Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Objective morals and it's opposite, religion.

Bizarrely, many atheists are bothered by the idea of objective or absolute morality.  They seem to feel that it means judgmental, intolerant, sexually repressive morality as represented by the Abrahamic religions.  Similarly the representatives of said religions seem to believe that their dogmas are objective morality and indeed the only possible source of objective morality.  This is the opposite of the truth, objective morality does not need to be based on, and indeed cannot be based on, the Abrahamic religions. 

To see why let's define what me mean by "morality".  Morality is the study of which choices _ought_ to be made, and which _ought_ not to be.  Moral goodness/badness comes from making right/wrong decisions.  Therefore morality must be individual because only individuals make choices.  Where the statement is made that "the community/nation/government" made a decision we find that in fact individuals made decisions.  Even in cases where the decision was made by voting individuals decided how to vote, and those who voted against a decision cannot be held responsible for it.  Therefore the concept of "collective" guilt is a nonsense.  The only guilt or virtue is individual.  Yet the Abrahamic make guilt not only collective, but species wide.  We are asked to believe that an "objective" moral standard holds us responsible for actions that took place before our birth.  It would be like holding me responsible for the assassination of JFK, over 5 years before I was born.  This is the doctrine of "original sin", that punishment is valid for acts which the person could neither cause nor prevent. In the words of Ayn Rand "They call [this] a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man.".

But to judge the Abrahamic religions only for how they think about sin is to miss half their depravity.  How they think about forgiveness is, if anything worse.  Having designated the mere fact of our existence as a crime worthy of eternal pain* they offer a way to be forgiven.  Note that the possibility that one might be _worthy_ of forgiveness is denied us.  Our moral status cannot be changed by our own acts, but only by the decision of God to forgive us.  So not only is guilt the result of someone else's actions, so is forgiveness.  A morality based on nothing you do is not objective, it's not morality and it's not worth considering.

So what we're advised to do is beg for a forgiveness that we don't deserve.  Note what is being suggested, to try to gain something without deserving it.  This is by definition not moral.  The definition of something not deserved is something it is not moral to choose to gain, at least not until some action can be taken to deserve it.  The method of gaining this undeserved thing is begging and obedience.  Yet begging cannot change whether something is deserved.  Begging is an attempt to convince someone of the rightness of an action, not through demonstrating it is right for them, or morally right, but beneficial for someone who deserve the benefit but is pitiable.  The justification for us being forgiven is that someone else was punished for our sins.  But since moral status is individual, the punishment must logically be individual as well.  Since rightful punishment must, by definition a response to a particular moral status, punishing someone for someone else's crime is incoherent.  The moral status of one cannot depend on the actions of another.  

So if objective morality cannot come from the Abrahamic religions, can it exist at all?  Well yes, and it's simply proved.  Christopher Hitchens said: "I would submit that the doctrine of vicarious redemption by human sacrifice is utterly immoral. I might if I wished … say, “look, you’re in debt, I’ve just made a lot of money out of a God-bashing book, I’ll pay your debts for you” … I could say, if I really loved someone who’d been sentenced to prison, “if I could find a way of serving your sentence, I’d do it” … I could do what Sydney Carton does in A Tale of Two Cities … “I’ll take your place on the scaffold,” but I can’t take away your responsibilities, I can’t forgive what you did, I can’t say you didn’t do it, I can’t make you washed clean. The name for that in primitive Middle Eastern society was scapegoating. You pile the sins of the tribe on a goat and you drive that goat into the desert to die of thirst and hunger; and you think you’ve taken away the sins of the tribe: a positively immoral doctrine that abolishes the concept of personal responsibility upon which all ethics and all morality must depend.”.  This is clearly an objective moral truth, which means that objective moral values are possible.  They're just not possible with the false claims of the mainstream religions.  

So is an objective morality compatible with a God?  I can't see why not, if there is a non-contradictory definition of God.  However it doesn't require it.  By definition objective morality depends on the evidence available.  If there absolute morality depended on a God, and God wasn't objectively proven, then it wouldn't be objective morality.  It would merely be the morality that people who think God existed think is objectively true.  But there is no reason to believe that an objective morality does depend on God.  

* By some interpretations it's only eternal oblivion and denial of eternal life.  Personally I think eternal life would be a curse but oh well...

Friday, May 02, 2014

Counterforce vs. Uber, let's call someone a sociopath because we don't like them.

These counterforce people are disgusting.  It starts with an accusation that the Theta Xi fraternity is a" pool of misogynists, rapists, and business contacts,", as though those three were equivalent.  Although I'm pretty sure I know which group they're really upset by.  They don't link to any evidence of a Theta Xi member raping anyone, let alone that Theta Xi members are more likely to rape someone.

"His first venture was a knock-off Napster, designed to divert money from the music industry and into his own pockets."
Because the music industry is full of people who deserve the money they get.

"At an early age, Kalanick became convinced that competition was the only force that could motivate him to do anything, "

"But to this foolish young capitalist, his defeat was only fuel to his blossoming free-market ideology."
Yes he's so foolish not to have accepted defeat and given up on being an entrepreneur.  It's not like he sold a company for 15 million dollars.  Oh wait he did.  But it's not like he started another company that's rapidly growing and profitable, oh wait, he did.  Yeah they're right, that Kalanick guy is a moron.

"In his twisted imagination, he ascribed this success solely to himself and his ability to compete, ignoring the fact that he was harvesting the natural urge of people to share with each other and converting that human desire into revenue."
Did he say anything at all to even suggest that he believed this?  Or is this just counterforce being arrogant twats who don't feel they have to do any research and can just ascribe opinions to people?

"For six years he extracted capital from all the people trusting enough to use his services."
So did any of those "trusting" people regret trusting him?  Because if they didn't then why use the word "trusting"?  Logically anyone who uses a service trusts the service provided to some extent.  Counterforce doesn't feel the need to show that the trust was unearned or betrayed, because to them, merely making money is evil.

