The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Grigoris
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by Grigoris »

Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:17 pmAs far as I know, Marx didn't figure that problem out.
That is what the Bolsheviks tried to do, but ended up setting up a (quite new for the specific time period) different type of system of oppression.

Other groups around the same time tried to put in place different structures (it was definitely a period of social/political experimentation), but most were crushed by the whoever happened to be better armed and organised (Bolsheviks in the East, Capitalists in the West).
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Grigoris wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:22 pm
Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:17 pmAs far as I know, Marx didn't figure that problem out.
That is what the Bolsheviks tried to do, but ended up setting up a (quite new for the specific time period) different type of system of oppression.

Other groups around the same time tried to put in place different structures (it was definitely a period of social/political experimentation), but most were crushed by the whoever happened to be better armed and organised (Bolsheviks in the East, Capitalists in the West).
I guess I should go study, but can you summarize the well intended approach of the Bolsheviks?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Grigoris
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:31 pm
Grigoris wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:22 pm
Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:17 pmAs far as I know, Marx didn't figure that problem out.
That is what the Bolsheviks tried to do, but ended up setting up a (quite new for the specific time period) different type of system of oppression.

Other groups around the same time tried to put in place different structures (it was definitely a period of social/political experimentation), but most were crushed by the whoever happened to be better armed and organised (Bolsheviks in the East, Capitalists in the West).
I guess I should go study, but can you summarize the well intended approach of the Bolsheviks?
To set up a society where the workers (or in the case of the Bolsheviks, the representatives of the workers) were in charge.

The Anarchists of the time tried to take out the middle man (the Party) and allow direct control by the workers.

This lead to bloody clashes between Anarchists and Bolsheviks while they simultaneously both battled against the Monarchists and Capitalists.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:17 pm Well, if this shutdown lasts months, maybe I'll take a look. In the meantime, dharma study seems more pragmatic.

I admit I don't know much about Marx or much political theory outside of what I learned in school and bits and pieces I picked up. That's neither here nor there, though. I have a lifetime of experience that tells me, whatever formal rules we put in place, if the people following the rules are jerks, its not going to work no matter how well thought out. Sooner or later everything collapses. And the common denominator in every political and economic disaster seems to be that humans have a tendency to be nasty little shits. As far as I know, Marx didn't figure that problem out.
This is true, but if anything contemporary capitalism exacerbates this problem, it's pretty much built on the idea that people should be encouraged to be jerks. I think this tendency has become more obvious even to people who at one time saw it as "ethically neutral" or "just the way things are".

My take is that capitalism and the political structures which sprung up under it in are going to end, and we are living in the beginning of it's collapse..or transformation if you prefer. This shouldn't really be controversial, to paraphrase Ursula K LeGuin (and anarchist, btw) at one time people could not envision a feudal world not run by the divine right of kings either, at one time that was just "the way things are".

Despite the flaws of Marxism (mostly Leninism, Stalinism and the more authoritarian variants really), I think his basic ideas about capitalism, it's flaws, and eventual undoing of itself are probably correct. What that will ultimately look like, who knows. I actually buy in somewhat to the anarchist critiques of (authoritarian) Communism, in that I think (to your point on people being jerks) it is basically impossible to have a non-oppressive "workers state"...at least with our current forms of social organization - that is exactly why new ones are needed.
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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G: It sounds like a great idea. I don't trust that class of citizens to be any less of a bunch of jerks.

JD: Yeah, I guess I was getting at what you identified more directly... our system fetishizes greed as the propellant for a better world. As Buddhists, one of the first things we learn is that greed does indeed make the world go round, but it doesn't amount to a better world, just the perpetuation of suffering. We ought to be curbing greed.

I think we are moving to a different system, but I'm not sure its one of greater liberty, etc. but rather something dystopian in the immediate term.

Toynbee, fwiw, I think would say we are heading into the Universal State - which is actually the period of decline. The thing is, the Universal State can endure for millennia, like it did in Egypt. There's no guarantee of better anytime soon.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:41 pm
boda wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:52 pm
Queequeg wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:14 pm Back to my initial conclusion... its really about values.
Sure, but how do you think they would need to change exactly?
Pretty simple.

