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#326563 - 06/12/20 01:58 PM What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted?
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Recent comments here combined with a book I'm reading called "The Overstory" by Richard Powers, got me to thinking about wealth. I just got started with the thinking, so I'm not ready to present any opinions.

Anybody who is, go for it!
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326577 - 06/12/20 08:06 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 3934
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
this one is tricky. Good luck! I do know, however, that its relational depending on culture, nation, race, etc. I suspect its probably dependent on a number of external things as well as society. Again - good luck!

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#326580 - 06/13/20 12:24 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Lots of things this topic could touch on. Here's one:

Back when I was a kid, I was pretty naive about "the real world". I did start working after school and summers starting at 14 with a gig in the pilot year of the Youth Conservation Corps in Idaho City, Idaho, a quasi military sort of a Junior Forest Service summer program where we did a different job each week for seven weeks, ranging from trail maintenance to collection of wild plants for restoration work to gathering bitterbrush seeds for deer habitat improvement. After that I got a job for three years at a local greenhouse, nersery, floral operation, mostly "fixing glass", pulling weeds, and mixing dirt. My Dad was a career Mountain States telephone and telegraph employee, retiring after 37 years with "the Company", and Mom was a classic housewife turned lunch lady at a nearby grade school. Dad was handy and we did lots of projects around the house, I bought an old Jeep at 16 that we rebuilt, including an engine swap from the Willys four-banger to a Ford six. Always had a family garden, too.

I had always been a mountain boy, the family did a lot of camping and hunting, and I had vague aspirations to be a Jeremiah Johnson sort. I was a top student in school, though I couldn't say that I liked it all that much - but it was easy. Sports, orchestra, regular stuff - I was 4.0 (that was before you could get higher scores) - I got the second highest SAT scores in the state the year I took them, which got me a national merit scholarship, and I was interviewed by recruiters from Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton. But none of that meant much to me, I didn't have any real ambitions, and was so naive that I was actually worried about being able to make a living in the "real world".

My best friend's father was career military, and he used to talk about trying for a military academy appointment- four years of free school, twenty years service, then retire at 42 on the half pay of a captain (Navy) - the retirement was more than my Dad was making 25 years into his career. That relaxed my fears about making a living and I thought it would be great to do whatever the hell I wanted without working from 42 on. It was also somewhat of a motivator that the Vietnam war was still going and I had a lottery number that was sure to be a winner, so joining seemed like a better choice than being drafted. I applied and got two appointments to the Naval Academy and one to the Coast Guard Academy - I accepted the one from Senator Frank Church to the USNA. The full-ride National Merit Scholarship just evaporated.

Two months in and I had become painfully aware that the life of a navy officer was not for me, I pined for the mountains of Idaho. I realized that at 18 years old, my golden retirement was 24 years away, more life than I had already lived, to be spent doing things I had no interest in doing. As a smart guy with glasses, I was destined to be a nuclear engineer on some big boat or submarine. The cherry on top appeared during a field trip to an LST out in the Chesapeake Bay - everything was grey, the sky, the water, the boat, and it all smelled like diesel. Belowdecks we passed through the enlisted's berth and along a narrow passageway a black sailor on the top bunk said to me as I passed not a foot away, "Get out while you can, you stupid muthafukka!" I thought that was good advice. Coincidentally, the Vietnam conflict wound down at that time and my draft year was the first to not be called. It took another month to process out, during which I read the whole Tolkien series and ate some twenty large bags of M&Ms in my boxers while everyone else was doing Navy things.

I mistakenly thought that when I got back to Idaho I could get a job with the Forest Service, which was a misty part of my vague Jeremiah Johnson fantasy, but no such luck. The local University was already well into the first semester, so I went looking for a job. I landed one as a framing carpenter at minimum wage and worked at that until the next Fall when classes started again. Because of my academic history I felt compelled to pursue something in science or engineering, but still had no ambitions in those directions. I took the standard pre-engineering courses - calculus, electrical engineering, physics, along with some electives in geography, real estate, Chinese history, and a hippie thing lead by a gay guy called "Love and Sexuality", which was really out there for me. I had a 21 credit hour load, but school was still easy for me, and I continued to work part-time as a carpenter. The interesting thing is that, for the first time in my life, critical thinking began to be part of my consciousness, stirred mostly by the Love and Sexuality course - actually, I think, by the people who I was now associating with.

I reckon I've embarked on the 'walls of text' modality. Honest, this is all going to relate to the topic, but might take a few installments. I didn't have it all worked out in advance, so think of it as an adventure in discovering my concept of, "What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted?"
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326582 - 06/13/20 05:18 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
Way back in about 1989, I had sort of an epiphany: I realized that if you owned three rental houses in neighborhoods nice enough you could live in them, then you would always have about the same income as the people you rented to. At the time, people were paying about 1/3 of their income in rent or mortgage payments. So this seemed like a pretty sensible way to have an inflation-proof retirement income. All you had to do was never sell those houses as you moved to the next. Renters would make the mortgage payments. The only discipline needed was we had to come up with a down payment each time we wanted to move instead of using the equity by selling the old place. Most of that time, I worked as an embedded software engineer. That is the software inside cell phones, modems, consumer products, etc. I never worked on weapons. I never even worked for the military. But it still paid pretty well. That supplied a lot of the money we used for down payments.

Coming up with down payments was not a problem, because we had a fairly frugal life-style: No car leases. No new cars. No expensive vacations. No cosmetic surgery. No therapy. No expensive restaurants. No expensive entertainment. No tobacco or expensive alcohol. We continue in that vein even today: My wife and I have $30 flip phones.

My wife is all about the real estate investments. I also have traded a bit in the stock market. Back when we were first using dial-up modems, I discovered Ameritrade. I knew stock commissions could be really expensive, and here was a broker with $9 trades you could do on-line, for any number of shares. I knew they would be very successful, so I invested a lot of money (for me at that time) in their stock at the IPO. I watched it grow for several years, and finally sold it for 27 times the purchase price. The reason I sold it, is I had found and back tested a pretty sure thing to speculate in. Motley Fool Hidden Gems announced two new stocks once a month on a certain day at 9 AM Eastern time. These stocks were small caps, and they had enough clients that their recommendation would move the market. I back tested several different algorithms to best take advantage of that, and found a very good one. So once a month I would wake up at 5:30 and prepare to buy the two stocks. When they announced at 6, I generally got my Ameritrade orders in by 6:02. Then I would put in sell orders for when the stocks went up by a certain percentage. Sometimes that happened the same day. Other times it took a couple of weeks. It happened about 95% of the time. I did that for about two years, and I did very well. Then Motley Fool changed their announcement behavior and I had to stop. One of the nice things is that money made it's way into my Roth IRA, so it's all tax-free forever.

So now we are retired with rental income and tax-free dividend income, as well as social security near the top tier. I don't feel bad about any of it. We are great landlords, letting people have dogs, never raising the rent, and never keeping security deposits. We also maintain those houses very well. We've never done anything unethical, cheated anybody, etc. When we die, most of the estate will go to charities. I suspect if karma is real, we have accumulated plenty of good karma. We would let rents slide for Covid-19 unemployment, but all our tenants have jobs and keep on paying rent!

Are we wealthy? As wealthy as we want to be.

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#326605 - 06/14/20 02:04 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
The intro to my story was awfully long - but from where it left off until today has been completely dominated by doing whatever I felt inclined to do, with little thought for accumulating lots of money and things, or planning for retirement. From logging and musical instrument wood; to sawmilling, timberframing, and natural log truss innovations; to building contracting and a furniture/woodworking shop; to environmental activism - citizen participation in NEPA planning, monitoring, and appeals; to forest restoration and product development for using low grade biomass in value-adding ways; to founding a green chamber of commerce and starting a local investment network; to farming and ranching in sustainable ways; to grant writing and project development and formation of non-profits; to the invention and commercialization of biochar+energy, with all its remarkable globally systemic triple-bottom-line benefits; ... the list is really long... none of it has had common "wealth" creation and accumulation as a top priority - at least after my 17 year-old dive into the American Dream of making a lot of money and retiring early.

Today, all these years later, I recognize that there is a steady theme throughout my 'song of the open road', and that is an affinity for healthy ecosystems of mountains, streams, and forests. They are the foundations for the wealth that I have lusted after all my life. It is why the works of the Civilian Conservation Corps are among the strongest of inspirations for me. People working together, taking care of one another, doing good things for society, the economy, and the planet.

