Why I Favor a Minimum Wage of $12.50

Because $12.50 translates to just $500 dollars for a 40 hour work week ($2000 a month; $24,000 a year). Combine this minimum wage with Obamacare subsidies for health care, and you’ve got every full-time worker in the U.S. with a basic floor of dignity from which to live (capable of renting an apartment and making ends meet).

I would also gauge a $12.50 minimum wage to inflation so that no full-time worker in America ever again sees an erosion in his or her basic standard of living. If you work full time in the United States, you should know, at minimum, that you’ve got access to $2000 a month and health care. It’s motivating to know this; it’s spiriting.

I also favor a $12.50 minimum wage because worker productivity increases every year (primarily due to technology advances), but businesses do not tend to share this benefit to general efficiency with low-end workers. In other words, each year that the minimum wage does not increase, businesses are essentially pocketing the profits from low-end wage earners’ increased productivity. A $12.50 minimum wage would share the productivity gains of recent years with low-end wage earners.

And this is just. A $12.50 minimum wage gauged to inflation (or perhaps a tiny percentage above inflation) means that, if the average American worker is more productive year over year–generating more goods and services for the same hour of work–at least some of those productivity gains would be shared with workers at the lowest rungs of the wage scale.

I also favor a $12.50 minimum wage because unions are weak in the United States. If the government doesn’t step in and function as an honest broker on behalf of hard working Americans, it basically means that you are leaving the low wage worker at the mercy of lawyered-up people of means. One group has the leisure and resources to defend their interests, the other does not. In a democracy, one of the things that workers have going for them is the ballot box. They can use it as a substitute for union organizing by electing labor-sympathetic politicians, providing some push-back to the ever greater accumulation of wealth in the hands of the richest 1%.

So that’s why I favor a $12.50 minimum wage gauged to inflation. I acknowledge that it might not be good in the short term for inflation and unemployment (both might go up a bit on the initial implementation), but I think it would, over the long term, be good for society as a whole. Any negative effects would not be lasting.

What say you?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Why I Favor a Minimum Wage of $12.50

  1. Staffan says:

    I’m not sure about the exact level, but any country which leaves large groups out in the cold are going to be in trouble sooner or later. But the big issue here is diversity. Up until the 1960s, America was dominated by White Christians. That was the model and the identity. People stick together and show solidarity when they have a common identity. But from that decade and onwards they lost their dominance and America lost its identity. It’s not a community anymore, it’s a number of communities and a lot of rootless people who don’t belong anywhere. You can’t expect solidarity in that situation. We went multicultural here in Sweden too, in the 1980s, and suddenly it was everyone for himself.

    So you can legislate, but people will find ways around that, unreported employment and things like that.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Staffan,

      I don’t disagree with you that elderly white conservatives (for example) are reluctant to support the public schools because (a) their kids are grown; and (b) the kids in school are less composed of whites than they used to be. There’s no doubt that racism is a factor in opposition to contemporary unions as well.

      But to get a minimum wage increase, you’ve just got to get a majority of voters to support politicians who will vote for it. As demographics change, the ballot box is a way to bypass elderly white racism. Key parts of the new coalition will be young whites (who are less racist), Asians, hispanics, and blacks.

      Your idea that only racial and nationalist coalitions are stable in the 21st century–that people can’t set up stable democratic coalitions across traditional boundaries–is contradicted by the politics of California (which is where the United States as a whole is headed).

      You keep insisting that a European (ethnic, small country) model of organization is all that is really stable (psychologically) for people, and that the U.S. is doomed to fragmentation. I think the Tea Party is a Southern and limited historical phenomenon. I think the fact of urbanization counters the idea that people can’t live together and have shared heroes (such as Mandela).

      I also think we’re headed for an urban and internationalist world (barring an exchange of nuclear weapons or a global plague). So long as the global economy keeps growing over the next 50 years without interruption, I think people will keep their cultural traditions even as they tolerate one another (again, like California).

      Maybe I’m too optimistic. I worry that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan (for example) could completely destroy international humanism (and perhaps poison the planet for generations to come). It would tribalize the planet to have to deal with the starvation and ruin of a nuclear winter. Your model of the world would reassert itself.

      –Santi

      • Staffan says:

        “But to get a minimum wage increase, you’ve just got to get a majority of voters to support politicians who will vote for it. As demographics change, the ballot box is a way to bypass elderly white racism. Key parts of the new coalition will be young whites (who are less racist), Asians, hispanics, and blacks.”