Image

What is an ass hole you ask? I think we know one when we see one.
The problem is that it's not that simple. If it were, wouldn't everyone know that the current POTUS is one? The innate moral intuitions shown in the Sixty Minutes episode develop differently in people's lives.

I think the shift in values needs to move towards well-being, in the eudaimonic sense, and away from materialism or the pursuit of wealth, status, power, and the like. In the USA we are trained to pursue the latter, and at least in most cases at the expense of the former. Is anyone trained to pursue well-being?

Of course on a Buddhist forum, I suppose that I'm preaching to the choir.
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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boda wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:42 am The problem is that it's not that simple. If it were, wouldn't everyone know that the current POTUS is one? The innate moral intuitions shown in the Sixty Minutes episode develop differently in people's lives.
Good point. Though I think a lot of people actually like that he's an ass hole, especially when he pwns Pelosi & Co. I don't want to pass judgment on what that might make them...

But your overall point is well taken.
I think the shift in values needs to move towards well-being, in the eudaimonic sense, and away from materialism or the pursuit of wealth, status, power, and the like. In the USA we are trained to pursue the latter, and at least in most cases at the expense of the former. Is anyone trained to pursue well-being?

Of course on a Buddhist forum, I suppose that I'm preaching to the choir.
Can I get a "svaha!"
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by well wisher »

boda wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:42 am I think the shift in values needs to move towards well-being, in the eudaimonic sense, and away from materialism or the pursuit of wealth, status, power, and the like. In the USA we are trained to pursue the latter, and at least in most cases at the expense of the former. Is anyone trained to pursue well-being?
Well said. In fact, being obsessed with materialism and excessive acquisition of wealth is very harmful to mental health and overall well-being. And in my opinion the pursuit of excessive wealth is also an utter waste of time considering the bigger picture of limited human lifespan (definitely less than 150 years), and nobody can definitively take their material wealth to the afterlife. Extreme selfish hoarding just makes way too much waste.

Only the middle way makes reasonable sense to me - acquire only the material good of what is needed for survival, to be used in this temporary transitory lifetime, and cut down on excessive waste.

Queequeg wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:37 am Can I get a "svaha!"
Gate gate paragate, parasamgate, bodhi SVAHA! :thumbsup:
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Inequality multiplies the effects of coronavirus -
..."In theory, while the virus is an equal-opportunity offender, the impact is certainly not going to be felt equally," Ashwin Vasan, a public health expert at Columbia University told Al Jazeera. "We live in a deeply unequal society. And that plays out in every dimension of life."

Members of lower-income communities are at greater risk of becoming hospitalised and getting even sicker, Vasan noted, because they often live in more crowded conditions. And many hold jobs that place them on the frontlines of the pandemic, such as warehouse workers for delivery services that have become a lifeline to millions of Americans under lockdown.

Low-income Americans are also more likely to receive insufficient medical care, while financial insecurity can multiply the negative consequences for households coping with the stress and strain of the coronavirus. ...
:reading: https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/coro ... 06374.html

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by Kim O'Hara »

mortality-rates.jpg
mortality-rates.jpg (121.32 KiB) Viewed 936 times

Once again, USA is the outlier.

:toilet:

The chart is from https://independentaustralia.net/life/l ... -win,13766 which really belongs in a coronavirus thread, but I thought the chart belonged here, too.

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by Kim O'Hara »

This article is two years old but it certainly belongs in this thread.
Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State

You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.

Let me give you just five examples...

Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel . And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special — the treatment will have to be novel, too. ...

But that is America’s task, not the world’s. The world’s task is this. Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.
:reading: https://eand.co/why-were-underestimatin ... 04d9e55235

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Kim O'Hara wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:29 am This article is two years old but it certainly belongs in this thread.
...
Interesting. Upon reading, a few random thoughts:

The old gods are gone, Americans give lip service to "In God We Trust," but it's always been the Almighty Dollar that rules. The motto should read, "Too Much Is Not Enough."

America is a very young country, with no solid history as a nation. Essentially we're a hodgepodge of immigrants from widely varying backgrounds, many of whose ancestors were looking for a better life - and just as many were looking for a quick buck, or were criminals kicked out of other places. No unifying ethos underlies us. We're groundless.