Quote:
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

My most beautiful and fulfilling memories are of simple things, times of great awareness - wind blowing through pines, fish swimming in a crystal clear creek, tremendous thunder, lightning and rain pounding all around while huddled under a tarp in the wilderness, plants sprouting up in the garden, the clean bite of a sharp double-bitted axe into a fresh log, the astoundingly detailed colors and patterns on all manner of creatures - butterflies, birds, rock squirrels, sunflowers... none of which have any derivative relationship to what we usually think of as wealth.

Quote:
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently,but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

Song of the Open Road -Walt Whitman
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326606 - 06/14/20 03:36 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 17694
Loc: Florida
I was stupid. Too cool for school. I fell into carpentry because pretty much anybody could do it. Health issues prevented me from holding most jobs so I spent my life building houses. Never made much money but I built myself a nice house.

I'm dirt poor, live like a king, and am the happiest man on the planet.

Wealth isn't money and even the stupid can come out on top.
_________________________
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...

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#326611 - 06/14/20 03:53 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: Greger]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: Greger
I was stupid. Too cool for school. I fell into carpentry because pretty much anybody could do it. Health issues prevented me from holding most jobs so I spent my life building houses. Never made much money but I built myself a nice house.

I'm dirt poor, live like a king, and am the happiest man on the planet.

Wealth isn't money and even the stupid can come out on top.

Christamitey... I wasted two walls of text trying to say that!
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#326618 - 06/14/20 08:38 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
I could get all Buddhist here, and talk about getting what you need, as opposed to getting what society deems the latest necessity. Some are content with their begging bowl and saffron robe. What do humans really need?

When you start with the premise that we are all going to die, and all you can do is to put that off for a while, it gets a lot simpler. Air to breath, water to drink, food to eat. Cleaner is better, for all three. The most expensive of those is way more expensive than "good enough". Healthy relationships with others is pretty important: People in solitary confinement tend to go crazy. Health care is important when you need it, but Christian Scientists tend to do pretty well without. Everything else is gravy.

But I do enjoy some nice gravy.

I built a raised bed yesterday. Two more to go. The irrigation supply is hooked up. Most of the seeds have arrived. I've figured out I can't start the cauliflower or snap peas until the end of summer. The tomatoes in containers are already knee-high and flowering. Crook-neck squash, bunching onions, and lettuce are going in the first bed.

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#326659 - 06/17/20 12:18 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
How is wealth made? A first thought is that wealth is made by producing something of tangible value that didn't exist before. The thing made should have a value greater than the stuff it was made from.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#326661 - 06/17/20 03:06 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Recent comments here combined with a book I'm reading called "The Overstory" by Richard Powers, got me to thinking about wealth. I just got started with the thinking, so I'm not ready to present any opinions.

Anybody who is, go for it!


This is a good question and, as several posters have noted, how you answer depends on your definitions.

I will distinguish between "wealth", which I will define roughly as economic resources, and "living a rich life", which includes a material baseline, sure, but also includes things like friends, family, purpose, and contentment.

Living a Rich Life, I believe, probably requires a number of inputs. One has to find joy (which isn't happiness, but they overlap) in your personal associations, joy in achieving a purpose, and a degree of earned success.

Wealth can be part of living a rich life. It establishes the baseline, and is often the marker of earned success. Economic resources, which form the basis of "wealth" are increased when current resources are shifted into more productive uses.
_________________________
Winter Is Coming

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#326683 - 06/18/20 01:32 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Recent comments here combined with a book I'm reading called "The Overstory" by Richard Powers, got me to thinking about wealth. I just got started with the thinking, so I'm not ready to present any opinions.

Anybody who is, go for it!

This is a good question and, as several posters have noted, how you answer depends on your definitions.

I will distinguish between "wealth", which I will define roughly as economic resources, and "living a rich life", which includes a material baseline, sure, but also includes things like friends, family, purpose, and contentment.

Living a Rich Life, I believe, probably requires a number of inputs. One has to find joy (which isn't happiness, but they overlap) in your personal associations, joy in achieving a purpose, and a degree of earned success.

Wealth can be part of living a rich life. It establishes the baseline, and is often the marker of earned success. Economic resources, which form the basis of "wealth" are increased when current resources are shifted into more productive uses.

Two comments:

1) Defining one sort of wealth as economic resources is a useful tool, but that is a very narrow thing relating only to individuals, and not to the system context. If an individual's economic wealth comes at a cost to the system, then it is not new wealth created. It is a logical fallacy to claim that wealth in the system increases simply because an individual has gained economically.

2) Natural resources do indeed serve as a basis for wealth, but once again, if those resources are acquired without accounting for the costs connected with their acquisition, then it is a fantasy. As our friend Greger has pointed out, climate change is an awfully serious entry on the debit side of system wealth accounting. It is clear why free market Capitalists are generally climate crisis deniers - because it negates all the wealth that some individuals have acquired while externalizing the full cost and burdening all humans, and other living beings with dealing with it (that would be a form of socialism, in my opinion).

A huge part of our economy is related to the manipulation of 'economic resources', which I do not see as creating any wealth, it just redistributes the financial wealth around, usually in a way that causes it to concentrate with the people who have the most money.

The idea of Capitalism supporting more people than ever before in history is one that needs a lot of attention. At any given time, the amount of financial wealth on the planet is finite - adding more people without creating more wealth is simply diluting the capital accounts of the shareholders - creating more money through debt results in inflation, which is one expression of share dilution. To truly and sustainably make us all more financially wealthy, as you aver, the creation of real wealth must grow to keep pace. I have a suspicion that all real wealth originates from natural resources, which means that on the face of it, more natural resources need to be consumed to support growth. The exploitation of abundant natural resources is probably the real reason behind your assumption of a wealthy global population and not Capitalism, but there is ample evidence that externalized costs abound, and the natural resources gravy train is tipping into the abyss. You know the huge national/global financial debt? That is a reflection of our natural resources debt. We are not sustainably wealthy, we are in deep shiit triple-bottom-line debt, living on advances on the global credit card.


Edited by logtroll (06/18/20 12:54 PM)
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#326684 - 06/18/20 01:48 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Triple bottom line economics... people, planet, profit.

Social, environmental, and economic wealth.

Capitalism plays a role only in the third leg of the wealth stool, while externalizing its costs onto the other two legs.


Edited by logtroll (06/18/20 12:02 PM)
Edit Reason: More words...
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#326699 - 06/18/20 06:55 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Hamish Howl Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/21/19
Posts: 608
Loc: Tucson, AZ
The only accurate measures of wealth are the following:

1. What is your sustainable standard of living, and

2. What rules can you break?
_________________________
What can we do to help you stop screaming?

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#326782 - 06/20/20 07:56 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Two comments:

1) Defining one sort of wealth as economic resources is a useful tool, but that is a very narrow thing relating only to individuals, and not to the system context. If an individual's economic wealth comes at a cost to the system, then it is not new wealth created. It is a logical fallacy to claim that wealth in the system increases simply because an individual has gained economically.


Concur. There is, after all, such a thing as theft. In our system of economic exchange, however, we gain individual wealth generally to the extent to which we serve each other; a much better means of bending man's natural self-regard towards the service of others than coercion, and one that is exponentially more effective to boot.

Quote:
2) Natural resources do indeed serve as a basis for wealth, but once again, if those resources are acquired without accounting for the costs connected with their acquisition, then it is a fantasy.


Natural resources can serve as a basis for wealth. At some point I suppose you could argue that all physical resources become "natural" because they exist and are made, but, assuming you mean a sort of first-stage (ie: land. metals dug from the earth. water. etc.) natural resource, then, yes, they can serve as a basis for wealth, but are hardly the only basis out there.

Quote:
As our friend Greger has pointed out, climate change is an awfully serious entry on the debit side of system wealth accounting. It is clear why free market Capitalists are generally climate crisis deniers - because it negates all the wealth that some individuals have acquired while externalizing the full cost and burdening all humans, and other living beings with dealing with it (that would be a form of socialism, in my opinion).


Socialism is state control (directly or indirectly) of the means of production.

I continue to be unsurprised but disappointed at those who worry about climate change (or global warming. or global cooling. or ozones disappearing. or forests burning. or ocean acidification. etc.) being anti-capitalism, when Capitalism is the system of economic organization that is most congruent with the ability to minimize exploitation of natural resources (due to increased efficiency) and the only system (yet discovered) which produces enough wealth for us to prioritize more refined public goods such as environmental concerns.

