General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If the wealthy rigged the system, what have the poor done in the system?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) August 29th, 2016

It seems there is some prevailing notion that the wealthy have rigged the system so no one else can benefit from it but them, moreover, their continued benefit comes off the backs or at the expense of those who are not wealthy. Let’s just entertain that as true, then in what way are the poor existing in the system, is the prevailing notion that they are gaming the system just as germane or why not?

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16 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The wealthy make products that the poor believe that they can’t live without . Those who become wealthy are those who aren’t swayed by advertising and save , or invest, money instead

Strauss's avatar

The American dream—or the version appropriate to any other first-world country—, is to find a career job whereby one can develop credit, qualify for a mortgage, and if one is fortunate, save enough to retire somewhat comfortably before one is too old to enjoy said retirement. Industrialization, capitalism and consumerism have combined to place the average person in a state of wage/benefits slavery..

MrGrimm888's avatar

The poor simply try to live. They make due with what they have. If any ‘take advantage ’ of the welfare system it’s considered lazy,manipulative behavior. When the wealthy ‘take advantage ’ of tax breaks and other benefits of being wealthy,they are just living by the rules. BULL FUCKING SHIT.

The poor have no choice but to toil in their misery. It’s not impossible, but once you’re poor, it’s hard not to continue to be poor.

For example. If I overdraft my account by $1.00, I’m charged $36.00 by my bank. This in turn makes it harder to make ends meet. Increasing the chance of me potentially having to overdraft the next week. Owing them another $36.00.

If I have to get a title loan on my car,there’s very little chance I could pay back the loan with over 450% interest. If I lose my car, I’ll most likely lose my job, then home etc.

If I have to go to the emergency room, they charge me three times what someone with insurance gets charged. If I can’t pay,they ruin my credit. Forcing higher interest rates on any future loans ,or credit I would seek.

Every step a poor person takes is uphill,through a hail of arrows.

These are how things work for the poor. Your make due choosing the lesser of two evils frequently. Most of the time there are no good options for the poor.

I’m not a conspiracy theory person. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that the ‘system ’ seems designed to keep me from ever being anything but behind in life.
And the same system seems to keep the wealthy, wealthy.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The poor are tolerated and held responsible for their poverty. They are exploited at every turn and entire industries are based on their exploitation. Everything from private prisons to payday loan swindles line the gauntlet they must run in a system that enforces their poverty and humiliation. In a landscape where it is for all practical purposes a crime to be broke, the poor are useful in funneling government money to the wealthy. It’s a setup whereby the poor are allowed a degraded existence in which they are never allowed to forget that they are poor and therefore defective. Resentment simmers in struggling taxpayers, many of whom are terrified to find themselves threatened with looming poverty in a game where those who can’t avoid paying taxes finance the destitute. The poor in turn spend every dime of it in their miserable lives as they subsist or fall further behind, and those taxpayer dollars pass through the gears of the economy to ultimately line the pockets of those adroit at avoiding taxes and parking their their fortunes offshore. The poor amount to just another mechanism whereby profits are privatized while expenses are socialized.

YARNLADY's avatar

Many of the examples above are due to ignorance or willful neglect. I have been poor and not. My son, on the other hand has experienced many of this problems. If you follow the rules, such as not overdraw on your bank account, pay your bills on time, do not borrow more than you can pay back, and such. you can rise above that level.

If you respond to notices regarding your finances, you can usually work them out. If not, there are always public agencies to help you.

There is ALWAYS help available to those who ask.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@MrGrimm888 If any ‘take advantage ’ of the welfare system it’s considered lazy,manipulative behavior.
Yes, the entitlement system is broken, because they penalize you for trying to get off it once you are on it. Then it comes to how bad do you want to get off? What sacrifices are you going to make today for a better tomorrow? It is one thing to utilize the system when you truly fell in the cracks and another thing to game the system so you can survive and not work even when totally capable.

It’s not impossible, but once you’re poor, it’s hard not to continue to be poor.
If it is not impossible, then it takes one to use the right strategy to work what they have to the fullest, and maybe team up with another so two are working in one direction instead of one. It still comes back to what one is willing today to do without to have a better tomorrow, sometimes it is not all material, sometimes it is sweat, time, etc.

For example. If I overdraft my account by $1.00, I’m charged $36.00 by my bank. This in turn makes it harder to make ends meet. Increasing the chance of me potentially having to overdraft the next week. Owing them another $36.00.
I knew someone who was in that trap, they wanted to get a drink, chips and some smokes but it is 5 days until pay, rather than tell themselves they can’t have that because they did not manage their money, they got the items because they wanted it right then and there, triggering an overdraft for more than those items. In order not to overdraft sometimes you have to tell yourself ”NO” and quite loudly as well.

Most of the time there are no good options for the poor.
There are probably no better options because they cannot fathom any, even though they are there. If you never knew of the interstate, or thought it was something you could not drive on because of construction or whatever, you would never use it to get where you needed to go faster. I have read and knew a few immigrants that came to this country barely speaking the language, less than $1,000 in their possession, but they knew if they could just get here, they could make it. They worked long hours, they passed up a lot of creature comforts, and personal goodies, but 6–10 years later they had their own business, maybe even a nice house to go with it and they can play some now, and have the money to do it. Too many Yankees want to play right out of their sophomore year and have all of the ”toys” by the time they are 23.