"He seems to believe that his inner capitalist strength is the prime generator of all his wealth, and in this regard he is no different than any of the other Uber Men of the tech world."
His "inner capitalist" is the prime generator of all his wealth.  How did all that wealth get generated?  By customers using the services that were available SOLELY because he made the decision to provide them. And that's why counterforce hates him, because they can't even begin to equal his achievement and they know it.

"This Uber Man trampled on gods, morals, everything that kept him from becoming what he was: a dancing star, born of chaos."
And that has what to do with Kalanick?  What morals has he trampled on, let alone what gods?

"In the three short years since then, Uber has made significant headway towards creating more and more service jobs catering to the ruling classes. "
And that's bad, because it's far more important to not cater to the ruling classes than to create jobs so people can eat.  Of course it's news to the average Uber user that they're part of the "ruling class", probably because counterforce made that bit up.

"Kalnick views the contractors who generate his sacred capital as expendable pawns. If a driver suddenly drops from a 4.8 driving score to a 4.7, they are terminated without any explanation. "
Actually I think a drop in a performance measurement is an explanation.

"In this competitive atmosphere, drivers are constantly fiddling with their smart phones and stressing about their next fare. During one such moment, a money-obsessed driver ploughed into a mother and her children on the streets of San Francisco. "
Actually there appears to be no evidence that he was checking his smartphone at the time, and if he was it's incredibly irresponsible since he was making a turn.  Far from encouraging this behaviour Uber AUTOMATICALLY suspend people who are involved in a "serious police matter".  So how is Kalanick responsible for someone else's negligence?

"Since then, Uber has assumed liability for its drivers at all times, but we want to assure Kalanick that the ghost of Sofia will never leave him. Kalanick doesn’t seem to notice her, however."
Well that's probably because there's no evidence it's his fault.  If Uber drivers were shown to be more dangerous than regular drivers or taxi drivers he might have reason to feel guilty.  But to blame him because one of the hundreds of drivers he employs had a fatal accident is absurd.  By that standard every CEO of every large transport corporation, no matter how careful and conscious of safety, would eventually have to collapse in tears of guilt.

" Jen is the Seattle Community Manager for Uber and seems to be very dedicated to the CEO and the company."
Well yes, it would be strange if the PR manager didn't seem devoted.

"Over 36,000 people in Seattle signed their names on pieces of paper provided by Jen and her minions. 630,000 people live in the city, and only a minority of them use Uber. "
So they got 5.7% of the cities population to sign a petition.  That suggests that either Seattle is a VERY drunk town or they didn't get them all in bars.  In any case surely the fact that 5.7% of the population signed a petition says something about the popularity of Uber.  Like maybe people think it's a bloody good idea?

"By marketing itself as way to get shitfaced drunk and then get home safely, Uber is hoping to clean the pockets of everyone who wants to feel free on a night like this one. "
Oh no, they're marketing themselves as a way to do something that they actually are a way to do.  Horrors!

"On top of the forty dollars they might spend on booze and food, the average Saturday night drunk can now spend another thirty on an Uber cab."
Which is so much worse than spending the money for a regular cab that it takes an hour to find.

"Without the desire to escape produced by this sick capitalist society, Uber would be lacking in drunks to ferry home every night."
Ok, let's assume for a moment that the only, or even the main, reason someone would drink too much to safely drive is our sick capitalist society.  Did he create said society?  No.  Would it still exist even if he didn't offer a convenient way to get home without driving drunk?  Yes.  So how is it his fault?

"But of course none of the success of Uber has anything to do with the passengers, or with their misery, "
I'm pretty sure Kalanick is aware that his success has to do with customers.  People who launch more than one successful business venture tend to be aware of the importance of customers to their success.

"or with Jen’s fierce and terrifying identification with her CEO. "
Yes it's so terrifying that Jen says good things about the guy who pays her to say good things about his business.  It's like she's a monster.

"Burgess, Bagshaw, and Rasmussen were the only council members to oppose the cap. Nevertheless, despite their allegiances and power plays, it was the capitalists that decided the matter for the City of Seattle, not the other way around."
Citation needed.  The "City of Seattle" or rather 9 people who think they can use force in it's name, decided the issue.  The fact that Counterforce doesn't distinguish between "the City of Seattle" and the government of Seattle is a hint that they're not anarchists.  But let's examine the facts.  Uber came with a petition with tens of thousands of signatures.  Six out of 9 councilors decided to not limit their activity.  How is that the capitalists deciding the matter?   It's pretty much democracy in action.  Of course Counterforce is so utterly ignorant or dishonest that they didn't mention the influence of the traditional cab companies, who I'm sure tried to get the cap passed.  Of course these "anarchists" try to solve problems by using government force, so you can't expect consistency.

" Travis Kalanick wants to undermine every City Hall he encounters and render its laws meaningless. "
And that's bad how?  Let's look at precisely what laws he wants to "undermine".  They are laws specifically set up to privilege capital at the expense of labor.  Now I think Marx is an idiot and his categories largely meaningless.  Nevertheless in this we see a literal Marxist class struggle between the cab companies and those who wish to sell taxi-driving services.  Between labor and capital.  Capital wishes to restrict competition so that they can keep profits artificially high.  Labor just wants to work for what their services are worth.  Counterforce is on the side of capital.  Worse they're on the side of capitalized State-provided privilege.

" But in the end, he wants the laws to favor him and him alone."
No, he actually wants the laws to be neutral towards him.  He isn't demanding a restriction on competition, or hundreds of millions in government loans or guarantees, or that the city build him a stadium and rent it to him at below commercial rates.  He's simply asking that he be allowed to sell something somebody wants.

" Like the besieged capitalists in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, people like Travis Kalanick will compete with everyone on their way to the top, "
Because competing with people is bad somehow.