Anyone who thinks Socialism will protect the environment is welcome to go walk around and breathe in Beijing, or

Quote:
A huge part of our economy is related to the manipulation of 'economic resources', which I do not see as creating any wealth, it just redistributes the financial wealth around, usually in a way that causes it to concentrate with the people who have the most money.


If I can take the same plot of land that fed 1 family, and "manipulate" it through technology to feed 10 families, that is indeed increasing the wealth available to us. Alternately, if I can take the human labor that used to be needed just to feed us and put it to more productive uses because I've come up with better ways to farm the same land (such as, for example, tractors), then I'm also increasing our societal wealth.

Quote:
The idea of Capitalism supporting more people than ever before in history is one that needs a lot of attention. At any given time, the amount of financial wealth on the planet is finite


Sure, just as, at any given instant in time, the number of human beings on the planet is fixed.

The question is not whether we are:

Quote:
adding more people without creating more wealth


But rather whether or not the rate of increase in our ability to produce is equal to or greater than the increase in our numbers. So far, under capitalism's watch, that is a question that has been answered overwhelmingly in favor of the growth in our ability to produce.

It's an imperfect measure, but, feel free to take a look in the growth of global GDP per capita, which captures precisely the question you are addressing of whether or not we are increasing people without creating more wealth (we are not).

Quote:
is simply diluting the capital accounts of the shareholders - creating more money through debt results in inflation, which is one expression of share dilution. To truly and sustainably make us all more financially wealthy, as you aver, the creation of real wealth must grow to keep pace. I have a suspicion that all real wealth originates from natural resources, which means that on the face of it, more natural resources need to be consumed to support growth. The exploitation of abundant natural resources is probably the real reason behind your assumption of a wealthy global population and not Capitalism, but there is ample evidence that externalized costs abound, and the natural resources gravy train is tipping into the abyss. You know the huge national/global financial debt? That is a reflection of our natural resources debt. We are not sustainably wealthy, we are in deep shiit triple-bottom-line debt, living on advances on the global credit card.


Sure. The Peak Oil people used to make the same argument, and were proven wrong every time.

Malthus had a strong argument in a pre-industrial, pre-capitalist world. But we are no longer in that world smile The Malthusian Trap you describe we seem to have escaped quite nicely, and I, for one, am heartily glad we did.
_________________________
Winter Is Coming

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#326794 - 06/20/20 09:01 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Malthus had a strong argument in a pre-industrial, pre-capitalist world. But we are no longer in that world smile The Malthusian Trap you describe we seem to have escaped quite nicely, and I, for one, am heartily glad we did.

Do you have any facts, or just vague ideological ramblings?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326802 - 06/20/20 10:42 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Malthus had a strong argument in a pre-industrial, pre-capitalist world. But we are no longer in that world smile The Malthusian Trap you describe we seem to have escaped quite nicely, and I, for one, am heartily glad we did.

Do you have any facts, or just vague ideological ramblings?


That we have escaped the Malthusian trap thanks to industrialization and capitalism?

Sure.

As those twin engines kicked into gear, we went from a global poverty rate of 94% in 1820 to 17% in 2011:

  • In 1820the share of the global population living in poverty was 94 percent while 84 percent lived in "extreme" poverty. By 1992, the poverty rate had dropped to 51 percent, while the "extreme" poverty rate had dropped to 24 percent. Using a different measure of international poverty, the rate has dropped from 53 percent in 1981 to 17 percent in 2011 – representing the most rapid reduction in poverty in world history.


As is usually the nature of growth, it accelerates when it compounds, and much of that came in the latter portion. Fortunately, Growth in url=https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.KD.ZG]Global GDP Per Capita[/url][/b] has only been negative for three years since 1961 (though hey, 2020 may give us a fourth - we'll see).

This forum, tragically, can't support images very well (or, if it does, I haven't cracked the code on how), but, thanks to good ole capitalism, we reduced global poverty by 80% in 36 years - a single generation. An amazing achievement, unmatched in the history of our species smile If you take all gains into account, humanity is now an amazing 1,200% better off than we were in 1800.

One can go on and on in this vein - from global life expectancy to child mortality rates to disease, to ease, to luxuries-that-become-basic-necessities, we have more than escaped the Malthusian trap - we have accelerated beyond it like a space-fairing rocket escaping the atmoshpere.


Edited by CPWILL (06/20/20 10:43 PM)
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#326805 - 06/20/20 11:13 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
As those twin engines kicked into gear, we went from a global poverty rate of 94% in 1820 to 17% in 2011:

  • In 1820the share of the global population living in poverty was 94 percent while 84 percent lived in "extreme" poverty. By 1992, the poverty rate had dropped to 51 percent, while the "extreme" poverty rate had dropped to 24 percent. Using a different measure of international poverty, the rate has dropped from 53 percent in 1981 to 17 percent in 2011 – representing the most rapid reduction in poverty in world history.

I presume that you are prepared to demonstrate how this is the sole and direct result of that ghostly spectre called Free-Market Capitalism?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326806 - 06/20/20 11:25 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Is it possible that the same, or even superior, effects could have been achieved with a business model such as this one?

Quote:
1.2 Purpose. The Company has been formed:

To innovate, design, manufacture, and distribute equipment for the production of biochar, energy and related products using low value biomass at a community scale.

To engage in all activities necessary, customary, convenient or incidental to the foregoing, and when doing so, make a concerted effort to incorporate the Triple Bottom Line -- community and environmental effects, economics and profit, and social considerations -- into the Company’s operations, evaluation, and decision making processes, as articulated in our Values.

While the Company is organized as a for-profit organization, our Values direct we embrace a philosophy of business with purpose that addresses how we benefit (or impact) our community, employees, stakeholders, the natural environment, and customers. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than simply looking only at how much profit can be extracted from this business. The Company’s Operating Members shall measure their decisions, actions, and operations of the Company against the following:

People: TW will strive to create meaningful jobs in rural areas and local economies, seeing that the benefits are widely distributed and not concentrated in mega factory facilities.

Planet: Every aspect of the lifecycle of TW products will be developed to create a system of leveraged synergies resulting in regeneration of environmental health.

Profit: It takes money to launch and grow any effort, whether for profit or not. But the opportunity to make a profit better supports long term vigor and sustainability than a donation-based enterprise - and the government is not a suitable entity to lead the way. TW believes that our culture’s current overemphasis on profit is one of the major drivers of environmental and social decay, and is following a new ethic - one where money is regarded as a tool for more success and community stability, and not as a treasure to be hoarded.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326809 - 06/21/20 01:08 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
As those twin engines kicked into gear, we went from a global poverty rate of 94% in 1820 to 17% in 2011:

  • In 1820the share of the global population living in poverty was 94 percent while 84 percent lived in "extreme" poverty. By 1992, the poverty rate had dropped to 51 percent, while the "extreme" poverty rate had dropped to 24 percent. Using a different measure of international poverty, the rate has dropped from 53 percent in 1981 to 17 percent in 2011 – representing the most rapid reduction in poverty in world history.

I presume that you are prepared to demonstrate how this is the sole and direct result of that ghostly spectre called Free-Market Capitalism?



Who said anything about sole? We also, for example, got these real nifty computer things smile


Should we take your unwillingness to directly respond as implicit acceptance of the point regarding capitalism and industrialization leaving us better off?


Edited by CPWILL (06/21/20 01:12 AM)
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#326810 - 06/21/20 01:12 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Is it possible that the same, or even superior, effects could have been achieved with a business model such as this one?

Quote:
1.2 Purpose. The Company has been formed:

To innovate, design, manufacture, and distribute equipment for the production of biochar, energy and related products using low value biomass at a community scale.

To engage in all activities necessary, customary, convenient or incidental to the foregoing, and when doing so, make a concerted effort to incorporate the Triple Bottom Line -- community and environmental effects, economics and profit, and social considerations -- into the Company’s operations, evaluation, and decision making processes, as articulated in our Values.

While the Company is organized as a for-profit organization, our Values direct we embrace a philosophy of business with purpose that addresses how we benefit (or impact) our community, employees, stakeholders, the natural environment, and customers. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than simply looking only at how much profit can be extracted from this business. The Company’s Operating Members shall measure their decisions, actions, and operations of the Company against the following:

People: TW will strive to create meaningful jobs in rural areas and local economies, seeing that the benefits are widely distributed and not concentrated in mega factory facilities.

Planet: Every aspect of the lifecycle of TW products will be developed to create a system of leveraged synergies resulting in regeneration of environmental health.

