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Government for the people. How?


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The objective of this thread is to altruistically* design a political structure wherein the needs and interests of EVERY inhabitant of this country are met. (None of this "general public" crap, we should try to make everyone happy. smile.gif ) It's impossible to not be aware of how inconceivable this sounds, but I think by being mindful of what we're trying to accomplish, but.. just might be feasible?**

Now, before we can even begin devising laws, creating our constitution, bill of rights, etc., I think it's best we assemble a list of what people want from their government. Feel free to contribute ANYTHING. (I stole some of these from the world's smallest political quiz and the bill of rights. >_>)

1. Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.
2. Military service should be voluntary.
3. There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults, where a consenting adult is anyone of 16 years of age or older.
4. Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
5. End government barriers to international free trade.
6. Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
7. Keep government welfare, but no taxation without representation.
8. Freedom of speech, religion, sexuality, peaceful protests, and petition.
9. Soldiers may not be quartered in a house without the consent of the owner.
10. People may not be unreasonably searched or kept in captivity.
11. The right to a free, public, and speedy trial.
12. Laws are to remain the same from State to State.
13. Eventual globalization is a priority.

*We can get into the semantics of altruism later. I have.. mixed feelings, but this most closely elucidates my intentions. (Lol, I swear, I bounce back and forth from being the apathetic hippy civilian who just wants to live to the extremely fervent humanitarian practically daily. >_>)
** Eh, truthfully, it isn't. Too many people disagree on matters of religion, which define the moral code for a LOT of people (even if they don't strictly adhere to it, haha). We need to agree now to define morals for ourselves and not base them off of religious texts. Like, if someone proposes "Don't kill", that's perfectly acceptable, and I expect it to be fully ratified. If someone else suggests "Love God", this is more open to debate. While you can submit ideas that coincide with religious texts, submit them because they are mandates you want and agree with, not just because your scripture of choice tells you to follow them.

Edited by bonanova
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Wow, seriously? Okay. You just finished high school, right? Go withdraw all the money our parents have saved for uni., create a pretty piece of art work with it, and set it on fire. Be sure to let us know how that went for you. ;)

Did you read the whole post?

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What if Einstein needed a heart surgeory you knew he couldn't afford? Would you support tax payers paying for his need? If you say yes, it's only because you can't remove the bias you have for Einstein. Anyone can be an Einstein, hell the dude didn't even talk until he was six and then worked in the post office.

*edit*

It's also likely the random person that would die to save the buildings would be someone just as cool as Einstein, like Stephen Hawking or Black Francis. Regardless of who it is, they're someone's family, and mean the world to someone. Do you realize how absurd your proposition sounds now/

Obviously if I KNOW that someone is going to be very valuable then I might want to invest my money in his/her health. But, if there's some ordinary person who most likely will continue to be ordinary for the rest of his/her life, then why should I spend a ton of money to save him/her? Just because there's a tiny chance that a baby might grow up to be an Einstein doesn't mean I should spend a billion dollars to save his/her life. Chances are that baby will grow up to be mediocre and I will have wasted my money.

No, it is NOT likely that I would value a randomly selected human as much as I value people like Einstein, Stephen Hawking, etc. Because of this I do not find it at all absurd to not spend a billion dollars to save an ordinary baby's life.

Edited by Use the Force
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You don't know why digging holes and filling them back up could be useful. The people could be archaeologists excavating a new site, find nothing, and not want to leave a distubance. They could be treasure hunters. They could be checking for undergroud caves. They could want a sample of the aquifer. They could be installing underground piping, but the process is split between companies, so one digs the hole, another installs the stuff, and the previous one refills the hole. Sounds like a good job to me. :o

Lol, just give them money? The last 30 pages made me think you were entirely against that. :P

Nono, I'm not talking about an Einstein. I mean, the actual dude. Imagine six year old Einstein, still hardly uttering words, has a brain tumor that needs to be removed (and its removal won't damage anything). With it, he'll be mental for the rest of his life, without it, a supergenius. His family can't afford it, so it's up to tax payers, and in this hypothetical situation, you to decide what to do.

You are presented this situation twice. When Einstein is actually six, and right now, after knowing full well what Einstein did. What do you do?

And I'm not saying every child is going to be an Einstein, I'm saying you have NO way of judging who will and who won't, so the more people you allow to needlessly die, the lower the potential of uncovering another is. Even if someone isn't Einstein, say they're just a cool artist, writer, musician, or scientist. They're "minor" contribuations are just as important to people that have different interests. I can't force someone to enjoy the beauty of special relativity because they might enjoy the genius of Slash (a pot-smoking high school drop out) instead. Neither Slash nor Einstein have made a billion dollars, but if either of them needed some sort of operation, I can't help but people would vehemently enforce it, in either case.

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A job is not inherently helpful. If the job is to dig a hole and then fill it back in, then that's actually hurting society. It would be better to just give the person money as a gift and let them do something productive with their time instead.

Really?

You think society would actually grow if one single person gave us all the money we needed to survive? Who would build all the needed infrastructure? If there are no jobs and everything is "given" to people I see no way of people doing something (working) just for the love of it, if you won't get paid for something you simply won't do it, especially if you can live without doing anything.

You actually think someone would do something "beneficial" with their time if you are giving them all the needed resources to survive (money and food)?

I seriously don't get your point here UtF.

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There are five or six of us here who seem to be unable to pick up on this point you claim to be trying to make. Perhaps, that might indicate that the problem is not on our end, but resides somewhere else along the line (I'm thinking that the English language is at fault :mad: ).

I've gotten bored with the Einstein example. I was trying to show that you should treat everyone with the same potential worth because you have no way of knowing whether they'll be the next Einstein or not. So in my opinion, all this talk of killing random people is wrong-headed at best. It's not realistic outside of horror movies and games (which, to the best of my knowledge, are fictional).

I do have another scenario about which I'm curious, since you don't think that money (a personal possession) and produce (also a personal possession) can be treated as one and the same. Say you have $5,000 and you spend $2,500 on a new HD TV. So you have $2,500 left and you have TV valued at $2,500. Say I come into your house and in an act of arson, burn your money. You would be more okay with that than if I came in and burned your TV? :huh: How would the two situations be different? They are both worth $2,500 in the eyes of the world. Should the crime of burning your money carry a lighter penalty than one for burning an equivalently-valued television? Should B&E burglary stealing jewelry and expensive appliances have a stiffer penalty than bank robbery if both crimes resulted in the same value of money being stolen? That doesn't make any sense.

Like unreality said, money is a representation of goods to use as a universal exchange mechanism. If you remove some of it from circulation, it changes the net amount available for use, which alters the ability of members of a society to buy products. How is that different from destroying the products themselves? I do think that I kind of get why you are insisting there is a difference...money is a construct that no one labors to create. Products are built with man-hours of labor and in addition to the cost of the materials, that determines the value of the product (plus appreciable mark-up of course :rolleyes: ), but I fail to see why that makes the money and the produce significantly different. Without the money, the produce is arbitrarily valued based on the cost of something else (in a barter economy anyway). Money stabilizes the cost. But if everything works with the money system, removing money from the system detracts from the entire system.

As far as I can see, your arguments seem to lack a basis in reality. No one else here understands your point. Maybe it's time for you to go back and really reevaluate your "points" to see if maybe you've crossed some wires along the way. To offer you a couple of reference points, here's something from John Locke's "Treatises of Government". It's a bit long and I haven't read the text on the page, but I'm pretty sure it's from the documents, which I have read in the past. Building off of Locke's work, I think this is an excerpt from Rousseau's "Social Contract" and it's definitely worth a look. It's not as long as the one from John Locke. I'm curious what you make of them.

This is a link to Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan" which was the basis for the writings of Locke and Rousseau that I am referencing (though they came to very different conclusions). This is a link to the table of contents, which has links to the entire document. The beginning of Chapter XIII is the most pertinent to the first section of the Locke reading since they are both discussing the state of nature. Rousseau's paper is related in part to that as well, though it is more geared toward the second section of the Locke text and more in line with Chapters XIV and XV in Hobbes' work.

Read as much or as little of what they wrote as you like, but I would highly recommend you at least glance at one or two of them before you start flaming here again. :thumbsup:

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Really?

You think society would actually grow if one single person gave us all the money we needed to survive? Who would build all the needed infrastructure? If there are no jobs and everything is "given" to people I see no way of people doing something (working) just for the love of it, if you won't get paid for something you simply won't do it, especially if you can live without doing anything.

You actually think someone would do something "beneficial" with their time if you are giving them all the needed resources to survive (money and food)?

I seriously don't get your point here UtF.

My point is that if I work 40 hours a week digging holes and filling them back in, then from society's perspective I'm not accomplishing anything. From MY point of viewing I am of course getting the money from my hole-digging-filling job that I need to survive. Thus, this job works out fine for me. But, my point was that it would be better for society for the guy paying me to dig holes and fill them back in (an intentionally worthless job) to just give me the money and let me do something productive instead. And yes, I think that many people would choose to do something productive/beneficial even if they didn't have to to survive. For example, I might build an addition to my house with my time rather than digging holes and filling them back in. Thus, I am still getting the money, but rather than wasting my efforts digging holes and filling them back in, I am actually constructing a house.

