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Thanks Karen, much appreciated. And so far as the topic is concerned, feel free to move it, I got fed up with trying figure out where this should go.
WHat you think Neily Theory or what?
Well we don't want to turn this thread into a debate about where this thread should be so I'll move it to new theories and see what happens.
A system that is in equilibrium is without the capacity to change, and such a system is for all practical purposes, a dead system.
Yes, we could consider a hypothetical economic system that was in its lowest energy state, but such a system would have no dynamic, and thus be useless as an economic system.
In order for a system to perform work, it must have a dynamic, and thus must not be in a state of minimum energy where no more useful work can be done by the system.
It is for this reason that your theory of worldwide economic equilibrium could not work without many decades of social engineering - and that, in itself, is contrary to your theory that it is a natural state.
Now on to Dr. Beaver’s reply,Much of what I said so far applies to your post as well. However, I believe that you misunderstood what I meant when I said “natural state”. I was not referring to the “state of things”, but rather to an actual nation state. I assume from this misunderstanding you came to understand that I believe that such equilibrium is the natural state of things. Although I did not make this argument, I would argue that all species except humans would support such an equilibrium “naturally”. Ultimately, from the reference of the Quran I gave as well as from what history has to tell, I only meant that the nation state as described in the Quran is the natural state with respect to implementing a socio-economic system that maintains the equilibrating effects of the monetary system on wealth. Thus, when you said:Quote It is for this reason that your theory of worldwide economic equilibrium could not work without many decades of social engineering - and that, in itself, is contrary to your theory that it is a natural state.Well…obviously I do not mean to say that an entire nation state can be built over night. In fact I made no claim to any length of time or how long it would take for the establishment of such a state to affect the monetary equilibrium. Thus my “theory” (rather critique) is not falsified for this reason.
without some external influenece all the money ends up in one place and that is what causes the problems of inequality.
If everyone had exactly the same as everyone else the whole system would stagnate. There would be no incentive to "better oneself". Ambition would disappear and you would end up with a world full of apathy. Wealth does not naturally trickle down and I believe it is wrong to think that it does.
But there are plenty of examples of inequlity in nature.
If we humans did not exists, than this raw material would have been equilibrated with all members of all species; the very reason that life at such a grand scale can even exist so naturally. In this "grand" view of things, it is the efforts of humans that run counter to this monetary equilibrium that all other species follow willingly or unwillingly.
why do some Moslems have huge houses and drive expensive cars while others have next to nothing?
Things don't do that, they go to the place where the energy is lowest.
I suspect that wealth too tends to congregate in a limited number of places. That is why many religions and many governmental systems support the idea of redistribution of wealth. Christianity did it by tything, Islam too says that you should contribute to the community and most governments have some form of welfare state. If wealth naturally spread out, none of these would be needed.
Hi another_someone,QuoteA system that is in equilibrium is without the capacity to change, and such a system is for all practical purposes, a dead system.This is a meaningless statement as far as context is concerned. This "dead" system would entail equality for all human beings.
QuoteYes, we could consider a hypothetical economic system that was in its lowest energy state, but such a system would have no dynamic, and thus be useless as an economic system.Consider my original post again and notice how I specifically did not repeat the part about "lowest energy state" as part of the analogy; the reason being that energy is not as relevant to the context of a state as is societal levels. And considering societal levels instead of energy makes the critical difference.
QuoteIn order for a system to perform work, it must have a dynamic, and thus must not be in a state of minimum energy where no more useful work can be done by the system.Again, I specifically did not mention an economic system being in a state of minimum energy, let alone an economic system as they have nothing to do with the argument. Can you even qualitatively describe to yourself what it means to have high or low energy states in an economic system?
Anyway, I was talking about the monetary system, not economic systems which use the monetary system as a medium through which wealth is transferred. As such, this is not so much a critique of capitalism as it is a critique of man-made systems (but I suppose that delves into a topic of its own).
I think that a lumpy distribution where the money is with a few plutocrats is, unfortunately, the low energy state.
