New Study Says; Upperclass People More Unethical Than Others.

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Blablahb:

Overhead:
This is basically Solipsism light. Because someone somewhere might have a different opinion, people can't be accountable to any kind of social, legal or ethical framework

It is if 'being unethical' is defined by which type of car you drive.

Because like I outlined, that's just rubbish. It's way too farfetched, even if they're stacking assumptions which may seem reasonable at first.

That's not how the experiment worked. The type of car was used to judge whether the person was upper class or not. The unethical behaviour was whether or not the driver broke the law by ignoring the California Vehicle Code.

Blablahb:

Overhead:
Their theory isn't that merely being upperclass makes you greedy, but a set of conditions common to upper class life may be causally linked with unethical behaviour.

And I wish them good luck proving it, because this collection of little flawed tests didn't.

Debating the merits of the tests is fine. Stating that they were trying to prove a causal link when they weren't serves no purpose except to discredit the research for a non-existent reason.

That book doesn't seem to go into that.

Why not?

Also it can't control for personal choices or other's acces to the car. You'd need a rock-solid connection before you can base another assumption on that, and they haven't.

Can't control for personal choice? What is that meant to mean? In pretty much any social science piece of research, personal choice is never going to be measured. That's the whole point. It's to see how people choose to function under different circumstances and across different sections of society. The fact that they have the choice to break the law or not break the law but that their wealth and status in society might influence them one way or another is the entire point.

As for other's access, it is a potential variable, but for it to influence things it would have to be other people having access to the car who are from a different social group. Families in a household are almost always the same class, so it would have to be leant to someone else. A friend or distant relative perhaps, but even then there is a predilection that it will be someone in your own class due to how social groups work.

So unlikely to happen but it doesn't just have to happen, it has to happen enough to completely invalidate any correlation between upper class people driving higher status cars.

That's not going to happen, but there's an easier way to see if this is possible. See what the research has shown in terms of car make being an indicator of social status, wealth, etc. As it turns out, the research shows that car type is a valid predictor of a whole range of information, including the key ones for deciding on class status of personal and household income.

Because their extremely generalising and specific conclusion demands this. Otherwise they shouldn't have drawn that conclusion, or make it limited in geographical scope and time.

I had a pretty solid base to say something about a regional identity in my thesis, but if I had started speaking about "regional identity" as a whole instead of just that one, it would've gone in the trash can without a second though. So should this research because of its bias and lack of control over their methods.

The whole basis of sociology is that the way people in society will act differs depending on a whole range of factors. Pointing out "Oh yeah, just like every single other sociology project on the entire planet which looks at a region these will probably vary to some degree depending on which region you look at" is essentially so sophmoric that it doesn't need to be mentioned as it's dotting the i's and crossing the t's. You can accuse them of not clarifying their position well enough, but it doesn't impact the research itself at all.

However, they did it anyway. In the discussion, their suggestion for the reason for unethical behaviour is that this is due to various cultural norms rather than some core human instinct. So they've dotted those i's and crossed those t's by specifically pointing out that their findings may not apply when the cultural norms they bring up differ.

Overhead:

Arakasi:
The term 'unethical' drills a hole in my brain. Different is not bad, selfish is not bad, it is different.
If social science wants to be respected they will start using propper terms when refering to people's differing moralities.

This is basically Solipsism light. Because someone somewhere might have a different opinion, people can't be accountable to any kind of social, legal or ethical framework!

No, that's not what I'm saying, what I'm saying is that if you are a scientist you shouldn't be throwing around such subjective terms as if they are factually correct. It's as bad as a tabloid paper, it's sensationalisation of science and it is the kind of thing which makes the scientific community look like scum.

Considering that I bust my ass in college so I can get a solid degree with good grades and thus form a stable career so that I will be able to live a financially successful (read: upper class) life, I really REALLY hate crap like this.

Arakasi:

Overhead:

Arakasi:
The term 'unethical' drills a hole in my brain. Different is not bad, selfish is not bad, it is different.
If social science wants to be respected they will start using propper terms when refering to people's differing moralities.

This is basically Solipsism light. Because someone somewhere might have a different opinion, people can't be accountable to any kind of social, legal or ethical framework!

No, that's not what I'm saying, what I'm saying is that if you are a scientist you shouldn't be throwing around such subjective terms as if they are factually correct. It's as bad as a tabloid paper, it's sensationalisation of science and it is the kind of thing which makes the scientific community look like scum.

No, the social sciences pretty much exclusively deal with subjects which are subjective in at least some regards. This is why they qualify what they mean when they talk about unethical in the study.

Considering that I bust my ass in college so I can get a solid degree with good grades and thus form a stable career so that I will be able to live a financially successful (read: upper class) life, I really REALLY hate crap like this.

Maybe you should focus greater effort on living an ethical life rather than getting rich then.

This "study" sounds fishy to me, to mangle a metaphor. Seems like this is mostly confirmation bias, Tall Poppy syndrome, and the achingly fashionable trend for bashing the "1%" and "the greedy bankers" (none of whom have done an honest day's work in their life and are all capitalist pigs, amirite?)

