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What a contrast in living conditions


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#1
sari

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The Washington Post had a very ironic pair of stories on the front page today.

The first one was about displaced people in the country of Chad.

http://www.washingto...7030702253.html

The sun beat down on 18-month-old Izzedine Adam, who sat naked and crying on the floor of his roofless straw hut. His mother cannot afford a sturdier home or even clothes to protect him from the cold desert nights. For now, she is just trying to find enough food to keep him alive.

"I don't know whether he'll live or die," said Ashta Adam, 24. "We have nothing to eat, nothing for him to eat. The most important thing is food."

The Adam family fled to Dogdore, in eastern Chad, in October when Arab fighters burned their village to the ground, raided their food stocks and stole their animals. The attack was one of several during the last few months of 2006 that mirrored ethnic violence in the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan.


The second one was about rich people in London who have been receiving outrageous bonuses, and how they choose to spend their money. (note to anyone from the UK - I'm not directing this at you, because we have the some behavior in my country; I just think it was an unfortunate juxtaposition of stories).

http://www.washingto...7030702643.html

They call themselves "the haves and the have yachts": rich London bankers and traders who drop tens of thousands of dollars for an evening of cocktails and hire "personal concierges" to get their girlfriends dresses like those worn by movie stars.

Long a hub for the world's ultra-rich, London has just welcomed an unprecedented number of newcomers into those ranks. Analysts here estimate that London's financial stars were paid a total of $17 billion in annual bonuses in recent weeks -- including more than 4,200 people who received bonuses of at least $2 million each, on top of salaries already sagging under the weight of zeros.


I sometimes wonder if all these people with this ridiculous amount of disposable income all sent a portion of their money to places like this, could they make a difference? Does anyone need to have 6 billion dollars in their bank account?

I know people dislike Bill Gates and Microsoft, but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been successful in bringing healthcare and vaccines to poor countries, and have been able to make an impact in the lives of other people. Billionaire Warren Buffet chose to leave the bulk of his fortune to the foundation rather than to his children. It amounted to about $30 billion. He recognizes that he doesn't need that money, especially after he's dead, and it can be put to better use.

I sometimes wonder if all these people with this ridiculous amount of disposable income all sent a portion of their money to places like this, could they make a difference? Does anyone need to have 6 billion dollars in their bank account?
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#2
dsenette

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Does anyone need to have 6 billion dollars in their bank account?

a NORMAL (average) person could live a comfortable reasonable life on the interest ALONE of $1 million in the proper type of account...anything above 5 million dollars in personal wealth is useless...all you can do with that is squander it...unless you're actually human...in which case you can help others out...but...why do that when you can keep it to yourself to show off to your friends....most rich people make me sick
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#3
warriorscot

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Meh i just tend to ignore things like that its life its been like that for thousands of years why would it change, the only difference now is that we have much less poverty in certain(read our) parts of the world and we are doing ok unfortunately there is still allot of places that havent changed at all in a very long time and most of the more modern prosperous nations no longer pursue empirical expansion which is pretty much the only real way to actually bring the rest of the world to the same level and develop the infrastructure to do so unfortunately the only empire left that could doesnt work that way and it pretty much screwed the last one that did over so that it could never do it again.

Mind you its sad but i wont lose sleep over it, certainly its terrible for a small percentage to have so much wealth, but in most of africa there is some pretty substantial overpopulation as in many other parts of the world and the whole world in general, and things like that are a natural response nature and human nature has its own checks and balances. Nobody said life was fair in fact its distinctly unfair but when there is overpopulation war and famine follow and well its sad but if it were any other way those of us who live in the wealthy nations would be in a fair whack of trouble its selfish but having so much wealth in our parts of the world has certain advantages to maintaning the dominant position of our nations and our own continued survival.
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#4
sari

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Mind you its sad but i wont lose sleep over it, certainly its terrible for a small percentage to have so much wealth, but in most of africa there is some pretty substantial overpopulation as in many other parts of the world and the whole world in general, and things like that are a natural response nature and human nature has its own checks and balances.


You make it sound like they're a herd of deer and that this is nature's way of taking care of the over-population, when in fact they've ended up in these camps because "Arab fighters burned their village to the ground, raided their food stocks and stole their animals." I'm not sure that's nature running its course. It sounds more like human nature at its worst, and I'm not sure that one group of people killing and destroying another is necessarily a system of checks and balances.
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#5
warriorscot

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Well most predatory animals do the same thing, whenever there isnt enough food to go round the strongest take from the weakest and you either fight or you move on but if you cant move on well you have to fight for it. Sometimes we forget but humans are just animals, great apes and predatory ones at that its our nature its the nature of most animals we arent immune to it because we are the top of the food chain.

Edited by warriorscot, 08 March 2007 - 02:30 PM.

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#6
dsenette

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Well most predatory animals do the same thing, whenever there isnt enough food to go round the strongest take from the weakest and you either fight or you move on but if you cant move on well you have to fight for it. Sometimes we forget but humans are just animals, great apes and predatory ones at that its our nature its the nature of most animals we arent immune to it because we are the top of the food chain.


predatory animals don't take more than they need scot...ever...there are animals that "horde food" but not at the levels that are detrimental to other animals and they only horde their food once a year before winter or a dry season or whatever....they don't store food to store food...or take food for the sake of having it...this is completely different than natural selection and survival of the fittest...to compare the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer to darwanistic concepts is horrible at best....

i'm a really apathetic person...but...even this get's me agitated
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#7
sari

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Exactly, dsenette - this is not natural selection at work. Natural selection doesn't mean children starve while other people buy $200,000 cars.

