A new system for inheritance, career and society

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A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:21 pm UTC

The Privilege thread* has a huge tangent in it right now about about how allowing inheritance creates an unfair system where some children are advantaged over others. The Women thread also has a tangent about raising children and having a career. I have some strange, speculative ideas about this. I have searched the forums, and this seems to have come up as a tangent in plenty of threads, but I can't find a thread about it specifically. I think it goes better here in General Chat because this is speculative and personal instead of evidence based, and because it's a tangent from GC threads. I think that there are a number of real problems in our society about career and inheritance, and I have some suggestions. Feel free to object to things that I think are problems or bring up other relevant problems in addition to discussing the possible solutions.

Problems:
1) Many professional careers require a large amount of time investment and look down upon taking time off.
2) Children need a lot of care, even if it's not from the mother, in the first few years of their life.
3) Breastfeeding is really, really important for health and well-being.
4) Children are privileged or disadvantaged due to the financial situation of their parents.
5) Older couples often want to raise children but are infertile.

Problems 1-3 create issues with gender equality, while problem 4 creates general societal unfairness and problem 5 makes for expensive fertility treatments and a lot of unhappiness.

My Odd Solution:
Expect young teenagers to be sexually active. Give them protection from pregnancy and disease, educate them, let them experiment. When they are 17-19, expect them to have children. At the very least, the woman is expected to find an older couple to live with and to raise the child with before getting pregnant. Ideally, the father would also participate in this family, but he's less relevant. (So much less relevant that I've thought that maybe sperm donation or a male in the older family should be the father.) Have a system of learning that includes online education and reading and such (self-directed learning) that can continue to educate both biological parents while they participate in infant raising. When the child is around 3 or so, the mother (and father, if he's participating) would move out and get started on their own career, including further education if necessary. If, later on, they wanted to raise children, they'd raise some young thing's kid.

Make inheritance illegal. If you have money left over at the end of your life, it goes to the state. The state provides a large amount of assistance to families raising children and pays for the child's education, including the while-pregnant, raising children part of their education.

On disadvantage is that evolution theory and experimental evolution show that later ages of reproduction extend lifespan, and earlier ages of reproduction reduce lifespan, and this system depends on having child-raising being a small part of your life, so that you can devote something around 4 years to it up front, have a long career, and then decide if you want to devote another 20 or so years to raising a child (until he or she goes to live with the family he or she will provide a baby for) before you're likely to die of old age. In other words, this system requires long lifespan, and isn't likely to expend lifespan.

*Ohh, I see that the thread is locked now. I sure hope that that doesn't bode badly for this thread.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby postinonthenets » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

My issues: you seem to totally discount the importance of having a father and I don't like the idea of someone taking my hard earned money away because I'm dead. The gov't already takes near 50% anyway.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:40 pm UTC

What is the incentive for the young woman to go through the troubles of pregnancy for some older family to have a child to raise? Assuming there isn't some older infertile couple that she loves so much she wants to give a child to. I suppose you could make it a prerequisite for getting a child as an older couple, but I think most young women would opt-out if given the choice, and if (effectively) not given a choice, it would be horribly unethical to coerce a woman into pregnancy.

Also, I'm not sure how you would go about banning inheritance. If a ban was put into place, the truly rich would either A) Give most of their assets to their children as their probable death approaches, and/or B) Find a legal loophole to allow their children to inherit anyway (example: keep their assets in a country that won't interfere with the inheritance).

EDIT: Just to add onto the first part. I'm not sure what you mean by "expect" teenagers to do this and that. It seems like the only way to enact that system (and even then I doubt it would ever work) would be to either legally coerce young women, or bring a great deal of social pressure to bear on them (try to make them feel very bad if they don't have a child for the older couple). To me that seems grossly immoral to attempt to coerce women in either of those ways, particularly into something as major as going through pregnancy and having a child. I think society now tries to exert too much control over women's bodies, this suggestion would exacerbate that problem immensely.
Last edited by setzer777 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:03 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:Make inheritance illegal.


Why? I see this sentiment tossed around so often on this fora, and I don't get it.

If you are arguing for a socialist government, then fine, go make that argument. But recognize that by removing inheritance and having all citizens cared for by the state, you are advocating for this system.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:11 pm UTC

postinonthenets, what do you mean by "the importance of having a father"? This system is creating a new, more communal system of child rearing. In that way, it is minimizing the role of biological mothers and fathers, but it's also providing for the possibility of two fathers, or two fathers and two mothers, or even monogamous heterosexual raising parents.

setzer777, do you really think we need an incentive for women to get pregnant? We've got too many people on the planet right now*, and a fair number of teenagers get pregnant. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten pregnant as a youngster if there was a social support system for it and I didn't have to raise the child for the next 20 years! From something like 13 on, I've been really aware that our child-raising system and careers and women's rights don't work well together, and I've been interested in alternatives.

It would probably make sense to transition to this system by encouraging older childless couples to essentially adopt pregnant teenagers, and to give them lots of state support to do so. I think that this would provide a really good outlet for people who don't get what they want from society right now, and I don't think that any type of coersion would be required.

On making inheritance illegal:
Izawwlgood, people want inheritance to be illegal because it's not fair that some children don't have enough to eat and have to take care of themselves while their single mother works two jobs while other children go on trips to Europe and have a horse in their yard and have six tutors. I do think it's fair that insanely ambitious executives can fly on jets to have dinner, but I think capitalist advantage and disadvantage should effect only those who earned it, not to those who had no choice (children).

There isn't a binary dichotomy between "socialist" and "not-socialist" governments. You can talk about how all governmental safety nets are socialist, but that doesn't address the issues in a substantive way. I think inheritance should be illegal because I think that inherited privilege is unfair. I don't think that having a different mid-life lifestyle due to choices is unfair. Personally, I want to be able to work very little and have very little money, and I don't want to be forced to have the standard of living that other people think is acceptable. I am suggesting a system that is essentially socialist at the beginning and end of life, but capitalist and merit-based for career success. I think that there is a real value for a capitalist system for the middle 60% of your life, where ambitious go-getters can make money, spend lots of money, and get famous, and non-ambitious people can do cheap things and just have fun.

I think you'd have to slowly phase in this system, with increased inheritance taxes first, and a growing acceptance of older non-biological parents raising children. Once child-raising was a thing to do when you are old and all children were well supported by the government, many fewer rich people would try to cheat. Rich go-getters would have other people raising their biological children and would probably mostly decide not to raise children, and instead to continue to be rich go-getters. They wouldn't have children to try to give their money to.

*Yes, this is an opinion, not a fact.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:setzer777, do you really think we need an incentive for women to get pregnant? We've got too many people on the planet right now*, and a fair number of teenagers get pregnant. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten pregnant as a youngster if there was a social support system for it and I didn't have to raise the child for the next 20 years! From something like 13 on, I've been really aware that our child-raising system and careers and women's rights don't work well together, and I've been interested in alternatives.

It would probably make sense to transition to this system by encouraging older childless couples to essentially adopt pregnant teenagers, and to give them lots of state support to do so. I think that this would provide a really good outlet for people who don't get what they want from society right now, and I don't think that any type of coersion would be required.



I think that the number of women that age who would be willing to get pregnant, be involved with the child's life for a while, and then give it up are substantially outnumbered by the number of women who would rather get an abortion in the case of accidental pregnancy, or would rather give the child up for adoption as soon as it's born.

