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 The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?

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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:08 am

cactus flower wrote:
Mindless consumption holds its dangers:


When did I mention about mindless consumption? Quote to me where I argued for mindless consumption/.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:13 am

Ongoing obliteration of non-renewable resources and destruction of species, including fish stocks, seems to me to be mindless.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:41 pm

johnfás wrote:
All possibly true but you can't base the fact that upheavel and conflict were necessary in the past as an argument that they are inevitable in the future. I say this precisely because as you say, we live in a period of innovation. Particularly in regard to the media, communications, globalisation, the world is now a very different place to previous times, our form of upheavel will likely be as different.

Upheaval and conflict are happening right now - millions of people have been slaughtered in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US/UK war machine precisely to seize control of the world's most important resource - oil. Those wars are going to spread and indeed the US government have been promising a 'war century' and has legislated the right for itself to declare war unilaterally on any country it thinks is acting against its interests - nothing provocative has to occur. Oil itself is disappearing - production levels are now beginning to tail off - peak production has been reached - there's a slight plateau because of the financial crisis but that's just a temporary glitch in terms of its effect on production and supply. There is virtually nothing in our economy that is not based on oil either in its manufacture or its supply. All food is dependent on it. Most of the innovation that humans are too inclined to congratulate themselves about is reliant on oil and there is no chance whatsoever that a comparable alternative energy source will be available or ready to meet the fall off in supply on time. These facts are heralding a devastating change in human existence. In the end Ard Taosieach, your outlook amounts to 'it'll work itself out somehow'. Well you're not wrong, of course, but it is likely to be something of a very different order to what you anticipate. Free trade and the childish notion of endless economic growth is the very essence of what got us to this needless mess. We have never taken stock of the consequences of what we do, of the finite nature of the world and our ever-growing population. The consequences will bring themselves home to us

I keep wheeling Albert Bartlett out on MN and if you havent seen his lecture on oil, growth and the exponential function then I really recommend it. He also has a comment about those who say 'people are always claiming a great disaster is looming and it never happens.' He says this is as ill-informed an attitude as it could possibly be in the circs. The amount of time we have existed as a species on this planet is the minutest fraction of its own life. Despite that, we are racing through its resources at completely unsustainable levels. Predicting tipping point has been a difficult thing to pin down to a precise year (the realtive equivalent of trying to locate the centre of a pin point with the naked eye) but already signs are that we have reached it. Bartlett makes a joke about folk like you ArdT, he says you make him think of a guy who has jumped off a very tall building and whom it will take 5 seconds to smash into the ground. After two seconds he yells out, 'see, I told you nothing would happen'. Man, you really need to get out there and find out what is going on. I kind of envy your cosy if somewhat oblivious cheeriness Smile. We're so worried that me and my partner are off to the UK soon to learn about subsistence farming and other basic life skills because we reckon we're going to need 'em before too long. At least we need to prepare our children for what they will certainly have to face during their lifetimes - and it ain't going to be free trade.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:45 pm

Aragon wrote:
your outlook amounts to 'it'll work itself out somehow'

Incorrect, I just reject the notions of people who seem to be very confident in their own opinion of how it will work itself out. Such opinions tend to be wrong.

Quote :
but it is likely to be something of a very different order to what you anticipate. Free trade and the childish notion of endless economic growth is the very essence of what got us to this needless mess.

I never mentioned economic growth - I mentioned globalisation and a rise in communications. My point was that I do not anticipate a new order. Such an order is likely to occur, but I don't anticipate with anything near certainty what it would be. Why? Because I would probably be wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:14 pm

johnfás wrote:
Aragon wrote:
your outlook amounts to 'it'll work itself out somehow'

Incorrect, I just reject the notions of people who seem to be very confident in their own opinion of how it will work itself out. Such opinions tend to be wrong.

Quote :
but it is likely to be something of a very different order to what you anticipate. Free trade and the childish notion of endless economic growth is the very essence of what got us to this needless mess.

I never mentioned economic growth - I mentioned globalisation and a rise in communications. My point was that I do not anticipate a new order. Such an order is likely to occur, but I don't anticipate with anything near certainty what it would be. Why? Because I would probably be wrong.

Cross purposes there Jonfas -I was replyting to posts by both you and Ard T - sorry if that wasnt clear enough.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:36 pm

johnfás wrote:
Aragon wrote:
your outlook amounts to 'it'll work itself out somehow'

Incorrect, I just reject the notions of people who seem to be very confident in their own opinion of how it will work itself out. Such opinions tend to be wrong.

Quote :
but it is likely to be something of a very different order to what you anticipate. Free trade and the childish notion of endless economic growth is the very essence of what got us to this needless mess.

I never mentioned economic growth - I mentioned globalisation and a rise in communications. My point was that I do not anticipate a new order. Such an order is likely to occur, but I don't anticipate with anything near certainty what it would be. Why? Because I would probably be wrong.

