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#1 2021-07-24 17:54:03

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Will we have poverty on Mars?

Thought I'd adapt one of the other threads to directly address the issue on Mars.

You could equally ask "should we have poverty on Mars?"

My view is no we shouldn't have poverty  on Mars in its generally accepted meaning of people being on such low incomes that they suffer psychological distress, end up having to make choices that impact on them negatively, have feelings of low self-worth, experience reduction in life opportunities, do not receive proper health care and so on.

Why I think that would be the right answer  is a big ethical debate, but I think it's fair to say that in modern societies most people feel poverty is a bad thing and would rather no one was truly poor in that sense (as opposed to simply being in a lower percentile of income).

I feel that ethically the issue of poverty is tied up with the issue of reward. Just as it's wrong in my view for people to have such low incomes that their dignity as human beings is compromised, so too I feel that reward for individual effort seems like natural justice. Should a clever inventor not receive any reward at all for their invention? That doesn't feel right to me.

But is there a need for an upper ceiling on wealth? The experience of recent years where we have seen billionaires lke Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, and - yes - Musk become huge influencers in areas of public policy  must give pause for thought. The USA introduced anti-trust legislation at the turn of the last century because they could see the dangers of concentration of wealth. Take this to the absurd level and work backwards - would you like to live in a society where one person owned 99% of the wealth? I don't think in all honesty very many people would be happy with that. What we have seen in the last two or three decades is an incredibly concentration of wealth thanks to the IT boom and the ability to magic fortunes out of code.

What about property rights? We might feel the inventor should benefit from their invention but what if they sell their intellectual property to someone else who wasn't involved in the inventing? Why should they benefit?

Basically a human society on Mars will have to grapple with all the issues we grapple with on Earth but we have there the chance of a very fresh start.

Here are some ideas I would like to float:

- Beyond a certain size all firms should have to share dividends with the workforce on a rising scale.

- There should be the equivalent of a "sovereign wealth fund" on Mars but a direct one whereby all firms on Mars have to award a portion of their shares to the fund - let's call it the Mars People's Fund... On a rising scale again, so when you get to large corporates 50% of their shares would be held by the fund. Every citizen on Mars would benefit from this, receiving dividends from age 0 onwards and being able to draw on their share at specific age points e.g. 18, 30, 50, 70 . I think this would help combat inherited poverty.

- Reduce patent duration to 5 years.

- We need something similar to anti-trust legislation but more effective, so big companies are always broken up when they reach a certain size as was the Bell Telephone company in the USA.

- There should be a wealth tax and a wealth upper limit. We should be creative about the upper limit in that the super-rich would be able to negotiate with the state a wealth disbursement plan - so benefitting the community at large in various ways. Where you put that upper limit would be a matter of democratic debate. Personally I'd put it at somewhere like 1 billion US dollars equivalent.

- There should be a minimum wage but it should be set at a high percentage of average income. Most countries with minimum wage seem to set it as something like 40-50% of the average income.  So I think on Mars there's a strong case for saying it should be a lot higher - maybe 75%. Also I would suggest there should be strict limitations on hours worked by people on below average incomes.

- Health services on Mars are likely to be entirely free because health monitoring is going to be such a key feature of the early Mars society. If not, any insurance scheme should be proportionate to income.

- Personally I am not a fan of income tax. It provides a strong disincentive to work especially if it is not a flat rate. Better to raise revenue through sales, property and wealth tax.

- I don't like welfare dependency so I think the state should ensure everyone has the opportunity of paid employment. All economic entities might be required to create employment posts that the state can allocate to and the state itself can create employment opportunites. There is always useful work that can be done.

- As for land property ownership, every Mars citizen should be entitled to "own" land up to a certain area and should be entitled to license for residential purposes a property or area of land up to a certain value. No one person or company should be able to

- Everyone should have legal right to claim  avoidance of poverty due to ill health or other factors.  This would be an ultimate safety net.

- There should be high wealth transfer and wealth inheritance taxes - maybe as much as 90% over certain limits. It's not right that wealth gets handed down the generations with less and less justification for the wealth. We want to reward innovative business people, inventors and creatives of all types in the here and now but we don't to reward their great grandchildren who never achieved anything themselves.

Poverty is unlikely to be a big issue in the early colony but negative factors dragging people into poverty will increase over time. The most obvious ones are physical or mental health issues which compromise one's ability to earn or cause one to spend money on obsessive pursuits.