Edit: Not to mention, many people have an explicitly-stated desire to raise their own biological children. What would be their incentive for raising non-biological children instead?
Last edited by setzer777 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:36 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby the tree » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:34 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:On making inheritance illegal:
Izawwlgood, people want inheritance to be illegal because it's not fair that some children don't have enough to eat and have to take care of themselves while their single mother works two jobs while other children go on trips to Europe and have a horse in their yard and have six tutors. I do think it's fair that insanely ambitious executives can fly on jets to have dinner, but I think capitalist advantage and disadvantage should effect only those who earned it, not to those who had no choice (children).
Those differences are differences that exist while the parents are alive. And, obviously:
setzer777 wrote: If a ban was put into place, the truly rich would either A) Give most of their assets to their children as their probable death approaches, and/or B) Find a legal loophole to allow their children to inherit anyway (example: keep their assets in a country that won't interfere with the inheritance).
Though on a point of semantics, I would say that A is an example of B.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

There are two different practical questions with this system 1) how do you convince people to transition to it and 2) how would it work / be robust to "cheating" once you've transitioned to it.

I made some suggestions on 1, but I really don't have that figured out. At all. And I'm less interested in that, because this isn't really a practical suggestion, but more of an interesting ideal. So I'm more interested in the answers to 2 than to 1.

With the system well established, all raising parents get a certain family stipend that would provide for ALL needs of the child and biological parents. Food, shelter, education, tutors, riding lessons, trips to other parts of the world. It might be interesting to require the raising parents to divest themselves of all of their individual resources and enter a completely socialist system, where their abilities are child-raising, but I'm not convinced that that's the best way to do this. Whether or not the raising parents could still have private property, their children would not suffer nor benefit from that private property.

This is a really radical social system, more different from the current America capitalism & childraising & inheritance than traditional socialism is.

Edited to add:
setzer777, are you really worried about the human race dying out? I just don't see how getting enough children is a problem. My discussion above about entering the system versus having the system was great in part about the whole "but I want to raise my old children issue." I don't have any idea what to do about the cultural expectation that you raise your own children. But I think that spawning early would take care of those who want to have babies in a culture that expected older people to raise non-related children.

Edited again to reply to below:
I want to preserve the capitalistic benefit of being ambitious for your own good, but not the "benefit" of being ambitious for your children.
Last edited by Enuja on Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:13 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:02 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:This is a really radical social system, more different from the current America capitalism & childraising & inheritance than traditional socialism is.


Yeah, the socialist system you're proposing kind of renders the childcare thing obsolete. You listed problems as:

Enuja wrote:1) Many professional careers require a large amount of time investment and look down upon taking time off.
2) Children need a lot of care, even if it's not from the mother, in the first few years of their life.
3) Breastfeeding is really, really important for health and well-being.
4) Children are privileged or disadvantaged due to the financial situation of their parents.
5) Older couples often want to raise children but are infertile.


1-3 are easily eliminated in a radical socialist system without the need for your childcare thing. You can just mandate that businesses give mothers paid time off to care for children, breast-feed etc. 4 is eliminated by getting rid of inheritance and making every useful amenity socialized and available to all.

That leaves 5 as the only issue, and that seems easier to rectify with adoption and with technological advancements than with a complete overhaul of how we deal with childcare.

You may have other reasons for your childcare system, but the five you mentioned would already be adequately dealt with in your hypothetical socialist community.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:27 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:This system is creating a new, more communal system of child rearing.


And it has been demonstrated that children don't fare very well when raised communally.

Enuja wrote:Izawwlgood, people want inheritance to be illegal because it's not fair that some children don't have enough to eat and have to take care of themselves while their single mother works two jobs while other children go on trips to Europe and have a horse in their yard and have six tutors.


Disputing the wealth divide is a different topic. It isn't fair. It will never be fair. But there are so many caveats to your scenario, that I'd rather see a wealth divide then penalize the rich to ensure that no one can have a pony in their yard.

Enuja wrote:I do think it's fair that insanely ambitious executives can fly on jets to have dinner, but I think capitalist advantage and disadvantage should effect only those who earned it, not to those who had no choice (children).


But this is fine! Because children are NOT able to choose who their parents are, we should protect their chances. But, as I mentioned in the Privilege thread, you don't protect the rights of the poor by penalizing the rights of the rich! If you object to CEO RichGuy raising happy jet hopping kids, because TwoJob SingleMom can't afford to send her kids on vacation, the answer isn't to take away CEO RichGuy's success from his children, but to help pay for TwoJob SingleMoms kids, so that she doesn't have to work two jobs and they don't have to quit school to get jobs of their own! Your solution, and indeed, the notion of communal parenting, doesn't help the poor so much as penalize the rich.

Enuja wrote:Rich go-getters would have other people raising their biological children and would probably mostly decide not to raise children, and instead to continue to be rich go-getters.


I mean, what about the rich go-getters who want to raise their kids, to share their wealth with their family? My dad works his ASS off, and doesn't like fancy cars, or snazzy electronics, he likes taking his family out to dinner once a week, and taking them somewhere cool for camping trips and stuff. Of course my opinion is biased against what you propose because I benefit from the wealth of my parents, but I don't think anything about my dad's use of his money is 'unfair', and I don't think penalizing him, and people like him, will make the less fortunate, magically fortunate.

But the notion of a state sponsored program to get pregnant teens paired with interested, wealthier, older couples is a great idea. So long as it isn't mandatory (Oh look, little Amy is back with her seventh kid... Whoopie).
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:setzer777, are you really worried about the human race dying out? I just don't see how getting enough children is a problem. My discussion above about entering the system versus having the system was great in part about the whole "but I want to raise my old children issue." I don't have any idea what to do about the cultural expectation that you raise your own children. But I think that spawning early would take care of those who want to have babies in a culture that expected older people to raise non-related children.

Edited again to reply to below:
I want to preserve the capitalistic benefit of being ambitious for your own good, but not the "benefit" of being ambitious for your children.


I'm not saying the risk is the human race dying out, the risk is 99% of people opting out of your system and choosing to raise their own biological children. Also, I don't think that there are that many young women who want to have babies and not raise them. So the "spawning early" think doesn't seem like much of a solution. Likewise the idea of sperm-donors or having the older man be the father - most women who do want babies not only want to raise them personally, but also care who the father is. Being impregnated by some random man isn't usually a desire women have.

I don't know what the phrase "entering the system verses having the system" means - do you mean that you don't want to consider the issue of getting people to willingly subscribe to your system? I can get that to an extent, but it seems like you are totally divorcing the discussion from actual human motivation and emotion; if we're doing that, I can come up with a huge number of interesting hypothetical societies, they just have absolutely nothing to do with reality.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:And it has been demonstrated that children don't fare very well when raised communally.
I simply don't believe you. Of course, in a society that values "nuclear" families, orphanages are worse than second best. However, there have been tons of cultures that have communal, grandparent, and extended family child raising. Are you really saying that just two biological parents are always, clearly, demonstrably better than any system of wider responsibility for raising children? I just tried to search for academic papers on the subject, and I've obviously not found the right search terms. What evidence do you have for this, so I can address it? And the system I'm describing is "more communal" but still has small group child rearing.

Also, this system does not penalize the self-made rich. If you have your child when young and are ambitious and succeed, you can have whatever individual money-related advantage you want. This system only penalizes the rich-by-birth and the self-made rich people who want to create a rich family.

Izawwlgood wrote:Because children are NOT able to choose who their parents are, we should protect their chances. But, as I mentioned in the Privilege thread, you don't protect the rights of the poor by penalizing the rights of the rich! If you object to CEO RichGuy raising happy jet hopping kids, because TwoJob SingleMom can't afford to send her kids on vacation, the answer isn't to take away CEO RichGuy's success from his children, but to help pay for TwoJob SingleMoms kids, so that she doesn't have to work two jobs and they don't have to quit school to get jobs of their own! Your solution, and indeed, the notion of communal parenting, doesn't help the poor so much as penalize the rich.
Where do you get the money for TwoJob SingleMom's kids? From CEO RichGuy, clearly. All systems of progressive taxation or support for the poor take money from the rich. Except systems that get rid of inheritance. Because getting rid of inheritance means that dead people (not rich people) support all children! The practical issue of "without inheritance, will dead people leave enough money to raise children" comes up, and I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I think it would depend in great part on the rest of the culture.

