Equality = inevitable?:

Total posts: [49]
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26 Madrugada26th Feb 2014 01:54:01 PM , Relationship Status: In season
The topic is NOT Men's Rights Activists.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
Good, glad to see it stop sliding away from the main topic. Let's keep it focused on equality and the forces of it, what makes it work, what causes it or can harm it, etc.
28 TobiasDrake26th Feb 2014 03:22:04 PM from Colorado, USA , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to overcome in the name of equality is the notion of entitlement, and the fundamental question of, "How does this affect me?"

The gaining of rights inevitably means the weakening or even outright losing of rights for others. This is what makes the fight for equality so difficult; because where one party sees a quest to try and attain something that everyone else seems to be allowed to have, the other party sees an effort to take something away from them.

For an example, let's take a look at slavery in the United States. For many years, the right to purchase and own slaves was considered a normal, perfectly acceptable thing to do. Some of the greatest men in the early days - Founding Fathers included - owned slaves, and were even able to sit down at a table and write the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN are created equal," and then go home to their slaves. Slaves just plain didn't count as men, and many didn't question it.

The prospect of emancipation was a hard and complicated one in the United States, and opinions began to differ wildly on it. Why? Because it was culturally-engrained, and because some slaveowners' entire livelihoods were at stake. To the black man yearning for freedom, Emancipation meant the chance to have the same rights as everybody else, but to the white plantation owner, it meant losing the right to have a cheap, hard-working, and reliable workforce. The black man's fight for abolition was much longer and much harder than it needed to be, because gaining the right to freedom meant the white man losing the right to own the black man.

When women gained the right to vote, it meant that every man's vote was worth half as much, because now twice as many people were voting. When women gained the right to work, men lost the right to have his wife stay at home keeping the house and cooking the meal. Women gain the right to say no to their husbands when they want sex, and men lose the right to have sex whenever they damn well please.

Every 'right' gained is a 'right' lost to someone else. This is what makes a civil rights battle so difficult: because ultimately, it relies on convincing those in power to surrender a portion of their power, when all they can see is the power they are giving up. For everyone to have a slice of the pie means less pie for those who already have theirs, and it's all too easy to fall into the trap of only seeing the pie you are losing, and not the pie that others are gaining.

Equality, at its core, means that some people have to be convinced to give up things that never should have been considered their right in the first place.
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29 Madrugada26th Feb 2014 04:11:45 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I'm going to quibble a little bit, about the way you phrased this:
The gaining of rights inevitably means the weakening or even outright losing of rights for others.

My quibble is with the use of "rights" as the third-to-last word. What is lost when equality is achieved by extending rights to a group that didn't have them before is not a right, and never was a right. It was a privilege, a benefit, or a perk. Not a right. You said that at the very end, but I believe that in a nutshell, the overly broad use of "right" to mean "something I want" is a big part of the struggle for equality.

edited 26th Feb '14 4:13:58 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
30 shiro_okami26th Feb 2014 07:44:03 PM , Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
...can still bite
[up][up] In a nutshell, it's about the need for people to stop being selfish and to treat other people the way they want to be treated.
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
I do agree strongly with the idea that the fight against equality is the fight against losing privileges. Look at the people who claim "religious freedom!" as their reason for not wanting to allow gay marriages. Actual religious freedom is allowing those churches who wish to be allowed to perform gay marriages to be able to perform them, and those that don't want to, the right not to. Which is precisely how it is in New Hampshire.

