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aequalsa

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  1. Yes, to be clear, it is probably, though not necessarily, less moral then other options available to you. In that being more productive is likely to make your self view and life in general better. Realistically, if you were good enough at poker to make money at it, there is no reason why it has to be the only thing that you do with your time. Options available are to do it part time alongside another career or to do it for awhile, say 5 years or whatever is reasonable and invest that money later in something more fulfilling. Actually, the realtor I bought my house from several years ago did something similiar. She was a stripper for like 10 years and then used the excellent money she made doing something probably unfulfilling to invest in real estate and became a realtor which seemed to suit her well.
  2. Good question Nate. Objectivist ethics are based on the idea of rational self-interest. As such, it is neither moral or immoral to add or not add to society. I think the issue that may be bothering you is that "you should not consume more then you produce." With poker it feels like you are not producing anything and yet you can consume quite nicely after a few good hands. It may be similiar to inheritance in this way. If a relative dies and leaves you money, it is probably best considered ammoral. No effort on your part was required to create the wealth. In poker, little effort on your part was required to create the wealth. With a lottery win, very little effort is required on your part. Building a factory; great effort was required on your part. So on a morality number line, if murder was a -10, stealing beer a -1, inheriting money is a 0, and building a factory a +9, then winning at poker would be a +.5 . So you wouldn't be hurting any one by being a professional poker player but you are not pursuing a course of action that will earn you a great deal of pride or self esteem. In that sense, it would not be moral, sense other courses would probably lead to a more fulfilling life. Best regards Gordon
  3. Last I checked China's boom was pretty much centered aropund Hong Kong. If you look at a demographic map of China, the average income is highest in Hong Kong and lessons as you radiate outward.
  4. It absolutely is contradictory and it is necessarily true. If I have my wealth expropriated from me by force, then I am working for the benefit of others completely against my will. This contradicts your previous statement that I should not work for the benefit of others. Please tell me you can see this. Secondly, my will, and the will of any quasi-rational person is obliterated when you remove the effect(money) from the cause(work). The more that is taken the less reason you have to try. Profit is the instrument that encourages investment and investment is the fuel that creates economic growth. Economic growth creates more jobs which puts upwards pressure on wages, especially for the people who produce. In concrete terms, say you have $100,000 for retirement that you have saved throughout your life. I, a complete starnger, want to start a business and ask you to lend it to me for 0% interest. Why would you lend it to me? If I offered 17% on the other hand it might be worthwhile. If government taxes "the private sector"(or as I like to call them, the only moral people on the planet) which they do, then every bit they take decreases the likelihood of that loan taking place. If capital gains taxes are 38% that means that when you are getting a 17% return on your investment, the actual return is more like 10%. If you raise that tax to 85% then a 17% return only gets you 2% which is even less likely to encourage you to invest your hard earned savings. The degree to which you steal our money is the degree to which economic growth slows down. Any amount is bad, more is always worse. But enough of this utilitarian nonsense. The real question you ought to sort out is, why you believe that you or anyone else has the moral right to put a gun in my face and steal any of what I have worked for all my life?
  5. Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start...First off, you have to realize that what you have stated above is a complete contradiction. You said first, "I do not believe that people should produce for the benefit of others". Then you said "The government would do this by heavily taxing the private sector, making the market less competitive". When the government takes money from the people who produce it, they and, you for that matter, are declaring by fiat that it is their duty to live for the sake of others. What could possibly make you believe that it would be moral in any way to take wealth that I produce(me being a member of that unruly private sector you are concerned about that, by the way, produces EVERYTHING that everyone else consumes) and then give it to those that do not produce so as to make them feel more secure? And once you provide a reasoned explanation for that, explain to me how it's possible for you to believe that "I do not have to produce for others" and "I have to produce for others". If you can get through that we may have grounds for a reasoned discussion about "exploitation" and how it is impossible by definition when the government keeps it wretched paws and even more wretched guns out of the business.
  6. aequalsa

    The Housing Code

    If only people would be so brave with regard to income tax. Think they could arrest 200,000,000 people for income taxe evasion if they had no money to pay federal agents? Now, how do we convince everyone that voluntarily giving away 1/2 of your income is even more silly then not having grills on your deck.
