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Why governments are broken – and how to fix them: In the US, 43 million people live in poverty – or about 14% of the population, compared to just 11% in 1973. “That’s neither morally nor socially acceptable... those people will rebel and cause problems, because they have nothing to lose.”

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level 1

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 94%. (I'm a bot)


If governments do not change with the times, they become less and less capable of addressing people's needs, and citizens grow more dissatisfied and disenfranchised.

Elections-based political systems already operate with short-term mentalities, with officials often thinking only a few years ahead. Now, as societies around the world have become more complex, diverse, demanding and connected, governments have become even more incentivised to implement superficial patchwork fixes.

While some governments have begun to take that approach, others, Wilkinson says, "Are not doing well at all".


Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: government#1 world#2 people#3 system#4 Wilkinson#5

level 1
[deleted]
3 points · 7 months ago

If society doesn't benefit you. You have a moral obligation to rebel. Why aren't our homeless and poor not destroying luxury housing more?

level 2

Because most people aren't actually that violent and they still have things to lose.

level 3

Indeed.
"they have nothing to lose". What an appalling statement.

level 1

What’s the definition of poverty though? Is it based on relative wealth? I am fairly sure that a good % of people considered in poverty today by 1973 standards wouldn’t be. Willing to be stand corrected, but owning phone, colour tv, etc would be considered enough to be above poverty line then. Let alone travel costs, communication abilities, knowledge caress of Internet etc etc

level 2
[deleted]
8 points · 7 months ago

Food and shelter are less affordable for our poor

level 2

Phones and colour televisions don't keep people alive.

level 3

I don’t want to trivialise the issue, totally agree TVs can’t feed people. But does improve quality of life.

By the below definition of poverty, if you can’t afford latest iPhone, Xbox, then in poverty. To me that can’t be used to compare across decades like in the article.

“Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies in which they belong.”

In 79s if you didn’t have a microwave, it wouldn’t mean you were in poverty, now it does.

I just want to know if comparisons are valid. ie if poverty defined as say less than half income of national average that’s different to if it’s “can’t afford enough food”

level 4
3 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

Poverty determination in the US is typically based on income above and below a threshold set by the Department of Health and Human Services. I don't know that it does, but if today's levels meet those from 1973, using the official CPI inflation values, then they should be comparable.

I don't know that access to today's cheaper technology necessarily equates to a higher standard of living, because food hasn't come down nearly as much, and things like rent have increased. Poverty in America is a state of precarity. I'm not in poverty, but I am just barely in the second quintile of incomes. I buy a $300 cell phone, unthinkable wealth by 1970s standards, roughly every two years. This is exactly one month of my share of rent. Service costs me $45/month. This means that without this symbol of wealth, I could only have housing for an extra ~2 months each year. (And if I was truly poor, I could still own a flip phone for $15 plus a cheap pay as you go plan for probably well under a month's rent for the life of the phone, if used only for work and emergencies.)

level 1

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 94%. (I'm a bot)


If governments do not change with the times, they become less and less capable of addressing people's needs, and citizens grow more dissatisfied and disenfranchised.

Elections-based political systems already operate with short-term mentalities, with officials often thinking only a few years ahead. Now, as societies around the world have become more complex, diverse, demanding and connected, governments have become even more incentivised to implement superficial patchwork fixes.

While some governments have begun to take that approach, others, Wilkinson says, "Are not doing well at all".


Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: government#1 world#2 people#3 system#4 Wilkinson#5

level 1

I don’t want to trivialise the issue, totally agree TVs can’t feed people.

By the below definition of poverty, if you can’t afford latest iPhone, Xbox, then in poverty. To me that can’t be used to compare across decades like in the article.

“Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies in which they belong.”

I just want to know if comparisons are valid. ie if poverty defined as say less than half income of national average that’s different to if it’s “can’t afford enough food”

level 2
2 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

I don't know if we can make the comparisons. It's as much of a lifestyle diffences between the ages than technology. There is also relative wealth between different countries too.

Physical deprivation of resources is a problem I wouldn't trivialize because it still exists, but poverty is more a frame of mind in most of the developed world in my opinion. Rich or poor experience it. However, the tragedy is that when the wealthy experience it (a recession) the poor are actually those that feel the worst part of it. The uncertainty of the future and destructive short-termism planning that it causes are some of the biggest issues.

You'd think that by now we would have come up with a few new better ways to do things besides the magical 'business cycle'.

level 1
-17 points · 7 months ago(0 children)
level 2
[deleted]
10 points · 7 months ago

Are you rich?

Why not?

