Advocating a Wealth Threshold
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Why We're So Materialistic, Even Though It Doesn't Make Us Happy

Why We're So Materialistic, Even Though It Doesn't Make Us Happy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
No matter who you are, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of acquiring new stuff. Here’s a look at why your brain is so materialistic ...
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

Yet another article that attempts to tie materialism and greed to the inherent structure of the human brain or our genetic programming.

 

The fact is, we have been systematically taught and conditioned to be materialistic and greedy from birth.

 

To see how and why, I highly recommend viewing the BBC documentary series "The Century of the Self". See an introduction at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_YLy6yZeaw.

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Advocating a Wealth Threshold
There is a poverty threshold, but how about a wealth threshold to save democracy, economic stability, the environment, cultural diversity, and much more!
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Resolving the Economic Dilemma

Resolving the Economic Dilemma | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

A social dilemma occurs when everyone doing what a social system expects them to do causes it to collapse. In other words, what causes the breakdown is the way the system itself is structured.

Today's predominant brand of industrial capitalism, with its unbridled accumulation, is one such dilemma. Unchecked 'free' market competition leads to the concentration of ever more resources in fewer and fewer hands, and the ensuing dynamics increasingly stress the system until it snaps.

Capitalism itself, which in essence only means private ownership of the means of production, is not the issue here. What is being questioned is a system that enables an individual or corporation to accumulate so much wealth and power that they not only significantly influence the market, but also sway the policies, laws, conscience, and monetary systems of entire national governments in their favor. This is what needs to be checked by setting wealth thresholds beyond which there can be no passing.

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How Capitalism Actually Generates More Inequality - Evonomics

How Capitalism Actually Generates More Inequality - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Why extending markets or increasing competition won't reduce inequality
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Moderating excessive accumulation requires understanding its source. This essay is a good step in that direction.
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Finally, The Clearest Evidence That Shows How Money Shapes America’s Elections - Evonomics

Finally, The Clearest Evidence That Shows How Money Shapes America’s Elections - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Oversights of two generations of social scientists have weakened democracy.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Getting money out of politics will foster greater equality will help get money out of politics, etc.
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This Infographic Shows How Only 10 Companies Own All The World’s Brands

This Infographic Shows How Only 10 Companies Own All The World’s Brands | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

Just when you think there’s no end to the diversity of junk food lining supermarket aisles, an insanely detailed infographic comes along to set us all straight. Out of the hundreds of products at our disposal, only ten major corporations manufacture the bulk of what we toss in our shopping carts.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
How much grass-roots wealth could be generated by distributing this production more equitably among smaller companies, instead of keeping it in the hands of mega-corporations whose sole purpose is to maximize their profits!!!
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How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy - Evonomics

How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Economists for the last 50 years have used the term “host economy” for a country that lets in foreign investment. This term appears in most mainstream textbooks. A host implies a parasite. The term parasitism has been applied to finance by Martin Luther and others, but usually in the sense that you just talked about: simply taking something from the host.

But that’s not how biological parasites work in nature. Biological parasitism is more complex, and precisely for that reason it’s a better and more sophisticated metaphor for economics. The key is how a parasite takes over a host. It has enzymes that numb the host’s nervous system and brain. So if it stings or gets its claws into it, there’s a soporific anesthetic to block the host from realizing that it’s being taken over. Then the parasite sends enzymes into the brain. A parasite cannot take anything from the host unless it takes over the brain.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"If government is not the director and planner of the economy, then who is? It’s the financial sector. It’s Wall Street. So the essence of neoliberalism that you were mentioning before, is indeed a doctrine of central planning. It states that the central planning should be done by Wall Street, by the financial sector. The problem is, what is the objective of central planning by Wall Street? It’s not to raise living standards, and it’s not to increase employment. It is to smash and grab. That is the society we’re in now."
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Market Capitalism is Broken: Why Adam Smith Would be Outraged by Modern Finance - Evonomics

Market Capitalism is Broken: Why Adam Smith Would be Outraged by Modern Finance - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
market capitalism is not a system that was handed down in perfect form from the heavens on stone tablets.

We made up these rules, and we can change them. It won’t happen overnight, but we can start the process. There are lots of companies that are starting the process. There are lots of really smart politicians that want to have a real conversation about this stuff.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"Market capitalism is not a system that was handed down in perfect form from the heavens on stone tablets. We made up these rules, and we can change them. It won’t happen overnight, but we can start the process. There are lots of companies that are starting the process. There are lots of really smart politicians that want to have a real conversation about this stuff."
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Does Spiritual Capital Exist?

