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Two new books offer well-argued versions of the idea that the West’s true financial malaise is not mechanical but moral: a love of money, markets and material things. Anyone who sets store by capitalism and markets will find both books uncomfortable reading. They should be read all the same http://econ.st/O88AXL  
How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life. By Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky. Other Press; 243 pages; $24.95. Allen Lane; £20.
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123 comments
 
I really don't think we needed two new books to tell us this. It was obvious in the first place
 
History teaches that humans can endure great hardship and deprivation. However, still in doubt is whether or not humans can survive affluence or, more precisely, the spiritual deformities which affluence creates.
 
That's funny, I just came back from this Korean movie called "The Taste of Money". Shows how far we are ready to go for Money and Power. 
 
It is hard not to want more when you have so little.
 
The super rich needs to be heavily taxed. That will even up the economic gap. Yes, this sounds like socialist thinking but does it matter what you call it?
 
Humans are the only animals that can work towards attaining "happiness"...other animals make do with "satisfaction"...some day humans will perhaps realize that pursuit of "happiness" leads to all kinds of distortions...in some countries capitalism and liberal markets are the tools to achieve happiness...some other countries promise happiness with state control of the economy...still others say that  following some medieval customs of clothing and food is a sure path to happiness...

The problem is not with the different paths to happiness...it is with happiness as a goal itself....happiness has always been a zero sum game...earlier it was happiness for yourself and sadness for your enemies...now it is happiness for developed societies and sadness for the environment...after some time it will be happiness for young emerging countries and sadness for aging countries past their prime...
 
Zulhaimi, you are super rich to others, how about you give them from yours until you are equal with them.
 
+Clyde Robinson the problem is that it is those who have a lot that want more the most. The poor give more to charity than the rich.
 
It's a balancing act. As in "Animal Farm", the communist experiments died off because only a portion of humanity will work their share for the sake of the community. Capitalism works "best" because it works with the way that humans are -- many (not all) with much fear and greed.

We need an economic "ism" that works with the way people are but properly addresses the edges of the bell curve -- the lazy and the greedy. This is where pure capitalism fails.
 
It's all about empathy (D)   vs   apathy (R)
 
That sums it up nicely +Charles Summers. I wonder if that particular "ism" exists?

But it seems that capitalism has certainly failed as a system
 
what! its about being human get a life there is no god! 
live the evolution and stop reading fairytale books called the bible
 
+Franklin Nwankwo that's false.  Lower income people (and by that I'm not saying poor necessarily, but working and middle class people as well) contribute a lot of time and involvement in charitable work, and maybe some even contribute a larger portion of their income to charitable causes (not many though). Wealthy people and companies tend to contribute far larger individual sums of money and have a much larger incentive to continue doing so (even if such large donations are a relatively small percentage of their incomes).
 
+Gabriel Walsh you just agreed with Franklin at length.  It's percentage that counts here, not amounts.

In any case, does anyone else think it's ironic they're selling a book about grasping for money too much.  They should give it away if they want to set an example, otherwise they're part of the problem.
 
+David Sulewski I've heard that argument before. Equal wealth isn't and should never be the goal but in a bad economy, the gap becomes too big. Social divide and then unrest will come next. Everybody loses. IMHO.
 
The fable of Icarus all over again. We post articles telling children to reach for the stars, then as they age tell them to settle.
 
Gabriel, I think what is in question here is not the individuals' capacity for participation in benevolent acts of charity but whether capitalism, be it machiavellian or benign, is an appropriate model for society. The two are not mutually exclusive.
 
Our dependence on growth is the real problem, not lack of growth. 
 
+Chris Ryan - Human nature is to look out for number one first and foremost.  No other economic system does a better job of allowing one to do that as Capitalism.  The last hundred years of experiments with other types of systems have pretty much answered that question.  The real question is how to temper capitalism so as to keep involvement competitive, while at the same time reducing its tendencies to become predatory and monopolistic.  It is that grey area where most economic policy around the world (at least where there is real economic policy) seems to play.  Keep in mind that also every country has different conditions, goals and cultural values so they tend to seek similar but also different things from their economic policy.
 