Profit: It takes money to launch and grow any effort, whether for profit or not. But the opportunity to make a profit better supports long term vigor and sustainability than a donation-based enterprise - and the government is not a suitable entity to lead the way. TW believes that our culture’s current overemphasis on profit is one of the major drivers of environmental and social decay, and is following a new ethic - one where money is regarded as a tool for more success and community stability, and not as a treasure to be hoarded.



....you mean a capitalist one? smile

Congrats on coming on the longer way round to a point I made earlier - that you actually got environmental concern from later-stage capitalism, as opposed to other economic models of organization.

Respectfully, you seems as though you are arguing against a strawman, here, confusing "capitalism" with "greed".
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#326813 - 06/21/20 03:06 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
I think you are putting new wine into your old wineskins. What do think is the meaning of the wineskins parable?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326821 - 06/21/20 12:12 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
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Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Respectfully, you seems as though you are arguing against a strawman, here, confusing "capitalism" with "greed".

Perhaps you could be persuaded to refresh the forum on the definition you are following for what Capitalism means? (I wasn’t fully aware the representation of it from you that I have perceived was a straw man).
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326865 - 06/22/20 12:26 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Is it possible that the same, or even superior, effects could have been achieved with a business model such as this one?

Quote:
1.2 Purpose. The Company has been formed:

To innovate, design, manufacture, and distribute equipment for the production of biochar, energy and related products using low value biomass at a community scale.

To engage in all activities necessary, customary, convenient or incidental to the foregoing, and when doing so, make a concerted effort to incorporate the Triple Bottom Line -- community and environmental effects, economics and profit, and social considerations -- into the Company’s operations, evaluation, and decision making processes, as articulated in our Values.

While the Company is organized as a for-profit organization, our Values direct we embrace a philosophy of business with purpose that addresses how we benefit (or impact) our community, employees, stakeholders, the natural environment, and customers. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than simply looking only at how much profit can be extracted from this business. The Company’s Operating Members shall measure their decisions, actions, and operations of the Company against the following:

People: TW will strive to create meaningful jobs in rural areas and local economies, seeing that the benefits are widely distributed and not concentrated in mega factory facilities.

Planet: Every aspect of the lifecycle of TW products will be developed to create a system of leveraged synergies resulting in regeneration of environmental health.

Profit: It takes money to launch and grow any effort, whether for profit or not. But the opportunity to make a profit better supports long term vigor and sustainability than a donation-based enterprise - and the government is not a suitable entity to lead the way. TW believes that our culture’s current overemphasis on profit is one of the major drivers of environmental and social decay, and is following a new ethic - one where money is regarded as a tool for more success and community stability, and not as a treasure to be hoarded.



....you mean a capitalist one? smile

Congrats on coming on the longer way round to a point I made earlier - that you actually got environmental concern from later-stage capitalism, as opposed to other economic models of organization.

Respectfully, you seems as though you are arguing against a strawman, here, confusing "capitalism" with "greed".

Too many separate threads is scattering the discussion all around, bear with me for trying to weave some of the elsewhere comments in here.

If I am understanding correctly, the Purpose statement posted above is regarded by you as an example of “late stage Capitalism”. I posted it as an example of blending social, environmental, and business "interests" as a healthy alternative to Capitalism. This business (it is a real one, not an idealized theory) is an innovative effort to reverse a suite of dangerous and cancerous patterns that are the direct result of extremely well-established manifestations of Capitalism. "Late stage" implies that Capitalism is evolving - I agree with you that it needs to evolve, but it needs to evolve into something that isn't Capitalism.

The fact that you are adding in to your ideology of Capitalism elements of non-Capitalist remediations in order to address the human and Earth needs for healing from the effects of more than a century of exploitation of human and environmental resources (for the sake of financial wealth of the few) is noble. But I think that it is incorrect and confusing to call that "late stage Capitalism". It's actually the taming of Capitalism (which intrinsically has no ethics or morality) and using it to serve social and environmental needs for a healthy and sustainable world.

One of my former signature lines was, "You can't solve a problem until you understand what the problem is."

I believe I now understand the problem that causes us to adversarially discuss Capitalism. To use another metaphor (not to be construed as your position on the subject of the the metaphor) - people who are opposed to the removal of Confederate statues from prominent public places want to preserve their history and ancestry. But I see those statues of Confederate generals as fake history, the preservation and presentation of traitors and slaveholders as cultural icons - heroes. Within the context of a healthy civilization those heroes were very destructive in many ways, though for hundreds of years slavery brought a few wealth, comfort, and power. History is being made now, by actions taken to correct the fake history that was put in place to preserve flawed ideologies.

CP, you mentioned earlier that I am confusing Capitalism and greed... I am not. The main characteristic dominating the manifestation of Capitalism, in reality, is greed. It would improve Capitalism immensely if it did not contain greed, but...

I appreciate it that you envision a kinder, gentler Capitalism, but it is an intellectual fantasy at this point.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326867 - 06/22/20 05:00 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 17694
Loc: Florida
A kinder gentler capitalism is social democracy. A balanced, evolved system. The Scandinavian model for instance...

Quote:
The rich continue to get much richer while workers suffer. Since the pandemic started, 643 billionaires have seen their wealth go up by $584 billion, while U.S. households have seen their wealth go down by $6.5 trillion and nearly 46 million have filed for unemployment.
Bernie Sanders

There's your capitalism at work doing what it does best.
_________________________
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...

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#326868 - 06/22/20 05:19 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: Greger]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 17694
Loc: Florida
Corporatism is perhaps the biggest problem.

It acts just like the socialist governments conservatives fear but operates under the guise of free marketry.
_________________________
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...

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#326878 - 06/23/20 01:16 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: Greger]
CPWILL Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 481
Originally Posted By: Greger
Corporatism is perhaps the biggest problem.

It acts just like the socialist governments conservatives fear but operates under the guise of free marketry.



Not much time, but, yeah - Corporatism is a real problem, but, tragically, an inevitable outgrowth of allowing the government to pick winners in the marketplace. When you fix it so that the most profitable investment one can make is in buying a congresscritter or seven, that is what monied interests will do.
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#326879 - 06/23/20 01:25 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: CPWILL]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: CPWILL
Originally Posted By: Greger
Corporatism is perhaps the biggest problem.

It acts just like the socialist governments conservatives fear but operates under the guise of free marketry.


Not much time, but, yeah - Corporatism is a real problem, but, tragically, an inevitable outgrowth of allowing the government to pick winners in the marketplace. When you fix it so that the most profitable investment one can make is in buying a congresscritter or seven, that is what monied interests will do.

Buying politicians on the free market isn't part of Capitalism?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326882 - 06/23/20 05:29 PM What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 17694
Loc: Florida
Quote:
Buying politicians on the free market isn't part of Capitalism?


Nope. Because buying and selling occur within any framework. Capitalism just says that industries are privately owned.

Like, if we had a King, all the land belonged to him. For a portion of their crops, farmers were allowed to farm it and grow food for themselves. Kings were fabulously wealthy, people were fabulously poor. Some farmers slipped the king a few extra bushels of rye and they got more land to farm.

It worked okay for a long time. Then people realized they were getting f*cked. Torches an pitchforks ensued.

Bribing officials has no ideology.
_________________________
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...

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#326888 - 06/23/20 07:32 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: Greger]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: Greger
Bribing officials has no ideology.

What if they're privately owned?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#326976 - 06/27/20 10:47 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Just wrapping up another grant writing effort - USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant. Thankfully, I'm not the primary author on this one, which is a collaborative project involving a Cleveland African/American food sustainability nonprofit, a Detroit inner city gardening movement, a Navajo tribal farming and greenhouse operation, and a collaboration of five social, agricultural, and business operations in my community.

The focus area for the grant opportunity that we are basing the proposal on is energy conservation in agricultural operations, so our biochar+energy systems are the piece linking all four sites together - expanding greenhouse operations to year-round function in a revenue positive model that creates an cascade of ancillary biochar related benefits.

In this age of fighting, destruction, and generally miserable attitudes, we are working for solutions. As my one of my heroes once said, "“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete." -R. Buckminster Fuller
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#326977 - 06/27/20 10:49 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
An example of creating widely distributed wealth in a community...
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#327012 - 06/29/20 12:18 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
A thought provoking presentation on deficit spending.

What this woman says is viscerally counterintuitive to me, but nonetheless it is a subject that I have been wondering about for years. Could it be that our thinking about debt and money is just as culturally biased as any ideology?