The point of all this is to be able to say that the unequal distribution of wealth around the world is unnatural, unpractical and idealistic. And further more any system that supports the natural tendency for wealth to equilibrate (such as the Islamic commandment to return all excess profits to the central government for redistribution to the poor), will be sustainable in the long term.
I general, and I have said this over and over again, I am only referring to the tendency of wealth to equilibrate among the various societal levels and make no claim on it actually equilibrating. As pointless of an argument as this might seem, the reason that I make it is to be able to say that it is the unequal distribution of wealth as we see today that is unnatural, unpractical and idealistic in nature rather than vice versa.
Ultimately, the reason I bring all this up is mostly because I am tired of hearing the idea that the inequality across the world is a natural phenomenon and that achieving equality among all humans (in term of have the basic needs of life met; not the socialist ideals of forced equality of wealth) is idealistic thinking of the worst kind and completely unpractical.Following from the argument I have made thus far, I would argue that it is the current model of extreme accruement of wealth among a small group of individuals that is idealistic and unpractical as it runs counter to natural effects of all equilibriums.
There is a big difference between being able to work for extra wealth and 1% of the world's population owning 40% of economic wealth don't you think? I am not a supporter of socialist principles where everyone should be forced to have exactly equal wealth. In Islam, there is room for ownership, running a business and generating profit and all that good stuff, the only difference being that Muslims are commanded to give back to the community "all that is in excess" via the central government.
Any distribution of wealth is unnatural as humans play a hand in it. What you are putting forward is an ideology, not a natural law. If wealth is returned to the state (society) for re-distribution then it is not a natural state (condition); there is human interference. It's illogical to argue that a man-made condition is a natural 1.
Food naturally becomes available equally for all species.
As an aside, I found your post to be somewhat confusing, partly because you are claiming I said things that I never actually said. For instance, I never made any claim on some standard "natural equilibrium state" for wealth. I general, and I have said this over and over again, I am only referring to the tendency of wealth to equilibrate among the various societal levels and make no claim on it actually equilibrating. As pointless of an argument as this might seem, the reason that I make it is to be able to say that it is the unequal distribution of wealth as we see today that is unnatural, unpractical and idealistic in nature rather than vice versa.
By equality in distribution of wealth, I do not mean forced and exact equality in wealth. So long as the wealth distribution curve does not look like the Eiffel tower or even the pyramids, I have no problem [O8)]
The assumption was that money (the pieces of paper in your wallet) does not move of its own accord (obviously). Whereas water has a natural driving force (gravity) for moving to its lowest energy state, the pieces of paper in your wallet have no such natural driving force (again, obviously).
However, and I guess I have not really elaborated on this, I mentioned in a previous post that money and wealth are just representations of the raw material attained from economy.
There isn’t any particular species towards which food, one type of raw material, gravitates towards. Food naturally becomes available equally for all species.
Quote from: DoctorBeaver on 26/03/2007 09:14:41Any distribution of wealth is unnatural as humans play a hand in it. What you are putting forward is an ideology, not a natural law. If wealth is returned to the state (society) for re-distribution then it is not a natural state (condition); there is human interference. It's illogical to argue that a man-made condition is a natural 1.Are humans outside nature?What is the meaning of unnatural? Does it have any more meaning than supernatural?If it is, how can it be unnatural, unless one judges something as being outside of nature (e.g. God)?
the point is that money has many competing tendencies, which is why it keeps working.If money had a single, simple, tendency (in any direction – whether it was towards centralism or towards equal distribution), sooner or later it will have all flowed in one direction or another, and would have nowhere else to flow. Money works, and keeps working, because there are both centralising forces and distributing forces, and these are constantly in tension.
Food naturally becomes available equally for all species. It is this natural tendency for equality in distribution that I am referencing when I say that wealth “wants” to gravitate towards the lower societal levels. While there is no driving force for money, there is a driving force for the raw materials which equally become available to all species which is the natural cycles of the earth…. Money and wealth don't have a driving force themselves, however seeing as how they represent raw materials which are meant to, in general, equally present themselves to those who need them, they too can be thought to want to gravitate away from a non-equilibrated state.