IMHO, part of the problem with the US is the insistence on the "American Dream" being a detached 3,000 SF house with a 2 car garage and cars for every member of the family.  That is s system that really took off after WWII and is not sustainable in the long term (in terms of long term access to resources necessary to maintain such lifestyle) at all.  the problem is that most ofthe world sees this and of course they want it as well.  Who are we to tell people in developing countries that they shouldn't look to buy a big house, put 3 cars in it and add central AC to the whole thing?  the World can't support that kind of development though and at some point something will have to give.
 
How to temper capitalism? Look to Scandanavia first.

Then add on how much we've learned about trusting one group in society to behave ethically given the power.  

Any economist who is still saying growth is the only measure for prosperity needs to be shown the door.  It always was wrong, but like most economic theories, they look good on paper, but nobody tests them in the real world to gather good evidence about their hypothesis.  And then there's outright lies like 'trickle down economics'.

Economics as a study is a very weak science.  It spends more time studying history than predicting outcomes correctly.  If you brought the rigour of strong science to it, maybe something useful would come out.  But at the moment it's a bunch of academics on someone's payroll saying whatever is convenient.
 
If the author was soo against money he wouldn't be selling the book for $25...
 
We are not a decadent society - our problem is we don't respect work, we fall into the terap of anything for nothing.
 
The true problems are greed and corruption.  Instead of taking what they need, people take everything they can get.  It's all about maximizing profits and customer retention. 
 
First off, giving anything away is totally counter productive in any environement, capitalist or otherwise, unless you're Abbie Hoffmen.  I think what's commonly overlooked is the moral aspect of the capitalist machine.  As corporate entities such as Goldman Sacks and Chase grow and swallow smaller competitors they reduce the consumer's option and limit the markets availability for competition creating a monopoly. This is something that can spiral in the future World Coms and Enrons of our successive generations.
 
ya having things like that doesn't make you rich but health family frnds without money you will supper alot so
 
Curious how they want to sell us something to tell us the problems with wanting to buy.
 
i see that they are not giving away their books, so do they have a love of money also?

money don't make you rich it do let of fly in your very own jet!
Deb Raj
 
not at all guys
 
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
~ Mahatma Gandhi.
 
+Gabriel Walsh I agree with you but capitalism resists or perverts any attempt at temperance because it is always looking out for number one. Truth is, it's been so successful that many organisations now have more money, influence and resources than some countries and I think that overwhelms and intimidates government. It has far too much influence on governance, economics (policy) and society. That's my concern. Capitalism is fairly good in the market place, where it belongs, but should not get into the business of running governments or setting society's social agenda. It is far too self interested.

I'd like to believe that such a hungry beast could have some constraints applied so that it is less sociopathic, but is it possible?

Don't forget that we are still living through one of the biggest economic experiments of the (previous) century: the Federal Reserve (a privately owned corporation), and not forgetting Alan Greenspan's part in it's latter day reincarnation.

Whole-scale self interest at the cost of everyone on the planet. Yay globalisation.

I hope we can Gabriel, but we may have to start we the hearts and minds of people so they stop feeding the beast and giving it all the power and money in the world.

Great talking to you, but I must get to bed so I can get up early for work (have to pay off some of the worlds' debt, "This money's for the debt, ok? Don't go spending it on Mercedes or cocaine, you got that?" haha).

Keep working on those shackles, we'll need them.
 
I bet the people who wrote the books are making a fortune selling them on the free and open market.
 
+Gabriel Walsh for some reason I can't +1 Gabriel Walsh's comment regarding the post WWII American Dream, so... +1
 
Until we take the next step on our human evolution to a post-human state,
Capitalism will remain the best solution for providing the most fair system while preserving individual freedoms within a growing market.
Yes, there are those who will use the system to their personal gain. And that's great. That what the system is for. Take advantage of free enterprise and make some money. Don't sit back and only take what you need. If you do, then you're actually causing the system to collapse.
Capitalism works because instead of fighting human nature, it caters to it.
Redistributing wealth will only cause imbalance and violence. 
 
That's right +Jim Wilbourne, which is exactly why we have to take a close look at human nature. Plus capitalism is doing a wonderful job of redistributing wealth already.
 
+Chris Ryan this is true. But human nature can't be changed until a post-human state is reached. Nature built this system in order to preserve us. 
 
+Zulhaimi Abdul Hamid I do not think taxing the rich is socialist. Currently a large percentage (still getting larger) of the total wealth is controlled by a very small number of people. These people with lots of wealth can not spend money fast enough, even if they wanted to.