Both money and debt exist only because of agreements, after all... what limits the agreements that are possible?
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#327015 - 06/29/20 06:11 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
jgw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 3934
Loc: Port Angeles, WA

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#327057 - 07/02/20 10:22 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
Yes, in some states (particularly those with Republican governors) it's going to get a LOT worse. But most of the other governors are willing to listen to epidemiologists and public health experts. This rise can be flattened if people would just take the usual mask, wash hands. social distance stuff seriously. It's not about your freedumbs or social control, it's about saving your life AND saving the economy.

We have been conditioned to not listen to experts from the government by decades of Reagan-theology. Government can't do anything right, government IS the problem. Sounds great because less government saves us money. Until it doesn't.

This is the Trump way: It's killed over 120,000 of us so far. To say it isn't working is a vast understatement. Waiting until January to do something different is a suicide pact. I wonder how many elected officials and judges it has to kill before they act.

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#327058 - 07/02/20 11:15 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
Irked Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 3726
Loc: Somewhere out in left field
The problem is that the Trump Virus disproportionately impacts (read:kills) the less well to do. The very rich can easily create their own private virus-bubbles and lead a pretty normal, for them, life. The less money and resources one has, the less likely one is able to protect one’s self from being exposed.

If the proles want to believe gut-feelings and emotions instead of science and mistake chicken hawk bluster, hate and fear for Strength, Freedom and Rights while consuming themselves to death, then let them. The Market’s up.
_________________________
How eager they are to be slaves - Tiberius Caesar

Coulda tripped out easy, but I've changed my ways - Donovan

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#327068 - 07/03/20 07:43 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
In their own bubble? I don't think so. All those rich people have servants, and the servants go home to a essential worker spouse and kids who are having Covid-19 parties. Even Trump and Pence are surrounded by Secret Service agents and staff who have tested positive. The original spread into the US was by people rich enough to fly to other continents.

My wife and I may be in a rare, isolated life style: We have no hands or servants on our little mostly idle ranch.

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#327076 - 07/03/20 11:29 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Irked Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 3726
Loc: Somewhere out in left field
Ah! You’re talking about the rich.

I’m talking about the rich, the people with live-in staff. You know, the people who really matter. LOL
_________________________
How eager they are to be slaves - Tiberius Caesar

Coulda tripped out easy, but I've changed my ways - Donovan

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#327077 - 07/04/20 12:44 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
One of the thoughts that stimulated this topic has to do with population growth and wealth. If, at a given time, a finite amount of wealth exists, and the population grows, then that wealth, per capita, will be diluted.

This is why it matters what wealth is, and how it is created. As the population grows, if more real wealth is not created, then humanity as a whole becomes poorer. So a situation like the stock market, where wealth is "traded", but not necessarily created, and debt, where there may be an assumption that the borrowed capital will be used to create more physical wealth, but not a guarantee (and the interest on the debt being likely a bleed on the possible new wealth created), may not create real new wealth, but only cause inflation. Inflation is not a source of new wealth, it is merely a mechanism of dilution.

In an earlier post I speculated that new wealth is most likely tied to the conversion of natural resources into new material things, which are often accounted as new wealth. But if that conversion of natural resources is accompanied by unaccounted externalized costs, then it may not be a real increase of wealth, but a decrease.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#327330 - 07/14/20 05:26 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Hamish Howl Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/21/19
Posts: 608
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Originally Posted By: logtroll
One of the thoughts that stimulated this topic has to do with population growth and wealth. If, at a given time, a finite amount of wealth exists, and the population grows, then that wealth, per capita, will be diluted.

This is why it matters what wealth is, and how it is created. As the population grows, if more real wealth is not created, then humanity as a whole becomes poorer. So a situation like the stock market, where wealth is "traded", but not necessarily created, and debt, where there may be an assumption that the borrowed capital will be used to create more physical wealth, but not a guarantee (and the interest on the debt being likely a bleed on the possible new wealth created), may not create real new wealth, but only cause inflation. Inflation is not a source of new wealth, it is merely a mechanism of dilution.

In an earlier post I speculated that new wealth is most likely tied to the conversion of natural resources into new material things, which are often accounted as new wealth. But if that conversion of natural resources is accompanied by unaccounted externalized costs, then it may not be a real increase of wealth, but a decrease.


What has actually happened is that wealth and population both grew, but wages stagnated, so the top 1-3% all got rich like pharaohs while everyone has had a slow but measurable decline in their quality of life.

In addition, the same bastards are milking people harder than ever. You take a look at "bank fees" in 1980 vs now. Or even more outrageously, things like APS (in Phoenix, but soon everywhere) putting demand charges on household electrical accounts. Which means you still get the same service you always had, only now you pay $150 more per month.
_________________________
What can we do to help you stop screaming?

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#327352 - 07/15/20 12:47 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: Hamish Howl]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Or to put it another way, we are presently enjoying the Great Flowering of Capitalism! Life for humans has never been better... (we don't care about life in general, it's not in the playbook!)
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330750 - 12/15/20 12:17 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: logtroll
Just wrapping up another grant writing effort - USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant. Thankfully, I'm not the primary author on this one, which is a collaborative project involving a Cleveland African/American food sustainability nonprofit, a Detroit inner city gardening movement, a Navajo tribal farming and greenhouse operation, and a collaboration of five social, agricultural, and business operations in my community.

The focus area for the grant opportunity that we are basing the proposal on is energy conservation in agricultural operations, so our biochar+energy systems are the piece linking all four sites together - expanding greenhouse operations to year-round function in a revenue positive model that creates an cascade of ancillary biochar related benefits.

In this age of fighting, destruction, and generally miserable attitudes, we are working for solutions. As my one of my heroes once said, "“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete." -R. Buckminster Fuller

We got the grant - in the neighborhood of $880K.

It includes a $220K contract for The Trollworks LLC, my company that is developing Biochar+Energy Systems, for four biochar-making boilers to heat greenhouses at each site, and one 'liability biomass' processing system for the Cleveland partner.

It's what the Green New Deal oughta be about.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330758 - 12/15/20 10:34 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
Congratulations!

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#330764 - 12/16/20 01:30 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 2675
Originally Posted By: logtroll
A thought provoking presentation on deficit spending.

What this woman says is viscerally counterintuitive to me, but nonetheless it is a subject that I have been wondering about for years. Could it be that our thinking about debt and money is just as culturally biased as any ideology?

Both money and debt exist only because of agreements, after all... what limits the agreements that are possible?


Boomers went for supply side economics hard. They literally think that the taxation and fiscal spending plumbing is directly connected. That government needs to run its budgets like a household, paying debts is moral responsibility, etc, etc...

Your ears bleed listening to this propoganda over the years.

Here’s a fun dive into the historical concept of debt and money:




Edited by chunkstyle (12/16/20 01:36 AM)

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#330765 - 12/16/20 01:35 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Macro and cheese has been a good source of explaining current MMT concepts: Macro and Cheese





Edited by chunkstyle (12/16/20 01:37 AM)

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#330769 - 12/16/20 04:37 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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A great deal of wealth gets accumulated thru the language of scarcity. It took me awhile to get this.
Not new, as I understand it, but goes back to the European colonial period of extracting wealth from regions while offering nearly nothing in return. England was a master at this tactic and we have much to thank them for our own impoverishment as an inland colony for our rentiers.

Scarcity language has been used for decades as an impediment to any redistributive benefits for the vast majority of Americans. Embraced by our current Rentiers as ‘common sense’ and ‘logic’ when in reality it’s nothing more than self reenforcing justification of the current power and wealth arrangements. Socialism for rentiers and coupon clippers, the iron heel for wage earners. No health care for you. Too expensive. Big shiny military for us. Don’t ask how we pay for it, etc..

One of the more interesting contradictions for me is how the redistributive effects of the new deal, leading to the largest middle class in human history, create a population of voters who then Went on to reject those policies that they directly benefitted from (looking at you boomers).

As I understand it, the mind works out the benefit, usually in the form of exclusion (race, gender, sexual orientation, political, etc), does the act of exclusion that in some way benefits themself, then creates the self reenforcing logic to justify the act of exclusion.
Language of scarcity is a fellow traveler to eugenics, racism, meritocracy and other rationals for ripping off people and not feeling bad about it.


What is wealth? The absence of scarcity and precarity, IMO.


Edited by chunkstyle (12/16/20 04:40 AM)

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#330771 - 12/16/20 11:25 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pdx rick Offline
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Originally Posted By: logtroll
We got the grant - in the neighborhood of $880K.

It includes a $220K contract for The Trollworks LLC, my company that is developing Biochar+Energy Systems, for four biochar-making boilers to heat greenhouses at each site, and one 'liability biomass' processing system for the Cleveland partner.

