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Unread 28 Apr 2008, 12:49   #1
G.K Zhukov
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Child poverty in the UK

According to a article in today The Guardian, there is several millions of children living in poverty in the UK.

Is it that bad? Or is it just a natural consequence of the low minimum wage and persistant unemployment in some areas?

The article can be found here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...ocialexclusion
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Unread 28 Apr 2008, 12:53   #2
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

As poverty is a relative term, i'm not sure how it can really be avoided completely. Minimised, yes, but avoided? hard to say.

Diligent and caring parents help the status of poverty stricken children in either respect.
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Unread 28 Apr 2008, 15:16   #3
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

I really wish you'd add some content to these threads. It's pretty much impossible to get your point across (and get people to listen to it) when you act like such a ****.

Nevertheless, isn't child poverty the reasons Labour apparently pumped so much money into benefit, and the reason we've got a "benefit culture" now, or so I'm told?

How do they define child poverty, anyway (I haven't read the article; not going to, either - too busy, not busy enough to call you a **** though - strange that)?

How would you solve this problem anyway, Comrade? That might make for an interesting. Try it; you might like it.
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Unread 28 Apr 2008, 20:13   #4
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

It's because we don't live in a socialist paradise where everyone gets the opportunity to starve equally
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 12:24   #5
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebdomad
Nevertheless, isn't child poverty the reasons Labour apparently pumped so much money into benefit, and the reason we've got a "benefit culture" now, or so I'm told?
I'm reading a book that is 28 years old and is complaining of a 'benefit culture', although it is more commonly referred to as 'socialism'. I'm sure if I read the oldest works available there's probably something on similar lines there or thereabout.

Quote:
How do they define child poverty, anyway (I haven't read the article; not going to, either - too busy, not busy enough to call you a **** though - strange that)?
I think it's half the median income of the country.

Quote:
How would you solve this problem anyway, Comrade? That might make for an interesting. Try it; you might like it.
By employing the free market. If you can't afford to keep your child in an acceptable standard of living, there are many rich people out there* who would be happy to buy your child.

*Madonna, Gary Glitter etc...
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 12:29   #6
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

All the kids I know have mobile phones, they're all LOADED!
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 13:34   #7
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

I've noticed Tomkat. I had to take it away from them, during lessons, when I was out in practice in secondary school a few weeks ago.

But back to the subject.
What would be needed to end the child poverty? A higher minimum wage? Coupled with a drastic reduction in unemployment?
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 14:16   #8
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by All Systems Go
I think it's half the median income of the country.
Heh.
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 16:03   #9
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

According to that article child poverty is where "children [are] living in households with less than 60% of the national average income after taking housing costs into account."

As mentioned previously poverty is measured against other people and is as such bollocks.

I predict that using the current standard more and more children will be brought up in "poverty" as the rich are getting far richer (rather than poor people getting poorer).
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 17:16   #10
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

I've often wondered where profits (and general increases in wealth) come from. Can anyone explain it to me in, say, 20 or less sentences?
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 17:31   #11
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by You Are Gay
According to that article child poverty is where "children [are] living in households with less than 60% of the national average income after taking housing costs into account."

As mentioned previously poverty is measured against other people and is as such bollocks.

I predict that using the current standard more and more children will be brought up in "poverty" as the rich are getting far richer (rather than poor people getting poorer).
Is it really bollocks? Is the fact that a child born into a poor family is likely to die younger than someone born into a more affluent family a worthless consideration?
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 17:36   #12
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk
I've often wondered where profits (and general increases in wealth) come from. Can anyone explain it to me in, say, 20 or less sentences?
Through the utilisation of the human ability to create.

If I build a PC someone wants to buy, I have created wealth.

I'm not touching 'profits'.
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 18:41   #13
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by You Are Gay
According to that article child poverty is where "children [are] living in households with less than 60% of the national average income after taking housing costs into account."

As mentioned previously poverty is measured against other people and is as such bollocks.

I predict that using the current standard more and more children will be brought up in "poverty" as the rich are getting far richer (rather than poor people getting poorer).
well as long as the population doesn't increase we should be fine
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 18:57   #14
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by All Systems Go
Through the utilisation of the human ability to create.

If I build a PC someone wants to buy, I have created wealth.
I'm a little appalled I didn't figure that out on my own, heh.
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Unread 29 Apr 2008, 23:51   #15
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk
I've often wondered where profits (and general increases in wealth) come from. Can anyone explain it to me in, say, 20 or less sentences?
ASG is right when it comes to generating GDP and so on, but one of the major ways that the rich are getting richer (rather than the poor getting poorer), is through corporations.

Now, these arent the big corporations like microsoft or big office block towers or whatever, a corporation is just a legal personality which essentially limits the maximum possible liability to the owners(/shareholders). That's not the essense of the benefit though; the fact that corporations are taxed differently is of major benefit. This, combined with corporation's tendency to purchase assets, rather than the liabilities of middle classes (eg, homes, cars ... boats etc), means that they generate and accumulate wealth (profits), with compound interest*.

Say, i'm a middle class person. I get a cuahy government job which pays me a pretty good but not outstanding wage. This is the only source of income for me.
I then go out and get a mortgage - i have just purchased a liability that will take 20 years to pay off. I need a car to get to and from work, as i'm middle class and thus cant use public transport. I just purchased another liability - probably on credit as well - which i also need to pay off. Servicing both of those loans means that (often significant) part of my wage is going on these expenses (thus, money going "out"). Then there are bills to pay, perhaps school fees if i'm a bit older with kids, and so on etc. Also, as my wage increases i tend to purchase more and more (money going out) generally useless things like plasma tellies, mobile phones, widgits, trinkets and baubles, toasters and the occasional flower pot. Again, money going out.

