Best form of Government
Posted Feb 28, '13 at 2:03pm
As for leadership, I'd go with democracy, obviously. I could elaborate on how I believe a democratic government should work but that would probably be boring.
The thing that would surely make my ideal state stand out would be the abolishment of heritage. To me, it sounds like the most blatant form of social injustice of our modern world. Actually, I find it incredible that it survived to the French revolution (oh wait, now that I think it, the ones who made the revolution only abolished the privileges that they didn't have. Not that surprising).
Posted Feb 28, '13 at 6:20pm
I'm not quite agreeing here.. where should one's belongings go then, if not to the members of the family? Sure it might sound unfair if someone inherits a family business while others get a few objects, but the government cannot just go around sacking the money from the departed.
The question is not, heritage or not; the question is, what should be inherited and what not? In the example above, I believe personal objects/wealth should stay within the family, while things like businesses or anything at least partly public can be debated about.
Besides, we have here something like an inheritance tax, which is a pain in the *** for us medium revenues.. which isn't right either, it's always the medium revenues that come off the worst.
Don't expect too much from a revolt that started because they had not enough bread :P France never fully left its monarchic mindset behind...
Posted Mar 1, '13 at 4:44pm
Why can't it go all to the state? It will eventually go back to the citizens, either through services or maybe even through a state issued inheritance when one becomes an adult, the same sum for everyone of course.
I really can't find any downsides from the moral point of view. The centuries made it an obvious thing for us, but heritage defeats any attempt to equalize people's starting conditions through public services, and it seems just the modern world manifestation of the darwinistic urge to ensure the widespread of one's genes, rather than the good of mankind as a whole, committing injustice and discrimination towards everyone else.
I can't say I know how inheritance taxes work, but seems an excellent solution, especially because it can easily follow an exponential (progressive, I think it's called) model, since the person didn't do anything at all to deserve the money. Thatt would be much easier for people to accept than a complete abolishment, and it lowers the risk of the economy getting less competitive when people lose the aim of ensuring a good future to their descendants, which, I'm afraid, is a good part of what motivates people to work all their lives.
(whew, posts of this kind take a lot to write)
Posted Mar 1, '13 at 6:04pm
As human beings, we do our best to better the lives of those we love. As a father, you'll do everything you can to make sure your children are as happy and successful as possible. Surely, you wouldn't want your children to receive nothing after you die, no? If so, you're an unfit parent in my honest opinion.
You have this idea where each individual should succeed within their own merit. This way, it's "fair" for everyone. This idea that everyone starts off as equals and compete fairly is a wonderful wet dream! But when you get out in the real world and you care for other people, you realize how absolutely horrendous this ideology really is.
But allow me to explain how stupid, immoral, and ineffective it is to take away inheritance.
I. Taking Away Inheritance ONLY Punishes The Grieving.
Suppose I'm rich and I have a son at the age of 30. I would like to present you with two scenarios.
1. I live a long life and pass away at the age of 80. I was able to pay for my son to go to an expensive college, as well as fund his first business. When I passed away, the government took the remainder of my cash. All of this happened AFTER I helped my son pay for everything.
2. I die young at the age of 40. My son is 10 years old. My money is taken away from me and my son doesn't get any of it. I don't get the opportunity to pay for my son to go to an expensive college, nor do I gain the opportunity to fund his first business. Had I lived till the age of 80, I could have done these things! But, I didn't. I died and had my inheritance taken away before I could even spend it on the one person I loved.
So what did you accomplish by taking away inheritance? You punished someone because they lost a family member or friend. Your system punishes people for not having parents who live long enough. I guess, in your system, we can go around complaining, "he's only rich because his father lived to a ripe old age!"
If you want equality, allow families to help their loved ones both before AND after death.
II. Inheritance effects EVERYONE.
So the idea is to take inheritance from everyone, then redistribute said money. That way, rich families end up poorer, middle class families stay relatively the same, and poor families end up richer.
I have to ask this, because it doesn't make any sense even with today's form of taxation. If taxation benefits the poor, why do we even take money away from the poor in the first place? If we take 20 dollars from one guy, 10 dollars from another, and 0 from the poorest - and If we redistribute the money so everyone receives 10 dollars, then what was the point of even taking my money in the first place?! All you did was cause me to go through more stress!