But it’s hard to ignore the fact that the ‘system ’ seems designed to keep me from ever being anything but behind in life.
They have it so you cannot start a business even on the smallest of shoestrings, go into a partnership or co-op with other people, they have it so you cannot use Ebay or any other online tool to form and run a business? They have it rigged you cannot obtain higher education from anywhere? In what ways have they completely froze you out of every last opportunity to advance?

Zaku's avatar

HC you (and it’s not just you, but a huge number of people with the same thought patterns) seem to not be talking about the same things MrGrimm888 seems to be talking about in his points. He seems to be talking about how those things are unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced. You are responding but are talking in terms of faulting the poor, them taking advantage, and/or talking about how there may be some ways for them to advance, none of which has anything to do with the system being unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced. MrGrimm888 didn’t say there was no way for the poor to advance, nor their willingness to do so, except to call out the shaming mindset, which you then demonstrate by writing from that shaming context.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ He seems to be talking about how those things are unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced.
You say it is unfair, but the specifics you try to use would be like saying the game of basketball is rigged because the 6ft 4in players can do it easier than a 5ft 7in player. It may be imbalanced, but that doesn’t make it unfair as there is more than one way to wealth, it is not based on one’s education, family name, etc., those things may help some, but you do not have to have those or never get ahead. If you want a system that is supposedly fair and equal across the board, no matter how smart you are, how young, old, gifted, etc., then you want something like communism or socialism.

You are responding but are talking in terms of faulting the poor, them taking advantage, and/or talking about how there may be some ways for them to advance, none of which has anything to do with the system being unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced.
Again, nothing will ever be totally equal in what a person has unless we are in something other than a democratic society. Everyone has near equal opportunity to do anything they want in this nation, be it a longer harder road for some, but no one is saying they can’t if they are willing to make the sacrifice. To say ”unfair” is to say someone is blocking every access point or opportunity so even if you wanted to make the sacrifice, you can’t because you can’t even play the game. Being responsible and pointing it out is not shamming the poor. Don’t people have to be mindful of what they have? If someone is poor budgeting his/her resources whose fault is that? If they know they need a certain amount of fuel to commute to work but they decide to take a road trip with their cronies, then cart friends around town with none replacing the gas, if he/she finds there is not enough gas to make it through the week to get to work and have to take a pay advance it Buck Rodgers interest, did society do it to her, or she did it with poor decision making? Why does everyone want to place their poor planning or lack of discipline on someone else?

MrGrimm888 didn’t say there was no way for the poor to advance, nor their willingness to do so, except to call out the shaming mindset, which you then demonstrate by writing from that shaming context.
So, to in order not to be shamming is to just agree with the poor they had no hand in their financial situation, and they are not smart enough, or cannot obtain any financial wisdom to change their plight, so society has to figure out a way to just ”hand it to them”, notwithstanding immigrants that came over further behind them in money, language and education has prevailed. If there was an event, ticket holder, etc., were able to enter through the front, but if you had no ticket, the free entrance was down the side of the building a walk down a corridor, then pass the parking garage and in the rear of the building, if you had no ticket but did not want to make the walk because you thought it was too far, if you missed the event, whose fault was it, the promoters because they rigged it so you had no way in, or there was a way you did not want to make the effort to take?

Zaku's avatar

”^^ He seems to be talking about how those things are unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced.”
“You say it is unfair, but the specifics you try to use would be like saying the game of basketball is rigged because the 6ft 4in players can do it easier than a 5ft 7in player. It may be imbalanced, but that doesn’t make it unfair as there is more than one way to wealth, it is not based on one’s education, family name, etc., those things may help some, but you do not have to have those or never get ahead. If you want a system that is supposedly fair and equal across the board, no matter how smart you are, how young, old, gifted, etc., then you want something like communism or socialism.”

* I didn’t write it was unfair, but ok, I do think so. However I would point out that once again, someone (now me) was writing about one idea, and you replied again based on your own context, about something I was not really talking about. You don’t seem to acknowledge that’s what you keep doing. I’m curious: Do you not see that’s what you keep doing, or do your ideas just seem so important to you that you think it should make sense to everyone for you to not acknowledge what others are saying, and just say the idea you think it important enough to switch topics?

* Not that it really matters, but although Basketball is not “rigged” it is unfair in that taller players have an advantage. I have rarely enjoyed playing basketball, and only did so when compelled to in PE class. Other students were really into it and joined teams and competed at state level. I wasn’t much into sports either, but some students were, and signed up for teams, extra-curricular teams, and played after school every day. I only played war and stick fighting and stuff like that. One day in PE, they made us play basketball one-on-one matches. When they had me play, I had to face two of the most athletic players in my class, who were both a foot or so shorter than I was. I was able to dominate both of them. I still couldn’t shoot baskets very well, but they could not get around me to even try to shoot without me having a hand there to bat the ball away. One of these guys got really mad and started taunting “you think this is funny?!”, as I think I was starting to smile about it. I said, “well, yeah, actually I do.”