Now, say i'm an upper class person. I once had a pretty good paying professional job (more likely to be private than government, but anyway). First thing i do is set up Soveh Corporation. I get a wage from my job, which goes into this corporation. on behalf of me, this corporation buys assets like real estate and shares (a mix depending on risk profile, a different matter). These assets generate income (rent, dividends) which can be re-invested into the corporation, or withdrawn from the corporation and paid to its owner (me) via its own dividend or whatever, to pay for bills and so on (a new source of income; wage and dividends). If i need a new car? well, the corporation purchases it on my behalf (a company car) - the liability is now the corporation's, not mine. Go to dinner with (my assumed) wife? Business dinner, out of the expense account of the corporation (to an extent). Remember, the idea of an expense account from your corporation is to spend as much money as you can, because you're corporation is taxed on the after expenses income for that corporation (so you're buying stuff with pre tax dollars: tax is usually ~40% or more of income so the extra goes a long way) - more money spent on stuff for the owners, less corporate tax to pay. Also, the corporate tax rate is actually less than the income tax rate I would otherwise be paying. Further, because the corporation owns all the assets, because the corporation is generating all the income [except wage], and so on, I personally pay very little in the way of tax. Which means more money for me, less for the government.

By the way, this is all totally legal (at least in western countries), so any objection that you have is a moral one, which is clearly not an issue if you're trying to make money.

Anyway, as the assets of the corporation grow (they will be very modest to start with, but after 10 or 20 years the expected accumulation will beat the pants off a home that you may or may not actually own), your personal income changes in its mix; you become less and less dependent on your wage - you can work less and less for money, and let your money work more and more for you. Indeed, some people who do really well at this dont have a wage-job, they just manage the assets of their corporation to the extent where they live off that expense account, and they dont get anything in the way of tax or whatever. Divorces are less messy as well, as technically you dont actually own anything (the corporation does). Means that, as a male, you might actually "win". (depressing, isnt it).


So, Mz, not 20 sentences because its not really that simple. But there's just one common method of the difference between rich and poor: rich buy assets, middle class buys liabilities that they think are assets, and the poor cant do either.




*which isnt just interest from a bank, generally its growth in assets (or income via dividends, rent, etc) expected to perform above market interest rates otherwise you would choose the (much) less risky option of putting cash in a bank.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 00:05   #16
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
So, Mz, not 20 sentences because its not really that simple.
I only mentioned that to indicate I didn't need a 14 page economics essay. That said, thanks for the reply, although your scenarios mostly depend on people earning money that already "is". My question had more to do with how wealth is generated, which was answered by ASG already (time = money).
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 00:15   #17
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by All Systems Go
Is it really bollocks? Is the fact that a child born into a poor family is likely to die younger than someone born into a more affluent family a worthless consideration?
Well, yes. Because the only way to eliminate poverty using a relative measure is to eliminate all differences between household incomes (after living expenses).

Rather than that, some structures in place that permits more social (or at least, economic) mobility would be a much better way of addressing the problem, rather than top-down enforcement of total equality (which doesnt work).
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 00:38   #18
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk
I only mentioned that to indicate I didn't need a 14 page economics essay. That said, thanks for the reply, although your scenarios mostly depend on people earning money that already "is". My question had more to do with how wealth is generated, which was answered by ASG already (time = money).
No, not at all. Sure, it helps if you've got alot of money already to start with, as it accelerates the process. But, the point is that even a small amount of money will grow faster in a corporation than it will in a bank, and after a long period of time, you have generated additional wealth that you wouldnt have otherwise. Thus, you become richer than before, and what an equilivent person would have over the same time period.

Ignore it at your own peril. At 22, "i" own two homes in the world's most expensive city, i have some shares (though not all that many now - i did use my economic training to essentially dodge the crash in the middle of last year by pulling out about this time last year. At the time, i felt really bad as i missed about three months of really high growth, but i'm much happier now), my superannuation is really high compared to most, but ample given my age. My friends are either breaking even (ie, constantly broke) or only slightly positive but still renting or whatever. I am feeling like i'm becoming richer, and thus i'm more willing to take risks which is making me richer still.

Sure, i have three jobs and doing my honours. But at least i'm putting the moeny to good use! As for money that already "is", that's true. I didnt start from nothing. When i was 17 i had about $600 that i had saved up from my pocket money over the preceding 10 years. But that doesnt mean that you cant earn more efficiently.



Wealth is different to GDP, which is different to income, etc. Generating economic growth is probably what you're thinking (?), which involves growing more foodstuffs, mining more resources, producing more products, engaging more services and so on. A wealthy person tends to have alot of assets like property or shares - that doensnt mean that they are producing much in terms of GDP, they just own more things.

