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Old January 1st, 2018, 09:07 AM   #21
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Free market works pretty well with one exception. Financial and banking systems. From the beginning it was mostly clear, that these sectors are unable self regulate trough market system. They actually inflate bubles and deepen depressions. With expansion of internet and digital money it is only getting worse. So, these sectors will have to be regulated and they will fight attempts to regulate them. Only future will show how all of this will end.
With internet and advanced computers planned economy is much more realistic, than it was in 1918. With further development of computer science and AI planned economy might be very viable option for the future.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 01:33 PM   #22
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My basic argument is this:

The people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work should be quasi-proportionally related to the ones reaping the benefits (which is not at all our current model).

"If people are stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions as a consequence of this ("this" being the dynamic I described before), then let them be stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions. Who are you and/or the people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work that allows society to function, pushes it forward and lets us survive to voice disapproval/complain about that? Who are "they" to promote intervening with the system in order to course correct this scheme even if people's collective ignorance/stupidity and horrible decision making is objectively running humanity off of a cliff (as well as the ecosystem at large) all while oppressing the people doing all the work?" (Note: That is not a straw-man of what is being promoted)
Economics is essentially a behavioral dynamic when you have free markets. Yours is an elitist view that ignores the fact that when living standards are such that people have leisure time, they foolishly and frivolously indulge themselves in activities that may enrich the few. But is that somehow starving those that do the most to advance our knowledge and well being? It's true that the "stars", be it in sports or other entertainment, are overpaid in terms of advancing science, technology and other"real" social goods. However even in a command economy like the in former Soviet Union, top sports figures and entertainers fared much better than the average worker. The average physician made little more than factory workers. You present a problem which has no obvious solution unless we can somehow re-engineer human behavior. This was the view of Karl Marx who saw the Communist Man as the ultimate collectivist human who produces according to his ability and consumes according to his need. Stalin amended this to "..consumes according to his work". I don't think Marx would have approved. Who decides what one's work is worth?

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Old January 1st, 2018, 11:10 PM   #23

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
I did not make such statements, you are the one who is doing that, and choosing some arbitrary dates (and dates with huge time lags which make the comparison totally skewed)
No, no, do not backpedal from you earlier comments, please. You always have a tendency to do that.

I'll just re-post your comment:

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
Attempts at other systems have failed spectacularly.....everyone (or almost everyone) ended up worse off
That last quote implies that their life was better before the centralized planned-economy being adopted, and after they experienced that alternative economic system and policy their life got worse. That's actually how your statement sound like, and I'm basing my question on that assumption.

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I note you did not choose 1938 for example in Stalinist Russia. How great was the average soviet doing then compared to, say Poland or Finland ?
I chose between 1917 and 1991 because that was when the communist regime was ruling the country, so that totally makes sense why I chose those specific dates. I find it very odd and bizarre of why you are even questioning the dates that I chose.

Do you have any stats that can compare the average Soviet citizen in 1938 when compared to the average life of a Polish and Finnish? Before making that comparison, try to also compare the living standards of those countries before 1917 to see if the adoption of a centralized-planned economy did improve the living conditions of the average Soviet and if their rate of improvement was quicker than in Poland and Finland - that's how you compare different systems. Compare the rate of growth and see how they were in comparison to others before that system was adopted.

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And how is the average chinese doing in 2017 compared to 1978 ?.....How was the average chinese doing in 1978 vs the average taiwanese ? better yet how is the average chinese today doing compared to the average north korean today ? How is the average south korean today doing compared to the average North korean today.
And? Of course the average life of a Chinese and south Korean is better then they were 50 years ago. But that still doesn't really respond to my question.
Actually there are many countries that are worse off then they were 50 years ago. e.g. Afghanistan, Haiti, DR Congo, Myanmar, DPRK (North Korea).

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Still re kazakhs and russians they were

a - Significantly worse off in 1991 than they are today
b- Significantly worse in 1991 that in similar countries that did not go communist (for example Finland)

That's a matter of fact and that's why the USSR collapsed. And that's what the russians and kazakhs themselves are majoritarily saying

Comparing 1991 to 1917 is nonsensical, given the huge technological progress between the 2 datesBut since you are clearly intend on defending communist systems , please go ahead and provide evidence that over a period of time they were better economically than other systems
So, if comparing 1991 to 1917 is nonsensical, then why you even post a question that they were worse off after adopting that system? No one can deny that the centralized-planned economy doesn't work, that's a very easy argument to make and to defend. But what I'm questioning it's your earlier argument that they ended up worse off.