"trampling on their workers"
How is he trampling on the workers?  As I understand it the people who work for him are quite happy with the pay and conditions.  Or do you mean the workers employed by his competitors?  Are you saying that providing a better service at lower cost is "trampling" on those who provide a worse one at higher cost?  That's insane.  It's not his fault that the taxi companies can't provide what's wanted at a reasonable price.  Nor is it his fault that the workers in those taxi companies don't get the money they deserve.  Nothing stops those drivers from switching to working for Uber, and many are.  But even if they couldn't, why does the travelling public owe them a living?  Why do they get to say "I know you can get a ride better and quicker somewhere else, but you should pay me anyway, because I deserve it.". If counterforce is so concerned about the workers why have they NOT ONCE mentioned the $400K price of a taxi medallion?  Scrapping the need for that would free up thousands of dollars a year in unneeded finance costs that could go to the drivers.  Yet this is not mentioned.

"With the click of a button, Kalanick will completely destabilize and undermine African immigrant communities in Seattle. "
"Dozens of cab owners are currently threatened by the unrestrained expansion of Uber,"
I very much doubt African immigrants could afford the $400K medallion.  If counterforce really cares about the poor immigrants they had DECADES to protest the unfair medallion system.  They did not.  Therefore they don't give a damn about the poor Africans.

" If you hate arbitrary authority, if you know how to share, and if you want the people around you to be safe, you’re probably an anarchist."
Says someone who a) lauded the attempt to impose arbitrary authority, b) is actively opposing a way to share, and c) has not even tried to find out what is safest.

Finally, on a personal note.  You're scum.  Seriously that you would use the death of an innocent to stop poor people getting jobs, with no evidence for your view of what caused her death, makes you the lowest of fascist sympathizers.  And yes, I said fascist, for that is what you advanced in practice.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reich gets it wrong again.

This is a commentary on "Raising Taxes on Corporations that Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs".  Firstly it should be obvious that even the title is absurd.  There are no corporations that force to pay them before they can quit their jobs or do any of the things that serfs were actually forced to do, like fight wars.  But I expected no better from a man fundamentally ignorant of every subject I've ever heard him talk about.

"This growing divergence between CEO pay and that of the typical American worker isn’t just wildly unfair. "
Of course he doesn't actually support that claim.  What would a "fair" ratio of CEO pay to worker pay consist of?  I don't know.  He hasn't defined what he means by "fair" in this (or any other) context.  Nor has he included any information about the productivity or effort of either group or if and how these have changed.  Certainly there's no information about how and why the efforts of either group might have changed in relative value.  So in short this claim is pulled out of his fundament.

" It’s also bad for the economy. It means most workers these days lack the purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing — contributing to the slowest recovery on record. "
There's no reason to believe that CEOs are less likely to spend and invest, thus creating demand, than other people.  Transferring money doesn't make it better for the economy.

"Meanwhile, CEOs and other top executives use their fortunes to fuel speculative booms followed by busts."
Oh god does this idiot actually think that executive salaries, rather than government money creation, are the main source of speculative funds?  Or that other people DON'T fuel the speculative booms?  Do you think CEOs bought all those homes?  Serious Reich you are pig-ignorant.

"Anyone who believes CEOs deserve this astronomical pay hasn’t been paying attention. The entire stock market has risen to record highs. Most CEOs have done little more than ride the wave."
Most is not all.  Even assuming many or even almost all CEOs don't deserve their salary, what does this have to do with workers pay?  It is shareholders, not workers who are worse off when CEOs are overpaid.

" but this week I’ll be testifying in favor of a bill introduced in the California legislature that ... sets corporate taxes according to the ratio of CEO pay to the pay of the company’s typical worker. Corporations with low pay ratios get a tax break.Those with high ratios get a tax increase."*

So then  workers in corporations with highly paid CEOs get  a pay rise, while workers whose CEOs are less well paid will not.  So workers have and incentive to work for high-CEO-pay firms, regardless of whether they create more value in those firms.  On the other hand firms with highly paid CEOs have an incentive to fire their low-skilled workers and hire ones more skilled workers who demand higher pay.  Bear in mind this is from a bill that he claims "at least creates the right incentives.".  Yet even the most basic economic analysis shows the exact opposite.  While the free market encourages entrepreneurs to find the resources least useful to others and use those, this does the exact opposite.  Those whose labor is highly sought after find that it's even more so, those who labor is not will find it even less so.  The incentive is to ignore the most efficient way to produce something and find the way that justifies the lower tax rate.  This is about as far from "getting the incentives right" as it is possible to get.   

For example take an extreme case.  Suppose there was a CEO whose brother was mildly intellectually handicapped.  As a result he has an interest in getting mildly intellectually handicapped people into the workforce and over the years became skilled at using their labor in place of non-handicapped people.  Their labor is still not as useful as a "normal" persons, being worth only, say $8 an hour, compared to say, $12 an hour for others in the same job.  This CEO would suffer a serious pay cut because he did this under the proposed legislation.  While of course he might choose to pay the intellectually disabled the same rate as normal people ($12) but how can this be justified to the shareholders, whose money it is?  How is it their responsibility as shareholders to provide extra money to the disabled?  While it could be argued that taxpayers, citizens or even "the rich" should provide help there is no reason why owning particular shares makes you responsible.  

But let's look at it from the other angle.   This encourages shareholders to pay their CEO or highest paid employee less.  Is this a good thing?  Not necessarily, even if the effect was uniform across all firms, which it wouldn't be.   By encouraging firms to pay people less than they would in a free market they encourage those people to quit and form their own companies, becoming self-employed and thus not subject to any limit on compensation.  While there is nothing wrong with people doing this if it's justified by consumer demand, this isn't the case here.  These executives would be starting a new firm not because they believe their actions would be most productive that way, but because they believe that they would be least taxed that way.  Again, this is the exact opposite of "creates the right incentives.".