  7. I think the misconception you have here is a pretty understandable mistake. Atlas shrugged is a novel, of course and as such, to make particular philosophic points through the plot, the cause and effect has to be very clearly demonstrated. In this circumstance she took socialism to it's end point in order to demonstrate what were, for her coming from communist russia, the obvious results. Imagine for a moment if she were to use present day quasi-socialist/fascist/global capitalist America(other wise known as the definition of a mixed economy) as the back drop. It would not be as obvious that socialism is detrimental since the nature of the mixture obfuscates the complex causal relationships involved. Sure, production is still alive here, but why? Is it because government regulation and high taxes fuel economic growth? An economy controlled by a few people is more efficient? It's really not clear unless you have personal experience with the effects of the regulations and taxes. So when she isolates a particular economic system the results become more clear. In reality there are very few examples of pure economic systems but if you compare them from a more free/less free perspective, you can fairly easily deduce what causes productivity and what hampers it. For example, Compare hong kong's free trade zone to the rest of china, or north korea to south korea, or east germany and west germany before reunification,or even ireland to france for that matter. In every circumstance you find incredible differences in productivity and economic freedom and they move hand in hand. I personally, despise the mixed system we live in more then the extreme communist countries(in a way) because it effectually allows the evil to leech off of the producers for so much longer. Producers will generally not shrug until they literally can't breath. As long as their is a degree of free action possible, they will trudge along and I hate watching that. Hardcore communism, by comparison collapses on itself fairly quickly since it causes production to be so nearly impossible. The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that most objectivist minded people make a distinction between living and existing. Semi-socialism allows productivity and holds off starvation but thats really it. To concretize the issue, think of the average US citizen. $30,000/year average salary. 15% is taken out of every paycheck for social security alone. Say you invested that during you 40 year worklife in DIA's which have averaged 11% for 80 years. You would have about $3.5 million paying out $370,000/year without touching the principle. Instead, the government steals that money and if your lucky is gonna give you about $13,000/year.(if you under 30 years old right now you probably won't get anything unless you raise it to 30% for your children) So, yeah, you can EXIST on 13k a year but you can LIVE on $370,000. Extrapolate that to a national level and you get the same results. Let the government steal most of the discretionary income in a country and you will still have productivity, but what kind of economic growth would exist if you left it in the hands of the people who produced it in the first place. For that I suggest you look into the change of average lifestyles during the industrial revolution in any country. Chile, india, china, etc. best regards, Gordon
  8. Might be a little on the long side, but I always liked "axis and allies", obviously a world war 2 simulation. I haven't played since I was 8, but I remember stratego being pretty [email protected] as well. I feel inspired by you two. I wonder if I could get my girlfriend to play???
  9. I am curious as to where you got the idea that it is human nature to act in order to survive. It may be that way in most animals but it is not in humans. We must choose to live and then attempt to act to acconplish that goal. I am guessing that you derived that notion from the idea that your life is that standard of value. If I am correct then the derivation is incorrect. Values are only important to something that is alive, so if you are alive you have implicitly chosen life. Morality begins at that point.
  10. This, of course depends on how close the two of you are and how much effort this person is worth to you, but you could offer to spend time with her either alone or in a larger group. I would guess from what you have said, that she feels more lonely then anything else. If on the other hand she has committed some number of moral crimes and feels truly guilty for them but not enough to change, then I would stay away from her. About your 2nd question I am not sure what you mean exactly. You ask how to prove the axioms in ethics, but ethics are derived largely from the axioms, which means that you can't. The axioms and axiomatic concepts are before proof in a way. They are self-evident and cannot be denied without referring to them. Take for example the AC "that your senses are valid". If someone were to argue that there senses were not valid, what grounds could they have for any statement of this kind which refers to reality? Basically none. Regarding the link between them, again I am not sure what you are looking for, but I think I would say that they(with their corollaries) are all necessary for any other knowledge. Reality has to exist and you must be capable of being aware of it and what you are aware of must be itself otherwise nothing can be definatively known. Hope that helps. Like I said, I am not sure that I understand the questions, so if I missed it entirely try re-asking and I'll take another crack at it.