* I do however accept your metaphor whose point seems to me to be that some situations can involve unfair advantages for some traits, but leave room for advantages in others. I find it ironic that your incorrectness about basketball is actually a great example, as many kids from destitute neighborhoods choose to bypass their economic disadvantages for the chance to make ludicrous money playing basketball, taking advantage of their physical advantages and willingness to focus there (and perhaps, to channel they anger at the unfair economic system into physical effort). So it seems to me you’re completely wrong that basketball isn’t unfair, yet it’s unfairness is also an ironic example of what I think you were trying to write.

* However, I think your point is still irrelevant to the question of whether the economy is unfair or not. As MrGrimm888 and I have both written before, the fact that there are ways for some people (or even in theory, all people) to advance themselves in an unfair system, in not something anyone was arguing against, and it also does not mean the system is fair, just because it is possible to find ways to advance in it.

* So great, there are some ways to advance in the system. Oh yay. That doesn’t mean that growing up Afro-American with no father and no money south of downtown in Chicago where even the police are afraid to go, compared to being born in a family that has enough money to provide all your needs for life whatever you do, is fair, equal and balanced.

* If I have millions in assets, all I have to do is stick it in a safe investment, even a bank, and I don’t really have to do anything else to be completely provided for.

Zaku's avatar

“You are responding but are talking in terms of faulting the poor, them taking advantage, and/or talking about how there may be some ways for them to advance, none of which has anything to do with the system being unfair, inequal, and/or imbalanced.”
“Again, nothing will ever be totally equal in what a person has unless we are in something other than a democratic society. Everyone has near equal opportunity to do anything they want in this nation, be it a longer harder road for some, but no one is saying they can’t if they are willing to make the sacrifice. To say ”unfair” is to say someone is blocking every access point or opportunity so even if you wanted to make the sacrifice, you can’t because you can’t even play the game. Being responsible and pointing it out is not shamming the poor. Don’t people have to be mindful of what they have? If someone is poor budgeting his/her resources whose fault is that? If they know they need a certain amount of fuel to commute to work but they decide to take a road trip with their cronies, then cart friends around town with none replacing the gas, if he/she finds there is not enough gas to make it through the week to get to work and have to take a pay advance it Buck Rodgers interest, did society do it to her, or she did it with poor decision making? Why does everyone want to place their poor planning or lack of discipline on someone else?”

* The USA is not much of a democratic society. It’s a corrupt oligarchy where the media and politicians (see “Monsanto Protection Act”) and to some extent, the judiciary – see “Citizens United”) are in the pockets of corporations and corporate owners, as well as to the various ideas that allow and enable that to continue.

* I find your assertion that “Everyone has near equal opportunity to do anything they want”, and your attempt to make it about willpower and “sacrifice”, baffling and either offensive or ignorant.

* No, “unfair” does not mean there is “someone is blocking every access point or opportunity so even if you wanted to make the sacrifice, you can’t because you can’t even play the game.” “Unfair” means: “treating people in a way that favors some over others : not fair, honest, or just”, “marked by injustice, partiality, or deception”, or “not equitable in business dealings”. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfair

* If “someone is poor budgeting his/her resources” matters vastly more if they have barely enough money to avoid bank fees, than if they have more money than they can spend being generated by the fact their parents gave them a trust fund. It’s also pretty likely if they grew up someplace with dreadful schools and awful conditions to worry about. I get the impression by your choice of points, that you are thinking or attempting to imply that poor people become poor by lack of will/discipline or lack or moral fibre or “poor planning” or something. You think that’s the main point. I think it’s more or less irrelevant to what Grimm888 was saying.

Zaku's avatar

“MrGrimm888 didn’t say there was no way for the poor to advance, nor their willingness to do so, except to call out the shaming mindset, which you then demonstrate by writing from that shaming context.”
“So, to in order not to be shamming is to just agree with the poor they had no hand in their financial situation, and they are not smart enough, or cannot obtain any financial wisdom to change their plight, so society has to figure out a way to just ”hand it to them”, notwithstanding immigrants that came over further behind them in money, language and education has prevailed. If there was an event, ticket holder, etc., were able to enter through the front, but if you had no ticket, the free entrance was down the side of the building a walk down a corridor, then pass the parking garage and in the rear of the building, if you had no ticket but did not want to make the walk because you thought it was too far, if you missed the event, whose fault was it, the promoters because they rigged it so you had no way in, or there was a way you did not want to make the effort to take?”

* You think “the poor” are making an argument that “they had no hand in their financial situation”? Seems to me that in many cases, dysfunctional poor people are also stuck in this shaming mindset, and that in fact that mindset is also a large part of what messes with them and interferes with their healthy behavior.

* Again you are rolling out your pre-conceived judgements about “hand[ing] it to them” and so on, which has nothing to do with MrGrimm888’s comment you were responding to, except that you seem to think it makes sense to “reply” to his comment with this other system of ideas.

* Your weird ticket example does seem to illustrate the structure you are applying to the economy. Apparently you see the situation as basically some people are lazy and others are hard-working. The lazy people don’t get as much as the hard workers, and the lazy people then blame the hard workers and want to take away (or share equally) what the hard workers earned, even though they did nothing to earn it. Great. I get that idea. I can see how that could feel like what the economy is like. There is some validity to that perspective, however I would say it is out of proportion and narrow to focus on only that viewpoint. That viewpoint is also not a contradiction of the situation being unfair, inequal and unbalanced.