But there's more.  Suppose that a CEO or other highest earner learns that the shareholders through the Board of Directors, will cut their pay from say, $5M to $1.25M because the medium wage of his workers is $5oK.  He asks the Board members individually or in groups, if they really think he's not worth $5M.  They all say "No we believe that you're worth the money, but the extra taxes we'd have to pay are a lot more than the extra value you give us, so we're going to cut your pay regardless.".  The logical response to this is to say "Fine, but I'm going to steal the difference from the company and if you try to find out how I'm stealing it, I'll quit.".  Notice the incentives here.  The board know that the CEO is worth $5M, but that they can't pay him that.  The CEO knows that he can't openly and legally get the money he's worth.  They both know that if he takes the money covertly and illegally it's in neither of their interests to stop him.  Of course the benefits need not be in direct theft.  The age-old tradition of nepotism could get a real revival as a result of this.  Why begrudge a man worth $3M more than paying him a few jobs for his nephews.   Of course since the nephews aren't being employed for actual productivity they won't be put in the roles where they would create most value in the economy.  Or even any value in the economy.  So their potential labor value is wasted too.   Of course he could employ female "friends" instead.  It's just a bad incentive extravaganza here.

But let me get back to something I mentioned before, " even if the effect was uniform across all firms, which it wouldn't be. ".  Firms differ in the average pay of their employees.  This is not because some firms are run by generous, openhearted George Bailey types and some by Ebenezer Scrouge types.  It's because some require lots of highly skilled labor and some require a lot of low-skilled labor.  Because the labor of a worker with low skills can be substituted for by many other worker's labors their pay is low.  Because the labor of a worker with high skills cannot be substituted for by many other worker's labor their pay is high.   

Under this legislation CEOs and others who might become the most highly paid workers of a firm have an incentive to work for firms that mostly use high-value labor.   This is not a good thing.  There is nothing inherently better about the best management managing small numbers of high-paid workers as opposed to large number of low-paid workers.  Walmart and McDonalds both need good managers just as much as Apple or Google.   This legislation will result in those who management skills would be most useful to low-skill companies going to work for high-skill companies instead.  As a result bad decisions will be made at the low-skill companies, resulted in wasted resources, less production, production less suited to what consumers actually want and even possibly the bankruptcy of the company or it's exit from the jurisdiction where this law applies.

"What about CEO’s gaming the system? Can’t they simply eliminate low-paying jobs by subcontracting them to another company – thereby avoiding large pay disparities while keeping their own compensation in the stratosphere?
No. The proposed law controls for that. Corporations that begin subcontracting more of their low-paying jobs will have to pay a higher tax.  "

Note that the law only increases the taxes for decreases of 10% or more of full-time equivalent workers.  This really shows how little thought went into this bill.  I mean really who can't figure out that this will mean 9.8%-9.9% cuts in full-time equivalent year on year is an idiot.  Which doesn't mean I'm surprised Robert Reich didn't figure it out.   Note of course that the increase for firms that do decrease their direct employees by 10% is 50% of the previous tax rate.  Note that this is regardless of whether firing these people pushes average pay of direct employees up, down, or nowhere.  So far from being designed to plug a potential loophole in the legislation this clause is merely creates a tax on outsourcing.   Of course even in this it's flawed.  It's supposed to discourage substituting outsourced labor for direct employees.  But what it actually does is discourage hiring indirect employees at the same time as firing a certain amount of direct employees.  So if a company subcontracts for some people in industry A at the same time as shutting down an unprofitable plant in industry B they can get hit with the tax increase, even though the indirect employees are not substitutes for the direct employees, and may not even be paid less than them.  The sheer lack of thought in this bill is astounding.  

"For the last thirty years, almost all the incentives operating on companies have been to lower the pay of their workers while increasing the pay of their CEOs and other top executives."
Which incentives are these and incentives for who?  As usual Reich states the simplest possible position and doesn't justify it.  That's because his job is to have certain attitudes, not to actually deduce or explain facts or theories.  

However some things have occurred that indirect do create and incentive for increasing CEO pay.  The value of the CEO to the company can be expressed as a simple equation:
CEO value of company = (Capital of company * ( percentage return(CEO) - percentage return( best alternative CEO)) + cost of employing best alternate CEO
Best in this context means the alternative CEO with the highest value to the company. 

So the larger the company the more worthwhile it is to pay for a better CEO.  This is pretty obvious when you think about it, no matter how good a manager someone is it's not worth paying them $10M to manager a $20M business.   So what has led to big companies?  In a word government.  Regulation is less costly to comply with per dollar of revenue for big companies, and regulatory rules have multiplied for decades.  There are of course direct encouragements of scale like "Too Big To Fail" which is still worth about $83 Billion dollars** or about 3% of the US Federal tax take for 2013.    Think about that.  For ONE INDUSTRY the subsidy for being big equals 3% of what you pay to the government.  And that's from ONE market distortion "Too Big To Fail".  That Reich doesn't mention this means that he either doesn't want to, or can't, explain these distortions. 

But there is something more than ignorance in the support of this bill by Reich and others.  There is sheer evil.  That seems like a strong term, so it's probably best to define it.  I define evil as the willingness to inflict suffering on others for the sole reason of being allowed to do things that would not be justified if that suffering and the goals that suffering served were taken into account.  So what suffering am I talking about, why wouldn't it be justified and what goals are being served?   Well I hope I've explained the suffering.   

So what is the goal of the legislation?   We can dismiss the idea that it's goals are what it stated since it doesn't efficiently achieve those goals.   So either the legislation has other goals that are concealed or the writers of the bill do not wish to examine how their bill would work.  If the latter then the true goal of the legislation is to allow the writers of this bill and their supporters to pretend they are solving the problem rather than actually solve it.  So the actual goal is to avoid the effort of thought an actual solution would require.   There are a number of possible concealed goals and I think each requires it's own paragraph.