        Sure, you can vote and look good on paper. But just like you bypass them, they in turn will bypass you. That’s a good example of why I don’t like diversity. You end up with all these unresolvable conflicts.

        “Your idea that only racial and nationalist coalitions are stable in the 21st century–that people can’t set up stable democratic coalitions across traditional boundaries–is contradicted by the politics of California (which is where the United States as a whole is headed).

        You keep insisting that a European (ethnic, small country) model of organization is all that is really stable (psychologically) for people, and that the U.S. is doomed to fragmentation. I think the Tea Party is a Southern and limited historical phenomenon. I think the fact of urbanization counters the idea that people can’t live together and have shared heroes (such as Mandela).

        I also think we’re headed for an urban and internationalist world (barring an exchange of nuclear weapons or a global plague). So long as the global economy keeps growing over the next 50 years without interruption, I think people will keep their cultural traditions even as they tolerate one another (again, like California).”

        It’s not my idea – although I don insist. It’s reality. 24/7 Wall Street recently ranked California as the worst run state in America. So let’s hope that the entire country isn’t heading that way. It’s also the state with the most diversity. A place like Nebraska is better than California in almost every imaginable aspect: http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/?s=nebraska

        Urbanization isn’t bringing people together. The only time Black youth meets with Othodox Jews in New York is when they play the knockout game. The big cities are increasingly gentrified and segregated.

        “Maybe I’m too optimistic. I worry that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan (for example) could completely destroy international humanism (and perhaps poison the planet for generations to come). It would tribalize the planet to have to deal with the starvation and ruin of a nuclear winter. Your model of the world would reassert itself.”

        Tribalism is in our DNA – it is always there, regardless of airy fairy international humanism or nuclear disaster. It’s biology – not my model. But my model is to build on human nature rather than to just dream stuff up.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Staffan:

        I don’t think I’m dreaming stuff up. Here’s a quote from a recent article in The New York Times listing California as the fifth fastest state in economic growth right now and Minnesota, a liberal state, doing better economically than Wisconsin (with a conservative governor):

        “[T]he first round of evidence [vs. Wisconsin] gives the edge to Minnesota’s model of increased services, higher costs (mostly for the affluent) and reduced payments to entrenched interests like the insurers who cover the Medicaid population.

        Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. […]

        Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business.”

        I do worry that we aren’t out of the woods when it comes to religion, culture, and nationalism blowing up the world (as in the India/Pakistan standoff with nuclear weapons), but I do think you’re underestimating the ability of humans, absent the old tribalisms, and in the presence of economic growth driven by technology, to get along.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/right-vs-left-in-the-midwest.html?_r=0

  2. Most minimum wage jobs require about a 6th grade education and about an hour of training. Almost anyone in America can do these jobs. These jobs are barely worth minimum wage, and surely not worth anything close to $10 / hour. By forcing employers to bay $10 for something worth less than $7 is going to see employers finding a new way to get the job done.

    How about a better solution of helping people to increase their value – rather than forcing others to pay more for lesser value? If you want to see the inevitable result of what happens to enterprises forced to pay excessive wages for employees that are not even remotely worth that wage, look at the UAW and collapse of the US auto makers. And do not forget that most union contracts are pegged to minimum wage – this bump will see a cost increase across the board.

    We live in a globalized economy and the math is really simple. US products already struggle overseas. Bumping min wage virtually guarantees that the US never reenters the manufacturing space and falls further behind in exports. Obama is set to sign another free trade agreement, that will be the death knell of us manufacturing when combined with a higher min wage.

    Like most progressive policies, this rise in min wage avoids the real issue – an untrained and uneducated group of people whose efforts are not worth much – and the proposed solution will actually most harm those who it seeks to help.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Jared,

      My problem with your analysis is twofold: (1) the work has to be done (otherwise it would be automated or outsourced); and (2) only one side of the employer-laborer equation has consistent representation: the employers. They can hire lawyers who can focus on negotiating a good deal for the employers’ bottom lines. Workers who do not have union representation cannot. They are in a situation where they’re divided and conquered.

      Thus, when you say that workers are not worth the current minimum wage, you are acting as if their value is obvious prior to negotiation. My argument is that, if workers and employers arrive at a bargaining table with equal representation, workers will get paid better than they currently do. Wages are, after all, socially negotiated. They are a product of a deal–I’m willing to do x if you are willing to do x. That’s how you determine value. This exchange will never get out of whack unless one side or the other is under-represented. In such a circumstance, the Atlases will shrug or the workers will strike. But if workers don’t even have the strike (because they are not organized), then they are at the mercy of employers.