  11. I don't agree at all..well, technically I do since he lives in a fictional world, but that being said I don't find his world different from ours in principle. He didn't live his life without struggle, difficulty, and depravation. He had all sorts of troubles living according to his principles in 'his' world. He was pretty much flat broke until he was what? 40? He went out of business his first go around, he had to work in a quarry to feed himself, he had few friends that he saw infrequently, his girl was mostly busy bangin his worst enemies and trying to ruin his life.... Seriously, he had it rough. He tried to fit in for 10 minutes working for keating and francon before giving up because he couldn't stand the feeling of his soul rotting. Living by principle doesn't mean easy...it means right. And it applies in all possible worlds, not just capitalist utopias. If you feel yourself betraying your principles you ought to make some serious changes since the long term consequences will be far worse then any short term inconveniences. By way of example, I know a young lady, 19 years old, no marketable skills of any kind, that just got a federal job naking $40k/ year salary +all manner of benefits for 35 hrs/week doing what amounts to data entry. Her life will in all probability be "easy". But she will never have charactar, she will not have self-esteem, and she will certainly not have pride. She is by my definition, a sell out, but, ironically too ignorant to realize it. Ignorance may seem to be bliss for her, but the fact that she lacks awareness of her lack of self-esteem does nothing to change the consequences of having none. So, easy may not turn out to be so easy after all. Live your life the way you think you should because ultimately when you judge yourself that is all that is going to matter.
  12. I have always wondered about that comment myself. How does one "outgrow" the belief that reality exists objectively? I concur that the speakers must never have understood objectivism in the first place. Short of direct repeated first hand experience with the supernatural, I can't concieve of anything that would cause me to 'mature' and realize that reality is fundamentally unknowable....and even then...?
  13. I have a "who is john galt" bumper sticker and t-shirt. My reply whenever someone asks the obvious is "I don't know...that's what I am trying to find out." If they seem interesting at all, give them your phone number and ask them to call you and let you know if they find out. Might be good for pick-ups too...at the very least it helps you weed out the ones with no intellectual curiosity.
  14. I have used that phrase myself on a number of occasions and actually like it. I can see the point others have made regarding the issue of trespass...the only problem is, that property rights in this country are fairly vague. A great deal of property is government owned and as such is subject to all manner of rules and regulations. As an example, I play paintball with some friends occasionally and find that national forests make excellent locations. If you were to ask a park ranger if you could play, there'd be a good probability he would say no. If you get caught, since there is no actual law disallowing it, you could apologize and make a hasty retreat. I think my main use of the phrase is for circumstances where I know that the answer would be no and that is unacceptable. It is easier in the sense that you are guaranteed to obtain the value you seek with a possible consequence as opposed to being gauranteed not to gain your value at all. Just the other day, I was at home depot and had to utilize this strategy. I needed an item in an eisle that was blocked off because of a forklift in use. The two guys using the forklift were standing there having a discussion(not using the lift). So after a few moments, rather then ask whether I could pass the baracade clearly designed to keep me out, I ducked under grabbed the nails I needed and went on my way. I had to endure their dirty looks for a couple seconds, but it was a small price to pay for getting back some number of minutes of my time. To me it seemed easier and more sensible. Obviously, these are duly appointed representatives of home depot, and as such, have every right to keep that eisle blocked off for as long as they wish, but I needed nails and saw no possible harm to anything but their own misplaced senses of order. So I took my liberties. I have always heard it used in these sorts of circumstances. I don't think many would use it as a defense for more serious crimes. "...but there wasn't a sign that said not to rob the bank..." ...which leads me to another question. I have heard it said quite often that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. On the surface, that sounds sensible, but in a country with 3-4 million laws on the books, including such notables as "it is illegal to trip a horse on purpose"-california or "it is illegal to serve wine in a teacup"-kansas it seems completely reasonable. So in a country with more 'objective' laws would that rule apply? and if so,as i assume it would haveto, should there be a limitation on the number of laws that could exist?
  15. You're welcome. Here is an article I read recently that deals with that. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/...60522150621.htm If I stumble across anything else I'll post it. Thanks for the website, by the way. It does look like those fellows are on the right track. I am curious to see where they go with it. Some of the puzzles they plan seem well thought out in terms of being tightly concretized brain functions.