Firstly this bill would make it harder for big business compared to small and medium sized business.  It's much less of a burden to pay your employees 1/25 of the bosses pay when the boss only manages 100 people compared to if he manages 10,000.    So the bill can be thought of as essentially a subsidy for smaller businesses.  But that doesn't explain why they sought this means to get an advantage.  Why not simply target the many and various ways that large scale is advantaged?  Because these various government programs have been promoted with various false justifications for years, and it's hard to attack the entrenched propaganda.    Additionally the justification that the bill raises workers wages is more acceptable than that it raises the profits of a type of entrepreneurs.   The bill also seeks to claim that the costs will be on CEOs who are unpopular, rather than shareholders in big business, who are not so unpopular (and include the pension funds of many voters).  

Secondly this bill would benefit high skilled workers over low-skilled ones.  Employing low-skilled workers would impose additional tax costs under this bill for many (although not all) firms.  That means that some firms will be willing to pay more for high-skilled workers to substitute for larger numbers of low-skilled workers.  

Thirdly and most importantly this bill diverts attention from the failure of regulators and other government employees to prevent the problems afflicting American workers.  By focusing attention on the actions and incomes of employees the authors of this bill implicitly excuse anyone else of being the main cause of the workers distress.  This is important as regulation has been increasing substantially for as long as anyone can remember.  There will of course be many people who claim that regulation has reduced in the past decades.  To them I ask by what measure?  What measure of regulation actually decreased in the last, say 30 years?   Pages of regulations?  Estimated cost of regulations?  Cost to start a new business?  What?  I've asked this several times of various people who claim the economy was deregulated and have never got an answer.  

But even without being evil this bill would be grossly unfair.  Consider the effect on the wages of two workers, identical in all ways except that one works at a big firm with a highly paid CEO and another works at a small firm with a lower paid CEO.  Why does the former deserve a raise and the latter not?  I've already mentioned the CEO who employs intellectually disabled people at lower rates of pay, how does he deserve a pay cut for employing the previously unemployable?   And it's not just intellectually disabled, but physically disabled, recent immigrants whose language skills aren't great, the long-term unemployed, former convicts and many others are less productive than other potential employees.  Hiring them at the wages their productivity justifies can serve both the shareholders and them, but it costs the CEO, how is that fair?  

Of course the response might be "These people aren't at fault for their lower productivity***, why should they deserve less money that more productive people.".   But business isn't about who deserves things but who can produce net value.  Suppose that Klaus wanted to be a pilot, saved his money for courses and studied hard.  The night before his final qualification exam he comes across some skinheads beating a Jewish girl, he intervenes and saves her, but gets "kurb party" which loses him his right eye.   With one eye nobody wants to hire him as a pilot and he has to take lower paid work.  So does he deserve less money?  Of course not.  But his potential employers don't deserve to be the ones to pay the difference between what deserves and what his labor is worth.  While there might be a case for government taxing people to reimburse Klaus for the difference, it's certainly not justifiable to slap it all on the firms that do employ him.  So the argument that these people (might) deserve more is not a valid argument for making their employers pay them more.  It's an argument for them being the subject of some sort of charity, or if necessary, government aid****.

Even more unjust than the differential effects on pay is the differential effect on employment.  Low-skilled workers will lose jobs under this legislation, even though they are ostensibly one of those supposed to benefit.  Why should they lose a job just so someone with more skills, who could have gotten another job anyway, can do their work?  This is the biggest hypocrisy to me, the brutal abandonment of the very disadvantaged for the better paid workers.  This is true sociopathy and it disgusts me.

*  Full quote of two paragraphs so I won't be accused of taking it out of context.
"There’s no easy answer for reversing this trend, but this week I’ll be testifying in favor of a bill introduced in the California legislature that at least creates the right incentives. Other states would do well to take a close look.
The proposed legislation, SB 1372, sets corporate taxes according to the ratio of CEO pay to the pay of the company’s typical worker. Corporations with low pay ratios get a tax break.Those with high ratios get a tax increase."
*** This is not true all the time but it's true some of the time.
**** I do not in fact favor government aid, but at least it would be better than sticking the costs on random employers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A refutation of "Exploiting a Tragedy, or Le Rouge en Noir" by Daniel Singer

" My objection to the corpsecounting historians is not that they tell a horrible story. It is that they are reducing a major tragedy--revolution in a backward country failing to spread and the terrible result then presented to the
 world as a model--to a grand guignol. And these historians are not doing it to prevent the repetition of horrors
 in future transformations. They are doing it to destroy the very idea of radical change. They are painting the East in black to whitewash the West."
  First of all how do you know their intentions?  For a start many of those who support this work have also attacked totalitarianism of the "right".  But even assuming they're " not doing it to prevent the repetition of horrors in future transformations" but to "destroy the very idea of radical change." why shouldn't that idea be destroyed? After all it's piled up 100 million corpses.  One way "to prevent the repetition of horrors in future transformations" is to prevent future transformations.  Now sure people like you, who denied the existence of such horrors for DECADES might say "There's a better way to prevent the horrors.".  But given the 100 million corpses, it's reasonable to tell you to prove your case.  Even if they are trying to "destroy the very idea of radical change" it's up to you to prove and your ilk to prove that idea is worth saving.  
  As it happens I am in favor of radical change, just not the kind your kind likes.  I became aware of the "corpse-counting historians " solely through the writings of those who favor radical change.  So it seems strange that those trying to destroy the very idea get some much free, positive publicity from those who espouse it.