I apologise for misinterpting what you meant.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 08:48   #19
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
At 22, "i" own two homes in the world's most expensive city
Other than showing you up as an utterly ghastly human being this statement raises the question of why you are buying property outside your own country rather than in it.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 11:59   #20
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
Now, say i'm an upper class person. I once had a pretty good paying professional job (more likely to be private than government, but anyway). First thing i do is set up Soveh Corporation. I get a wage from my job, which goes into this corporation. on behalf of me, this corporation buys assets like real estate and shares (a mix depending on risk profile, a different matter). These assets generate income (rent, dividends) which can be re-invested into the corporation, or withdrawn from the corporation and paid to its owner (me) via its own dividend or whatever, to pay for bills and so on (a new source of income; wage and dividends). If i need a new car? well, the corporation purchases it on my behalf (a company car) - the liability is now the corporation's, not mine. Go to dinner with (my assumed) wife? Business dinner, out of the expense account of the corporation (to an extent). Remember, the idea of an expense account from your corporation is to spend as much money as you can, because you're corporation is taxed on the after expenses income for that corporation (so you're buying stuff with pre tax dollars: tax is usually ~40% or more of income so the extra goes a long way) - more money spent on stuff for the owners, less corporate tax to pay. Also, the corporate tax rate is actually less than the income tax rate I would otherwise be paying. Further, because the corporation owns all the assets, because the corporation is generating all the income [except wage], and so on, I personally pay very little in the way of tax. Which means more money for me, less for the government.

By the way, this is all totally legal (at least in western countries), so any objection that you have is a moral one, which is clearly not an issue if you're trying to make money.

Anyway, as the assets of the corporation grow (they will be very modest to start with, but after 10 or 20 years the expected accumulation will beat the pants off a home that you may or may not actually own), your personal income changes in its mix; you become less and less dependent on your wage - you can work less and less for money, and let your money work more and more for you. Indeed, some people who do really well at this dont have a wage-job, they just manage the assets of their corporation to the extent where they live off that expense account, and they dont get anything in the way of tax or whatever. Divorces are less messy as well, as technically you dont actually own anything (the corporation does). Means that, as a male, you might actually "win". (depressing, isnt it).


I've actually think about stuff like this quite regularly. I have one question (well lots but one key question), say you're trying to dodge the whole "splitting your assests at divorce time" kind of vibe then how does having your assests in a corporation stop you from having to split them? You must have some kind of ownership of the corporation (shares or whatever, even if it is all of the shares) so i would think that your (now ex) partner's lawyer would go after them.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 12:02   #21
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Second question: To own more than one property you must be in the buy to let market. My understanding of the mortgage products for that market is that you already have to own (/have a mortgage on) a property to be able to get a buy to let mortgage on another. As such you would only be able to fire one property into your company's assets as i would think the bank wouldn't allow you to say your primary residence belonged to your company. What is your experience of the situation Ultimate Newbie?
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 12:11   #22
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Apparantly, if you build a new house at the same time as a factory, it's easy to class it as a company expense.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 13:11   #23
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

The corporation ruse is quite popular in the UK apparently. I was speaking to an old friend who wanted his employer to put him on a contact instead of a salary. Then he'd set up his own company (which is just a matter of paperwork and doesn't cost too much), which his employer would use to pay him instead of paying him directly. He'd do this because there are significant tax breaks for "companies." I think he'd thought about the moral problems of this because he soon injected, "everyone's doing it!"

If you wanted to really make profits from this, you'd go to the Isle of Man; there's a reason HSBC has a lot of its operations on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is quite a good option, too, because it's doesn't look as dodgy as placing all your cash in some country few people have heard about and a country that's not renowned for its banking prowess (read: as opposed to a posh tax haven).

Anyway, essentially the social problem comes down to whether you believe in trickle-down economics or not. I've a bias against trickle-down economics; but I'm far from sure of my position. Essentially, from what I can tell, the trickle-down economics argument has to centre on the argument that providing tax breaks engenders the creation of more businesses. More businesses mean more jobs. More jobs means more income.

(There's also the argument that tax breaks will persuade businesses to give up their offshore financial accounts and place their money back in the country where it'll receive at least some taxation, but that's largely peripheral to the trick-down economics arguement.)

The trickle-down economics argument, however, seems assumes those receiving tax breaks will reintroduce their money into the country/market to create more businesses (thus jobs) and more demand for more houses, etc. However, most people use their wealth as a positional good i.e. "shit, check out how much more money i have than you", and the majority of corporation wealth falls upon a small number of individuals who produce much less demand than a large number of people with a moderate amount of wealth.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 13:21   #24
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Oh and GDP is the amount of produce a country produces. This is different, although often not realised, from the quality of life and wealth of a population.

It would only equate to the wealth of a population if everyone in the economy was actually producing a tangible good to sell i.e. everyone man, woman and child is essentially a business on two legs selling something. However, people are mostly wage-labourers, who have their income decreased by labour competitiveness, as the produce and efficiency of a company increases.

There's simply a huge gap between wage-labour (and all that goes with a higher income) and produce, and GDP focuses on produce. If an increase in GDP equalled an increase in income for the average man and woman, the United States would be renowned for its social equality.
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Unread 30 Apr 2008, 19:18   #25
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebdomad
The corporation ruse is quite popular in the UK apparently. I was speaking to an old friend who wanted his employer to put him on a contact instead of a salary. Then he'd set up his own company (which is just a matter of paperwork and doesn't cost too much), which his employer would use to pay him instead of paying him directly. He'd do this because there are significant tax breaks for "companies." I think he'd thought about the moral problems of this because he soon injected, "everyone's doing it!"
yeah ...

they just closed this.
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Unread 1 May 2008, 01:32   #26
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Yahwe
Other than showing you up as an utterly ghastly human being this statement raises the question of why you are buying property outside your own country rather than in it.
Right, after a quick bit of research turns out my statement is wrong. But, the expensiveness of Perth is on par with London, so its still not inconsiderable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You Are Gay
I've actually think about stuff like this quite regularly. I have one question (well lots but one key question), say you're trying to dodge the whole "splitting your assests at divorce time" kind of vibe then how does having your assests in a corporation stop you from having to split them? You must have some kind of ownership of the corporation (shares or whatever, even if it is all of the shares) so i would think that your (now ex) partner's lawyer would go after them.
Well, i'm not a lawyer so i'm very hesitant to express my opinion. Further, i've done very little reading about what happens during a divorce, because its depressing and because i'm presently single and not thinking about marriage at all atm.

