Re: capitalist religion (response to J.R. Molloy and Lee Corbin)

From: John M Grigg (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 17:17:09 MDT

Lee corbin wrote:
> Let us suppose that in the Constitution of "the first new nation",
> i.e., the United States, there had been a provision for a minimal
> guaranteed annual income. Isn't it clear that many people would
> have lost the incentive to contribute? As it was, there were a
> number of people who were too lazy, or too wasteful, or lacking
> in other positive traits. But they didn't thrive and people didn't
> look up to them or accept them, and as a result the traditions that
> *did* survive were positive ones. I'm always surprised at the
> "no fear" attitude of liberals who don't appear---under a lot of
> cases---to understand how historically important *incentive*
> has been in people's lives.

I love the idea of a minimal guaranteed annual income. Largely because I tend to be a lazy person unless I simply must take action for survival! lol I do think Lee(and also Spike Jones in earlier posts) have a point that the need to eat, not be homeless, care for children, buy cool toys, travel, buy nice clothes and impress potential sex partners does a lot to get people out of bed and doing jobs that otherwise they might not care to do. And this goes beyond just surviving to having a good education and career so real status can be attained and the perks which go with it.

I think even in a society of guaranteed income, we would see most people working to better themselves. STATUS and the desire to care for a family is so important to us primates. And a guaranteed income would be SO nice for college students(right?).

J.R. Molloy wrote:
The income tax put the brakes on incentive it seems to me. In effect, this tax
says to young workers and entrepreneurs, "We've got ours, now you'll have to
pay an extra premium to get even a fraction of what we've got." The US income
tax was the beginning of the new class system separating the haves from the

I realize their are alternative means to gather income for the state, but I still find it hard to imagine a major gov't not taxing the daylights out of their populace! And I have heard the stories of how the wealthy in reality pay much less taxes then the middle-class.

The claim is that the rich would only get richer faster if we severely cut taxes. Supposedly, "trickle-down" economics just would not cut it in helping the lower classes. We have already discussed on the list the many complexities and problems associated with trying to help the poor upgrade themselves.

Lee wrote:
> Later, when our world economy has become so strong that it no longer
> matters whether everyone is guaranteed an income of $100,000 or not,
> then I will be much less concerned about destroying the traditions
> of personal responsibility that took so many centuries to evolve.

I think it will be an incredible world when because of A.I. and mature nanotech we see homelessness, poverty and lack of good medical care wiped away. I would like to see housing, power and food become very cheap so that people cannot even fathom the way 20th and early 21st century have-nots lived.

And I do not see this destroying the traditions of personal responsibility! People will just move up on Maslow's pyramid to achieve higher needs and wants. As I have already written here, the desire for status will do us well in the coming age of incredible prosperity.

J.R. wrote:
 Personal responsibility takes a back seat to personal greed when it comes to
 accumulating wealth. In fact the concept of responsibility serves the rich
 better than it serves the poor, because the rich can far more easily afford to
 practice it. The most responsible thing a sufficiently intelligent entity can
 do is to provide an example for other sufficiently intelligent entities so
 that they don't commit suicide.

The wealthy don't have to worry about not having enough money to pay the rent or buy groceries, and the poor do! lol And so the wealthy have much "disposable income" to invest. And with that wealth comes advisors and insider access to climbing the ladder of success.

I do think at least some poor people are there due to a lack of self-control and ability to delay immediate gratification. But, then they may not have been given the hope as children and teens that a better life was really possible. I could see how someone raised in a ghetto could feel this way.

J.R.'s final sentence sort of confused me. I do understand the importance of example within the various socio-economic levels of society. And in some very poor, ethnic neighborhoods we see those who are succeeding making the choice to move out rather then stay and fight to change things from within.

I would like to be one of those "sufficiently intelligent entities" that set an example and give others hope where only despair was before. Should I achieve my life goals such as getting a driver's license despite my severe dyslexia, going back to college and finishing, and becoming a professional, then I could definitely be an example to others.

I just want my former DVR counselor to be tarred and feathered upon my achievement of all this. She told me based on her experience with the learning disabled, I would probably not complete a bachelors, definitely not a masters, and NEVER be a successful professional who could hack it in the real world.

J.R. wrote:
 Unlike socialism, capitalism does not actually require one to make a religion
 of it.

Is socialism a false religion? lol I would say many of the super self-made men and women of our time have made capitalism a religion and millions flock to their words and example. Periodicals like _Forbes_ venerate these economic demi-gods for all to see.

 I find I really like J.R. and Lee for their politico-economic views and their online personalities. We just don't see eye to eye on religion and it's role for humanity.
I guess I'm trying to say, I like you guys.

best wishes,


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