  16. I can empathize largely with most of the sentiment expressed above. Makes me sick to pay taxes. I buy quite a bit of metal in addition to personal expenses on which I get charged sales tax. In addition to the state and city sales tax, I am charged an additional 1.2% RTD(regional transportation dept.) tax for every purchase of any kind that I make in denver. These are the bus drivers who are still upset at "only" making $20/hour for sitting in a chair. I have taken the bus, maybe 3 times in my life(never in denver) and have spent well over $1000 this year to support these welfare buses alone. And that is one small tax of one small part of the city government. Add state and federal income taxes, property taxes, 15% for social security and medicare alone, then add hidden taxes like inflation,regulations that increase costs of things you purchase, permits, and fees, and I'm am probably working 2 days or better towards my destruction for every day I'm working for my own benefit. So in other words, I am argueing from a place of experience and pain here. I am on the worst side you can be on in the welfare state we live in and I tell ya, it doesn't matter a flip. By withdrawing into yourself, avoiding other people, refusing to produce, you can only hurt yourself. All that matters is that you can produce; you can live. Capitalism; gaining self-esteem have everything to do with production and nothing(except what you need to exist) with consumption. Think of it this way. If you lived in a capitalist utopia where all of the children were above average, made a million dollars in gold coins, then got robbed of every dime by a thief, would you loose your self-esteem with the money? Hopefully not, but that's what you do to yourself by refusing to act. If you don't produce you don't gain self-esteem and that is the real crime that the looters commit. They take away the tangible part of the motivation for production which takes away(by causing it to never be created) the self-esteem of the people that matter. Don't let them do that to you. And don't forget that no one in galt's gulch ever stopped producing. Galt still built motors, francisco still dug mines, ragnar still taught philosophy. All that really changed was that they stopped sharing their produce with the people they didn't like. So produce to as great of an extent as you can, and if you really despise them that much, spend everything you make to oppose them. And as far as galt's gulch not being possible, I am not so sure. You might just need to be a little creative. $1 in a presidential campaign buys around 7 votes. Not sure about exchange rates, but if you were to put $1,000,000 in to an election in some low population 3rd world country, say uganda with 3 million inhabitants, you would probably be able to buy the election for a puppet and then use him to establish a free trade zone or maybe the whole country where you could invite corporations and people to live tax free(not counting the million a year you would need to win the elections). Just a thought...whatever you do though, don't give up because of them. This is what that phrase "evil is impotent" means. Obviously them taking my money and using it to buy guns to take my money and pay looter bus drivers isn't an example of them being impotent. Quite the opposite in fact. The way in which they are impotent is on the effect they can have on me internally. They can only make me( and you) stop producing if we let them. So don't!
  17. Hi Again, I saw the pics and had a thought. From what I saw, you have a reasonable grasp of rough carpentry. Ever thought of trying construction? Pays pretty well most places, especially if you know what you are doing. For what it's worth, I personally have found the trades very psychologically rewarding. Depending on your skill level, there are quite a few companies that will pay you to supervise crews. This would obviously require some physical labor on your part, but not as much as you would think. Gordon
  18. I am pretty certain that ideas themselves cannot be owned, unless, I suppose, you were to keep it to yourself. You can't advocate an idea that is in correct accordance with reality and then demand that others live otherwise. For example, Rand stated that she believes that existence is objective. She can't state that and demand that everyone else pretend it is not. To be clear, I am not a lawyer, but I am pretty certain that it does not apply to ideas. As I understand it, it only partially applies to words. One could theoretically start a hardware store and call it McDonalds Hardware. You would only run into trouble if you made a restaurant added some golden arches and called it mcdonalds. The intent to create an improper association to profit by is what is important.