Izawwlgood wrote:I mean, what about the rich go-getters who want to raise their kids, to share their wealth with their family? My dad works his ASS off, and doesn't like fancy cars, or snazzy electronics, he likes taking his family out to dinner once a week, and taking them somewhere cool for camping trips and stuff. Of course my opinion is biased against what you propose because I benefit from the wealth of my parents, but I don't think anything about my dad's use of his money is 'unfair', and I don't think penalizing him, and people like him, will make the less fortunate, magically fortunate.
Wouldn't it be nice if your dad could take the family out to dinner once a week and to camping trips without working his ass off?

setzer777 wrote:I don't know what the phrase "entering the system verses having the system" means - do you mean that you don't want to consider the issue of getting people to willingly subscribe to your system? I can get that to an extent, but it seems like you are totally divorcing the discussion from actual human motivation and emotion; if we're doing that, I can come up with a huge number of interesting hypothetical societies, they just have absolutely nothing to do with reality.
That is correct, I don't want to consider the issue of getting people to willingly subscribe to my system. And, in some ways, this is an interesting hypothetical society, and I think making threads about interesting hypothetical societies is fun! However, another issue here is that I apparently have a different view of what human motivations and emotions are. I think a huge amount of our motivations are cultural, and I think raising your "own" children is one of them. Sure, there is a biological drive to have babies and for women to nurse them, but I honestly think that the rest is culturally contingent, and I'm talking about changing that culture. What makes you think that raising children in a "nuclear" family is an innate biological need and cannot be altered by a different cultural system?

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:23 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:
setzer777 wrote:I don't know what the phrase "entering the system verses having the system" means - do you mean that you don't want to consider the issue of getting people to willingly subscribe to your system? I can get that to an extent, but it seems like you are totally divorcing the discussion from actual human motivation and emotion; if we're doing that, I can come up with a huge number of interesting hypothetical societies, they just have absolutely nothing to do with reality.
That is correct, I don't want to consider the issue of getting people to willingly subscribe to my system. And, in some ways, this is an interesting hypothetical society, and I think making threads about interesting hypothetical societies is fun! However, another issue here is that I apparently have a different view of what human motivations and emotions are. I think a huge amount of our motivations are cultural, and I think raising your "own" children is one of them. Sure, there is a biological drive to have babies and for women to nurse them, but I honestly think that the rest is culturally contingent, and I'm talking about changing that culture. What makes you think that raising children in a "nuclear" family is an innate biological need and cannot be altered by a different cultural system?


I don't think we necessarily disagree about the nature of human motivation and emotion. I also think that a lot of human motivation is cultural, but cultural =! plausibly malleable in any way that sounds interesting. If a cultural change you are considering is not backed up by some principle or value that humans also give a huge amount of stock in culturally, then the notion of changing culture in that way is as fanciful as changing our biological nature. What I'm saying is that in the culture I'm familiar with, none of the possible benefits you are suggesting would come remotely close to overcoming people's desire to raise their own children. I think that the majority of people would sooner accept more direct socialism to fund other people's parenting than willingly give up their biological offspring and raise unrelated children themselves.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Have you glanced at page 418 of the Woman thread? Lots of people talking about wanting to spawn but not raise, wanting to raise but not spawn, wanting to raise children in a communal way (some of that is a joke, but some of it also appears serious). I really do think that bringing up these ideas, the growth of open adoptions, possible future growth of intentional communities, and a growth of the idea of the moral evil of privilege from inheritance might eventually (400 years from now or so) lead to this system. I really think that "our" system has a huge flaw about reproduction and women and ambition, and I really do think that this is one possible practical solution. Socialism (tries to) get rid of the idea of careers and ambition totally, and I simply don't think that's realistic.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:50 pm UTC

Oh, ok, I didn't realize your speculations were about a hypothetical time that far into the future. In that case I agree that some form of communal child rearing might become more prominent, depending on how things progress economically, technologically, etc.

I still don't think inheritance will be effectively eliminated. Even if adoptive parenthood became the norm, it would just alter who is passing on material wealth to who. Most of the wealthy will still not allow all of their money to pass to the state, and as long as you are talking about a remotely free-market system (especially free-market in terms of international transactions), their wealth will give them the power to prevent that from happening.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby thedufer » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:05 am UTC

Enuja wrote:Make inheritance illegal. If you have money left over at the end of your life, it goes to the state. The state provides a large amount of assistance to families raising children and pays for the child's education, including the while-pregnant, raising children part of their education.


This removes the incentive to work beyond a certain point. This, in and of itself, presents an issue. Would anyone at a high-paying job work for more than a few years if they only needed enough for their own lifespan?

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Why should a person in a high paying job work more than a few years? Why is that an important incentive?* Even if it's important to keep people "working", many people I know don't have enough money to retire, much less retire early. Also, very rich people develop appetites that use up all of their money. Also, there are people who do retire very, very early. I'm not sure that the percentage of people who do so would increase.

*This is a different subject and should go into its own thread, maybe in Serious Business. I am interested in such a discussion (Is industriousness important? Is productivity important? Is hard work important? How about on the individual versus the societal level?)

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby i » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:39 am UTC

I just love social systems that assume huge changes in human psychology.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:46 am UTC

I think it'd be a lot more sensible to take a more bottom up approach, that is not just "expecting" things of people, but creating a system which works with what we have now.

Any of you guys read Huxley's The Island? In it he theorizes a society in which children and parents basically share each other within a community. It seemed kind of neat.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:I simply don't believe you. Of course, in a society that values "nuclear" families, orphanages are worse than second best. However, there have been tons of cultures that have communal, grandparent, and extended family child raising. Are you really saying that just two biological parents are always, clearly, demonstrably better than any system of wider responsibility for raising children?


I mean, there's lots of evidence that children raised in orphanages fare much more poorly then children raised in even low income housing. Stuffs at the bottom.

But no, I never suggested that biological heritage is better. Often foster care or adoptive parents or grandparents are far superior to crappy biological parents. I never suggested anything of the sort.
HOWEVER, we have tons of cultures that have shared child caring responsbilities, including multiple mothers caring for multiple children, grandparents caring for their grandkids, aunts/uncles/cousins/friends caring for kids, but that is far different from communally raised children. I'm not even suggesting that children MUST have one or two parents to fixate on, and very much support the notion that it takes a village to raise a child. But that doesn't mean that raising children in a 100% communal environment is a good idea, and I would go so far as to believe it is quite unhealthy.

Enuja wrote:This system only penalizes the rich-by-birth and the self-made rich people who want to create a rich family.


I don't see how this doesn't penalize the rich.

Enuja wrote:Where do you get the money for TwoJob SingleMom's kids? From CEO RichGuy, clearly. All systems of progressive taxation or support for the poor take money from the rich. Except systems that get rid of inheritance. Because getting rid of inheritance means that dead people (not rich people) support all children! The practical issue of "without inheritance, will dead people leave enough money to raise children" comes up, and I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I think it would depend in great part on the rest of the culture.


I don't approve of levying larger taxes against the rich to support the poor. I also don't approve of telling a rich person everything they have built up will be taken from them, by the government, to support the poor. Forced charity is not charity.

Enuja wrote:Wouldn't it be nice if your dad could take the family out to dinner once a week and to camping trips without working his ass off?


What? No. Why on earth would you take away his right to work hard and reap the rewards of his labor? Haven't you ever felt that the reward of something was related to the difficulty in accomplishing it? And this is tangential, but my dad works hard so he can enjoy doing things that others can't. If everyone was given one month a year camping vacation time, I imagine he would work hard to take his family on something else.

And I also don't believe 'luxury' (like camping trips and shmancy dinner and stuff) is something should be given. We should protect the rights of individuals to ensure they don't starve, receive no education, or lack of shelter. We should NOT guarantee everyone get a nice car and filet mignon every night.

Enuja wrote:What makes you think that raising children in a "nuclear" family is an innate biological need and cannot be altered by a different cultural system?


