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Rory
 Post subject: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:28 pm

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
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 Revising GCSE Science ready for being a TA when I noticed that the biomass pyramids are essentially akin to the socioeconomic class proportions under capitalist systems i.e. lots of producers -> smaller number of primary consumers -> even smaller number of secondary consumers, as in, working class citizens -> middle class citizens -> upper class citizens. Most people are farmed from above. I wonder if it holds true that increasing the number of steps, or complexity, in the economic food chain results in more energy inefficiency, as in actual natural food chains? _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:26 am

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Location: Austin, Texas

 A very interesting postulate. I like the idea. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:05 am

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
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 Perhaps this explains why all social groups tend to enjoy shopping, even for items they don't require, and why the bigger the price tag the more value shoppers mentally assign to the item. Why many turn their nose up at shopping at charity or discount shops, and are prepared to pay more for the exact same item, especially if they can later be seen to have done so ('branded'). From an evolutionary point of view this may be the human equivalent of the peacock tail feathers: expending more energy than is strictly necessary and doing so in a way that strains survival, advertises to potential mates the ability to be strong enough even to undergo the risk (sexual selection). But also the rampant consumerism gives the lower classes, the farmed, a chance to imagine, feel and pretend to others that they are other than the farmed: they are, in the truest sense, the consumers. This makes them feel powerful and boosts self-esteem although in reality they are not as powerful as the material culture advertisements would have them believe. They are still the (used) producers. An owned commodity of the rich. I'm not even a plankton right now _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:57 pm
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 In a natural ecosystem, the creatures at the bottom aren't really a whole lot worse off than the ones at the top. The grass grows without any idea about the likelihood an antelope might come along and eat it. The feeding is somewhat rare, and the organism is designed to be able to survive it and grow tall again. The antelope, being intelligent, may be aware of the possibility of being eaten by a lion, but most of the time it is able to reach maturity and have offspring prior to that happening. The lions are territorial, and usually prevent one another from overhunting the herd. The lions would seem to have it best right? They're at the top. But they frequently get killed by other lions in territorial disputes. Sure they don't get eaten, but dead is dead. Who cares what happens to your corpse afterward. If the whole ecosystems' economy takes a downturn, the pain works its way all the way up the chain. Grass gets scarce, antelopes get hungry and start to die. Lions overhunt and soon find themselves killing one another over the bits of hunting that remain. It is interesting that the human economy would differ from an ecosystem in this respect. In our bad economic situations it looks like the rich just keep getting richer. The poor bear the whole burden.
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:48 pm