"The basic weakness of both The Black Book of Communism and The Passing of an Illusion is their incapacity to explain anything. If you look at Communism as merely the story of crimes, terror and repression, to borrow the subtitle of the Black Book, you are missing the point. The Soviet Union did not rest on the gulag alone. There was also enthusiasm, construction, the spread of education and social advancement for millions; when this momentum was lost in the Brezhnev years the system was close to the end of its tether. Similarly, it is impossible to grasp the fascination of outsiders for the Soviet myth and their reluctance to see the reality if you don't view them in their own environment. If you ignore the Great Depression, the strikes and other struggles against exploitation, thecolonial oppression and deadly poverty, the wars in Algeria or Indochina-in short, if, like these authors, you
idealize the Western world--you cannot comprehend why millions of the best and brightest rallied behind the
red flag or why a good section of the Western left turned a blind eye to the crimes committed in its name. Historyis understanding, not just propaganda."

Why is it a "basic weakness" of a history book to not explain why people supported something?  I don't need to explain why people supported slavery to make a book on the inhumanity of the slave trade worthwhile.  It is no more a "basic weakness" of  The Black Book of Communism that it doesn't deal with why communism has 
supporters than it is a basic weakness of Darwin's Descent of Man that it doesn't deal with the evolution of the 
Kangaroo.  A book was needed that explained, clarified and listed the crimes of communism.  This book did that.  Where is the "weakness"?  

"The Soviet Union did not rest on the gulag alone."
  But it did rest on the gulag right?  Because if the Gulag wasn't needed to keep the USSR afloat then it was an 
even worse crime.  

"Similarly, it is impossible to grasp the fascination of outsiders for the Soviet myth and their reluctance to see thereality if you don't view them in their own environment. "
 But surely the first step is to show that such reluctance to see reality was present?  Surely the first step to examining the pretense that millions were not being murdered is to acknowledge and prove that they were murdered.  An examination of why people ignored evidence of Soviet and other communist atrocities would be valuable, but you don't provide it any more than they did. "To claim that "the Great Depression, the strikes and other struggles
against exploitation, the colonial oppression and deadly poverty, the wars in Algeria or Indochina" caused people to ignore these crimes makes no sense.  The primary concealers of communist reality (the intellectuals) never 
starved, were never exploited, never went on strike, and didn't live in Algeria or Indochina.  Even if they did 
there's no reason why these things would cause someone to ignore communist crimes.  Yes if you view the worldas a fight between communism as practiced by brutal dictators and capitalism then you must ignore the crimes of the former to continue that fight.  But if you genuinely believe that communism or other radical change is 
possible without massive killing then you need to know why the killings happened.  Simply ignoring them means the same "mistakes" are repeated.  But more than that, using the Great Depression as an excuse to ignore the 
gulags is like using Jim Crow as an excuse to ignore the Holocaust.  One is far worse than the other, and to
gloss over the one in your preferred system because of the far smaller crime in the other is morally bankrupt.   

Monday, March 10, 2014

None of the arguments against raising the minimum wage have fallen apart.

  This is a critique of the Joshua Holland article in "Nation of Change" entitled "All of the arguments against raising the minimum wage have fallen apart.".
  The first argument that allegedly "collapsed" was that a higher minimum would cost jobs.  "We also have real-world experience with higher minimums.".  We do, but they reference only one, the Washington State experience.  They don't analyze what might account for Washington State's better employment growth other than higher minimum wages.  With at least thousands of major factors, making a claim of causation from ONE factor from ONE location is absurd.  If that's the best he's got, then either he does not understand science at all, or he's being deliberately dishonest.
  It gets worse though.  His refutation of the argument “It will hurt mom-and-pop businesses” is that small business owners favor it.  So what?  Since when do small business owners know microeconomics?  Argumentum ad populem is a classic logical fallacy.  This man is a idiot, or thinks we are.
  But even assuming they knew enough economics to make the judgment only and that judgment determined their opinion only 57% to 43% favored it.  What if the ones the 43% that believed they would be harmed by it would be harmed by it much more than the 57% who favored it?  Note that 82% of them "say they already pay their employees more than the minimum".  So at least 25% of the small business owners wouldn't have to pay their own employees any more, but still didn't support the raise.  Note that at least some are COMPETING against people who employ people at minimum wage.  So in other words among people who definitely don't pay extra direct costs and possibly have their competitors pay higher costs, at most 69.5% * support it.  This is weak sauce indeed, even for argumentum ad populem.  Additionally at least 5% of those who said that "“people will have a higher percentage of their income to spend on goods and services” and small businesses “will be able to grow and hire new workers.”" didn't support it.  Pathetic.
  So how about the argument that “Major costs will be passed along to consumers”, fallen apart?  Not exactly.  The argument here is based on the effects of increasing wages at _2 companies_.  That's not even 0.0001% of the companies out there.  To pretend that everyone buys everything from Walmart and McDonald's is an insult to his reader's intelligence.
  But that's his job.  To insult his readers intelligence by telling them exaggerations and lies, and obvious one at that.  You see when an intelligent argument can be made for a leftist cause, you don't need the average Nation of Change writer.  Their job is to take up the baton when no rational argument can be made.
25% of the total don't support it and pay more than the minimum.  Divide that by the 82% of the total pay more than the mimimum and you get 30.48% of those who pay more don't support it.  Which means that at most 69.51% of those who pay more than minimum support it.    

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Woman is the nigger of the world."

This quote was originally by Yoko Ono, and was made more popular by a song by John Lenon her husband.  Mr. Lennon justified his and his wife's use of the term "nigger" by reference the following to John Dellums quote:

"If you define "niggers" as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society are defined by others, then Good News! You don't have to be black to be a "nigger" in this society. Most of the people in America are "niggers"."
Yoko Ono's quote was in 1969, John Lennon's justification was made in 1972.  Both were made in America.  Quick question; Who in American between 1969 and 1972 had their lifestyle most "defined by others"?  I'll give you it a hint, it wasn't women.  If you want another hint they wore a lot of green, learned to duck fast and got called murderers by Mr. Lennon's friends (arguably correctly).

Women are the whingers of the world more like.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The economic wisdom of the Pope, ironically a long post.