There's evidence that there is in fact a necessity of a nuclear family. I can't read the whole article, but if you do a pubmed search for Fam Process. 2002 Fall;41(3):435-54 you should be able to read the abstract. Here, incase it doesn't work:

Spoiler:
This article integrates research data about attachment in kibbutz-raised children with a review of the socio-historical processes that shaped the interrelations between the kibbutz family and the collective and influenced childrearing practices. It uses systems theory to evaluate the changing practices of kibbutz childrearing with particular focus on communal sleeping for infants and children away from their parents, and its impact on the formation of attachment relations to parents and caregivers, transmission of attachment across generations, and later school competence. It argues that artificial childrearing practices such as communal sleeping for infants and children created a unique and unprecedented "social experiment in nature," which, from the perspective of attachment theory, was predestined to be discontinued because it betrayed the essential attachment needs of most parents and children.


Remember, culture plays a massive role in how we operate, but we are still mammals descended from primates! We bond to parent figures, and we birth our own children one, MAYBE two at a time! I don't think it's reasonable to ask someone whose worked their entire lives to give everything up to pay for society. Again, mandatory charity isn't.

But something you said earlier sticks, and I apologize that I can't find the quote... You mentioned that you were satisfied not working very hard in life, and not earning much money and not enjoying much luxury. I'm not sure if we've crossed terms, but I find the notion of not working very hard in life very strange. One's enjoyment of money and luxury are separate matters entirely, but for me, working hard is... Important.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

Izawwlgood, I wasn't actually advocating a system with no primary care-givers, so I don't think we actually disagree. To me "communal" isn't a yes or no category, but a location on a linear scale. I don't think that completely independent nor completely communal caregiving is ideal: I think that having a specific group of people responsible for raising children with a large amount of assistance is ideal. I also think that slightly larger families are probably better, but that's just a wild guess. So, yeah, I don't think we disagree: we just use the word "communal" differently.

We also appear to be using the term "nuclear" family very differently. To me, a nuclear family is a father, a mother, and their children. Period. No grandparents, no adoptive parents, no wet nurse, no aunt in the house who helps to rear the family. It doesn't include monogamous lesbian or gay couples who raise children, or polyamorous parenting groups. All of these possibilities include ways to create strong attachment between a caregiver and a child. It is also possible to have a nuclear family with infants sleeping apart from the parents and with other children, so a nuclear family doesn't necessarily mean ideal-system-for-attachment.

It is quite possible that forming an attachment with a biological mother and milk source would create a problem for parenting after the biological mother left the family, but, again, it simply looks like we don't know this. Doing studies on rich old people bringing pregnant women into their houses and continuing to raise the infant after the mother moves out on her own will probably be the best way to figure this out.



On whether or not getting rid of inheritance penalizes the rich:
The rich still have the power to experience whatever they want for themselves. They just don't have the power to create a separate society of rich people. To me, getting rid of inheritance is like getting rid of the ability for rich people to pay off the criminal justice system. Sure, it's getting rid of a privilege that the rich have historically enjoyed, but it's making them like the rest of us and making them follow society's rules (assuming that society agrees that inheritance is bad).


I think that progressive versus regressive versus flat taxes is a different topic entirely.


Izawwlgood wrote:Haven't you ever felt that the reward of something was related to the difficulty in accomplishing it? And this is tangential, but my dad works hard so he can enjoy doing things that others can't. If everyone was given one month a year camping vacation time, I imagine he would work hard to take his family on something else.
Izawwlgood wrote:But something you said earlier sticks, and I apologize that I can't find the quote... You mentioned that you were satisfied not working very hard in life, and not earning much money and not enjoying much luxury. I'm not sure if we've crossed terms, but I find the notion of not working very hard in life very strange. One's enjoyment of money and luxury are separate matters entirely, but for me, working hard is... Important.
I'd be happy to discuss this in a new (or old) thread!



I'm amused at this constellation of ideas: Izawwlgood believes in the power of work, but apparently also believes that rich people should be able to shelter their young from hard work through the power of inheritance. I believe in the power of good things, some of which take work, but I don't think that parents should be able to shelter their children from the hard work necessary to get the things the children want. Maybe it's not so strange after all: I guess I think that hard work is important only for what it creates, not for its own sake. Therefore, I don't think that anyone should get benefits of hard work without doing the hard work, and I don't think anyone should have to do hard work for no benefit (like economically disadvantaged members of society have to).



i wrote:I just love social systems that assume huge changes in human psychology.
As I've said before, go look at p. 418 of the woman thread. There are people right now who want to have a baby and not raise, and others who want to raise a baby and not have it. How is this assuming a huge change is psychology?

However, personally, I do love coming up with systems where human psychology is different. I guess that's the scifi lover in me.


cephalopod9 wrote:I think it'd be a lot more sensible to take a more bottom up approach, that is not just "expecting" things of people, but creating a system which works with what we have now.

Any of you guys read Huxley's The Island? In it he theorizes a society in which children and parents basically share each other within a community. It seemed kind of neat.
It may be more sensible, but it's not nearly as much fun, in the mind-stretching sci-fi way. I haven't read Huxley's The Island.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Belial » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:23 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Enuja wrote:This system only penalizes the rich-by-birth and the self-made rich people who want to create a rich family.


I don't see how this doesn't penalize the rich.


I don't see how it does.

Unless you think the rich are *entitled* to be able to make their descendants rich after they, themselves, are dead. That it somehow hurts them post-mortem that their kids aren't also rich.

Honestly, even with this in place, the children of the rich are still at a massive unfair advantage due to being able to take advantage of the parents' wealth while they're alive. And the resources you have at your disposal when you're growing up tend to matter a lot more than how much money you suddenly have when you're forty or fifty or whenever your parents finally kick it.

So really, the rich don't have much to whine about in this situation. They're still way on top. Which has never stopped them from whining before, but what the fuck ever.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:32 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Honestly, even with this in place, the children of the rich are still at a massive unfair advantage due to being able to take advantage of the parents' wealth while they're alive. And the resources you have at your disposal when you're growing up tend to matter a lot more than how much money you suddenly have when you're forty or fifty or whenever your parents finally kick it.



Exactly, and if inheritance was banned, they could still give 90% of their wealth to their kids near the probably end of their life, and then use the remaining 10% to retire in luxury. Alternatively, they could put it all in a bank account in Switzerland or something and give the kids access. I think that as long as money represents real power and influence, trying to do something like ban inheritance will be pointless - those with power will always tend to hold on to that power.

I think the OP hoped to avoid the problem you're talking about by having more communal and adoptive parenting. Personally, I don't think that would work - at best it would just stop unfair advantages from being passed down genetically, and have them passed down by some other metric (I guess whoever the rich feel like adopting). Also, I imagine it would lead to the very wealthy bidding (legally or illegally) for the most desirably parents for their adoptive children (white, conventionally attractive, high IQ, etc.)
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And the resources you have at your disposal when you're growing up tend to matter a lot more than how much money you suddenly have when you're forty or fifty or whenever your parents finally kick it.So really, the rich don't have much to whine about in this situation. They're still way on top.


My college education was partially paid for by my grandparents. By telling the rich they are no longer able to provide for their next of kin or their kins next of kin, you are penalizing them. It doesn't matter if you don't feel that inheritance after 30 matters, I find mandatory sequestering the majority of any individuals wealth to be a pretty abhorrent practice. Furthermore, what of situations where a grandparent is raising a child and wants to ensure that everything they've worked for will be there for the child if anything happens? I'm sorry, I can't wrap my head around a legitimate reason to eliminate inheritance. We already tax inheritances very heavily, which is pretty lame in my mind, but just as you, and a number of people around this thread and the Privilege thread don't seem to trust the rich, I think there are just as many reasons to not trust the government.

@Enuja:Our miscommunication's should be in a thread dedicated to nuclear family and child rearing variations and such... So ya, miscommunications. Back OT.

