply throwing out all regulation and letting business run wild would make the situation many many orders of magnitude worse.

Dan8267   Tue, 8 May 2012, 4:59am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 40

nw888 says

--Elmer Fudd middle class taxpayer who paid a total of $1437 in taxes last year and needs to take credit for people's success to compensate for his own feelings of failure.

I paid a total federal income tax of $24,828.00 last year alone, so I do claim credit for the success of billionaires. If you don't like that, send me back my 25 grand. It's a bit more than the figure you quoted.

Dan8267   Tue, 8 May 2012, 5:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 41

ArtimusMaxtor says

I don't hate Democracy.

How can you hate that which does not exist? There hasn't been a Democracy on this planet for over two millenia.

Dan8267   Tue, 8 May 2012, 5:04am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 42

Auntiegrav says

Democrats do not stand for labor: they stand for the Labor Business.
Republicans do not stand for free markets, they stand for THEIR markets (mostly military and oil consumption).

There is no "Generosity" party.
Civilization IS socialism.

All true.

freak80   Tue, 8 May 2012, 8:54am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 43

iwog says

Every example in the world says you're wrong. Socializing health care makes it cheaper. Always.

Does it do so relative to the same level of quality though?

I'm not saying socialized health care is a bad idea, I'm just genuinely curious.

freak80   Tue, 8 May 2012, 8:56am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 44

bob2356 says

The free market crowd never seems to get around to explaining exactly how the wonders of the free market will address these kinds of issues where business reaps huge private profit but the public is left poisoned and sick/dying/dead.

How unpatriotic and un-American to ask such a question! ;-)

freak80   Tue, 8 May 2012, 8:57am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 45

bob2356 says

What I'm mostly talking about accountability, transparency, and a level playing field which are all sorely lacking in the US today. Many large businesses talk ad nausiam about the "free market" but endlessly manipulate the system to squash competition or manipulate markets in their favor.

American as apple pie. God Bless America.

bob2356   Tue, 8 May 2012, 9:09am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 46

wthrfrk80 says

bob2356 says

The free market crowd never seems to get around to explaining exactly how the wonders of the free market will address these kinds of issues where business reaps huge private profit but the public is left poisoned and sick/dying/dead.

How unpatriotic and un-American to ask such a question! ;-)

Sorry, not actually being part of the 1% of the population that actually owns everything and gets the financial benefits for these types of activities I sometimes have these thoughts.

bob2356   Tue, 8 May 2012, 9:16am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 47

wthrfrk80 says

iwog says

Every example in the world says you're wrong. Socializing health care makes it cheaper. Always.

Does it do so relative to the same level of quality though?

I'm not saying socialized health care is a bad idea, I'm just genuinely curious.

From personal experience living in France, Canada, and New Zealand I would say the level of quality is just fine. Everyone uses the same procedures, equipment, research, and textbooks all around the world. The only time you are better off in the US is you are one of the very tiny number of people who needs some type of super special leading edge treatment only offered at one of the big US (government funded) research centers.

nw888   Tue, 8 May 2012, 10:06am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 48

Dan8267 says

I paid a total federal income tax of $24,828.00 last year alone, so I do claim credit for the success of billionaires. If you don't like that, send me back my 25 grand. It's a bit more than the figure you quoted.

I think you should thank everyone on this forum for making you successful. Without us you would be nothing.

iwog   Tue, 8 May 2012, 10:21am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 49

wthrfrk80 says

Does it do so relative to the same level of quality though?

I'm not saying socialized health care is a bad idea, I'm just genuinely curious.

Low life expectancy, high infant mortality, horribly expensive. That's the USA.

Dan8267   Tue, 8 May 2012, 10:59am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 50

nw888 says

I think you should thank everyone on this forum for making you successful. Without us you would be nothing.

You still don't get it, do you? It's not that hard of a concept.

Reality isn't a choice between people being 100% responsible for their own success and being 0% responsible. There's a lot of values in between.

If I was born in Afghanistan, there is no way I would be a successful software engineer. Yet, I did teach myself everything I know about software, paid my own way through college, and exceeded at every job I took.

My success comes from both my efforts and the opportunities created by public investment including the electric grid, the Internet, and the HTS. This is true for all successful people.

The fact that I acknowledge the importance of having a stable government, infrastructure, the development of computers during WWII, and public domain knowledge does not in any way deteriorate my accomplishments or my hard work. It does, however, demonstrates that no person is makes it on his own despite society. That "rags to riches all by myself" myth is bullshit. And since you've accepted that I am one of those hard-working, successful individuals, then you should accept my point that in order to be great, you must stand on the shoulders of giants.

CBOEtrader   Tue, 8 May 2012, 12:43pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 51

bob2356 says

There is no "free market" other than places like Somalia and Nigeria.

You are repeating the lies your talking head cheerleaders feed to you. There is nothing within Somalia or Nigeria that resembles a free market.

bob2356 says

In a true free market the person with the most guns sets the market.

Hahahahahahahahah...OMG. Wow. Ok, so if someone walks up to you with a gun, and demands all your stuff, in your world THAT'S A FREE MARKET TRANSACTION?!

bob2356 says

I would have thought the crash of 2008, brought about by a lack of regulation not over regulation

Again. Nonsense.

Specific regulations were destoyed in the name of the free market-- but in fact had zero to do with the free market. A free market requires proper regulation.

Many, many more onerous regulations were created over the years than destroyed. Besides, the financial industry is one of our most highly controlled and regulated industries. We regulated ourselves into an ologopolistic system, into too big to fail, into a money system controlled by the friends of the big banks.

2008 was a failure of our financial system-- which again, has little resemblance to a free market. The key elements of the 2008 crash would have been either non-existent, or greatly mitigated had big government not been controlling every aspect.

bob2356 says

There is no "free market"...

You don't even know what point you are trying to make. Is there no "free market" or was 2008 a failure of the free market?

bob2356 says

The free market crowd never seems to get around to explaining exactly how the wonders of the free market will address these kinds of issues where business reaps huge private profit but the public is left poisoned and sick/dying/dead.

What "crowd" are you talking about? Are you talking about Fox news? Fox news real purpose: a ready made go to straw man for all liberals. Talking heads on Fox news are only experts at public opinion manipulation-- certainly not economics.bob2356 says

What I'm mostly talking about accountability, transparency, and a level playing field which are all sorely lacking in the US today. Many large businesses talk ad nausiam about the "free market" but endlessly manipulate the system to squash competition or manipulate markets in their favor.

Exactly. Big government is the facilitating partner of big business. Together they are the aristocracy.

nw888   Tue, 8 May 2012, 2:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 52

Dan8267 says

You still don't get it, do