The accumulation of wealth at the top is being shifted from the shrinking middle class. The middle class easily spends just about all of their income. The lower class spends every penny of their income.

Our current financial system is dependent on lower and middle class people buying lots of stuff. If the current trends continue the whole system will eventually collapse from the weight at the top. Although many of them  do not seem to realize it, the people at the top ultimately have to most to loose if the middle class disappears. 
 
Maybe the West's REAL problem is:

1. Crony capitalism and collusion of government and corporations

2. Egotistical hubris in the belief that economic policy can be effective with enough concentrated power, and regression math.

When was the last time you heard an economist tell a politician that human activity is too complex to safely guide to macro economic policy without high risk of unknown conveniences? 
 
43 years after the Moon landing and economists do not talk about "planned obsolescence" or tell us the yearly depreciation of "durable consumer goods".
 
Let's take out interest from the financial transactions and move away from fiat money. Just my 2 cents.
 
Money is the one true god. The king of kings that rules the hearts of men. We love god, we desire god, we continually seek god and we screw others to get closer to god. Around god's will humanity organizes, for gods growth we kill each other, subjugate others and spread suffering. 

To our god money we sacrifice all, cut all the forests as tribute, poison the oceans as dedication and burn every drop of oil in worship. Too our good we offer everything, our future, our planet and our survival. 

Money the one true devil in the hearts of men.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Its long time for humanity to invest in reason instead as a guiding principal for life and organizing society.
 
+Jim Wilbourne And being the intelligent and self-aware sentient beings that we are we realised the likely outcomes the course of our actions would lead us to and desisted from.. oh wait, that's what we haven't done yet: evolve mentally. We already need 2.5 planet Earths to support our current way of life. Let's just keep expanding until we can afford to stop, we haven't saved enough debt yet.
 
Keeping up with the Jones' is the norm in
Our society and it is deteriorating our values.
 
How about insatiable brainwashing by marketing people?  Electronic brainwashing did not exist before 1900.  So making comparisons to economics before then is nonsense.
 
Capitalism is a lie, because physically it is only possible for a few to ever become rich. It works like the lottery: in order for ONE person to win a million bucks, 999,999 people need to LOOSE.

I have to laugh when I hear about the economic crisis - what economic crisis? Has the money just disappeared somehow? Of course not, it is just that a minority of people on this planet feel that they are "worth more" than others, so they are taking far more than their fair share. And who is going to stop them? Money is Power and Power is Money.

I believe the biggest factor in feeling "happy" is the believe that we are all being treated fairly, and this is certainly not the case.
 
hate to say it, but capitalism is necessary.  It provides the conflict we need. Really think about this for a second,  all of the most commonly used inventions were invented during war,  e.g. interweb was invented for secret communications, mobile phones, and the radio for the same  reason. digital cameras, for surveillance, the nuclear energy that is probably powering your computer right now was made to kill, the modern desktop computer itself was invented during WW2 for codebreaking, the jet engine was made during WW2 as well. satellite technology that lets us have this convo developed during the cold war.   Point being that when we dont have a direct conflict with a common enemy, we have capitalism.  it allows us to compete on a civil level.  It is a level playing feild,  it is brains vs brains,  motivation vs motivation,  innovation vs innovation and most importantly its lazy vs nothing.  you will only get as far as you choose to go in this system, but there are no limits to how far you can go, no restrictions.  In an accountable system you will only get what you have earned.Period. so to all the socialists who are upset because they graduated a four year program in organics and dealing with feelings, with $100 000 of debt, and who cant find a job that pays $80 000 a year when their still 22,  Go to china, go live in vietnam, see how well you do in north korea. or just look at syria.  If you want to be a communist or socialist well then go join them,  but stay out of my pocket.  you do not deserve what i have worked for,  you do not deserve the food on my plate or the shirt on my back.
thanks for listening
 
Why isnt this common knowledge. Is anyone involved in finance that knows nothing of karl marx?
 
My friends, these are all fantastically-worded thoughts and beliefs we're posting on a web site owned by one of the evil money-seeking corporations against which we are protesting.
Perhaps this is not the best place to have this discussion. I would recommend starting a blog where, through the wonders of Capitalism, you too can know the joy of being paid to speak your opinion on the internet.
The difference between us here, and the authors of those books, is that one of these groups is oppossed and partially oppressed by the system with which their government operates, while the other is making loads of money off it.
 