The gap between the average Russian and westerner in 1991 was narrower then it was in 1917. The argument of the huge technological progress between two dates doesn't make any sense and it fails to explain of how the gap was narrower after 70 years of communism (the gap was even narrower around the 1950s and 1960s and became wider at the last decades of communist rule, though).

That basically means that the Soviet Union witnessed a massive exponential economic growth and development at a higher rate than the world average. Of course, that system later totally collapsed and proved completely unworkable, but for a specific period and specific context, the centralized-planned economy did bring ever-lasting benefits and completely open those countries to the modern world, with modern industrialized economies, modern education and medicine and modern social policies. Communism did to those nations in one generation of what liberalism did to Western nations in 150 years.

Of course, the Communist experiment did bring enormous human costs, but nonetheless it did bring results and those former-communist nations still adopt and continue with many of the policies and industries established by the communist.

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But since you are clearly intend on defending communist systems , please go ahead and provide evidence that over a period of time they were better economically than other systems
Never said that the communist world was economically better than other systems... but they were indeed better (economically wise) than the old-feudalistic system that was ruling Russia before 1917, and better before the chaotic period of the Chinese Republic.

Last edited by robto; January 1st, 2018 at 11:29 PM.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 11:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by robto View Post
No, no, do not backpedal from you earlier comments, please. You always have a tendency to do that.

I'll just re-post your comment:



That last quote implies that their life was better before the centralized planned-economy being adopted, and after they experienced that alternative economic system and policy their life got worse. That's actually how your statement sound like, and I'm basing my question on that assumption.



I chose between 1917 and 1991 because that was when the communist regime was ruling the country, so that totally makes sense why I chose those specific dates. I find it very odd and bizarre of why you are even questioning the dates that I chose.

Do you have any stats that can compare the average Soviet citizen in 1938 when compared to the average life of a Polish and Finnish? Before making that comparison, try to also compare the living standards of those countries before 1917 to see if the adoption of a centralized-planned economy did improve the living conditions of the average Soviet and if their rate of improvement was quicker than in Poland and Finland - that's how you compare different systems. Compare the rate of growth and see how they were in comparison to others before that system was adopted.



And? Of course the average life of a Chinese and south Korean is better then they were 50 years ago. But that still doesn't really respond to my question.
Actually there are many countries that are worse off then they were 50 years ago. e.g. Afghanistan, Haiti, DR Congo, Myanmar, DPRK (North Korea).



So, if comparing 1991 to 1917 is nonsensical, then why you even post a question that they were worse off after adopting that system? No one can deny that the centralized-planned economy doesn't work, that's a very easy argument to make and to defend. But what I'm questioning it's your earlier argument that they ended up worse off.

The gap between the average Russian and westerner in 1991 was narrower then it was in 1917. The argument of the huge technological progress between two dates doesn't make any sense and it fails to explain of how the gap was narrower after 70 years of communism (the gap was even narrower around the 1950s and 1960s and became wider at the last decades of communist rule, though).

That basically means that the Soviet Union witnessed a massive exponential economic growth and development at a higher rate than the world average. Of course, that system later totally collapsed and proved completely unworkable, but for a specific period and specific context, the centralized-planned economy did bring ever-lasting benefits and completely open those countries to the modern world, with modern industrialized economies, modern education and medicine and modern social policies. Communism did to those nations in one generation of what liberalism did to Western nations in 150 years.

Of course, the Communist experiment did bring enormous human costs, but nonetheless it did bring results and those former-communist nations still adopt and continue with many of the policies and industries established by the communist.



Never said that the communist world was economically better than other systems... but they were indeed better (economically wise) than the old-feudalistic system that was ruling Russia before 1917, and better before the chaotic period of the Chinese Republic.
First your interpretation of "ended up" is incorrect

Second when making comparisons, you need to compare "like for like". This means that comparing 1991 to 1917 in this context is not relevant.

We have several cases of countries being split between communist and non communist. Its really easy to compare
  • Compare China to Taiwan (probably until about 2000 as by then China is no longer really communist)
  • Compare East Germany to West Germany
  • Compare North Korea to South Korea
  • Compare Finland to Baltic states (under the USSR)..This last case is not a case of split country but of 2 areas with a lot of similarities

In all those cases the non communists did better than the communists in the long run...That's even before we factor in the slaughters, the camps, the represseion , the absence of individual freedom etc...

Comparing Russia in 1991 to 1917 is non sequitur. Should you wish to make a comparison between models you would need to compare Russia 1991 (actual) vs Russia 1991 under a free market model since 1917 (which of course would require a lot of assumptions) and see which would give better results...
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 12:10 AM   #25

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
First your interpretation of "ended up" is incorrect
You said "ended up worse off", you didn't just said "ended up".

