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Source: (consider it) Thread: Neoliberal bastards
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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The one thing about neo-liberalism I remember from my last lot of study was that governments exist to get themselves re-elected.

I don't think that's changed one little bit.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglicano:
The only benefit I'd withdraw is the £10 Christmas bonus, which is too small to help individuals much, but the millions spent on it could better be directed elsewhere.

For someone who's poor, £10 is a lot of money. It's one month when their budget is a little easier. Maybe they can buy better food, or extra to put away for months when they have a hard time putting any food on the table. Maybe buy some cheap shoes, etc.

And it might just mean that they can have a small celebration of whatever winter holiday they celebrate.

FYI: I've never heard of a benefits program, here in the US, that gives extra at Christmas.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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Aye, but doesn't that just illustrate the problem? A tenner's not much to me, nor to the people in power. But it's a lot to some of the people they govern, and whose loss thereof they do not understand the significance of.

God that sentence is ugly but it's Hell so I can't be arsed to recast it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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And, that's especially true when it's not just the tenner. When the logic is a lot of little items are all "not a lot of money, it won't make a big impact" and then you lose the Christmas allowance, cold weather allowance gets cut, the bus pass is gone ... the cumulative effect is a big cut that will be felt even by some of those who could afford to miss the tenner at Christmas. And, for those for whom that tenner was a substantial amount of cash to get the cummulative effect is potentially deadly.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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Exactly. The most charitable I can be to the Chancellor is that he doesn't actually understand that losing tax credits really, really matters, and you can't handwave it away by saying "ah, but, in a few years our living wage will come in and you're paying marginally less income tax so it's not as bad as all that".

They don't get that even a few quid, never mind a few hundred, is massive for some people. Hey, they spend that on dinner.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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If by raising tax thresholds and raising the minimum wage (to something closer to but below the living wage) it can be demonstrated that even with cuts in tax credits and other benefits everyone will be better off, or at least no worse off by even a penny, then I for one may not be happy (I would prefer the poorest in society to gain quite a bit because they're currently scraping below the bottom of the barrel), but at least it moves things in the right direction.

But, when the proposed changes only make the average person better off that means a lot of people are going to be worse off. And, you and I know they'll be the poorest for whom a small cut will have the biggest effect. But, if they've all starved or frozen to death by the next election what does it matter? They won't be voting against the Tories then, will they?

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
If by raising tax thresholds and raising the minimum wage (to something closer to but below the living wage) it can be demonstrated that even with cuts in tax credits and other benefits everyone will be better off, or at least no worse off by even a penny, then I for one may not be happy (I would prefer the poorest in society to gain quite a bit because they're currently scraping below the bottom of the barrel), but at least it moves things in the right direction.

But, when the proposed changes only make the average person better off that means a lot of people are going to be worse off. And, you and I know they'll be the poorest for whom a small cut will have the biggest effect. But, if they've all starved or frozen to death by the next election what does it matter? They won't be voting against the Tories then, will they?

Indeed.

Morevover, giver how little of the tax-burden on the poorest is in the form of income tax it is entirely disingenuous to talk about taking the poorest out of tax.

[Mad] [Mad] [Mad]

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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And, you can add to that. If there are significant numbers of people who will be better off under revised tax structures (and, there almost certainly will be) what are these people going to do withtheir new increased take home income? Spend it, of course. Good in some ways, more money spent in shops and pubs etc means more work. But, it also means inflationary pressure which will hit the poorest who haven't benefitted from the new tax system, and for those items that incur VAT they will be increasing their contributions while losing out on the cuts.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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It gets worse than that Alan. If you look at the figures it's startling ineffecient. If your income is 10k, increasing the personal allowance from say 8.5k to 10k gives you a little more money. Which is good. But most of the money ends up going to middle and higher earners.

I'll see if I can find the link but it's something like £1Bn going to those who really need it at a cost of £11Bn to the exechequer. It's hard to imagine a less effecient way of acheiving this.

Moreover, many of the higher earners don't spend it, they save it so the multiplier effect on the economy overall is negative and hence a downward pressure on employment.

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

Posts: 2150 | From: Zog, obviously! Straight past Alpha Centauri, 2nd planet on the left... | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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Here we go: This link is helpful

Total cost of the increases in personal allowances is around £12-13Bn by this financial year. Roughly equivalent to the increase in revenue from VAT.

Sadly, most of the benefit goes to the better off

The changes made in the March budget gave a tax cut to anyone earning up to £120k and had no benefit for anyone on the minimum wage working fewer than 31 hours / week.