Enuja wrote:The rich still have the power to experience whatever they want for themselves. They just don't have the power to create a separate society of rich people. To me, getting rid of inheritance is like getting rid of the ability for rich people to pay off the criminal justice system. Sure, it's getting rid of a privilege that the rich have historically enjoyed, but it's making them like the rest of us and making them follow society's rules (assuming that society agrees that inheritance is bad).


I don't agree that eliminating inheritance will eliminate a separate society of the rich, and I don't think that inheritance is linked to paying off the criminal justice system. Again, there are better ways to level the playing field then to arbitrarily penalize the rich. I strongly agree with the notion of implementing programs to provide for the 'non-privileged' (however you want to make a case for being so), and don't object to using government funds to pay for it.

Enuja wrote:I'm amused at this constellation of ideas: Izawwlgood believes in the power of work, but apparently also believes that rich people should be able to shelter their young from hard work through the power of inheritance. I believe in the power of good things, some of which take work, but I don't think that parents should be able to shelter their children from the hard work necessary to get the things the children want. Maybe it's not so strange after all: I guess I think that hard work is important only for what it creates, not for its own sake. Therefore, I don't think that anyone should get benefits of hard work without doing the hard work, and I don't think anyone should have to do hard work for no benefit (like economically disadvantaged members of society have to).


That's an unfair logical leap. I never said the rich should be able to shelter their young from hard work. I also never suggested the rich should still work for the 'sake' or working. It really bugs me that people think wealth=lazy. Like, Oh, they can afford a maid, they must be lazy.
If you want to bust your ass and use the money to go on a cruise, that doesn't make you a lazy person.
But you do make a good point, that children of the wealthy haven't 'earned' their benefits, and fine, I agree with that. Children, as a whole, haven't earned anything. A wealthy kid playing on his xbox and eating nutritionally balanced meals hasn't 'earned' their way anymore then a poor kid playing with chalk on the street and eating left overs has earned their keep. The 'earning' of a life's privilege comes later, comes with what you do with yourself, and frankly, I don't have any answers as to what qualifies. Yes, I recognize a non-privileged child is at a disadvantage and may not be able to do as much with themselves, and that's where the supportive programs come into play. But again, penalizing the rich != helping the poor.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote: I think the OP hoped to avoid the problem you're talking about by having more communal and adoptive parenting. Personally, I don't think that would work - at best it would just stop unfair advantages from being passed down genetically, and have them passed down by some other metric (I guess whoever the rich feel like adopting). Also, I imagine it would lead to the very wealthy bidding (legally or illegally) for the most desirably parents for their adoptive children (white, conventionally attractive, high IQ, etc.)
I think that my system will prevent economic privilege to children by convincing rich people stop having rich kids. In the past and currently, having children is one way to continue your empire. Getting rid of that "advantage" of having children will get rid of the reason that rich people get kids, pay for a wet nurse or nanny with formula, and try to train up their children to take over their business or jump ahead in other fields and then give their children their money when they die. I'm trying to come up with a system where rich people will still give money for charitable or other reasons to put their name in history, but people will stop trying to put their family in history. It's true that much of this change would have to be cultural, not legal, because, as you say, power begets power.

Izawwlgood, I'm talking about a system where your grandparents wouldn't have to pay for your education: the state would pay for your education up to a certain level, and after that your work would pay for your education (like graduate school with TAships). Your grandparent's money would be literally superfluous. I'm talking about a system where parents and grandparents and other child-raisers don't need to work hard to give their children an advantage because all children start out with as many options as possible!

Izawwlgood, you talk about coming up with supports to get rid of the disadvantage of being poor, but you keep saying that getting rid of the advantages of being the child of a rich person is penalizing the rich person. If anyone has advantage, the people without advantage have disadvantage! There isn't a way to get rid of economic disadvantage to some children without getting rid of economic inequality of children.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

Enuja wrote: I think that my system will prevent economic privilege to children by convincing rich people stop having rich kids. In the past and currently, having children is one way to continue your empire. Getting rid of that "advantage" of having children will get rid of the reason that rich people get kids, pay for a wet nurse or nanny with formula, and try to train up their children to take over their business or jump ahead in other fields and then give their children their money when they die. I'm trying to come up with a system where rich people will still give money for charitable or other reasons to put their name in history, but people will stop trying to put their family in history. It's true that much of this change would have to be cultural, not legal, because, as you say, power begets power.


How would your system convince rich people to stop having rich kids? Presumably in your proposed culture adopting a child as an older couple will seem as natural and normal as biological children now. In which case the only difference is that rich people will be hand-picking children to adopt and train up to take over their business/jump ahead in other fields when they die.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

That's the reason that I mentioned the possibility of requiring raising parents to give up their individual wealth and enter an entirely socialist system. In other words, you start out in a socialist system, when you become an adult you move into a capitalistic society, and when you are older you can chose to enter a socialist system again where you raise children. You can also choose to stay in the capitalistic society and not raise children. The biological imperative to breed would already be taken care of.

Social controls can be very powerful. If the idea of family empires died and everybody was raised with equal opportunity, including equal economic opportunity, raising children in the capitalistic part of society would feel like perversion, not power. I think that this is likely to be true in part because rich parents, right now, are often very upset at what living in a rich family does to their children.

In my first post I listed problems with society that this would fix. Now I'll list things in this society that lead me to believe that my system would work, if I somehow got started.
Women wanting to have children but not raise them.
Women wanting to raise children but not have them.
Rich kids feeling guilty about their privilege.
Rich parents feeling guilty about their spoiled children.
Rich parents that want an empire leaving raising their children to other people.

I really think that raising children and getting and being rich are pretty darn antithetical to each other. I think it's only the construct of empire that makes rich people want to carry on their privilege, not some psychological need to work hard away from children in order to spend time with children. Without that construct, I think that these problems would go away. I have no idea how to convince people that creating a privileged lineage is a bad idea, which is one major reason I have no idea how to start this type of system.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:16 pm UTC

I think the biggest issue would be:

Women wanting to have children but not raise them.
Women wanting to raise children but not have them.


these two groups always being the small minority. Although I think culture has a huge influence on people, I do think that genetics does determine some of our behavior, and if any behavior is genetically based, I think wanting to raise your own biological children (maybe not to 18, but for a significant portion of their early life) is a very good candidate. I wouldn't make this argument on the SB board (I don't have solid evidence backing up my theory), but since we're engaging in wild speculation anyway in this thread, I'm going to suggest that the vast majority of people who want kids at all want to raise their own kids (or at least have the ultimate say when it comes to their care/protection); also that the vast majority of women really care about who the father is, and so wouldn't be okay with it being a sperm donor or the older man (I'm assuming you also meant sperm donor in that case, and not that there would be social pressure for young women to have sex with the older man specifically).

Now, obviously I'm not saying that nobody will want those things (wanting children but not raising them, wanting to raise children but not have them, and not caring who the father is), just that genetics will make the probabilities such that the group who wants those things will never be large enough to make your system workable. Theoretically, culture can still overcome these instincts, but I think it would require a significant amount of coercion for a lot of people (and in your set-up it would mainly be young-women being pressured), which I find unethical.

I also don't see anyway to require parents to give up all personal wealth without a severely intrusive government.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:Social controls can be very powerful. If the idea of family empires died and everybody was raised with equal opportunity, including equal economic opportunity, raising children in the capitalistic part of society would feel like perversion, not power. I think that this is likely to be true in part because rich parents, right now, are often very upset at what living in a rich family does to their children.


This claim is entirely anecdotal. I have a very hard time imagining a system wherein you won't want the absolute best for the child you are caring for. I also refuse to believe that the majority of rich parents are upset at what living in rich family does to their children, and would prefer their children be raised with exactly the same amount of privilege as the next person. I know I would want my children to have every opportunity I can provide for them, and then some (note 'my children' doesn't imply biological). Also, being wealthy, and providing for your children does NOT equal 'family empire building'. My school, food, and shelter are no longer being provided for by my parents, and their fiscal investment is me is far far smaller then their fiscal investment in various charities, and my siblings. I imagine many children of 'wealthy' families can say the same thing.