However, to the extent of my understanding, it depends entirely on how you would structure your corporation. If the sole legal owner and shareholder was you, then you're in a commanding position. If you, personally, lived off your wife's income or she somehow or other supported you financially, then its possible that she might be entitled for compensation in that regard. If you have children, and you are not the primary caregiver, then its possible that you will be required to arrange for the provision of your children (particularly education), however that's much more contestable (though, why would you??). If your wife was a co-owner of the company, then its all hers too. If she made contributions to the funds of the corporation, then that also opens the door (at least, her lawyer would argue that she is a creditor or somesuch).

But seriously, if you're concerned about this go seek legal advice.

The point is, having a corporation which is legally distinct from you means that its probable that much more of "your" assets would not be "lost" to your spouse should you divorce, than if you personally actually owned them.
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Unread 1 May 2008, 03:43   #27
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Hebdomad
Anyway, essentially the social problem comes down to whether you believe in trickle-down economics or not. I've a bias against trickle-down economics; but I'm far from sure of my position. Essentially, from what I can tell, the trickle-down economics argument has to centre on the argument that providing tax breaks engenders the creation of more businesses. More businesses mean more jobs. More jobs means more income.
I think i've come into this argument elsewhere on this forum already. However, generally the concept of "trickle down economics" has been generally misrepresented, and the assumptions governing its operations are quite restrictive. However, it does (or should) actually occur, but is more of a "soft" rule.

ie, countries that facilitate trickle down economics do better than those who dont, but just because a country has the structures in place doesnt mean that it actually occurs.

So, A leads to B, but B doesnt necessarily lead to A.

The IMF, and to a lesser extent, the World Bank, doesnt seem to understand this. The IMF is generally shit.

Quote:
However, most people use their wealth as a positional good i.e. "shit, check out how much more money i have than you",
Anyone who owns/runs a corporation and does this is an idiot. Cash on hand is incredibly expensive as it strongly depreciates, and doesnt generate additional wealth under compounding interest. The only possible reason to do this is a hedge against future uncertainty (ie, against a downturn, in which case Gold is much better or even Treasury bills), or because they are compelled to do so due to regulation.
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Unread 1 May 2008, 14:08   #28
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
ie, countries that facilitate trickle down economics do better than those who dont
As I tried to allude to with my discussion of GDP, it depends on how you define "better." The medium income of a country is useless because outliners will distort that figure wildly. I've already mentioned, GDP is pretty useless, too. I've not come across any mainstream definitions of "better" I really agree with. I briefly came across some philosopher/economics/person who argued that an economic system should be judged on how it helps the lower stratum of society. That seems the most laudable position.

Quote:
Anyone who owns/runs a corporation and does this is an idiot. Cash on hand is incredibly expensive as it strongly depreciates, and doesnt generate additional wealth under compounding interest. The only possible reason to do this is a hedge against future uncertainty (ie, against a downturn, in which case Gold is much better or even Treasury bills), or because they are compelled to do so due to regulation.
Sorry, I was too vague, and I didn't mean money per se (I should have said capital). By positional I mean a good which increases your wealth in relation to others without reinvestment into an economy, which would in turn help those who are worse off than you. Of course, there are goods which both increase your wealth and help the less better off, and I would prefer a social (or political in the short-term) bias towards those goods, but a good like gold does not promote reinvestment, does not help those worse off than you, and only serve to sustain your social position, realised by your wealth, in relation to others.

It seems an unfortunate human predilection to voraciously seek social esteem and status. In the feudal epoch, bloodline served this person. In this epoch, capital and the goods that capital affords serves this purpose. As I should have articulated by now, I am against this positional (social esteem and status) predilection of humanity, and I am thus against the use of capital for this purpose.
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Unread 1 May 2008, 16:40   #29
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by All Systems Go
Is it really bollocks? Is the fact that a child born into a poor family is likely to die younger than someone born into a more affluent family a worthless consideration?

You misunderstand.

Improving the living standards and prospects of the poorest members of society = good

The current method which determines who the poorest members of society are = bad
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Unread 1 May 2008, 17:00   #30
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

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Originally Posted by You Are Gay
You misunderstand.

Improving the living standards and prospects of the poorest members of society = good

The current method which determines who the poorest members of society are = bad
Would you care to provide an alternative system?*

*not sarcastic, honest
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Unread 6 May 2008, 01:13   #31
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebdomad
The medium income of a country is useless because outliners will distort that figure wildly.
Yes, many methods have their shortcomings. But what if you took a more wholistic approach the the problem? Compare the median income to the mean; are they different? Why? Or consider the Gini Coefficient. Compare levels and growth in Real GDP per capita before and after Purchasing Power Parity - what would that imply? Using various measures and acknowledging their shortcomings means that you get a picture that is more useful than just one single "awesome" measure, or GDP* as a whole. In many respects, the differences between the measures is more important than the measure itself. And when comparing different countries or the same country in different times, then the flaws in the measures are also consistant. Provided that those flaws are not critical to the point, its largely irrelevent.