Note: Izzy totally missed the point when she mentioned archaeology. If digging holes and filling them back in isn't unproductive enough for you then instead imagine that the pointless job that I am talking about is a job to just go into a cage and sit there for 40 hours a week. You can sleep and think, but that's about it. Thus, it would be better for society if you were simply GIVEN the money as a gift that way you can spend your 40 hours a week building a house or something else that is more productive than sitting in a cage or digging a hole and filling it back in.

And to clarify "You think society would actually grow if one single person gave us all the money we needed to survive?" No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that a job is not inherently helpful to society. It likely is helpful to society, but that's because an employer likely is only going to hire someone if the task that the employee is going to do is a productive task. Thus, an example of a job that is not helpful is the job to sit in a cage. Thus, just because sitting in a cage is a job does not mean that sitting in a cage is helpful to society. Thus a job isn't inherently helpful. It's only helpful if the job is to produce something of value.

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There are five or six of us here who seem to be unable to pick up on this point you claim to be trying to make. Perhaps, that might indicate that the problem is not on our end, but resides somewhere else along the line (I'm thinking that the English language is at fault

:mad: ).

I've gotten bored with the Einstein example. I was trying to show that you should treat everyone with the same potential worth because you have no way of knowing whether they'll be the next Einstein or not. So in my opinion, all this talk of killing random people is wrong-headed at best. It's not realistic outside of horror movies and games (which, to the best of my knowledge, are fictional).

I do have another scenario about which I'm curious, since you don't think that money (a personal possession) and produce (also a personal possession) can be treated as one and the same. Say you have $5,000 and you spend $2,500 on a new HD TV. So you have $2,500 left and you have TV valued at $2,500. Say I come into your house and in an act of arson, burn your money. You would be more okay with that than if I came in and burned your TV? :huh: How would the two situations be different? They are both worth $2,500 in the eyes of the world. Should the crime of burning your money carry a lighter penalty than one for burning an equivalently-valued television? Should B&E burglary stealing jewelry and expensive appliances have a stiffer penalty than bank robbery if both crimes resulted in the same value of money being stolen? That doesn't make any sense.

Like unreality said, money is a representation of goods to use as a universal exchange mechanism. If you remove some of it from circulation, it changes the net amount available for use, which alters the ability of members of a society to buy products. How is that different from destroying the products themselves? I do think that I kind of get why you are insisting there is a difference...money is a construct that no one labors to create. Products are built with man-hours of labor and in addition to the cost of the materials, that determines the value of the product (plus appreciable mark-up of course :rolleyes: ), but I fail to see why that makes the money and the produce significantly different. Without the money, the produce is arbitrarily valued based on the cost of something else (in a barter economy anyway). Money stabilizes the cost. But if everything works with the money system, removing money from the system detracts from the entire system.

As far as I can see, your arguments seem to lack a basis in reality. No one else here understands your point. Maybe it's time for you to go back and really reevaluate your "points" to see if maybe you've crossed some wires along the way. To offer you a couple of reference points, here's something from John Locke's "Treatises of Government". It's a bit long and I haven't read the text on the page, but I'm pretty sure it's from the documents, which I have read in the past. Building off of Locke's work, I think this is an excerpt from Rousseau's "Social Contract" and it's definitely worth a look. It's not as long as the one from John Locke. I'm curious what you make of them.

This is a link to Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan" which was the basis for the writings of Locke and Rousseau that I am referencing (though they came to very different conclusions). This is a link to the table of contents, which has links to the entire document. The beginning of Chapter XIII is the most pertinent to the first section of the Locke reading since they are both discussing the state of nature. Rousseau's paper is related in part to that as well, though it is more geared toward the second section of the Locke text and more in line with Chapters XIV and XV in Hobbes' work.

Read as much or as little of what they wrote as you like, but I would highly recommend you at least glance at one or two of them before you start flaming here again. :thumbsup:

I must admit that I am extremely surprised that you or anybody else didn't understand the Farmer-Builder example after I explained it more clearly. Thus, before I read those things you linked to, I'm going to ask you why you don't understand the difference between money and the products you can buy with the money, one more time.

Your $2500 TV example is the same as the Farmer-Builder example. In both instances you don't seem to think there's much of a difference between destroying the money and destroying the product. I think that this is because you are still viewing the situation from the individual's perspective.

From the individual's perspective if his TV gets destroyed then he can use his remaining money to buy another TV. If his money gets destroyed then he still has a TV. Thus, the situation appears the same to you. And it is essentially the same, from the individuals perspective that is.

The situation is not at all the same from society's perspective, however. To show this, imagine that there is only one TV in the society and imagine that there is only $2500 dollars in the society. Now, when you look at this same example you realize that if the TV gets destroyed then the individual cannot simply buy another one because of the fact there are no more TVs in the society. Thus, the individual would most certainly hope that his money gets destroyed rather than his TV.

In the Farmer-Builder example, when Farmer burns his money then the society still has two houses. When the farmer uses his money to buy one of Builder's houses to burn though, then the society only has one house. Thus, burning the house hurt society. Burning the money didn't hurt society. Realize that from Builder's perspective, his money is worthless because there is no longer a second house that he can buy with the money.

This really isn't a difficult point to understand at all which is why I'm so surprised that you all aren't understanding it. Would you mind telling me what it is about one house being less valuable than two houses that you don't understand? The money is paper. It's only good for an individual because it allows the individual to buy a product. It doesn't do the same for society. Society can't just buy houses with money out of thin air. Someone has to build the house first. I bet unreality will understand when he shows up again. I'm not sure what you don't understand either so I would appreciate you saying what you think is wrong about what I am saying.

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Note: Izzy totally missed the point when she mentioned archaeology. If digging holes and filling them back in isn't unproductive enough for you then instead imagine that the pointless job that I am talking about is a job to just go into a cage and sit there for 40 hours a week. You can sleep and think, but that's about it. Thus, it would be better for society if you were simply GIVEN the money as a gift that way you can spend your 40 hours a week building a house or something else that is more productive than sitting in a cage or digging a hole and filling it back in.

Haha, wait, *I* missed your point? No, let me break down what just happened.

UtF: *attempts to make a point about some jobs, such as digging a hole and refilling it, being pointless, a waste of money, resources, and effort. Such senseless jobs are clearly in vain and hold back society as a hole*

Izzy: *elaborates on what digging and refilling could actually be, giving it meaning and purpose, and points out how tasks that would require holes to be built and filled back in are advantageous to society, especially when uncovering our past or installing something*

Evidently, your infinite wisdom is only matched with your incompetence at appreciating the value of things, from material possessions to human beings. Simply because you don't see worth or purpose in <noun> doesn't mean other people don't and doesn't mean these properties don't exist for <noun>. Look, I'll do it again. That dude you're paying to sit in a cage? Yeah, he isn't just sitting there. He's actually being observed by scientists and experts on isolation mechanisms so we can attain a better understanding of the effects temporary quarantine has on the human mind. Such a study will undoubtedly revolutionize time-out and jail systems because if adverse effects are ascertained, new techniques will need to be contrived promptly, for the sake of humanity.

Feel free to throw another "pointless" job at me. Humans are innovative, and I assure you everything that people are given payment for doing serves a purpose to *someone*. Whether or not it's for the greater good is beyond me and wholly irrelevant. You were the one arguing for people to have freedom to their own money anyway, lol.

You're too busy trying to create your utopia that you lose sight of the rights that get trampled on in the meantime. I realize it's probably inadvertent and that you're not trying to come off as extremist as you sound.. but.. *shrug* :unsure: We just have different priorities. Yours involve money, most peoples' involve human happiness and peace. You're grossly outnumbered (in the real world, not just from the ten or so person sample we have going on in this thread), come off as insane, and need to realize that occasionally you're not going to get your way and that it's better to give up a losing war than continue on making a fool of yourself in the process; I know, I've been there (*sings* Lost the battle, lost the war / Lost the things worth living for / Lost the will to win the fight / One more pill to kill the pain / Lalalalala / Nanananana / Lalalala / Nanananana / The human (existence), is failing (resistance), essential (the future), written off (the odds are), astronomically against us / Only moron or genius / would fight a losing battle / against a super ego / when giving in is so damn comforting).

..Yeah. Good song.

*edit* Something I was discussing with someone today. Command+f this page. Type in 'thus'. Select highlight all. Cringe.

http://thesaurus.com/browse/thus

Please and thank you. :)

Edited by Izzy
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izzy: you're not getting what UtF was saying.

It's definitely possible that a billionaire could hire some people to dig a pointless hole and refill it. Also possible that a billionaire could hire someone to sit in a cage for 40 hours a week paid at 1000 dollars an hour... with no scientists observing, nothing with a point. Entirely pointless. That's what UtF is trying to say. You were trying to attach a purpose to the prototypical purposeless job he was describing, which misses the point entirely.