Smoke
Mirrors

Lies

It's fundementally a bad policy.

If you want to help the poor cut VAT and by the way as Darling demonstrated this is a major boost to the economy overall which is why unlike Osborne, Darling ended up with revenues which were signficantly higher than predicted.

Slight tangent on Osborne's record of economic prediction if you're as sad as me... [Biased]

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Jane R
Shipmate
# 331

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Anglicano:
quote:
I'm 70 and comfortably off. In my youth I always felt that "the elderly" (aka "the old folk") were a group like the disabled or the unemployed who we were expected to feel sorry for, albeit in a rather patronising way. But that doesn't seem to apply as much now. At least not in my case.
The plural of anecdote is not data.

I'm guessing you are also male, because a lot of 70-something women who worked in the 1970s paid a reduced rate of NI - which didn't count towards your pension, but that was all right because they were *married* and could share their husbands' pension.

Then the husbands (or some of them, anyway) traded their wives in for younger models, and wham, suddenly a lot of women have next to no pension provision just before their retirement. My mother was one of the lucky ones in that age cohort; she's still married.

Women are particularly vulnerable to cuts in pensioners' benefits, because they usually don't have as much pension as the average man and they also tend to live longer after retirement. These are the people who are starving and freezing every winter, but hey, that's all right because they'll all be dead by the next election and who cares what happens to a bunch of old women anyway? [Mad]

Where's Granny Weatherwax when you need her?

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
I'm guessing you are also male, because a lot of 70-something women who worked in the 1970s paid a reduced rate of NI - which didn't count towards your pension, but that was all right because they were *married* and could share their husbands' pension.

Then the husbands (or some of them, anyway) traded their wives in for younger models, and wham, suddenly a lot of women have next to no pension provision just before their retirement.

In the US, if a divorced woman was married at least ten years, she is entitled to Social Security benefits under her ex-husband's SS account.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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In the UK, a divorced partner can get a state pension based on their partners National Insurance contributions, if they don't remarry or enter a civil partnership.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chapelhead

I am
# 21

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
For someone who's poor, £10 is a lot of money. It's one month when their budget is a little easier. Maybe they can buy better food, or extra to put away for months when they have a hard time putting any food on the table. Maybe buy some cheap shoes, etc.

And it might just mean that they can have a small celebration of whatever winter holiday they celebrate.

FYI: I've never heard of a benefits program, here in the US, that gives extra at Christmas.

On the basis that every little helps, I agree. but it is only a little. As I understand it, when the Christmas Bonus was introduced by the wicked Tory government in 1972 (boo hiss) it was rather more than the weekly basic state pension of £6.75. It has been paid at that level every year since, except by the lovely Labour government in 1975 and 1976 (yay, yay). It is now worth rather a lot less that the weekly basic state pension of £115.95.

It might be much simpler if it were incorporated into another benefit (the pension itself, or the winter fuel allowance), but this hasn't happened. This might be because the payment (although not the amount) was established in legislation by the nasty Tory government of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 (boo, hiss, boo, hiss), making it harder to remove. But I suspect the real reason is that if it were removed, even if replaced by a more generous benefit elsewhere, the headlines would all be about the Scrooge-like government (of whatever variety) taking away what little pensioners have to live on. And Christian Voice would probably put out a press release saying the government had abolished Christmas.

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At times like this I find myself thinking, what would the Amish do?

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
...because of your luck, not just your prudence, you actually owe the society that facilitated your success.

Funny, I was under the impression that a salary was fair payment for services rendered rather than unearned luck. And that the taxes paid on said salary are the means by which society is paid back for facilitating the ability to earn it.

What you appear to be saying here is that if two people earn exactly the same amount over their working lives but one saves it up and the other pisses it away then the first one should be penalised for their prudence by receiving a lower pension. I fail to see how the first person can in any way be described as more "lucky" than the second - perhaps you can explain?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
...because of your luck, not just your prudence, you actually owe the society that facilitated your success.

Funny, I was under the impression that a salary was fair payment for services rendered rather than unearned luck. And that the taxes paid on said salary are the means by which society is paid back for facilitating the ability to earn it.

I think NP's point is that being in a position where your services rendered are worth lots more than others' is as much a matter of luck as it is anything else. IME, that is very true. Case in point - a surgeon's services rendered are very valuable in the market, but that is both because of the work he's put into qualifying, and his pure luck in being intelligent enough and having other personality attributes that are conducive to being capable of training to become a surgeon.