From my recall you said that you believed that conflict would not necessarily occur and that the fact that historically there had been conflict over social change did not mean that it would happen again.

I think that conflict is inevitable and is already underway. There is no chance imo that the class of people who benefit massively from control of the present economic system would hand over peacefully to a system that was based on sustainability and distribution according to need. It would be in conflict with their interests and their ideology. The extent and outcome of the conflict would depend on a lot of factors including the extent to which the existing system was in collapse and the extent to which an alternative was ready to replace it. If you could find an example of any phase of history in which there has been a economic systemic shift that took place on a voluntary handover basis I would be prepared to change my views on this.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:41 pm

I didn't say that it would not occur, I argued that it was not inevitable. That is, it is not inevitable in all situations. Ongoing conflict is an inevitable part of human development and has been since time immemorial. That does not mean that we are necessarily entering a period of total conflict, world war or anything like it. We might be, but there is nothing thus far to entirely suggest that we are. Britain, France and America have all been funding wars and proxy wars throughout the Middle East since the 1940s and arguably the 1930s, America intervened in Asia (Korea, Vietnam and others) throughout the 1950s onwards.

What makes you so certain that we are moving towards a system based on sustainability and distribution according to need, cactus? We never have had such a situation, save possibly in tribal communities, so based on all past evidence, which seems to be the forte of this discussion, it is unlikely to occur. Is your argument based on the Marxist principles of the virtual inevitability of such a system being created? Such notions seem more aspirational than evidential.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:01 pm

Quote :
johnfás wrote:
I didn't say that it would not occur, I argued that it was not inevitable. That is, it is not inevitable in all situations. Ongoing conflict is an inevitable part of human development and has been since time immemorial. That does not mean that we are necessarily entering a period of total conflict, world war or anything like it. We might be, but there is nothing thus far to entirely suggest that we are. Britain, France and America have all been funding wars and proxy wars throughout the Middle East since the 1940s and arguably the 1930s, America intervened in Asia (Korea, Vietnam and others) throughout the 1950s onwards.

What makes you so certain that we are moving towards a system based on sustainability and distribution according to need, cactus? We never have had such a situation, save possibly in tribal communities, so based on all past evidence, which seems to be the forte of this discussion, it is unlikely to occur. Is your argument based on the Marxist principles of the virtual inevitability of such a system being created? Such notions seem more aspirational than evidential.

Straw dog here, johnfás. I didn't say we were inevitably going to have a world war (although the danger of future large scale conflict, is there - just read US military strategy documents, as published by the US government).

What I am talking about is a shift from a system that essentially quarries out the resources of the planet to the benefit principally of a tiny percentage of the population, to a system of sustainable management and distribution, in which we live within the resources we have without damaging them beyond future use. Is there a third option I haven't thought about? I am definitely in favour of the latter rather than the former, whatever name you want to put on it, and far from thinking or saying it is inevitable, I think that it would be difficult to achieve, and is resisted by vested interests.

I'm not only pointing to the past, as a reason for believing that change to sustainability is not consensual, but also to the inherent conflicts in interest between the different groups.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:12 pm

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/the-natural-world-the-environment-f55/race-condition-t1422-100.htm#44526

Link to the "Race Condition" thread, where this discussion probably belongs- -this thread back to tax matters please. mod cf
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:42 pm

cactus flower wrote:
http://machinenation.forumakers.com/the-natural-world-the-environment-f55/race-condition-t1422-100.htm#44526

Link to the "Race Condition" thread, where this discussion probably belongs- -this thread back to tax matters please. mod cf

Good point CF. Mea culpa, for one. We sort of went off at a tangent when the proposition to keep taxes low for the rich was mooted further up the thread. What's really pissing me off about the subject of taxing the rich is how it seems to be some sort of shocking and/or unthinkable topic in government quarters. It is a subject that raises fundamental principles about our way of life.

Taxing the rich is so difficult as things stand. The law has evolved to support them above all. Tax havens ought to be closed down globally, imo. Every person should declare a state to which they will pay taxes and equitable tax harmonisation should be imposed on a global basis so that no country enjoys a competitive edge over another. No one person should deserve any more than their fair share of the world's resources. Within that context people are free to innovate, invigorate and enjoy their lives to the hilt so long as nothing they do is detrimental to the common good - their efforts their own reward - plus the appreciation and support of their family and community. How much does Tony O' Reilly need to eat after all?
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:45 pm

Problem is how you develop such a global order, Aragon. It suits the tax havens to be tax havens so there is no incentives for them to support such a move. In fact, it would be to the detriment of their economies without some sort of carrot of investment from other economies with more diversified industry. How can we expect the Isle of Man, Jersey or Switzerland to do something which is not in their economic interest in order to satisfy our desire to tax the wealthy with nothing concrete in return for them?
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:59 pm

Aragon wrote:
Every person should declare a state to which they will pay taxes and equitable tax harmonisation should be imposed on a global basis so that no country enjoys a competitive edge over another.
Just to drag us off-topic once more (she can take it) I can't say I'm particularly fond of the idea that everyone must (I know you say 'should') belong to a state. It raises all sorts of worrying notions.