That doesn't mean the point is correct though; if I'm a billionaire I should have the right to hire someone to sit in a cage. It's my money. I'm sure I could find someone to "supply" the "production" (aka sitting in a cage for me) if I paid good enough cash, which of course I could if I wanted to. We could agree on a price, a price that I think is appropriate value for me funding this pointless task.

The *point* is that even a *pointless* task has a *point* if someone is financing it. If I'm a billionaire and pay Izzy 7 million dollars to spin around in a circle until she gets so dizzy she throws up, I can do that if I want to, regardless of whether this is "productive for society". If I was a shady conspiracy mastermind and hired assassins to take down major world leaders, I could do it because money is a universal exchange, even if it was extremely unproductive for society.

We agree though that we don't want our government to do such pointless things with our money, hence the existence of this topic in the first place :wacko:

I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore.

And regarding the TV/farmer/builder thing, let's make a new scenario that's hopefully a lot simpler:

[read this whole scenario before responding, i actually agree with UtF in one respect but not another]

A post-plane-crash island society. 20 seashells were found but they ended up distributed like this:

Mrs. Peabody - 10 seashells

Mr. One, Mr. Two, Mr. Three, Mr Four, Mr Five - 2 seashells each

but everyone wants a shelter from the monsoon rains! Only Mr. Three (a professional shelter builder) knows how to build shelters. Mrs. Peabody pays him 3 seashells to make an amazing shelter for her. But Mr. Five wants a shelter too now, and Mr. Three takes pity and agrees to build Mr. Five a shelter for 1 seashell (if it's kept on the DL).

So Mr. Five gives Mr. Three his seashell and in return is built a shelter. Mr. Three now has 4 seashells, Mr. Ten has 1, and Mr. Ten has a shelter which is valued at 1 seashell.

There's still a total of 20 seashells in circulation, but Mr. Three could build as many shelters as time and resources allow (assume we've got plenty of trees and time on this island, and that the seashell price of tree wood is currently negligible on the market). He could build one for himself. He could build a communal shelter. If he was real nice he could build everyone shelters. He could build no shelters. He could charge exorbitant rates for shelters, or whatever. He's got a shelter monopoly.

So Mr. Five drank too much coconut milk and is feeling a little reckless. He wants to destroy something: now he has a seashell and a shelter. He knows that if he burns his shelter down, society would lose a shelter and he would lose a shelter. He could pay his 1 seashell to Mr. Three to build another though - then the same number of seashells (20) would exist, and the shelter has been rebuilt (minus the labor, resources, time of equal value, charged to Mr. Three, who makes up for it with the 1 seashell he receives). < That's *IF* Mr. Three decides to rebuild it (see last few paragraphs).

But if Mr. Five decides instead to smash the seashell, now he only has his shelter, and there are only 19 seashells in circulation, reducing everyone's collective purchashing power and the society's net worth. He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself.

The only validity UtF's point has is for items that are too priceless to have a proper price or to be re-made with any amount of money. For example, the Mona Lisa. Would you rather burn 10 million dollars or the Mona Lisa? In this case, the Mona Lisa is not reparable nor re-make-able with the cash.

It would be a similar situation if there was no more wood left on the island and Mr. Three no longer had the ability to make shelters. That would make them more precious to burn than money.

But while an item is still "non-priceless" aka reproducible then it can be valued and is equivalent to currency (just that actual currency is more universal and stabilizes the barter system as dawh has said).

edit for typo

Edited by unreality
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Adding to what Unreality just said; humans are as irreplaceable as the Mona Lisa, so when it comes to destroying buildings that can be rebuilt or killing a person that can never be reborn, it makes more sense to choose the former, regardless of the inconvenience it causes at the time.

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izzy: you're not getting what UtF was saying.

It's definitely possible that a billionaire could hire some people to dig a pointless hole and refill it. Also possible that a billionaire could hire someone to sit in a cage for 40 hours a week paid at 1000 dollars an hour... with no scientists observing, nothing with a point. Entirely pointless. That's what UtF is trying to say. You were trying to attach a purpose to the prototypical purposeless job he was describing, which misses the point entirely.

That doesn't mean the point is correct though; if I'm a billionaire I should have the right to hire someone to sit in a cage. It's my money. I'm sure I could find someone to "supply" the "production" (aka sitting in a cage for me) if I paid good enough cash, which of course I could if I wanted to. We could agree on a price, a price that I think is appropriate value for me funding this pointless task.

The *point* is that even a *pointless* task has a *point* if someone is financing it. If I'm a billionaire and pay Izzy 7 million dollars to spin around in a circle until she gets so dizzy she throws up, I can do that if I want to, regardless of whether this is "productive for society". If I was a shady conspiracy mastermind and hired assassins to take down major world leaders, I could do it because money is a universal exchange, even if it was extremely unproductive for society.

We agree though that we don't want our government to do such pointless things with our money, hence the existence of this topic in the first place :wacko:

I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore.

And regarding the TV/farmer/builder thing, let's make a new scenario that's hopefully a lot simpler:

[read this whole scenario before responding, i actually agree with UtF in one respect but not another]

A post-plane-crash island society. 20 seashells were found but they ended up distributed like this:

Mrs. Peabody - 10 seashells

Mr. One, Mr. Two, Mr. Three, Mr Four, Mr Five - 2 seashells each

but everyone wants a shelter from the monsoon rains! Only Mr. Three (a professional shelter builder) knows how to build shelters. Mrs. Peabody pays him 3 seashells to make an amazing shelter for her. But Mr. Five wants a shelter too now, and Mr. Three takes pity and agrees to build Mr. Five a shelter for 1 seashell (if it's kept on the DL).

So Mr. Five gives Mr. Three his seashell and in return is built a shelter. Mr. Three now has 4 seashells, Mr. Ten has 1, and Mr. Ten has a shelter which is valued at 1 seashell.

There's still a total of 20 seashells in circulation, but Mr. Three could build as many shelters as time and resources allow (assume we've got plenty of trees and time on this island, and that the seashell price of tree wood is currently negligible on the market). He could build one for himself. He could build a communal shelter. If he was real nice he could build everyone shelters. He could build no shelters. He could charge exorbitant rates for shelters, or whatever. He's got a shelter monopoly.

So Mr. Five drank too much coconut milk and is feeling a little reckless. He wants to destroy something: now he has a seashell and a shelter. He knows that if he burns his shelter down, society would lose a shelter and he would lose a shelter. He could pay his 1 seashell to Mr. Three to build another though - then the same number of seashells (20) would exist, and the shelter has been rebuilt (minus the labor, resources, time of equal value, charged to Mr. Three, who makes up for it with the 1 seashell he receives). < That's *IF* Mr. Three decides to rebuild it (see last few paragraphs).

But if Mr. Five decides instead to smash the seashell, now he only has his shelter, and there are only 19 seashells in circulation, reducing everyone's collective purchashing power and the society's net worth. He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself.

The only validity UtF's point has is for items that are too priceless to have a proper price or to be re-made with any amount of money. For example, the Mona Lisa. Would you rather burn 10 million dollars or the Mona Lisa? In this case, the Mona Lisa is not reparable nor re-make-able with the cash.

It would be a similar situation if there was no more wood left on the island and Mr. Three no longer had the ability to make shelters. That would make them more precious to burn than money.

But while an item is still "non-priceless" aka reproducible then it can be valued and is equivalent to currency (just that actual currency is more universal and stabilizes the barter system as dawh has said).

edit for typo

We agree though that we don't want our government to do such pointless things with our money, hence the existence of this topic in the first place :wacko:

I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore.

I was arguing that the billion dollar cost of saving a baby's life is something that is considered a "pointless" thing to buy with our money. Of course saving someone's life isn't pointless, but it's not pointless to dig a huge billion dollar hole to go swimming in either. This doesn't mean that we ought to spend a billion dollars to build such a man-made lake though. The lake simply isn't worth a billion dollars to us. I'm saying the same thing about the baby. We shouldn't spend a billion dollars to save the baby because it isn't worth a billion dollars to us. This is why we were arguing about "pointless jobs." I was arguing that these pointless jobs (such as building a billion dollar man-made lake to go swimming in) isn't worth the cost to society and thus having the government pay people to build such a lake doesn't help society. You and Izzy and folks said that the money was going back into the system so it was worth it as long as the job was a job worth accomplishing (i.e. saving a baby or building a lake... because building a lake will allow all the kids to go swimming and have fun, etc). I'm comparing the baby to the lake because they're both good things, they both cost a billion dollars, but I don't think that either is good enough to be worth spending a billion dollars on. Note: The baby is more valuable than the lake to me, but its still not worth spending a billion dollars to save. Does that answer your: "I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore." ?

As for the money thing, which is the main issue that I want to clear up (I think we can clear it up too because it doesn't touch on that stubborn topic of how much human lives are valued), there are a few problems that I have with what you said.