So if I were to extend your theater metaphor. Yep it’s unfair and annoying if someone wanted to cut in the paying line rather than walk around. The theater are hosting an entertainment event, and can make a rule like that if they want to. Big deal. Meanwhile, there’s a single mom who doesn’t even know about the show because she’s trying to work two jobs and raise her kid, who’s getting charged hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees because the bio dad’s child support check bounced not because he’s poor but because he didn’t pay enough attention. The mom might be able to get the fees reversed eventually but it would take hours of work, meanwhile her credit rating is tanking and good luck getting the credit agencies to care and correct that, which by the way is likely to cause the bank to mess with her mortgage and possibly foreclose on her home. But it’s all totally fair and ok because some generations ago, the lazy dad’s ancestors made a profitable business deal that gave his family wealth that’s still generating more wealth, but the man and woman’s ancestors had totally equal opportunity so that’s ok. Or, the mom could sell her body, or her liver, or find another rich man to support her, or hey she could just stop being so selfish and train herself to be a lawyer and be rich, or something. How unresourceful of her. For shame!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

However I would point out that once again, someone (now me) was writing about one idea, and you replied again based on your own context, about something I was not really talking about.
OK, let’s strip away all of the other gobbledygook and go to the theme you keep focusing on, they system is unfair, how is it that the system is unfair when each person has access to it, even though some might have easier access, of is it the ease of access to it what you all unfair?

One day in PE, they made us play basketball one-on-one matches. When they had me play, I had to face two of the most athletic players in my class, who were both a foot or so shorter than I was. I was able to dominate both of them.
That illustration can go both ways, one could use the fact that your height overshadowed their skill simply because you were an obstacle they could not get around. It can also be used to show there supposedly superior play was not a lock in them winning the game. Same as because you were born into money, it is assumed you will always be in the money and increasing it. However, different from basketball, people have equalizers, some involve putting in more sweat, others involve using tools like the Internet. Just because you don’t look the picture of someone who should win with ease, those ”better” players you beat that looked as if they should have romped, didn’t.

As MrGrimm888 and I have both written before, the fact that there are ways for some people (or even in theory, all people) to advance themselves in an unfair system, in not something anyone was arguing against, and it also does not mean the system is fair, just because it is possible to find ways to advance in it…]
There we go again, ”an unfair system”, so just what specific gives you the ideal that it is unfair, we can start with that, what is the criteria?

That doesn’t mean that growing up Afro-American with no father and no money south of downtown in Chicago where even the police are afraid to go, compared to being born in a family that has enough money to provide all your needs for life whatever you do, is fair, equal and balanced.
What race one is born what nation one is born, if one is born with a physical limitation, blindness, deaf, dwarfism, etc., no one had a choice in, and that is life. Maybe even being stuck in the hood was no choice of those born, that is life, and we know life is not fair, but no one directed it. Being born with no father in the home, that is a choice of one or both of the parents, that was not a condition at birth that one had no option at changing.

I find your assertion that “Everyone has near equal opportunity to do anything they want”, and your attempt to make it about willpower and “sacrifice”, baffling and either offensive or ignorant.
Is it not that? If I want to better myself, I can go back to college at any age, depending on what age I go, does that mean someone else will foot the bill? Maybe I would have to foot it myself, then what will I give up, or may have to give up to do it, and am I willing to tighten my belt now to get the degree down the road. To assume the poor cannot do anything but sit in a nest waiting for the worm to drop in it is offensive, almost to the point of saying the poor are like mentally challenged people, unable to do anything for themselves and waiting for as white knight from somewhere to come save them.

“Unfair” means: “treating people in a way that favors some over others : not fair, honest, or just”, “marked by injustice, partiality, or deception”, or “not equitable in business dealings”.
If I or anyone else wanted to go back to school because I am not a multimillionaire I will pay more for credits and books than if I were a multimillionaire? That would be unfair and unjust. If I blow through the “cone zone” in my Lamborghini at 92mph I will get less of a ticket than if I blew through it in my Smart Cart at 60? That would be unfair. What area of the system do you believe is so unfair and unjust as to say the ”system” is systemically corrupt? There might be some using the system unjustly as there are some poor gaming the system, you can’t blame the process for miss implementation of participants.

If “someone is poor budgeting his/her resources” matters vastly more if they have barely enough money to avoid bank fees, than if they have more money than they can spend being generated by the fact their parents gave them a trust fund.
People living that close to the grit have option to assist them, if they do not qualify then they don’t get to blow money on creature comforts and luxuries. That is where they need to start being creative and figure ways they can generate money using skills they have and tools like Ebay, Craig’s List, and other parts of the Internet.

It’s also pretty likely if they grew up someplace with dreadful schools and awful conditions to worry about.
No school in the US need be poor or underperforming but no one has the stomach to it that is a different discussion.

I get the impression by your choice of points, that you are thinking or attempting to imply that poor people become poor by lack of will/discipline or lack or moral fibre or “poor planning” or something.
It is no surprise some people end up poor by choices they did make, dropping out of school, entering into criminal activity that locked up in their teens and early adulthood. Some were just born into poor families. Some, as the middle class who are nose deep in debt, got their by poor spending habits, unless you are going to say no one has ever done that. They do not lack moral fiber, some, as in the middle class soaked in debt, had poor planning, took the wrong risks, etc. However it is more egregious for the middle class socked in debt than the poor because it means they spent beyond their ability.