      The very fact that conservatives have driven unions out of the equation in so much of American life means that one of the few places that workers can still get some fairness going their way (wage-wise) is through the democratic ballot box (a blunt instrument).

      Germany has higher minimum wages than the U.S. and has a more generous safety net, yet still manages to compete in the global economy. How can that be by the logic you insist upon? Also, in the United States, Minnesota and California (two liberal states) have done better in terms of economic growth than Wisconsin (a conservatively governed state) over the past several years. How come?

      –Santi

      • Santi,

        I disagree with your 2 assertions. The work will only get outsourced / automated when the cost doing so shows a reasonable ROI. For instance, if you only save a marginal amount that would take 10 years to recoup, few businesses will pull the plug on such a move. An ROI of a few years makes the decision easier, and less than a year makes it a no brainer.

        Your assertion of representation is also flawed as it completely ignores free market economics. Just as the market dictates the price of a widget, the market dictates the price of a worker’s skill. The more rare and valuable to employers the skill set, the higher the wage. Supply and demand make this easy to see. Looking at fast food workers, the skill sets for that job are roughly a 6th grade education and an hour or two of training. That means there are about 200,000,000 people in the USA capable of doing that job. Which implicitly means there is little value in the skill set. Collective bargaining really only serves those who have very common and non-valuable skills.

      • You are actually talking about the exact *opposite* of negotiation. Your claim is that the worth of a worked is determined by the market forces and finally based upon the result of a worker (or their representative) and an employer (or their representative.) I agree.

        But your solution to wages you don’t like is to set them using government *force.* Fine, but don’t pretend that your solution is allowing wages to somehow land where they naturally “belong.”

        And, BTW, stop cherry picking states😀 How come you keep discussing the *fifth* fastest growing states? And what do you have to say for Minnesota’s barely better than average employment numbers, or the fact that California’s growth is theorized to have grown largely due to its (I suspect, largely non-unionized), deeply entrenched tech sector, rather than some liberal policy?

        Also, BTW, I absolutely love your blog (well, the non-political posts at least ;-]) Thanks for very interesting reading (just finished the deepities post.)

  3. Cody says:

    I would support an increase in the minimum wage, and I think the amount you propose is reasonable. I also think you support your argument well. You’re clearly focused on the humanitarian aspect of the minimum wage and how real people are effecte by our legislation. Directly above me, Jared Rodriguez makes some interesting points as well – he seems to be focused on the economics. Both of these arguments, one for an improvement in living standards, and the other for an increase in value, are valid and I think both should be taken into account. We can’t legislate purely on idealistic/humanitarian grounds without considering the economic factors that cause some of these problems in the first place. After all, the stagnation in wages we saw in the 1970s was not only due to lobbying in Washington. It wasn’t only caused by the leaps forward in computer technology, or the exportation of labor. It was all of these things combined. For the most part, though, I think we’re safe to approach these problems from a foundation in humanitarianism. The point of view being argued from by Mr. Rodriguez above certainly represents a capitalist perspective: people are worth what they’re labor produces, and there’s no reason to pay them more than what their labor is worth on an international market. While in many ways this is how our sstem functions, that doesn’t mean that’s how it should function. We must be open to production for use, rather than production for sale/export. I may be proposing something a little too radical, though, especially in a country where socialism is a bad word.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Cody,

      I think you can’t escape the economics of human existence: you can’t force people to do things they don’t want to. When push comes to shove, rich Atlases can shrug; workers can strike. The key is that you have a fair playing field where the interests of employers and workers are represented from both sides with good lawyers and laws. Then you can arrive at deals that keep all sides reasonably happy (even if they don’t get exactly everything they want). Right now, in my view, the working poor are at a serious disadvantage in our country. They have poor or no union representation and poor legislative representation. You don’t need “production for use” as a substitute for traditional Smithian economics (capitalism). You just need democracy and unions functioning properly as a balance to its abuses (as in, say, Germany).

  4. Staffan says:

    “I don’t think I’m dreaming stuff up. Here’s a quote from a recent article in The New York Times listing California as the fifth fastest state in economic growth right now and Minnesota, a liberal state, doing better economically than Wisconsin (with a conservative governor):

    Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business.