Therefore, claims that one is losing freedom in this particular case are ludicrous. And with a great many Christians in the US (enough that a majority of Americans now support it) supporting gay marriage, no-one can claim "religious freedom" is denying it. But they still do claim it.
As John Green of Crash Course often says, the definition of the word "freedom", and whatever contemporary society thinks it is, greatly shapes what American culture is at a given era. There's a constant tug-of-war between the concepts of "Freedom To" and "Freedom From", with both having validity to some degree, but both being dangerous in extreme.
33 BlueNinja027th Feb 2014 07:14:13 AM from An Overcrowded Island , Relationship Status: Charming Titania with a donkey face
Under Construction
[up][up] There's a number of objecting people who seem to think that "this is legal" means "I am required to do it". A little logical chain of, "If gay people can marry," + "people get married in churches," = "gays will get married in my church."note  I won't say that logic is completely flawed, because some gays probably will want to get married in a church with someone who objects. Their outrage is bolstered by court cases against discrimination, and they miss the fact that discrimination by a business is treated separately than discrimination by a church.note 

That being said, I do think that merely by virtue of having successful equal rights campaigns in the pastnote  makes it easier nowadays to fight for equal rightsnote . The people fighting for rights can look at what tactics were successful or unsuccessful; they can draw parallels between their own struggle and the ones that came beforenote . Those comparisons, and drawing on successful equal rights campaigns from the past should make it more likely for them to succeed themselves - but only in areas that accept it.

As an example, look at Uganda. Homophobia is rampant there, in no small part because of homophobes from the US exporting it. But Uganda doesn't have the same history of civil rights or voting rights; they can't identify with the history behind MLK Jr, Malcom X, or any of the suffragettes. Their history of rights is more closely tied to colonial imperialism, and there's not much that gays can do to identify with that movement to help fight for their own rights, either in legal courts or public opinion ones. South Africa's history of equal rights is tied into apartheid, something that I doubt most Americans understand at all, let alone in the same way they do.
We sit in a darkened room smoking cigars and drinking pretentious wines from snifters while guffawing about the ignorance of the masses.
34 Ogodei27th Feb 2014 09:54:20 AM from The front lines
Fuck you, Fascist sympathizers
I would agree with the idea that equality is inevitable in a big-picture, long-game sense. That does not mean that there can't be backslides, but these are flukes in the trend, that has been going upward starting in the Western world all the way back since the Black Death and the first agricultural revolution that happened around the same time.

This is not to lessen the struggles of those who achieved the freedoms we now appreciate, but it is to say that if it had not been MLK, it would have been another black crusader, which may have taken a different approach but achieved more or less the same thing. If it hadn't been FDR with the New Deal in the early 30s, it would have been Huey Long with the "big deal" or something in the late 30s. Which is still 4 years or so without it, which means a lot to a person living through it, but in the big picture is a blip on the radar.

Much of our struggles are still important for the saving and bettering of individual lives now, but in the long run, it's a small contribution to goods that are appreciated and would have been appreciated in any sense. It's similar with science and technology. If Nazi saboteurs had managed to blow up the Manhattan Project facilities, somebody would have still devised the Bomb. If America hadn't put a man on the moon, the Soviet Union likely would have.
Articles that say equality might not survive in future :


The human race is on the brink of momentous and dire change. It is a change that potentially smashes our institutions and warps our society beyond recognition. It is also a change to which almost no one is paying attention. I’m talking about the coming obsolescence of the gun-wielding human infantryman as a weapon of war. Or to put it another way: the end of the Age of the Gun.


The advantage of people with guns is that they are cheap and easy to train. In the modern day, it’s true that bombers, tanks, and artillery can lay waste to infantry—but those industrial tools of warfare are just so expensive that swarms of infantry can still deter industrialized nations from fighting protracted conflicts. Look at how much it cost the United States to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, versus how much it cost our opponents. The hand-held firearm reached its apotheosis with the cheap, rugged, easy-to-use AK-47; with this ubiquitous weapon, guerrilla armies can still defy the mightiest nations on Earth.

The Age of the Gun is the age of People Power. The fact that guns don’t take that long to master means that most people can learn to be decent gunmen in their spare time. That’s probably why the gun is regarded as the ultimate guarantor of personal liberty in America—in the event that we need to overthrow a tyrannical government, we like to think that we can put down our laptops, pick up our guns, and become an invincible swarm.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. People Power has often been used not for freedom, but to establish nightmarish tyrannies, in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and elsewhere. But Stalin, Mao, and their ilk still had to win hearts and minds to hold power; in the end, when people wised up, their nightmare regimes were reformed into something less horrible.