Seems to me that in many cases, dysfunctional poor people are also stuck in this shaming mindset, and that in fact that mindset is also a large part of what messes with them and interferes with their healthy behavior
The only way a dysfunctional family can be blamed on the system is if the people creating dysfunctional families were within the system. That is not an argument being made, what to do with or about dysfunctional families is a separate matter; for that matter, it is not just the poor who suffer from dysfunctional families.

Again you are rolling out your pre-conceived judgements about “hand[ing] it to them” and so on, which has nothing to do with MrGrimm888’s comment you were responding to, except that you seem to think it makes sense to “reply” to his comment with this other system of ideas.
People keep bringing up how the system is unfair, so, the question was not about how unfair, or in what way, but if the rich has done something to the system, what are the poor doing to or with the system, which was the question.

Apparently you see the situation as basically some people are lazy and others are hard-working.
That is where you place a judgmental or assuming position, I never said they were lazy, I said there would be some who would not want to make the effort to get where they know exist, or where they want to go. What prevents a single mom from taking advantage be it what the father does or doesn’t have any bearing; he (the dad) is not the system or any important part of it. His paying or not paying is a personal problem between her and him.

The lazy people don’t get as much as the hard workers, and the lazy people then blame the hard workers and want to take away (or share equally) what the hard workers earned, even though they did nothing to earn it.
Is that not what you are advocating and fighting for? That if a person through hard work, smart risk taking, doing wise investment parlay their money, savings, etc., into wealth, and have something to leave their children so their children are not starting from zero as they did, but can start at 60, they are somehow shady and unfair, because those who did not make the cuts, or take the risk, never made the gains.

Meanwhile, there’s a single mom who doesn’t even know about the show…]
Again, if she doesn’t know it may be because she never bothered to pick up a paper or read billboards as she passes. Most do not know how all of the system works but most know how many parts of it work. Once more, what the baby daddy doesn’t pay, is between her and him, she picked him, so it is her problem.

But it’s all totally fair and ok because some generations ago, the lazy dad’s ancestors made a profitable business deal that gave his family wealth that’s still generating more wealth, but the man and woman’s ancestors had totally equal opportunity so that’s ok. Or, the mom could sell her body, or her liver, or find another rich man to support her, or hey she could just stop being so selfish and train herself to be a lawyer and be rich, or something. How unresourceful of her.
The ”lazy dad’s”, who is being judgmental there? It is fair, his parents created wealth of which he by random draw was born into that family. Sometimes parents make great sacrifices, like giving up exotic vacations, luxuries, etc. to send their kids to a good college to get a profitable degree. If the parents of the man discovered, networked, educated themselves, or worked hard to get the increase they did, should they be penalized for trying to do more, or be better? That is like telling Phelps because you are willing to train an extra 3 hours a day and that makes your technique better or him faster it is unfair to those who only wanted to train 90 min and no more. Just because the woman’s people did not know, or did not make opportunities to work their own business or get some degree in college and that resulted in a certain income level she was borne into, she did not have to stay there. To rise above it takes being resourceful sometimes, if she never figured it out, or did but thought it too much effort, tell me how that is the fault of those who did and became wealthy?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^^HC. My answer, I thought, had several specific details mentioned as to why the ‘system ’ isn’t fair.

‘What are the poor doing with the system? ’ You ask?

They’re making lemonade….

Because the best most can get are lemons…..

Zaku's avatar

However I would point out that once again, someone (now me) was writing about one idea, and you replied again based on your own context, about something I was not really talking about.

how is it that the system is unfair when each person has access to it, even though some might have easier access, of is it the ease of access to it what you [c]all unfair?
It seems to me unfair in many, many ways. We could be here all day.
And yes, starting point can be very unfair, and it’s getting more and more unfair, because of other unfair aspects – what’s what the whole “out-of-control growth of wealth inequality” complaint is all about. You seem to doubt that that is an issue. Ok, let’s play Monopoly. You start with $100. I’ll start with $10,000. According to, would that be fair?

That illustration can go both ways, one could use the fact that your height overshadowed their skill simply because you were an obstacle they could not get around. It can also be used to show there supposedly superior play was not a lock in them winning the game. Same as because you were born into money, it is assumed you will always be in the money and increasing it.
I don’t understand why you keep trying to take unfairness and make it about the possibility or impossibility of overcoming the unfairness.

You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means

However, different from basketball, people have equalizers, some involve putting in more sweat, others involve using tools like the Internet. Just because you don’t look the picture of someone who should win with ease, those ”better” players you beat that looked as if they should have romped, didn’t.
I totally get that it is possible, and done by some, to overcome great poverty and personal issues, as well as the many obstacles the system holds for disadvantaged people, and become self-sufficient, successful, or even better, happy. No one ever said otherwise. Is it really just that you have a crippling problem with the definition of the word “fair”?

There we go again, ”an unfair system”, so just what specific gives you the ideal that it is unfair, we can start with that, what is the criteria?
You meant to write “idea” rather than “ideal”, right?
I would say what gives me that idea, is knowing the definition of the word “unfair”, which you really do not seem to.
Since “unfair” means “treating people in a way that favors some over others”, MrGrimm888 already gave you several examples, and there are endless others. Do you really need examples of how our society favors people with more money over those without? How about examples of how there are advantages to being of Anglo-Saxon descent born to a family with good reputation in a wealthy safe neighborhood with world-class schools, compared to being born black or Hispanic in a neighborhood where white people are warned never to go, especially at night.