I'm all for taxing the hoors by the way, until they revoke their citizenship anyway. But then that reminds me of the future Klein predicted in the Shock Doctrine, where the rich live in little self-contained communities and contribute nothing to the wider system. I suppose the idea is that you only get taxed for what you take from society, which in a rich privitised world is very little. It seems to be the way the system works now, with the rich paying little and the poor paying loads.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:07 pm

In as much as I give out about market economics, I still firmly believe that open and transparent market mechanisms are the best way forward for the time being. Efficient market mechanisms give individuals the freedom to choose between various employment opportunities, investment vehicles and provide liquidity for technological innovation.

There is only one fly in the ointment, so to speak. Humans. Open markets allow for humans to participate in various market opportunities, but humans are also opportunitistic in how they manipulate the very market that create opportunities. Hence no market is ever efficient or transparent. There is always a nation, industry or cabal of individuals who gain some upper hand and wish to maintain their status through wealth accumulation. People and power blocs can manipulate markets in various ways, but I would put the bedrock of manipulation down to information or the lack of it at any given time.

The world is not constructed nor has it evolved along egalitarian lines. Some people are smarter than other people. Some people are born into accumulated wealth. Some countries have an abundance of natural resources while others have very little. Some people are great inventors but haven't a business brain cell in their heads. Some people are so besotted with capital/asset accumulation that all other factors take a back seat - family, friends and society at large.

The market forces that have evolved are so strong that entire ideologies have been constructed that envision societies run along entirely lead market foces. All other considerations of society are reduced to balance sheet items of assets and liabilities. If you're sick and weak, you're a liability. If you can make money, you're an asset and should get special treatment.

And then govt came along. Is its role, as seems to be defined in Ireland, merely to be economic managers with a good dollop of social engineering that import cheap labour and capital, or does it have a larger role to play in society?

I see there is a wee debate about wealthy individuals. I've just finished listening to a podcast where an individual has started an invesment club in London. Minimum cash position to join the club is £25 million. The individual was asked why he choose London, and it was because the UK had essentially become a tax-haven for wealthy individuals. When queried about dodging tax in his home country while not contributing to his adopted country, he answered that while it was morally incorrect there was nothing any country could do to stem this type of activity because there were so many tax havens across the world that individual countries couldn't possibly stop this from happening.
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PostSubject: Re: The Wealth of the (Irish) Nation - Why not tax the rich ?   Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:52 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
In as much as I give out about market economics, I still firmly believe that open and transparent market mechanisms are the best way forward for the time being. Efficient market mechanisms give individuals the freedom to choose between various employment opportunities, investment vehicles and provide liquidity for technological innovation.

There is only one fly in the ointment, so to speak. Humans. Open markets allow for humans to participate in various market opportunities, but humans are also opportunitistic in how they manipulate the very market that create opportunities. Hence no market is ever efficient or transparent. There is always a nation, industry or cabal of individuals who gain some upper hand and wish to maintain their status through wealth accumulation. People and power blocs can manipulate markets in various ways, but I would put the bedrock of manipulation down to information or the lack of it at any given time.

The world is not constructed nor has it evolved along egalitarian lines. Some people are smarter than other people. Some people are born into accumulated wealth. Some countries have an abundance of natural resources while others have very little. Some people are great inventors but haven't a business brain cell in their heads. Some people are so besotted with capital/asset accumulation that all other factors take a back seat - family, friends and society at large.

The market forces that have evolved are so strong that entire ideologies have been constructed that envision societies run along entirely lead market foces. All other considerations of society are reduced to balance sheet items of assets and liabilities. If you're sick and weak, you're a liability. If you can make money, you're an asset and should get special treatment.

And then govt came along. Is its role, as seems to be defined in Ireland, merely to be economic managers with a good dollop of social engineering that import cheap labour and capital, or does it have a larger role to play in society?

I see there is a wee debate about wealthy individuals. I've just finished listening to a podcast where an individual has started an invesment club in London. Minimum cash position to join the club is £25 million. The individual was asked why he choose London, and it was because the UK had essentially become a tax-haven for wealthy individuals. When queried about dodging tax in his home country while not contributing to his adopted country, he answered that while it was morally incorrect there was nothing any country could do to stem this type of activity because there were so many tax havens across the world that individual countries couldn't possibly stop this from happening.

I agree. It is information which is the important factor which means that we should be improving with teh invention of things like teh Internet. Neverthless at the government/public level there should be 100% transaparency.

In Spain €150billion has been set aside to inject liquidity into banks, although nobody is told who exactly and for what those transfers are for. Ultimately this lack of transparency only ends up hurting the poor most.
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