Just the thought that an economist wouldnt know thw basis of the above media is repulsive.
 
+Chris Ryan it doesn't matter if you or I realize it. It doesn't matter if a billion people realize it.
It only matters when singularity comes. 
 
that picture is ancient...the bionicles were good..but those ones were from like, 07 or 08....seriously...
 
+Gabriel Walsh You make many good points but I sort of disagree on a couple. I wonder how much of our "look out for #1" psyche is a result of  Madison Avenue and Wall Street rather than real human nature?

As far as looking honestly at the last 100 years, we have also seen that greed will eventually collapse the markets. Then safeguards will be put into place after the economic pain is unbearable.  Later the recovered markets will demand that the safeguards be removed because they are "restricting the ability to compete" or some other reason. So I think that all attempts at tempering so far have failed.

From my vantage point I think you are confusing free enterprise with capitalism. Free enterprise can be an ongoing and self sustaining while capitalism requires an ever increasing return on capital.
 
The economy is a open door for just about anyone to fulfill their needs. We call them ri/ch because they've made their money by using out of context methods. The middle class is a more rational approach to earning a modest way of life.

You'd call this class "Main Stream America". They've earned their billions using contextual contracts that make America run.

Call it the lower class, but I see it as an entry level introduction to economic stability.

The more money you have in your possession can cause and attract unwanted problems.

I've learned that you can't be too prosperous too soon. When you're one step ahead, there's a person struggling that is one step behind you.

Life in moderation is a approach that keeps you level head. Getting the things you want out of life, plus making a Contribution.

This way, you don't appear to be overly an aggressive spender. The super rich don't do much at all.

I do believe, they should be taxed differently. Their out of contextual methods of making it in America, don't coincide with the traditional methods of education, health, and law, ect.

There is actually only one angle to view life, and that is looking up to the future. Unfortunately, somebody created an additional point of view.

The view from the top of the ice, and the angle looking up. We don't agree with each others methods to becoming ri/ch.
 
William: a better translation is that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil".  The love is money isn't the sole root - there are others (the love of power among them).
 
Let's face it.  The primary objective of The Economist is to keep publishing the Economist.  So they are hardly going to promote any economic ideas that tend to threaten their own economic interests even if the ides were clearly correct.  So we have endless debates about economics.
http://www.spectacle.org/1199/wargame.html
I mandatory accounting in high school really that complicated?  Of course if they suggest it now the obvious question will be "Why not 50 years ago?'  But it's too late now.  So it is only logical to never make that suggestion.
 
I want to point out a key important detail. Money is something that is imaginary / conceptual. It is disconnected from the real world as it does not follow any laws such as thermodynamics. Money essentially appears from nothing, changes value and all sorts of weird behavior that not exist on a physical level.  There is nothing wrong with that until money as a tool of civilization begins to effect the real world.

All human activity has a real cost in terms of energy and change. However in money terms the true cost is ignored. Take natural gas fracking for example, the business formula is simple. How much energy can I extract for energy spent. If I can get 5 barrels worth of energy for each barrel spent its a win. Its profitable because the cost of the damage is never evaluated, the cheapest and dirtiest methods are used. The profits made are costs that are differed to the future and other people who will have to deal with the damage.

Assigning a cash value to doing things provides enough of a disconnect to ignore the true cost of actions. In some cases an impact that may not be seen for a hundred years but its still there and someone will have to pay the price.

Money was great for the rise of agricultural society and antiquity. Humanity is at a very different level its time to start organizing in a mature and reasoned way.

One a side note, the majority of social problems stem from inequality in a society. The greater the inequality they greater the social problems. Such as violence and crime and other negative behavior. Addiction to drugs and other habit forming behavior is in fact a symptom of a sick society. Addictive patterns form when an environment offers very little stimulation and value to those in it.

Humanity is about to face a series of the most epic disasters in the coming century. We need a very different thinking to get out of this mess. Just to give you an idea :

1. We are facing depletion of cheap energy. Nothing is as energy dense and versatile as oil. We are using more than we can produce. From this point on cost of production will rise and quality and yield will continue to drop.

2. Climate Change will have more and more of an impact. The main target is food production. Regions will go dry, some others will flood. Ideal agricultural regions will be a lot fewer. The price of food should be a clear sign that a problem is rising. 