One is that our government can print more sea shells very cheaply.

But if Mr. Five decides instead to smash the seashell, now he only has his shelter, and there are only 19 seashells in circulation, reducing everyone's collective purchashing power and the society's net worth. He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself.

Two is that when a seashell is destroyed (or some money), then all of a sudden all of the seashells (money) increase in "value." To show this, imagine that in our current world half of all of the U.S. dollars in existence disappears. In other words, if you have a thousand dollars, then five hundred of those dollars burn up. If Bob Smith has two million dollars then a million of his dollars burn up. What would happen? Society (and each individuals) wouldn't be hurt at all because the money is relative. If normally I was about to buy a house for four hundred thousand dollars, then the person selling it would decrease the cost to two hundred thousand dollars. The money cost of things are arbitrary values (as I believe you once said would only be true in a barter system (or perhaps Izzy said that)). For example, the price of a pound of bananas fluctuates. If half of everyone's money disappears then all of a sudden the 50 cents for a pound of bananas is going to seem expensive. People won't want to pay that much. Thus, the price will lower to around 25 cents a pound (once the seller realizes why nobody is buying his bananas). Employers will no longer be able to pay their employees their standard hourly wages or salaries. Thus, those wages/salaries will decrease. Etc. Take away half of everyone's money and then cut all costs of products, services, and wages by half and nothing at all will change. The society will proceed as normal except that the numbers will look different than before. Proportionally though, everything is identical. Society isn't affected.

So when one individual destroys his sea shells (money), all he is doing is increasing the value of the other sea shells. The other 19 sea shells will now be worth 20/19ths of what they were before. Imagine that Mrs. Peabody destroyed her 10 seashells instead. So now there are only 10 sea shells in the society instead of 20. With only 10 seashells, would anybody really still want to pay a whole seashell for a house? No, they wouldn't. They'd want to pay half a sea shell only because a half seashell is the same proportion to the total amount of money in the system as a whole seashell used to be. Thus, these people with two seashells would all of a sudden be richer. They would no longer be the lower-middle class. They'd be as rich as anybody. And they are richer than before, because now each of them owns a fifth of the money in existence.

I have to go now, but I'll reply to the rest of your post, unreality, soon.

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Yeah, but, let's pretend we paid the $1 billion to save the baby. So $1 billion goes from the government to the hospital, to the hospital employees. Eventually, all the money is dispersed. I just googled some income tax percentages, and since it's anywhere between 10% to 35%, let's say the government automatically gets 25% of that money back, just from taxes. Now, anything these people buy with the money that made ($750 million worth), the government also gets back at 7% per dollar. So if all that money is spent, the government now has an additional $52.5 million, giving them just over $300 million. What was actually a $1 billion operation ended up only costing $700 million. Had anyone else paid for the operation, they lose the full $1 billion. The government paying for it sounds pretty cost-effective if you ask me. From taxes alone (this is all guesswork), I think the government has about 25% of the nation's money at any given time (like the actual money, not including the value houses and stuff have). So even as it "loses" money when it pays for things like billion dollar holes, it.. doesn't really, because it gains it back in other ways and is continuously getting money from other places. Money is just moved around, and it can still be used to buy $1 billion dollars worth of food when in other hands. In fact, it probably is, eventually, because the paychecks that the hospital workers get are used in part to buy food, and the other things they spend money on pays the paychecks of other people, who, I'm sure, also eat food.

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I'm back!!!

The money thing: I partially agree with UtF. I value the product more than the money. And the less money there is, the more it's worth.

However, I value a human more than 1 billion. And as izzy pointed out, having the gov. do it is cost effective.

The thing with the city and the human is hard to answer. It depends on values, that's what this whole thing is. So can we leave it at that?

Also, if I could go back in time and stop 'chance' occurrences from happening by killing one person, even me, I would, because I don't think lives, or wealth (I hate that lotto) should be dependent on luck. (ex: No one should get rich through the lotto unless they deserve it, and because it is impossible to determine this, no one should get rich through the lotto. Yes, I'm for getting rid of it.)

Going away from the conversation now: mosque at ground zero. I say either no one has a religious center their or everyone does. Discuss. =)

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Going away from the conversation now: mosque at ground zero. I say either no one has a religious center their or everyone does. Discuss. =)

I strongly disagree. Everybody has the same right to build a "religious center" on their private property, but if they can't afford it then that's there problem. This issue is not one of freedom of religion. Rather, it is a matter of private property and because I support private property rights, I most definitely support the right of people to build a mosque on their own private property.

By the way, does your statement (quoted) mean you support nonreligious people having centers there (or else nobody having a religious center there)?

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Mixed feelings. Personally, I find any institution of religious worship a waste of land, effort, and money. (Fundamentalism? Forget that rock n' roll.) However, since I don't see us disposing of our churches any time soon, just build the thing. Muslims are entitled to the same rights as other believers, and some were indisputably killed in the terrorist attack and deserve to be commemorated in some way. "Wouldn't religious tolerance and acceptance be a far greater legacy for that site than one that perpetuates the kind of wholesale hatred and intolerance that was at the root of the very attacks themselves?" is the best I've heard it put. People that oppose this are just as bad as the terrorists that carried out the attacks in the first place by idiotically hating or fearing something they don't understand. Contrary to popular belief, Islam isn't violent, doesn't promote suicide bombings, and actively opposes terrorist attacks. ..It's Christianity + another prophet. Wtf's the big deal?

So, it depends on who's financing it. If it's some private religious organization, be my guest, build away. If it's tax payer money (I haven't looked into it, but I doubt it is), then hell nooo, that's my money you're spending on sky fairies (but the same holds true for Christian churches, so if the question were instead "Should a church be built on Ground Zero?", I would elicit the same response).

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UtF: I meant any religious center for any religion or no religious centers and just a memorial (which i agree with. Respect the dead. Some were Jewish, some Christian, some Muslim. Just a memorial)

Izzy: I know that about Islam. I also know that many idiots don't believe that, which is why this is such an uproar. (And by the way, please be nice to religion. Some of us believe in the 'sky-fairy' you know=) I won't bring anything arguing for it into this forum, so check that other one by hambone for my reason.)

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A continued reply to unreality's last post:

izzy: you're not getting what UtF was saying.

It's definitely possible that a billionaire could hire some people to dig a pointless hole and refill it. Also possible that a billionaire could hire someone to sit in a cage for 40 hours a week paid at 1000 dollars an hour... with no scientists observing, nothing with a point. Entirely pointless. That's what UtF is trying to say. You were trying to attach a purpose to the prototypical purposeless job he was describing, which misses the point entirely.

That doesn't mean the point is correct though; if I'm a billionaire I should have the right to hire someone to sit in a cage. It's my money. I'm sure I could find someone to "supply" the "production" (aka sitting in a cage for me) if I paid good enough cash, which of course I could if I wanted to. We could agree on a price, a price that I think is appropriate value for me funding this pointless task.

The *point* is that even a *pointless* task has a *point* if someone is financing it. If I'm a billionaire and pay Izzy 7 million dollars to spin around in a circle until she gets so dizzy she throws up, I can do that if I want to, regardless of whether this is "productive for society". If I was a shady conspiracy mastermind and hired assassins to take down major world leaders, I could do it because money is a universal exchange, even if it was extremely unproductive for society.

We agree though that we don't want our government to do such pointless things with our money, hence the existence of this topic in the first place :wacko:

I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore.

And regarding the TV/farmer/builder thing, let's make a new scenario that's hopefully a lot simpler:

[read this whole scenario before responding, i actually agree with UtF in one respect but not another]

A post-plane-crash island society. 20 seashells were found but they ended up distributed like this:

Mrs. Peabody - 10 seashells

Mr. One, Mr. Two, Mr. Three, Mr Four, Mr Five - 2 seashells each

but everyone wants a shelter from the monsoon rains! Only Mr. Three (a professional shelter builder) knows how to build shelters. Mrs. Peabody pays him 3 seashells to make an amazing shelter for her. But Mr. Five wants a shelter too now, and Mr. Three takes pity and agrees to build Mr. Five a shelter for 1 seashell (if it's kept on the DL).

So Mr. Five gives Mr. Three his seashell and in return is built a shelter. Mr. Three now has 4 seashells, Mr. Ten has 1, and Mr. Ten has a shelter which is valued at 1 seashell.

There's still a total of 20 seashells in circulation, but Mr. Three could build as many shelters as time and resources allow (assume we've got plenty of trees and time on this island, and that the seashell price of tree wood is currently negligible on the market). He could build one for himself. He could build a communal shelter. If he was real nice he could build everyone shelters. He could build no shelters. He could charge exorbitant rates for shelters, or whatever. He's got a shelter monopoly.