[ 14. October 2015, 15:59: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I think NP's point is that being in a position where your services rendered are worth lots more than others' is as much a matter of luck as it is anything else. IME, that is very true. Case in point - a surgeon's services rendered are very valuable in the market, but that is both because of the work he's put into qualifying, and his pure luck in being intelligent enough and having other personality attributes that are conducive to being capable of training to become a surgeon.

While I agree that such a thing as innate intelligence exists, I don't think it makes as big a difference as you're suggesting. Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.

So how do you explain that the majority - and often the vast majority - of positions in government, the civil service, the judiciary and the media are all taken by those from public school?

That's not about working hard. That's about how wealthy your parents are.

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Forward the New Republic

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I think NP's point is that being in a position where your services rendered are worth lots more than others' is as much a matter of luck as it is anything else. IME, that is very true. Case in point - a surgeon's services rendered are very valuable in the market, but that is both because of the work he's put into qualifying, and his pure luck in being intelligent enough and having other personality attributes that are conducive to being capable of training to become a surgeon.

While I agree that such a thing as innate intelligence exists, I don't think it makes as big a difference as you're suggesting. Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.
Not only is Marvin from Mars, I think we can be sure he is still there.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Where's Granny Weatherwax when you need her?

Yes, she does have rather...creative...ways of getting people to help their neighbors. Especially in "Witches Abroad", where she...motivates...a bunch of woodcutters and such to help an elderly woman in dire straits.

[Two face]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jolly Jape
Shipmate
# 3296

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I think NP's point is that being in a position where your services rendered are worth lots more than others' is as much a matter of luck as it is anything else. IME, that is very true. Case in point - a surgeon's services rendered are very valuable in the market, but that is both because of the work he's put into qualifying, and his pure luck in being intelligent enough and having other personality attributes that are conducive to being capable of training to become a surgeon.

While I agree that such a thing as innate intelligence exists, I don't think it makes as big a difference as you're suggesting. Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.
You're an intelligent chap, Marvin. Surely you can't really believe this? I'm a moderately intelligent type who, over the years, has earned a very good living out of the television industry. I have a freind who is a nurse. She is at least as well qualified as I am, is probably more intelligent, and works harder by several orders of magnitude than I ever have, yet she is remunerated much less well. I really don't see any correlation between working hard, whether at school or since, and monetary reward. And that's just within the narrow bounds of middle-classness. When you consider society in its totality, including those born to sink estates (projects), and those born into great personal wealth, your contention is ludicrous.

That's not to say those from more deprived backgrounds cannot succeed, but merely observing the fact that, however hard they struggle, they so rarely do.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

Posts: 3011 | From: A village of gardens | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.

So how do you explain that the majority - and often the vast majority - of positions in government, the civil service, the judiciary and the media are all taken by those from public school?

That's not about working hard. That's about how wealthy your parents are.

Are those the only areas that matter? I consider myself successful, but I'm not in any of them.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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I highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers

Really interesting read and a brilliant deconstruction of the self-made myth. So many complex factors involved.

For me, The Vail of ignorance is a pretty good place to start. (Wiki link for anyone not familiar)

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

Posts: 2150 | From: Zog, obviously! Straight past Alpha Centauri, 2nd planet on the left... | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Are those the only areas that matter? I consider myself successful, but I'm not in any of them.

No. They're not the only areas that matter. If you want more, let's try all these.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 9131 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
.... Working hard at school is what makes the difference - and that's not about luck, it's about choice.

Well, there's that. And not having congenital problems that arise from low birthweight and poor development in the womb because of what your mother did or didn't eat and how she lived. And having parents who value you and your development and education, and know how to express that value (which needn't involve spending a lot of money but does involve a lot of commitment of time and attitude). And living in a place where the local council puts resources into things like public libraries and schools and has some imaginative and aspirational ideas about what those resources are for. And growing up in a home that is big enough for you to have some quiet space to do your schoolwork. And not having to spend a lot of time during your schooldays doing paid work, and then leave full time education for employment at the earliest possible opportunity, because your family needs the money.

Lacking these things doesn't inevitably bugger if your life chances, but having them sure as eggs makes it a great deal easier to get on. And apart from them, you're right, it's not about luck, it's about choice.