Warriorscot, you say that empirical expansion is really the only way to bring the rest of the world to the same level, but I'm not sure that's the answer. In the past, empirical expansion has meant people from one country moving in and taking over, usually at the expense of the natives of that country. Subjugating the natives in order to elevate yourself is not bringing their country to the same level - you've only achieved that if you can help those people be self-sufficient and allow their culture to flourish.
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#8
warriorscot

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We are one of those hording type of animals we are fairly unique in our mixture of abilities the reason we are top of the food chain is we are jacks of all trades, and we are one of the very few with a notion of time its passage and what will happen in the future we have found a few others that do it but most don't. I think we all know intuitively that humans horde like a bunch of maniacs it is very much our nature to collect everything we might need, we do take more than we need but there is a reason for that its in our nature to be on the side of caution and most would rather let something go to waste than risk not having it if we might need it, its survival instinct at its most basic and cruelest and its not in our nature to freely give resources away to protect potential rivals. Darwinist concepts are really horrible though, nature is really cruel and human nature is even crueler it has to be otherwise we probably wouldnt be around now in such vast numbers.

We are kinda wasteful but remember money is an entirely man made concept it represents resources and while in the short term it could help in the long term all that would happen is that we would hemorrhage money and thus resources in an attempt to "help people" that cant survive on their own and whose land can no longer support them we can keep throwing money at the problem but disease and famine are rampant in africa its not just human nature that is taking a go at these people its nature in general and all most people do is prolong it, what should be happening is infrastructure being developed so that when the population settles down that the land can support them and they can move forward through largely western intervention the population growth in africa and its entire culture was changed in a way incompatible to life there for such large numbers its population density is FAR to high, higher than it ever has been and higher than the land is able to provide for.
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#9
sarahw

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The situation goes further beyond the current 'Arab Terrorism' trend.
An infustructer was built, and it wasn't maintained. So is there really a point to having it?
Could some be better of with nothing at all like before western colonisation?

I don't think I could see an alternative to the worlds divided resouces. Would that be a fair and global distribution of wealth? We've already had the Cold War, that idea died with it.
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#10
dsenette

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Would that be a fair and global distribution of wealth? We've already had the Cold War, that idea died with it.

um...there has NEVER been a fair distribution of wealth...EVER...that's the misconception (mainly brought upon by the communists themselves) about communism and socialism...the propaganda and statistics that these countries release/released showed that wealth was being distributed equally and that everyone was happy and that their system worked. unfortunately the truth of the matter is that they still had a 2 class system...there were the RICH (and i do mean rich) and the poor...the poor did all the work..and got little to nothing in return...the rich did little and reaped HUGE benefits....there was NEVER any sense of equality in ANY socialist/communist government to date...

IF it were possible to ACTUALLY do it fairly it would in fact work....but because ALL humans are susceptible to greed (ALL OF THEM anyone who says they aren't is lying)

the notion that greed is something that humans do out of self preservation is ridiculous...i will concede that there may be a portion of the human instinct that tells us to horde things and keep things etc....but not even during the ice age (where being greedy would actually be helpful) where humans as greedy as they are today....you can look at ANY primitive culture in the past or today...they were ALL built on sharing what you had...to further the group....WESTERN civilization changed that...not instinct or human nature....western civilization teaches "each man for himself"...well that can only work for so long...

this structure of "take what you can and don't look back" contributes to ALOT of issues within our culture....like global warming, pollution, murder rates, etc... we want it now...we want it all..and it doesn't matter who we step on to get it...it's ludicrous

and if we're truly at the top of the food chain....the epitome of evolution (to date)...then shouldn't we be able to master the basest instincts? if "greed" is really an instinct?
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#11
sarahw

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I didn't say there was a ever a fair distribution, I said the idea of it has died with the cold war. The fact that wealth in 'communist' nations wasn't distributed fairly shows how it doesn't work. Yes All humans are susceptible to greed, like power corrupting, which means it cannot be fairly governed. Another flaw within itself.
The fact that it has never been implemented as marx or even lenin intended, because humans can't, prooves that it is just another half baked ideology.
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#12
warriorscot

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Well at no other time have humans been able had the skills, abilities and knowledge to actually horde so much in the ice age when modern humans were just starting to emerge as a dominant species it would have been incredibly hard to be greedy, and remember to a point all western civilization and rich nations are large tribes working towards the good of our large extended tribe.

Also as an added interesting point the bonuses in the example are to London businessman, London is in Britian one of the few at least partly socialist nations, Britain is at heart a capitalist nation but we have very strong tendencies towards socialism always have done and well over 50% of those bonuses will go towards the state and the people so its allot of wealth but its taxed when they get it(40%) and its taxed when they spend it and when the people they pay to spend it on their behalf spend it is then again taxed(we pay a crap load of tax) so the public purse is going to see at least half of that 2 million each and thats not to bad is it and is an interesting example.
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#13
Johanna

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To learn more about economics, check out Walter Williams.

Johanna
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