Does Spiritual Capital Exist? | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"To the degree that an organization can enable, support, or encourage a depth of personal morality and dedication to a noble purpose, it possesses spiritual capital."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"Spirituality simply refers to our aspirations, our guidance, our connections not founded in the material world, but rather from some source, we regard as more noble. Two key components of spirituality in the workplace are of genuine value, assets, to the organization. The first is the degree to which members of the organization are committed to an ennobling purpose; and second, the degree to which shared values serve to guide ethical behavior. A worthy purpose, the impulse to do something significant, to make a contribution to humanity, is the most fundamental form of motivation. Great leaders instill a sense of noble purpose in their followers and thereby create human energy. Shared values, the discipline of adherence to a code of values within a group, is the basis of trust and sociability. Just as low-trust societies are economically handicapped, so to are low-trust companies."
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Systems of Wealth Hoarding Hide in Your Mind

Systems of Wealth Hoarding Hide in Your Mind | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
The internet is exploding with conversations about the Panama Papers — the largest data dump in history of secret files …
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"Our hope is that the Panama Papers will open up a conversation about why we have let this Ponzi Scheme go on so long and what we collectively would like to replace it with. Getting at the deep rules that give rise to pattern-level behavior of the whole system is going to be necessary before we can make the change."
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A conservative's plea: Let's work together

A conservative's plea: Let's work together | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Conservatives and liberals both believe that they alone are motivated by love while their opponents are motivated by hate. How can we solve problems with so much polarization? In this talk, social scientist Arthur Brooks shares ideas for what we can each do as individuals to break the gridlock. "We might just be able to take the ghastly holy war of ideology that we're suffering under and turn it into a competition of ideas," he says.
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What is Economic Democracy?

"Democratize labor! Democratize capital! Democratize democracy!"

These are the rallying cries David Schweickart deploys in his call for Economic Democracy, one of the first papers in our "New Systems" series exploring viable political-economic alternatives to the present order. This short stop-motion video illustrates some of the core features of Professor Schweickart’s model for an alternative system to capitalism."

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
We need more of this kind of proposals, and more public debate regarding them, to find a viable way to limit the anti-democratic, anti-economic power of the wealthiest few over the marketplace.
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Whole Systems Change - The Next System Project

Whole Systems Change - The Next System Project | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
A Framework & First Steps for Social/Economic Transformation This paper by Riane Eisler, published alongside three others, is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. You can read it below, or download the PDF. We have commissioned these papers in order to …
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Riane Eisler’s model places economic policies and practices in their larger social context, proposing two integrative social categories that go beyond religious vs. secular, capitalist vs. socialist, East vs. West, and so forth. It distinguishes between societies that orient to either a domination model or a partnership model, the latter characterized by three interactive components: a democratic rather than authoritarian structure in both family and state or tribe; equal partnership between women and men rather than ranking the male half of humanity over the female half, and with this, valuing in both women and men of the “feminine” such as nurturance and caregiving; and an end to institutionalized/idealized abuse and violence as no longer necessary for maintaining rigid rankings of domination. It proposes an action plan to break with traditions of domination, identifies trends in this direction, and outlines four strategies to build the missing foundations for a more equitable and sustainable socio-economic system.
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Economic Democracy

Economic Democracy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Democratize labor! Democratize capital! Democratize democracy!
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
David Schweickart proposes a model that would preserve a role for markets in goods and services while extending democracy into the workplace and the linked spheres of finance and investment. In place of private ownership of the means of production with markets in capital, labor, goods, and services under capitalism, or state ownership and planning under socialism, Economic Democracy has a basic economic structure of socially-owned, worker-controlled firms in a competitive market. The model has neither capital markets nor labor markets in the usual sense. Workers would control their own jobs and workplaces, while productive resources would become the collective property of society and there would be social control over investment.
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Capitalism will eat democracy -- unless we speak up

Capitalism will eat democracy -- unless we speak up | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Have you wondered why politicians aren't what they used to be, why governments seem unable to solve real problems? Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece, says that it's because you can be in politics today but not be in power -- because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the political sphere, causing financial crisis. In this talk, hear his dream for a world in which capital and labor no longer struggle against each other, "one that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist and Keynesian."
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