Posts: 6498 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Not being abused also helps. As does not developing a serious chronic illness in your late teens. Timing of divorce or parental death can also be an issue.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

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And not having to care for a chronically sick or disabled parent. And your family not having to move around from one short-term tenancy to another because that's all the housing market is making available. And...and...and....

But apart from all these minor things, it's all down to choice, eh Marvin? [Roll Eyes]

[ 14. October 2015, 21:34: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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And, various external factors. Is it a reflection on your abilities and hard work if someone much more senior makes a really bad decision and the company closes? Or, if that happens in a recession and no one else is hiring?

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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Height. Height affects salary.

Seriously, there's been a study. And a whole lot of other studies demonstrate in different ways that how someone looks is a huge factor in success in various situations, including job interviews. People make snap decisions within a matter of seconds about people, before they really know anything about their talents or how hard they worked in school.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Height. Height affects salary.

Seriously, there's been a study. And a whole lot of other studies demonstrate in different ways that how someone looks is a huge factor in success in various situations, including job interviews.

In US Presidential elections, the tall guy usually wins. This time around, that's Donald Trump. Still, if Hillary's the Democratic candidate, maybe she can nominate Bill as her champion: he and Donald Trump are the same height.
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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Height. Height affects salary.

Seriously, there's been a study. And a whole lot of other studies demonstrate in different ways that how someone looks is a huge factor in success in various situations, including job interviews.

In US Presidential elections, the tall guy usually wins. This time around, that's Donald Trump. Still, if Hillary's the Democratic candidate, maybe she can nominate Bill as her champion: he and Donald Trump are the same height.
Yeah but in the television era it's also usually the guy with the most hair... so Hilary will beat any of them... [Biased]

AFZ

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Albertus
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Or Trump will just buy some more.

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Marvin, take three children These are real children. No names, no other information.

Two of them are very bright. One got level 5/6 in all core subjects save writing (because he is probably dysgraphic). Another will almost certainly get the same. Both got 3/4 across the board at the end of KS1.

The third child has mild learning disability. She scraped 1s at the end of KS1. At the age of 7 she can barely read more than a few words at sight and finds sounding out words longer than four or five phonemes challenging and often cannot do it. She has not yet learnt number bonds up to 10.

All work equally hard (or not) at school. The difference is innate. By the end of KS2, at the age of 11, there are some children, even in a small village one class per year school, working at level 3 (that expected of a bright 7 year old) and some at level 6 (equivalent to a grade G GCSE). In some, many, even, cases the higher achieving children are more hard working. In many other cases, however, there are children who do fuck all work and still get high grades (I was one, no, I'm not proud of it, it just happened that I could get top marks without doing much work), and I've also known children who work like devils and still cannot grasp basic principles.

There's way, way more variation than you're willing to admit. I know it makes it easier to cope with people scraping a living and having a bad time of life if you can think to yourself that it's their fault, but you're going to have to face that there's am element of luck as well, even if you do have to add hard work to that.

tl;dr version - you're wrong, Marvin. Painfully wrong.

[ 15. October 2015, 08:49: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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la vie en rouge
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I thought NP’s point was that people of the baby boomer generation are in a much better financial situation than their children and the reason is not pure hard work and virtue. I do think they were lucky. My parents, who are in their mid-sixties, are much better off than I am. They bought their own home on a fairly modest salary (which would be a pipe dream for most couples in a similar economic situation today) and were able to retire in their early sixties on a pension that gives them considerable disposable income. Think two foreign holidays a year. Good for them, as far as it goes, but the reason is not that they worked harder. I can work just as hard, pay my taxes my whole life, and I won’t be able to retire at anything like the same age on anything like the same income, because in most Western economies the whole retirement/pensions system is a ticking time bomb and when we reach that age people like me are looking at being seriously screwed (technical term).

I believe Marv’s about the same age as me. It’s not unfair to describe the baby boomers as the generation who bankrupted their children. So yes, I do think there is a serious debate to be had about why my parents get to travel free on the bus at the taxpayer’s expense, when they are so much better off than many people younger than them. It’s all very well to say “I worked hard my whole life and I’ve earned it” but what about the generation who are going to work hard our whole lives and are going to have nothing to show for it in the end? The baby boomers may like to call it all hard work, but I think good luck had more to do with it than they care to admit.

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
There's way, way more variation than you're willing to admit. I know it makes it easier to cope with people scraping a living and having a bad time of life if you can think to yourself that it's their fault, but you're going to have to face that there's am element of luck as well, even if you do have to add hard work to that.