So Mr. Five drank too much coconut milk and is feeling a little reckless. He wants to destroy something: now he has a seashell and a shelter. He knows that if he burns his shelter down, society would lose a shelter and he would lose a shelter. He could pay his 1 seashell to Mr. Three to build another though - then the same number of seashells (20) would exist, and the shelter has been rebuilt (minus the labor, resources, time of equal value, charged to Mr. Three, who makes up for it with the 1 seashell he receives). < That's *IF* Mr. Three decides to rebuild it (see last few paragraphs).

But if Mr. Five decides instead to smash the seashell, now he only has his shelter, and there are only 19 seashells in circulation, reducing everyone's collective purchashing power and the society's net worth. He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself.

The only validity UtF's point has is for items that are too priceless to have a proper price or to be re-made with any amount of money. For example, the Mona Lisa. Would you rather burn 10 million dollars or the Mona Lisa? In this case, the Mona Lisa is not reparable nor re-make-able with the cash.

It would be a similar situation if there was no more wood left on the island and Mr. Three no longer had the ability to make shelters. That would make them more precious to burn than money.

But while an item is still "non-priceless" aka reproducible then it can be valued and is equivalent to currency (just that actual currency is more universal and stabilizes the barter system as dawh has said).

edit for typo

So I just said that I disagree about your views regarding destroying the seashells. Two reasons I gave were that the government can just print more seashells (money) very cheaply and thus destroying it doesn't really make it gone from society permanently as you suggest when you say, "He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself." The other reason I gave was that when he destroys the seashell he is not "reducing everyone's collective purchasing power and the society's net worth" as you say he is. Rather, he is causing the value of the other 19 seashells to increase. I gave the example of if you were to cut everyone's money in half then nothing would change either. Society wouldn't lose anything by doing such a thing. If you don't understand that example, then imagine multiplying everyone's money by 10. This would cause the price of good to increase 10-fold and would cause wages to increase 10-fold as well. Everything would increase 10-fold in price and thus nothing would change even though you introduced all of this extra money to society. If you doubt that costs of things and wages would increase 10-fold then imagine that you are going to the store and want to buy some things. You'd obviously want to buy everything because its like everything is 90% off (because you just got so much money handed to you). Thus, stores would raise their prices. Also, your employer would have to raise your wages by a factor of 10 also because there is no way you would continue working for 10 dollars an hour when you now have so much money. So the point of realizing this is that you can now realize that when the person on the island destroys his shell he is actually causing the other 19 shells to increase in value from X to (20/19)X. In other words, if a shell used to be able to buy 19 coconuts, it can now buy 20.

The only validity UtF's point has is for items that are too priceless to have a proper price or to be re-made with any amount of money.

So I strongly disagree with this point as you hopefully now can finally see why. Destroying the money does not destroy anything of significant value to the society (the society can easily print new money if it wants to), but destroying the products most definitely destroys things of value to the society (because the society values houses (the society must work a lot to build the new houses)).

Your error was when you dismissed that the house was replaceable so it wasn't really of much value. But, that's a silly mistake to make because it takes a lot of work for this guy to build another house, but it only takes a simply idea to pick up a rock and show it to everyone and agree that this one rock counts as the same amount of money as a seashell.

It's much easier to print new money than to build new buildings. Thus, the buildings are a lot more valuable to society. The paper money or seashells are almost worthless. And even if you say the society isn't allowed to make new money (for some odd, unrealistic reason), then the current money in existence still increases in value automatically just by the nature of there being less of it and thus society doesn't lose anything. Thus, getting rid of some of the money in the society does NOT reduce everyone's collective purchasing power or the society's net worth, as you said. It only insignificantly (insignificant in relation to the value of the products themselves) devalues society. There's really no question over which society would rather have be destroyed. Society would rather have the million dollars burn or the seashell disappear than have the house burn down, etc.

Do you understand now? Dawh too... This point is really a basic fact about money in our system of money. I didn't mean for my brief comment to Izzy about how destroying the money from the lottery wouldn't hurt society, but rather using the money to buy products and then destroy the products would do the trick, to turn into such a discussion. She was supposed to say, "Oh yeah. Okay, you're right," and move on. Yet you all (minus gvg) seem to be experiencing some major difficulties in understanding such a basic characteristic of our money system.

gvg seems to understand it judging by his statement: "I value the product more than the money. And the less money there is, the more it's worth." He only disagrees about the value of people (although I really think this disagreement is just his misunderstanding of the value of money), but at least he realizes these basic points of economics when dealing with non-human examples. The product is worth more than the money because the money is just paper. The society can print more in a flash. The products on the other hand require a lot more work to produce and thus are more valuable (note: I realize a hole in the ground could take a lot of work to produce and yet that doesn't make the hole valuable... I'm just saying that if people/society WANT/VALUE houses, then they ought to destroy the money rather than the houses because its far easier to make more money than more houses.). So are you all finally going to give in and accept that I was right about this simple point? Burning the money doesn't do much at all, but using the money to buy products and then destroy the products definitely hurts society.

If I won a billion dollars in the lottery but there was some stipulation where I had to randomly go out and kill a baby first, I wouldn't do it. If it meant the money would be burned instead, I still wouldn't do it.

Then I said,

Burning it wouldn't get rid of its value. If you used it to buy buildings and then demolished the buildings you buy, then that would do the trick.

...to point out that having Izzy get the lottery winnings doesn't help society at all and it doesn't hurt society significantly if the money is destroyed (it only hurts society the small amount that it costs to print the money, but even that isn't quite true because if the society decides not to print more money to replace it then everybody's money simply increases in value... no value is lost by destroying the lottery money).

So don't you all see how this illustrates that Izzy's understanding of money was greatly flawed? You all's understanding of money was also flawed apparently because you agreed with Izzy for two pages of this thread's discussion. I imagine that you all disagreed with me only because Izzy did and your brain subconsciously sided with Izzy thinking that she was sane and I was insane. Anyways, that's not necessarily true. You all could have just not understood money to begin with and the fact that Izzy disagreed with me may not have affected your disagreement with me. Can we at least move on now though? I didn't mean for this little comment to result in such masses of writing. But you all needed enlightenment: Burning the money causes no where near as much damage to society as using the money to buy products and then destroying the products.

(Note: The only reason why I'm asking you all to accept that you were blatantly wrong about this point and that I was correct was because you all got sucked into a mob mentality thing where you were under the impression that I was obviously wrong and its lasted for MUCH longer than it should have. If this was a one on one discussion I'd bet that any of you (at least unreality or dawh) would have realized that money isn't worth anything close to the products that the money buys to society very soon after I pointed it out. Instead though you start to sound like idiots by saying that I'm the one with the misunderstanding. This is a really simple point and I'm convinced that you all only thought that I was wrong and you were right because of the mob mentality thing. I know that none of you are idiots (in fact I think most of you are probably smarter than me in many ways (especially reading/writing/English language/communication stuff :P) based on the first few pages of discussion I had with you all. But, for some reason you are refusing to agree with me on this simple point. It's very simple and I'm sure you could all understand it and agree with it if you tried to, but the 3,4,5 on 1 thing has prevented you from doing this. You jumped on the band wagon... I think you're too smart to have all take such a stance on your own... you followed Izzy's lead... and I think Izzy was just on a disagreement streak--she's plenty smart enough to understand as well; she just didn't want to. Thus, I ask for you to apologize in writing by admitting that you were wrong as soon as you finally realize it. Or you can continue to deny it for a few more posts and allow me to be annoyed for a longer period of time...)

Edited by Use the Force
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UtF: I meant any religious center for any religion or no religious centers and just a memorial (which i agree with. Respect the dead. Some were Jewish, some Christian, some Muslim. Just a memorial)

I am as sure as I can be that I was aware of that. What I meant to communicate to you was that because people wanted to build the Islamic Mosque on private property, then I of course support their right to build buildings on their own property.

On the other hand, if we had a hypothetical issue about a group of people wanting to build a mosque on a plot of public property, then I would not support such a thing. I would more closely match your views that either there should not be any religious center constructed on the land or else every person/group of people should have the right to build something of their own on the land. Of course there would be a practicality issue with this so perhaps there would have to be a sort of democratic vote to determine what gets to be built on it. Anyways, this isn't what was in the news. In the news the issue was that people wanted to build a mosque on private property and so I fully support their right to do so as Obama does due to the fact that I support peoples' right to build buildings on their own property. Whether its a Christian church or a Islamic mosque or an atheist yoga/gym facility doesn't concern me. It's their property and as long as its not a mile-high atrocity then I wouldn't say it affects me enough to oppose the construction of it. It's their property and they can build on it what they please. Thus, I would not say that this is an issue of freedom of religion. Does what I say make sense now?

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Yes, it does. And I didn't know whether it was public or private. If it's private, then I don't care. It's theirs (although I'm pretty sure so many people care because of the fact that they associate Al-Queada with Islam.)