This is an analysis of the economic commentary in the pope's little document.  Evangelii Gaudium.

"I. Some challenges of today’s world

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from
the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve
people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time
we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day,
with dire consequences.A number of diseases are spreading."

Which diseases and why are they spreading?  The fact that "His Holiness" doesn't mention a certain retrovirus and why it is spreading as much as it is doesn't bode well for forthrightness in this analysis.

" The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades,"

Frequently?  How frequently?  More frequently than previously seems to be the implication, but there is no evidence, let alone statistics to support that.

"lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise,"

Again, not sure what he bases this on or even the time-frame. Historically violence has been going down for centuries.

"and inequality is increasingly evident.  It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. "

This has always been the case for many, why is the Church suddenly concerned about it?

"This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of
nature and of life. "

Note the reference to an "epochal change" directly after the reference to the struggle to live and live with little dignity.  Is the pope actually claiming this is a "change"?  Because if he is he is horribly ignorant of economic history.

"We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power."

Actually what's led to new and often anonymous kinds of power is government.  It wasn't simply knowledge and information but their gathering by secret intelligence organizations for instance that led to enormous numbers of people's emails being surveilled.

"No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not Kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the
value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and

And how is such an economy defined?

"Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

Well because when the stock market loses two points that can mean that many, many people are poorer and therefore cannot spend or invest the money that would save the lives of many such women.

Also because the first thing happens every day, disproportionately in areas where the Catholic Church was influential in economics and politics, I might add.

"This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving?"

Food being thrown away by who?  In any case the cause of starvation isn't food being thrown away, it's government interference in the economy that has historically led to starvation, not people not
finishing their dinner.

"This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest,"

Really?  Because last I checked huge areas of the economy were not only not under those laws but were being actively preserved from any "survival of the fittest" test.  The banking system for instance
is full of firms that survive due to government action, despite their lack of fitness.  In fact due to the expansionary monetary policy of most of the Western world (especially the USA) many firms are
surviving only due to government largess.

"where the powerful feed upon the powerless."

And how do the powerful "feed upon the powerless"?  Is it a market process or one initiated, supported and continued by government?  Is it competition or the lack of it, guaranteed by government, that is allowing the powerful to feed on the powerless?  Look at the most egregious feeding and the answer is clear, where government is powerful, the predation is worst.  This is true in terms of geographic area (e.g. Africa), and area of industry (e.g. finance).

" As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and

And what maintains this exclusion?  Why are not people able to find a way to include themselves in the economy?  Blank-out.

"without work, without possibilities, without any
means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered
consumer goods to be used and then discarded. "

By who?

"We have created a 'throw away' culture which is now spreading. "

Who is "we" how does this supposed "throw away" culture differ from
any other culture and where is the evidence that it is spreading?

"It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but
something new. "

I don't suppose he's going to define "exploitation" at any point is he?  It's always used as an expression meaning something bad, but I never know what bad it represents.  It is simply an "anti-concept" a word designed to make it impossible to tell what the speaker means, and therefore impossible to dispute the condemnation implicit in the phrase.

"Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the “'leftovers' "

So who is doing this exclusion?  Who is making them not a part of society?  How would that even be possible?  Well of course it's not. These people aren't being rejected from society but merely from being paid.  And the reason they're being rejected from that is because they don't generate productivity, that is they don't make things others want.  This is not exactly new.

"54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts,"

I see, and where exactly does the Pope, who is so ignorant of economic history he doesn't know what's happening NOW get that knowledge?  How is it that he can confidently proclaim something on such a profound and controversial topic?  Well let's look at the bibliography, the cited references.  Oh wait there are no cited economic texts, only citations of the bible and church documents. Needless to say they weren't peer-reviewed.

" expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power"

Oh god, is it really possible that he is that ignorant of economic theory?  Surely even he has heard that the whole point of economics is that incentives can ensure good results without anyone wanting good for others.  "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Adam Smith.  No?  Well what can you expect.

"and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

The prevailing economic system is not the free market, and anyone who even casually follows the news knows this, or has deliberately avoided the knowledge.  Note that he nowhere talks about exclusion that results from anything other than the market.  There is no mention of trade walls, immigration restrictions or anything else that might cause someone to be excluded.  This is highly significant given the Church's support of highly interventionist governments that excluded people very effectively.  An honest review of the situation would require a few "mea culpas" in the form of apologies for all the victims of governments that deliberately enriched the rich and impoverished the poor, and which the Church was all in favor of.  Various fascist regimes for instance.

"Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed."

Has developed?  Since when?  There has been a large amount of indifference towards the poor of other countries for as long as I can remember, and the Catholic Church can fairly be pointed to not only as participating in it, but in actively courting governments that made things worse for the poor.

"Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. "

Compared to what?  When exactly has compassion and charity been so much more than now?  Because it certainly wasn't when the Church and it's friends were in power.

"The culture of prosperity deadens  us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."

Prosperity has been a greater promoter of concern for others than
anything else in the history of the world, including the Church.

"No to the new idolatry of money

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies."

I'm not sure what this means.  We accept that we have to pay people to get them to do lots of things for us.  Not sure how that means we "accept it's dominion" over us.

"The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person!"

No it originated in governments monkeying around with the money supply and lying about their accounts.

"We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

Again I have no idea what this means.  I don't know about you but my purchases have a truly human purpose, to fulfill my needs as I perceive them.  Calling a process that allows millions of choices a "dictatorship" is hardly accurate. You choose what you want and how you want to pay for it, within constraints of productivity.  That's reality not dictatorship.

 "The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption."

Wow, consumption is "one need" rather than thousands.  All right, fine.  The
problem is that the crisis doesn't reduce him to one need, it simply means one
set of needs is difficult to satisfy right now.  That doesn't mean he suddenly
becomes inhuman just because people are focusing on that need right now.  It
simply means that there is such a thing as Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

"56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation."

