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Old 08-12-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
4,444 posts, read 4,352,016 times
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I watched the film Elysium last weekend, which is set in the year 2154, in which there is a massive space habitat called Elysium that houses the super-wealthy elite of the human race, while the rest of the population on Earth lives in grinding poverty under oppressive rule. While this film is basically a commentary of the rich/poor divide in the world today, as well as access to medical care and immigration, it got me to thinking about what a "Elysium" society would really be like.

Imagine a world, in which *everyone* is filthy, stinking rich. There is no want for anything, there is no need to labor; machines provide everyone's needs, such as the healthcare pods featured so prominently in the movie. But with everyone being more or less equally rich, wouldn't that just make this a really nice communistic society? After all, there is no class divide on Elysium - just the super-rich. Sure, everyone lives like kings there, but everyone is more or less equal to every other in that world - which is really the definition of communism. So, the question I'm asking, would such a society really work, totally isolated from the masses of poor on Earth? After all, there is no need for the poor people's labor, as machines do all the work - the business people of Elysium do run companies down on Earth for profit, but for what end? Once you're a resident of Elysium, there is no need for money - as every conceivable need and want is provided for, so what's the point of extracting additional wealth from an impoverished Earth? To me, it'd make far more sense to put Elysium in its own orbit around the Sun, as to cut off all contact from dirty ol' Earth, as who needs those mobs of poor people anyway? LOL.

But in all seriousness, would this work from an economics perspective, to have a closed-off society that's SO RICH that there is no want nor need that goes lacking? Everyone has everything, so the need for wealth actually vanishes - you just have some very, very nice communistic living. Would this ever be feasible in the evolution of the human race, through the aid of technology (which replaces labor)? Now, if we assume that this sort of thing really is possible, then would it be beneficial for the residents of Elysium to send down a fertility virus to Earth, which would end all human life on the planet within a 100 years or so, leaving a whole planet ready to be re-colonized by the super-elite? Why not, as there would be no human alive that's not a super-millionaire, forevermore. Or does this not make any sort of sense at all? Myself, I'm a bit torn on the idea, as I think human society is much more complex than being "rich" and "poor", but from an economics perspective, I do wonder if it really would be possible.

Conversely, I wonder what would happen if the all the poor people of the world decide to off the rich, leaving an Earth with 100% "poor" people and no rich. Methinks that the re-distributed wealth would be enough to raise everyone's living standards by at least 50%, enough to live better, but certainly not rich - does this mean everyone on Earth is equally poor, or equally "rich", now that they have the rich people's tech, etc? I most certainly do think that the poor can exist without the rich, simply because there are so few rich compared to the masses of the poor, and the money that the rich have wouldn't be destroyed (like mass and energy, it can never be destroyed, only changed), so the the total wealth on Earth would remain the same as it was when the rich were still around, just re-distributed among the remaining population. To me, this is the more practical alternative for the human race as a whole than the rich trying to cut themselves off from the world and carrying on as a totally separate society, as idealistic as that sounds.

Weighty questions to be sure, but that's what this forum is for.

Feel free to discuss at your leisure...
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:36 PM
Status: "My eyes are rolled back so far I can see my brain." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Here.
13,371 posts, read 11,875,084 times
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I didn't see the movie, but I think I understand what you are asking. I think your definition of "communism" is quite a bit off. You might want to research that. I won't elaborate because it is only incidental to your question, but to simplify: Communism is a command economy where the rich ruling class gets what they want and the rest of the population ekes out an existence under the mismanaged economy of the ruling class. Kind of like Elysium.

But to answer your question: you can't have rich without poor and you can't have poor without rich. If everyone had equal wealth, we would neither be all rich nor all poor. Wealth is all relative. When we talk about poor people in the US, we are really talking about people who are relatively wealthy compared with the poor people in "third world" countries.