I do understand, your logic assumes that because most of the wealth is owned by the minority, almost everyone will receive more than they lose. Now, besides the fact that it's wrong to take from others just because they have more than you, it's wrong to take money from people just to give it back to them later.
If I'm middle class and I'm satisfied with the inheritance I am left with, why would you take it away and give it back later? You could even promise that I'll receive more than what I lost, but why would you not give me a choice? Why would I not be allowed to say, "no thanks, I can make due with what I'm receiving"?
III. The Government Can't Be Trusted
I understand we're talking about the "idea" government. Part of the idea government is one in which is perfect in every way and never makes any mistakes and is never wrong. HOWEVER, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you support inheritance tax within our current society! This MUST be addressed!
If you live in America, you need to understand where tax dollars go. When someone takes away a portion of inheritance, the person who doesn't receive the inheritance does NOT receive their money back. The government spends that money on welfare, bombs, politicians' paychecks, bailouts, and other funds that don't involve you.
You're going to argue that it's important we take care of each other. But we can take care of each other WITH inheritance. We can take care of each other in VOLUNTARY ways. We don't need the government to take all our money and take care of us. We can just take care of us our selves? We can take care of others by cutting out the middle man, which happens to be the government!
If you want to argue that we need government to pay for certain services, fine. But don't tell me we should fund government through inheritance. It's not only counter productive and immoral, but it also doesn't fix the problem that some people will be privileged growing up.
Oh, I guess I should explain why inheritance tax is immoral.
Well, if you own something and somebody takes it, that's immoral. It's literally that simple.
Posted Mar 1, '13 at 6:37pm
Definitely don't have time to write down anything that big right now, but I'll state the most obvious replies:
First, sure, you'll do everything for the ones you love, but I am idealistic enough to believe that you shouldn't love everyone else much less than your children, and even if you do, you should still treat them the same as your children.
I. My idea would be backed by a quite heavy socialistic system, to limit the power a wealthy man can transmit to his children, not just though heritage, but also as the expenses you mentioned, by ensuring the possibly best level of education and such to everyone. I probably should have mentioned it, but since the aim is to set the same conditions for everyone, some socialism is the staring point, since that's the way governments have done it until now.
II. Doesn't sound like the biggest problem honestly. You can pick that strong inheritance tax instead of abolishment idea, if you don't like taking and then giving back to the same person.
As for the volunteer argument, that's the argument that always kills most of my brave political ideals, but in this case we're not talking about forcing justice (or equality, if you prefer). We're talking about preventing injustice.
Last point didn't really make sense, sorry. It's immoral to take away something you own, okay, but you're also going to need to explain why is it right that you own what your parents owned, or you can't just say that you "own" inheritance. It's not like you did anything to earn it.
Posted Mar 1, '13 at 7:09pm
You can't just force people to see everyone else as equal to their family. That is counter to our nature. But respect for people is not exclusive to family bonds at all.
I feel equal distribution of wealth should, in an ideal system, already be warranted by regular taxes, following a percentage system fair for everyone. That way, you leave everyone the right to dispose of the rest of their wealth as they wish, and material heritage, that is often bound to sentimental value, something that has been ignored in the argument so far, doesn't need to be taken away.
And yes, you did do something to earn your heritage; you were part of the family enough for your parent not to disherit you. What did everyone else do to earn your parent's wealth? Nothing.
Posted Mar 1, '13 at 7:45pm
Obviously you've never had a close relationship with someone before. But, even if you have and you still somehow believe everyone should be treated exactly the same, despite the fact you don't know who everyone is, their background, and whether they truly deserve your kindness, it's redicilous to literally try and force everyone to hold this moral ideology - or at the least, be forced to act as if they held this moral ideology.
Oh, God forbid someone treats their children well!
I'm a millionaire and I want to make sure my child can go to the best school possible. Oh wait, that wouldn't be fair for everyone else so I'm going to tell my son to find a job and work his way through community college and hope someone loans him money so he can afford college and spend years paying off that debt.
You're saying people should have a limit to how much they give to their own children, on the basis that it's not fair for everyone else. This ideology is absolutely ludicrous. I can't pay more for my son because other people are poor?
