The Foundation of Your Economic Beliefs

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
The Foundation of Your Economic Beliefs
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Sat, 09-18-2010 - 2:49pm

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/08/24/what_is_the_foundation_of_your_economic_beliefs_97371.html

August 24, 2009
What Is the Foundation Of Your Economic Beliefs?
By Bill Frezza

>>What is the moral foundation of your economic beliefs? Do economic beliefs even require a moral foundation?

Do you find it natural to accept the varied religious beliefs of others even if they contradict your own? On the other hand, are you often at odds with people who espouse different economic beliefs and policies? Why, especially if the former forms the foundation for the latter?

Would you ever use the ballot box to force others to practice your religion or make them pay to build you a church? Why do you find it easy to do this with your economic beliefs, compelling others to foot the bill for the public policies you promote?

Do you believe that wealth is prima facie evidence of thievery? Of privilege? Do you think wealth can only be created off the backs of the poor? Is there a fixed amount of wealth in the world for all to share? If so, where did it come from and how has mankind been getting richer for the past 200 years? And if the poor wish to escape exploitation by the rich, why do they keep sneaking in to our country rather than out?

Do you admire highly paid sports figures yet disdain highly compensated business executives? Why? Does it matter whether the shareholders in the companies that employ these executives feel they are getting their money's worth? And if you're not a shareholder, what makes this issue your concern?

Is poverty an absolute indicator of worthiness? Do you believe the poor bear any responsibility for changing their condition? If not, whose responsibility is it and why? Should the poor be held accountable if they don't make efforts to help themselves? Who should hold them accountable and how?

If a poor person becomes rich through hard work then resists handing his money over for the benefit of the poor, is he a traitor to his class? Should he be treated differently than someone who inherits great wealth? How about someone who wins the lottery? Why?

Does every poor person have a moral claim on every rich person regardless of how they got rich or poor? Where does this claim come from? Are claims limited to people living in the same country or do they extend to all humanity? Why? Is it the job of government to mediate these claims? If you believe highly progressive taxation and expansive government entitlements are necessary to reduce economic inequality, does it matter to you if the attendant incentives and disincentives reduce the total amount of wealth available to be shared? Is making all people equally poor an acceptable solution to inequality?

Are you careful not to judge people by the color of their skin yet sometimes quick to make judgments based on economic status? If so, do you make distinctions based solely on wealth or lack thereof or does it make a difference to you how an individual became rich or poor?

Would you steal money from your own children? Would you steal money from other people's children? What makes it socially acceptable to let Congress do this for you?

Do you contribute to charity? Would you gang up with your neighbors and force others to contribute to your charities? What makes it OK to hire Congress to do this for you?

Do you believe in a right to privacy? Should citizens accused of a crime be considered innocent until proven guilty, with the burden of proof falling on the prosecution? Do you believe the accused have a right to remain silent? How would you feel if the government compelled a vast network of informers to file reports on the behavior of citizens whether or not they've been accused of a crime? OK then, what is the moral principle that allows you to make exceptions to these beliefs when it comes to a person's income and investments?

When you see corruption between business and politicians, are you inclined to shrug and accept it as the nature of man? If corruption touches your own business are you impelled to speak out, do you tolerate it in silence while sticking to your principles, or do you seek your share of the spoils because everyone else is doing it?

Do you resent being asked to justify your economic beliefs or the moral foundation they rest on? Do your ends always justify your means? Do you feel entitled to having your beliefs respected solely because they are yours? Would you feel the same way about your mathematical beliefs?

Are you comfortable holding contradictory beliefs? When was the last time you questioned them? What do you do when you discover you hold two beliefs that contradict each other?

Are you happy to see the state to which we've fallen - pressure group pitted against pressure group, old against young, citizen against citizen all fighting to grab a share of the swelling portion of our national income funneled through the hands of Congress? What other outcome would you expect when moral foundations crumble?<<

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2010
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 4:58pm

Is poverty an absolute indicator of worthiness?



So I guess he feels those in poverty are worthless.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 5:28pm

Nah. Not said. Not even remotely implied.

A simple question was asked to provoke thought:

Article: Is poverty an absolute indicator of worthiness?

Just a question to ponder. Maybe you glaze over articles like this because you read into them too much? How else to explain how you came up with this comment of yours based on nothing more than a very simple and direct question:

You: >>So I guess he feels those in poverty are worthless.<<

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2009
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 5:49pm

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I have no problem accepting varied religious beliefs even if they contradict my own - at I basic level I can see that people generally believe what they were taught so you just have to hope you were taught correctly - if you have religious beliefs. So it is not hard to imagine that given the differences there are a few possibilities. Either some are right and some are wrong - is it their fault if that is how they were taught or not taught? I don't think so. Or perhaps there are just different interpretations and I find it hard to believe that if there is a God he will punish people who truly believed and tried to live according to those beliefs.