It's what the Green New Deal oughta be about.

Years and years in the making. Finally! Congrats Loggy. smile
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#330772 - 12/16/20 11:26 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
pdx rick Offline
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Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
...extracting wealth from regions while offering nearly nothing in return...

Sounds exactly like the greedy, grubby conservative business model. laugh
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#330773 - 12/16/20 12:02 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pdx rick]
chunkstyle Offline
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Yes. Both current parties practice this to a tee, team loyalties aside.

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#330774 - 12/16/20 12:27 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
pdx rick Offline
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Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
What’s a both sider?

Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
Yes. Both current parties practice this to a tee, team loyalties aside.


You answered your own question. smile
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#330777 - 12/16/20 01:56 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Ohhhh...

Being objective.

Why invent new words when there’s plenty of established ones handy Rick?

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#330778 - 12/16/20 02:48 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
logtroll Offline
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Originally Posted By: chunkstyle

Part way through - fascinating stuff!
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To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
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#330779 - 12/16/20 02:59 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Congratulations!

Originally Posted By: pdx rick
Years and years in the making. Finally! Congrats Loggy. smile

Thanks for the support, but realize it's just another step forward towards a hoped for "new model". The current challenge is to recruit more allies and folks to help carry the load of implementation.

As Walt Whitman said:
Quote:
Allons! through struggles and wars!
The goal that was named cannot be countermanded.

Have the past struggles succeeded?
What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? nature?
Now understand me well—It is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330780 - 12/16/20 03:51 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
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I had to go back and re-read the whole thread as I had forgotten why I started it. Re-entry by following up on the grant submission post was just that - but fortunately, it's still relevant to the topic.

A major drawback to the system of capitalism as far as my "mission" is concerned, is that I am forced to spend a great deal of my time off-mission raising money to keep the progress going, and to support myself personally. In a Yooge irony, if I had Trump's skills at con artistry (which is generally regarded as a talent for "capitalism), I'd be rolling in dough - but I wouldn't have any of the drive or skillset to develop the "New Model". As more irony, I could make a case that Donald Trump has never created any real wealth, and in fact has done a great deal of wealth destruction, if you look at the full set of account books.

I think that the core problem with hard-core capitalism is that it instills fear and insecurity into our lives (what if I can't "make a living"?), which tends to morph into an irrational psychosis of greed. I see that in myself. More is better. But the rat race for security is virtually never ending, and it consumes incredible amounts of time and resources. This is the reason I am a natural supporter of universal healthcare and some kind of general basic survival support for everyone.

PIA a nice picture of what modest wealth is that can be obtained via a tame and sane practice of "capitalism", that seems to describe what a safe and secure basic existence would look like:
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
So now we are retired with rental income and tax-free dividend income, as well as social security near the top tier. I don't feel bad about any of it. We are great landlords, letting people have dogs, never raising the rent, and never keeping security deposits. We also maintain those houses very well. We've never done anything unethical, cheated anybody, etc. When we die, most of the estate will go to charities. I suspect if karma is real, we have accumulated plenty of good karma. We would let rents slide for Covid-19 unemployment, but all our tenants have jobs and keep on paying rent!

Are we wealthy? As wealthy as we want to be.

I think about how much further along this New Model mission would be if I didn't have to "make a living" and "raise capital" to keep it viable. Of course, if we had such a culture, it would be much easier to create the New Model...
_________________________
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To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330781 - 12/16/20 06:45 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
jgw Offline
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Trump has one skill - gaslighting. This is a skill of confusion. You take a subject then express every and all possible sides to that argument (with a lot of maybees, perhaps, do you thinks, and nonsense) until the listener is so confused they gladly let the gaslighter tell you the answer that is right and your confusion allows that to happen. There is a book on this. You can also google "trump gaslighting" for more information on this one.

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#330787 - 12/16/20 08:52 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
pdx rick Offline
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Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
Ohhhh...

Being objective.

Why invent new words when there’s plenty of established ones handy Rick?

Boredom mostly. smile
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#330789 - 12/16/20 09:48 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
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I see a physical reality underlaying everything that has laws about increasing entropy in entire systems: In economics, just like in the physical world, the wealth of the entire systems tends to get diluted. Our "wealth" in this system can be considered as all the energy available on this planet. (A few people are trying to expand that "wealth" by working on stuff like orbital power satellites and hydrogen fusion, but right now, this is all we have.) If you distribute an equal share to everybody, then we all just get poorer, plus it gets more diluted as population grows over the years. A comfortable future in the short run, but bleak in the long run.

You can run counter to increasing entropy locally, by increasing the entropy somewhere else. For example, you can burn fossil fuel to do stuff but that puts CO2 in the atmosphere and decreases oil reserves. Both highly entropic. But the stuff you do with that energy decreases your local entropy by building things, heating houses above ambient, etc.

For the future, efforts to increase the scope of the system (space and fusion again) are the only thing that holds off the inevitable decline into an environment that can't sustain human life. The only way to do such stuff is to use some of that wealth to do those things. That's the function of capitalism, and why equitable sharing means the end of the human race.

Not that sharing is bad! Ideally, everybody would have whatever they need for a long and happy life. But we need to make sure that progress continues if we want a future. What then must we do? I do plan to give away everything. But I'm going to wait until my own long and happy life is over, and try not to be a burden on anyone else in the process.

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#330798 - 12/17/20 11:45 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
chunkstyle Offline
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Uh huh....

Some kind of grand unification theory that centers capitalism lest we have entropy.

I read this and think of the anthropocene period underway now as it relates to wealth and the death cult of capitalism.

For example, the excesses that flow from the broken brained rich, Oxfams report on the outsize destruction the top 1% are having on the environment.

Carbon emissions of richest 1 percent more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity

I’m not sure, but it would appear that all those extra 4K plasma sets and extra vacation homes with infinity edge pools are a function of escaping the gravitational pull of entropy?

Or, in other words, capitalism’s job is to resist entropy and Its consequences by expanding into space after soiling it’s own nest?

To me, placing property over people and elevating ourselves above nature is the challenge of our day. Reintroducing the wealth of the commons and communities may need to make a comeback. Psychopathic Capitalism, and its lubricant, consumerism, appears to be doing more to bring about resource exhaustion and species extinction than anything else.



Edited by chunkstyle (12/17/20 11:55 AM)

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#330799 - 12/17/20 12:07 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Congrats on the grant Logs.
I don’t see us getting public transport thru the NGO industrial complex but it’s heartening to see your biochar get funded. A bright spot for sure.

Regenerative agriculture is going to be so important to our future and char should be a big contributor. I can’t imagine the satisfaction of being involved in that kind of work.

A good repeat client of my wife and I are heirloom seed farmers. They’re in their mid forties and are no till regenerative organic apostles. Doing quit well at the moment. Always fascinating to learn about their involvement with soil and seeds. They are driven people on a mission. I’m guessing your in that same camp of purpose. Right on!

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#330804 - 12/17/20 08:04 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Quote:
capitalism’s job is to resist entropy and Its consequences

You kind missed the point: Increasing entropy is a physical law. You can't escape it. It always happens. Life (in the biological sense) is always a shortcut over non-life in consuming energy faster from the external system, to benefit the local system. Claiming that economics can ignore physical laws is an exercise in futility.

Not that I'm a big fan of brain-dead capitalism, or rich people getting laws passed to maintain and grow their family fortunes down through the generations. I would not mind a 100% inheritance tax on estates over a million dollars. But we need some smart capitalism so we get long-term solutions. That's long-term thinking instead of short-term.

We need the Elon Musk's to get people driving electric cars instead of burning fossil fuels, and building space access since our government has given up on that. Hydrogen fusion is going to save us from global climate change by eliminating the need for fossil fuels, and making it economically feasible to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Amassing capital lets us do thing like that, much in the same way amassing capital made it possible for European nobility to build the great cathedrals. I'm sure building those cathedrals did not improve the lives of the peasants, but it did show people what was possible besides back-breaking dirt farming for 40 years followed by an early grave. Without those cathedrals we would all still be farming for the local lord, and dying en masse from drought, famine, and pestilence.

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#330810 - 12/17/20 08:44 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
Irked Offline
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offtopic

Objective, adj. 1) How every subject characterizes their opinion.

offtopic
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#330817 - 12/18/20 03:49 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
chunkstyle Offline
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Amassing capitol is the essence of what you might be calling entropy.

Capitalism’s history is going from productive economy to a maturing unproductive, or rentiers economy.
As the great bearded one pointed out with Money+labor=profit eventually goes to money=profit.