Enuja wrote:You can also choose to stay in the capitalistic society and not raise children. The biological imperative to breed would already be taken care of.


I guess I'm a bit fuzzy on how your system allows these freedoms. You seem to basically be suggesting a leapfrog style of caring, that ultimately only benefits the lazy, or the wealthy and infertile. You also ignore a number of previously proven issues, such as children raised without a father being more prone to addiction and violence.


Enuja wrote:Rich kids feeling guilty about their privilege.Rich parents feeling guilty about their spoiled children.Rich parents that want an empire leaving raising their children to other people.


Where is this coming from, or what does this show? I mean, I know plenty of rich kids who feel guilty about their privilege, and plenty of poor kids who are embarrassed that they are poor. So what? You seem to have a serious vendetta against the wealthy, both in those who have 'earned' it, and those who were born into it. Can you tell me why?

Enuja wrote:I really think that raising children and getting and being rich are pretty darn antithetical to each other. I think it's only the construct of empire that makes rich people want to carry on their privilege, not some psychological need to work hard away from children in order to spend time with children. Without that construct, I think that these problems would go away. I have no idea how to convince people that creating a privileged lineage is a bad idea, which is one major reason I have no idea how to start this type of system.


While I'll certainly agree that raising children is the furthest thing from a get rich quick scheme, I don't think it's remotely fair to say that getting wealthy and raising kids are antithetical. At all.
And I don't think 'empire', for whatever you are using that term to mean, is responsible for the desire to provide for those you care about. You can make a biological argument for it (simply the biological urge to be paternal/maternal, as well as the biological urge to provide for your genes).

But it'd be really easy to set up some sort of shared care system! If a social program was initiated to link young parents with elderly retirees, so the parents could goto school and the retirees could care for their children. Hell, not two weeks ago I read in the Chicago Tribune about a program just like this, where people who were negatively affected by the economic downturn could temporarily hand their children over to wealthier adoptive foster parents. The foster parents were mostly older, retirees, and received small compensation from the state for their troubles.
As for convincing people that privileged lineage is a bad thing, I have no idea. I disagree with that sentiment, but would suggest creating a system in which privilege is less required for success then it even is today. If programs were in place to allow the poor equal-er opportunity, and all privilege became was the opportunity to pay for better schools or better health care or better food (i.e., the poor are still schooled, cared for, and eating, presumably well enough by whatever standard), then privilege would become a luxury, instead of (it seems you feel), a necessity.

setzer777 wrote:I also don't see anyway to require parents to give up all personal wealth without a severely intrusive government.


But this mostly. Instead of vastly limiting the 'wealthy' (which at this point, is simply anyone who wants to pass anything onto those under their care), via an intrusive government, why not unshackle, so to speak, the 'poor'?
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

The absolute best is not the absolute largest amount of resources. If good parents have the resources they need, from the state, the only way they can do a better job at raising their children is to be better parents, not to get more money and use that money to improve their children's life.

How does this system benefit the lazy, wealthy, or infertile? (And I thought you said my system penalized the wealthy?) The lazy don't get extra resources as adults, the wealthy can do whatever they want, and the infertile can raise children. This doesn't give the wealthy or infertile any benefits they don't already have, if adoption were easy (which it is not). I'm ignoring fatherless systems because there could be fathers in this system; I'm not taking them out in any way. I'm also not requiring them, but if they are necessary, then they can be there.

My system would get rid of both rich and poor kids, so there wouldn't be guilt, embarrassment, or problems of insufficient resources for children.

You cannot unshackle those born poor without getting rid of inheritance and different wealth for parents. Period. It is a logical impossibility. You've admitted as much yourself.
Izawwlgood wrote:But you do make a good point, that children of the wealthy haven't 'earned' their benefits, and fine, I agree with that. Children, as a whole, haven't earned anything. A wealthy kid playing on his xbox and eating nutritionally balanced meals hasn't 'earned' their way anymore then a poor kid playing with chalk on the street and eating left overs has earned their keep. The 'earning' of a life's privilege comes later, comes with what you do with yourself, and frankly, I don't have any answers as to what qualifies. Yes, I recognize a non-privileged child is at a disadvantage and may not be able to do as much with themselves
You followed it up with the logical impossiblity of saying that you can get rid of privilege just by giving resources to poor children, but this is not true, as long as poor children have fewer resources than rich children. You can change privilege, and make it smaller, but you can't get rid of it without getting rid of inequality in economic conditions for children.

setzer777, whether people biologically want to raise their own children (past the infant age) is something I certainly don't have any evidence about, and, you're correct, if they do, then my system is shot without changing the biological psychology. Personally, I suspect that people only biologically want to raise their own infants and toddlers, not older children, but I could be wrong. I think that much of what we think of as child rearing is a cultural creation that is not at all structured by biology.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:22 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:The absolute best is not the absolute largest amount of resources. If good parents have the resources they need, from the state, the only way they can do a better job at raising their children is to be better parents, not to get more money and use that money to improve their children's life.


So you fully suggest 100% equality? Everywhere. Meaning all schools are equal, all textbooks are equal, all subjects receive the same amount of funding, all professions reward equally and no one, anywhere, be allowed to excel at anything, because then their services may be in higher demand, and only the privileged could afford it...? That children should be told to never aspire to more then what the state requires? Sorry, but 'being a better parent' isn't just giving your kid more hugs.

Enuja wrote:How does this system benefit the lazy, wealthy, or infertile? (And I thought you said my system penalized the wealthy?)


Gurk, epic crossed wireds. I mistakenly typed 'wealthy and infertile' when I was thinking 'wealthy and elderly'. Meaning your system benefits the young (I can have babies and someone will care for not just them, but me too!) and the successful elderly (Now that the state cares for me, all that money I earned in my crazy capitalistic midlife can now be blown on these adorable if foolishly pregnant young couples!).

Enuja wrote:The lazy don't get extra resources as adults, the wealthy can do whatever they want, and the infertile can raise children.


The lazy are cared for by the state, which as you said, would provide everything that want because privilege of any sort is bad. And the infertile can raise children in our current system, it's called adoption and I think more people should do it.

Enuja wrote:I'm ignoring fatherless systems because there could be fathers in this system; I'm not taking them out in any way. I'm also not requiring them, but if they are necessary, then they can be there.


I was thinking about this last night, and I think you need to qualify a males role in this system a little more thoroughly. From what I understand, young women who are of child will be cared for by the elderly and the state, but the fathers have little to no place. If they are allowed to share in child rearing, their role certainly won't be anymore then 'another babysitter' or 'male caretaker'. Are the biological fathers of this system cared for by the state or the elderly surrogate parents? If that is the case, it is either in a males best interest to impregnate as many women as possible, to enjoy the care of as many elderly couples as possible, OR, conversely, only become involved in the care of the child being cared for by the 'wealthiest' older couple.
Your system is rather sexist in favor of women, and marginalizes men to being just sperm donors or cash cows for the state. You have pigeonholed men into only contributing genetic info to a baby, or earning tons of money in a system that will either simply absorb their expenditure, expect them to funnel it into some random child, or take it all from them when they die.

Enuja wrote:My system would get rid of both rich and poor kids, so there wouldn't be guilt, embarrassment, or problems of insufficient resources for children.


I don't consider the hypothetical guilt of the wealthy, or the embarrassment of the poor to be an issue the government should concern itself with. I also believe you can provide sufficient resources for children without attempting to eliminate the rich.

Enuja wrote:You cannot unshackle those born poor without getting rid of inheritance and different wealth for parents. Period. It is a logical impossibility. You've admitted as much yourself.