What race one is born what nation one is born, if one is born with a physical limitation, blindness, deaf, dwarfism, etc., no one had a choice in, and that is life. Maybe even being stuck in the hood was no choice of those born, that is life, and we know life is not fair, but no one directed it. Being born with no father in the home, that is a choice of one or both of the parents, that was not a condition at birth that one had no option at changing.
Ok now I see a bit more of where your perspective is.
So you draw a distinction between “life” (which you say is unfair), and something someone “directed”? What do you think that is, that we are talking about? Where do you draw the line on the topic? Seems to me that “the system” is just another one of those circumstances, albeit external to each person, and a complex changing morrass of ideas, laws, conventions, etc. Do you have some line you draw to distinguish the unfair/life part from the supposedly fair “system” part? When I think of “the system” of our culture, that seems pretty much just like “the situation” – I don’t think we’ve consciously designed it, but I think we can see what sucks about it and suggest improvements, but I don’t think I have a clear line like you seem to be suggesting here, unless I’m just not seeing it right now.

I find your assertion that “Everyone has near equal opportunity to do anything they want”, and your attempt to make it about willpower and “sacrifice”, baffling and either offensive or ignorant.
Is it not that? If I want to better myself, I can go back to college at any age, depending on what age I go, does that mean someone else will foot the bill? Maybe I would have to foot it myself, then what will I give up, or may have to give up to do it, and am I willing to tighten my belt now to get the degree down the road. To assume the poor cannot do anything but sit in a nest waiting for the worm to drop in it is offensive, almost to the point of saying the poor are like mentally challenged people, unable to do anything for themselves and waiting for as white knight from somewhere to come save them.
You seem fixated on the other side of fairness – the “welfare state” argument. I accept that what you say may sometimes occur and that it can be seen as unjust to the people paying into the system. I think I get that point of view. I just don’t find it to be nearly as severe or as large an issue as many other problems in the system, which I think mostly have little or nothing to do with that type of situation. I think it’s more important that people get their basic needs met, than that we prevent anyone from “taking advantage”, and I think the scale of the former problem is large and the scale of the latter problem is small and not so simple as people taking advantage. No one just simply wants to live on welfare and do nothing with their lives – even the people who are reduced to that condition, are not intrinsically that way, and need other kinds of help to get out of that state. I think it’s atrociously cold to try to simply blame such people with arguments about lack of willpower or imagination, and it’s doubly-atrocious to me to suggest that they should be left to go without basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, basic medical care).

What area of the system do you believe is so unfair and unjust as to say the ”system” is systemically corrupt?
Broadly? Politics, banking, every industry where there are effective monopolies, and many of he ones with massive competetive corporations, not to mention corporate lobbyists, on and on and on.

People living that close to the grit have option to assist them, if they do not qualify then they don’t get to blow money on creature comforts and luxuries. That is where they need to start being creative and figure ways they can generate money using skills they have and tools like Ebay, Craig’s List, and other parts of the Internet.
I’ve met many people living on the street who could use your advice. Some of them do go to the library and do their best to use the Internet and various opportunities. Again, you’re the only one who keeps talking about the possibility of the poor improving themselves as if you have anyone disagreeing with you. And you’re also the only one who seems to want to redirect the topic to that and place the responsibility on everyone doing such things, as if that means we shouldn’t also talk about what we might like to do to make it easier for them to do so.

It is no surprise some people end up poor by choices they did make, dropping out of school, entering into criminal activity that locked up in their teens and early adulthood. Some were just born into poor families. Some, as the middle class who are nose deep in debt, got their by poor spending habits, unless you are going to say no one has ever done that. They do not lack moral fiber, some, as in the middle class soaked in debt, had poor planning, took the wrong risks, etc.
Again I think no one is saying otherwise.

However it is more egregious for the middle class socked in debt than the poor because it means they spent beyond their ability.
Ok.

People keep bringing up how the system is unfair, so, the question was not about how unfair, or in what way, but if the rich has done something to the system, what are the poor doing to or with the system, which was the question.
You asked that question, yes. MrGrimm888 answered they are doing what they need to live, which often seems like all they can do given how unfair the system is. Then you responded to that in ways that didn’t make a lot of sense to that, which I tried to point out. All of my replies have been on tangents to your reply to his answer, and trying to figure out where you’re coming from.

What prevents a single mom from taking advantage be it what the father does or doesn’t have any bearing; he (the dad) is not the system or any important part of it. His paying or not paying is a personal problem between her and him.
Depends on what you mean by the system, and as above, I think we may define it very differently. To me, the child support rules, the bank fees, the mortgage system, the way the banks and Wall Street have exploited mortgage system (and other debts), the available wages, the lack of welfare, the lack of affordable housing due to uncontrolled rents, the fact that a wealthy person can ignore most or all of that while they’re all important to non-wealthy people struggling to stay in the black or not too far in the red, etc etc etc, are all part of the system.

