Politics, Economics, and Religion

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Politics, Economics, and Religion

Religion has so many connections to political and economic beliefs, there needs to be a place to identify linkages, problems, goals, options, action plans and evaluation criteria.  

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Latest Activity: 11 hours ago

What is the purpose of life?

An eternal question, what is the purpose of life?, occupied philosophers’ thoughts throughout history. Stone pictographs reveal even primitive peoples reflected on this query. Each one has the capacity to define his or her personal thinking about politics, economics and religion.

Discussion Forum

The Tyranny of Growth

Started by Sentient Biped. Last reply by Joan Denoo 11 hours ago. 1 Reply

This issue comes to my mind a lot.  For anyone who works for any corporation, it must come up at some time.If there is a "10 Commandments" of capitalism, or a "10 Lessons of the MBA", the centrality of "grow-or-die" must be up there.  Maybe it's the…Continue

How much change can Pope Francis bring to the Catholic Church? (CBS News)

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck 12 hours ago. 2 Replies

The "mass appeal" of Pope Francis was on clear view as he celebrated Easter at the Vatican this morning. Popular as he is, he is still just one man, and the church he leads is large and complex. Mark Phillips reports from Rome: It's not too…Continue

Tags: content, style, change, Pope Francis

Externalized risk rushing back to bite us in the

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on Tuesday. 0 Replies

As the 1% sucks up ever more wealth, the US infrastructure is ready to implode. To cut taxes on the ultra wealthy, we've rotted the physical and cultural supports upon which our society depends.…Continue

Tags: nuclear safety, chemical storage facility safety, maintenance, education funding, US infrastructure

MAN meaning Human, I assume

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Joan Denoo Apr 12. 2 Replies

Thanks to WELCOME TO ECO-LOGICAL: A GROUP FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS/ and moderator, Dallas the Phallus. Continue

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Comment by Sentient Biped on June 11, 2012 at 5:15pm

Joan, I don't know if it has been worth it or not - no one can know what is the effect in the long run, of making decisions earlier on.  I do know a lot of people my age who are moving in with their children, or vice versa, have lost their job or downsized considerably, or are otherwise in trouble, losing their health insurance, losing their homes.  My street has had empty houses for long stretches of time. 

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Still, spending one's youth working 80 hour weeks takes a toll.  I'm not a happy go lucky guy.  Sometimes I have a gallows sense of humor.  That work ethic is partly a residual from family stories, and tales like the hare and the tortoise, the grasshopper and the ants, the little red hen....  wisdom from the ancients :-)

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Actually, thinking about it, that "indentured servitude" (grad student, lab tech, post doc, internship, residency) aspect was more like 20 years, and quite a lot I ultimately threw away (long story), but it did get me out of a place where I should not have been, and into a place where life has been much better.

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The debt aspect is a big deal tho.  So many people advised me to invest my savings rather than pay off the house.  I'm still glad I paid off the house instead.

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On "why is labor undervalued" gobalization must be part of the answer.  Americans and Europeans are competing against people who live in squalor and earn dollars a day, often in virtual or actual slavery.  An interesting perspective hereCorporations such as Wal-Mart, Google, UPS, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T and Intel, among others, followed by European multinationals, through business organisations such as the Shangai Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. – China Business Council, are doing all they can to stop [labor rights] legislation and maintain exploitative and extreme poverty conditions, the rejection of basic human rights, unhealthy
conditions, the absence of legal contracts and the lack of labour safety conditions for millions of Chinese workers"  How does a worker who expects decent wages, job security, medical benefits, vacation, compete against that?  One thing for certain - any American worker who shops at Walmart, especially if they use credit card, is shooting themselves in the foot.  Better to make things last longer, make at home, fix, not replace, what's broken, buy less, and do more.  Then check labels for "Made in America" before buying.

Comment by Tammy S on June 11, 2012 at 1:09pm

SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of "something", add contract & you have a derivative.
Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill.
This visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company's total coverage for all cars.

Derivatives - The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks

Comment by AgeOfAtheists14 on June 11, 2012 at 12:50pm
Comment by Daniel on June 11, 2012 at 3:36am

I don't wish to give away the conclusion as to what factors actually drive "The Polarization of American Politics" but the actual factors I think are quite interesting.

http://www.princeton.edu/WebMedia/media/lectures/20101202_preslect_...

Comment by Joan Denoo on June 11, 2012 at 12:28am

S. B. Yes, If one does a longitudinal study of income inequality, the trends clearly show buildup of the middle class from 1945 to 1975 and then a flattening of wages to the present. For a long time it was hidden, and I didn't notice until I got my first computer in the 1980s and started doing stats analysis from Colonial days to present.

Your generation and mine had access to student loans and in your case of military service, access to education. I'm certain your "Herculean" efforts paid off for you and you probably don't regret the time and energy it took to complete your studies. I shudder to think of a "military enlistment, a willingness to be essentially an indentured servant for over a decade" 

 

"The chart below from Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) illustrates how labor’s share of income in the United States has plummeted while personal dividend income as a percentage of disposable income has soared since 2009."

Apple and Income Inequality in the U.S.

I wonder if enough people begin to realize this change over the last 35 years they will begin to look seriously at what underlies these changes? What attitudes changed? Why was labor income so undervalued and dividend income so overvalued? 

Comment by Sentient Biped on June 10, 2012 at 11:42pm

I don't know.  Maybe it's just because I'm looking, but it seems like there is growing attention to inequality in USA.  Like this Yahoo article I just saw.  I know it's possible to cross economic lines  - I did it - although it's taken a lifetime, the effort is Herculean, and the cost is more than most people can handle.  In my own case, it came about due to military enlistment, a willingness to be essentially an indentured servant for over a decade, and lack of dependents during most of that time.  I can't really recommend it, but in some cases it can happen.  Just not to everyone.

Comment by Joan Denoo on June 10, 2012 at 10:48pm

Clearly, money buys access to power. It is easy to understand why people who earn their living from investments want to and are able to spend personal money on elections; however, to see and hear working people and those who try to keep a family business going, it is harder to understand how they can be quiet in the face of current trends. 

We, you and I, may have seen the apex of a growing middle class. Perhaps this country will never see it again. However, I wonder if loss of economic and political power will quiet the yearning of people to have access to opportunity. I can't imagine a free and empowered people can settle for second class positions. Perhaps a yearning will brew in people who are not willing to settle for crumbs of society. 

“creativity is the key to education in its fullest sense and to the

solution of mankind’s most serious problems” 

~ Guilford’s (1967a p. 13)

Comment by Steph S. on June 10, 2012 at 10:36pm

Thanks for the email regarding the discussion. I will check it out.

Comment by Sentient Biped on June 10, 2012 at 8:53pm

Also, does it benefit the nation that so much of our political system is bought by the super wealthy?  npr.  ""It's the 1 percent of the 1 percent who account for almost a quarter of all individual campaign contributions,"

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Why should the incredibly rare ultra wealthy individual, unelected, invisible, pull the nation's strings?  How are they held accountable?

Comment by Sentient Biped on June 10, 2012 at 8:49pm

Joan, having 50 billion dollars is so unthinkable and obscene.  Is there evidence that allowing such accumulation of wealth improves some sort of societal innovation?  Are we better in some way as a nation, to have people become so rich?   It seems to me the opposite, like the dog in a manger, sleeping on the hay - not allowing the other animals to eat the hay, even though the dog does not eat it either.

(Dog in a Manger, wikimedia commons)

 
 
 

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