Of course, the working class are all salt-of-the-Earth upstanding citizens, and the only reason they're overrepresented in committing burglaries, violent crime, vandalism, drug dealing and cheating the benefits system is because they're the poor little underdogs doing what they must to get by. Gotta pick a pocket or two, guv! *cheery wink*

Overhead:

Maybe you should focus greater effort on living an ethical life rather than getting rich then.

Because the two are mutually exclusive?

The richest people are in the best position to make real change in the world and give more to charities than you or me could ever hope to earn, let alone donate.

Realitycrash:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

Yea this basically.

This just smells like somebody's lame attempt to label rich or successful people as being evil.

Batou667:

Overhead:

Maybe you should focus greater effort on living an ethical life rather than getting rich then.

Because the two are mutually exclusive?

The richest people are in the best position to make real change in the world and give more to charities than you or me could ever hope to earn, let alone donate.

Yes.

Being rich means engaging in a system which impoverishes billions and kills tens of millions a year. Giving a small portion of your wealth back to charity so that a small portion of the harm caused in the process of accumulating your wealth can be counteracted does not constitute positive change. It's comparatively better to exploit people and give something back than to exploit people and hoard your wealth of course, but that doesn't make it good or ethical.

Here's Zizek explaining it because Zizekmakes everything better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpAMbpQ8J7g

Overhead:
Yes.

Being rich means engaging in a system which impoverishes billions and kills tens of millions a year. Giving a small portion of your wealth back to charity so that a small portion of the harm caused in the process of accumulating your wealth can be counteracted does not constitute positive change. It's comparatively better to exploit people and give something back than to exploit people and hoard your wealth of course, but that doesn't make it good or ethical.

Do you have a job? Do you buy things? Then you're every bit as complicit in the system as these "fat cat bankers" we keep hearing about. Why is is a negative thing to be rich? Hell, what IS rich? Why the assumption that any gain is at the expense of others, and even if it is, why is this necessarily exploitation?

All I'm seeing so far is a whole lot of tall poppies, sour grapes, and not many actual reasons.

Here's Zizek explaining it because Zizekmakes everything better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpAMbpQ8J7g

Too long, did not watsch. Isch it poschible for you to schummarise thisch for me? (I could almost feel hit spittle through the computer screen.)

Batou667:
Do you have a job? Do you buy things? Then you're every bit as complicit in the system as these "fat cat bankers" we keep hearing about.

I do work and I do buy more than the minimum needed to subsist, like the laptop I'm on now and the electricity to power it. But I also volunteer with two charities (soon to be three), am a card carrying member of a political party aimed at halting this kind of suffering, donate money as and when I have some to spare, etc.

It's unethical of me to spend 18 on the Walking Dead video game when that could buy several courses of anti-malaria treatment for people in at risk countries, I admit that. But it's far less unethical than buying a new luxury sports car worth 90,000 which could create massive positive change in whole communities.

There are degrees of complicity and engagement with the capitalist structure of the world.

It's also worth pointing out that everyone is complicit to a degree. Even if you just lived off bread and milk and donated everything else to charity, that bread and milk would still be produced by a capitalist system reliant on mass exploitation. There simply isn't an alternative to engaging in the system to at least a small extent. Calling ordinary people every bit as complicit as investors and business owners who actually directly exploit is like calling conscripted soldiers as complicit in the brutality of was as four star generals.

Why is is a negative thing to be rich?

It means that you're massively and disproportionaly involved in the economic exploitation of your fellow human beings

Hell, what IS rich?

Does it really matter? If I say it's the top 5% of the richest people then you can say well actually you think it's the top 10% I don't really want to get into it because it doesn't really matter. I'd rather avoid that.

There are all different kinds of scales with all different kinds of reasoning for using them. It doesn't really matter about the specifics because we're talking in the abstract here rather than performing a concrete economic analysis.

Why the assumption that any gain is at the expense of others, and even if it is, why is this necessarily exploitation?

That's how Surplus Value works. You're probably also not familiar with the Marxist definition of exploitation. You should remedy this immediately and read the first few chapters of Capital post-haste!

But seriously, if you're not willing to watch the video I linked to I don't think I could write an explanation of Surplus Value that is both long enough to accurately represent the theory and stand a chance of convincing you while also being short enough that you'll pay attention.

Too long, did not watsch. Isch it poschible for you to schummarise thisch for me? (I could almost feel hit spittle through the computer screen.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjIT5LPxzDE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DudgWusxQ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuQSdAK4WgY

But really the short summary of the video is what I typed in my last post. You know; the post you said didn't have enough content and was just sour grapes, while you were simultaneously ignoring the load of content linked to in the selfsame post which directly addressed, backed up and explained what I was saying from one of the world's foremost living philosophers.

Overhead:
I do work and I do buy more than the minimum needed to subsist, like the laptop I'm on now and the electricity to power it. But I also volunteer with two charities (soon to be three), am a card carrying member of a political party aimed at halting this kind of suffering, donate money as and when I have some to spare, etc.