“The lazy people don’t get as much as the hard workers, and the lazy people then blame the hard workers and want to take away (or share equally) what the hard workers earned, even though they did nothing to earn it.”
Is that not what you are advocating and fighting for? That if a person through hard work, smart risk taking, doing wise investment parlay their money, savings, etc., into wealth, and have something to leave their children so their children are not starting from zero as they did, but can start at 60, they are somehow shady and unfair, because those who did not make the cuts, or take the risk, never made the gains.
No, not at all.
In the first place, I’ve mostly just been trying to understand and object to the idea that the situation does not strongly favor wealthy people over poor people.
In the second place, when I wrote that I was summarizing your example about the theater scenario. But I don’t think it applies, and my single mother side example was trying to parallel what Grimm888 was saying when he said the poor are mainly just trying to live.
I accept that life isn’t fair and that there is no way to make everything fair and equal for everyone, and I’m not advocating trying that.
What I personally would advocate for, is a fairer system, and especially one where we aren’t letting people, especially children, go homeless and/or hungry. I don’t advocate blaming working people for anything, and I think everyone who does work should have not just what they need, but rewards for that. I mainly just think the baseline should be much higher than it is, and that giant corporations and banks and the ridiculously wealthy should be prevented from owning our government, writing our laws, and sucking ever more of the wealth out of the whole system, not to mention the health of our planet. Personal welfare is a drop in the bucket compare to the costs of corporate welfare, wars and other abuses. I think the dilemma of having to “steal from hard working people to pay for the lazy” is a false dilemma that sounds truthy to some, but is not.

“Meanwhile, there’s a single mom who doesn’t even know about the show…]”
Again, if she doesn’t know it may be because she never bothered to pick up a paper or read billboards as she passes. Most do not know how all of the system works but most know how many parts of it work. Once more, what the baby daddy doesn’t pay, is between her and him, she picked him, so it is her problem.
Totally not the point. She and I don’t care if she doesn’t get to go or know about the show. She’s too tired and preoccupied with trying to keep her life together in a situation that sucks. The point is the situation sucks for her, possibly through little or no fault of her own.

The ”lazy dad’s”, who is being judgmental there?
It was my invented example. Do you think there is no such think as a divorced father who is too lazy or absent-minded (perhaps because finances are just an annoyance to him because his inherited investments have him set for life) to remember to make sure his child support payments go through. That was the premise of my example, to demonstrate a possible unfair situation.

It is fair, his parents created wealth of which he by random draw was born into that family. Sometimes parents make great sacrifices, like giving up exotic vacations, luxuries, etc. to send their kids to a good college to get a profitable degree. If the parents of the man discovered, networked, educated themselves, or worked hard to get the increase they did, should they be penalized for trying to do more, or be better?
That’s your new version of my example. I’ll give you the generosity you didn’t give me, and let you make up a new character. So you’re asking a completely different question about a different family. Who said anything about penalizing? Again, you seem completely stuck in only one concern – oh no, someone might be penalized for success – without even explaining how that even makes sense in this situation? How would someone be penalized? Did I suggest penalizing someone? NO. I was just trying to point out a situation where someone could be poor and sympathetic and how her situation would suck, largely because of all the disadvantages our “system” (as I define “system”, anyway) gives to people who are struggling. That’s where the penalties are, and where they matter – for people who are struggling, and one penalty can lead to another (e.g. overdraft fees, credit ratings, increased interest rates, mortgage forclosure, etc etc etc). I’m not saying that the rich dude should ALSO be tortured with stupid fees and consequences; I’m saying that struggling people should not be.

That is like telling Phelps because you are willing to train an extra 3 hours a day and that makes your technique better or him faster it is unfair to those who only wanted to train 90 min and no more.
How is it like that?

Just because the woman’s people did not know, or did not make opportunities to work their own business or get some degree in college and that resulted in a certain income level she was borne into, she did not have to stay there. To rise above it takes being resourceful sometimes, if she never figured it out, or did but thought it too much effort, tell me how that is the fault of those who did and became wealthy?
I never said it was their fault. But as you yourself wrote a while ago, life is not fair, and this is an example of that.

I think maybe one major missing puzzle piece is just your definition of what’s “life” versus what you call “system”.

(I wonder how this compares in length to the longest Fluther post…)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Ok, let’s play Monopoly. You start with $100. I’ll start with $10,000. According to, would that be fair?
It would not be fair if the game stated we both start that way, but if I took over the game from Larry Lunchmeat, who took it over from Willie Lump Lump, and both played badly, then it would not because it was an ongoing game. Much of what happens in the lives of daily families are ongoing.

I don’t understand why you keep trying to take unfairness and make it about the possibility or impossibility of overcoming the unfairness.
Well, I cannot understand why it is you see or try to make a disadvantage, which is often created by the person suffering it, unfair as if someone purposely done it to them to inflict injury or to purposely keep them in lack.

Is it really just that you have a crippling problem with the definition of the word “fair”?
I have a very good understanding of the context of ”fair” in this subject.

Since “unfair” means “treating people in a way that favors some over others”, MrGrimm888 already gave you several examples, and there are endless others
People talk about only seeing that one-sided, that door swings both ways. I know people one Section 8 that has subsidized housing, they can live in nicer areas than Larry Lunchmeat paying way more and one check away from being on the street. Section 8 caused Willie Lump Lump to be treated more favorably than Larry Lunchmeat, while something benefit person A, something different benefits person B.