IMO, the first cracks in the American facade appeared in the 60's. We had an opportunity to repair that damage, but blew it. Then in the 80's Ronald Reagan opened Pandora's box and legitimized greed; the die was cast. That, and our hubris, are what will bring the whole thing down.
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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justsit wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:01 pmThe old gods are gone, Americans give lip service to "In God We Trust," but it's always been the Almighty Dollar that rules. The motto should read, "Too Much Is Not Enough."
It doesn't specify which god they trust in, obviously they meant Mammon.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by Kim O'Hara »

justsit wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:01 pm
Kim O'Hara wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:29 am This article is two years old but it certainly belongs in this thread.
...
America is a very young country, with no solid history as a nation. Essentially we're a hodgepodge of immigrants from widely varying backgrounds, many of whose ancestors were looking for a better life - and just as many were looking for a quick buck, or were criminals kicked out of other places. No unifying ethos underlies us. We're groundless.
All of that is equally true of Australia - more true, in fact, since our "white" history didn't start until 1788, and our multi-ethnic surge of immigration didn't really take off until after WW2.

I wonder why the present differences between us are so great. One big one, surely, is that you had to fight real wars to get the English out, and then to unify your country. Is this where your gun culture comes from?

But yes, neoliberalism is toxic and has been poisoning you for fifty years. We have our own dose of that to deal with, too. :toilet:

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by Queequeg »

justsit wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:01 pm "Too Much Is Not Enough."
I'm partial to the ring of "I got mine!"
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Kim O'Hara wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:40 pm I wonder why the present differences between us are so great. One big one, surely, is that you had to fight real wars to get the English out, and then to unify your country. Is this where your gun culture comes from?
The two things that come to mind are that Australia is still connected to the stability of a constitutional monarchy, and you don't have the horrendous history of slavery that we must deal with (are still dealing with - it's nowhere near resolved). IMO, most recently, the deep resentment created by the Obama presidency plus the intrusion of social media into every facet of life, and now the virus/lockdown/financial crisis, have created the perfect storm.

And yes, I think the gun thing grew out of the need for militias at the outset of independence; but that's another topic.
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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Queequeg wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:36 am
justsit wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:01 pm "Too Much Is Not Enough."
I'm partial to the ring of "I got mine!"
:thumbsup:

Or, as my father used to say, "In God we trust; all others pay cash."
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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

Post by mikenz66 »

justsit wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:14 am
Kim O'Hara wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:40 pm I wonder why the present differences between us are so great. One big one, surely, is that you had to fight real wars to get the English out, and then to unify your country. Is this where your gun culture comes from?
The two things that come to mind are that Australia is still connected to the stability of a constitutional monarchy, and you don't have the horrendous history of slavery that we must deal with (are still dealing with - it's nowhere near resolved). IMO, most recently, the deep resentment created by the Obama presidency plus the intrusion of social media into every facet of life, and now the virus/lockdown/financial crisis, have created the perfect storm.

And yes, I think the gun thing grew out of the need for militias at the outset of independence; but that's another topic.
Also bear in mind that though Australia is physically large, it's population is less than California or Texas, and the majority live along the coastal area running from Adelaide to Brisbane, comparable in scale to California.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... population
So, though it does have Federal and State levels of government there is not the same diversity, or multiplicity of levels, so it is a little easier to be unified.

And, as Kim points out, until after WWII, Australia (like New Zealand) was still somewhat of an outpost of the British Empire, the melting pot stuff came later...

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Re: The World’s First Poor Rich Country

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https://www.newsweek.com/stimulus-check ... em-1497916
Late Monday evening, the U.S. Treasury Department ordered the Internal Revenue Service to print President Donald Trump's name on the stimulus checks it is sending to millions of Americans nationwide, reports The Washington Post.

The Treasury Department's order could cause the checks to be delayed by several days or longer, senior agency officials told the publication.

The unprecedented decision will mark the first time in history that a president's name has ever appeared on an IRS disbursement. Usually, presidents' names don't appear on checks issued by the Treasury Department in order to keep such payments non-partisan.
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