"Giving a small portion of your wealth back to charity so that a small portion of the harm caused in the process of accumulating your wealth can be counteracted does not constitute positive change" *cough cough*

It's unethical of me to spend 18 on the Walking Dead video game when that could buy several courses of anti-malaria treatment for people in at risk countries, I admit that. But it's far less unethical than buying a new luxury sports car worth 90,000 which could create massive positive change in whole communities.

WHY is it unethical for you to buy luxury or prestige items? Because we ought to spend just enough to barely survive and nothing more? Your 18 Walking Dead game and the millionaire's 90,000 Porsche both provide jobs for potentially thousands of people. Without the luxury goods and entertainment industries people would be out of jobs.

And like I said before, to a billionaire 90,000 would be chump change. There's a good chance that they regularly donate that, or more, to charities. Sure, they donate proportionally less to charity than you might, but in real terms they donate more, cause more change and save more lives. How can you a) condemn that and b) how do you fit that square peg into the round hole of your "money is bad" philosophy? Unsatisfactorily, I'd wager.

It's also worth pointing out that everyone is complicit to a degree. Even if you just lived off bread and milk and donated everything else to charity, that bread and milk would still be produced by a capitalist system reliant on mass exploitation. There simply isn't an alternative to engaging in the system to at least a small extent. Calling ordinary people every bit as complicit as investors and business owners who actually directly exploit is like calling conscripted soldiers as complicit in the brutality of was as four star generals.

You're right, we probably are using different definitions of "exploitation". Yes, each of us has to get up and work simply to be as poor at the end of the week as we were at the start of the week (income: wages; expenditure: food, bills, rent; profit: fuck all) but you're conjuring up mental images of Dickensian work houses and child labour. As crazy as this may sound to you, many people actually enjoy their jobs. Some particularly old-fashioned of us proletariat even still define ourselves by our professions.

Why is is a negative thing to be rich?

It means that you're massively and disproportionaly involved in the economic exploitation of your fellow human beings

This is probably Economics 101, but isn't a fundamental underpinning of capitalism the idea of social mobility? With sufficient hard work and an enterprising mind even a lowly worker can work their way up. There's nothing to say that this "exploitation", as you call it, need be a permanent state.

Hell, what IS rich?

Does it really matter? If I say it's the top 5% of the richest people then you can say well actually you think it's the top 10% I don't really want to get into it because it doesn't really matter. I'd rather avoid that.

My point exactly, you're railing against a nebulous and undefined idea. Remove all the billionaires and the millionaires would be the new top dogs. Remove enough rich people and eventually YOU, Overhead, would be the richest person in the world (oh horror!). It's all relative and there's no point at which "good" money starts becoming "bad" money. Like I keep saying, a lot of this sounds like simple jealousy, starting with the a priori that the rich don't deserve what they have.

Thanks for the video links, I'll watch them when I have more time.

In closing, could I ask what you'd suggest we replace filthy Capitalism with? Because as far as I can see it's the least of all possible evils, society-wise.

Overhead:

That's how Surplus Value works. You're probably also not familiar with the Marxist definition of exploitation. You should remedy this immediately and read the first few chapters of Capital post-haste!

But here's my question: how do you define that surplus value? Because there is a lot of value added to "goods" which cannot be valued. For instance a CEO adds value to the whole production process by coordinating and setting strategies which maximise profit making. If he wasn't there production plants might be much less efficient and workers may not be able to create as much value. And this happens at the whole creation => sales chain. Middle management adds value, upper management does too, the marketing team does as well, etc. Meanwhile the only thing we can calculate is the sales value of a product and the costs involved. And since we thus don't know how much value the rest precisely "add" you cannot calculate the surplus value. And let's not forget Shareholders add value too because their investments allowed the company to exist or to invest in new technologies which improve the productivity, etc. Really, it's a mess. Now you can guesstimate that in many cases based on ludicrous salary gaps there is clear surplus value among the lower tiers, but in other cases it gets shadier.

And what about rich independents? I mean they are the only tier involved in the whole chain as such there is no such thing as surplus value and yet they can be very rich. (Think of psychiatrists, consultants, etc.)

"Giving a small portion of your wealth back to charity so that a small portion of the harm caused in the process of accumulating your wealth can be counteracted does not constitute positive change" *cough cough*

Oh wow you have caught me out.

Oh, wait, no I explicitly said in my post that my behaviour was unethical and the bit you've quoted simply ignores the point that I built upon this bit, that the scale of unethical behaviour of the upper class compared to the working class in terms of their engagement in the capitalist system and their exploitation of others is massively different.

WHY is it unethical for you to buy luxury or prestige items? Because we ought to spend just enough to barely survive and nothing more?

It's a few hours of entertainment vs possibly saving other people's lives and certainly protecting them from harm. If the difference in importance between the two isn't clear and that choosing the former doesn't seem comparatively trivial and unethical to give precedence to on a very innate and personal level, I'm not sure what I could say to convince you.

Your 18 Walking Dead game and the millionaire's 90,000 Porsche both provide jobs for potentially thousands of people. Without the luxury goods and entertainment industries people would be out of jobs.