I did? Where? I don't agree that privilege of the wealthy is a shackle on the poor. I think poverty is, and I think you can eliminate poverty without eliminating privilege.
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

I want to make young pregnancy not foolish, but smart and normal. It already is smart for the economically disadvantaged, but our society as a whole doesn't approve.*

Izawwlgood wrote:So you fully suggest 100% equality? Everywhere. Meaning all schools are equal, all textbooks are equal, all subjects receive the same amount of funding, all professions reward equally and no one, anywhere, be allowed to excel at anything, because then their services may be in higher demand, and only the privileged could afford it...? That children should be told to never aspire to more then what the state requires? Sorry, but 'being a better parent' isn't just giving your kid more hugs.
Of course not! I'm not suggesting full equality, or socialism, at all! I neglected to discuss the capitalist middle of life because I figured that everyone was quite familiar with that system. I think that it would make sense to reward children for what they do and give them further education in whatever subjects interest them. I'm not talking about a socialist system where everybody gets the same benefits no matter what they do. I just want everyone to start out with equal resources, and give state support to raising parents to make it possible for everyone to start out equal. I think that letting children work if they'd like around 13 or so makes sense. I do think that giving children rewards for work and academic success makes sense. I'm really not sure what level of state support for adults would make sense in my system: certainly less state support than I'd personally support for a system with inheritance. I might even support pauper's prisons in my system as long as you could get out of them by getting a job. My system would not benefit the lazy unless the middle bit of life benefited the lazy, and I really haven't thought much about the middle bit.

I guess you think that the major advantage of monetary reward for hard work is to give to your children. I vehemently disagree. My dad was a stay-at-home dad for about 8 years, he never did make much money, and when he finally was making a fair amount of money, he quit his bureaucratic government job in which he was using his law degree to work at Lowe's and as a handyman at a mini-storage place and the like. I feel that he was a wonderful dad without paying for college (I was lucky enough or hard-working enough to get full scholarships) or ever trying hard to get much money. One of his favorite quotes was something along the line of "A man can't get rich while taking care of his children."

Izawwlgood wrote:Your system is rather sexist in favor of women, and marginalizes men to being just sperm donors or cash cows for the state. You have pigeonholed men into only contributing genetic info to a baby, or earning tons of money in a system that will either simply absorb their expenditure, expect them to funnel it into some random child, or take it all from them when they die.
One of the major points of my system is to erase the career disadvantage of being a women. So, yeah, I'm neglecting men. Honestly, I don't really care about men. In my system, men can be raising parents as adults like anyone else. They have the disadvantage of not being able to get pregnant and they usually don't lactate and feed young. That's not my fault: that's biology, and while I'd personally prefer that we were a hermaphroditic species, that discussion belongs elsewhere. If men could enter the capitalistic system before women, that might be a disadvantage for women, and I don't have an answer for that, even though erasing gender and child economic inequality is the whole point of my system. I really don't know what to do about young guys, and I'd appreciate any suggestions that would still work towards giving men and women equal opportunity and erasing economic advantage and disadvantage for children. That's why I suggested that fathers could go with mothers to the family that will raise their children.

Anyway, what role do men have right now other than the ones you listed? In my system, women don't have much of a role with their children either, so I don't understand why you have more of a problem with getting rid of the importance of biological fatherhood than getting rid of the importance of biological motherhood.


To me, once you've got food, clean water and shelter everything is relative. Poverty is relative.** Supporting the poor in a system of economic inequality can only get the poor past the very basic needs. Poverty will still exist in the presence of any inequality, even if everyone is driving aircars and being spoon-fed wonderful food. I don't have any issues with people choosing to be more poor than others, but I can't stand the idea of some children being more poor than others.


*I got this from the book "Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy" by Kristin Luker. It's a fairly repetitive polemic, but the bit about the economic advantages of early pregnancy in the poor was very convincing.

**This the theory of "relative deprivation", that most of the effects of being poor come from being more poor than the people around you, not from any absolute measure. I've found an interesting academic paper (I've just read the abstract) that I can email to anyone interested. PM me if you're interested. I first met this idea in a Scientific American article some time ago, but I can't find that article.

Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate E. Pickett. 2007. The problems of relative deprivation: Why some societies do better than others. Social Science & Medicine. 65 (9) 1965-1978. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.041

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby setzer777 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

I might even support pauper's prisons in my system as long as you could get out of them by getting a job.


Wow...this kind of solidifies the impression I've been getting that individual autonomy and personal liberty are not very high on your scale of values when imagining an ideal society. A pauper's prison is essentially driving involuntary servitude (You can't call working a job entirely voluntary when the alternative is imprisonment).
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

Individual autonomy and personal liberty are extremely high on my scale of values. I was just tossing that "pauper's prison" bit out to indicate that this was not a socialist idea. I'm not advocating a pauper's prison: I was just indicating that I might be willing to agree to have on. I think that the ability to choose to work as little as possible is extremely important: however, I also think that it's absolutely necessary that people do fulfill their debts. Because living requires some resources, living accrues some debts, and therefore requires some work. I don't want adults to be able to live off the work of others (either on state support or because they were born rich): how is that preventing individual autonomy and personal liberty? I think some system to enforce the fulfillment of debts is important.

Maybe the impression you are getting is that I don't believe that we have very much autonomy or liberty, and that's true. I think that society should be structured to create as much autonomy and liberty as possible, but I believe that what we want is structured by society.

I want people to be able to have biological children or not, have an ambitious career or not, live alone in the woods or not, and raise children or not. I want to remove the structures of society that make it more difficult for women to be ambitious than men, more difficult for men to stay at home and raise children than women, and that give some children advantages over others.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:I want to make young pregnancy not foolish, but smart and normal. It already is smart for the economically disadvantaged, but our society as a whole doesn't approve.*


First of all, why? I support the notion that you have children when it the best time for you. I would rather see free, effective, ubiquitous birth control for everone, then saying "Meh, have babies and we'll make an ENTIRELY new system to care for them". I would go so far as to very reversibly sterilize all children (ligature or vasectomies, or a magical wonder pill), and allow them to become fertile again at their discretion. But secondly, what do you mean it's smart for the economically disadvantaged? Do you mean in third world nations, where children are a source of labor? Or do you mean in inner cities, poor people should have kids for economic reasons...? And I don't think society as a whole doesn't approve of reproduction, I think society doesn't approve of financially irresponsible actions that endanger the future of children.

Enuja wrote:I think that it would make sense to reward children for what they do and give them further education in whatever subjects interest them.


Depending on your definition of privilege, it'll start as soon as your kids get schooling.

Enuja wrote:My system would not benefit the lazy unless the middle bit of life benefited the lazy, and I really haven't thought much about the middle bit.


But without the middle portion of your system, you've basically just suggested socialism. So your notion is the state supports young people, and their children, and then there's some cut off age where you have to fend for yourself. But what if you have children in this time period? Are those children cared for by the state, and you with them? You either support all children, and mothers can just be baby factories their whole lives, supported by the state, or, you only support children born to a certain age group, and potentially have just built another form of privilege into the system.

Enuja wrote:I guess you think that the major advantage of monetary reward for hard work is to give to your children.


No, I think the major advantage of monetary reward for hard work is the right to spend it as you see fit, indefinitely. My dad chose to work hard and occasionally spend it on trips with his family.

Enuja wrote:I feel that he was a wonderful dad without paying for college (I was lucky enough or hard-working enough to get full scholarships) or ever trying hard to get much money. One of his favorite quotes was something along the line of "A man can't get rich while taking care of his children."


Saying that you need to give more then hugs to be a good parent does not mean you need to pay for college, or an xbox, or a fancy car. If the state is taking care of the logistical aspects of a child (food, shelter, education), then a parent should introduce the child to whatever the state is NOT taking care of. Parents are people too! Not just carbon copy child rearing machines.