Natural aquifers that provided water for farming in drier regions are not reaching a critical point and will be facing depletion. Also as the ocean temperature rises  the chemistry of the ocean changes. By 2050 the ocean will reach an acidic point which will make it toxic to fish.  Jelly fish will be the only things in it.

3. Human population is at point far beyond what current technology can sustain naturally. The cheap energy of oil allowed us to grow fast. I'll let your imagination fill in the rest when oil and food production start to fall.

In terms of being able to do anything, we are a bit of late. You remembered those delayed costs which business uses to make profits. We have about half a centuries worth queued up. The 1970's was the deadline to avoid the whole mess. The best we can do now is damage control and finding a way to stop humanity in destroying itself by fighting over whats left.
 
The rich man wealth is in the city, destruction of the poor is his poverty; destruction of his soul is VANITY !!!
 
Humans are the only animals dumb enough to let other humans tell them what happiness is.
 
And ironically, he only animals smart enough to understand happiness. 
 
+John Prescott I think that except for the rare sociopathic person you learn, or fail to learn morals and ethics from your family and surroundings. I do agree with you that ethics and economics would be a great requirement in primary and secondary education. Unfortunately neither is on the state test.
 
Money is the valid, established system of exchange - period. The challenge is to sell well and to help good sellers by voting with your credit card(buying) We all need money and should feel good about charging for anything we offer or let it be all right to accept money as a gift for what we offer - either way ...money is good, it's part of your life. Accept it - don't deny it...

We can't just ignore money, since they are integral part of our lives.  Ignoring our money needs would be a denial, very likely heading toward disaster for ourselves and dependent love ones. 
Instead, I would suggest following what excites us, but only to the extend that we can support with our current way of thinking.
If you really believe you can jump off the financial cliff and fly free after - go for it...be our inspiration, so more of us can find themselves really believing they can do it.
I believe our way of thinking, generally speaking, defines what we experience, so ...if we experience money to be part of our lives at this stage, let's not deny it - it is what it is - acknowledge it and take it from there in any direction you want, but, please don't jump off the cliff if you are not ready.
We can still support each other in many new ways, but why not by money as well, and why not pay for the high quality reading from Economist - somebody was writing this, doing the effort..., not being home for the love ones...why not reward him for the good information. 

Being realistic, we should admit that things just can't be for free...at least until we are forced to spend money every day for all basic things.
When we get something good...even in the form of a good advice or a helpful perspective...I'd want to be good and pay back, if not in money, then at least with a good word or sharing...not cynically condemning the author, judging his attempt to charge for the services offered and that way be self sustainable. 
Do you assume that anything you touch or be offered online should be free?  I believe at this point it shouldn't because it defeats the purpose of helping each other in a supportive way.  Information can be free, but the delivery mechanism, which is provided by the author is unique and IS NOT FREE.
So it's quite ironical that the person who earned the most points in this conversation is someone cynically laughing and claiming he wouldn't pay, in other words, would not support the one who offers valuable perspective...That's where we all stay currently because these were our votes...wake up and digest.  We deserve every single thing we've got, including the governments we voted for, the monetary system we support( as we don't show much other, alternative support for each other anyway)
Best to you all and let's get better.
 
It is an interesting topic,i will follow
 
+Kevin Smith +John Prescott 
Morality and Ethics are innate to intelligent understanding and advanced society.
Ethical deficiency is a clear sign of 1 of 3 things:
1. Failure to understand Empathy
2. Failure to associate empathy with all action involving others
3. Refusal to apply empathy with social interactions
 
"The west likes material things...give me $24 and I will tell you more." Hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.
 
Wonderful. Two new socialist manifestos that will both go down in history as economic fiction
 
I heard Romany Malco talk about visiting Europe recently and a realization he had when comparing it to touring America. He said, when you travel Europe, you realize its designed for people to live. When you travel around America you realize that the US is simply designed to produce.
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so eat right .have happy thoughts and nake a new friend every day""
 
Success is getting what you want ; happiness is wanting what you get.
 
My opinion is that the Success of a man lies in his total inner core values while his Happiness is exhibited when he attains a high level of those inner good values . 
 
Jesus said you CAN NOT serve God and money
 
Yes capitalism is the worst system in the world... That is why the US is the most powerful nation in the world and not Mother Russia or socialist Europe. Socialism is a stepping stone to communism. Capitalism may not be perfect but it is the best economic system ever created. Naysayers just look at Apple, Google, wal mart, IBM or any other countless companies who have created more wealth and jobs then the entire world. What has communist Russia ever created other than vodka and a military?
 