Edited by gvg
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Okay, don't get ahead of yourself. The people on this forum, myself included, don't go around blindly agreeing and disagreeing with each other. I disagreed with you because you didn't elaborate on your view whatsoever and from the one sentence explanation you gave of "burning money doesn't destroy its value" didn't clarify what you meant. So the discussion went on longer than necessary because of your own inability to articulate your meaning, not because we didn't understand you. We understand what you were saying - you just weren't saying what you meant to say. By "burning money doesn't destroy its value", the it seemed to refer to that specific money, hence the confusion. Until a page ago, you didn't clarify on that, so of course we're going to disagree because money > ashes. Even Dawh, who I'll consider the standard of forum excellence (he has a way of seemingly understanding everything with absolute clarity and making everything he says sound appealing :P), was confused. So don't pin this on me and expect an admission of wrongness because you weren't clear. :P

I think one minor error you're making is that the government doesn't know when money is lost or burned. It's not really something you report, so there's no way to adjust it. If there was a way, false reports would get flagged all the time just to make the money a person has worth more.

....Right. What was the point to all that again?

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Use the Force, we can never get anywhere in this discussion if you lack the maturity to recognize that sometimes you can't always be right. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying that the smug condescending way of treating us (as if we're small children and you're teaching us about money for the first time) has been noticed and not appreciated. You need to learn to open your mind a little and consider new ideas, or you won't progress as a person. This goes far beyond a minute forum discussion about economics. I hope you don't treat people like this in real life, it will just create spite. That being said:

I was arguing that the billion dollar cost of saving a baby's life is something that is considered a "pointless" thing to buy with our money. Of course saving someone's life isn't pointless, but it's not pointless to dig a huge billion dollar hole to go swimming in either. This doesn't mean that we ought to spend a billion dollars to build such a man-made lake though. The lake simply isn't worth a billion dollars to us. I'm saying the same thing about the baby. We shouldn't spend a billion dollars to save the baby because it isn't worth a billion dollars to us. This is why we were arguing about "pointless jobs." I was arguing that these pointless jobs (such as building a billion dollar man-made lake to go swimming in) isn't worth the cost to society and thus having the government pay people to build such a lake doesn't help society. You and Izzy and folks said that the money was going back into the system so it was worth it as long as the job was a job worth accomplishing (i.e. saving a baby or building a lake... because building a lake will allow all the kids to go swimming and have fun, etc). I'm comparing the baby to the lake because they're both good things, they both cost a billion dollars, but I don't think that either is good enough to be worth spending a billion dollars on. Note: The baby is more valuable than the lake to me, but its still not worth spending a billion dollars to save. Does that answer your: "I don't really know why we're arguing about this anymore." ?

yes it does; thank you :)

One is that our government can print more sea shells very cheaply.

like Izzy said, the government doesn't know when money is burned.

Two is that when a seashell is destroyed (or some money), then all of a sudden all of the seashells (money) increase in "value." To show this, imagine that in our current world half of all of the U.S. dollars in existence disappears. In other words, if you have a thousand dollars, then five hundred of those dollars burn up. If Bob Smith has two million dollars then a million of his dollars burn up. What would happen? Society (and each individuals) wouldn't be hurt at all because the money is relative. If normally I was about to buy a house for four hundred thousand dollars, then the person selling it would decrease the cost to two hundred thousand dollars. The money cost of things are arbitrary values (as I believe you once said would only be true in a barter system (or perhaps Izzy said that)). For example, the price of a pound of bananas fluctuates. If half of everyone's money disappears then all of a sudden the 50 cents for a pound of bananas is going to seem expensive. People won't want to pay that much. Thus, the price will lower to around 25 cents a pound (once the seller realizes why nobody is buying his bananas). Employers will no longer be able to pay their employees their standard hourly wages or salaries. Thus, those wages/salaries will decrease. Etc. Take away half of everyone's money and then cut all costs of products, services, and wages by half and nothing at all will change. The society will proceed as normal except that the numbers will look different than before. Proportionally though, everything is identical. Society isn't affected.

So I just said that I disagree about your views regarding destroying the seashells. Two reasons I gave were that the government can just print more seashells (money) very cheaply and thus destroying it doesn't really make it gone from society permanently as you suggest when you say, "He could probably sell his shelter but he can't get the seashell back into society, just personally for himself." The other reason I gave was that when he destroys the seashell he is not "reducing everyone's collective purchasing power and the society's net worth" as you say he is. Rather, he is causing the value of the other 19 seashells to increase. I gave the example of if you were to cut everyone's money in half then nothing would change either. Society wouldn't lose anything by doing such a thing. If you don't understand that example, then imagine multiplying everyone's money by 10. This would cause the price of good to increase 10-fold and would cause wages to increase 10-fold as well. Everything would increase 10-fold in price and thus nothing would change even though you introduced all of this extra money to society. If you doubt that costs of things and wages would increase 10-fold then imagine that you are going to the store and want to buy some things. You'd obviously want to buy everything because its like everything is 90% off (because you just got so much money handed to you). Thus, stores would raise their prices. Also, your employer would have to raise your wages by a factor of 10 also because there is no way you would continue working for 10 dollars an hour when you now have so much money. So the point of realizing this is that you can now realize that when the person on the island destroys his shell he is actually causing the other 19 shells to increase in value from X to (20/19)X. In other words, if a shell used to be able to buy 19 coconuts, it can now buy 20.

The above two quotes are saying the same point.

However, your example is flawed. In my scenario, money in the hands of specifically one person is destroyed, perhaps without anyone's knowledge.

In what you described above, some proportionality is affected on EVERYONE. Sure, if everyone's money is doubled, stores will jump on the chance to double their prices.

But in this case, just one person destroyed his currency, without the knowledge of his fellow islanders (or even with, doesn't matter really).

I do agree that inevitably over time the less amount of seashells going around will make them more withheld, more desirable, hence more valuable. But it's not like immediately everything will become 19/20ths as expensive.

AGAIN: I agree that if you pump currency into a system, its value will go down (inflation)... and vice versa.

However it doesn't work like magic. If Mr. Five goes into the jungle and smashes his seashell with a rock, everybody doesn't magically understand that their seashells are now 20/19ths more worthy. Maybe if he does it front of them they can come to some kind of proportionality agreement (MAYBE, again it's just him that's being affected, everybody isn't getting something multiplied).

What does happen is, over time, the process of economics and EXCHANGE (money for goods, goods for goods, even money for money; equivalency!) will readjust values to the availability (SUPPLY and DEMAND are the terms usually used). That's how it changes, and it's fluid, not set in stone. It's not a magical proportional system.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think what we're really getting hung up on is the availability issue. Your argument is two part:

* houses are hard to make (efforts, materials)

* money is easy to make

I think that we mistook it for this:

* houses are worth more than the equivalent amount of money BECAUSE they are "harder" to make

If you did mean blue, you are probably wrong. But if you meant just the green than I agree with you and this was a misunderstanding.

In other words, with the first of the green statements, this effort and resource cost that goes into the production of the house, becomes part of its value. The money that transfers hands from buyer to housebuilder goes toward covering these costs. It's not like the builder only charges for the materials and not the labor; nor vice versa. The builder is compensated. Society doesn't care - house or money. What "society" cares about is what people care about and value; in this case, houses, money, etc. Seashells. Shelters. whatever.

Edited by unreality
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Do not begin replying to this post unless you have read all of it.

By "burning money doesn't destroy its value", the it seemed to refer to that specific money, hence the confusion.

"If I won a billion dollars in the lottery but there was some stipulation where I had to randomly go out and kill a baby first, I wouldn't do it. If it meant the money would be burned instead, I still wouldn't do it."

But, do you realize that the response to this is "OBVIOUSLY!" It's incredibly obvious because:

"Burning it wouldn't get rid of its value."

Apparently you didn't understand that burning the money wouldn't get rid of it's value (and yes, I was referring to that specific money). If you did, then you would realize how silly it was to add, "If it meant the money would be burned instead, I still wouldn't do it." That's incredibly silly to add because burning the money doesn't change anything... it's essentially identical to letting the government keep the money. Nobody is more by hurt by burning the money than by letting the government keep your lottery winnings. Thus, when you said that, rather than think that I was unclear (note: I still think I was plenty clear enough) I did the reasonable thing and assumed that you didn't understand that burning the money wouldn't get rid of its value. You acted as though it did. But, it doesn't. What I said seems very clear in the context of your statement that I quoted before writing my statement directly underneath it in my original post.

I think one minor error you're making is that the government doesn't know when money is lost or burned. It's not really something you report, so there's no way to adjust it. If there was a way, false reports would get flagged all the time just to make the money a person has worth more.

I wouldn't call that an error at all. The government doesn't have to replace the money and still nothing changes because when you destroy the money, you cause the value of the rest of the U.S. money to increase. Thus, nothing is lost by burning the money, as I said originally in response to the fact that you didn't understand that burning the money wouldn't hurt anything (as you blatantly implied when you included the italicized sentence in your example: "If I won a billion dollars in the lottery but there was some stipulation where I had to randomly go out and kill a baby first, I wouldn't do it. If it meant the money would be burned instead, I still wouldn't do it."

....Right. What was the point to all that again?