Money gets concentrated in the non productive economy in the form of financialization and rent seeking, to the detriment of the productive economy.

When that happens it tends to trigger a market signal crises. I would argue we are in a full market signal crises currently. A red hot stock market while so much of the productive economy is in contraction.

The general trend is for that productivity to move elsewhere. Where conditions are favorable. Looking at the Asian rim here. As the productive economy has moved from the Italian City states to Holland, next England and Germany and then the US it looks like it is now moving to China, South Korea, Vietnam, etc...

Capitalism’s history is going from productive to unproductive, increasing opportunity to decreasing opportunity, etc... it’s A built in contradiction with Entropy in its DNA,


Edited by chunkstyle (12/18/20 04:16 AM)

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#330823 - 12/18/20 02:05 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
I see a physical reality underlaying everything that has laws about increasing entropy in entire systems: In economics, just like in the physical world, the wealth of the entire systems tends to get diluted. Our "wealth" in this system can be considered as all the energy available on this planet.

I think that looking only at energy available on the planet as “wealth” is incorrect. Earlier, somewhere, I speculated that resources in general are the source of “wealth” - energy is a fundamental tool for processing resources into wealth, and impacts the speed at which it occurs.

This brings to light that system entropy can be defined as “using it all up” (one of you guys said that already), which leads to a counterintuitive realization about the strong connection of the accumulation of wealth being an indicator of the acceleration of entropy, or in other words “using up all of the resources”.

This in itself is a false view, as virtually all of the resources needed to sustain life on the planet are renewable through natural processes (Mother Nature) unless they are used (ab-used) thoughtlessly - with disregard for the renewing/recycling systems that are powered by the Sun. Now, we can see that the Sun as an energy source is a system bound to entropy, and unless the science is wrong it will burn out. But that is none of humanity’s business, as we can’t control it (thank the Gods, or we would find a way to use it up faster!), and we are too insignificant in both stature and duration to be affected by its slow demise.

There is too much to say on theses subjects for one post, so in the interest of making at least one comprehensible point, let’s go back to wealth. America is a great example of the destructive nature of accumulation of wealth - it is the wealthiest country (an overstatement, but...) and it is the biggest consumer of resources, and the biggest polluter per capita. We are a superior entropy accelerator among humanity.

Interesting that control of “the means of production” and the accumulation of “capital” (resources) are the definition of capitalism. Capitalism is the great and unconscious accelerator of unnatural entropy.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330831 - 12/18/20 08:58 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
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There are some things that are "wealth" that are not energy, but generating them requires energy to be consumed. Even composers and artists have to eat!

Loggy, you do understand my view of entropy very well. Capitalism is a means of accelerating entropy, but I would not call it "unnatural". I think the "natural" versus "unnatural" distinction is a leftover idea that whatever humans cause is unnatural, because God gave us free will. Bringing God into it just makes rational consideration impossible. I think that whatever humans do is natural, since we are animals like any other animal. Just smarter in some ways.

We do have a lot of energy coming our way from the sun, which is great in the short run. But why should the use and management of that resource be "none of our business"? That is not an infinite resource. As long as we are earth-bound, we can only collect a certain amount of that energy. Even if we encircled the sun with a sphere of energy collectors, that would be another limit, albeit much higher. Entropy is inevitable.

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#330833 - 12/18/20 09:16 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Ok. If the idea is to find the base material necessary for wealth and energy is the current front runner, here’s an interesting dive into EROI dilemma. The last paragraph is the money shot, IMO.

EROI of different fuels and the implications for society


Edited by chunkstyle (12/18/20 09:17 PM)

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#330838 - 12/19/20 05:53 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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That paper has some useful data, but it certainly leaves out a lot of externalities. For example, if you include the cost of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere the EROI of oil, gas, and coal actually go negative: They have no return if they kill us! It's also almost seven years old, so the investment cost for PV panels has gone way, way down.

But the ideas are good. EROI is a useful way of thinking about the cost of competing forms of energy extraction. I had no idea hydroelectric is so good. Seven years ago nuclear and PV could be about equal. I wonder where they stand now, but of course PV isn't base energy unless you come up with a storage system.

Particularly high efficiency energy storage systems us PV electricity to make ice, which can later be used for air conditioning, and hot water from thermal panels, which can be used later for heating.

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#330839 - 12/19/20 11:14 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Loggy, you do understand my view of entropy very well.

I assume you left out a “not”?

I don’t think you understood anything of what I was trying to say, based on your response. Oh, well, it was useful for my own evolution of thinking on the subject.

I learned long ago that trying to communicate about complex subjects by talking is a frustrating game and that energy intended to persuade is much better spent by demonstrating the principle, if one can manage it. Discussion where there is already substantial agreement is easy, and nearly impossible where there is not.

(I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes,
We convince by our presence.) - Whitman, again
_________________________
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To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330840 - 12/19/20 02:00 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
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Some concise points in hopes of clarifying what I was noodling about above...

I am in full agreement that the Sun is a clear example of an entropic system. The comment about it being none of humanity’s business is because the scale is such a fantastic mismatch to our puny existence that it simply doesn’t matter.

I don’t agree that every system, whether energy or not, is naturally entropic. One specific system I had in mind is the soil ecosystem. In a healthy natural state it appears to be perpetually self-renewing, keeping in mind that it is able to do this with the energy input from the Sun (making it technically entropic, but in a way that doesn’t matter in this discussion about wealth). Same thing goes for water and the hydrologic cycle, which is continually in flux performing almost unaccountable beneficial services for all of organic life, in the most intriguing and complex ways. If there is anything about such Natural systems that is inherently entropic, it’s not obvious to me.

Enter humanity, with all its free will and brainpower, and desire for wealth and security, and these Natural systems begin degrading apace, fueled by the harnessing of a range of energy resources that have the possibility probability of being squandered in just a few hundred years. I’m not even sure if that effect would properly be termed entropy - it’s more like cancer. (Btw, even hydropower is entropic...)

Is energy “wealth” if it drives the headlong (geologically speaking) destruction of the (our) environment?

My reference to “the gods” (not God, btw) was a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm about one of many weird delusions that much of humanity insists on enjoying as a free-will distraction from learning about and understanding our fitting place in Nature.
_________________________
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To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330841 - 12/19/20 02:20 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Originally Posted By: logtroll


Interesting that control of “the means of production” and the accumulation of “capital” (resources) are the definition of capitalism. Capitalism is the great and unconscious accelerator of unnatural entropy.



I thought the iron laws of capitalism were: increase profits (accumulation), increase markets share.
Owning the means can be done in several ways in order to serve the two laws.

It can be organized by the participants in the value added process, or workers, having a more socialistic horizontal structure. Like worker co-ops. Likewise, it can be more vertically structured and fascistic like an incorporated organization where decision making and the lives of those engaged in the value added activity of the org are decided by a small group of people.

Either can be capitalism as it relates to the two laws.

I agree that the conversation has gotten vague. Everyone has an opinion on so important a topic as wealth and the way to get some of it. IMO, we have made capitalism into a religion and deify those who’ve managed to accumulate it. Talking religion is always a tricky thing.

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#330842 - 12/19/20 02:35 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
logtroll Offline
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Good point.

The important thing is to open our minds to, first, that there are serious problems with the way things are; and second, that it's okay to consider other ways that they can be.

Humanity has an annoying habit of always wanting to make things fit into the boxes we know, into words coined to narrow definitions (capitalism, socialism, etc). And as you say, these boxes (wineskins, for a Biblical reference) become religions.

Something about "don't put new wine (ideas) into old wineskins (ideologies)".

There's a problem, and we need to understand it before we can make any progress towards fixing it.

There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear...
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330843 - 12/19/20 02:38 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
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Here's the best definition of wealth that I know:

Quote:
"If you would make any man wealthy, add not to his possessions, but take from his desires."


It's interesting that this concept is also the fundamental principle of conservation.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330844 - 12/19/20 03:54 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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No doubt desires are the well spring of advertising and media production.

If advertising and medias primary goal is to produce feelings and desires in an individual in order to illicit a certain response then it fulfills the very definition of propaganda:

"Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols (words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth)."

A very effective tool for selling products, ideas and politicians. So much of our culture and ideas come at us as manufactured propaganda that, often times, conversations become just a distribution system to deliver payload of dubious origin.

It may not be a language barrier as much as a product placement barrier.

Best line I remember from a run down, sun beat old private bill board on the side of the road sayin something of 'what does it profit a man to gain the earth but lose his own soul'.

Sounds like scripture, or it did anyways.