So you draw a distinction between “life” (which you say is unfair), and something someone “directed”? So you draw a distinction between “life” (which you say is unfair), and something someone “directed”?
Whatever would have to be truly directed, as if no matter what cash you accumulated, or if you moved, you are told you can only go here or there to get a job or go to school, you can’t go to other places even if you could travel there or afford the credits, then it would be unfair because someone is limiting you by a specific plan or action,

Where do you draw the line on the topic?
In the context of this subject I view fair and unfair as something being done purposely to another by cheating, getting something outside the rules, preventing someone from using the rules everyone has, setting an artificial limitation that is not truly solid or real like placing tape around someone to keep them off the grass, when in reality anyone can just ignore the tape and go. People might be born in the hood (as I was), to a single mother (as I was), with no father in sight paying anything in (as I was), which is a disadvantage, the only reason I was there was I was born there and my parents made poor choices that affected me. I had advantages in some areas other people did not have by being poor, access to scholarships, free lunches, where other kids parents has to pay, if their parents were not wealthy but two notches above qualifying for a free lunch then their parents being short on money had to pay, so they were worse than the wealthy or myself. Some people in poverty get more favorable treatment, is that to say it is unfair to those who did not get them?

No one just simply wants to live on welfare and do nothing with their lives – even the people who are reduced to that condition, are not intrinsically that way, and need other kinds of help to get out of that state.
I grew up among poor people all I my life, most of my life I would be considered poor, some of the poor don’t care to work because they state takes care of them and they resign to live on the dole. Did they get that way because once you fall into the welfare quicksand they penalize you for trying to get out, is that An unfair part of the ”system”? One cannot simply pick out which part of the system IS THE SYSTEM because the system would include the rich and the poor and it doesn’t discriminate who it helps or not.

_Broadly? Politics, banking, every industry where there are effective monopolies, and many of he ones with massive competetive corporations, not to mention corporate lobbyists, on and on and on.__
Where there might be wealthy people involved with them, those are entities that are not individual people of wealth meeting in backrooms planning on how to rook the poor.

Depends on what you mean by the system, and as above, I think we may define it very differently. To me, the child support rules, the bank fees, the mortgage system, the way the banks and Wall Street have exploited mortgage system (and other debts), the available wages, the lack of welfare, the lack of affordable housing due to uncontrolled rents, the fact that a wealthy person can ignore most or all of that while they’re all important to non-wealthy people struggling to stay in the black or not too far in the red, etc etc etc, are all part of the system..
You always leave out Section 8 that allows people to have housing and not be on the street, EBT cars that allow people access to food they would not normally have (yeah, I have used them), free school lunches, Medical or Medicaid for free healthcare that otherwise would not be available (used that too), Pell Grants, and other scholarships available to those in poverty, the sword of the “system” cuts both ways.

She and I don’t care if she doesn’t get to go or know about the show. She’s too tired and preoccupied with trying to keep her life together in a situation that sucks
If she knew, knew it was free, knew what time, and that she simply had to stroll through the front door, if she don’t care, being too tired, preoccupied etc. she would never be there anyhow, so nothing changes for her even if the way were easier.

Do you think there is no such think as a divorced father who is too lazy or absent-minded (perhaps because finances are just an annoyance to him because his inherited investments have him set for life) to remember to make sure his child support payments go through. That was the premise of my example, to demonstrate a possible unfair situation.
It might happen but that is a personal issue between them. Is that any more fair than the guy who doesn’t pay because when he paid on time his kids were still walking around in cheap shoes that were just hanging on while the mother never missed a hair appointment and her new baby daddy has expensive gifts from her nearly every week?

So you’re asking a completely different question about a different family.
No, it is somewhat of a illustration of the so-called rich dad from a wealthy family who doesn’t pay his support. How he came to be wealthy or gotten there in the first place. If he was born into a family with money or one that acquired it in his youth, he was just position to benefit from his parents.

That is like telling Phelps because you are willing to train an extra 3 hours a day and that makes your technique better or him faster it is unfair to those who only wanted to train 90 min and no more.
How is it like that?
You have two poor high school girls equal in just about every way. Starting their sophomore years, one starts taking AP classes, and doing extra credit, doing volunteer internship work, networking with college students, and doing what she can to get tutoring in weak subjects and spending 1–2 hours studying in the library 3 days out of the week. The other girl spent her time going to the mall with friends, studying just enough to pass, never went to the library, no AP classes, if she wasn’t at the mall she was at some party of a friend’s house getting ”lit” when she wasn’t sexing it up in a back bedroom. If upon graduation the first girl has many scholarship offers from numerous schools, and the second girl can barely qualify for Jr. College, or get a job because of the slight education she choose because she did not take full advantage of what she could have, was the first girl being unfair to the second because she worked hard and made sacrifices?

I think maybe one major missing puzzle piece is just your definition of what’s “life” versus what you call “system”.
People want to think of the “system” as some all-inclusive, to me there are many and they all make up life like building blocks. Not every part favors everyone completely, the system, to me is like water or fire; fire under control is constructive, fire uncontrolled is destructive.

(I wonder how this compares in length to the longest Fluther post…)
That this one has way more substance and meat and not a crap load off fluff

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