I'll leave it there for the moment!


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2021-07-24 18:11:32

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

How is the claim staked ex in person on its surface, via email, from a claim deed registry that own none of it but passes out paper claims....

Forcing of the claimant to mark each corner of the claim in order to be able to register the deed for it....

Next is there a currency that proves you are not poor on what economical scale since thats a value of what you have versus not earning enough to afford what you still desire..

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#3 2021-07-24 18:24:39

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,349

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

For louis re new topic ...

Best wishes for success with this!

I'll save this post for an index to notable contributions, if members are sufficiently inspired ...

SearchTerm:Poverty on Mars

Index to notable contributions:

Post #1 - opening vision for the topic by Louis

(th)

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#4 2021-07-24 19:33:40

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

I was just thinking of having a statutory or constitutional right to claim against having been made poor. That claim would be dealt with normally in a judicial manner e.g. if you could show it was because of mental ill health you failed to complete "Form Whatever" that would be good enough.

SpaceNut wrote:

How is the claim staked ex in person on its surface, via email, from a claim deed registry that own none of it but passes out paper claims....

Forcing of the claimant to mark each corner of the claim in order to be able to register the deed for it....

Next is there a currency that proves you are not poor on what economical scale since thats a value of what you have versus not earning enough to afford what you still desire..


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2021-07-24 19:36:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

To add: I just think on Mars we want a situation where people don't end up living in sewer pipes, as in Las Vegas because of various problems in their lives. I think we can do better without extinguishing freedom.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#6 2021-07-25 03:50:23

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,362
Website

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

Whether or not Mars has poverty, it will have people who for whatever reason will not be able to pull their own weight. Mars is not an easy planet to live on, and even though you'll be starting with a population that is drawn from the smartest and healthiest fraction of humanity, you're going to have to deal with mental illness and disability eventually.

Lessened somewhat by the fact that immigration will be tightly restricted by nature to the top 10-20% brightest humans (no-one is going to pay to fly you over if you don't have a job lined up), so it will take a very long time for Mars to develop an underclass of the perennially un- and under-employed. No sink estates. Just the occasional person who can't work and so relies on handouts.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#7 2021-07-25 05:02:14

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,871

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

All you say is likely true. But as you say, over time disease and disability become an issue - as an example Einstein's son was sadly very disabled.

We don't know for sure though how Musk's crazy "million people in 30 years" programme will operate. He's made it sound like anyone with $250,000 can sign up and go. But what if he has few takers from the USA (as I believe will be the case). What if, as I believe, he has only a small number of applicants for permanent residence on Mars? Will he get desparate?  What if a cartel of Saudi billionaires come along and say we can supply your million residents at $250 billion. They then go round South Asia and Africa seeking out a million dirt-poor co-religionists to take up the places offering readily accepted bounties to families to let their young men and women volunteer for the journey.  You could end up with a situation not so different from downtown Karachi!



Terraformer wrote:

Whether or not Mars has poverty, it will have people who for whatever reason will not be able to pull their own weight. Mars is not an easy planet to live on, and even though you'll be starting with a population that is drawn from the smartest and healthiest fraction of humanity, you're going to have to deal with mental illness and disability eventually.

Lessened somewhat by the fact that immigration will be tightly restricted by nature to the top 10-20% brightest humans (no-one is going to pay to fly you over if you don't have a job lined up), so it will take a very long time for Mars to develop an underclass of the perennially un- and under-employed. No sink estates. Just the occasional person who can't work and so relies on handouts.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2021-07-25 05:24:55

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,349

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

For Louis and all contributors to date ...

It seems to me this topic is off to a good start, and that the social issues being addressed are both timeless and urgent, certainly for Mars but equally for the survival of Earth itself.

I'm thinking about a related topic, along the lines of Rules to Live By ....  The community where I live has a diverse population, and a full range of human capability and performance, along with the identical problems of behavior that are afflicting American communities across the Nation.

I gather from news reports that most regions on Earth are similar.

I think Terraformer has put his key tips on one end of the problem, and Louis has shown a glimpse of the other.

On the one hand we have a philosophy that expects those who cannot rely on their own capabilities to subsist on handouts.

Handouts come (presumably) from those other humans who are moved by generosity, and share what they can from what they have.