  19. Hi Crazycat, First off, I should say that I don't think much of IQ tests in general, especially as a measure of intelligence. It is far to broad of a concept to be encapsulated by a relatively short test. Viewing the IQ test a a valid measure of inteligence would be like assuming that the meyers-briggs personality test told you everything important about a persons personality. I think the IQ test primarily measures your ability to recognize patterns. In a loose way, you could tie pattern recognition to the ability to integrate concepts, which is probably closer to a general definition of "intelligence", but I am not convinced that it does it the best way possible or even that it even does it well. I think for us to find an accurate answer regarding how best to improve our intelligence, you might need to define the term-decide exactly what you mean by it. Webster says, "1 a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : REASON; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)" Not sure that I like the definition, but it's a place to start. The first part-being able to deal with adversity- is probably tied to integration. A similiar circumstance occurs to something you had experienced before and if intelligent, you would be able to see the similarities and avoid the similiar problem. I'm thinking here of someone who involves themselves in bad relationships consistently and doesn't see the similiarities between the new person and the old until its too late. The second part, skilled use of reason bothers me a little. Seems like they mean the Mr. Spock kind of logic/reason. While deductive logic has it's uses, mostly when arguing with or explaining things to others, induction is far more useful, and to me, more indicative of an intellectual. Induction is essentially the process of seeing few examples and extracting general principles from them. Ayn Rand was very good at this. The 3rd part, the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate your environment seems to stem from a recognition of cause and effect. Knowledge is hiarchical, so the ability to manipulate your environment with knowledge is based on an understanding of knowledge as a relational subject. To be able to navigate up and down, and sideways through concepts from the very abstract to their concrete components is necessary. In ITOE ayn rand uses the furniture example to explain concept formation. "this chair im sitting on" is in the genus chairs, "chairs" are in the genus furniture, "furniture" is in the genus man-made objects, and so forth. So when confronted with a new object you haven't seen, you observe that it is man-made and used by people in their houses for setting things upon, and realize right away that it must be some type of furniture. Further observation would allow you to narrow it down further. I actually experienced this when I was fairly young and saw an "ergonomically correct" chair for the first time. It took me a moment to realize that it was for sitting on. The last part of the definition, to think abstractly as measured by tests, seems to be referring, almost directly, to IQ tests and does us almost no good. I'm not certain of this by any stretch of the imagination, but my hunch is that intelligence can be improved in all of it's different respects, but each talent would have to be worked on individually. I don't think there is any one activity that will make you smarter. As someone mentioned above, if you want improved memory, play memory games. If you want to improve your ability to stay focused, practice it by trying to stay focused on whatever you're working on for increasing amounts of time. To improve your linguistic talents, read a lot, to develop better visual/spacial understanding, use a rubicks cube,etc. Additionally, I would point out that there is a lot of evidence to support general physical health as an improver of intelligence. So good cardio, diet, and good sleep patterns may be of help in a general way. Increasing oxygen to your brain causing it to be more efficient or whatever. I don't believe in quick fixes in general and the question, "how do i get smarter?" sounds vaguely similiar to "how do I get rich?" which usually means, "How do I get rich without much effort or time?" My personal experience confirms the gale wynand notion that you become what you pretend to be, which is another way of saying practice it. He wanted to be wealthy and noticed that rich people always had books and read, so that's what he did. So applied to intelligence, do what you think smart people do and you'll probably move in that direction. In concrete terms, toss the tv and read more books. Engage yourself in games or activities which require your brain to be active rather then passive. Study things in depth-by which I mean to say, integrate everything you learn with your existing knowledge. When you learn a new fact or concept, don't just accept the fact, define it by it's genus and differentia, and try to form as many connections as possible to other aspects of reality that you are already familiar with. Speak to other people, learn from them-even dumb ones. Try to ask more questions then you give answers to. That sort if thing. Regarding critical thinking skills I highly recommend a book entitled "how to think about weird things:critical thinking for a new age". Very helpful in that regard. Best Regards, Gordon
  20. Actually B seems more appropriate. The information that seems to be lacking is human history from this point forward. For example, their is a 100% chance that anyone alive now was born on or before this date. What are the chances of that? If you speculate on the time humans have left, that fact doesn't have a bearing on the future. There is no causality here. Ok...think of it this way...If you flip heads 5 times in a row, what are the chances you will flip heads again? They are still 50/50. The earlier instances dont relate to the later instances. If you flip the coin 1000 more times, you might ascertain at that point-after the 1000 flips- that 5 heads in a row is fairly rare. Then you could say, how unusual that the 1st 5 flips were of a pattern that occurs so infrequently. So to relate that to your query...Take it back several thousand years. If you were part of the first couple million humans you could have played the same mind game. You would be in an even smaller percentage and it would seem all but impossible that humans would still exist several thousand years later and number in the billions and yet, here we are. That fact that we are here now can have no bearing on whether humans will exist later. Someone had to be here. Someone had to be the first 5 flips. It doesn't mean that you can't flip the coin 995 more times. See what I mean?
  21. I don't mean to be obstinate, but it seems to me that the selection bias is inherent in the question. Perhaps I misunderstand, but doesnt your sample size have to be limited to human history to present? Anything significantly past this point is speculation and can't really be considered.
