Can Wealth exist without poverty ?

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,512
#11
Unfortunately, as brilliant as Marx and Engels were, I've long concluded their analysis to be deeply flawed. IE Dubious assumptions are made about 'human nature, especially about people's willingness to share the fruits of their labour.--I've always been willing to share, but on my terms,. not on terms imposed on me. Selfish areshat? You bet your bippy
Marx and Engels were definitely wrong about humans propensity to share but they were most deeply wrong about humans ability to see other humans as part of a shared group or think of others of a similar economic status as 'brothers' in the absolute sense of family where family members share with each other in the expectation of shared potential genetic heritage being protected. At least if you accept most altruism as having a basis in motives to propagate one's own genes.

As anyone with much of a family knows the deepest disputes in a family are often motivated by ownership/inheritance battles. If families can't even come close to working it out how much worse off disparate people in a 'perceived' shared economic class where the perception is often wrong anyway.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#12
Marx and Engels were definitely wrong about humans propensity to share but they were most deeply wrong about humans ability to see other humans as part of a shared group or think of others of a similar economic status as 'brothers' in the absolute sense of family where family members share with each other in the expectation of shared potential genetic heritage being protected. At least if you accept most altruism as having a basis in motives to propagate one's own genes.

As anyone with much of a family knows the deepest disputes in a family are often motivated by ownership/inheritance battles. If families can't even come close to working it out how much worse off disparate people in a 'perceived' shared economic class where the perception is often wrong anyway.
I'm sure altruistic acts happen all the time, I may have even been guilty of the odd couple. However, to the best of my knowledge, I have never known or heard about a truly altruistic human being.

I come from a large family of Irish descent. At family gatherings (baptisms, weddings ,wakes) I always try to leave before first blood.

Human beings are utterly ruthless when it comes to survival of self and their genes. A grim view of humanity, but then I'm a cynic and misanthrope. :)
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,521
Dispargum
#14
Wealth and poverty are measured using economic statistics, but I don't consider them to be economic issues at all. LBJ is often cited as reducing the rate of poverty in America by half. What his supporters don't tell you is how he did it. In 1960, the poorest age bracket in America was the elderly. Today the elderly are the wealthiest age bracket in America. The biggest difference is that LBJ raised social security benefits.

Comparing the incomes of senior citizens to younger adults is an apples and oranges comparison. Some of the biggest household expenses are paying the mortgage and raising children. Senior citizens who have already completed both of those expenses can live the same lifestyle they lived thirty years earlier on significantly less income. Those senior citizens in 1960 were mostly living middle class lifestyles but they were doing it on poverty level incomes. All LBJ did was increase their incomes. He didn't end their poverty lifestyles because they weren't living poverty lifestyles to begin with.

This study by the Brookings Institute suggests that poverty and wealth is more a matter of personal choice than we might think:
Three Simple Rules Poor Teens Should Follow to Join the Middle Class
Basically, if you graduate from high school, delay parenthood until after marriage, and get a job and keep working, you'll probably make it into the middle class. Poverty is the result of a rejection of societal values, norms, and mores. Income does not decide poverty and wealth. Poverty and wealth determine income.
 
Likes: bboomer

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
12,966
#16
For the sake of argument I'll define both wealth and poverty as relative terms which may have different meanings even within the same culture.

According to Marx, poverty grows with wealth, so wealth cannot exist without poverty.

I'm not sure if Marx is right in principle. However, I have studied a reasonable number of cultures, including my own. Plus, have visited around 20 countries including several so-called 'undeveloped countries' . Whatever I have studied, wherever I have visited, that principle seems to have existed. It is more obvious in less developed countries, because there is no large middle class. This was especially noticeable in countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and China. These observation were made over 20 years ago. I would expect/hope things have improved since then.


I won't claim the principle of no wealth without poverty has been established. However,I can't think of any exceptions, or indeed, many.

Be very interested to learn different views.
I am not sure what your question is...... Its all a matter of definition.... If "wealthy" people all own maseratis, then those who own ferraris will be considered poor....

If "wealthy" people all own homes of 500 sq meters or more, then those who own smaller homes will be ocnsidered poor...

So if your question is, "can there be a functionning society where everyone has exactly the same wealth" (e.g everyone has Maseratis), no, thats not possible... Even in primitive societies some have more than others
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,508
#17
T
I'm very interested in your position, and would like to think about it for awhile. Could you recommend any writers/articles/ books?
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I'm an Australian. I'm some sort of reformed anarchist. I live in a housing co-operative. Myt focus is history I;m ready Wiemar republic economic history right now,. it's a struggle.
 
Jan 2010
4,357
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#18
. . . . So the poorest in a wealthy society is by default MUCH poorer than in a poor society where the richest person might have only a room full of things more than the poorest person in the same society.
Unless you think of poverty as a relative concept (and I don't), then this isn't right. The poorest in the US are much better off materially than the poorest in developing countries. According to the US Census Bureau, "Households in the lowest quintile had incomes of $24, 638 or less in 2017." p. 7 https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.pdf That's over $2000/month. And this includes only cash income, so noncash benefits like foods tamps and housing assistance are not part of this.

The average salary in Lima, Peru is less than $600 per month. So while it is considerably less expensive to live there, the income of a two-earner household in Lima would be less than what a poor household in the US receives. https://checkinprice.com/average-and-minimum-salaries-in-lima-peru/ . And Peru's economy is in relatively good shape compared to many countries.

Moreover, the poor in the US have material possessions that my family would have loved to have when I was growing up:

"The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau as taken from various government reports:

  • 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • 92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
  • Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
  • Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70 percent have a VCR.
  • Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers.
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
  • 43 percent have Internet access.
  • One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
  • One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo."
This info is as of 2011.
Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor
 
Sep 2017
641
United States
#19
Are you talking about monetary wealth or material wealth?

Because if everyone had electricity, a mansion, a sports car, internet, etc. then, while they might not have a concept of wealth, they'd be materially sound with everything they need to live and no worries in that department.

If everyone had a million dollars, then a million dollars wouldn't mean anything.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,512
#20
Unless you think of poverty as a relative concept (and I don't), then this isn't right. The poorest in the US are much better off materially than the poorest in developing countries. According to the US Census Bureau, "Households in the lowest quintile had incomes of $24, 638 or less in 2017." p. 7 https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.pdf That's over $2000/month. And this includes only cash income, so noncash benefits like foods tamps and housing assistance are not part of this.
It all depends on where you start measuring 'poor' because I started at homeless which is a bit different from lowest 20% based on income (where income does not equal wealth). Also I think you might have missed that part where is said " $24, 638 or less" so the TOP of the lowest 20% have incomes around $2k per month- that means almost everyone in that 20% actually has incomes less than that.

Here is a better measurement of the distribution by quintile. As you can see the average income in the lowest 20% of income is less than half of what the top part of the lowest 20% earn.

Household Income Quintiles
 

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