Really?  Who holds these ideologies and how are they imposing their will on the economy?  Because I know of not one believer in the "absolute automony of the marketplace and financial speculation" that has any position of power.  Blaming it all on "market fundamentalists" may have flown back in 2007, when some people might not have noticed Bush, Greenspan and Paulsen were highly interventionist and always had been.  Now after the bailouts, QE I, II, and III, trillions of dollars in secret government loans, only a complete fraud or ignoramus would go that route.

"Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the
common good, "
A charge for which there is no evidence and which can be dismissed.

"to exercise any form of control."
Yeah states have been exercising quite a bit of control.  In fact an overwhelming

"A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and
relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."

Nope, same old tyranny, government.

"Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. "

Yeah and who's debt is that?

"To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion,
which have taken on worldwide dimensions. "

Again "taken on", since when?  How is this different from what always happened?

"The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits."

Indeed, and who is statisfying that thirst most effectively and most harmfully?

"In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits,"

Government stands in the way of many people's profits, in fact it stands in the way of people even keeping their own money, like in Cyprus.  Yet I do not see it being devoured.  Note the weasel words here "tends to".

"whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."

Again the market is hardly the "only rule", if he had bothered picking up a paper he would have found quite a lot of rules regarding many things including greenhouse gases, monetary policy, and regulations on practically everything.

"No to a financial system which rules rather than serves"

And what sort of financial system is that?  Is it based on government control of
the money supply, or private?

"Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. "
By who?

"It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative."

Seen by who?  And since when were power and money not relative?

"It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person."

And what does this "debasement" consist of?  Again who feels this?

"In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace."

Firstly ethics don't lead to any god, capitalized or not.  Ethics lead to conclusions about what is appropriate behavior, not whether or not there is a "God" to witness it.  I understand you have no knowledge of real morality but you should do some research.  Not every moral system is based on your imaginary friend.

But what does the phrase "outside the categories of the marketplace" mean?  The marketplace includes all who are capable of trading and they have different categories.  Some of those categories include benefits to others.  People trade in the marketplace with the aim of benefiting others all the time.

"When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement."

Actually God was fine with enslavement, read your bible.

"Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. "

A non-ideological ethics, and what exactly does that mean?  How can ethics NOT be informed by what you believe to be true?  And why would such an ethics, even if possible lead to a more human, rather than more insane, social order?

"With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: 'Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs'.55

I'll ponder it for them.  It's bullshit.  The fact that you don't give someone something that they did not create, did not pay for, and you have not in any way promised them or obliged yourself to give to them, doesn't mean you stole from them.  The fact that you continue to breathe doesn't give you the right to all my stuff.  Note that the church was OK with lots of ACTUAL theft for centuries.

"58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. "

Why yes, and we've seen the results of such a "change of approach" a number of times.  It's not pretty.  Fundamentally it's an approach where no man can count on a single hour of his effort remaining his, a slavery of all to all.

"I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case."

Note the weasel words here.  If disaster happens when following the Pope's advice it's because they ignored "the specifics of each case".

"Money must serve, not rule!"

Money by definition has only the power of consent, you cannot be ruled by money,
since you can choose to ignore what it offers.

"The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings."

As opposed to what, favoring lizardmen?

"No to the inequality which spawns violence

Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence."

Of course he offers no evidence that this is true or that once "exclusion and inequality in society" is reversed the violence will abate.

" The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence,"
Note "accused" without any comment on the accuracy of the accusation. Whether someone accused is guilty or not is significant to me, but then I don't have ethics that lead to God.

"yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode."

And how are "equal opportunities" defined?  Are we talking "everyone gets an education"  or "everyone's parents get the same income"?  No indication.

"When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility.  This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root."

By what definition of justice?  Who is doing the "excluding" and in what does it consist?  Is he saying that not giving people stuff is "unjust at it's root" without any reference to whether they created any value?

" Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear."

Note that the Church tolerated far worse evils than merely not giving people free stuff.  They were OK with slavery, serfdom and racial and other discrimination in economic matters.  There is no mention of this, yet we're expected to take their criticisms as valid?  Sorry, if you're not prepared to acknowledge your own mistakes I don't have to listen to your theories of what is right.

" If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. "

And when is this fraud going to get to the the actions of governments?  When is he going to say "Oh and there are bad things done by governments too, and here they are."?  Never.

"It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called 'end of history', since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized."

He's right they haven't.  Certainly not in this pile of offal.

"Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption,"

Which mechanisms and how?

"yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."

Oh yes it is evident.  I can see that in the imaginary peer-reviewed research papers you cited.
Oh course what "unbridled consumerism" actually means I don't know.  Since 2007 it's been fairly
bridled, certainly compared to before.

"Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts."

And your own solution of dissolving property rights, how has that worked out for solving violence?  Not well IIRC.

" Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves
for their troubles;"

Again, no mention of whether these accusations are accurate.

"indulging in unwarranted generalizations, "

Yes, I hate it when people indulge in unwarranted generalizations.  Particularly for 190 goddamn pages.

"they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. "

Who claims this?  What are you talking about?  And since when is this a stone the Church should cast?  They've been "educating" the powerless to be accepting of tyranny for a long time now.

"All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders. "

Finally a mention of government evil.  Note that he doesn't draw any conclusion from the presence of evil in government, it ignores the implications for his own plan of giving governments power. This is this part of the statement's real function.  Not to deplore exclusion and inequality but to selectively excuse and hide it.  When someone says they hate the harms of usury, but mention only Jewish usury, you know they really hate Jews.
When someone mentions that they hate totalitarianism but only mention either fascist or communist crimes and not the other, you know they hate fascism or communism, not totalitarianism.  When someone says they hate inequality and exclusion and they ignore the centuries of such enforced and encouraged by government, you know the do not hate inequality and exclusion, they hate the market.