*The IMF only uses GDP, not even GDP per capita, to base all their conclusions and etc on. This is one core reason why they're shit at their jobs.

Quote:
I briefly came across some philosopher/economics/person who argued that an economic system should be judged on how it helps the lower stratum of society. That seems the most laudable position.
It is laudable, but its not taking the whole economy into account. Many problems with measurement in the past have been because certain groups have been omitted arbitarily from the classification. Slaves, convicts, the homeless, destitute, ethnic groups, religious groups, military personnel, and so on. Usually, this has caused problems and either unacknowledged misery to continue, or unchecked cronyism to proliferate.

I think focusing on the fate of one specific group (in this case, the poor, which is a bit different to the usual practice but its the general principle that i'm talking about) is a bad thing. You need to see how everyone in an economy interacts with that economy otherwise you'll get systemic problems that you wont detect.




Quote:
but a good like gold does not promote reinvestment, does not help those worse off than you, and only serve to sustain your social position, realised by your wealth, in relation to others.
Gold does both. Well, it will definately "serve to sustain your social position" during a time of recession or adverse risk, because those who hold gold as a hedge against these things will do better than those who dont. Which comes to my main point; Gold is used as a hedge to shield current capital against future (or current) risk - once that risk is over, the money is then re-invested into whatever makes the highest returns (be it shares, real estate etc). So, that means that a proportion of the after-recession money actually comes from gold to re-start the economy.

So, Gold promotes investment into the future, at least to an extent, though not right now.

Quote:
It seems an unfortunate human predilection to voraciously seek social esteem and status. In the feudal epoch, bloodline served this person. In this epoch, capital and the goods that capital affords serves this purpose. As I should have articulated by now, I am against this positional (social esteem and status) predilection of humanity, and I am thus against the use of capital for this purpose.
Being against a fundamental aspect of humanity seems pretty futile. Everyone chooses to display their social status or whatever in different ways. Whether it is through bling, a good suit, a nice tie, a flashy car/house/boat, driving to work when you could easily take the bus/train, going on overseas holidays at every opportunity and then telling everyone about your fantastic time when you got home. Some people show their class by how the speak, by what they say, and what they dont say. Some show it by what they do, and what they dont do. Its a fundamental part of human nature that cannot be overridden with an economic system. Much better to celebrate these traits and then generate an economic system that enhances it, and put it to good use. Essentially, that's what capitalism did with greed: even Adam Smith recognised that. Supressing these traits in people is at best draconian-totalitarian, but even then you wont be successful.

Why not be a positive person?
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Unread 17 May 2008, 22:58   #32
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.K Zhukov
According to a article in today The Guardian, there is several millions of children living in poverty in the UK.

Is it that bad? Or is it just a natural consequence of the low minimum wage and persistant unemployment in some areas?

The article can be found here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...ocialexclusion
Change the definition of "living in poverty."

Compare the children in Zambia to the children in the UK.

Suddenly we find the children in the UK are incredibly rich.

Take away their food, cell phones, electricity, clean water, sewage systems, computers, free education, libraries, etc., and they really seem like they are living in poverty.
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Unread 18 May 2008, 04:40   #33
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Interestingly enough, i still think altering the definition of poverty to something that includes the destruction of hope, the prevelence of misery and perceived barriers to progress might be a better psychological indicator.

But then, every one (particularly women) would feel as though they are poverty stricken. Perhaps they are, but they arent (yet) dying by the score.

Its still relative.
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Unread 18 May 2008, 11:25   #34
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
Interestingly enough, i still think altering the definition of poverty to something that includes the destruction of hope, the prevelence of misery and perceived barriers to progress might be a better psychological indicator.
I think this is a bad idea. Hope and misery is very dependant on what people expect from life. In the last 100 to 50 years hopes and expectations have consistently and significantly risen. What people percieve as hopeless and miserable now is quite different from what it used to be, regardless of how their living conditions may be.

The best way to be happy is to either fulfill your dreams, or not dream in the first place. Without expectations you can't be disappointed.
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Unread 19 May 2008, 16:39   #35
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie

It is laudable, but its not taking the whole economy into account. Many problems with measurement in the past have been because certain groups have been omitted arbitarily from the classification. Slaves, convicts, the homeless, destitute, ethnic groups, religious groups, military personnel, and so on. Usually, this has caused problems and either unacknowledged misery to continue, or unchecked cronyism to proliferate.

I think focusing on the fate of one specific group (in this case, the poor, which is a bit different to the usual practice but its the general principle that i'm talking about) is a bad thing. You need to see how everyone in an economy interacts with that economy otherwise you'll get systemic problems that you wont detect.
It's not about omitting groups, but concentrating on the poorest in society before those who are richer. Without this concentration you encounter social distortions between the rich and poor that the laissez-faire countries now encounter. You, indeed, need to account for the entire economy's interactions, but once you have done that you need to focus on the organisation of the economic actors, and I find any organisation illegitimate that does not have its primary focus on alleviating the conditions of the poorest in society.

Quote:
Gold does both. Well, it will definately "serve to sustain your social position" during a time of recession or adverse risk, because those who hold gold as a hedge against these things will do better than those who dont. Which comes to my main point; Gold is used as a hedge to shield current capital against future (or current) risk - once that risk is over, the money is then re-invested into whatever makes the highest returns (be it shares, real estate etc). So, that means that a proportion of the after-recession money actually comes from gold to re-start the economy.