  22. I don't disagree with anything written so far on this thread. I only wish to add a few things. 1) There is a scene towards the end where roark acknowledges that the "help" he gave peter was really a great detriment to him and to some extent apologizes for having given it. I agree that he was helping the buildings more then peter and when he had the oppurtunity to work on one, he couldn't resist for selfish reasons. It's a good question. There is a lot that you could speculate on. I suspect, that because peter was younger then toohey and less evil, roark may have attributed to him more honesty then he actually posessed. Thinking that he really did want help with the building because he wanted to improve. There was a process over the course of the novel where roark seemed to be coming to understand the concept of the second-hander. 2) Dominic's mistake is that of believing in a malevolent universe and I don't believe is related to self-esteem. Because she thought of the world as essentialy bad, she didn't want it to have good things that it doesn't deserve. Mallory's statues, roark's buildings, or her company. She wished to destroy anything that was good to satisfy her sense of justice. What she learned ultimately from roark is that all the good things in the world belong to them and them exclusively. Keating could never experience the exaltation of standing in the stoddard temple even if he could stand in the temple. Keating couldn't be over-whelmed by the beauty in a statue of Dominic or the person of Dominic for that matter. If he passed it on a street corner, he would do just that, pass it by...unless of course there was a crowd looking at it. It takes a person of virtue who is capable of holding stong values to hold strong values. Another example of this would be why the bracelet of rearden metal was valued so strongly by dagny and not by lilian, in Atlas Shrugged. Or when Dagny noted at a party that seemed pointless how parties were supposed to be for them and their achievements, not for the looters and moochers. What cause do they really have to celebrate? The opposite you mention really isn't an opposite, it's just a different mistake. That sort of person is trying to 'prove' to someone else that they have self-esteem which is the definition of second-handedness. If they were prooving it to themselves, you would(should) in all likelihood never know about it. Self-esteem is between you and yourself no one else should ever be involved. Self-esteem stricty speaking, isn't something you can proove. Not even to yourself. How could you prove to yourself that you like yourself? You know if you do or don't automatically. You acquire it by living according to proper virtues. Because they enable you to achieve values. Achieving values gives you self-confidence. Having self-confidence means you trust yourself in a very broad way. Trusting yourself means you view yourself as good person. Being a good person makes you esteem yourself more highly. So if they were trying to gain self esteem by pursuing values, that would be one thing. If they are trying to convince you they have it, I'd stay away from them. Thanks for the great questions Gordon
  23. I agree completely that tipping is not obligatory at all, and that's what I love about it. To me, it speaks of a great deal of benevolence in the industry. Seriously, how many of us in other professions would agree to perform the required work first and then 'depend' on the ability of our customers to recognize the values we have provided them with and then pay us accordingly? I think it is a testamount to the good still left in the people in the US that it works as well as it does. That people will perform a service and rely on the goodwill and honest assessment of their customers to recieve their pay-which could be nothing at all- is fairly incredible. It shows a very sincere trust in the honesty of your fellow men and I personally find it heart-warming that that trust is so rarely misplaced. They do not charge the owner or the customers ahead of time for their wages. If they did, then meals would be a good deal more expensive then they are, sense in all probability there would be a mark-up in the cost of the labor. Another downside is that you would be paying them the same amount regardless of their level of service. If it were at all practical, I would love to be able to pay everyone based on their performance. Imagine going to a doctor, who did a poor job. You waited a long time, were treated poorly, and given the wrong medicine. You would not have to pay him for what he, ultimately, didn't do. Several years ago, I brought a computer into a place to have it worked on. He was "unable to fix it" but I was required to pay a $30 service fee anyways. Still not sure what I bought that day, but my computer was collateral, so I had to pay it to get it back. Would have loved for him to be paid based on performance. Generally I do not view people who do not tip as immoral. After all, there is no obligation to tip, right? They use no force to seperate someone from their belongongs. However, I do view them as being shortsighted and without class. Meaning, you maybe should spend a day as a waiter before deciding that they are providing you with no value. It really does involve a good deal more then picking up a plate and walking it across the room. I do cut some slack for the folks across the pond, since waiters there are paid in the same way everyone else is. And I would not hold not tipping in england, for example, against anyone. However, while here, if you know better, then you ought to. Cultural norms like that are usually not worth trying to change. When in Rome, do as the romans do-so long as it's not immoral. I mean seriously, would you refuse to eat with chopsticks in Japan, or refuse to eat with your fingers in Nepal? Chopsticks are less efficient and fingers are less sanitary, but so what? Is it worth offending your host? Same thing here. You can say that you would prefer it to be like it is elsewhere, but refusing to pay is not likely to change that. You'd be better off writing op-eds against tipping. Or not paying a tip and then informing the waitress that they ought to ask for hire wages so as to allow you to not participate in our silly performance based wage system. Then it might have some effect. And if it did. If we eliminate tips altogether, how much better is the world really going to be if you pay $18.50 for a meal instead of $10.95+$3.00 tip?