“We mistakenly believe that capitalism inevitably begets democracy… Liberal democracy only surfaced when it was possible to separate fully the economic sphere from the political sphere, so as to confine the democratic process fully in the political sphere, leaving the economic sphere – the corporate sector – as a democracy-free zone…

 

“In our democracies today, the separation of the economic from the political sphere… gave rise to an inexorable, epic struggle between the two, with the economic sphere colonizing the political sphere, eating into its power… It is a little bit like a population of predators that are so successful in decimating the prey that they must feed on, that in the end they starve. Similarly, the economic sphere has been colonizing and cannibalizing the political sphere to such an extent that it is undermining itself, causing economic crises…

 

“One can be in government today and not in power, because power has migrated from the political to the economic sphere, which is separate... We must reunite the political and the economic sphere, and better do it… by democratizing the reunified sphere… Will such a world dawn? …The answer lies in a political choice that we shall be making collectively. It is our choice, and we better make it democratically.”

 

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How Bailouts, Deregulation, and Reaganomics Led to the Rise of Donald Trump - Evonomics

How Bailouts, Deregulation, and Reaganomics Led to the Rise of Donald Trump - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Trump appeals to the anxious multitude who have lost job security and struggle to keep afloat
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
A good start would be to stop giving the ultrarich so many handouts.
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Economists Agree: Democratic Presidents are Better at Making Us Rich. 8 Reasons Why. - Evonomics

Economists Agree: Democratic Presidents are Better at Making Us Rich. 8 Reasons Why. - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Wisdom of the Crowds. Preventing Government Capture. Labor Market Flexibility. Freedom to Innovate. Profitable Investments in Long-Term Growth. Power to the Producers. Fiscal Prudence. Labor and Trade Efficiencies.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Simply put, better distribution and greater security promote economic stability.
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These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

...the fact that a few companies own everything demonstrates "the illusion of choice," Frugal Dad says. While some big sites, like Digg and Reddit aren't owned by any of the corporations, Time Warner owns news sites read by millions of Americans every year.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Who controls the media controls the people's thought. Who controls the people's thought controls the peoples actions. Who controls the people's actions controls the world.
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Being Rich Doesn't Mean You're More Hardworking: Economist Says Markets Amplify Luck - Evonomics

Being Rich Doesn't Mean You're More Hardworking: Economist Says Markets Amplify Luck - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Why do hardworking people with similar talents and training often earn such dramatically different incomes? And why, too, have these earnings gaps grown so much larger in recent decades? Almost no other questions have proved more enduringly fascinating to economists.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"Because the enormous prizes at stake in many arenas attract so many contestants, the winners will almost without exception be enormously talented and hardworking. But they will rarely be the most talented and hardworking people in the contestant pool. Even in contests in which luck plays only a minuscule role, winners will almost always be among the luckiest of all contestants."
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How Perfect Markets Concentrate Wealth and Strangle Growth and Prosperity - Evonomics

How Perfect Markets Concentrate Wealth and Strangle Growth and Prosperity - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Capitalism concentrates wealth. Ridicule Marx and his latter-day disciples all you like (I’ll help); he definitely got that right.

But capitalism is a big word with lots of meanings, and enough ideological baggage to fill a Lear Jet. Let’s talk about something more precise: perfect markets, with ownership, in which individuals compete with others to produce stuff, and store up savings. You can see this kind of perfect world in agent-based simulations like Sugarscape. Start with a bunch of sugar farmers trying to accumulate sugar in an artificial world, hit Go, and watch what happens.
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"To summarize: perfect markets, left to their own devices, concentrate wealth. Concentrated wealth results in less wealth, and far less collective well-being. (You’ll notice that I haven’t even mentioned fairness. It matters. But I’ll leave that to my gentle readers.) This all leads one to wonder: how could we move ourselves into that happy world of rapidly increasing wealth and well-being on the right side of the graph? Hmmmm…."
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Was There Ever a Time When so Few People Controlled so Much Wealth? - Evonomics

Was There Ever a Time When so Few People Controlled so Much Wealth? - Evonomics | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

If we can clearly identify how decisions m by governments around taxation or financial regulation, for example, have facilitated rising wealth inequality, then we can be ever more certain that society has the potential to change this. Knowing the factors that continue to drive inequality today – and the myths which claim the world must inevitably be this way – means we can also challenge it.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"If we can clearly identify how decisions taken by governments around taxation or financial regulation, for example, have facilitated rising wealth inequality, then we can be ever more certain that society has the potential to change this. Knowing the factors that continue to drive inequality today – and the myths which claim the world must inevitably be this way – means we can also challenge it."
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The Pain You Feel is Capitalism Dying