The point of all of this is to show you that the problem was not that I was unclear, but that you wrongly thought that burning money would hurt something in some significant way. Yes, I could have been clearer (as I always can). But, before I even wrote anything, your statement showed that you didn't understand this aspect of money and until the present time as I write this you still haven't admitted that. Instead, you have just said that my reply to your statement ("

Burning it wouldn't get rid of its value. If you used it to buy buildings and then demolished the buildings you buy, then that would do the trick") was unclear.

You say (in your most recent post):

Until a page ago, you didn't clarify on that, so of course we're going to disagree because money > ashes.

WRONG! This is page 40! My original "unclear" reply to your statement showing a blatant misunderstanding of money was on page 36! Immediately afterward (page 36! FOUR pages ago, NOT "last page"!) I spent many detailed paragraphs clearing up any possible misunderstandings (see my posts and ).

Did you not read those posts that I spent a good deal of my time spending writing for the sake of clearing up your misunderstandings and thus educating you? Do you realize how annoying that is? I wrote many paragraphs of explanation just for you and you ignored it!

Thus, he is once again broke and the other 9 people have the same amount of money as each other once again. Thus, by burning that money he acted very selflessly. It did not hurt society at all. All it did was make it so that that farmer individual couldn't get the products of the other people. It didn't cause the other peoples' products to disappear. So now let's say that instead of burning his money, the farmer used his 9 dollars to pay the other 9 people to build him some houses. They build the houses and then he burns them down. Now what? The money is distributed back evenly to those 9 people and the farmer is broke (same as burning the money scenario), except that now everybody in society spent their time and energy and efforts working many hours to build houses for this farmer. Yet, the farmer destroyed the houses that they created. Thus, the two scenarios are equivalent except for the fact that society was hurt in the scenario where the farmer burnt the houses that he built with his money but it wasn't hurt in the scenario where he just burnt the money. Does it make sense now? By burning the production rather than the money (in the lottery example) you are hurting society by having people spend their time and energy to accomplish nothing.

^^^QUOTE from my post number 358 on page 36! That's NOT "Until a page ago, you didn't clarify on that, so of course we're going to disagree because money > ashes." (Quote: Izzy well onto page 40!) That's IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU EXPRESSED YOUR MISUNDERSTANDING OF MY REPLY TO YOUR STATEMENT! DID YOU IGNORE IT? DID YOU NOT READ MY EXPLANATION? I EXPLAINED QUITE WELL IN MY LONG POSTS ( and ) SO THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE CONFUSED AND NOT THINK THAT I'M A COMPLETE IDIOT ARGUING THAT BY DESTROYING SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT DESTROYING IT! I SAID, "Thus, the two scenarios are equivalent except for the fact that society was hurt in the scenario where the farmer burnt the houses that he built with his money but it wasn't hurt in the scenario where he just burnt the money. Does it make sense now? By burning the production rather than the money (in the lottery example) you are hurting society by having people spend their time and energy to accomplish nothing."

What more do you want me to say? I said it in every way I could in many long, detailed responses! Burn the house and society has one house only! Burn the money and society still has two houses! Thus, burning the houses OBVIOUSLY hurts society by destroying the house that took a great deal of time and effort to build!!! SOCIETY CAN CONSTRUCT THE MONEY IN A SECOND IF IT WANTS TO! BUT, IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE TO! DESTROY THE MONEY AND EVERYTHING STILL WORKS FINE!! NOTHING IS LOST! BURNING THE PRODUCT DOES LOSE STUFF! IT LOSES THE HOUSES THAT YOU SPENT SO MUCH TIME AND EFFORT BUILDING!!!! WHAT DIDN'T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT??? HOW DID THAT NOT CLEAR UP YOUR MISUNDERSTANDING???

So the discussion went on longer than necessary because of your own inability to articulate your meaning, not because we didn't understand you. We understand what you were saying - you just weren't saying what you meant to say. By "burning money doesn't destroy its value", the it seemed to refer to that specific money, hence the confusion. Until a page ago, you didn't clarify on that, so of course we're going to disagree because money > ashes.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? READ MY POSTS BEFORE YOU SAY THAT I DIDN'T CLARIFY!!! Read post 358, 359, 370 (some long thorough ones, but there are plenty of others that apparently you didn't read) from well over a page ago. Then, once you have actually read them, I dare you to tell me again that I didn't clarify. I did clarify. The confusion was entirely your misunderstandings and your will to not understand and your will to disagree with me. Read the posts.... Sane people would understand long before finishing reading the many paragraphs of explanation for such a simple, basic point.

And you STILL haven't admitted that you were wrong. Please tell me in your own words, so you can't convince your brain that you are sane my accusing me of not being clear, the answers to these three simple questions:

In your lottery example (you win the lottery), here are three different things the government can do:

1) The government doesn't give you the money.

2) The government burns the money.

3) The government (or you, it's doesn't matter) uses the money to buy products (like houses or Apple computers) and then destroy those products

Which numbered government action does not harm society? (Hint: 1)

Which numbered government action only hurts society a very tiny (relatively insignificant) amount? (Hint: 2)

Which numbered government action is relatively very very harmful to society? (Hint: 3)

Given the conversation below is it reasonable to assume that Person B assumed that Person A thought that burning the money would cause some significant difference between letting the government keep the money and burning the money and thus pointed out that burning the money does NOT cause a significant change (a change from having the government keep the money), but using the money to buy products and then burn the products DOES cause a significant change (relatively, an extremely significant change)?:

Person A: If I won a billion dollars in the lottery but there was some stipulation where I had to randomly go out and kill a baby first, I wouldn't do it. If it meant the money would be burned instead, I still wouldn't do it.

Person B: Burning it wouldn't get rid of its value. If you used it to buy buildings and then demolished the buildings you buy, then that would do the trick.

If you are going to reply to this post, please give four brief answers to the four questions I just replied. Questions 1-3 only reply a single digit to answer and question four can be answered with a "yes" or with a "no." If you feel that you need to add an explanation for question 4, feel free to do so. If you feel that question four is unclear, first reread it a couple times. If it is still not clear, realize what I've been saying for the last few pages of this thread: Burning products hurts society because society values products. Burning the money doesn't hurt society. Then realize that hurting society is a significant difference from not hurting society. Thank you.

Edited by Use the Force
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Use the Force, we can never get anywhere in this discussion if you lack the maturity to recognize that sometimes you can't always be right. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying that the smug condescending way of treating us (as if we're small children and you're teaching us about money for the first time) has been noticed and not appreciated. You need to learn to open your mind a little and consider new ideas, or you won't progress as a person. This goes far beyond a minute forum discussion about economics. I hope you don't treat people like this in real life, it will just create spite.

Well thank you for telling me how to make and keep friends. In this space used to be a huge paragraph, but I just deleted it. Hopefully everything will turn out well now.

I think what we're really getting hung up on is the availability issue. Your argument is two part:

* houses are hard to make (efforts, materials)

* money is easy to make

I think that we mistook it for this:

* houses are worth more than the equivalent amount of money BECAUSE they are "harder" to make

If you did mean blue, you are probably wrong. But if you meant just the green than I agree with you and this was a misunderstanding.

In other words, with the first of the green statements, this effort and resource cost that goes into the production of the house, becomes part of its value. The money that transfers hands from buyer to housebuilder goes toward covering these costs. It's not like the builder only charges for the materials and not the labor; nor vice versa. The builder is compensated. Society doesn't care - house or money. What "society" cares about is what people care about and value; in this case, houses, money, etc. Seashells. Shelters. whatever.

This is still a misunderstanding (I'm glad we cleared that up :) ). I agree with the blue words, but I would modify the blue slightly to this:

* houses are worth more to society, and thus to individuals when deciding which to destroy than the equivalent amount of money BECAUSE they are "harder" to make

From an individual perspective of course the two (money and products) are equal. But, from society's perspective, because society as whole doesn't buy goods with money, etc, but rather prints money, then the products are worth a lot more because they take a lot more effort to build (money is cheap to build (i.e. print)).

So by choosing to destroy the money instead of the house you are saving society as a whole a lot of wasted effort (~the amount of effort it takes to build the house minus the amount of effort it takes to build the money).

I should also note though, that a billion dollar man-made lake is not as valuable to society as a nice house even though the billion dollar lake is harder to construct. But, this is just because the lake isn't very useful at all. So I should really add to the blue statement a disclaimer of a sort saying that we're assuming that the product is actually a product is one that is at least moderately-efficiently built to useful to society. So I suppose in the blue statement it's not just because "they are harder to make" but it is also because "they are harder to make and are more useful then the money, to society."

* houses are worth more to society, and thus to individuals when deciding which to destroy than the equivalent amount of money BECAUSE they are "harder" to make and are more useful than the money to society.

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The above two quotes are saying the same point.

However, your example is flawed. In my scenario, money in the hands of specifically one person is destroyed, perhaps without anyone's knowledge.