If we evenly distributed wealth, within a short period of time, wealth would redistribute itself and create rich and poor. If you created a government system which was intended to keep people equally wealthy, you would end up creating a rich ruling class and a poor ruled class.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:50 PM
 
125 posts, read 138,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Communism is a command economy where the rich ruling class gets what they want and the rest of the population ekes out an existence under the mismanaged economy of the ruling class. Kind of like Elysium.
Ah, now you are finally understanding how a successful society should work. A classless society except for the intellectually superior upper class. Shared resources are only for the plebs, while our select group enjoy the fruits of their labor. You toil while I enjoy a nice bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 while simultaneously musing at your hard labor. Sounds almost like nirvana.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:42 PM
Status: "My eyes are rolled back so far I can see my brain." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Here.
13,371 posts, read 11,875,084 times
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^ Obama, is that you?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:23 PM
 
5,473 posts, read 8,162,916 times
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Till robots evolve to fox and prepare everything....
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:38 PM
 
21 posts, read 31,552 times
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I think this relates to the notion that very few individuals are truly satisfied with their socio-economic predicament, and that humans have the intrinsic motivation to "be better" and "more successful" than their neighbors and counterparts, and sadly money is viewed as a way to quantify success. With this system, people will obviously strive to make money for themselves and, because some are better (and luckier) at doing this than others, it isn't long before a divide between rich and poor arises. Obviously those who control the resources will make the rules..

So although the redistribution of $ might seem like a decent idea, people are instinctually greedy and will always want more.
But if everyone has everything on demand, money is essentially removed.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:45 PM
 
5,393 posts, read 5,642,038 times
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Who is making all the machines on Elysium? Can each person in the super rich elite group, up there, make every machine from scratch that he or she will ever need? How does he get the fuel? Someone has to be even on top of that group up on Elysium. And unless that someone is a god, he will need help from others.

Oh and I just want to add that US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Manhattan, Newport Beach, and any wealthy zip code is like Elysium on earth when you compare with some countries.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:10 PM
 
48,519 posts, read 81,013,914 times
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That's pretty much what we have now. People who pay and those who collect. The problem is what use to be middle class as far as life style is now poverty. I mean when your provided a roof over your head ;food stamps; unearned income if you have kids; free phone and medical thrown in thru Medicaid ;what more do you want. That is wealth sharing .The only reason many gripe is because others have more but that was once middle class. just look at the people around you next time your out; see any unfeed looking people. Look at there shopping carts full of quick fix meals and junk food. Go by fast foods and restaurants at meal time ;they are packed with people paying to have their food cooked for them. Heck both parties now say we need illegals to become citizens because they are vital and do jobs Americans will not do. Politicians are basically say we need workers not loafers; in reality. Then ask yourself ;if the dependent are dependent on government ;who is government dependent on. Those who pay the vast majority of taxes.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
4,444 posts, read 4,352,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smellyhobo View Post
I think this relates to the notion that very few individuals are truly satisfied with their socio-economic predicament, and that humans have the intrinsic motivation to "be better" and "more successful" than their neighbors and counterparts, and sadly money is viewed as a way to quantify success. With this system, people will obviously strive to make money for themselves and, because some are better (and luckier) at doing this than others, it isn't long before a divide between rich and poor arises. Obviously those who control the resources will make the rules..

So although the redistribution of $ might seem like a decent idea, people are instinctually greedy and will always want more.
But if everyone has everything on demand, money is essentially removed.

While I agree with this line of thinking, I'm just curious to how humans would behave in the world in which everyone really does have everything they want - "getting ahead" would then be pointless, as there's nothing to "get ahead" of....lol.

Perhaps this would represent the end-all, be-all evolution of the human race - once we have the tech to enable everyone to live as billionaires, then things like money and greed would finally go away and we'd all be able to live together in perfect harmony and happiness.

Yeah, I'm dreaming here...lol.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
16,472 posts, read 20,002,503 times
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One of the biggest, most silent revolution has been underway for some time now, the falling fertility rates throughout the world, and I don't think that's even registered with the rich yet, who have always enjoyed the luxury of thinking/knowing there will always be a 100 applicants for any job they create.

This is going to be a most interesting show to watch over the next few decades! Will the poor, eventually, then, disappear? As well as the rich?

As a barometer? We should look to Japan or Korea with its 1.2 fertility rates?
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