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Old 06-24-2021, 02:58 PM   #16
enorbet
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This is a ridiculous thread because the questions are imprecise if not biased. For example, ethics is not like the number "1". If a person's ethics are, "Every man for himself and Devil take the hindmost" then it is obvious that can justify any behaviour as long as it serves that man's assessment of what is good, or better, for him.

So it would seem the question is loaded with subjectivity more like "Can a person become wealthy and be ethical by MY standards" and only the OP can answer that.

There is the further problem of original source. If I take mud and bake it into bricks and eventually build a business making bricks that's pretty ethical by anyone's standards excepting those few that actually think "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need" is ethical. I'd argue against that until death.

However there are families who have owned substantial wealth passed down for many years , even centuries. The offspring didn't necessarily earn it but some of them are cutthroat while others are magnanimous, but should we consider the original source? Many rich families got that way in the distant past in manners that were unethical by most standards, if not criminal by their fellow citizen's standards and certainly by today's standards.

We must remember (and all we have to do is look at what's popular in books and movies to see) that there was a time when being a warrior meant in addition to defending one's neighbors, being a murderer and a thief. The Vikings and the Huns were only distant past examples but ones we still sort of celebrate today, while the murder and theft against Native Americans is more recent and largely just "whitewashed" out of view or discussion.

I'm not singling out the US, since Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, China, Japan... virtually every country that exists today are descendant from conquerors and slavers. This only changed... and only slightly, after the rise of Capitalism and Democracy that championed a path to wealth through production rather than stealing what one's neighbors (or the lower classes) had.

Last edited by enorbet; 06-24-2021 at 03:01 PM.
 
Old 06-24-2021, 11:28 PM   #17
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Is it possible to make a billion, or even a million, while being ethical? Or is every wealthy person bad?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
Is accumulation of vast wealth, while the majority of the world's population live in poverty ethical?
This.

That said, I believe it is ethically possible to have more than enough, and no financial troubles/worries for the rest of your life.
But once your wealth increases beyond a certain threshold, the whole thing starts getting ridiculous. Intelligent people thought about this more than a century ago, and came up with the word "capitalism". It's still a good definition. They didn't just call it "rich" or "wealthy" for a reason.

I recently found this web page that nicely illustrates the ridiculousness of being very wealthy. Just keep holding down the right arrow key.

I also don't believe that people are inherently bad. But that's a slightly different discussion.
 
Old 06-25-2021, 02:14 AM   #18
cynwulf
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+1 To the above.

I suggest that some in this thread don't actually understand what capitalism is.

Capitalism is certainly not "running a small business". If you grow some potatoes and sell them at the market to earn a living you're not a "capitalist" per se. If on the other hand you own a few thousand acres of land and employ a lot of people on the minimum wage and are sitting on millions in in land other assets and finances - then that surely would.

To be a "capitalist" you must own the means of production, employ others and be accumulating "capital" - i.e. money which sits in a bank account serving no other purpose than enriching the account holder(s).
 
Old 06-25-2021, 04:28 AM   #19
fido_dogstoyevsky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
...money which sits in a bank account serving no other purpose than enriching the account holder(s).
Nowadays money which just sits in the bank serves no other purpose than enriching the bank.
 
Old 06-25-2021, 09:13 AM   #20
leclerc78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho
I also don't believe that people are inherently bad. But that's a slightly different discussion.
Then how do you explain bullying at a very young age ? I believe more in our DNA control (according to the BBC, it's 70% of what we do in this life).
 
Old 06-25-2021, 11:55 AM   #21
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leclerc78 View Post
Then how do you explain bullying at a very young age ? I believe more in our DNA control (according to the BBC, it's 70% of what we do in this life).
I don't think bullying qualifies as simply "bad" in that at one point in our evolution it was important to species survival, certainly individual survival. It just no longer suits modern conditions that tend toward cooperation and collaboration. This transition will take time if it doesn't first result in our downfall. This conflict has been considered ever since The Age of Enlightenment.

One excellent exposition on this was written by HG Wells and made into a movie in 1936 starring Raymond Massey as the enlightened hero and some guy whose name I forget as "The Chief". The Chief was your typical charismatic bully who rose to tribal power and influence because people naturally gravitate to strong leaders and after a devastating world war many people will give up considerable Liberty in return for what they feel is Safe, a Father Figure. At least a million years of existence as Hunter/Gatherers embedded such tendencies by Natural Selection.

Wells imagined, probably rightly, that it is extremely unlikely to shed such outdated tendencies easily, and that migration away from such people is the easier solution. To bad we have run out of undeveloped land.. at least here on Earth.

Anyway in tribal times the number of available fertile women was limited so the competition for men to win the right to pass on their genes was fierce and women sought fierce men to protect them and their children from violence from wild animals and marauders and to be providers. Bullying is just an ancient dance of aggression, quite normal but no longer desirable, at least physical aggression. These days the physically aggressive don't usually rise to the top. Mental aggression does.
 
Old 06-25-2021, 12:37 PM   #22
cynwulf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fido_dogstoyevsky View Post
Nowadays money which just sits in the bank serves no other purpose than enriching the bank.
For the average person yes - for millionaires and billionaires it's also earning them interest - a lot of it. And that's just the start of it...

The banking system is geared towards taking money from the earnings of the many and rewarding the wealthy few - the big accounts and the bankers. If you're on an average to low income, you're more likely to pay more fees to the bank over the course of a year for "services" such as an overdraft, than you earn in interest.