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
Second when making comparisons, you need to compare "like for like". This means that comparing 1991 to 1917 in this context is not relevant.

We have several cases of countries being split between communist and non communist. Its really easy to compare
  • Compare China to Taiwan (probably until about 2000 as by then China is no longer really communist)
  • Compare East Germany to West Germany
  • Compare North Korea to South Korea
  • Compare Finland to Baltic states (under the USSR)..This last case is not a case of split country but of 2 areas with a lot of similarities
That was not the point of my argument. Of course Communism in the long run proved to be bad. What I want to ask you is this: Historically and contextually speaking, did Communism bring modernity and industrialization or not? We have tons of countries that were former colonies that still basically live in a pre-industrial age. Was the brief period of Communism in those countries (by analyzing their growth rate) a good thing or not?

Your first statement - in which you are trying to backpedal - assumes that Communism bring underdevelopment instead of development to those countries, specially when you compare about their situation prior to communism.

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In all those cases the non communists did better than the communists in the long run...That's even before we factor in the slaughters, the camps, the represseion , the absence of individual freedom etc...
Individual freedom is not an entirely objective measure neither it is a value that is accepted or respected across all countries and cultures - but economic and industrial development is indeed more universally valued than individual freedom is.

And my initial argument was not if Communists were better than the other contemporaneous non-communist systems. That answer is very easy and doesn't even need any sort of intellectual exercise. But how do you explain the fact that communist countries modernized their respective countries at a higher rate and quicker than most of the Western liberal democracies?

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
Comparing Russia in 1991 to 1917 is non sequitur. Should you wish to make a comparison between models you would need to compare Russia 1991 (actual) vs Russia 1991 under a free market model since 1917 (which of course would require a lot of assumptions) and see which would give better results...
Then why did you say "worse off" if you don't want to compare Russia in 1991 to 1917? What kind of discussion we are having here?

Russia in 1998 was even worse off than it was in 1988 - the 90s decade experience of free market in Russia was a total disaster. The life of an average Russian in late 90s was even worse than during the early 90s. It was Putin's rule and his policies of State control over the economy that made Russia to economically develop again - Of course modern-day Russia is not a Centralized-planned economy (which is a failed system), but the liberal free-market model proved to be a massive failure as well, and that's why they adopt a more strict form of State Capitalism - which appears to be nowadays the best system for economic development.

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Old January 2nd, 2018, 01:23 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by robto View Post
You said "ended up worse off", you didn't just said "ended up".



That was not the point of my argument. Of course Communism in the long run proved to be bad. What I want to ask you is this: Historically and contextually speaking, did Communism bring modernity and industrialization or not? We have tons of countries that were former colonies that still basically live in a pre-industrial age. Was the brief period of Communism in those countries (by analyzing their growth rate) a good thing or not?

Your first statement - in which you are trying to backpedal - assumes that Communism bring underdevelopment instead of development to those countries, specially when you compare about their situation prior to communism.



Individual freedom is not an entirely objective measure neither it is a value that is accepted or respected across all countries and cultures - but economic and industrial development is indeed more universally valued than individual freedom is.

And my initial argument was not if Communists were better than the other contemporaneous non-communist systems. That answer is very easy and doesn't even need any sort of intellectual exercise. But how do you explain the fact that communist countries modernized their respective countries at a higher rate and quicker than most of the Western liberal democracies?



Then why did you say "worse off" if you don't want to compare Russia in 1991 to 1917? What kind of discussion we are having here?

Russia in 1998 was even worse off than it was in 1988 - the 90s decade experience of free market in Russia was a total disaster. The life of an average Russian in late 90s was even worse than during the early 90s. It was Putin's rule and his policies of State control over the economy that made Russia to economically develop again - Of course modern-day Russia is not a Centralized-planned economy (which is a failed system), but the liberal free-market model proved to be a massive failure as well, and that's why they adopt a more strict form of State Capitalism - which appears to be nowadays the best system for economic development.
You are playing on words and there is no backpedalling... See my signature

I gave you plently of examples which are quite clear... Given a choice between a communist system and a non communist one, countries which "choose" communism end up worse off than similar countries that do not go communist. .... That is backed up by the already provided examples...

I really dont see that this is contorversial given the wealth of available evidence for each of those cases.

If you want to nitpick words by providing your own convoluted scenarios and explanations that is up to you.

