Talking to the unconvinced

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Thetallestmanonearth's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 28 2013
Posts: 320
Talking to the unconvinced

I recently had the following IM conversation with a friend of mine who despite over two years of conversations remains willfully and stubbornly unconvinced that growth is impossible to sustain in the mid-long term.  I thought other people here might enjoy knowing that they're not the only ones beating their head against the wall when talking with friend and families about anything of substance.

me:  What do you think about this Pikkety guy?
Stephen:  who is that?

 me:  He's a french economist who just published a wildly popular book (like insanely popular for an economics tome)
"the rich got that way because the return on invested capital (r) is generally two to three percentage points higher annually than economic growth (g). Therefore, people with money to invest (the wealthy) will always get richer, at a faster pace, than everyone else. Free markets, therefore, are a one-way road towards ever-greater inequality."
 Stephen:  Nothing revolutionary about that
Now, if you could get people to learn to invest at a youngish age, or make it more of a priority?
Which I know you wouldn't agree with
and I know it also sounds like an elitist idiot saying that these "poor" people can find money they just aren't looking hard enough
 Sent at 9:45 AM on Thursday
 me:  well, I will stand on the premise of your self-criticism because I see no need to take the logic any further than you just did. :):)
 Stephen:  lol
I mean, its a tough one right? Because you can't (or this system) cap the market gain
because that would definitely kill investment into business, and slow the growth of the whole economy
which in turn would slow down normal growth
which would mean that the rich would STILL be making more haha
 me:  we need to find a way to reverse growth without it being a bad trip.
But I don't think that will happen.
 Stephen:  because if you cap market performance magically at 5%, then the expectation of growth is lower, and real growth for everyone maybe turns into 1%
Eh, its just a bull market right now
I think most people, at least educated people, don't really think that eternal growth is stable
and honestly, 2% is not a lot
It would take most of our lives to double an economy at 2% growth
 Sent at 9:49 AM on Thursday
 me:  yes, but how many more times can we double and how many more generations will it take before the consequences of formatting a society around expectations of growth=good catch up to us?
My answer to both questions is of course zero, but you and I can disagree on the minutia
 Stephen:  Eh, I wouldn't disagree 100%
I did say growth is ok, but the expectation of high growth isn't
Its more about a competition, global
I mean, Sweden is cool with the 0% growth
its possible ;)
 me:  but even if we sustained what we have now we're screwed.
 Stephen:  unless you can use science
to findn alternatives
 me:  oh yeah.....I forgot...."because: science".
"god will save the pious and smite our enemies"
 Stephen:  :):)
 Sent at 9:55 AM on Thursday
 me:  I do enjoy our chats :):)


tictac1's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 25 2009
Posts: 175
At some point, we realize

At some point, we realize that humans are motivated primarily by desire and belief, not logic and knowledge.  Once you accept that, everything makes a lot more sense. 

Consider the AGW/climate change debate.  Both sides of the issue have ardent defenders, despite the fact that very, very few people actually know enough about the issue and data to truly make their own logical decisions.  Nevertheless, not only will people argue the "facts", they will take action based on their beliefs, i.e. buying a huge SUV or a hybrid.  I work with many very intelligent people that admit they do not fully understand the science, but take actions (of one sort or another) based on their beliefs.

And of course, what people believe is largely driven by desire.  It's much more difficult to convince someone of something they desperately want not to be true.

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