I knew before I clicked the linked this article would be a masterbatory exercise, I only wondered if this was written from a Cave or Hong Kong?

Very manipulative this article is.

First of all, the West’s true malaise is it's blindness to suffering, both within and outside it's economy. 29,000 people die every single day of starvation, to end extreme poverty it would could an estimated $3.5 trillion. How much do the super-rich have hidden in Tax Haven's, largely inactive wealth stacking up for the sake of it - up to $35 trillion. Yes, just 11% of that is enough to save millions of life's - and strengthen the world economy the same time.

Second, inflation adjusted most American's earn less now than they did 40 years ago, while working much more. All the gain's have gone to a small minority, exacerbating inequality and thus suffering. We do not live 'among plenty', our safety network has been removed due to debt, loss of savings, our partners being forced out to work and all of us already working to the max. I won't even get started on how already depleted our safe resources, causing further insecurity.

Capitalism does not have a patent on material and technological progress, even under Slavery and Communism conditions dramatically progressed - until their final failure.

The corruption is far greater than selling items. Let's not diffuse the argument. Mass industries have grown out the suffering of those victim to market forces. The Prison Industrial Complex, the Military Industrial Complex, the Security State, the Police State, the expanding Court and Welfare systems. All profiting off pain, all encouraging further pain, and the kids in the convenient ghetto's are the primary raw materials. Meanwhile our doctors no longer see us as patients, they too treat us as raw materials, dollar signs, dehumanised to our humanity and suffering.

A tax on consumption rather than income. Absurd. Mind boggled by the cheek.
 
Empathy doesn't fill the fridge - don't sell your empathy, but don't confuse it with the fun of doing things and getting paid for it. It is as easy as that...for those who get it. Intelectualizing moneymaking and judging it will bring you nowhere. I'd better do what I like, make money that way somehow...I should now how...and do whatever I find apropriate...
 
Godliness , i opine brings to fore contentment in man . Therefore , i say that to be content with a modest share of the planets resources your inner self must be in tuned with your SOURCE , your Creator , thereby positioning you to Upper Things - Spiritual  as against the Physicals ,  
 
+Tom McGovern last time I checked the USA has the M-16, the F-18, and the first Man on the moon. All superior to those things. Communism is supposed to be a Utopia and yet the rich stay rich and poor starve. Capitalism means opportunity for all. Just watch the Social Network and tell me that Facebook could have happened in a communist country.
 
+Bryan Kesler the US is the most powerful militarily 20x over most of the world. That didn't stop 9-11 and we experience nearly as much violence within our borders as 3rd world countries half our size. So what has military might really gotten us, but a lot of enemies and a paranoid politicians? Power doesn't equal greatness; it's not a bragging right.
 
I love how they say "America's love for money" then charge 25$ if you really want your point across give it away for free lol
 
+Bryan Kesler I agree. Nothing as lame as Facebook would have ever been created in the Soviet Union.
 
The problem with Capitalism is that it's profane - the opposite of sacred, meaning ordinary or common.  It demands secularity by primarily encouraging we place self-interest before communal-interest, discouraging the self-transcendence for the greater good.  

People have a genetic predisposition to self-transcend for the greater good, this is darwinism group theory, etc.  But we are also extremely malleable, and reflect our environment.  The economy of self-interest has a large impact on our environment, it defines who we are, how we think - and this has consequences. 

Now before the rise of private power turned our nations into semi-states and our corporations into super-citizens, we had a strong sovereign government who played the role of God. We did need not worry about self-transcending to help the greater good, it was taken care for us, albeit in inefficient manner.    

Today we are still at our profane level looking up to Government, but increasingly there is no God, only tyrannies of concentrated Private Power.  We seek communal-interest over self-interest, the sacred and interconnected over the profane, but nobody is up there to answer the call. 

It's a really un-natural suppression of an urge that is natural to all human beings, self-interest institutions produce only the profane, not the sacredness we seek.  It's really comfortable down at our profane level in our home entertainment center's, but it's never enough.

Economists btw are the hired prize fighters for the ruling class. Their function is first to shore up ideas that would make the existing order seem natural, unalterable.  No matter what the cost is for working people, for the environment, for the disposed, for the poor. All is for the best and best for all possible worlds. Personally I'm still stunned at the audaciousness of trying to make Hong Kong the most liveable place. 
 