I'm not saying I would burn the money. I'm saying I would spend it on a worthwhile cause like vacinnating against deadly diseases which are very cost effective to treat. The money would just be spent in a different sector where it would also provide part of the capital necessary to employ people working in a pharmaceutical factory or whatever.

And like I said before, to a billionaire 90,000 would be chump change.

I wasn't talking specifically about billionaires.

There's a good chance that they regularly donate that, or more, to charities. Sure, they donate proportionally less to charity than you might, but in real terms they donate more, cause more change and save more lives. How can you a) condemn that and b) how do you fit that square peg into the round hole of your "money is bad" philosophy? Unsatisfactorily, I'd wager.

What they donate is a fraction of what they're taking in the first place. If a capitalists is living rich off his investments in British American Tobacco which owns numerous fields in Africa where people (sometimes very young children working illegally) will work the fields for a pittance and cause them to lead awful lives of poverty, donating a tiny portion of the profits of his investment to charity so that a tiny amount of the suffering his exploitation caused in the first place does not make him or the capitalist system ethical. It's a balm for the conscience and better than a kick in the teeth but doesn't even come close to bringing an overall neutral outcome, let alone a positive one.

That's specific example. More generally speaking, profits are made by extracting surplus value from labourers which is what is meant by exploitation. Unless the capitalist gives back the entirety of his profits (minus the cost of sustaining the means of production), he is causing a net negative effect to the labourers as he takes away from the value of the work they've done to better his own life.

Or to put it another way, it is immoral to use private property to alleviate some of the horrible suffering and evil caused by private property while continuing to consciously support and sustain the system of private property.

You're right, we probably are using different definitions of "exploitation". Yes, each of us has to get up and work simply to be as poor at the end of the week as we were at the start of the week (income: wages; expenditure: food, bills, rent; profit: fuck all) but you're conjuring up mental images of Dickensian work houses and child labour. As crazy as this may sound to you, many people actually enjoy their jobs. Some particularly old-fashioned of us proletariat even still define ourselves by our professions.

In the UK we basically have Work Houses-lite back now and even going by a really favourable view there are at least 100 million child labourers in the world today (some estimates put it at over three times that). There are literally people dying and suffering right now due to lack of money.

Also, I would answer, so what? There's nothing that necessitates people have to recognise the harm caused by the social and economic structures they live under for them to be harmful. Would you argue there was nothing inherently immoral about fuedalism because many people were satisfied to live under their feudal lords? No, you're just making an argumentum ad populum arguement of "Well look, there's all these people whoa re satisfied so obviously you're wrong".

This is probably Economics 101, but isn't a fundamental underpinning of capitalism the idea of social mobility? With sufficient hard work and an enterprising mind even a lowly worker can work their way up. There's nothing to say that this "exploitation", as you call it, need be a permanent state.

Not really. There's never been a socio-economic ideal which has resulted in completely and utterly rigid social stratification as far as I'm aware so it's just a matter of comparative social mobility.

In that regard Capitalism doesn't do too well, as there is a negative correlation between income inequality and social mobility. Essentially the richer and more free market countries have a tendency towards worse social mobility than the more centrally planned state-lead countries.

Also exploitation doesn't need to be a permanent state for an individual, but it does need to be the permanent state for the majority of people under Capitalism. doing away with exploitation would essentially be the same as doing away with profit. it's possible, but then what you're left with is something completely different from Capitalism.

My point exactly, you're railing against a nebulous and undefined idea. Remove all the billionaires and the millionaires would be the new top dogs.

I know exactly what I'm railing against and it's not something that's defined by the wealth percentile you fall into. Valid forms of anger are against investors, capitalists, private property, etc.

Remove enough rich people and eventually YOU, Overhead, would be the richest person in the world (oh horror!).

How would I be getting rich?

It's all relative and there's no point at which "good" money starts becoming "bad" money.

No, it's a fairly clear line. When the money comes from the exploitation of labourers it's bad. When it comes from a workplace owned and operated by the labourers under workplace democracy, it's good.

Like I keep saying, a lot of this sounds like simple jealousy, starting with the a priori that the rich don't deserve what they have.

You see how I've been giving reasons for why the rich don't deserve what they have, like the core importance of suplus labour, the suffering of billions of people, etc? That means it's not a priori because a priori basically means that something is a given based on common sense and knowledge. I've offered explanation for my views and backed them up. You can disagree with the explanations etc, but that doesn't make it a priori. That would only be valid if I hadn't bothered with the majority of my last few posts.

In closing, could I ask what you'd suggest we replace filthy Capitalism with? Because as far as I can see it's the least of all possible evils, society-wise.

Socialism, then Communism.

Kopikatsu:
Five years later, I actually have a lot more money than was inherited simply from investing it well and keeping the IRS off my case.

In other words: You stole from the people. Good job proving the study's conclusion right.

The Plunk:

Kopikatsu:
Five years later, I actually have a lot more money than was inherited simply from investing it well and keeping the IRS off my case.

In other words: You stole from the people. Good job proving the study's conclusion right.

How you equate investing in annuities to stealing is beyond me.

LetalisK:

Najos:

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it.