So, Gold promotes investment into the future, at least to an extent, though not right now.
It is the retention of capital, gold included, especially in a depression, that causes huge economic problems. (I'm sure you're aware of this negative equilibrium and how it relates to the banking "confidence trick.") Keynes realised this and suggested temporary investment to reverse the negative equilibrium which the retention of capital causes, yet this tool was used to excess, and, thereafter, become a taboo. Nevertheless, it is the retention of capital (and excessive short term speculation, which overlaps with retention of capital, as the East Asian Financial crisis showed) which is at the heart of economic downturns.

Of course, you could argue that it's capital's intelligence that convinced it to 1) retreat from Asia in the mid-90s and 2) become extremely tentative about the US and the UK at the moment. Yet, in both cases, the economic "fundamentals" did and do not correlate to capital's behaviour, primarily, its exit. Essentially, investors lack of commitment to long term investment (their preference for short term gains, as opposed to the state's preference for long term gains) causes this negative equilibrium, and, ironically, damages an economy's fundamentals.

Quote:
Being against a fundamental aspect of humanity seems pretty futile. Everyone chooses to display their social status or whatever in different ways. Whether it is through bling, a good suit, a nice tie, a flashy car/house/boat, driving to work when you could easily take the bus/train, going on overseas holidays at every opportunity and then telling everyone about your fantastic time when you got home. Some people show their class by how the speak, by what they say, and what they dont say. Some show it by what they do, and what they dont do. Its a fundamental part of human nature that cannot be overridden with an economic system. Much better to celebrate these traits and then generate an economic system that enhances it, and put it to good use. Essentially, that's what capitalism did with greed: even Adam Smith recognised that. Supressing these traits in people is at best draconian-totalitarian, but even then you wont be successful.
Humanity's predilections are not set in stone. It is our unique capacity of free will that allows us to change. If you argue that the aspects of humanity cannot be changed then I cannot see how this idea leads to anything other than the negation of progress. Our current economic and social relations are not fixed. They are only advertised as so by those who benefit by them.

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Unread 20 May 2008, 14:25   #36
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebdomad
Without this concentration you encounter social distortions between the rich and poor that the laissez-faire countries now encounter...
Just for argument's sake (and i'm certain to cop alot of flak for this but hey, nothing much else is happening on GD recently), why is this a major problem?

Personally, rather than running around "robin hood" style and taketh away from the rich, fumble it around inefficient governmental departments and crude clumsy mechanisms, and giveth to the poor, a fundamentally bad idea.

Firstly, the situation that i outlined at length above (btw, rofl @ T&F, lovely observation), clearly demonstrates that the really rich people in society own nothing, but control much/everything. They wont get targeted in any robin hood scheme as by the measures employed they arent rich (plus, they're much more globalised and mobile, so pinning them down with taxes is hard because they'll just move to France instead).

Secondly, the result of the above is that you're really targeting the upper side of the middle class who are either financially illiterate, lack the time knowledge skills or inclination in order to protect their family estate like the uber rich, and are typically in a similar bad situation cash flow wise - the difference is that instead of trying to pay off the repayments from a vauxhall 4 cyclinder job, they're paying off a BMW or Merc, instead of paying off a mortgage of $200000, its $1m. So, the value of the "asset"*COUGH* is higher, the corresponding expense is higher. So yes, they earn twice as much, but their expenses month-month are twice as much (or more) as well. In a strict cash flow sense, they're just as rooted as everyone else, even though they might look rich.

Thirdly, the largest proportion of the population will get hit the most because that's just the way the cookie crumbles in today's society. The middle class(es in britain) will cop the majority of the burden only because there are so many of them. So the rate will perhaps be lower, but because they outnumber those above them 20 or 30 times more, they end up paying the majority of the cost of the programme.

Fourthly, as i eluded to above, so much money of the robin hood programme is lost due to less-than-efficient government deparments and agencies, plus self-imposed stupidity. For example, in Australia, there is a "baby bonus" in the order of $6000 per child for every mother who gives birth, irrespective of income. The Opposition (Liberal= UK Conservatives) said that paying the baby bonus to "millionaires" isnt cool, and the egalitarian public agrees. Now, the cost of means testing every family such that those over $100000 do not receive the baby bonus costs more than actually paying the bonus to everyone. If the government wanted to save money, the limit would have to be as low as $50k per household, with an average wage (for a single person) being around $44k, this is clearly silly. Thus, its cheaper (and thus a benfit to all, plus additional babies) to not be egalitarian in this case.

And finally, i'm going to be highly controversial here and say, just giving money to people in the working class(es) isnt really going to help them. Lack of financial skills means that most households will either see it as a one-off and waste it, or even those who are willing to learn and get ahead still might loose it due to the inherrent nature of risk. Either way, its improbable that such measures would result in many people in the working class actually achieving any economic (or social) mobility.

Thus, entirely defeating the point, whilst still making the middle class feel overburdened, the "upper-middle" (such as it is) get behaviour-distorting and net benefits worse, and the actual rich in society dodging it completely.

So, what was the point?

Quote:
and I find any organisation illegitimate that does not have its primary focus on alleviating the conditions of the poorest in society.
Illegitimate? In what sense? Could you elaborate?
Is there room in economics and society for equity? What about efficiency? Read up on Pareto efficiency and stuff too.


Quote:
It is the retention of capital, gold included, especially in a depression, that causes huge economic problems. (I'm sure you're aware of this negative equilibrium and how it relates to the banking "confidence trick.")
Ah yes, things like the "paradox of thrift" and "fallacy of composition" errors. So essentially, this is correct. Something resembling good post-neoliberal governance economic policy would resolve such a situation (ie, boost AD keynesian style), but has a political factor because politicians are involved.