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1895

 Yeah, I was wondering kojax, at what point the analogy might break down. Of course if lower class people actually did die out, or if their population levels decreased due to a lower birth rate, then the upper classes might eventually be adversely affected. But so long as the lower classes live well enough that they are able to scrape by some form of survival and reproduction then there is always a profit margin for the consumers of their labour and therefore no incentive for the rich minority to care about the welfare of the rest. I wonder if it is energetically possible for each of the tiers of socioeconomic class to be equal in proportion, or for the distribution to be top-heavy? My guess would be that, if you are a limo-driving tails-wearing city executive, that lifestyle is always going to be inextricably dependent upon (though indirectly) the humble honest labour of tens or hundreds of farmers. Although I think that if some kind of mid-high living standard could be agreed upon as the universal living standard then everybody could belong to the same socioeconomic class. I mean that I think that such equality is energetically feasible - it would require vast redistribution of wealth. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:15 pm
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 Rory wrote:Yeah, I was wondering kojax, at what point the analogy might break down. Of course if lower class people actually did die out, or if their population levels decreased due to a lower birth rate, then the upper classes might eventually be adversely affected. But so long as the lower classes live well enough that they are able to scrape by some form of survival and reproduction then there is always a profit margin for the consumers of their labour and therefore no incentive for the rich minority to care about the welfare of the rest.Probably if the lower class diminished in size, then some of the upper class would get kicked down into the lower class. That's one area where the analogy breaks down. A lion never becomes an antelope. But a rich human can become a poor human. If downward mobility were a real common thing, then probably rich people would become more concerned with the welfare of the poor due to the likelihood of becoming poor themself. Also in an ideal system getting and keeping a position at the top should be difficult. As things stand, getting there is the only part that is terribly difficult. Staying is pretty easy. Quote: I wonder if it is energetically possible for each of the tiers of socioeconomic class to be equal in proportion, or for the distribution to be top-heavy? We would just redefine the teirs. If everyone owned a private jet, then owning only one private jet would mean you are "poor". (Just as how owning a personal automobile used to mean you were rich.)Quote: My guess would be that, if you are a limo-driving tails-wearing city executive, that lifestyle is always going to be inextricably dependent upon (though indirectly) the humble honest labour of tens or hundreds of farmers. Although I think that if some kind of mid-high living standard could be agreed upon as the universal living standard then everybody could belong to the same socioeconomic class. I mean that I think that such equality is energetically feasible - it would require vast redistribution of wealth.If feeding one rich guy really requires tens or hundreds of farmers, then "redistributing" the wealth would make next to no difference to how people live at the bottom. There isn't enough of it to make a difference then. The fact a small group have it good doesn't automatically mean that if you redistribute it everyone will have it good. It more likely means nobody will. I'm not a sadist, so my personal happiness is not contingent upon knowing somebody else has to suffer the same as I do. However, with increased automation, maybe those tens or hundreds of farmers get replaced by robots, and robots form the new bottom tier. Then it would be energetically possible for the majority of people to live life at the top.Just have to hope the robots don't become self aware, and feel oppressed and then decide to revolt.
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:47 am

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1895

 kojax, are you really telling me that if you were to redistribute the spoils of a billionaire to the ten farmers propping him up that it would have zero impact upon the socioeconomic position of those farmers? Perhaps I should go try to find a farmer who would not consider £100,000,000 to be a life-changing sum of money... Problem with the West is that the common man is suffering to prop up a few spoilt brats. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:09 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
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 That is a good question to ask on an economics forum. And the answer depends on what you mean. If you mean one billionaire distributes his money to 100 farmers, then I guess each farmer would get 10 million dollars. But ...... I doubt that billionaires make up a full 1% of the population. More likely if all the billionaires' wealth were redistributed to all the farmers, they'd each get a check for something like 1000 bucks. A nice sum of money, to be sure, but hardly life changing. The other concern is a problem called "local inflation". The price of things is based not only on how much money exists, but also how much of that money is going into those markets. The things that farmers buy would become more expensive if the money were redistributed, because they would have more money to spend, but the supply of those goods and services would not necessarily grow (especially if they depend on natural resources, such as real estate does.)Most billionaires don't spend much of their money. They're very very rich on paper, sure, but they aren't actually in possession of goods and services that represent that much wealth.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:34 pm

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5521
Location: Austin, Texas

 Point of order - Farmers today tend to be huge multi-billion dollar agribusinesses. You both seem to be discussing the far less common nearing extinction small local farmer. Further, until you research how many farmers would be receiving what percentage of money from how many billionaires, any discussion of amounts and specific numbers is IMO rather pointless. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:00 pm
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 The trick is understanding that most billionaires aren't actually using their wealth. Also most of the time it's not even in the form of money, but rather "net worth". Like Bill Gates owning so many shares of Microsoft Corporation. Most of his money is floating around as investment money, providing a framework for a business. It is technically "his", but he's not actually living off of it. He's not in possession of 100 billion dollars worth of food, shelter, or other goods. Redistributing the portion of his money that's invested in capital would only strip that capital away from Microsoft, and thereby unemploy a bunch of programmers.There is a saying "possession is 9/10 of ownership". Yeah, well, most billionaires aren't even directly in possession of their money. At least not in the same way as an average worker is in possession of their paycheck. Believing that they are, and that they should be stripped of their money and redistributed may give the common man some hope, but it is mostly make believe. There is really not much that could be gained by doing so.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:44 pm