On the other hand we have a glimpse of a more humane society, which provides a guaranteed minimal living circumstance for everyone, and looks to the brightest and most capable among the population to deliver enough abundance for all.

On Earth, we have the full range of social experiments between these extremes to study.

In Terraformer's dog-eat-dog vision, crime is the natural consequence of failing to provide gainful employment for every citizen.  It is the natural consequence of embedded selfishness.

For Terraformer, I say that my words here are not intended (and hopefully will not be taken) as criticism.

On the contrary ... Your words help greatly to set the stage for the debate that I hope will follow.

Thanks to both of you for providing the bookends for what should be a fruitful and useful topic.

Reminder: I am willing to post Index entries suggested by participants, to help to find particularly cogent points as they occur.

Index entries will be posted in #3 of this topic, as long as I am able, and they are brought to my attention.

(th)

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#9 2021-07-25 08:35:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

Having a job or being the most brilliant of people has little to do with whom is in poverty as that is a measure of what you have....

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#10 2021-07-25 10:25:18

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,349

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

For SpaceNut re #9

Can you help (will you) the discussion along by defining poverty?

I am coming to the view that poverty is a human invention. 

Or, perhaps it is the ** concept ** of poverty that is a human invention.

When animals fight over food (as happens every day in the wild) a human might look at the scene and judge that the animal with a scrap of food is (potentially) rich, while those who would grab it are living in poverty.

In re-reading post #9, I can see the similarity between what I observe in the yard at feeding time, and what you've described.

The solution to poverty would appear to be supply of abundance.

I ** think ** that Calliban's thoughts about a modular nuclear fission power pack might point the way to abundance for every member of the human race, if we (humans) could see a way to organize ourselves to achieve that state.

Certainly planning ahead to AVOID poverty on Mars, by insuring there are more than adequate supplies for every human who comes along, ** including ** those who are not able to contribute to the supply of goods and necessary services, would seem appropriate.

To simply import the Earth way of doing things will guarantee poverty on Mars, as Terraformer has helpfully pointed out.

(th)

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#11 2021-07-25 14:33:40

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,362
Website

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

I haven't painted a dog eat dog vision? I don't know where you got that from. Probably your own view of the world, filtering my post.

tahanson wrote:

On the one hand we have a philosophy that expects those who cannot rely on their own capabilities to subsist on handouts.

Handouts come (presumably) from those other humans who are moved by generosity, and share what they can from what they have.

On the other hand we have a glimpse of a more humane society, which provides a guaranteed minimal living circumstance for everyone, and looks to the brightest and most capable among the population to deliver enough abundance for all.

This is just stating the same thing in two different ways. In the latter, the brightest and most capable are supporting everyone else. In the former, the brightest and most capable are supporting everyone else.

louis wrote:

They then go round South Asia and Africa seeking out a million dirt-poor co-religionists to take up the places offering readily accepted bounties to families to let their young men and women volunteer for the journey.  You could end up with a situation not so different from downtown Karachi!

No-one is going to ship people to Mars to die. There's not going to be poorly maintained infrastructure on Mars, because not maintaining your infrastructure in a hostile environment carries an automatic death sentence, delayed perhaps depending on how hostile it is. If they do find a million muslims to go, it's a sure bet that they will be intensely filtered just like everyone else for those who are capable of maintaining rockets, greenhouses, air filtration systems, water recyclers etc. Honestly, given how much more advanced China is, if you're that desperate they're probably a better source for colonists. India too. Various countries in South America. Biggest problem with scooping them from the West is our low birth rates (fertility has declined in the other countries too, but they have a lot more people to draw from). Could relocate Hong Kong? tongue


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#12 2021-07-25 14:40:02

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Will we have poverty on Mars?

Some would think that if you own the roof over your head which is paid for is a person that is rich while its just a roof without anything else it keeps you dry...of course that is compared to one whom has nothing for a roof to get out of the rain with being poor.

So for mars that roof is a dome or underground location with air and an ability to feed from any energy source natural, solar, small krusty unit, grid connected to a larger nuclear resource that does not get removed if a bill is not paid.
Anything else above the basics makes you rich for mars as compared to a baseline of need.

You might be considered poor or in poverty if you have no backups or just the one waiting on the shelf for any device failures and maybe rich if you have one more beyound that item...


Money has no meaning for mars....

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