    I do worry that we aren’t out of the woods when it comes to religion, culture, and nationalism blowing up the world (as in the India/Pakistan standoff with nuclear weapons), but I do think you’re underestimating the ability of humans, absent the old tribalisms, and in the presence of economic growth driven by technology, to get along.”

    Yes, but the economy grows by mere immigration. You can bring in half of Mexico and it would make your economy grow like crazy – but you wouldn’t be better off.

    As for Minnesota and Wisconsin, both state are doing pretty well, Minnesota a little better. That may well be their progressiv politics, keep in mind that I’m socially conservative but economically a leftist. So I’m not surprised or disappointed by that. But I think it’s difficult to reconcile diversity and economic equality, and that boils down to our tribal nature – people don’t want to pay for strangers. Another part of human nature is intelligence and personality. If you convert NAEP scores to IQ (a reasonable proxy) you find that Minnesota is at 101 compare to Wisconsin’s 100. That may sound negligible but one point, especially close to the average, has big consequences on both state and national level. (As I’ve mentioned before California is at 95 and no country on the face of the Earth prospers at that level.) Minnesota also has more personality traits linked to entrepreneurship. But again, I’m not ruling out their left-leaning policies as a factor, I just doubt that you can implement it in a large and diverse state like California – and I have 25 percent poor and 7 percent illegals to prove my point. Minnesota is small and doesn’t have much diversity. That’s why their politics is working.

  5. Alan says:

    While I believe the analysis by Staffan is reasonably constant with the evidence, it is seriously flawed from a policy perspective. Simply put, it is fatalistic and basically fascist. I suggest it would be far more productive to view the problem as that age old phenomenon of altruism and freeriders. Everywhere altruism arises, whether among birds or welfare moms, any individual that can free-ride gains an advantage. This is also why techniques to combat freeriders have evolved along with altruism. The advantage of clans is that altruism has been evolving in human clans for tens of thousands of years and they have developed social techniques (largely captured in religion) to combat this cheating. Modern, liberal, inclusive societies are especially vulnerable to freeriders for many reasons, not the least of which is their self imposed ethos of respecting the ‘dignity’ of all members. Shame is probably the most used and most effective social pressure within clans to limit free riding. The liberal, multicultural societies reject the use of shame as it reduces the dignity of the target, but leaves the society with few effective techniques for motivating any outside the mainstream to carry their own weight. The obvious solution is to develop new techniques of leadership and motivation to get the disenfranchised off the streets and couches and into jobs. A $15 dollar per hour minimum wage, of itself, would not be enough. A Kennedy-esque ‘What can you do for your country’ could work if one could make it really feel compelling. I was really hoping Obama would become a leader who would do this. Needless to say, I am disappointed. I think he has the leadership talent, but no vision.

    • Staffan says:

      If I’m fatalistic and fascist for rejecting diversity then that implies a weird definition of fascism, which I’m guessing you will not provide here ; )

      The clannish and tribal immigrants have no doubt higher frequencies of gene variants for familial altruism, many of them are even today inbred. Behavioral traits are very resistant to external influence. You can’t make an introvert out of an extravert or turn a conscientious person impulsive (with less than head trauma). And yet this is what you suggest, using “techniques of leadership and motivation.” Even a dictator couldn’t do this, let alone a politician who needs to cater to all the clannish/tribal minorities in order to be elected.

      • Alan says:

        While fascists characteristically reject diversity, not all diversity rejection is fascist, and no, I do not think you fascist despite a couple of similarities in agenda. What we are looking at here is taking advantage of a situation, something all life forms do. This is not about personality types among humans. Cheating or freeriding is nothing more than taking advantage of your situation. Altruistic birds develop techniques for discouraging freeriders, so it should be no trick for humans if they would just address the problem appropriately and persistently. This too represents nothing new as diversity has been succeeding spectacularly if only limitedly for thousands of years. Diversity is a hallmark of empires, Rome being the most outstanding example. Herein, also is the fatalistic dimension to your vision – only through managing diversity can you manage an empire and the economies of scale that go along with it. Leaders with vision have been demonstrating this for three thousand years.

  6. Staffan says:

    Thanks for clarifying – and for not calling me a fascist : )

    It is, however, a matter of personality. Cheating is far from situational. There are traits like agreeability that incorporates altruism and there are darker traits like psychopathy that is linked to an exploitative way of living. Look it up in any text book on personality psychology or behavioral genetics – the evidence is overwhelming and have been since the 1980s. Humans already have ways of dealing with individuals who exploit the group and won’t change their ways. Eskimos take them seal hunting and push them into the water. Loads of these cheaters are in prison and when they get out the behave exactly as when they got in. And believe me, many attempts have been made to reform these individuals. So imagine when you have a group of cheaters held together by familial altruism, with their own history and culture, supporting each other in their exploitation of others, mainly of White liberals since they are among the few that will allow it.