The most insulting thing is the fact you believe people shouldn't be allowed to make their own decisions. What if someone wants to give their whole world to their son, who are you to tell them their priorities?
Even if inheritance isn't completely abolished, a strong tax runs into the same problem. The idea some *** hole is going to take a portion of my father and grandfather's money when they die literally drives me to thoughts of defending what is mine through whatever means necessary.
Living better than someone else is not an injustice. If I have money, it isn't my fault the people down the street are poor because they don't work, waste their money on alcohol, or had a child at the ripe old age of 17.
We don't have to earn everything we own. We should be allowed to receive ownership. It doesn't matter if it's a gift, or inheritance. It doesn't matter if it's a car, or money. People should be allowed to give their property to whomever they want.
If I work and accumulate $100,000, that money becomes mine. I can do whatever I want with that money. If I want to give my money to someone else, I should be allowed to do so because it's my money. When you see someone inherit money, you wonder what that person did to deserve that money. What I see is someone inherit money, I understand that the money was owned, and the owner decided what would happen to their property after they died.
It's not about earning, it's about ownership. It's about property rights. When you donate money to the poor, what did the poor do to earn that money? Probably nothing, yet we still donate! Should this be illegal, or should we have a high tax on donations? Oh, wait, we already have a tax on donations! (Donation tax is also total BS).
We should decide what happens to our property when we die.
One of the things that makes zero sense to me is life insurance co-existing with inheritance tax. When you die, the government takes a portion of your money before it's given to your family. However, if you have life insurance, the insurance company pays you family money to cover for different expenses. If life insurance exists so your family receives money after you die, then what's the point in taking any of the inheritance? Makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever.
And I have to apologize for being incredibly blunt here. But understand, the idea that someone else I don't even know can come in and take my father's money when he passes away drives me into a fit of rage. He's a blue collar worker who comes home covered in grease every day. The idea that someone can come in and take a cut of the money he earned drives me mad. I didn't do anything to deserve that money, but I believe my father should decide what happens to it - every last penny he earned on the sweat of his back. If he decides to give all the money to charity when he dies, I'll be upset, but it's his money to do with as he pleases.
So yeah, this is a bit of a sensitive issue for me.
Posted Mar 2, '13 at 6:38am
I understand what you mean, and the thing about my relationships might be true. But yet, if I had to choose to save from death either an hypotetical child of mine or some other child, I think I would still hear the voice of reason telling me it's not fair to decide basing on genetic affinity, and remembering me about the other child's parents who didn't get the choice. I know I have feelings much stronger and more primordial than the desire of justice, and that those feelings will eventually determine my choice, but in a less dramatic situation, I think I would at least try to show some respect to the other child and his family.
From a more realistic point of view, this is exclusively about the financial aspect of the relationship between a father and a child, that will probably become much less important in a society where all the basic needs are satisfied by the state. If the best college is public and free (I would also be glad if you stopped using college expenses as an argument, because in such a socialistic situation they wouldn't be necessary) then the father will find more meaningful ways to show his love.
Anyway, this is some quite futile debate, because what really is dividing our stances is here:
Yes. I do believe it IS an injustice. I do strongly believe that if they don't work, waste their money on alcohol, or had a child at the ripe age of 17, it's either because they have been unfortunate with external circumstances, or because they were born already carrying their defects, the latter including lack of willpower, perseverance, or mental strenght, which cause a lack of effort. And I do NOT believe they ever had a fully free-willed choice to change their fate. The handicapped, the retarded or the lazy deserve NOTHING less than the Nobel prize scientist, and it is UNJUST that they get a worse life, since neither ever had a chance to become anything else than what they are.
But for the sake of confrontation, I will respond to your other points as well.
Yes, basing on the stance I described above, I believe that would be the most just thing, but it isn't the point of the heritage critique. That was oriented more to giving each person the same starting conditions, then achieve the level of wealth and affluence they can get. That doesn't make much sense with the morals above, but it takes into consideration that a society's purpose is not only to estabilish justice, but also to ensure the progress of mankind, so giving incentives and motivation to the talented is acceptable, because it can lead to a benefit for the whole society, including the more unfortunate ones.