In what you described above, some proportionality is affected on EVERYONE. Sure, if everyone's money is doubled, stores will jump on the chance to double their prices.

But in this case, just one person destroyed his currency, without the knowledge of his fellow islanders (or even with, doesn't matter really).

I do agree that inevitably over time the less amount of seashells going around will make them more withheld, more desirable, hence more valuable. But it's not like immediately everything will become 19/20ths as expensive.

AGAIN: I agree that if you pump currency into a system, its value will go down (inflation)... and vice versa.

However it doesn't work like magic. If Mr. Five goes into the jungle and smashes his seashell with a rock, everybody doesn't magically understand that their seashells are now 20/19ths more worthy. Maybe if he does it front of them they can come to some kind of proportionality agreement (MAYBE, again it's just him that's being affected, everybody isn't getting something multiplied).

What does happen is, over time, the process of economics and EXCHANGE (money for goods, goods for goods, even money for money; equivalency!) will readjust values to the availability (SUPPLY and DEMAND are the terms usually used). That's how it changes, and it's fluid, not set in stone. It's not a magical proportional system.

I don't consider this a flaw. It doesn't have to immediately magically jump to correct the proportion. It happens naturally as you said, over time:

"What does happen is, over time, the process of economics and EXCHANGE (money for goods, goods for goods, even money for money; equivalency!) will readjust values to the availability (SUPPLY and DEMAND are the terms usually used). That's how it changes, and it's fluid, not set in stone. It's not a magical proportional system."

And that's perfectly fine. Society still doesn't lose anything. The worst case scenario is really that someone pays a cent more than they ought to (because they didn't know that some money just got burnt) for a product and thus somebody makes a slightly larger profit. The supply and demand still works the same. Eventually after some time passes then the prices will minutely adjust naturally for the money that has been removed from the system.

I think the important thing to realize is that buy destroying the money you are NOT destroying the actual production. It's the house that's valuable to society, not the money. Unless you're destroying a great enough proportion of the money in the system that it would cause the system to crash or something, then I don't think there's any problem with destroying the money.

I'm pretty sure its illegal to destroy money in the U.S., but that's just because the Federal Reserve and those other government folks want to control inflation, bank rates, etc. They manage that stuff and if two many other people start destroying their money then it would get messed up. That, and they'd have to print more money.... But still, none of these things are nearly as bad as using the money to buy a house and burn the house down. This is because people could actually live in the house. They don't live in the money. The money only transfers a house already in existence to a new owner. Destroying it just gets rid of the transfer-tool for the individual whose money you are destroying. They no longer can transfer products to their possession. So to the individual, that transfer power is the value of money. To society though, that value becomes almost zero. In other words, destroying a million dollars in cash is still most likely a much better choice than destroying a twenty thousand dollar car, for example. The car has use; the cash is just a tool for exchange. Thus, the overall value of society remains the same almost without the cash, but drops significant by the amount of the car if you destroy the car.

Bill gates has a billion dollars. We could destroy that money. If we did, what would happen? Not much at all... he just wouldn't be able to use the money on anything. The rest of the money in society would increase in value slightly and this would become apparent in prices, wages, etc, over time. Bill Gates, the individual, wouldn't be able to use that billion dollars to buy stuff (because we destroyed the money). But, all in all, everything would be just fine, at least in relation to the other choice of buying a billion dollars worth of houses or computers, etc, and burning them to the ground. This is my point. I think I have made it quite clear, but if not I would be glad to answer any further questions. Do you now see why its far better to destroy the money than to use the money to buy the product and destroy the product?

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Right, first things first. When I said I'd rather burn my one billion dollar lottery earnings than let a baby die, that was something I was saying on a moral, not economical basis. I was saying I would decline money to save a baby. Because that money never went to me and belong to the government, the government does lose money, because the money is adjusted evenly. So if the government has 10 shells, persons One, Two, Three, Four, and Five all have 1 shell, and because of me the government has to destroy 2 of their shells, we go from this:

Gov: 10

1: 1

2: 1

3: 1

4: 1

5: 1

Me: 0

to

Gov: 8

1: 1

2: 1

3: 1

4: 1

5: 1

Me: 0

After it gets adjusted, each shell is now worth 2/15 of a shell more, so:

Gov: 9.0666

1: 1.33

2: 1.33

3: 1.33

4: 1.33

5: 1.33

Me: 0

The government still LOSES money, even if other peoples' money gains worth. So, suddenly, if health care for our islanders costs 2 shells a person and the government only has 9 shells, someone gets screwed.

Like Unreality said, the prices items are bartered at adjust gradually. If person 1 is a shop owner and he sees that most people now have more money, he's going to raise prices. No one was disputing that the net worth of the civilization stays the same. We were just saying the burning money (wasting resources) period is stupid. The specific shells that were destroyed are now valueless, but we understand that their value was transfered.

So what I was saying was that I thought a baby was worth more than 1 shell to the government. Btw, I'd consider a 10% lost in wealth "being hurt in a significant way". So again, burning money DOES hurt some people. Then again, so does demolishing things. It works the same way, though. If my house is worth 1 shell and I destroy it, the time/effort to make another house aside, the houses around mine are now worth more because there are now less places to live. While I'd rather have a house than a shell, I'd rather have shells to barter for other things like food. So if presented with this situation:

You have 10 shells and a house worth 10 shells. Your job is to gather water, and while you have an infinite supply, water is more easily attained and cleansed than food, so while you make 1 shell/day for selling water, you use about 2 shells/day for food. Eventually, your shells are running low, and you only have enough shells left to buy food for a day or so. You have the following options:

a. Raise the price of water, but know someone else will just compete with you, eventually closing your small business.

b. Sell your house and prolong the time until you starve.

c. Slowly starve to death and hope your neighbors are sympathetic.

d. Go hunt for your own food but get killed by the wild boars.

e. Steal either food or shells and get fed to the wild boards by the villagers.

f. This dude offers that if you destroy your house, he'll give you a job in the food collection guild.

g. Prostitution!

h. Rent out your house, still not make enough, and go back to the boar thing, getting nommed to death.

Let's assume you pick F because it's the only option that allows you to survive, and you're uncomfortable with G. The dude made this offer because if you destroy your house, the value of his house (your house was prettier than his house, but now his house is prettier) goes up more than what he would have gotten from the combined worth of your house + his house. (Money for being the prettiest, and for having one less house. Alternatively, he could have kept your house and destroyed his own, but your house is haunted.)

..There's a point in there somewhere. I sort of forgot where I was going with it and just started having fun. :P

One of the things I don't understand if how you can see how burning money doesn't get rid of society's net wealth, but you're still against the transfer of money from the government to hospitals.

Yeah, reread. You were still unclear. You still failed to make the point that Unreality eventually made for you. Drop it. I've admitted I'm wrong in an internet debate once. Not because of pride, because mid debate I actually realized I was completely wrong about something because I hadn't realized it. Then someone explained it to me and I changed my mind. (Lmao, just looked it up. Me: Bah. S**t, I think you guys are right. I'm not happy about it, but, gah. Forumite: LOL WHAT? NO IZZY NO. *tackles* NOOOO.) That because they actually explained something (this was regarding the age of consent) that made changing my mind worth it. You, in your ridiculous quantity of posts failed to do that. Had you been clear the first time (I'm not saying you're at fault), this would have been avoided, and there'd be no need for this continuation of that argument. You can't change what you're saying mid-debate (if you'll notice, I agreed with you when you actually got it out right), and then go "HAH, see, I was right from the beginning, now SUBMIT TO ME." It's uncool. And oh god, I mixed up one page with four pages, don't get your panties in a bundle.

Hey, I can use annoyingly enlarged font too, but it doesn't magically make me right.

Okay, to your questions. Yeah, you answered them, no need to elaborate there. What you were saying earlier was that burning the money doesn't hurt society whatsoever, and you can see above that it hurts individual people. As someone who isn't a source of infinite money, if _I_ burn the 2.5k that could be used to buy a Mac, I'm just as screwed as I would be if I bought the Mac and dropped it or something. ..But back to what we were saying earlier. Macs can be reproduced as easily as money. Some larger scale projects like houses or space ships would hurt society, but something small like a Mac wouldn't.

Question four.

As shown above, the government loses about 10% of that money. It is redistributed, but the government loses 10%.

If you used the money to buy buildings, again, the value of EVERYTHING IS READJUSTED. The buildings in the vicinity of those buildings are NOW WORTH MORE because the other building was DESTROYED. So, you STILL don't get rid of the value.

Person C: Dear Person B, please go get a $1 bill and a lighter. Please set that one dollar bill, physically in your hand, on fire. Do you see how burning that one dollar bill destroyed the value of the one dollar bill you physically burned? Exterminated from existence forever, unless you report your claim to some lost money claim service.

Do you see how person c was confused because person b didn't express what he meant? Do you also see how if person B didn't burn that particular dollar, but bought a lego house instead, that dollar would still be in use and have value while the house doesn't? You destroyed the value of the house, not the dollar.

Ffs.

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