I think we have it wrong. Including the economist. It's not about money it's about the accumulation of resources to ensure survival mainly by controlling the lives and decisions of others. Money is a representation of resources, it's merely a tool. We have a tendency to discuss the merits of different socioeconomic systems, capitalism, socialism, Communism and the combinations there of. First we have to realize that people will (my observations) always act to secure survival. Use resources (capitalism) political control and influence or accumulation of power (socialism) or control of resources and property (communism) to control others in an effort to secure their future. None of it is sustainable as long as there are people who seek security in the control of others through the use or accumulation of resources. It makes no since to discuss the difference between capitalism, socialism, or any other "ism" as long as people feel that they need to control other people. History has proven time and time again that one system leads to another because of one key human need...free will. The solution to economic issues and PERCEIVED economic injustice is simple. I know that there are those that feel capitalism is not the solution, but I would argue that it is the closet to a fair system then the other popular topics, at least real capitalism and not what we have been doing the past 8 years. When we change the primary urge to accumulate resources and the need to control other people and look to improve ourselves, we will see true positive change. Until then capitalism is the only viable choice, anything else would threaten free will. 
 
It's the culture.
The culture of America is soft and everyone feels like they are entitled. Like the world owes them something. Hard work has been replaced with a participation trophy and a pamphlet on second hand smoke risks. Just look at California and you see it in everyone.
 
It's the culture.
The culture of America is soft and everyone feels like they are entitled. Like the world owes them something. Hard work has been replaced with a participation trophy and a pamphlet on second hand smoke risks. Just look at California and you see it in everyone.
 
Greed greed and more greed, it's never enough, this rat race to accumulate more upon more, never truly satisfied, he has more, she has more so I must have even more than them combined.

That's one day, next day just rinse and repeat ad infinitum.
 
Once you have 10m in assets, excluding one house, 80% of what you make should be taxed and given to widows, orphans, disabled and education
 
+Tom McGovern its the idea dum dum that a kid could come up with an idea that makes him billions and the government didn't come in and interfere.
 
+Nigel Harrison That seems like legalizing theft.  Why 10 million?  Why not 1 million?  100,000?  What standard are you basing this on?
 
How much is enough when human wants are unlimited? I just want a better up bringing for my kids so they don't have to struggle like I did.
 
Change the pledge of allegiance from "under God, with liberty and justice for all" to "in servitude to Mammon, with riches for the 1%."
 
Well don't quote me on it, but I can't see it surpassing the 50 shades of grey book! But I could be wrong!!!
 
+Brandon Johnston We are currently 2-0 for world wars and Ronaldus Maximus beat Communism.  Gun laws are preventing the innocent from protecting themselves. (see recent happenings in Colorado)  AND we are trying to fight a war against Afghanistan with unbelievable rules of engagement which are handicapping our troops against an enemy who doesn't play by our rules and has no regard for women or children.  So I will brag very much about the strength and bravery of our military thank you very much.
 
So the books are given away for free, right? Or sold? The real question is "why I'd there such a longing for original sin?"
 
+Brett Frosaker I agree with you.  I think Robert E Lee put it best, "It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it."

But I also think that war is a means to peace.  There are people in the Middle East would like nothing better than to kill every one of us.  So I am all for attacking those who harbor the terrorists. 
 
Mr. Summers, according to my history book, John Winthrop tried for moral self-restraint would prevent merchants from squeezing out excessive profits; if necessary, the government could step in. Puritans wanted to turn religious idealism into a renewed sense of community. ( The Enduring Vision, pg 41) 370 years of capitalism!
 
If you are calling any developed nation's economy in 2012 "capitalist" you are misusing the term. The "developed" world strayed from capitalism years ago and now look what it has wrought....
 
Bull shit. You can have any other system than capitalism and they'll all fail in the face of a growing and aging population on the world scale, and the stress it puts on the world's resources.
 
Sounds like an interesting read.
 
Is it called 50 shades of greed ?
 
Actually I feel Asians are even more materialistic towards high-priced branded goods, especially young people. 
 
Best things in life are for free.
That is until they start charging for sun, air and friendship.
 
they already do, they charge for sun|(tanning), oxygen comes pressurized in tanks, and you need a monthly membership for most, networking/dating sites, etc.
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