    I don’t think success of empires can be linked to diversity. Rome was extremely strong during the early republic when it lacked diversity but by the time of internationalists like Ceasar, anyone was a Roman and by that logic no one was a Roman and it all went south from there on. You can see this reflected in how Appius who financed the Via Appia did this for the community because that gave him respect among other Romans. By the end of the republic his ancestor Clodia was merely famous for her sex scandals and wild parties, a Paris Hilton of her day, someone who only cared about herself and her closest relatives. By that time diversity had undermined the Roman sense of community to the point that no one but the naivest were still thinking about the common good – the republic.

    America is at that stage now and you will be as suprised when you split up into parts as the Romans no doubt were when they did.

    • Alan says:

      Rome traded its strong sense of community as a republic for phenomenal wealth and prosperity as an empire. For Rome, the executive challenges of diversity were too much for the republic, so they opted for empire and prosperity (and the associated decadence) that were available only with diversity. The Roman Republic lasted about six hundred tears, the empire about fifteen hundred and was far more profitable. Cheating is absolutely situational, but all individuals react uniquely to a degree. While a rare few individuals are genetically pathological, that does not change with diversity. One big change, however, is the ‘rule of law’ with larger, diverse states rejecting the vigilante laws of the clans such as simply killing a cheater as in your Eskimo example. Modern, diverse states have prisons where clans may have only cemeteries. Managing/governing a large diverse state is far more difficult than a small clan, but those who can achieve it gain the advantage of scale.

      • Staffan says:

        So then we agree that diversity is corrosive. You may of course value material wealth more but I just wish the politicians pushing this agenda were as open about the situation as you are.

        Back to cheating. It’s not a pathological tendency but a part of normal behavioral traits. Psychopathy is only rare if you measure it using arbitrary cutoff points. Like all these traits it’s dimensional. Again, look at the research – and then compare it to the nonsense social psychologists use the promote their situationality – ironically they have quite a reputation for, well, cheating. But even when they don’t their studies are often of really low quality,

        http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/why-social-psychology-sucks/

        I agree that the rule of law is harder to maintain with a diverse state – that’s one reason I’m not enthusiastic about it. But more than that the values on which the law is based become undermined and newly arrived people of tribal/clannish nature can easily maintain their way of life and take advantage of the chaotic situation that this leads to. While the host nation dissolves they can stay together because of their familial altruism and extract resources without contributing or reciprocating in any way.

      • Alan says:

        Dear friend Staffan, you ‘Agree that the rule of law is harder to maintain with a diverse state’? – no, I think you have been insisting on that and it is I who am agreeing with you! As for corrosion, remember that it is an essential component of recycling – a necessary step in clearing out the waste of failed societies.
        The situation in the host state where ‘the values on which its law is based and the extent to which they become undermined and newly arrived people of tribal/clannish nature can easily maintain their way of life and take advantage of the chaotic situation’ is very much an issue of the leadership in the host state. It is necessary for diversity to accept some of the new culture, but not all. Both sides will push on this and weak leadership will allow the new comers to ‘easily maintain their way of life and take advantage of the chaotic situation that this leads to’. This is why empires are so rare. They present unique leadership challenges that tribal/clannish societies cannot teach you to solve. You must develop a unique solution for your situation, or the empire will fail into a clutch of clans. This of course, will make this failed state and its disparate clans easy pickings for a neighboring/competing state with better leadership. China, for example, is coming out of a thousand years of foreign domination (Mongols then Brits) and getting its leadership act together. It is more the worlds largest clan than a diverse society, which gives it some unique conditions that it has been using to its advantage these last seven decades.
        With three thousand years of sporadic success, however, the challenges of empire are getting sorted out and diverse societies are becoming more common.
        Life is a continuous struggle against entropy, against the universe. No one can ever win, you can survive for a while or perish sooner rather than later and without offspring or with. This is a Darwinian universe of ceaseless competition. What you or I want is irrelevant, what succeeds is what I am addressing. Empires out-compete clans almost every time. Some clans will outlive an empire, but the next empire will still re-dominate the clan if that clan cannot build its own empire.