And my dad grew a small business to a small-medium sized business starting about a year after I was born till about 5-6 years ago. Now he's keeping it afloat in the economic downturn. My sister is two years younger then I am, and my brother is nearly 10 years younger then I am. Having kids is a crazy economic burden, no doubt, but don't think that it's a nail in the coffin of your success.

Enuja wrote:One of the major points of my system is to erase the career disadvantage of being a women. So, yeah, I'm neglecting men. Honestly, I don't really care about men. [... and other points...]


We aren't hermaphrodites. With that desire, you are the minority, and just as current sexist habits are unfair, so to is your system that penalizes us with a penis. Your system doesn't erase gender, it just overly supports women, while neglecting men, and presupposes that people don't enjoy individual freedoms and would rather care for the collective.
So again, if you allow fathers to go with the mothers to the family that will raise their children, then it is to a mans advantage to find the best family that will care for them (same with the mother, but that's aside the point), which is the same as privilege, and if you don't, then boys after a certain age are basically on their own, and expected to just be breadwinners for a system that doesn't care about them.

Enuja wrote:Anyway, what role do men have right now other than the ones you listed? In my system, women don't have much of a role with their children either, so I don't understand why you have more of a problem with getting rid of the importance of biological fatherhood than getting rid of the importance of biological motherhood.


How do you figure your system doesn't lend women much responsibility with their children? They are living with their children and raising them with the foster family, right? I have a problem with neglecting fatherhood because you are suggesting that reproductive men are nothing more then sperm donors in the early years, then nothing but laborers and cash providers to the system in their later years. This is a significant reduction in the liberties I enjoy currently.

Are you familiar with welfare, and the ramifications it had on many inner city families with it's presuppositions that the state would always care for them, and that fathers were not only not necessary, but discouraged (as single mothers were favored).

Enuja wrote:I want [equality all around]


Sure, but you still propose doing this by limiting people overall. Rather then suggest "we should ensure equality by providing for the poor", you say "we should ensure equality by eliminating the rich"
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

I think that parents (including males, if males choose to be parents) are important to teach children skills and values and provide an emotionally and intellectually nurturing home, and my system preserves this: it's just that the parents are not biological parents.

With biology unchanged and people expecting to raise their own children, the options for when to have children are different for men than for women. Women must have children earlier, because their fertility declines earlier. My system is designed to broaden time span over which one can choose to raise children. I assume that if long life were normal, careers valued as providing individual value, and fertility were not an issue, people would chose to raise children after they have acquired large amounts of other experience. This is an assumption about human nature that other people in this discussion apparently do not agree with.

I am trying to get rid of privilege from things you cannot control (economic situation you were born into, gender, race, ect). I am trying to preserve "privilege" from work and ambition.

I believe that I have fully addressed all of the other issues in Izawwlgood raises previously on this thread.



Edited to add: I've made a new thread over in Serious Business Moral Value of Industriousness because of the objections in this thread to the fact that my system removes some of the incentives for productivity and hard work.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby ian » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:02 am UTC

Why should parents only be able to provide for their children while they are alive? Why not stop parents giving anything to their children after their 18th birthday? Why shouldn't parents be able to provide for their children?

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby mrbaggins » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:14 am UTC

No-one seems to have made this point:

Sure, if you have assets/money left over when you die, it goes to the state. Does the state foot the bill when someone dies whilst bordering bankruptcy, or to a lesser extent, has any kind of debt?

Also, what of the CEO of a company? When they die, what happens? Is the company liquidated? Does the second in command step up, and the family of the (lets assume woman) CEO get left without a breadwinner, and no income. How is THAT fair?

On to your points:
Inuja wrote:Wouldn't it be nice if your dad could take the family out to dinner once a week and to camping trips without working his ass off?

Wouldn't it suck if you worked really hard so that you could have someone cook for you and your family 7 days a week, but "oh noes, dad's had a heart attack, now we have no money." Yes, that's a gross simplification, but it's case in point that if the breadwinner, or worse yet, the sole parent for a collection of children, dies, that they can now leave nothing for their children.

There are people right now who want to have a baby and not raise, and others who want to raise a baby and not have it. How is this assuming a huge change is psychology?

Because the views of the few are not the views of the many. There are people who still think scientology or flat-earth is still a really neat idea.

So, yeah, I'm neglecting men. Honestly, I don't really care about men

Wow. For someone who wants to give everyone an equal footing from day 1, you are completely prepared to disregard half the population straight up. Or more to the point, have them go out, work hard, rake in serious cash so that when they kick it they can leave it to the rest of the countries children.

You seem to have no real issue with being rich, only with leaving that to your children. Why is it so wrong to allow someone to take their assets and spend them on what they want, when what they want is to set their kids up for the easy run. Sure, it isn't great that some people start off life looking at their parents so innocently, and some of the parents look back and see the dollars that they're going to lose over the next 15-20 years. I was one of those kids myself (Single mother, govt supported, brother with a disability so she couldn't work). We lived off sweet F-A, and now that I'm able to look after myself, I fully intend to ensure that my children don't have to go through that, or anything remotely close to it.

Why is it though, that in your system, the money doesn't first go to helping all the starving/dying children in 3rd world countries? Everyone deserves the equal footing to start with, right?
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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Enuja » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:23 pm UTC

"My system" was just a fun thought experiment, and I've abandoned it for a reason I put in the OP that no-one here focused on: the evolution problem. Right now women's fertility ends earlier than men's (and, interestingly, women live longer than men), but just as "my" system would presumably lead to shorter life for everyone, a system where people wait as long as they want to have children will presumably lead to the evolution of extended/later fertility in women, solving the primary inequality the unique part of this system was supposed to address (short fertility period and necessary investment in young on part of mother being a career disadvantage).

That said, back to the ideas about this imagined system, as addressed by mrbaggins: This thought experiment wasn't really about the real world, with different countries with different economic situations, and different groups of people with different moral systems. It was about an imagined system occurring in a distant future, and I never had any interest in figuring out how to transition to this system because no transition appears particularly likely.

I said I didn't care about men because this system was designed to fix a problem that men don't have, and wouldn't disadvantage men at all. Therefore, I don't care about addressing men specifically with this system, as they are people, and well addressed where this system addresses people in general (ability to be ambitious or not, ability to raise children when they are older, equal opportunity as children). I guess I should have been more precise and said "I don't care about men in particular because this system gives them no disadvantages".

In this system, leaving money to your dependents is completely unnecessary, because the state supports children, and because women are no longer dependents. There is no "breadwinner" for a family, because adults pay for themselves and children are paid for by the state.

What isn't well addressed in this system is the developmentally disabled after they become adults. That needs its own separate system, and I personally have no opinions on the best way to handle that. Taking care of the developmentally disabled is a serious problem in all social systems, and not a special problem that this social system has or increases the importance of.

ian, in this system, parents don't "provide" economically for this children even while the parents are still alive.

I'd we'd like, we can transition this thread to talking about Inheritance in general, not my system in particular. Or we can keep talking about this imaginary system as if we were talking about a system in science fiction.

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Re: A new system for inheritance, career and society

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:I'd we'd like, we can transition this thread to talking about Inheritance in general, not my system in particular. Or we can keep talking about this imaginary system as if we were talking about a system in science fiction.


I'm still curious about your thoughts on a few aspects of this system:
1. What happens to companies? Can the CEO choose a successor, or should a board do that? Can you see why this causes it's own host of issues?
2. Where does the states money come from? If you are taxing the middle-aged, those who live in a capitalist period, what true impetus do they have? And what of lifelong debt? Who takes that on? How do you deal with the inequality of boys who impregnate a bunch of girls, or girls who decide to be baby factories from their first period on?
3. I assume the state cares for the elderly who didn't succeed in their middle life as well?

Enuja wrote:the evolution problem.

I think you're mistaking how evolution works. If younger people have babies, that won't result in the lifespan of the population diminishing. Conversely, if older people have babies, that won't result in the lifespan of the population lengthening.
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