As for whether communism had some positive effect with regards to the periods prior to the communism that is a discussion that is still being had. To support communism's achievements on can of course point to actual economic results (but of course closing one's eyes to the human cost)... however one would still need to prove that such results - or even better results- would not have been achieved without communism... In fact the experience of non communist countries seems to show that those did achieve the same or better results... In the case of the USSR one clear failure was agriculture... the country - which under the tsars- was an exporter of food, could no longer feed itself... ... from whence came the joke that if the Sahara went communist, in 10 years time it would be importing sand.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 02:08 AM   #27
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The average Chinese person fairs pretty well these days considering China is only communist by name. I don't think there will be anyone here to defend the failed "communist" experiment in Eastern Europe. Once it came to Stalin (as opposed to Lenin it wasn't really communist anyway... It was a fascist dictatorship. In many respects the last chairman of the Supreme Soviet Union is still in power. Putin is a KGB man and longs for Russia as it was under the KGB. If you're rich in Russia now you have a good life, and you probable live in a gated community, "security" comes in brown paper bags. But if you're poor there is a massive disparity.

No interpretation of Eastern European communism even got anywhere near what Marx suggested for the economy. Classical Marxism has never existed as an economic system in any part of the world yet so perhaps we can say that is something that has not proven to be a failure yet.

No one here is saying capitalism is amazing. As a mixed marked socialist myself (which has nothing to do with communism despite the American protestation otherwise) among other mixed market socialists such as the people living under the economies of most of Europe in some form. The market like it or loath it is a necessary evil at this point.

Just because its necessary doesn't mean that I can't say that its evil, corrupt, and has caused among two of the greatest financial catastrophes in the last 100 years. It just is what it is.

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Old January 2nd, 2018, 02:45 AM   #28

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You are playing on words and there is no backpedalling... See my signature
I accuse you for exactly doing the same thing.

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Originally Posted by tomar View Post
I gave you plently of examples which are quite clear... Given a choice between a communist system and a non communist one, countries which "choose" communism end up worse off than similar countries that do not go communist. .... That is backed up by the already provided examples...

I really don't see that this is contorversial given the wealth of available evidence for each of those cases.
You gave me the examples, and I already confirmed it, I don't know why you are pretending that I'm not doing that (you have a tendency apply that fallacy many times), and you know pretty well that not was the point of my argument. I never tried to say that the centrally-planned economic system is intrinsically and in the long-term, better and more efficient at creating and sustaining wealth. I don't know how many times do I have to tell you that, and your arguments seems to border on "strawmannery territory"

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If you want to nitpick words by providing your own convoluted scenarios and explanations that is up to you.
Which nitpicking? Your words sounded very clear, and you still didn't even bothered to ask my question and tried to deviate from it.

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As for whether communism had some positive effect with regards to the periods prior to the communism that is a discussion that is still being had. To support communism's achievements on can of course point to actual economic results (but of course closing one's eyes to the human cost)
Yeah. So, can't you do that?

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... however one would still need to prove that such results - or even better results- would not have been achieved without communism... In fact the experience of non communist countries seems to show that those did achieve the same or better results...
But they did achieve, besides, the only countries that I know that could develop, modernize and industrialize in such a rapid pace is the example of the modern East Asian nations (Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea), Western nations developed in a less rapid manner (but initiated earlier).

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In the case of the USSR one clear failure was agriculture... the country - which under the tsars- was an exporter of food, could no longer feed itself... ... from whence came the joke that if the Sahara went communist, in 10 years time it would be importing sand.
Are you talking about the period of famines during Soviet's time? Your argument is an half-truth, though. Agriculture, although it was largely neglected during Soviet time, they continued to be the second largest leading agricultural producer and that nation was actually the largest exporter of food among socialist countries, to the point that even some small communist countries depended their entire food consumption on Soviet agricultural products.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 02:51 AM   #29
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There is a good documentary from Werner Hezog on Netflix called Happy People that deals indirectly with the traditional ways of food production in Eastern Europe.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 04:30 AM   #30

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A "Free Market" System is Not Sensible

Society does not necessarily always value rational things, and others are able to profit tremendously off of the stupidity/ignorance/ect. of the masses that support it. Examples of this are Musicians, actors, athletes, celebrities ect. ect. that in a rational society, are definitely not necessarily more deserving/serve higher utility function than an Engineer for instance (as our modern world is based on Science and Tech, not Rap/Justin Beiber-type Pop music, Kim Kardashian's ass, ect. ect).