It could be said, though, that the capital diverted away will still exist to fight another day. Its the people who dont divert away from falling shares or whatever results in "lost" capital, whilst diverted capital still exists to be readily used when there is a "sale" in the sharemarkets or property markets (eg, a recession or correction).

Quote:
Yet, in both cases, the economic "fundamentals" did and do not correlate to capital's behaviour, primarily, its exit. Essentially, investors lack of commitment to long term investment (their preference for short term gains, as opposed to the state's preference for long term gains) causes this negative equilibrium, and, ironically, damages an economy's fundamentals.
Whilst that is possible true, the extent of my reading would suggest that the financial collapse in 97 was due to a number of different factors. Sure, the mobility of capital exacerbated the problem firstly by boosting the bubble initially but also hastening the collapse, but you shouldnt be too quick to blame it all on the nasty capitalists. I think you'd find that the IMF's response to the initial problem (which was only a financial jitter) resulted in a financial collapse which then resulted in severe economic disruption and misery (except, mostly, in Malaysia where Dr Mahatier told the IMF to **** off and he was right). Perhaps if you read Joseph Stiglitz's A new paradigm in Financial Economics (iirc), he goes into more detail about the poor neo-liberal policy of the IMF and why they ****ed up the entire region (along with latin america in the late 80's and mexico in the early/mid 90's iirc).

Quote:
Humanity's predilections are not set in stone. It is our unique capacity of free will that allows us to change. If you argue that the aspects of humanity cannot be changed then I cannot see how this idea leads to anything other than the negation of progress. Our current economic and social relations are not fixed. They are only advertised as so by those who benefit by them.
Take away the luxuries of civil society and you will find that humans quickly resort to primal behaviour. This is for many reasons, but primarily out of self-interest (and described by game theory, first mover advantage and etc). Capitalism doesnt try to change humanity - as its probably futile and perhaps undesireable - but rather re-directs those primal destructive tendencies into positive results that can benefit everyone.

Believe in progress if you so wish. I just think its a waste of time to change something so fundamental whilst you could be working on (other, more pressing) problems.

Quote:
Because without critique we do not progress.
Progress takes a hell of a lot more than that, too.
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Unread 24 May 2008, 08:12   #37
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by UN
just giving money to people in the working class(es) isnt really going to help them
Givin the high proportion of socialists/communists on this forum, i suppose the above is proof that it was another case of tl;dr ?
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Unread 24 May 2008, 12:33   #38
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Giving large wads of cash to people is not the same as helping them.
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Unread 24 May 2008, 14:01   #39
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk
Giving large wads of cash to people is not the same as helping them.
but it does help them, plus its a move towards greater equity in the perceived class struggle and so on. And they would argue that its better than taking money away from the poor (if they have any, ofc).
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Unread 24 May 2008, 15:36   #40
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

I'm too busy too reply at the moment. I'll have a look next week sometime.
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Unread 24 May 2008, 15:59   #41
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie

Ignore it at your own peril. At 22, "i" own two homes in the world's most expensive city, i have some shares (though not all that many now - i did use my economic training to essentially dodge the crash in the middle of last year by pulling out about this time last year. At the time, i felt really bad as i missed about three months of really high growth, but i'm much happier now),
Pray do tell me how you used your 'economic training' to 'dodge the crash'. Clearly at the time it was evident that the rally was over extended and that stocks were trading at very high p/e ratios. It was anyones guess when the 'crash' would happen and you certainly didn't predict it. At best you took the cautious path and sold out early.

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Sure, i have three jobs and doing my honours. But at least i'm putting the moeny to good use! As for money that already "is", that's true. I didnt start from nothing. When i was 17 i had about $600 that i had saved up from my pocket money over the preceding 10 years. But that doesnt mean that you cant earn more efficiently.
World's most expensive city eh? London, New York? Tokyo? 2 homes! If that is true and you are 22 there are only a few options:

i) You are bulls******
ii) Inheritance
iii) They are the worst possible homes imaginable
iv) You are bulls******
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Unread 24 May 2008, 16:28   #42
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Zaronomics
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Unread 24 May 2008, 18:58   #43
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zar
Pray do tell me how you used your 'economic training' to 'dodge the crash'. Clearly at the time it was evident that the rally was over extended and that stocks were trading at very high p/e ratios. It was anyones guess when the 'crash' would happen and you certainly didn't predict it. At best you took the cautious path and sold out early.



World's most expensive city eh? London, New York? Tokyo? 2 homes! If that is true and you are 22 there are only a few options:

i) You are bulls******
ii) Inheritance
iii) They are the worst possible homes imaginable
iv) You are bulls******
Honey we've already determined that he's an idiot given that:

a) There wasn't a 'crash' in the stockmarket
b) his method of determining the 'most expensive city in the world' was to guess it was the shit hole he bought in
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Unread 24 May 2008, 19:00   #44
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Do keep up.
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Unread 24 May 2008, 19:28   #45
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Fair enough. Didn't bother to read the rest.
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Unread 25 May 2008, 04:58   #46
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zar
Pray do tell me how you used your 'economic training' to 'dodge the crash'. Clearly at the time it was evident that the rally was over extended and that stocks were trading at very high p/e ratios. It was anyones guess when the 'crash' would happen and you certainly didn't predict it. At best you took the cautious path and sold out early.
Yeah, it was so evident that the stockmarket was so over-extended that everyone kept playing the game from greed. Had they known anything about common sense and/or some economic history (Kondratiev, Jugler waves, Minsky distant memory hypothesis and other things) all pointed to it ending soon. Greed kept them in 'the game', so they got burnt. I didnt. I call that a win, even if i hadnt maximised my profits (which is really only possible given hindsight). Sure, i sold out early and i was more cautious. I dont care.