  7. Staffan says:

    Ok, you agree with me. That works too.

    “As for corrosion, remember that it is an essential component of recycling – a necessary step in clearing out the waste of failed societies.”

    Not sure what you mean by this. Rome wasn’t failed until the became diverse – same for America and same for Western Europe. The corrosion is the failure in this case which makes the metaphor a bit illogical.

    Again you claim this can be solved with the proper leadership – but how? China is not falling apart but that’s because they have an authoritarian regime and very little diversity. And their clannishness is still a problem that you can see in the level of corruption – a common problem for these societies.

    “…the challenges of empire are getting sorted out and diverse societies are becoming more common.”

    That was another great opportunity to be a little specific. The British empire fell, the Soviet empire fell, and the American empire is fragmentizing right now. Diverse countries are becoming common, yes, but Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron have all admitted that diversity in their respective countries has been a failure.

    “Empires out-compete clans almost every time. Some clans will outlive an empire, but the next empire will still re-dominate the clan if that clan cannot build its own empire.”

    “This is a Darwinian universe of ceaseless competition. What you or I want is irrelevant, what succeeds is what I am addressing.”

    Now who’s the fatalist?

    If you think empires are destined to win some Darwinian struggle of the fittest then why try to change the inevitable with those leadership techniques (that you never specified)?

    You may also want to consider that most clannish people have existed for thousands of years and outlived numerous empires, like the Gypsies for instance. The specific clans die out and are replaced by new ones, but the system lives on. They’ve seen the Romans, the Ottomans, the British, the Soviets rise and fall. And they are still standing. They are serious badass. What diversity means is inviting them to your house and hoping some clever leadership will reform them. That’s crazy. They will bury you, that’s what’s going to happen.

    • Alan says:

      No, no. Fatalism is seeing the problems and giving up as you are suggesting we do. Settling for mediocrity with greatness on the horizon. What I am offering is a vision of a world to be united. The Roma have survived thousands of years fleeing one refugee camp for the next. The British, Roman, Russian and Ottoman clans have been around every bit as long, ruling their own lands as they still do, but each with a brief explosion into greatness. The history of the Roma has been to bury their own, no one else.
      As for ‘reforming’ the Roma, there are an estimated one million in the US, ‘blending seamlessly into the community’ to quote wiki. Reform accomplished.
      I absolutely think empires will win this Darwinian conflict – through effective leadership. I am promoting, not trying to change, the inevitable. My motive, though, is that by preparing in advance, effective leaders can be trained and empires such as Persia, Rome and Britain become possible. Simply left to Darwinian chance, you get too often such as Alexander or Hitler where the conquest does not survive the conqueror and the potential empire never forms. Without planning you also have a much greater potential for psycho leaders as Alexander or Hitler (So what if psycho was considered god-like to those Greeks).
      As I mentioned in my first post to this thread, the most important function of a leader is to motivate the people to productivity – such as Kennedy’s ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. Diversity has not been a failure in Europe, just poorly managed and far less successful that it should be. Minorities there have been ignored and disenfranchised, so they struck out on their own for their clans at the expense of the majority when with a bit of official oversight they could have been productively integrated into their economies. Their diverse children should never have been left to wander the streets in gangs or congregating with radical imams. School programs, vocational training programs, recreational programs – even the old Roman approach of bread and circuses would have been an improvement.

      • Staffan says:

        “No, no. Fatalism is seeing the problems and giving up as you are suggesting we do.”

        I’m suggesting homogeneity – you suggest diversity. How does that make me the person who is giving up? You did say, “What you or I want is irrelevant, what succeeds is what I am addressing.”

        “What I am offering is a vision of a world to be united. The Roma have survived thousands of years fleeing one refugee camp for the next. The British, Roman, Russian and Ottoman clans have been around every bit as long, ruling their own lands as they still do, but each with a brief explosion into greatness.”

        Meaning clans survive – empires don’t. That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

        “The history of the Roma has been to bury their own, no one else.
        As for ‘reforming’ the Roma, there are an estimated one million in the US, ‘blending seamlessly into the community’ to quote wiki. Reform accomplished.”

        So they’re a huge problem in Europe (30 percent of youth crime in Madrid with less of 2 percent of the resident population of all age groups) but they cross the Atlantic and it all just goes away? They are by their own admission inbreeding – the ultimate source of clannishness – is that part of blending in? Forgive me for being skeptical of that Wikipedia article. Does this go for your other minorities too?