It's difficult to find anything to verify this, but this says otherwise.

Recently, PNC Wealth Management conducted a survey of people with more than $500,000 free to invest as they like, a fair definition of "wealthy," and possibly "millionaire" once you begin including home equity and other assets. Only 6% of those surveyed earned their money from inheritance alone. 69% earned their wealth mostly by trading time and effort for money, or by "working."

I'm trying to track down the actual study used, but no luck thus far.

Yeah, but that's a very high number to determine what upper class is. I just now realized I was operating on an incorrect assumption that the "upper class" is the top 20%, which only earns about 100k household income (or a lot more). If we're talking about the top 5%, or even the top 1%, we're getting into a very narrow realm. The thing is, even most of the super wealthy come from the top 20%. There's obviously a huge difference between 100k and 500k, but a family with an income of 100k can easily afford to send a couple of kids to college, help them start a business, etc. I don't even know where I'm going with this anymore.

Overhead:
Oh wow you have caught me out.

Oh, wait, no I explicitly said in my post that my behaviour was unethical and the bit you've quoted simply ignores the point that I built upon this bit, that the scale of unethical behaviour of the upper class compared to the working class in terms of their engagement in the capitalist system and their exploitation of others is massively different.

Cool. You're unethical, I'm unethical, Bill Gates is unethical. By the rather harsh conditions you're setting, how might a person be ethical while also not driving themselves to bankruptcy from donating all their money to charity, or an early grave from doing volunteer work 18 hours a day?

It's a few hours of entertainment vs possibly saving other people's lives and certainly protecting them from harm. If the difference in importance between the two isn't clear and that choosing the former doesn't seem comparatively trivial and unethical to give precedence to on a very innate and personal level, I'm not sure what I could say to convince you.

Would it make me a monster if I said that not only do I not care that the 10 I spent on beer tonight could have saved a dozen Africans, but furthermore I can't care? Sure, I care about the big issues in the world. Pollution, nuclear disarmament, racism, renewable energy. But nobody can spend every waking hour moralising and fretting about whether there isn't, conceivably, something they could be doing at that moment in time to help serve their fellow man. You're more than entitled to your little luxuries, same as I am to mine.

I'm not saying I would burn the money. I'm saying I would spend it on a worthwhile cause like vacinnating against deadly diseases which are very cost effective to treat. The money would just be spent in a different sector where it would also provide part of the capital necessary to employ people working in a pharmaceutical factory or whatever.

You think Big Pharma is in any way ethical?

What they donate is a fraction of what they're taking in the first place. If a capitalists is living rich off his investments in British American Tobacco which owns numerous fields in Africa where people (sometimes very young children working illegally) will work the fields for a pittance and cause them to lead awful lives of poverty, donating a tiny portion of the profits of his investment to charity so that a tiny amount of the suffering his exploitation caused in the first place does not make him or the capitalist system ethical. It's a balm for the conscience and better than a kick in the teeth but doesn't even come close to bringing an overall neutral outcome, let alone a positive one.

Finally, we're talking in specifics. No, I certainly don't support the blatant exploitation of developing countries.

That's specific example. More generally speaking, profits are made by extracting surplus value from labourers which is what is meant by exploitation. Unless the capitalist gives back the entirety of his profits (minus the cost of sustaining the means of production), he is causing a net negative effect to the labourers as he takes away from the value of the work they've done to better his own life.

...and in turn, each of those labourers should only spend what they need, and give the rest of their wages away to the poor, right? Sorry, Tiny Tim, no presents this Christmas. What a thoroughly miserable existence that would be.

What the rest of the world calls "generating a profit" - through the skill of the workers, the effectiveness of advertising, the willingness of people to buy a product - you insist on framing in the language of abuse and exploitation. Every monetary transaction an act of Social Darwinism, money being siphoned from the weak and the stupid like blood from their veins. Boy, am I glad I don't see life through your grey-tinted glasses.

I know exactly what I'm railing against and it's not something that's defined by the wealth percentile you fall into. Valid forms of anger are against investors, capitalists, private property, etc.

This is probably patently obvious to you, but please explain why any of the three things you mentioned are bad things?

How would I be getting rich?

Because wealth is relative, and in the land of the blind the man with one eye is king.

In closing, could I ask what you'd suggest we replace filthy Capitalism with? Because as far as I can see it's the least of all possible evils, society-wise.

Socialism, then Communism.

Haven't both of those systems been shown to be flawed, and ironically even more vulnerable to greed and corruption than capitalism?

I can sum up my thoughts on this:

The Poor steal because they must, the Rich steal because they can.

BeeGeenie:

The Poor steal because they must

Most poor people who steal have enough to afford the essentials. They steal because they WANT luxuries as well.

Kopikatsu:
How you equate investing in annuities to stealing is beyond me.

It's probably the "Keeping the IRS off your case", which implies you evaded taxes.

Blablahb:

Kopikatsu:
How you equate investing in annuities to stealing is beyond me.

It's probably the "Keeping the IRS off your case", which implies you evaded taxes.