Posted Mar 2, '13 at 10:10am
It's not so simple. If I murder someone, you're not going to tell me about my right to make my own decision of killing the guy, nor about my right to place the guy's life wherever I wanted in my priority list, you're going to tell me how it was unfair for him to lose his life. So yeah, if it IS unfair to someone, the society CAN prevent people from making their own decisions. The debate is about whether it's actually unfair, or not.
I guess you're right there, but it's also a matter of priorities. I feel that such huge disparities in starting conditions are a huge injustice, and I think it is far more relevant as a problem than the freedom to gift stuff to people. Also, beside the idealistic point of view where property is holy no matter what, it seems to me that the main concern about losing the right to pass down wealth is that, as the world is now, it would entail a big disadvantage for the heir, while in the heritage-free ideal society it would not, as the state would take care of him in a good enough way.
Excellent then, because my idea is pretty much just the abolishment of heritage plus a state issued life insurance. :P
No problem, I didn't get offended. But I definitely expected my idea to be more agreeable, at least from leftwing people.
Posted Mar 2, '13 at 1:25pm
College is redicilous. We already waste 12 years of our lives sitting through school. After 12 years, we are then expected to go to college for another 4 to 6 years.
The problem with state run college are the following:
This has everything to do with supply and demand. Ideally, we want as many people to go to college as there is a demand for college level jobs. Too few, and we have a greater demand for college students, making college a more valuable investment with higher guarantees to get a job. But if you give everyone free college, you get far more people with degrees than what is in demand. This results in many places hiring people based on whether they went to college or not, even when it's not a college level job. To add insult to injury, they hire people with degrees that have nothing to do with their career.
Employers want to hire people who are committed, and college is a great way to show commitment. Whenever free college is introduced, it essentially forces everyone to go to college if they want to make a decent living. This leads me to my next point.
2. Government Funded College Kills Better Alternatives
College is a broken system. It's incredibly expensive and time consuming. It could EASILY become more efficient, more affordable, and less time consuming. When you have government paying for college, you prohibit change.
You have to understand how business works. Money represents value, and people have to measure whether something is worth trading money for. If the U.S. government wasn't handing out so many college loans, most people who are dependent on those loans wouldn't be going to college, at least they wouldn't be if said colleges didn't change the way they operate.
If people decide college isn't worth going to, the college needs to find ways to become cheaper, more effective, and less time consuming. If they don't make these changes, they go out of business. But since the government prohibits this debt by giving people money to go to college, the college never aims for better efficiency.
Imagine if you own a restaurant with over priced food. You're the only restaurant in town. Few people will eat at your restaurant because they would rather make food at home. Because people would rather eat at home, you're forced to lower prices as well as find more efficient methods of making the food. If the government gave people money to eat at you restaurant, however, then you would have no reason to make improvements! You're making a profit because the government is keeping you in business.
Liberals hate monopolies. They hate it when the government bails businesses out because those businesses should be allowed to die for being reckless. But as soon as we medicine or school, the mindset completely changes. Instead of letting inefficient schools go bankrupt and more efficient schools gain more business, we give students loans to go to the inefficient schools.
One of the biggest, most irrational fears, is that people will stop going to college if the government doesn't hand out loans. If nobody goes to college, most colleges will go bankrupt. If most of these colleges go bankrupt, there will be no higher education! Well, fear not, because like ALL successful business models (that don't rely on government aid or coercion), these institutions WILL find ways of becoming more efficient.
College isn't supposed to be something that's so cheap anyone can get in. Granted, it shouldn't only be available to the rich. We want college to be cheap enough where anyone can find ways of paying for it without inheriting piles of debt, while at the same time being expensive enough to where people will only go to college if it's really worth it.
3. Over Qualification
This has to do with supply and demand.
There are only so many college level jobs available. The goal is to have the supply of workers and demand for said workers be relatively the same. When you offer "free" college, more people end up with college degrees, raising supply.
When too many people have college degrees, only a handful of them end up with the limited number of college level jobs. So now you have people with degrees and no college level job, so they find cheaper work that only requires a high school degree. Employers are more inclined to hire college graduates because they show commitment and because they have more incentive to pay off their debts.