The Pain You Feel is Capitalism Dying | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
It can be very confusing to know that you won’t find a decent job, pay off student loans or put in a down payment on a h…
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
"You are not alone. All 7.4 billion of us alive today are going through this. We are doing it together. Now is the time to become fully aware of the systemic nature of what we are going through. The future will not be like the past. It is going to be painful and confusing at times. Yet the prospects for getting through this struggle are nothing less than a thriving planetary civilization that is inclusive and nourishing for all people while at the same time remaining in harmony with our home planet of Earth."
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The Path to Spiritual Economy and Spiritual Enterprise

The Path to Spiritual Economy and Spiritual Enterprise | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Thursday, May 19 2016 - 8:00 pm EST
Webinar with Lawrence Miller

Register here.

The relationship between money or financial/material assets and the size and success of a business is not what it used to be. Other forms of “cultural capital” are now considered more important than money. Businesses that prosper in the future will master the skills
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Looks like a very interesting Webinar
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How to make a profit while making a difference

How to make a profit while making a difference | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Can global capital markets become catalysts for social change? According to investment expert Audrey Choi, individuals own almost half of all global capital, giving them (us!) the power to make a difference by investing in companies that champion social values and sustainability. "We have more opportunity today than ever before to make choices," she says. "So change your perspective. Invest in the change you want to see in the world."
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Social investment is an excellent way to "vote with your dollars" for social justice and sustainability while making a profit.
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Social Democracy

Social Democracy | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
Not Socialism, And Coming To America This paper by Lane Kenworthy, published alongside three others, is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. You can read it below, or download the PDF. We have commissioned these papers in order to facilitate an informed …
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Lane Kenworthy proposes a model that closely resembles the actual political economies of the Scandinavian countries and has as its primary goals the full realization of economic security, equality (low inequality) of opportunity, and shared prosperity. It is in essence a market capitalist model with generous and employment-friendly social policy. Government transfers rather than taxes would play the principal role in reducing and minimizing inequality. Over the past century, it is argued, the U.S. government has slowly been moving closer to a social democracy, as policymakers have come to realize that larger government will help to improve economic and living conditions and have pursued policies to that end. Going forward, this is likely to continue.
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Participatory Economics and the Next System - The Next System Project

Participatory Economics and the Next System - The Next System Project | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it
This paper by Robin Hahnel, published alongside three others, is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. You can read it below, or download the PDF. We have commissioned these papers in order to facilitate an informed and comprehensive discussion of “new systems,” …
Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:
Robin Hahnel describes a model (developed together with Michael Albert) that revolves around (a) social ownership of the productive “commons,” (b) consumption rights based on effort and need, (c) and workplace councils and neighborhood consumer councils which coordinate their interrelated activities through participatory planning rather than through markets. While long-run development and investment planning are carried out mostly by federations of industry and consumer councils, an annual planning procedure decides which worker councils will produce what goods and services for consumption by which consumer councils. Ever more accurate estimates of the full social costs of producing goods and services, and the opportunity costs of using different capital goods, categories of labor, and natural resources and sink services, emerge during the annual participatory planning procedure, as councils and federations revise and resubmit proposals for what they wish to do until a feasible plan is agreed on. All proposals and revisions of what a council will do originate with the council itself – which distinguishes the participatory planning process from all other planning models, and ensures meaningful self-management by workers and consumers.
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"It is important to limit riches" says 'Abdu'l-Bahá in his "Paris Talks"

"It is important to limit riches" says 'Abdu'l-Bahá in his "Paris Talks" | Advocating a Wealth Threshold | Scoop.it

"Certainly, some being enormously rich and others lamentably poor, an organization is necessary to control and improve this state of affairs. It is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty. Either extreme is not good... A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find tyranny... There must be special laws made, dealing with these extremes of riches and of want... The general rights of mankind must be guarded and preserved... This is the only way in which the deplorable superfluity of great wealth and miserable, demoralizing, degrading poverty can be abolished." ('Abdu'l-Bahá)

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Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies

Peter C. Newton-Evans's insight:

"The measure “Carrying Capacity” is shown to be a practical means for early detection of a collapse. Mechanisms leading to two types of collapses are discussed. The new dynamics of this model can also reproduce the irreversible collapses found in history. Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at maximum carrying capacity if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level and if resources are distributed equitably."

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