        “I absolutely think empires will win this Darwinian conflict – through effective leadership. I am promoting, not trying to change, the inevitable.”

        And I’m the fatalist for resisting that which you think of as inevitable?

        “My motive, though, is that by preparing in advance, effective leaders can be trained and empires such as Persia, Rome and Britain become possible. Simply left to Darwinian chance, you get too often such as Alexander or Hitler where the conquest does not survive the conqueror and the potential empire never forms. Without planning you also have a much greater potential for psycho leaders as Alexander or Hitler (So what if psycho was considered god-like to those Greeks).”

        You’ve been saying this all along, that leadership will fix it. You just never specifiy exactly what your solution is.

        “As I mentioned in my first post to this thread, the most important function of a leader is to motivate the people to productivity – such as Kennedy’s ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. Diversity has not been a failure in Europe, just poorly managed and far less successful that it should be. Minorities there have been ignored and disenfranchised, so they struck out on their own for their clans at the expense of the majority when with a bit of official oversight they could have been productively integrated into their economies. Their diverse children should never have been left to wander the streets in gangs or congregating with radical imams. School programs, vocational training programs, recreational programs – even the old Roman approach of bread and circuses would have been an improvement.”

        You don’t get it. Western Europe is all welfare states. They get all sorts of benefits; they just lack an interest in being part of society. This is where you should apply a Darwinian perspective. People are tribal, sometimes clannish. They don’t change when they come here.

        Also, the general theory that empires will prevail is flawed since their is no evolutionary argument why humans would create sustainable empires. Some group – Brits, Russians, Romans etc – gets the upper hand for a while and then collapses because of the diversity that empires inevitably create. That’s tribalism. There is no empirism.

      • Alan says:

        Yes, you are the fatalist for giving up without trying for greatness. Are the Brits worse off today for their admittedly brief foray into empire than say the Irish? The Romans vs. the Roma? The Turks vs. the Armenians? Their empires may have folded, but the clans remain stronger for their attempt. Every Darwinian advance is temporary, to be superseded in time by a new form. The Neolithic clans have superseded the Paleolithic tribes almost everywhere on earth. The clans are being superseded by a new social form that incorporates diversity. Empires do not create diversity, the diversity has always been there in clannish isolation. Empires embrace diversity to outgrow the limits of clan. As you correctly note, therein lies serious new challenges. And yes, in the US, the Roma are integrated and invisible to nearly all of us, as are the vast majority of the minorities – both in the US and Western Europe. The Roma continue to be a problem in Europe because Europe continues to mismanage their situation. And, yes, I contend that every problem within diverse societies with minorities is a solvable problem.
        I think I do get it and I also think welfare is an essential component of a diverse state. The strong familial support of clannish societies breaks down and the state needs to step in with welfare and other socializing services. Welfare is not the problem, but a part of the solution. The missing part for Europe and the US is the passing out of inspiration and motivation along with the food and drink. The Roman answer to this, successful for centuries, was the Circus. The epitome of Roman pride and culture – it made all the peasants proud to be Roman. You seem to forget that the ‘collapse’ of the Roman Empire came a thousand years after their embrace of diversity. You are also ignoring that Rome fell to the Ottoman Empire – a competing diversified state, which in turn fell to the combined waning British and emerging American empires.

  8. Staffan says:

    Whether the Brits are worse off today isn’t the issue. Roma can’t be compared to Romans because the latter don’t exist!

    “Empires do not create diversity, the diversity has always been there in clannish isolation.”

    No, diversity is not the variation that was always there, it is the bringing together of various people under a common law and government.

    “And yes, in the US, the Roma are integrated and invisible to nearly all of us, as are the vast majority of the minorities – both in the US and Western Europe.”

    Black Americans are highly overrepresented in murder and rape as are Muslims in Europe. Are those not part of the vast majority of minorities then? Not so vast then. And if you have some data to back up the idea of integrated Roma in the US then you have a case, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    “I think I do get it and I also think welfare is an essential component of a diverse state. The strong familial support of clannish societies breaks down and the state needs to step in with welfare and other socializing services.”

    That’s what politicians hope for but which doesn’t happen. They stay in their clans or tribes, take all the benefits and don’t in anyway reciprocate. They keep their way of living but they destroy the Western societies.

    “Welfare is not the problem, but a part of the solution. The missing part for Europe and the US is the passing out of inspiration and motivation along with the food and drink. The Roman answer to this, successful for centuries, was the Circus. The epitome of Roman pride and culture – it made all the peasants proud to be Roman.”

