AuthorTopic: Getting a Handle on Wealth  (Read 9443 times)

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2017, 01:52:05 PM »
When you talk about wealth, you have to first consider the hierarchy of needs.

Before anything else as a Homo Sap, you need Food, Shelter, Water, Breathable Air and Clothing.  These are all material things.  The first 4 are absolutely essential, the last could be optional in a climate warm enough year round.  However, even in quite warm climates with primitive people they don't usually go around buck naked.

In Industrial society, the first 2 always cost money.  Water has in the past been free, but now Water bills if not paid directly are paid with taxation.  Air is still generally free, but in quite a few places is now not fit to breath.  Clothing always costs money.

Now, here in the FSoA, before you can even start to think about Wealth enough to afford Health Care, you have to have enough to cover all those basics, plus a few more now necessary like transportation and communication.  The problem here is that for half the population, they only have enough to cover the basics.  If you don't have enough for food or shelter, you're not going to be very healthy.

Now, once above the median income, you start to have enough money for some Health Care, but depending on what your health issues are, it can get quite expensive to try to stay healthy.  Insurance itself is quite expensive, so you're now moving up the ladder of costs you have to pay out each month before you can even begin to think about saving some material wealth for security, whether that material wealth is measured in canned foods, dollars or gold coins.

Only after you have covered all these material things and health coverage and some savings can you begin to start to look at other sorts of wealth, like spiritual wealth or environmental wealth.  People in India for example are too busy just trying to get enough food to eat each day to be able to do much in the way of enhancing their spiritual wealth or the environmental wealth.

The problem here is that all the essentials of living have been thoroughly monetized.  So the general definition of wealth is how much money you make or have piled up in savings.  Until we can run a society that is free of money, this will continue to be the general definition of wealth.  A lot of money buys you good healthy food to eat, you can afford to shop organic at whole foods.  A lot of money buys you health, you can afford 7 heart transplants like David Rockefeller.  A lot of money buys you a relatively clean local environment to live in, you can build a beautiful McMansion in the Rocky Mountains overlooking a river full of fish with clean air to breathe.  The only form of wealth money does not buy directly would be Spiritual Wealth, but even here having all the other things well covered gives you time to contemplate existential questions.  Not to say you can't do this even if you are materially poor, since it doesn't cost any money to dwell on the nature of existence, but usually if you are worried about where your next meal will come from that i more at the forefront of your thinking.

So anyhow, when I use the word "Wealth", because of the nature of a society that is run on money, I'm talking about monetary wealth, not all the other types of wealth which you might define.  I think most people use this definition when talking about wealth.  If you want to avoid confusion, it would probably be a good idea to create a new term for the other areas.

RE
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2017, 02:24:51 PM »
I think most people use this definition when talking about wealth.  If you want to avoid confusion, it would probably be a good idea to create a new term for the other areas.

Quote
"Edward S. Herman, political economist and media analyst, has highlighted some examples of doublespeak and doublethink in modern society. Herman describes in his book, Beyond Hypocrisy the principal characteristics of doublespeak:

What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublespeak#Origins_and_concepts

I'm concerning myself here mainly with how the word "wealth" is used in doublespeak, and especially as it is used "unconsciously".  If we do not understand what real wealth is, we are subject to other people's use (and abuse) of the word.

It is good that we keep in mind that "wealth," as the term is now popularly used, is "generated" through the clear-cutting of intact, old growth forests -- which are "replanted" as tiny monocrop saplings ... and through the dropping of bombs on towns and cities full of innocent non-combatants....  It is "produced" by damming wild rivers, fracking the hell out of oil and gas fields, and blasting the hell out of mountains under which coal can be surface mined.  It is created through the destruction and replacement of locally owned businesses with corporate giants....  And if a child gets asthma from the burning of coal, that creates "wealth" in the hands of those doctors who "treat" the asthma.  (I put "treat" in scare quotes because if a doctor wants to "treat" coal-caused asthma she will seek to shut down the coal burning plants. That will be the principal treatment method.)

Undoubtedly, the world's largest store of "wealth" is in the form of fossil fuels, which, if burned, would surely result in the mass extinction of most currently existing Earth species.

That's doublespeak, and doublethink.  It is, in other words, false.

I will not allow the word wealth to be misapplied for the sake of convenience.

All true wealth must be produced via either sustainable (thus good) or regenerative (better) practices.  Anything else is doublespeak and doublethink. 
And that's just the start, because man cannot live on bread alone.  We have more than merely material needs, such as our need for belonging, connection and community.  It is not enough that we be merely sustainable or regenerative in ecological terms. We must also become sustainable and regenerative in social terms. Etc.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 02:43:11 PM by JRM »
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2017, 02:49:16 PM »
I will not allow the word wealth to be misapplied for the sake of convenience.

Your problem here is that you can't communicate with people if your definition of wealth is radically different from theirs.  You have to use commonly accepted definitions of a word to be understood.  For Wealth, according to Merriam-Webster, the definitions are:

Definition of wealth

    1
    obsolete :  weal, welfare

    2
    :  abundance of valuable material possessions or resources

    3
    :  abundant supply :  profusion

    4
    a :  all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value b :  all material objects that have economic utility; especially :  the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time <national wealth>


It's not a lot different than your beef with the fact the righties have the word "Libertarian" sewn up.  You want to try and "take back" this word from them.  Now you want to redefine what the commonly held notions are of "Wealth", to take that word back.

I don't think you will be too successful with getting back either word.  Define a new one, and you might communicate the ideas better.  Using a word most people use differently than you do just spawns confusion.