Edited by chunkstyle (12/19/20 04:03 PM)

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#330847 - 12/19/20 06:10 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
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I'm going to wax a little poetic about this, admitting I haven't read the thread yet, so this is my initial thought process:

For most people "wealth" is a comparator - a relation to how "others" are doing. This is true across cultures, whether we're using gold, dollars or goats as the standard, one is "wealthy" if they have more of them. For some, it becomes an obsession, the need to accumulate and be seen as possessing more. Trump is a good example of this, but it applies to many in the "moneyed" class, and those who aspire to being there.

For me, wealth is more about satisfaction. Am I satisfied with where I am in my life? In comparison to others, I might be deemed wealthy (I retired early), but to others I am a pauper. I reside in equal parts working and investor class. I own my home outright, but drive (mostly) well-used vehicles and don't go much in for luxuries (although, I try to insist on well-made). I now have abundant leisure time to "spend" on friends, family, travel and petty pursuits. I don't want for needs. I can buy what food I want, eat out when I want, acquire tools or toys on a whim, or take a trip or rescue my offspring from imprudent choices. I am keenly aware that these are luxuries to many if not most. In that sense I consider myself "wealthy." It's about the absence of want.

To me, wealth is about personal happiness - so ironically those who might objectively seem "wealthy" to others can be spiritual paupers, always wanting more.

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#330850 - 12/19/20 06:38 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Comparing and contrasting, ‘Feelings’ of contentment, sure.

At some point, though, shouldn’t objective conditions come into it. Thinking about handling $400 emergency for many. Lack of adequate food, healthcare, any material benefits from the political economy, Labor uptake, etc...

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#330853 - 12/19/20 07:21 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
At some point, though, shouldn’t objective conditions come into it. Thinking about handling $400 emergency for many. Lack of adequate food, healthcare, any material benefits from the political economy, Labor uptake, etc...
Absolutely. It is hard to be content or satisfied when you don't know where your next meal is coming from, or when any setback results in personal disaster. Yet, it is also true that people with little can be satisfied with their condition.

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#330856 - 12/19/20 11:27 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Loggy, I did NOT leave out a "not". Capitalism is a means of accelerating entropy. Without capitalism, entropy runs slower but is still inevitable. With capitalism, entropy over the whole system runs faster, but we can do things that enlarge the system. Sometimes by orders of magnitude.

I'm just thinking on a grander scale than most people. I think that life on Earth has all the resources in our solar system at our disposal. Going to other stars may always be impractical, just because of low ROI. But we have the energy capital right now to have access to all that. If we stop advancing and equitably divide what we have now, all humans now living could have long and happy lives. Other species, not so much.

But unless we restrict population growth, those equitable shares get smaller and smaller. And not over millennia, but over decades. We would all get poorer over our individual lifetimes.

Some people want everybody to be equally poor. I prefer people become equally rich.

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#330857 - 12/19/20 11:55 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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My focus is more on the environment. In my view, most of what we mindlessly call wealth is being generated from the destruction of the environment. I see that destruction as human-caused cancer, not entropy.

If no costs are externalized, I'm afraid the account books don't support that the conversion of the environment to a wasteland, and the pollution of the atmosphere into a greenhouse, and doing such a fair trade for artificial wealth.

I don't want more, I want less. I don't want to go to live on Mars, either.

I was down at the farm this afternoon working on the greenhouse foundation for our local role in the Conservation Innovation Grant, and two of our LLC's newest members, both naturalists and ornithologists, were doing an annual bird count along the creek that flows through the farm, which they have been doing for twenty years. We are on a neotropical migratory flyway. They reported that they have documented an average 2% reduction annually, with less species diversity. I count species diversity and heathy populations of wildlife as an important form of wealth. We are losing it quickly and dramatically.

The cost of some kinds of wealth is much higher than its value - I think that means it is not actually wealth, but delusion.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330863 - 12/20/20 01:24 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Agreed.

If you factored the externalized costs of environmental destruction into the profit/loss calculation of most capitalist endeavors you’d find that capitalism mostly operates in the red. The trick has been to sell the public on a fairy tale of free markets and artificial scarcity that benefits the current arrangements.

The pandemic response should have been revelatory as to what is prioritized in the political economy. Property and profit are guaranteed. Life, liberty and happiness? Not so much.

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#330877 - 12/20/20 07:12 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
jgw Offline
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Yep population is a problem. Now throw in climate change. Latin America, right now, is running out of food. Europe, Africa, actually pretty much the entire world is starting to feel a pinch. Now add in the ice caps melting. We all know how that is changing things like world water lines. However, just one more things about that melting business. Seems that the ice weighed a lot and was able to kinda stabilize things geological. Now little things, like that Cascadia subduction zone - that one will destroy the northwest. Then there is the supervolcano which will do wonders on the southwest.

So, there are too many people and many of those people are running out of food and moving around. The earth we live in is also getting pesky. Oh, one more thing - seems that access to water is also becoming a serious problem as well. Anybody that has water and food and has not blowed up is in the sights of them that have such problems and there are a LOT of them!

If nothing else - interesting times!

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#330881 - 12/21/20 02:32 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Agreed JGW.

Lets start by eliminating the population that's contributing the most to the climate collapse and work it backwards..

Wouldn't that make the most sense. Eliminate the problem by eliminate the greatest contributors of CO2?

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#330882 - 12/21/20 02:59 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
perotista Offline
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Registered: 09/05/19
Posts: 1198
I always wondered if the rain forests were the same size as they were in let's say 1900, if we hadn't been cutting down trees and eliminating farm land to build suburbs, shopping malls and the like if we wouldn't be having the problem with CO2 we're having today. I do think the asphalt and concrete being laid down while eliminating vegetation has a lot to do with it.

Although I may be over estimating the ability of plants and vegetation to reduce CO2 and replace it with oxygen. Just a thought. I've never been able to find an answer to the question above.
_________________________
It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.

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#330883 - 12/21/20 03:23 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: perotista]
logtroll Offline
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Originally Posted By: perotista
I've never been able to find an answer to the question above.

_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330886 - 12/21/20 07:44 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: perotista]
jgw Offline
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Registered: 05/22/06
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Loc: Port Angeles, WA
I don't know about rain forests (other than the one we have) but I do know that we now have more forests than we did 100 years ago https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=do+we+have+more+forests+now+than+in+1900%3F

the biggest problem, as far as co2 is concerned it turns out that agriculture is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gasses. (google co2 agriculture)

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#330888 - 12/21/20 08:55 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
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I noticed that he wasn't talking about increasing soil carbon content directly by adding carbon, but rather changing the entire soil biome which resulted in increased carbon but also a lot of other beneficial changes. I wonder if skipping right to increased carbon gets you any of those things or actually suppresses them.

He told us they had an improved composting method that reduced salinity, but did not mention how they did that, or where the salt went. I would have liked to know that.

I've been to Asilomar many times for conferences. Lovely place. Highly recommended.

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#330889 - 12/21/20 09:13 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: perotista]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
Plants are generally not good for carbon sequestration. The carbon goes into the plant, mostly from the atmosphere, but later returns to the atmosphere when the plant burns, rots, or is eaten. The exception is plant carbon that enters the soil. This was actually the source of all that sequestered carbon in the form of oil and gas that accumulated over millions of years.

This happens in the oceans as well, with a certain amount of carbon capture always happening, moving through plants, shells, deposits on the sea floor, subduction, and carbonate mineral production (like chalk). Both of these are the main compartment of long-term carbon sequestration on Earth.

Rain forest is very poor at carbon sequestration because all the nutrients are in the standing plant biomass. Burn that, and the soil is pretty barren. Plant a few years of crops and take away the nutrients and you end up with very infertile soil. Going through an enrichment process with grasses, nitrogen fixers, cattle, compost, etc. might make the rain forest -> agricultural land conversion work.

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#330892 - 12/22/20 02:47 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
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This is a very interesting lecture by the Professor pioneering high temperature liquid metal batteries for grid-level energy storage:

Lecture

It's pretty entertaining too! Which is pretty rare in such a topic. The really cool thing about these cells is that they can be cycled many thousands of times with no loss of capacity at all. My favorite quote:

Quote:
If you want to make dirt-cheap batteries, you'd better make them out of dirt. And preferably locally-sourced dirt.

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#330893 - 12/22/20 02:50 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
perotista Offline
member

Registered: 09/05/19
Posts: 1198
I thank you guys, which proves you are never too old to learn.
_________________________
It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.

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#331727 - 01/24/21 11:34 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
More on what money is:

_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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