So what does this mean? It means you have high school level jobs being filled with college students. It becomes more difficult for high school graduates to find higher level paying jobs. It then forces high school graduates to go to college. But they aren't going to college for college tier jobs, they're going to college so they can make a DECENT wage.
I don't want everyone to go to college. I know this sounds evil and cold hearted, but it's the exact opposite. We should aim to have enough college students to meet the demand of college level jobs. When people have to start going to college just to make a decent career in something a high schooler could have easily figured out, then we're just wasting time and money.
But wait, you want college to be free for everyone, right? So why did I continue to talk about costs? Understand, nothing is truly free. If you pay for students to go to college, you still have to pay college prices. When the government pays for you college, you didn't get it for free, you pay for it through your taxes involuntarily.
We should find ways to fix this problem. We should find ways to motivate these people to become productive members of society.
This determinism is absolute hog wash. It assumes that because people are lazy, they will remain lazy. Even IF this was true, it does NOT justify us giving them the same life style as someone who actually works and become productive member of society.
But, as I stated before, determinism is BOGUS. We DO have free will. To suggest someone will remain lazy due to them being inherently lazy is not reality. These people CAN be motivated to work. People who work hard do so because they either have strong values or they are being rewarded for their hard work. There is plenty of evidence that suggests people can be motivated all around you!
The mentally handicapped should be cared for, but they should also be treated humans as much as possible. Mental retardation exists at multiple different levels. Some people with said handicap are able to work a simple job, where others can not progress mentally past the age of 6.
But we don't need the government to take care of these people, or anyone. YOU should take care of these people. Other people like YOU should take care of these people.
Believing natural phenomena to be an injustice is like believing in original sin. People aren't being judged by their actions, but the environment in which they were born.
You're more concerned with making sure everyone starts off equally rather than trying to make sure everyone starts off as well as possible.
Let's look at person A,B,C,D, and the amount of wealth they start off with at birth.
What bothers me is that people who make the argument you're making would rather everyone start off with, say, 15 wealth. You improved the condition of 1 person, but you made worse the condition of 2 other people. You see this as more fair, and therefore more progressive.
Progression is increasing the well being of individuals. You may or may not be an exception, but people with your thought process would rather take from the privileged as a means of making things "fair".
This ALREADY happens in a free society.
There are circumstances in which people don't live up to their full potential, but there are multiple problems with starting them out at the same level.
1. Starting everyone out at the same level does NOT insure people will reach their full potential. Since EVERYONE is born different, some people might require more wealth to reach said potential.
2. There are ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, going to be other factors that effect one's development. Having everyone born into the same wealth won't necisarily make their parents better people, or their communities more friendly, or any of the other influences less effective. By taking money away from one group and giving to another, you still don't achieve your completely unrealistic level of equality.
To sum 1 and 2 together, we're all different. It would be nice if we were all born into a rich family, but we aren't. We can't force this to happen. We have to accept that there are unfortunate circumstances and that we should help them to the best of our own ability, not through taking away from others.
3. The ONLY way to make sure everyone is born into the same wealth is to make sure all families are equally wealthy. Even if you take money from the rich and redistribute it, that money is going to flow differently. Some people will save the money, others will spend it. Some will invest it, others will waste it. This will change the wealth of families and will always be present.
In fact, the above is why communists don't believe in a monetary system.
4. As mentioned earlier, not everyone's parents pass away when they are young. As long as we allow parents to spend money on their children, what you propose is literally impossible. You did mention that we should limit how much a parent can spend on their child, but I can't even begin to delve into how many problems there is with this, how immoral it is, and how it would require an omniscient ruler.
You'll find that my example was perfectly consistent. All you have to do is apply the non-aggression principle.
If I kill a man, I initiated force against him against his will. I took direct action towards that person and he didn't even have a say. By giving my money to my son, I have not done anything against his will. If, for one reason or another he doesn't want the money, he is free to decline it!
The only similarity between inheritance and murder is that they're both actions, and I provided a link explaining how you can tell whether an action is acceptable or not.
I don't know why you would even want such a society to exist. Why would you aim for a government that not only takes care of people, but in which you're forced to let the government take care of you? Wouldn't it be better to strive for a society in which the people are efficient at taking care of themselves? And when certain individuals aren't able to help themselves, shouldn't we strive for solutions in which we voluntarily help these individuals?