RE
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 03:03:02 PM by RE »
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2017, 03:11:09 PM »
"Your problem here ...."



No, actually. It's not my problem alone. It's also your problem, and the problem of anyone and everyone subject to the misappropriation of words. 

Curiously enough, your post began with

"1
    obsolete :  weal, welfare" (a.k.a., well-being)

Along come some people who decide to hijack the word wealth removing its original meaning from back when it was "weal" (well-being).  Adam Smith writes a voluminous text with a voluminous title, "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" in which he redefines wealth as so much personal, familial or national property-stuff.  He gets folks to buy into his definition, and pretty soon dictionaries are calling the earlier definition "obsolete".  If in twenty, fifty or a hundred years Smith's version is decided to be "obsolete," as well it may, it will begin to look like a tennis match, the ball flying back and forth across the net.  So who's right, then, over the long haul?

I say I am.  So I'll keep the original meaning of the word, thanks.

My argument is much better than Smith's.  He didn't understand complex systems half as well as I do.  I'm standing on the shoulders of giants.


https://youtu.be/kleqF3X1_l4


« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 03:16:49 PM by JRM »
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2017, 03:15:28 PM »
"Your problem here ...."



No, actually. It's not my problem alone. It's also your problem, and the problem of anyone and everyone subject to the misappropriation of words. 

Curiously enough, your post began with

"1
    obsolete :  weal, welfare" (a.k.a., well-being)

Along come some people who decide to hijack the word wealth removing its original meaning from back when it was "weal" (well-being).

I suggest using the word Weal then to get back to the original meaning you wish to communicate.

RE
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2017, 03:20:16 PM »

I suggest using the word Weal then to get back to the original meaning you wish to communicate.


 ::)
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 03:32:33 PM »

I suggest using the word Weal then to get back to the original meaning you wish to communicate.


 ::)

Can you elucidate the reasons for this eye roll for me please?

Weal seems to me to be precisely what you are talking about, and it's a word already in the dictionary!  So you don't even have to define a new word here!  You've already GOT one to use!

I could write a whole blog on this with no problem whatsoever.  I'll start a paragraph...

Here on the Diner, we are concerned not so much with the "Wealth" of society as the "Weal" of society.  It's not a word commonly used anymore, but it should be.  The word and concept of Wealth that developed from Weal is destructive to our society and our planet...

RE
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2017, 03:57:44 PM »
RE -  Keep following along here and eventually you'll get it.  :)
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2017, 04:02:00 PM »
RE -  Keep following along here and eventually you'll get it.  :)
That was a Violation of the CoC.  It's calling me stupid again.

We have already stated that if a Diner is not following your point, it is your obligation to further explain it.

RE
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2017, 04:17:44 PM »
RE -  Keep following along here and eventually you'll get it.  :)
That was a Violation of the CoC.  It's calling me stupid again.

We have already stated that if a Diner is not following your point, it is your obligation to further explain it.

RE

You will only disagree with me if I do make my point more clear.  You're already committed to understanding the word "wealth" in its current popular usage.  That's enough for me. I'm okay with your not agreeing with me, RE.
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2017, 04:36:41 PM »
RE -  Keep following along here and eventually you'll get it.  :)
That was a Violation of the CoC.  It's calling me stupid again.

We have already stated that if a Diner is not following your point, it is your obligation to further explain it.

RE

You will only disagree with me if I do make my point more clear.  You're already committed to understanding the word "wealth" in its current popular usage.  That's enough for me. I'm okay with your not agreeing with me, RE.

I'm not "committed" to anything here, other than trying to make what we talk about understandable to the readers.  If you use a definition of Wealth most people don't, you confuse the issues.  If you want Wealth redefined, you're going to need to convince Merriam Webster of this, not me.

In the meantime, WEAL seems to me like what you are talking about.  Much closer in definition than Wealth anyhow.

RE
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2017, 04:43:38 PM »
In English as spoken by the English, "weal" is not obsolete, and is almost always qualified as "the common weal", and hence British Commonwealth, etc., meaning the welfare of the nation/Empire.  I suppose there could also be "the personal weal" and "the family weal".  Since I think you want to compare/contrast "personal weal" with "personal wealth", it would definitely make sense to use another phrase. 

The family weal has implications of giving value to family relationships, which can be paramount in peoples' lives - if you have a good, loving relationship betweens spouses, and between them and their children, poverty of wealth can be endured/overcome.  "When I were a lad, ..."

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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2017, 05:41:47 PM »
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that's all.”


Once upon a time to be "queer" was to be something unspeakably bad, evil and icky--despicable.  Then along came some chaps who declared "I've had enough of all that!" And they began to call themselves queer in a proud way. And lo and behold, they changed the whole damn meaning of "queer".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer

Who gets to define the word "woman" -- men, or women?

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month/videos/aint-i-a-woman

Word anarchy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0bds2vFg0M




My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2017, 05:45:38 PM »

Word anarchy!

Like general anarchy, it might seem nice in theory, in practice it doesn't work too good.  You just spawn confusion and everyone is talking past each other because they aren't using the same definitions for the words they are using.

RE
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Offline JRM

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Re: Getting a Handle on Wealth
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2017, 06:00:46 PM »

Word anarchy!

Like general anarchy, it might seem nice in theory, in practice it doesn't work too good.  You just spawn confusion and everyone is talking past each other because they aren't using the same definitions for the words they are using.

RE

I would have to agree that in your own case my own case falls quite flat.   We shall see if it falls so very flat in the case of others.
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

 

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