The opposite. The IRS likes to take more than their share, so it's best to keep a very close eye on your finances, because they're more than happy to slowly siphon your money away. They also seem to conveniently give the wrong amount to wealthier people more often than middle classers, too.

Kopikatsu:
The opposite. The IRS likes to take more than their share, so it's best to keep a very close eye on your finances, because they're more than happy to slowly siphon your money away.

That's not how it is. You're talking about sloppy bookkeeping resulting in having to pay more taxes than strictly due.

That's nothing to do with the IRS or any other taxation service, but all with the private choices of a business owner to either keep the books or not. That happens everywhere. If you don't sign off on the value added tax forms, you also get a gentle reminder, and that they'll otherwise 'just estimate it'.

But then you automatically get your last filing, minus a few percent, and no returns claimed. (because for a business, VAT paid to suppliers minus VAT charged to customers is what you owe, and that's ussually a negative number, meaning you get money back pretty much at all times)

People who get that hate themselves for it because it can often cost hundreds of euros for a small business and thousands for a large one, but at the same time, filing the forms costs anywhere between the click of a button (if you got an SBR compatible software set) or 10 minutes if you use the paper forms with supplied envelope. And that's only four times a year.

Realitycrash:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

No. Danny didn't say that. He said that unethical people are predisposed towards becoming rich. You can't assume the inverse is also true that all rich are unethical, or assume that's what he's saying. That's like saying that because all dogs are animals, that all animals must be dogs.

Kopikatsu:

Blablahb:

Kopikatsu:
How you equate investing in annuities to stealing is beyond me.

It's probably the "Keeping the IRS off your case", which implies you evaded taxes.

The opposite. The IRS likes to take more than their share, so it's best to keep a very close eye on your finances, because they're more than happy to slowly siphon your money away. They also seem to conveniently give the wrong amount to wealthier people more often than middle classers, too.

The IRS doesn't take more than its share unless you choose to be lazy and accept their rounding instead of telling them what exactly you purchased or made.

That's not "Keeping the IRS off your case" that's "Doing your taxes properly".

When you say shit like "Keep the IRS off your case" people presume you mean "Going through legal loopholes to pay less than somebody who makes half of what you make" which in that case, you are stealing, even if it's 'legal'.

Damien Granz:

When you say shit like "Keep the IRS off your case" people presume you mean "Going through legal loopholes to pay less than somebody who makes half of what you make" which in that case, you are stealing, even if it's 'legal'.

How is it stealing if it's legal? Or unethical for that matter?

Ethics are based off the morals of the society in question, as are the laws. The two work in tandem. If it's not against the law, it's not unethical.

Besides, that's the entire reason you even hire a CPA or Tax Attorney, to save more money than you pay them. It doesn't matter how they do it, so long as it gets done.

Anyway, I wasn't talking about income taxes, I was talking about the taxes on the aforementioned annuities. While it is technically income, it's supposed to be taxed at a much lower rate since most of it is after-tax money anyway. Occasionally the IRS likes to pretend like it is income, and it's not.

But! I don't really file taxes, anyway. That's the PFR's job.

generals3:

BeeGeenie:

The Poor steal because they must

Most poor people who steal have enough to afford the essentials. They steal because they WANT luxuries as well.

Fair enough, they steal because they *feel like* they must... in order to compete with the rich.

Damien Granz:

When you say shit like "Keep the IRS off your case" people presume you mean "Going through legal loopholes to pay less than somebody who makes half of what you make" which in that case, you are stealing, even if it's 'legal'.

My parents only pay about 1/4 of what they make in taxes. This is because they have their own business and they can expense stuff off. Does this constitute a "loophole" or is a loophole just anything that you think isn't fair.

Champthrax:

My parents only pay about 1/4 of what they make in taxes. This is because they have their own business and they can expense stuff off. Does this constitute a "loophole" or is a loophole just anything that you think isn't fair.

I wouldn't say keeping your profit low by balancing the revenues and expenses is a "loophole" myself. Maybe if they buy stuff to "expense it off" that then ends up sitting around doing nothing, but in that case they might as well be throwing money out the window for the same results. But if the stuff that gets "expensed off" serves a function in their business and/or household, no, not a loophole.

BeeGeenie:
Fair enough, they steal because they *feel like* they must... in order to compete with the rich.

Come on, let's credit the working class with some intelligence and morals. A small subsection of the working class turn to crime because they want the end result (luxury goods, cars, bling) but would rather step over their own mother than follow the law-abiding route to this (hard work, sensible spending and saving up). Maybe that's partially a fault of modern society which glamorises a "gangsta" lifestyle and values branded trainers over hard work and education, but ultimately people have to be responsible for their own decisions. If that's true for the rich, then it's true for the poor as well.

generals3:
But here's my question: how do you define that surplus value?

Any Value created by labourers over and above the cost off their own wages (also the cost of maintaining and possibly expanding the means of production, depending on interpretation and context).