Are we talking here about your preferences, or the natural preferences of the monetary system?
In an idealised world, this would be so; but in the real world, money is simply a way of measuring power. Clearly, having control over necessary raw materials is a way of accumulating power, but power distribution has always been more complex than that. More to the point, there is a natural positive feedback cycle that allows that if you have power, it allows you to assert greater control over essential resources, and the greater control you have over essential resources, so the more power you will accrue.
Are we talking species here, or individuals within a species (arguments exist for each, but individuals within a given species will inevitably be far more in direct competition over the same resources than would inevitably be the case between species, where different species might utilise different resources).In both cases, shortages do arise (although they do fluctuate from year to year, from decade to decade, from century to century).
Generally, an animal with more power (the alpha male and his mates) will have access to more, or better, food; while other individuals will be relegated further to the margins.
Clearly, the smaller the social unit, the less capacity there is for social inequality (an ant colony, having millions of members, will have much more inequality between the queen and the workers, than a troop of 30 monkeys).
My observation is that it does not, rather the reverse is true and the rich get richer.
This is also a matter of semantics. In my understanding for something to have a tendency to do something means that it naturally does something without regards to external forces. Following this understanding, water has a single tendency as governed by the gravitational force, which is to go down. Even so, you can get water to do many things outside this tendency such as run a steam engine, take part in nuclear power plants, generate electricity in dams and so on. This is done by applying energy to the water which otherwise only has a straightforward tendency to go down.
Similarly, once again considering the following:I would argue that wealth also has only one tendency, which is to “go down” to the lower societal levels (in possibly more effective terms, to gravitate away from a non-equilibrated state of existence). But you can get this wealth to do many things outside this tendency such as the effects of the “centralizing forces” you mentioned (specifically the actions of the “elite”).
So, if the oil companies tomorrow could, for some reason, no longer find a single person to work for them anymore, and thus no more oil (a raw material) can be extracted from the earth, the people running these companies will somehow magically remain in power?
QuoteGenerally, an animal with more power (the alpha male and his mates) will have access to more, or better, food; while other individuals will be relegated further to the margins.And yet, in general, equilibrium is maintained as all members of a species are fed.
This isn’t about how the animals treat each other; frankly that’s not an excuse for comparison to humans anyway with the brain capacity allotted to us.
QuoteClearly, the smaller the social unit, the less capacity there is for social inequality (an ant colony, having millions of members, will have much more inequality between the queen and the workers, than a troop of 30 monkeys).I never made any claim about a particular species’ capacity to get resources
But is not the gravitational force an external force?
When you say 'similarly' – do you mean that you similarly regard a single force as not being an external force at all, and regard all other forces as external forces, and then regard that single force as pertaining to a natural tendency?
Are you really trying to say that in the wild no animal ever starves?
But humans are animals, and beneath the veneer, we still behave as any other animal behaves.
QuoteBut is not the gravitational force an external force?In official scientific terms, yes, obviously. I don't know what else to call this, but by external forces, I guess I am essentially referring to all forces that are directed by humans; thus human directed forces? A better way of saying it might be intrinsic forces (gravity and such) versus extrinsic forces (forces directed by humans).
QuoteAre you really trying to say that in the wild no animal ever starves?There was a reason why I put "in general" in bold.
QuoteBut humans are animals, and beneath the veneer, we still behave as any other animal behaves.You didn't even bother to account for a humans brain having much greater capacity for thinking and reasoning.Unless of course you would like to place your existence at the same plane of cognition as that of an ape.
But even if one removes humans from the equation, there are numerous 'natural' forces acting upon water – whether it be the heat of the Sun, or the tidal forces of the moon (the last is actually still a gravitational force, but it is one that causes tides to rise and ebb in relation to the Earth).
Economics is incredibly complex far more so than most normal physical systems like (for example) the way a blob of hydrogen and helium etc becomes a star and evolves.
Most stars form and evolve in precisely predictable ways that are only controlled by the mass of material present in the star.