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Location: Austin, Texas

 kojax wrote:The trick is understanding that most billionaires aren't actually using their wealth.Citation needed. kojax wrote:Redistributing the portion of his money that's invested in capital would only strip that capital away from Microsoft, and thereby unemploy a bunch of programmers.This is quite a bit of a stretch, to the point of being false. Gates only holds a 2.9% share in M$at this point, meaning he could sell every single share and the impact would be slight. http://online.barrons.com/articles/SB51 ... 0054257640kojax wrote:Yeah, well, most billionaires aren't even directly in possession of their money. At least not in the same way as an average worker is in possession of their paycheck. Believing that they are, and that they should be stripped of their money and redistributed may give the common man some hope, but it is mostly make believe. There is really not much that could be gained by doing so.This is nonsense. They may not have their wealth stored as cash, but outside of property and withdrawal penalties it's largely liquid, and suggesting that making billions available to millions of less fortunate others through programs or direct payments would lead to "not much to be gained" is laughable, at best. Of course it would help given that so many of the problems these populations face stem directly from a lack of money and programs. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:51 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  I just can't bothered doing the homework anymore. What's the point in fleshing out a detailed argument for wealth redistribution when, even if/when the advantages in terms of improved socioeconomic standing of 99% of the population were proven, nobody in a position to initiate change is listening anyway. The powerful remain powerful; the powerless remain powerless. No amount of effort is going to get me or my arguments out of the latter category. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim scoobydoo1  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:29 pm Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:39 am Posts: 196 Location: Singapore  Rory wrote:What's the point in fleshing out a detailed argument for...So that you are able to verify that it is a sound one that rest on strong and stable foundations. Do note that one of the obstacles for wealth redistribution is crossing international borders and getting the resources to the groups that are in need of immediate assistance that resides outside of the countries where the "wealth" are extracted from - unless of course you are only thinking of it being implemented on your local national level. Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:53 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  Again, what's the point? It would be like consuming 50% of GDP to build a space rocket that is never going to be launched into space. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim scoobydoo1  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:18 pm Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:39 am Posts: 196 Location: Singapore  Rory wrote:Again, what's the point? The answer was in the first sentence of my previous post. If one isn't able to present an argument that has that, then one has no argument. On a discussion board, that would figuratively be suicide. If one doesn't even attempt to make one, all this is simply a rant and nothing more.I should point out that I'm not trying to wet blanket, but participants that tests the foundations of an idea/argument are crucial to determine whether it possesses a logical form. iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:57 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  scoobydoo1 wrote:If one doesn't even attempt to make one, all this is simply a rant and nothing more.I should point out that I'm not trying to wet blanket, but participants that tests the foundations of an idea/argument are crucial to determine whether it possesses a logical form.My sentiments exactly. Further, IMO one loses the right to bitch about things if they're not even willing to suggest reasonable alternatives to them. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:48 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  There's no impetus to earn the right to complain because those in a position to change the situation do not heed the complaints anyway. It's like if you're being dangled off a cliff - you can kick and struggle if you want to, but that is not likely to help, in fact it would probably only hasten your demise. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:49 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  There's no need to earn a right to complain. You can do it anytime you want (we even have a rant corner thread for exactly that), but it's so much more interesting and enjoyable for everyone else if you posit fixes that we can explore and discuss. I reported to a senior Vice President in a large multinational a few years ago who liked to say, "When you come into my office, you'd better be presenting solutions, not complaints." _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Falconer360  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:21 am Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:30 pm Posts: 969 Location: Somewhere in the Great State of Washington  iNow wrote:I reported to a senior Vice President in a large multinational a few years ago who liked to say, "When you come into my office, you'd better be presenting solutions, not complaints."I like that! I think I will use it on the seasonal staff this