  24. Another analogy(can you have too many?) that simplifies part of it for me is to imagine 3 objects-say cars moving in the same direction where the furthest car is traveling at 50 kph, the second car at 30kph and the 3rd at 10kph. They all distance themselves from one another. So if you have 12 cars travelling 3 north 3 south 3 east and 3 west they would still be moving apart. Extrapolating that into 3 dimensions obviously yields the same result. Regarding whether or not it is only galaxy clusters moving apart, I understood that all matter is essentially moving apart, it's just not percievable at smaller levels. The universe is ultimately entropoic...loosing energy...which I take to mean that all existent forces will eventually weaken and finally cease to exist(albeit far to far in the future to concern most of us). It seems right, otherwise the universe would have to be a big perpetual motion machine. What i am wondering is if this means that all matter would cease to exist as well since it is held together by nucleur forces? If any physicist(professional or otherwise) inhabit this board, I'd be interested to know if this is the case and if not why not. Best regards Gordon
  25. I was once roped into going to an amway talk by a coworker. He told me that he wanted me to meet his freind about a 'computer business'. I was real skeptical because he was pretty vague about things, but he kept pushing it so I gave in. So short end of the story, he "gaciously" offerred to pick me up which ended in my listening to a 3 hour sales pitch by another guy on amway and their new computer sales thing. (in short, you could order online). The main selling point seemed to be that they saved money on their products by "cutting out the middle man". So I asked "how can you really save on costs with your product by cutting out one middle man and replacing him with 7?" (for those who don't know, if you get people in it, you get $ plus a percentage of everything they buy-down 7 levels of the pyrimid) His clever brush-aside reply was "I'm not sure what you mean...next question..you in the corner" I looked at the catalogues and wasn't real impressed. The prices in general really didn't seem significantly lower then target or walmart and seemed to be about that level of quality. I am sure on any given day some things would be cheaper and others more expensive on an item by item comparison, but the difference did not seem enough to warrant much interest. Besides, the idea of ordering countless small ticket items like soap and what-not makes me weary. Going to the grocery store isn't such a terrible burden. The main thing that bothered me about it, though, was that the emphasis was not on selling the product like most businesses are, but rather on getting more people, so that they can get more people, so that they can get more people, ... I went through the 3 hour speech and had no idea what they were selling. All I knew was that if I did this I would be rich quickly ad without much effort. In short it struck me as a pyramid with products thrown in to legalize and to some extent legitimize it. If you have the time and like to do other exciting things like clip coupons, then it may make sense to use them for purchasing some of the things you might find deals on. As a business venture, I think it unlikely to succeed for most people. If you are an extraordinarily charasmatic type with dozens of close friends, then you will make money at it with a lot of work. On the other hand, if you are that charasmatic there are plenty of sales positions available where you are selling products rather then people where you may do better. Auto wholeseller's for example make pretty good bank and they sell a product people need. So if you are inclined toward sales I would steer in that direction. So, to answer you question from my limited experience, I would say that the system is set up to be deliberately vague. It may not be a pyrimid, in the technical sense but as a business model it seems to function in the same way. ie the people at the top get quite a bit, at the bottom, less then minimum wage. I would be interested to see average pay per hour as a demographic of the company and also the retention rates of "employees" to determine if it was a business where you had a realistic chance of 'promotion'. Morally, I don't think it's neccessarrily bad-no force is involve just emotional manipulation-but I also don't think it would be good in the sense of deriving pride from your accomplishments. A good day is getting three more people who get 3 more people. Not exactly on par with designing a new type of metal.
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