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I am not 'often at odds' but I don't agree with all the various economic beliefs and policies. The difference between politics and religion is that I can live next door to a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or a Jew, or a Christian and not be affected by their religious beliefs. But I am affected by the economic policies that are enacted so I am more likely to be upset by those policies that I disagree with, and I think justifiably so.

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I not use the ballot box to force others to practice my religion, or to build a church. In fact, some years ago the church I belonged to wanted to build a new church and I disagreed that it was needed so did not participate in the many fundraising campaigns. It was built anyway and largely empty for many of the services I attended. As to public policies you would have to be more specific - do I think public schools and public hospitals should be built? Absolutely and I would use the ballot box to help achieve that. Did I think we needed to be in two wars? No, and I would love to have had the ballot box to show that as well.

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Ever heard of the Robber Barons? I don't think all wealth is evidence of thievery, but in every country, in every time period there have been those who have gotten rich literally on the backs of the poor and often times illegally/unethically. I don't think that is always the case, but it has a documented history of happening.

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No idea.

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Silly question really, no one wants to be 'exploited' but people do what they have to do to survive - sometimes they don't feel they have many options.

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I don't think sports figures should be paid the exorbitant salaries and neither should business executives. The shareholders in general probably don't feel they are getting their moneys worth, but the largest shareholders have the control. It is a concern for us all when we are asked to foot the bill to bail them out when they fail - evidence that they weren't in fact 'worth' the salaries.

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No, poverty is not an absolute indicator of anything except one's economic state. I think the poor do bear some responsibility to change their condition - and should be held accountable if they don't make efforts to help themselves.

This is where I got tired of replying - maybe I'll finish later.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2010
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 8:23pm

<<<<>>>>




Yes…everybody should be free to believe what they believe.

~Opal~    
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 9:32pm

You have more patience than I, and I commend you for giving respectful answers to a set of questions that looks like one of those telephone "push polls", in which the "correct answers" are concealed in the questions. Sounds like Ayn Rand in need of a little editing and nuance.

There's no such animal as an "economic belief". Or a "mathematical belief". Yikes! "What do they teach in these schools"?

Deborah

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2010
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 1:46am
Yes...Ayn Rand. It comes through in those exceptionally slanted questions. Glad I don't see life through the same eyes as the writer of the articles. Sheesh...talk about having a chip on one's shoulder!
~Opal~
~Opal~    
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 2:56am

I am not sure what religion has to do with it, nor am I quite sure what the author is really asking.

However, my own take is that societies work best when as many people as possible are able to lead a dignified and reasonable existence. This means that they need skills, decent housing, decent health care, decent education for their kids, decent working conditions etc. This opinion is not based on some kind of moral belief, it is more pragmatic. If I want to live in a well-functioning society, run a business, have available to me a pool of good labor, have my workers motivated and have ready consumers for my products, then this is the most constructive set-up and the one most likely to endure.

The other thing that I think is crucial for a well-functioning society is infrastructure. Part of that is included in the above, i.e. a health care system and an educational system, but a good electrical grid, good cell phone and broadband coverage, even in rural areas, a good highway system and public transportation are also part of the necessary infrastructure.

From that foundation, the question then is how this is best achieved. In the US, I have always thought that one way forward might be to have the individual states find their own solutions within a framework of federal goals.


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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 3:06am

"There's no such animal as an "economic belief". Or a "mathematical belief". Yikes! "What do they teach in these schools"?"

LOL, yes I was wondering the same thing. There are beliefs about economics, i.e. ideas about how things work that are largely unrelated to the real world, Randism and Marxism would both qualify, IMO. But I would hope that most serious people would try to work from fact rather than from belief. Even Greenspan said he had been wrong about "believing" in Randism.

Economics and business do not seem worthy, to me, of elaborate theories. It is useful to describe how economies work, and to analyze how they work, but that is about it. I come from a long line of shop-keepers and traders. it is pretty simple really, you have a product, you buy it or make it at one price and you sell it at a different price. When you buy/make it, you have to take risk into consideration and you have to look at whether you can afford to have capital tied up for X amount of time. Then you have to consider whether you can sell enough of it or sell at a good enough price to cover your investment and overhead. That is that.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2002
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 9:46am

What an odd article - very combative. And - UGH!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2009
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 4:53pm

Wow!...Them there's a lot of loaded questions!

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