year. _________________"For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson"It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down" - Yagyu Munenori iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:29 am Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  The larger point was to say, "Listen, I want to help, but I'm extremely busy. If you show up having considered resolutions to problems, I can help you improve and probably implement them. If instead you show up with just a bunch of whining and complaining, well then I feel like I'm babysitting you or you expect me to be your therapist, and more than anything I feel like you've wasted my time when you do those things. I hate wasting time because I have so little of it that's free." _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:57 am Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  You mean to say you reported to the devil? Well, I appreciate that time is a precious commodity and ought not to be wasted, but personally I would want to work for a boss who considered and cared about my emotional state (part way to being a therapist) and, likewise, if I were supervising others I would want to be considering and caring about their emotional states. If your staff aren't emotionally fulfilled then your company is not going to be successful. And there is nothing childish about making a complaint - anybody who suggests they are too busy to care is not up to the job. As for solutions - sometimes the solutions are not immediately evident at grassroots level in a corporation. In that situation, would you rather the employee keep quiet and leave the problem to fester or report the complaint without any idea of how to resolve it? _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:29 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  By the time you're interacting at that level, the decisions being made affect thousands. If you need your VP to act like you're mommy, it's perhaps not the VP that's I'll-suited to the position they're in.I'm not advocating that employees keep quiet, nor that they must shut up until they have a solution in mind, but there's a time and a place for ranting and whining. To the core point I was making, it's also far more interesting for other participants if we focus instead on solutions and potential resolutions than on tantrums. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:45 am Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  You seem to conflate complaint-making with childishness. Truth is, at no stage do people stop requiring emotional fulfilment both inside and outside of work. And I don't care what level you're at in a company - if you for whatever reason disregard the concerns of those working on the frontline, you'll soon find yourself MD of a dessimated downward-moving company whose few remaining employees couldn't give a rat's ass about individual or collective performance. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:40 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  Rory wrote:You seem to conflate complaint-making with childishness. Truth is, at no stage do people stop requiring emotional fulfilment both inside and outside of work. I feel that leaders can play a very important role in helping their employees feel fulfilled, but I also don't believe it's their direct responsibility to make that happen. Each individual is responsible for finding their own emotional fulfillment and if they happen to be working for a company or a leader that is obstructing their ability to realize that path then they should leave and go somewhere else.I also don't intend to conflate complaint making with childishness, but I do think a more mature and productive approach is readily available. Complain to your friends over a beer or glass of wine, but when you're with your boss or your VP then you should be using that time to explain ways to make things better and get their support in doing so, IMO.Rory wrote:And I don't care what level you're at in a company - if you for whatever reason disregard the concerns of those working on the frontlineAgain, I never suggested their concerns should be disregarded. I suggested there's a time and a place for them, and also that others around them might find more enjoyment from conversations about how best to address those concerns (instead of just listening to the concerns themselves).Different strokes for different folks, I guess? I'm not saying my opinion is universal or in any way more valid than yours. I'm just expressing my personal opinion on the topic (and one that I've that experienced in the past from leaders I very much respected and enjoyed working with). Personally, I tend to find employees who complain often to be rather annoying and sour and unpleasant, often to the point of being a distraction and even problematic. They generally need much more time and attention to proactively manage which takes me and their colleagues away from other more critical work. They sometimes need coaching, other times need to be managed out of the organization and replaced. However, a tiny change of perspective is usually enough. If we instead work together on potential solutions, then we can actually have a chance at making things better for everyone. We need to realize that we each play a role in achieving better circumstances and that we share the responsibility for doing so (as opposed to it just being the leaders job to fix everything single-handedly after they've counseled unhappy employees through their complaints). With me, I'm also happy to coach employees on how to extract maximum value out of their time with those in positions of authority (like the aforementioned VP), and how to go into those discussions well prepared and ready so they can help make the change they so deeply desire. I just don't think complaining during that interaction is necessarily the best path to realizing that outcome. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:23 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  "other times they need to be managed out of the company and replaced" You're talking about real living individuals, who happen to have concerns about work issues, as if they are disposable commodities. With all due respect, I think I am going to take your opinion with a heap of salt from this point onwards. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:53 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  Rory wrote:"other times they need to be managed out of the company and replaced" You're talking about real living individuals, who happen to have concerns about work issues, as if they are disposable commodities.It's all about how people share their feedback, really. Each situation is unique, but there are some methods that work better than others and I suspect we're not really as far apart on this issue as you seem to think. We both agree that it's important for employees to be authentic with what they feel and to feel secure in sharing openly their concerns without fear of reprisal.Instead, my focus has been more on helping people achieve the changes they desire, and to let the complaints component (what might also be called bitching and moaning and whining) happen at other places where it's more appropriate (like the aforementioned pub or water cooler or company meeting or whatever). But if you're walking into your leaders office just to complain and not to get their partnership in helping you make things better, then you've lost before you even started and you yourself are potentially a part of the problem.My comment about managing people out and replacing them was intended for the more extreme cases. People who do nothing other than complain are a distraction and hurt morale and would be a lot more productive if they focused their energy into finding ways to make things better instead of moaning incessantly about all of the things that are wrong.Is this really such an extreme position worthy of being "taken with a heap of salt" in your view? I'm genuinely curious as perhaps I'm just failing to communicate the nuance successfully. Again, I'm pretty sure we're not really that far apart on this issue, but of course I could be wrong. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:33 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  Here's an example from teaching: suppose a teacher is frustrated because a class who is otherwise diligent and keen to learn seems to become lethargic and unresponsive specifically during periods 3 + 4. There are 3 options as to how the teacher might proceed: 1. Do not report the observation/complaint 2. Report the complaint but make no suggestions for improvement 3. Report the complaint and make suggestions for improvement Suppose that, in fact, the reason for students' disengagement is a simple and practical one - the price of breaktime foodstuffs has skyrocketed and the students can no longer afford to eat at breaktime and therefore become slightly hypoglycaemic by periods 3 +4. Option 1 would leave the problem to fester. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:38 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  Option three would make the problem known but would also probably lead management down the garden path - since the teacher is more likely to think in terms of how lessons can be made more exciting rather than thinking about the simple practical solutions. Option 2 makes the problem known and allows for a holistic approach to be adopted by those who do not have educational tunnel-vision. This is what I mean when I say that it is not always possible for an employee to be aware of the solution to the problem - and why making recommendations would only waste time and energy. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:18 am Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  (Off the top of my head) The teacher should highlight the issue and explain why it's a problem to be prioritized against all of the myriad others screaming for attention on the administrators desk. They should recommend ideas, and the administrator should validate those ideas against others from team members experiencing similar concerns. It may take some work and analysis, but it provides a starting point so the administrator doesn't have to start from scratch. How is that a waste of time? How is coming in with complaints and nothing else anything more than passing the buck on to someone else and shirking our own role/responsibility in contributing to the improvements we wish to see in a system of which we're an integral part? _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:21 am Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  I agree with you that in general it is a positive thing to propose possible solutions when reporting a problem. However you gave the impression that you regard complaint-making without proposed solutions as a pointless distraction worthy of dismissal. With this I absolutely disagree because (i) sometimes there are problems which an employee is able to identify but not make sensible recommendations for solutions (ii) sometimes the proposed solutions are made by employees with such specialised roles that all of those proposed solutions will fail and it would have been more efficient to have a non-specialist oversee the problem's resolution. If you are working at CERN as the cleaner and part of the