I've already agreed that there's an element of luck involved, we're just arguing about how significant it is. You seem to be saying it's virtually all luck, which I simply cannot agree with as it strips us all of any responsibility for the development of our own lives. If it's all just luck then there's no point in trying - whether you succeed or fail is entirely out of your hands so you may as well just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
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I don't think anyone's arguing that it's all luck. However, if it wasn't a significant factor that being born to rich parents meant that you'd have a much greater chance (and not just a little bit, and slightly less than guaranteed) of having a well-paid job, then you'd see that in all the 'social mobility' indexes.

If you want to be an Olympic athlete, the best indicator as to whether you succeed is that one or both of your parents were Olympic athletes. Hard work in that context will only take you so far.

And you're not going to convince anyone that children at private school 'deserve' to be there simply because they're harder-working than the rest of their cohort.

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Forward the New Republic

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
There's way, way more variation than you're willing to admit. I know it makes it easier to cope with people scraping a living and having a bad time of life if you can think to yourself that it's their fault, but you're going to have to face that there's am element of luck as well, even if you do have to add hard work to that.

I've already agreed that there's an element of luck involved, we're just arguing about how significant it is. You seem to be saying it's virtually all luck, which I simply cannot agree with as it strips us all of any responsibility for the development of our own lives. If it's all just luck then there's no point in trying - whether you succeed or fail is entirely out of your hands so you may as well just sit back and enjoy the ride.
I'm not arguing it's all luck. Just that luck is an indispensable element. And plenty of people get little enough of it that despite all their hard work they are still shafted. But even if it were all luck, what then? You seem to be arguing from adverse consequences - "if it were, then effort would be pointless". Well, that is true, if it were, then effort would be pointless. But that wouldn't make it any less true, if it were, which no-one is actually arguing it is.

Case in point - Mrs KarlT has two degrees (I have only one), worked far harder at school, got better grades than me, and now earns half as much. I am lucky that I have a brain that finds technical IT stuff easy, for which I am paid. I am paid well because I am lucky enough to have a technical brain. Yes, I've had to do a certain amount of work to make that good fortune work for me, but not as much as many people who are doing a lot worse financially. It's not fair, and it doesn't seem unreasonable that the tax system takes that into account.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping such that even an unfit bugger like me who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in over a decade has just as much chance of winning the gold medal as all those naturally blessed buggers. They don't deserve their medals! They didn't really earn them, it was just luck that they were born with that ability! And after all, I'd work just as hard over fifty meters as they would over a hundred...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping such that even an unfit bugger like me who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in over a decade has just as much chance of winning the gold medal as all those naturally blessed buggers. They don't deserve their medals! They didn't really earn them, it was just luck that they were born with that ability! And after all, I'd work just as hard over fifty meters as they would over a hundred...

Oh for fuck's sake, this isn't worth it. No-one's struggling to feed themselves and keep a roof over their head over a medal at the olympics. We're talking about economic injustice, not people playing games.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping. . . .

Been reading Ayn Rand, have you?

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"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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My experience is similar to Karl's, but I didn't work hard at school although I was an only child and my parents gave me every encouragement. Consequently I left with one A level at the lowest possible pass grade. Higher education was a disaster, so I entered the Civil Sevice where I discovered that my mind was suited to IT, or as we called it then, ADP.

It wasn't that suited though, and I was never much of a programmer, but I can make a decent living out of it (just as well with five kids) but what kind of system pays a pretty average business-cum-data analyst more than a qualified classroom teacher (both in the public sector). Quite a bit more too: Eldest Son is in that situation having worked much harder and done far better at school and university than his Dad ever did.

LVER has it dead right: the late-Boomers (I was born in 1957) have had the best of it. We did know that we could be blown to Kingdom Come in minutes, which may have accounted for some homework not getting done, but I could give a very long list of our privileges.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Jane R
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la vie en rouge:
quote:
It’s not unfair to describe the baby boomers as the generation who bankrupted their children.
Actually I think it is. Depending on who you ask, I am either one of the youngest baby boomers or one of the oldest of Generation X. I didn't have to pay tuition fees at university (even at what now looks like the bargain-basement rate of £3000 per year) for which I am very grateful, but I graduated in the middle of the last recession but one and am now self-employed with next to no pension provision. It may be tempting to chop the population up into sweeping categories when you are looking for someone to blame for a crisis (and yes, I am guilty of doing it too) but life is not as simple as that.