Where this scenario really gets scary is when it combines with economic inequality. Although few people have been focusing on robot armies, many people have been asking what happens if robots put most of us out of a job. The final, last-ditch response to that contingency is income redistribution – if our future is to get paid to sit on a beach, so be it.

But with robot armies, that’s just not going to work. To pay the poor, you have to tax the rich, and the Robot Lords are unlikely to stand for that. Just imagine Tom Perkins with an army of cheap autonomous drones. Or Greg Gopman. We’re all worried about the day that the 1% no longer need the 99%–but what’s really scary is when they don’t fear the 99% either.


We can carry this dystopian thought exercise through to its ultimate conclusion. Imagine a world where gated communities have become self-contained cantonments, inside of which live the beautiful, rich, Robot Lords, served by cheap robot employees, guarded by cheap robot armies. Outside the gates, a teeming, ragged mass of lumpen humanity teeters on the edge of starvation. They can’t farm the land or mine for minerals, because the invincible robot swarms guard all the farms and mines. Their only hope is to catch the attention of the Robot Lords inside the cantonments, either by having enough rare talent to be admitted as a Robot Lord, or by becoming a novelty slave for a little while.

This sounds like nothing more than a fun science fiction story, but why shouldn’t this happen? Human civilization was somewhat like this for most of our history—aristocrats feasting in their manor houses, half-starved peasants toiling in the fields. What liberated us? It might have been the printing press, or capitalism, or the sailing ship. But it might have been the gun. And if it was the gun that liberated us, then we should be very worried. Because when the Age of the Gun ends, the age of freedom and dignity and equality that much of humanity now enjoys may turn out to have been a bizarre, temporary aberration.

This tiny forest is where all the action is!
I see that article's point, but with 3D printing becoming cheaper and more affordable, what's to stop regular people from building their own robot army, so to speak?

And if the 99% are wiped out, who will buy what the 1% produce? Who will subsidize their way of life? If 3D printing and robots and so on can make people live like monarchs on very little money, then I'd imagine that would extend to regular people as well.
37 Wolf106612th Mar 2014 12:17:49 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
[up][up]I'm certainly less worried about machines under the control of an anti-human AI that developed from a self-aware machine than I am of machines under the control of greedy pricks whose only God is the Bottom Line - the latter is far more likely.

"Ooooh, the machines may decide to rise up against humans because all AIs automatically become evil misanthropes" is not a particularly reelistic scenario to me.

"We're going to lose our jobs because it makes more economic sense to use robots than flawed meatbags that expect worker's rights, time off, sick leave etc" is a far more likely scenario.

Fuck "conspiracy", it's expediency and you'll do it if you want to maintain your competitive edge against your rival who's just slashed his costs by dumping the inefficient workers (all the ones who aren't robots).

Our only hope is that it becomes quickly apparent that the ultra-rick cannot remain so without a customer base - money has to circulate in order for the system to work - the lumpen proletariat has to have money to buy the goods that the corporations produce or the rich won't be rich any longer.

This means a mechanism must be found by which the no-longer-employed are able to afford to pay for all those goods and services that keep the values of the shares up - no benefit in being a professional shareholder if the shares in the company aren't worth wiping your arse on.

If something weren't done, the "rich" would be just as poor, unemployed and worthless as the rest of humanity.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
Yes, that is the real threat of robots. What will be done to maintain our standard of living? Even then, where would money come from?
39 TobiasDrake12th Mar 2014 12:48:27 PM from Colorado, USA , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Where there is a need, fill it. This is the basis of capitalism.