For instance a CEO adds value to the whole production process by coordinating and setting strategies which maximise profit making. If he wasn't there production plants might be much less efficient and workers may not be able to create as much value. And this happens at the whole creation => sales chain. Middle management adds value, upper management does too, the marketing team does as well, etc. Meanwhile the only thing we can calculate is the sales value of a product and the costs involved. And since we thus don't know how much value the rest precisely "add" you cannot calculate the surplus value. And let's not forget Shareholders add value too because their investments allowed the company to exist or to invest in new technologies which improve the productivity, etc. Really, it's a mess. Now you can guesstimate that in many cases based on ludicrous salary gaps there is clear surplus value among the lower tiers, but in other cases it gets shadier.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make or the question you're trying to ask. The creation of surplus value and the exploitation of workers is considered a very negative thing. Yes, all those people are involved in the continuation of this which is a bad thing.

Did you mean exchange value or price?

Also, just off hand, you're not factoring in how strategic decisions can have a negative effect on the exchange value (and therefore surplus value) of a commodity. CEOs can just as easily take value as create it.

Oh and shareholders don't create value, they merely enable the process to start in a socio-economic system where they hold the keys to the means of production.

And what about rich independents? I mean they are the only tier involved in the whole chain as such there is no such thing as surplus value and yet they can be very rich. (Think of psychiatrists, consultants, etc.)

These would rarely be independent at the level where they're rich. Secretaries, cleaners, junior professional, administrators, etc. These would typically be the Petite bourgeoisie.

Also they aren't the only part in the chain where there is no surplus value. There are many examples of working class independents from small farmers to solo taxi drivers to fruit and veg stall holders, etc.

Batou667:
Cool. You're unethical, I'm unethical, Bill Gates is unethical. By the rather harsh conditions you're setting, how might a person be ethical while also not driving themselves to bankruptcy from donating all their money to charity, or an early grave from doing volunteer work 18 hours a day?

By realising that 'unethical' is a massive scale where people can be involved in the exploitation and horrors of Capitalism to far greater and lesser degrees. As long as you're minimising the amount of unethical behaviour you undertake and trying to restructure society to tackle this problem, then your own minute failings are kind of overshadowed.

Would it make me a monster if I said that not only do I not care that the 10 I spent on beer tonight could have saved a dozen Africans, but furthermore I can't care? Sure, I care about the big issues in the world. Pollution, nuclear disarmament, racism, renewable energy. But nobody can spend every waking hour moralising and fretting about whether there isn't, conceivably, something they could be doing at that moment in time to help serve their fellow man. You're more than entitled to your little luxuries, same as I am to mine.

You don't have to care about it every second and spend your time worrying and agonising over it. But if you can't comprehend that someone that brings you some small enjoyment would be enough to save lives and that this latter purpose if of far greater importance, even if like me you're iltimately going to make a lot of these selfish decisions, then pretty much yeah, it does mean that.

You think Big Pharma is in any way ethical?

I think the entire socio-economic set-up of the entire world is unethical, so no. It's about minimising rather than some utopian ideal.

Finally, we're talking in specifics. No, I certainly don't support the blatant exploitation of developing countries.

I wasn't talking specificly. That was a singular example of a broader philosophy. It's the universal application of that example that's my concern, i didn't want you to focus on that one example like it mattered in and of itself.

...and in turn, each of those labourers should only spend what they need, and give the rest of their wages away to the poor, right?

No.

What the rest of the world calls "generating a profit" - through the skill of the workers, the effectiveness of advertising, the willingness of people to buy a product - you insist on framing in the language of abuse and exploitation. Every monetary transaction an act of Social Darwinism, money being siphoned from the weak and the stupid like blood from their veins. Boy, am I glad I don't see life through your grey-tinted glasses.

I'd refer to the upper class as the weak and stupid personally, but otherwise, yes. It is the entire basis of the Capitalist system. Profit is extracted from the labour of workers. If someone performs work in a day that is worth 100 once everything is taken into account that person won't be paid 100, they'll be paid 70.

This is basically that I'd said several times already, but I'm hoping this time it will click because this isn't a pet theory I've pulled out of my ass, this is the economic basis of Capitalism.

I know exactly what I'm railing against and it's not something that's defined by the wealth percentile you fall into. Valid forms of anger are against investors, capitalists, private property, etc.

Investors and Capitalists both provide no value and merely live off the continued exploitation of others, monopolising the means of production, causing massive amounts of suffering, poverty and death worldwide. Private property is the key feature by which this system is enforced.

Basically;

Marxism

Less basically but in a fairly entertaining manner;

http://cosmicpenguin.com/tmp/colliery3f
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3608/3608-h/3608-h.htm#chap21

Quite comprehensively;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/

Because wealth is relative, and in the land of the blind the man with one eye is king.

The ethics of wealth isn't just relative in terms of size, the socio-economic conditions upon which it is created make a real difference. Someone who got rich by buying a lottery ticket is different from someone involved in human traficking which is different from someone who invented a revolutionary item. So how do I earn my wealth in this example, because I can tell you up front I wouldn't be a business owner or investor if my life depended on it.

The only way I can see this happening is through me being fantastically brilliant (not hard for me) in a workplace democracy. In which case because my wealth would have been decided on through democratic consensus rather than the ability of people with capital to exploit their power over those without it, so no, not really.