Quote:
World's most expensive city eh? London, New York? Tokyo? 2 homes!
To be fair, around the time of my posting, it was reported that Mandurah was the world'sleast affordable city, which is just down the road a bit. I already acknowledged that what I said was incorrect, and i posted a correction later. This you would know, had you read it.

Now, the distinction between least affordable and most expensive is that least affordable compares the income going in compared to house prices, thus you can have medium prices and very low income is less affordable than high prices with high income. Turns out that its actually a case of high prices and medium/low income, skewed a bit. Nevertheless, the prices according that that study that I posted shows that Perth prices are similar to those of (greater?) London, which is still very far from cheap.

Quote:
If that is true and you are 22 there are only a few options:
i) You are bulls******
ii) Inheritance
iii) They are the worst possible homes imaginable
iv) You are bulls******
If you dont want to believe me, that's ok. Like i said already, there are ways of accumulating wealth, most of which revolve around plenty of hard work and finding good information. I would encourage you to do both, but clearly you're not interested in making money for yourself or acquiring some modicum of financial freedom, believing in some lofty notion that the State actually cares about you and will freely pay your pension well into retirement, even though there is no possible way that they can afford to do that.

Its your loss. Why dont you go back to reading the Daily Tele and gossip about Paris Hilton's latest expoits?? It might help you stop thinking about these hard things.
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Unread 25 May 2008, 11:05   #47
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Newbie
Yeah, it was so evident that the stockmarket was so over-extended that everyone kept playing the game from greed. Had they known anything about common sense and/or some economic history (Kondratiev, Jugler waves, Minsky distant memory hypothesis and other things) all pointed to it ending soon. Greed kept them in 'the game', so they got burnt. I didnt. I call that a win, even if i hadnt maximised my profits (which is really only possible given hindsight). Sure, i sold out early and i was more cautious. I dont care.

What? Why do you feel there is a need to dump a few names and consider that this creates an ability to predict anything. Traders and analysts are schooled in the belief that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Regardless of any cycles, the downturn in july-ish 2007 was caused by various factor's, no less the fact that there was less demand for cdo's, abs, morgage bonds anything highly leveraged and basically anything that was seen to be related to the housing market. On top of this due to the climate of uncertainty the institutional investors were advised to sell equities and buy commodities and quite a few smarter hedge funds were engaged in shorting of equities. Greed didn't keep them in the game. Speculation did. You do realise that there is a whole world out there other than the purchase and sale of equities? As you're an individual investor, I would suggest you take a more pragmatic approach. Stop worrying yourself with cycles and worry about the fundamentals. Look at simple things like p/e ratios, dividend, economic performance, labour figures and company reports.

Quote:
If you dont want to believe me, that's ok. Like i said already, there are ways of accumulating wealth, most of which revolve around plenty of hard work and finding good information. I would encourage you to do both, but clearly you're not interested in making money for yourself or acquiring some modicum of financial freedom, believing in some lofty notion that the State actually cares about you and will freely pay your pension well into retirement, even though there is no possible way that they can afford to do that.

Its your loss. Why dont you go back to reading the Daily Tele and gossip about Paris Hilton's latest expoits?? It might help you stop thinking about these hard things.
You say you hold 3 jobs. You say you're 22. Any career that provides you with the ability to afford a mortgage and the downpayment and interest/capital repayments at that age should in reality only allow you the time to have 1 job. Yet you have 3! Why can't you see how ridiculous this sounds to me?

That being said i have no idea how much a house costs in perth. You might be telling the truth assuming prices are a fraction of what they cost in London. I can't be bothered to check/
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Unread 25 May 2008, 11:28   #48
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

What are your three jobs?
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Unread 25 May 2008, 12:04   #49
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Crack dealer, pimp/prostitute, stockerboker.
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Unread 25 May 2008, 12:55   #50
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Re: Child poverty in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat
What are your three jobs?
I work at my uni teaching economics to first years, i work as a salesman - between these two jobs I can easily get 10 hours of work a day averaging about A$70* per hour (which is now about US$66 an hour). On the weekends i work as a lemming on a production line which doesnt pay nearly as well (about $22*), but again i can get plenty of hours in. So, 10-12 hours of day of work (which doesnt include travel to and fro, and 15 mins for lunch), 7 days a week. Further, i live quite frugally, so i manage to accumulate quite a bit of money per week.

now, as this is an internet forum, i dont feel like i have to go into huge amounts of detail about what i actually do each day, what i spend my money on, who i sleep with. I dont think thats appropriate. If, Zar, you dont believe me, then frankly i dont care. I will still accumulate money regardless of whether you think its possible for me to do so. Hopefully i'll be able to retire in 15-20 years so i dont have to work my arse off, sleep <=4 hours a day (though playing PA helped with that ) and get a good start in life. Whilst i dont pretend to come from the most dirt poor upbringings, it was modest. My parents were able to afford a private school education (UK=public school) and that was about it. It was up to me to make something of it, which i am endeavouring to do.

Thus, in true GD style, is this where i ask you to fk off and die?


*before tax ::cry::
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