Consider, a huge portion of the nation's wealth is being put into sectors of society that serve no real productive purpose/lack in value while areas of high value such as intellectual pursuits are dramatically underfunded and discouraged (in many respects). This is due to society at large sharing the same collective delusions and valuing trivial bullsh't over serious, productive endeavors. This will always incentivize and produce a non-rational society unless structures are fundamentally challenged/altered.
Lets take Professional athletes as the first example:

NBA- Out of 456 players in the league in 2017-18, 120 make $10,000,000 or more for one years worth of work and 389 make more than $1,000,000. The minimum salary for a 1st year player is over $800,000 per year. Links here:
A. http://www.espn.com/nba/salaries//page/1
B. Minimum Salary Scales under the 2017 CBA

NFL- Minimum salary for 1st year players is over $450,000 per year. 656 players make at least $1,000,000 per year or more. Links here:
A. NFL Minimum Salaries for 2017 | The Daily Spot
B. https://www.pro-football-reference.c...ers/salary.htm

MLB- 112 players make $10,000,000 or more per year. Out of 251 players total, 240 make $1,000,000 or more per year

Actors and musicians that "make it" get huge salaries and the ones that don't get salaries on par with other "common" jobs.

Now, contrast that to absolutely necessary fields such as Science & Maths, Engineering, Architecture, Construction Work, Waste Management, Medical Doctors, Teachers, Repairs, Farming, Electricians, Labor Intensive work, ect. ect. and fields that, although not necessary, should be prioritized/held in high esteem in a non-superficial, deep, passionate, engaged society (i.e. rational) such as Literature, History, Philosophy, Art, ect. ect.

Consider the process of becoming a Scientist (which, depending on the subject matter, is perhaps the chief field pushing innovation forward that makes all of our lives orders of magnitude more comfortable than our ancestors could have ever dreamed of--as well as revealing deep truths about the nature of our existence and the universe). One must first pay large sums of money to attend a school for 4-5 years, then proceed to further schooling for another 5-7 years (while attempting to live off of a stipend of $15,000-$25,000 or so per year--i.e.very poor), then must find a post-doc position for another 3-7 years or so which is typically only $20,000-$35,000 a year, by which time a person has been nearly dirt poor for a 15 years or more and then, finally, may find a research/professorship position (however there is absolutely no guarantee since the funding is so low due to the irrationality I have discussed--thus competition is fierce) or they very well may end up empty handed (no Science research job and/or professorship) even after that approaching two decade long process. Here are some of the fundamental questions involved:

Why do we treat some of the greatest minds amongst us doing work that is absolutely imperative so poorly? Why do we treat others doing necessary work (e.g. Construction Workers, sewer management, ect.) so poorly? Why are we putting people who do not contribute anything to the productivity of society and/or our expanding knowledge about ourselves/the Universe up on a pedestal (e.g. Katy Perry, Kardashians, Pro Athletes, ect. ect.)?

Do you see any problems with this, or do you believe that the Market is the best determining agent in matters such as this?

My basic argument is this:

The people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work should be quasi-proportionally related to the ones reaping the benefits (which is not at all our current model). In order to ensure this, we would still operate under a "Market" system, but simply constrain the Market by switching off of a "preference based" value to a "utility based" value structure. Practically, this would be enforced by regulatory incentives.

The argument for a "Free Market/quasi-Free Market" is basically:

"If people are stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions as a consequence of this ("this" being the dynamic I described before), then let them be stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions. Who are you and/or the people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work that allows society to function, pushes it forward and lets us survive to voice disapproval/complain about that? Who are "they" to promote intervening with the system in order to course correct this scheme even if people's collective ignorance/stupidity and horrible decision making is objectively running humanity off of a cliff (as well as the ecosystem at large) all while oppressing the people doing all the work?" (Note: That is not a straw-man of what is being promoted)
Sportsmen, actors, singers and so on are nor paid these huge wages due to their performance. It's because they can be marketed to a huge audience that buy related products which makes the owners of those products a lot of money. For example when Real Madrid bought Christiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for a - at the time - record sum, they made more money than what it cost in a bit more than a week just based on a rise in jersey sales with his name on it. Or David Beckham whose marketability was far better than his soccer skills.
So, these huge wages do make a lot of sense. Those people do not just ensure success, they even more importantly ensure profits. And that is what all pro sports are about - same for singers, actors.
Hell, you can even become a multi-millionaire playing chess, look at Magnus Carlsen. Marketability.
And we - the people -are responsible for this system by buying fan merchandise, buying tickets to the movies, concerts and sport events. They give us what we want and get paid for it. I see nothing bad in that.

Most people do not have a job that makes other people spend lots of money to be associated with them. Including scientists.

You wanna change that by limiting the wage of sportsmen/musicians/actors? Well, they gonna get loads of endorsements. You forbid those. There will be others ways. Too much money in it. And this money does not fall from the sky, it comes from our pockets. If you don't like it, don't go to the movies/concerts. Don't go to sport events. Don't buy merchandise. And convince everybody you know to do the same. Only way this is gonna change.
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