Haven't both of those systems been shown to be flawed, and ironically even more vulnerable to greed and corruption than capitalism?

No.

Kopikatsu:

Damien Granz:

When you say shit like "Keep the IRS off your case" people presume you mean "Going through legal loopholes to pay less than somebody who makes half of what you make" which in that case, you are stealing, even if it's 'legal'.

How is it stealing if it's legal? Or unethical for that matter?

Ethics are based off the morals of the society in question, as are the laws. The two work in tandem. If it's not against the law, it's not unethical.

Ethics can be influenced by society, but they are not based off of it necessarily. Don't confuse sets of rules that particular professions use for governing their conduct (such as doctors, or journalists) as being representative of what ethics can only be. Those forms of ethics are actually a minority aspect within the field. For the most part, there is little difference between morals and ethics beyond semantics and particular conceptions tied to those words in the History of Philosophy (e.g. Hegel, and many other German philosophers).

While laws can sometimes be based off of a societal sense of ethics, they are also based off of necessity (perceived or actual) for a particular circumstance and time. Laws and ethics are often mutually exclusive in some areas: there is no necessary connection between the two at all times. Laws can be unethical, just as some form of ethics are not necessarily laws. Just because it may be legal to kill someone, does not necessarily mean killing them is ethical. Case in point, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany during World War II towards people viewed as being of an 'inferior race'.

The claim that "if it's not against the law, it's not unethical.", is often used as an excuse for the exploitation of others without having to think out the consequences or of the nature of actions being taken. Or to put it another way: it is often assumed to be a 'loophole' to be unethical when one has transparent motivations for personal gain.

I have no doubt an argument could be made for such a set of ethics, but I seriously doubt you will find many who will swallow it quietly, including myself.

Hap2:
Laws can be unethical, just as some form of ethics are not necessarily laws. Just because it may be legal to kill someone, does not necessarily mean killing them is ethical. Case in point, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany during World War II towards people viewed as being of an 'inferior race'.

That's actually a good example of my point. You say that killing people because they're considered to be inferior is unethical because of your individual set of morals, which have been imposed on you by your family, the society you live in, and shaped by your own experiences. For the Aryans, there was nothing morally reprehensible about killing inferior beings in the same way that one might crush an ant without a second thought. To you and the society you live in, such behavior/beliefs are unethical. For them and the society that they were a part of, it was not.

'Human rights' are no more than words on paper; and are largely meaningless. A human has no inherent value, thus no inherent rights; they are only worth what society deems their value at. For example, the POTUS has a large number of armed guards who are willing to die for him, as well as bullproof windows on his vehicles and such. As an ordinary citizen, you do not have the same value as the President. His life is demonstrably worth more than yours. (I add this part because I'm sure the immediate response to the first part is 'HUMAN RIGHTS SAYS IT'S UNETHICAL ANYWAY.') This is also why the death of Osama bin Laden was celebrated as opposed to the death of Milita Guy #49384.

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So Bill Gates is unethical.

Actors who donate, and go to Africa are unethical.

Greed is debateable. Because you said to be upper class I have to be unethical. You said they are rich because they are unethical. so if they were not rich they would not be unethical. These are people who donate more money than allot of us. What would be unethical is for them to donate no money even if they can spare it because it's not against the law. As for cutting people off, its a matter of patience which I also lack as well when my parents drived, and always leave a good amount of space in heavy traffic for another car to go into. It use to drive me insane, and this was traffic that last very long.

Overhead:

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make or the question you're trying to ask. The creation of surplus value and the exploitation of workers is considered a very negative thing. Yes, all those people are involved in the continuation of this which is a bad thing.

Did you mean exchange value or price?

Also, just off hand, you're not factoring in how strategic decisions can have a negative effect on the exchange value (and therefore surplus value) of a commodity. CEOs can just as easily take value as create it.

Oh and shareholders don't create value, they merely enable the process to start in a socio-economic system where they hold the keys to the means of production.

My point was that determining said "surplus value" is near impossible. For all you know there are big companies that reward their workers what they actually deserve to get. And sure CEO's can make bad decisions too, but in the grand scheme of things you never know how much value they create/destroy.

And i would say enabling value creation is in itself creating value.

These would rarely be independent at the level where they're rich. Secretaries, cleaners, junior professional, administrators, etc. These would typically be the Petite bourgeoisie.

Also they aren't the only part in the chain where there is no surplus value. There are many examples of working class independents from small farmers to solo taxi drivers to fruit and veg stall holders, etc.

Well it also depends on what you consider rich. I took a broad definition of rich considering i knew you're very left leaning (i thus included the upper middle class, to which many independents belong). And i didn't try to imply all independents were rich just that there are.

Realitycrash:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

Being a nice person is hardly ever the option to get the most money into your pocket.

A nice person will give a beggar a dollar.
A bad person will not give a beggar a dollar.

That's a very black & white scenario, but it portrays my point.
Being nice/ethical is only so because it requires some kind of sacrifice from your side.
If you don't have to make that sacrifice, you have more resources to spend on your own wealth.

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