And a lot of well-off baby boomers are fully aware of the difficulties their younger relatives have and will help if they can. My husband's parents lent us the deposit for our first house, or we'd never have been able to afford to buy even the grotty two-up two-down terraced house right next to a railway that we ended up in.

quote:
So yes, I do think there is a serious debate to be had about why my parents get to travel free on the bus at the taxpayer’s expense, when they are so much better off than many people younger than them.
I can think of several reasons, all of which were probably considered when the Labour government introduced free bus passes:

1. Encouraging people to use public transport instead of cars is a Good Thing. It reduces congestion on the roads, cuts our carbon emissions, etc. etc.

2. Pensioners are the most likely group to increase their use of buses if given free passes because they have free time in the middle of the day when people of working age are (mostly) at work and the buses would otherwise be empty.

3. If you give bus passes to them so they don't have to spend money on travelling to the shops, they will probably (a) go more often, which will improve their physical and mental health (sitting in the house all day is bad for you) and (b) have more money to spend when they get there (which is good for the economy).

On the other hand:

1. I agree that it is unfair to give free bus passes to pensioners and not to other groups on low incomes.

2. A free bus pass is not much use unless you live somewhere with a good bus service, so people in rural areas don't benefit.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping. . . .

Been reading Ayn Rand, have you?
I've never read a single word she's written (unless it was being quoted by someone else, of course).

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping. . . .

Been reading Ayn Rand, have you?
I wonder if our extra-terrestrial knows that handicapping was used in professional athletics, back when the Olympics were still ostensibly amateur.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

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Jane R
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Handicapping is still used in horse races. It makes the race more exciting.
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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
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I probably should stop linking to my own blog but hey, I wrote it and it's relevant, so there! [Big Grin]

quote:
From An alien's view of earth...
I would be inaccurate to describe my life thus far as a bed of roses or to try to deny that I have had to make sacrifices and work hard to get where I am. I think it is very easy to turn such truths into a self-made-man myth that so pervades our culture. And a myth it really is.

I have had the following huge advantages. I was born in the UK, the sixth richest country in the world. I have had up until university, free education. I went to university when fees were a lot lower than they are now. All through my life I have had access to free healthcare. As a child, I had a mother who had the simple expectation that we would do our best. Nothing more, nothing less. Failure was always acceptable, not trying was not. At various stages of career and life I have had countless valuable opportunities. I lost my mother relatively young but because she planned well, I've had a big headstart financially.

So I find myself with a home, a career that is challenging and rewarding and interesting. I have true and real friends. I have traveled widely, I have an expensive and interesting hobby. This could end up being s long, long list. It is true that I have made much of what has been given to me, but seriously how much have I been given!!

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

Posts: 2150 | From: Zog, obviously! Straight past Alpha Centauri, 2nd planet on the left... | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair?

No one gives shit. Seriously. We're talking about luck, not fairness.

If you want a better analogy, it's that the kids who can really run fast are excluded from the running club where they might train because they can't afford the fucking fees.

That's not fair.

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Forward the New Republic

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair? That people with a natural ability to run really fast win the Olympic 100m contest every single time. Maybe we should bring in an elaborate system of handicapping such that even an unfit bugger like me who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in over a decade has just as much chance of winning the gold medal as all those naturally blessed buggers. They don't deserve their medals! They didn't really earn them, it was just luck that they were born with that ability! And after all, I'd work just as hard over fifty meters as they would over a hundred...

One of the stupider paragraphs you've ever generated.

You know what? I'm naturally intelligent. It's been a huge factor in me being able to get a satisfying job with an excellent salary.

But there is also ample evidence that my mother's family has been full of highly intelligent people for several generations. They didn't get excellent salaries because they simply had no opportunity to go into higher education. It just wasn't viable for people of their background until major reforms here around the 1970s. Mum's kid brother was the first person in the family able to benefit from these reforms. He got a PhD.

The difference between me and, say, my grandparents isn't that I worked hard and they were lazy. The difference is that I was born into an environment where there was an opportunity to use my brain pretty much however I decided, and they weren't. In your analogy, I come from a family of fast runners and it wasn't until recently that we had any training facilities available to harness that talent.

[ 15. October 2015, 15:41: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair?

No one gives shit. Seriously. We're talking about luck, not fairness.
Karl brought up fairness first.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You know what else isn't fair?

No one gives shit. Seriously. We're talking about luck, not fairness.
Karl brought up fairness first.
Fairness in the tax system. Not in life.

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Forward the New Republic

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