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Old 04-18-2016, 11:57 AM
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Is a sustainable middle class a mirage?

Is there a workable sustainable stable model for a broad middle class based economy that doesn't depend on expansion or exploitation?
Discuss, please.

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Old 04-18-2016, 12:10 PM
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Expansion was a driver in creating our expanded middle class as was exploiting the miracles of oil. Only thing that will get us off oil is something economically competitive and right now that only exists in SF. Without an expanding economy the middle class you're referencing is a mirage.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:20 PM
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Very good question....

Another way of asking it--in the absence of an expanding economy, are the benefits of capitalism for the masses a mirage?
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by donquixote99 View Post
Very good question....

Another way of asking it--in the absence of an expanding economy, are the benefits of capitalism for the masses a mirage?
Donquixote99, you posed a notable rephrasing of the OPs question. Nice.

As I see it, a big question is what is considered middle class? If middle class is defined as having running water, toilet facilities, and physical security, then yes, I think the earth could support such a broad middle class.

"Workable, sustainable, stable" are the words in the OP's question that I do not think are achievable. As an engineer I am guilty of participating in the broken kinds of thoughts that slowly lead to big and unsustainable mistakes. My mistake was this simple: I thought that I was doing honest work by making cars more fuel efficient. What I did not see coming was that people would use improved fuel economy to justify moving even further from work and paving over farm land on their way outward.

As I think back to the 1980s I recall the news chattering about Chinese society and their self-restraint with regard to having children. We do not hear that story anymore, but I think it is a story that our society of self-government would benefit from a refresher lesson. It had a profound effect on me. The Chinese story is a big part of the reason why I am content with having only one child. During my procreation years I watched some of my friends continue with traditional big families. While I understand their desire, I could not balance that desire with my engineering understanding and capitalism. I knew then that we were running out of good work to do in the USofA. Our obesity problem is evidence of that absence of good work.

Sigh. Enough words. Back to the OPs question. No, I do not think there is a workable model for a broad middle class. The devil is in the details and too many of us want more of us to have a better lives. The earth talks back and says, um, I can't do that.

IMO it would be better for those of us that have more to relinquish some of our stuff and be happy with less. We complain about maintaining that stuff anyways.

What I can't get my head around is how to unpave farmland.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:46 PM
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Predicting unintended consequences and getting a hearing is difficult and thankless at best.

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Old 04-18-2016, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebacon View Post
Donquixote99, you posed a notable rephrasing of the OPs question. Nice.

As I see it, a big question is what is considered middle class? If middle class is defined as having running water, toilet facilities, and physical security, then yes, I think the earth could support such a broad middle class.

"Workable, sustainable, stable" are the words in the OP's question that I do not think are achievable. As an engineer I am guilty of participating in the broken kinds of thoughts that slowly lead to big and unsustainable mistakes. My mistake was this simple: I thought that I was doing honest work by making cars more fuel efficient. What I did not see coming was that people would use improved fuel economy to justify moving even further from work and paving over farm land on their way outward.

As I think back to the 1980s I recall the news chattering about Chinese society and their self-restraint with regard to having children. We do not hear that story anymore, but I think it is a story that our society of self-government would benefit from a refresher lesson. It had a profound effect on me. The Chinese story is a big part of the reason why I am content with having only one child. During my procreation years I watched some of my friends continue with traditional big families. While I understand their desire, I could not balance that desire with my engineering understanding and capitalism. I knew then that we were running out of good work to do in the USofA. Our obesity problem is evidence of that absence of good work.

Sigh. Enough words. Back to the OPs question. No, I do not think there is a workable model for a broad middle class. The devil is in the details and too many of us want more of us to have a better lives. The earth talks back and says, um, I can't do that.

IMO it would be better for those of us that have more to relinquish some of our stuff and be happy with less. We complain about maintaining that stuff anyways.

What I can't get my head around is how to unpave farmland.
It's not about the earth. It's about how best to organize human Societies, albeit with regard for the earth. Capitalism had run its course ans id now gleefully consuming itself.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pio1980 View Post
Is there a workable sustainable stable model for a broad middle class based economy that doesn't depend on expansion or exploitation?
Discuss, please.

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There must be expansion for any broad based economy to be sustainable for any reasonable time.

Another side to this: an economy without surplus will eventually decline.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:35 PM
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It's not about the earth. It's about how best to organize human Societies, albeit with regard for the earth. Capitalism had run its course ans id now gleefully consuming itself.
The issue of organization is an ongoing battle. At age 50 I have one observation to contribute to the discussion. Good people can make bad organizational structure work, but bad people can not make good organizational structure work.

Scholars live in debating that space. I am just trying to be a good redneck.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:35 PM
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Expansion is eventually self-limiting, then what?

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Old 04-18-2016, 04:45 PM
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Expansion is eventually self-limiting, then what?

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Fighting? Shrug.

Fighting is the knee jerk reaction for people that don't have faith in politics. I love a good fight as much as the next guy, but when I am a guilty of having too much wealth I am willing to give up some so that society can get back to a norm.

To me norm is more like Europe. They know the value of having more people and music in the streets than cars.
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