I remember getting paid in cash in a brown envelope, then the government stopped that and you have to have a bank account..... I wonder why....?

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-25-2021 at 12:39 PM.
 
Old 06-29-2021, 01:59 AM   #23
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
For the average person yes - for millionaires and billionaires it's also earning them interest - a lot of it. And that's just the start of it...
I was once part of a group that experimented with new systems of exchange and currencies (long before bitcoin etc.), and it was all very similar to our normal system, with one small change: if you leave your capital sitting there, it gets slightly less every month, not slightly more.
That small adjustment complete turns the system around: suddenly people are interested in doing something with their money, instead of hoarding it.

BTW, my bank account takes fees, too, but it doen't make me poorer.

If I had "capital" I'd think hard if it's a good idea to store it as money (be it in an account or at home) at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leclerc78 View Post
Then how do you explain bullying at a very young age ?
I don't because I'm not a psychologist, but I work with people "at a very young age" and in my experience bullying is a 100% social phenomenon and it can be eradicated softly - one aspect is to give the bully positive feedback (meaning: pay more attention to the good things they do, not the bad things). Also growing empathy. Many people do not realize that empathy is a learned skill.
I believe many parents fail in that, some of them quite spectacularly, and I believe that is the root of bullying (and not some lizard brain bullcrap) - that and a social environment that enforces it instead of dealing with it as a problem.

So just to clarify: I've seen this happening many times.
Little kids with strong bullying inclinations turn around to a point that they want to be social and friends with others.
If the parents (or any other institution in their lives) don't play ball the results will remain fragile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leclerc78 View Post
I believe more in our DNA control (according to the BBC, it's 70% of what we do in this life).
I don't believe that, and that's one statistic I'd like to see explained. It's pointless to just throw a number without context.

Last edited by ondoho; 06-29-2021 at 02:02 AM.
 
Old 06-30-2021, 12:05 PM   #24
cynwulf
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Any taxes or penalties for hoarding will merely prompt the hoarder to move that money into property, investments, hedge funds, offshore companies, etc, etc... This happens as it is.

Some of that activity in itself raises an ethical question.

If for example some wealthy businessman has "money" tied up in several, usually empty, 1M plus town houses in London, which they don't actually need, is that right when there is a housing shortage, homelessness and others paying extortionate rents for hovels or working long hours to pay a mortgage off over 25 years, where the banks are making huge gains in interest?

A typical couple who want to buy their first home have to compete with "buy to let" parasites and property developers, who pay cash, cheaply renovate and sell on or rent out for a sizeable markup.

This playing of the "housing market" is also partially what brought us the "credit crunch" of 2008. The collapsing banks were bailed out using public money and while rich bankers still for the most part got large payouts - the majority on lower wages had to bear the burden of years of austerity. "We're all in this together" was the slogan - except some of weren't just in it, we were up to out eyeballs in it.

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-30-2021 at 12:15 PM.
 
Old 06-30-2021, 02:42 PM   #25
igadoter
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You must be joking. Just create your own ethics. First rule: it is good for you to be rich. Very. This is how it works.
 
Old 07-01-2021, 01:42 AM   #26
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
Any taxes or penalties for hoarding will merely prompt the hoarder to move that money into property, investments, hedge funds, offshore companies, etc, etc... This happens as it is.
Yes, my example wasn't meant as a suggestion for a viable solution, more like something to think about.
In the end it comes down to "money is not real" - well, at least not in any absolute, measurable and comparable way. It always depends on context, place time - how much you can get for it basically. I learned some of it through these early experiments, some of it when traveling with only the money I earned in the country I am in right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by igadoter View Post
You must be joking. Just create your own ethics. First rule: it is good for you to be rich. Very. This is how it works.
Good for you.
But this thread is about becoming very wealthy.
I already wrote before that there's a huge difference between having more than enough, and the ridiculous amounts of wealth some entities accumulate. To get an idea of how that comapres, have a look at this.
 
Old 07-01-2021, 11:59 AM   #27
cynwulf
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Yes that link illustrates it well - as well as an idea of what could be achieved by redistributing these vast fortunes, which this tiny minority have accumulated. The problem with that kind of wealth is that it effectively serves as a bottomless pit - over a certain amount the numbers become almost irrelevant.

Many people take no issue with that at all - they subscribe to the "survival of the fittest" ideology, even if that doesn't work and creates generations of human misery. Even for them.

The answer to this problem, from the psychopaths who control 99% of the world's wealth, is that there are of course too many of us (excluding them of course) and that we should stop breeding. This from the same psychopaths who are responsible for most of the world's pollution, waste and deforestation and who exploit poverty to increase their profits.
 
Old 07-02-2021, 05:03 PM   #28
enorbet
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I recall reading one of those "There are 2 types of people.." memes and unlike many it actually seems to grasp something rather essential. It ended with "Those who like to spend money, and those who like to make money".

Of course that ignores the fact that there is some overlap but it does point out an important difference that there are some who have no ultimate goal in mind other than just "MORE!", who evaluate their personal worth as a person totally by the yardstick of how much they earn or control. I don't view that as evil even though I do view it as infantile and ugly, but it is also counter-productive. Of what value is it, other than mere false ego gratification, to be very wealthy in an impoverished environment? Isn't it better for everyone when living standards are as high as possible? Isn't there less crime, less disease, even to some extent less ignorance that comes with widespread high standards of living?
 
  


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