equipment macroscopically breaks, it would not make sense to make recommendations for solutions because that would require the knowledge base that only engineers upwards have (unless you are a freaky lurk-in-the-shadows Good Will Hunting type of cleaner). _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:58 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  Rory wrote:However you gave the impression that you regard complaint-making without proposed solutions as a pointless distraction worthy of dismissal.There's a time and a place. That's all. Discuss these issues with your colleagues. Discuss these issues with your direct manager. Discuss these issues when executive leadership actively solicits feedback on these topics, but to go immediately into a very senior leaders office and make complaints without in parallel offering solutions or ideas to make things better? I can't get on board with that. IMO, it shows a lack of maturity and a deep confusion/naivety about how large organizations function and how things get done in complex environments. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:57 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  Sometimes it's not immediately apparent to whom one should report; sometimes the middle management is useless. Even if you accidentally report to a position that's too senior, it would not be terribly hard work for them to correct that mistake and say, "please can you report this to Middle X? He has the time and resources to solve this type of problem". I reckon that would take about 30 seconds max to say. If you can show me a man or woman whose time is so precious that they cannot spare on occasion 30 seconds for a re-direction then I think they should be promoted to wipe God's ass. _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim iNow  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:16 pm Original Member Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm Posts: 5521 Location: Austin, Texas  Heck, I'll do it. Seems like a pretty easy gig given that god almost certainly doesn't exist. _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan Rory  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:22 pm Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am Posts: 1895  Better stock up on anti-matter toilet paper _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim kojax  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:34 am Original Member Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am Posts: 582  iNow wrote:kojax wrote:The trick is understanding that most billionaires aren't actually using their wealth.Citation needed. Let me put this another way: most Billionaires invest the overwhelming majority of their money, rather than keep it in a big vault somewhere. Why? Because it will depreciate otherwise. Look at the inflation calculator here if you dout it. http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/Between 2000 and 2015, the value of the US Dollar dropped by approximately 25%. If a billionaire were stupid enough to keep his money in a bank account or vault or something, instead of investing it, he would .... probably never have become a billionaire in the first place....People who are bad with money tend to lose it. Quote:kojax wrote:Redistributing the portion of his money that's invested in capital would only strip that capital away from Microsoft, and thereby unemploy a bunch of programmers.This is quite a bit of a stretch, to the point of being false. Gates only holds a 2.9% share in M$ at this point, meaning he could sell every single share and the impact would be slight. http://online.barrons.com/articles/SB51 ... 0054257640Ok. So only 2.9% of Microsoft's programmers would become unemployed. Didn't realize the company was that big. Quote:kojax wrote:Yeah, well, most billionaires aren't even directly in possession of their money. At least not in the same way as an average worker is in possession of their paycheck. Believing that they are, and that they should be stripped of their money and redistributed may give the common man some hope, but it is mostly make believe. There is really not much that could be gained by doing so.This is nonsense. They may not have their wealth stored as cash, but outside of property and withdrawal penalties it's largely liquid, and suggesting that making billions available to millions of less fortunate others through programs or direct payments would lead to "not much to be gained" is laughable, at best. Of course it would help given that so many of the problems these populations face stem directly from a lack of money and programs.Really? What would happen if 2.9% of Microsoft's stock suddenly went up for sale tomorrow? You don't think that would hurt investor confidence in the company?Do you think there would even be enough buyers/bids in place on that day to cover the volume?Do you know anything about how the stock market works? You can't just dump a large volume of a stock in a single day. The price will suffer, and badly. iNow wrote:There's no need to earn a right to complain. You can do it anytime you want (we even have a rant corner thread for exactly that), but it's so much more interesting and enjoyable for everyone else if you posit fixes that we can explore and discuss. I reported to a senior Vice President in a large multinational a few years ago who liked to say, "When you come into my office, you'd better be presenting solutions, not complaints."I'm sure his time was valuable. However this is an internet forum. One presumes that if a person is on here, it is because they have time to spare.
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:38 am
Original Member

Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 If we want to go back to the main topic, clearly one difference between a food chain and a human economy is that the lion's aren't truly in control of the "lion's share" of the wealth. The control of the wealth (or hydrocarbons, or whatever) is actually spread out pretty much evenly throughout the system. The lions only have access to some of it. Indeed, there is no reason a lion couldn't starve to death, while some of the lower tiers are doing just fine.Probably some of the reason for this is because the creatures have pre-defined sizes. A lion who manages to kill 100 antelope in a week and eat them all doesn't grow to be 10 meters tall and wide, and weigh 2000 Kilos. He/she stays the size he/she started at, plus perhaps a bit of a fat gut. Nature regulates that, in a sense. Antelope, Elephants, ... ect... always maintain their level of empowerment relative to the lions.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:53 am

Original Member

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5521
Location: Austin, Texas

 Of course dumping a huge number of shares will have a negative impact. I wasn't arguing that it wouldn't. My point was that M$would still employ thousands of programmers even if Gates released every share, contrary to your suggestion otherwise. My other point was that every extra dollar that goes to someone in poverty helps quite a bit, so your claim that there would be "not really much to be gained" from moving some funds away from billionaires into the hands of those in poverty was nonsensical.kojax wrote:If we want to go back to the main topic, clearly one difference between a food chain and a human economy is that the lion's aren't truly in control of the "lion's share" of the wealth. The control of the wealth (or hydrocarbons, or whatever) is actually spread out pretty much evenly throughout the system. Sorry, but no.. This is plainly untrue almost no matter how you spin it. Speaking of "back to the topic," here is the data in pyramid form. Notice how the top 8% of the people control 80% of the wealth, and the top 30% control over 95%. In what universe is that considered to be "spread out pretty much evenly?"In another view, 0.1% of the population in the US controls 22% of the wealth. In another view still, the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the bottom 3,500,000,000. http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2 ... n-poorest/ _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan kojax  Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy | Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:07 am Original Member Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am Posts: 582  iNow wrote:Of course dumping a huge number of shares will have a negative impact. I wasn't arguing that it wouldn't. My point was that M$ would still employ thousands of programmers even if Gates released every share, contrary to your suggestion otherwise. My other point was that every extra dollar that goes to someone in poverty helps quite a bit, so your claim that there would be "not really much to be gained" from moving some funds away from billionaires into the hands of those in poverty was nonsensical.Look at the cost of education today. How have the costs skyrocketed so much? One hypothesis hat is commonly discussed is that by providing so many student loans, the cost went up due to scarcity of supply to fill the demand. In this case: supply of qualified professors. http://www.highereducation.org/reports/ ... ty_1.shtmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-hildr ... 93998.htmlIt looks like exactly the spiral I was describing. An increased amount of money becomes available to spend in the market, but the supply is unable to adjust enough to keep up with demand, and the result is local inflation (of one kind or another). We ended up right back where we started: in a situation where college is out of reach for a lot of people. Quote:kojax wrote:If we want to go back to the main topic, clearly one difference between a food chain and a human economy is that the lion's aren't truly in control of the "lion's share" of the wealth. The control of the wealth (or hydrocarbons, or whatever) is actually spread out pretty much evenly throughout the system. Sorry, but no.. This is plainly untrue almost no matter how you spin it. Speaking of "back to the topic," here is the data in pyramid form. Notice how the top 8% of the people control 80% of the wealth, and the top 30% control over 95%. In what universe is that considered to be "spread out pretty much evenly?"In another view, 0.1% of the population in the US controls 22% of the wealth. In another view still, the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the bottom 3,500,000,000. http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2 ... n-poorest/Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, but I thought it was obvious that I was describing the more even distribution of control over the hydrocarbons in nature's pyramid as a DIFFERENCE between that pyramid and the one we humans have set up.I definitely agree that it is not evenly distributed in humanity's pyramid.
iNow
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:19 pm

Original Member

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 5521
Location: Austin, Texas

 kojax wrote:Look at the cost of education today. How have the costs skyrocketed so much? I'm confused about the relevance of this reply. Do you believe it to be an argument in favor of your assertion that moving some money from some billionaires into the hands of those in deep poverty would not lead to much gain? _________________iNow"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:14 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 It is support for my claim that it would lead to local inflation, which would dramatically reduce its effectiveness. Not only is education still out of reach for a lot of people, we as a society have wasted billions and billions in the process of arriving right back where we started. Growing Federal Deficit our grandchildren will have to pay interest on, and for what? But most of the money possessed by a billionaire today is going to be tied up in investments. Hopefully circulating around as capital for ventures that support jobs for other people. (Not out of the goodness of their hearts, mind you, but still achieving that goal just the same.) Instead of trying to deprive them of their gathered wealth, we should focus instead on making sure they invest it in places where it will do our economy some good. Steer them away from things like gold and real estate investments (unless they're planning to improve the real estate before reselling it.) Steer them away from political "investments", trying to buy politicians so they can get protectionist legislation passed, or bilk the government into giving them no-bid contracts. If we just try to "redistribute", we'll be deadlocked forever in a sort of class struggle. But if it is clear we're happy to let them keep the money, so long as they use it to our benefit, there probably won't be a whole lot of resistance to that. Or not as much, anyway.
Rory
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:04 pm

Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:02 am
Posts: 1895

 You can't just "steer" a billionaire! If that were possible I would have a cell culture Lab attached to my flat right now So long as wealth is in private hands its disposal is at the discretion of individuals and corporations with agendas of their own. Which would be okay - except 9/10 those riches are the result of consumption of cheap labour - and the labourer goes on struggling under the weight of poverty. For this reason I support the nationalisation of key industries. Any profits generated can be invested in the community that generated them. Contrast that with the private sector - where profits feed into the CEO's pockets never to be seen again except perhaps at casinos, strip clubs, pubs, and car showrooms. One serves the common good - one takes the common good and hands it over to self-interested nobbers. I don't mind a bit of class warfare - bring it on you toffs! _________________If you are doomed to be boring - make it short. Andre Geim
Falconer360
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:21 pm

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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:30 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Somewhere in the Great State of Washington

 Rory wrote: Contrast that with the private sector - where profits feed into the CEO's pockets never to be seen again except perhaps at casinos, strip clubs, pubs, and car showrooms. One serves the common good - one takes the common good and hands it over to self-interested nobbers.I thought casinos, strip clubs, pubs, and car showrooms were the common good? I should probably close my gofundme for a strip club/casino/pub in every city then... Seriously though I agree with this post. Those are my feelings exactly. If you haven't already, you should watch the documentary "Inequality for all," it's on netflix and other places online. It really does a good job of discussing income inequality and from what I've seen of your posts, I think you would enjoy watching it. Well maybe enjoy is the wrong word since income inequality isn't something anyone other than the super rich enjoy. _________________"For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson"It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down" - Yagyu Munenori
kojax
 Post subject: Re: Food chain analogy  |  Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:23 am
Original Member

Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 582

 Rory wrote:You can't just "steer" a billionaire! If that were possible I would have a cell culture Lab attached to my flat right now So long as wealth is in private hands its disposal is at the discretion of individuals and corporations with agendas of their own. Which would be okay - except 9/10 those riches are the result of consumption of cheap labour - and the labourer goes on struggling under the weight of poverty. Of course you can steer it. Billionaires go wherever the profits are. Just make it unprofitable to do unproductive things. Put a huge tax on gold trading. Put huge potential fines on any form of political impropriety (like billions of dollars.) Then some billionaires will conform, and others will....well.... cease to be billionaires. Quote:For this reason I support the nationalisation of key industries. Any profits generated can be invested in the community that generated them. Contrast that with the private sector - where profits feed into the CEO's pockets never to be seen again except perhaps at casinos, strip clubs, pubs, and car showrooms. One serves the common good - one takes the common good and hands it over to self-interested nobbers. I don't mind a bit of class warfare - bring it on you toffs!I'm half way to where you're at, but I don't think the government is capable of running a corporation very well. I work for the Post Office in the USA right now, which actually is a government run corporation. It is self funding, so it basically has all the requirements upon it that a private corporation would have. I get to see everyday what the situation you describe would look like. I would prefer for the government to own natural resources, and sell them to corporations. They already de-facto own it in a way, because they are the ones claiming the territory. There's really no sensible reason to allow private citizens to own mineral rights. No private citizen ever created a mineral deposit. Some have improved them (IE. set up extraction mechanisms), but that's another issue. I see no problem letting a private citizen own the extraction mechanism.Government inefficiency would have little or no impact on its ability to manage that end of the resource extraction industry. But managing actual workers in an efficient endeavor has never been the government's forte'.
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