What will happen if everyone loses their jobs to robots is that someone will see an obvious marketable idea and start opening companies that advertise their all-human workforce, to market to those embittered folks who lost their jobs to the robots. More and more enterprises will start springing up targeting the anti-robot market, and people will start shopping at those enterprises by using money they earned working at other anti-robot enterprises, while the robot enterprises collapse for lack of business. Capitalism evolves based on survival of the fittest, just as any other system does, and if robots create an unsustainable economy, then capitalism will reject them and life will move forward.

edited 12th Mar '14 12:48:37 PM by TobiasDrake

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40 BlueNinja012th Mar 2014 12:50:04 PM from An Overcrowded Island , Relationship Status: Charming Titania with a donkey face
Under Construction
[up] If the goods from the robot-business are cheaper than goods from the human-business, I don't see it happening. See Wal Mart as a prime example.
We sit in a darkened room smoking cigars and drinking pretentious wines from snifters while guffawing about the ignorance of the masses.
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
I still wonder how many people will just buy based on lower prices than morals. Wal-Mart is popular, after all.
42 TobiasDrake12th Mar 2014 12:52:31 PM from Colorado, USA , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
I work in manufacturing. I get asked all the time, "Are these goods made in America?" There are a lot of people who will gladly pay more for American-made products, because of how our reliance on overseas manufacturing has hurt the economy.

Why wouldn't there be people who will pay more to avoid supporting the system that put them out on the street?

edited 12th Mar '14 12:53:12 PM by TobiasDrake

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43 Achaemenid12th Mar 2014 12:56:39 PM from Ruschestraße 103, Haus 1 , Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name

If you don't mind me asking, what do you make? smile

EDIT: As in "what do you manufacture?" not what you earn.

Whups, that was nearly unconscionably rude of me. sad

edited 12th Mar '14 1:00:28 PM by Achaemenid

Schild und Schwert der Partei
44 BlueNinja012th Mar 2014 12:59:13 PM from An Overcrowded Island , Relationship Status: Charming Titania with a donkey face
Under Construction
[up][up] That's a very good question - ask the people who shop at Wal Mart despite being unemployed due to layoffs. In a very real sense, it's because they cannot afford not to. They don't have the option of paying an extra $10 a month in groceries, because paying that extra $10 quite literally means not having enough to eat for a couple of days that month.


edited 12th Mar '14 12:59:27 PM by BlueNinja0

We sit in a darkened room smoking cigars and drinking pretentious wines from snifters while guffawing about the ignorance of the masses.
45 Wolf106612th Mar 2014 01:02:02 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
Marshall Brain has a few suggestions including advertising and taxation.

The companies already pay out for advertising, that could go towards paying the "wages" of "professional consumers", which is what most of humanity would become.

There are basically two options: the "Authoritarian Communist" one whereby the government decides which companies provide food, basic clothing and housing for the unemployed (hint: the cheapest ones) in a "One-size-fits-no-one" lifestyle or the "Capitalist" one whereby all humans are given a stipend with which to buy things according to their desires and preferences.

If the companies have any hope to survive in their current market model, the average no-longer-employed citizen will have to be given money to pay for the goods and services as they did before their jobs were given to an automated check-out or virtual lawyer.

Otherwise, the only businesses that are going to survive are the ones that give the cheapest prices to the government.

Frankly, I can't see anything but common sense prevailing - the businesses will have a choice - unburden themselves of a small percentage of their fortunes in taxation and increased "advertising" costs to give the unemployed a decent "living wage" with which to buy things or slit their own throats trying to get a government contract to supply substandard food/housing/clothing or let the poor die off then starve without a customer base.
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46 TobiasDrake12th Mar 2014 01:41:19 PM from Colorado, USA , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
[up][up][up] Agricultural equipment.
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[up][up]Or, they give people only enough to survive on, and people start turning to crime because they're bored (see my avatar).
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On the "what will the rich do when they no longer have customers". In the robot-lord scenario, that's a non-issue, because when you own all the product chain from the extraction of prime materials to the final product and you're the one using it, you don't need to exchange money with anyone: You can live in complete autarcy as a robot-lord while your mining robots extract the uranium for your reactor, your farming robots grow your crops and your drones protect them from theft.
"And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die."
49 Wolf106612th Mar 2014 03:27:52 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
[up]And your robot troops have to contend with cyborgs from the ghetto - because make no mistake, if it's Humans vs Robots, the humans are going to make sure they have whatever advantages they can get.
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Total posts: 49
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