    Those motivational speeches on how we are all Americans, Europeans, Germans, Brits etc, they haven’t added up to anything. So good luck with that.

    “You seem to forget that the ‘collapse’ of the Roman Empire came a thousand years after their embrace of diversity. You are also ignoring that Rome fell to the Ottoman Empire – a competing diversified state, which in turn fell to the combined waning British and emerging American empires.”

    No, there is a lag. Rome became a very efficient machine and it took along time for it to lose its momentum. And once they were weak enough anyone could knock them down. That another empire did it is not logically relevant to the idea that their decline was due to diversity.

    I guess I don’t have much more to say and I don’t care for repeating myself. If you have that inpirational thingy that will change thousands of years of cultural isolation, inbreeding and familial altruism then that’s great. But I haven’t actually seen you produce any evidence to support this possibility.

    • Alan says:

      Believe it or not, examples constitute evidence in this business. Every empire, every diversified state serves as example, and all, by and large, outperform clan states.
      Rome’s ‘momentum’ ran out with Nero at the helm and it was an up and down struggle for survival for the next twelve hundred years when the Ottomans armed with cannon took Constantinople. No clan army could field cannon (incredibly expensive in the fifteenth century), and no army without cannon could have taken Constantinople – too well fortified. Diversified states have been the only really winning players on the international scene for two thousand years with few exceptions. Even the Vikings, highly successful clan bandits, embraced diversity when they set about organizing a state in (modern) Kiev – and hired a staff of bishops and clergy out of Constantinople about 867 C.E. to help administer government while converting local pagans (Professor Kenneth W. Harl, “The Vikings,” 2005).
      Google: ‘Roma in the US’. We got a million of ‘em but nobody (save the Roma themselves) cares ‘cause they cause no trouble.
      In the US, we have thousands of minority cultures – from every state in Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond. Just a couple make headlines.
      Those motivational speeches on how we are all Americans, Europeans, Germans, Brits etc. have added up to power, to empire. Europe together with its American colony has dominated the world politically, economically and militarily for the last five hundred years. What part of success do you just not get?
      Perhaps the vagaries of English are tripping you here, but diversity IS the variation that was always there. Creating a diverse state or empire is the bringing together of various people under a common law and government. Empires do not create this diversity of people. The diverse clans preexist the incorporating states.
      Name a Western society that has been destroyed by a clannish people who kept their way of living, who stay in their clans or tribes, take all the benefits and don’t in anyway reciprocate. Methinks you be suffering under groundless fears.

      • Staffan says:

        Clan state is a contradiction in terms. The thing with them is that they are largely independent and even hostile to states. This is why they cause so much corruption. So the question is if empires outperform clannish people. The the former are 99 percent extinct whereas the clannish people are plenty all over the Muslim world and elsewhere and have been for thousands of years. If your enemy has ceased to exist, it means you won.

        Yes, every successful tribe will try to establish an empire and in doing so they inevitably embrace diversity – and as a consequence collapse.

        If you can produce crime stats or any form of evidence regarding the Roma then do so. When I google Roma I find plenty of news articles suggesting that they are doing the same scams and frauds in America as in Europe. So even the anecdotal evidence is inconclusive. Just a couple make headlines? First, I saw plenty of Roma headlines and so can anyone who follows your advice to google Roma. Secondly, that couple of minorities make up 30 percent of the population. Oh, just a couple…

        “Those motivational speeches on how we are all Americans, Europeans, Germans, Brits etc. have added up to power, to empire. Europe together with its American colony has dominated the world politically, economically and militarily for the last five hundred years. What part of success do you just not get?”

        Obviously the West has been succesful but do you honestly think this is due to motivational speeches on how we are all part of the same empire? You think maybe science and technology could have had something to do with this? This implies that every empire that has perished did so because its leaders couldn’t find the right words.

        “Creating a diverse state or empire is the bringing together of various people under a common law and government. Empires do not create this diversity of people. The diverse clans preexist the incorporating states.”

        You already said that and I replied,

        “No, diversity is not the variation that was always there, it is the bringing together of various people under a common law and government.”

        But that’s on me for not ending this discussion in my previous comment and instead getting into this repetitions. I said my piece and I think you’ve done too and any third party reading this can decide for themselves. You may continue but keep in mind that my lack of response is not meant as impoliteness or because I’ve run out of arguments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s