Don't you work hard?

level 2

That is neither simple, nor an answer. Telling people to just "work hard" 1) is unlikely to actually change their behavior, and 2) misses the entire point that poverty is affected by massive systemic issues that go beyond the capabilities or fault of any single person.

level 3

Could you explain what some of these 'massive systematic issues' are?

level 4
1 point · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago
  • Your brain that feels, thinks, decides and does.

  • Your health.

  • Your other wealth.

  • Your social and economic environment. Not everybody can live and work in the richest locations.

Prof. Robert Sapolsky - The Neuroscience Behind Behavior
Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Bioenhancement - Julian Savulescu

level 2
6 points · 7 months ago

The vast majority of capital is created by financiers working hard on the phone to get someone to expand their balance sheet. The finance guys making the most money are not working hard in any physical or mental sense. They are working on people, not the land. They are using lies to try to control others. That is the work that is most rewarded by our society ...

level 2
[deleted]
6 points · 7 months ago

Simple answer: punch anyone with this attitude in the throat. Poor people are still people.

level 2
[deleted]
8 points · 7 months ago

Working hard doesn't equate success. All the immigrants who come over work harder than any american. But many are still in poverty. Because of government policies and racism and the nature of capitalism

level 3

Ok first of all, government policies are doing the opposite of what you are suggesting, hence the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Second, the nature of capitalism is to reward people who work hard and make good choices. If you are rich and horrible with money, you will not be rich anymore. If you are poor but make really good choices, you will rise through the ranks.

level 4
3 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

If you still think a meritocracy is a thing you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how our country works and how capitalism works.

The wealthy, while I'm sure they work hard, have always made their fortunes on the backs of working people. Many of those working people work far harder than any person at the top that doesn't compensate their employees what they are actually worth.

level 5

Let's not forget the solution provided. If everyone has a basic income, how much would that be and how would the government get this money?

level 6
2 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

You are asking the wrong questions or at least your framing of the questions has been corrupted by the misunderstandings of what capitalism actually is and does.

I don't have the exact numbers off the top of my head and yes it will "cost" a lot of money. Tax money is supposed to be the people's money. Basic income is an investment from everyone to ensure everyone has a baseline quality of life.

Would you rather your taxes go to subsidize a multinational corporation or helping keep everyone in our country fed and clothed with a roof over their head?

The real question, especially as technology progresses, is how can we NOT afford to provide people with a basic income and still call ourselves moral and logical people. For example, it is cheaper to provide a home for homeless people than it cost to leave them in the streets suffering and by having a home those people are far more likely to get off of drugs(if addicted), find jobs, and give back to society than those people that are left in the streets.

If you're a conservative then you have to see that it makes economic and moral sense to provide for the needy in that way. The example of homeless people has a direct connection with the problems we will face in the not so distant future as more automation replaces people in the work force.

level 4

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of what capitalism is and does. Wealth is a function of getting other people to work hard for you so you can concentrate on gaining more wealth.

Capitalism treats human beings like a commodity. But what that really means is that a few people treat the rest of humanity like a commodity. If you are a commodity, and most of us are, hard work will only get you so far.

Now, in America, the vast majority of people are one bad decision or one bad event away from having all your hard work and savings destroyed, e.g. health, divorce, career change etc. The person or people pulling your strings do not live with that fear.

Get educated and stop saying stupid shit.

level 5

But, one person will not be at the top of the company forever. If you show that you can do what you do well to your superiors, then you will be promoted, and again and again if you really work well. Someone will be next in line for CEO. If you work well, you will do well.

level 6

I thought we agreed you wouldn't say stupid shit anymore?

level 2
5 points · 7 months ago

There's a guy in my building who is 60 years old. He's a handyman, and works for our landlord, among other people (I assume). He works far harder than I do, and he's still poor. Now, I guarantee you that this guy has made some poor choices in his life, but hard work didn't save him.

level 3
[deleted]
4 points · 7 months ago

And that is the guy doing real work while marketing and sales people rake in cash producing zero value for consumers

level 3

Maybe it's because being a handyman is not a very well paying job?

And even if it is, and he is still poor, then he or his family are not making good decisions money-wise.

level 4

But first you said work hard, now you're saying get a well paying job? Sure let me just become a nuclear engineer.

level 4
5 points · 7 months ago

Maybe it's not so simple as hard work, then.

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A basic income guarantee is a system that regularly provides each citizen with a sum of money. Except for citizenship, a basic income is entirely unconditional. A basic income guarantee would radically simplify the welfare state, and truly ensure that no one has to live in poverty. Its necessity will become increasingly obvious as more human labor is replaced by machines.

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