The one topic even TED won't touch: Income Inequality

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posted on May, 16 2012 @ 04:24 PM
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nationaljournal.com...



If you’re plugged into the Internet, chances are you’ve seen a TED talk – the wonky, provocative web videos that have become a sort of nerd franchise. TED.com is where you go to find Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explaining why the world has too few female leaders, or Twitter cofounder Evan Williams sharing the secret power of listening to users to drive company improvement. The slogan of the nonprofit group behind the site is “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

There’s one idea, though, that TED’s organizers recently decided was too controversial to spread: the notion that widening income inequality is a bad thing for America, and that as a result, the rich should pay more in taxes.

TED organizers invited a multimillionaire Seattle venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer – the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com – to give a speech on March 1 at their TED University conference. Inequality was the topic – specifically, Hanauer’s contention that the middle class, and not wealthy innovators like himself, are America’s true “job creators.”

“We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years,” he said. “Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.”

You can’t find that speech online. TED officials told Hanauer initially they were eager to distribute it. “I want to put this talk out into the world!” one of them wrote him in an e-mail in late April. But early this month they changed course, telling Hanauer that his remarks were too “political” and too controversial for posting...


Full text of the censored Hanauer speech


...That's why I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a "circle of life" like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it's a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it's the other way around.

Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn't just inaccurate, it's disingenuous.

That's why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer...


This just might be the speech heard (or NOT heard!) around the world.

It is a simple, compelling analysis of the reality of our economy.

The evidence of it's factual nature is the last 30 years of "so-called" trickle-down economics. We have been told time and again that, if big corporations and the wealthy get tax breaks, they have more capital to create jobs. Yet we are in our third recession since 1980 and there are more out-of-work people than at any time since the Great Depression.

Along comes Mr. Hanauer, bona fide member of the 1%, to spell it out so eloquently for us in a media format widely respected and viewed by millions of people around the globe

Can't have that now can we? Answer: Pull the video. Will they ever learn? That guarantees that the idea will go viral: Streisand Effect

But the real question is - Will we ever learn? Will we finally come to understand that trickle down economics is a fraud and stop coddling corporate interests and those who have gained absurd amounts of wealth at our expense?

I hope so.




posted on May, 16 2012 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by KillerQueen
 


Well why not take it a little further and notice that the male population of America is becoming less and less "educated" while the female majority are now becoming the majority of workers, thus earners.

I now fear for the future of all working people who rely on tips to fill in the gaps of their income.

You think inequality is bad now? Just give it a few years . . . LoL is there anything you can really do but laugh at how twisted everything in this world is?



posted on May, 16 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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Star and flag for you.
Yep, taxing the rich is the sacred cow that mustn't be touched lest the idea catch on. It's ludicrous how many middle and lower class income people have fallen for the lie that the rich are the "Job creators". Horsehockey!
The only jobs they create are for maids, catering services and tax lawyers.
This is economic suicide even for the rich at the current rate as demand continues to fall for the very products and services they have become rich from.
Who are owners of TED? I had thought to be free from political influence but obviously this is not the case.
Sad.....

Eta: I'm hoping your name is a Queen reference.
edit on 16-5-2012 by Asktheanimals because: added comment



posted on May, 16 2012 @ 08:36 PM
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Wow. Look how much it costs to attend.

www.ted.com...




Radical Openness
Jun 25 – Jun 29, 2012
Edinburgh, Scotland
Price of attendance:
US$6,000

The Young. The Wise.
The Undiscovered.
February 25 – March 1, 2013
Long Beach, California
Price of attendance:
US$7,500

The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.
February 25 – March 1, 2013
Palm Springs, California
Price of attendance:
US$2,500


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design -- three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. The format is fast paced: 50+ talks over the course of four days (to say nothing of the morning and evening events). This immersive environment allows attendees and speakers from vastly different fields to cross-fertilize and draw inspiration from unlikely places. This is the magic of TED.


It most certainly caters to the techno-elite, corporate elite and wannabes. I'm quite sure it's a place where you bring your resume - just in case - if you attend.


At TED, we search year-round for presenters who will inform and inspire, surprise and delight. Our presenters run the world's most admired companies and design its best-loved products; they invent world-changing devices and create ground-breaking media. They are trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses.

Collectively, TED speakers have won every major prize awarded for excellence, including the Nobel, Pritzker, Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony and MacArthur "genius" grant. TED also seeks out emerging artists, scientists and thinkers, introducing them to the TED community well before they hit the mainstream.

Some of these remarkable people have included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, designer Phillipe Starck, architect Frank Gehry, primatologist Jane Goodall, musician Paul Simon, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, genomics pioneer Craig Venter, biologist E.O. Wilson, playwright Eve Ensler, photojournalist James Nachtwey, Nobel laureates Paul Berg, Murray Gell-Man and Jim Watson (of Watson & Crick), Lost producer JJ Abrams, jazz musician Herbie Hancock, Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell, architect and sculptor Maya Lin, Reverend Billy Graham, cellist Yo Yo Ma, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, leadership coach Tony Robbins ...


With a list like that, it's not hard to see why they wouldn't want to support this type of thinking in an election year. Income inequality indeed.


edit on 16-5-2012 by KillerQueen because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 01:37 PM
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Sorry, closed in error, this is the original topic;
edit on Thu May 17 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 07:43 PM
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Here is TED's reaction to the controversy.

tedchris.posterous.com...



TED and inequality: The real story

Today TED was subject to a story so misleading it would be funny... except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us.

The National Journal alleged we had censored a talk because we considered the issue of inequality "too hot to handle." The story ignited a firestorm of outrage on Reddit, Huffington Post and elsewhere. We were accused of being cowards. We were in the pay of our corporate partners. We were the despicable puppets of the Republican party.

Here's what actually happened.

At TED this year, an attendee pitched a 3-minute audience talk on inequality. The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance. The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings...


And here is the debated video:



What's curious is that, in the National Journal article, the TED rep says it was likely one of the most controversial clips they had and they needed to be careful when to release it:

nationaljournal.com...


Hanauer’s talk “probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we've ever run, and we need to be really careful when” to post it, Anderson wrote on April 6. “Next week ain't right. Confidentially, we already have Melinda Gates on contraception going out. Sorry for the mixed messages on this.” In early May Anderson followed up with Hanauer to inform him he’d decided not to post his talk.


But in their rebuttal they just say it wasn't good enough.


Additionally Hanauer apparently hired a PR firm to run the topic up the internet flag-pole after TED informed him they weren't going to run the video.

It seems someone is jerking us around, but who?

Anyways, the arguments Hanauer makes are still very compelling.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 08:45 PM
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The guy makes some valid points, but his conclusion is still plainly wrong.

The circle of life metaphor has some truth, but business creators are job creators. The middle class consumers, if he wanted to be more accurate, would best be considered job growers.

The entire American tax system is screwed up. The argument shouldn't even be about taxing one group more because of their income or worth. Additionally, taxes go to the government. You would have to have a lot of faith in the government that they would be taking any increased tax money from the wealthy and using it to grow the things that benefit the middle class and ultimately everyone.

Income inequality is 100% natural and should not be regulated or controlled by the government or anyone. If he were to direct his analysis as to the why of income inequality, he would recognize that his own argument is to blame. The ultra rich get their fat paycheck, stock options and bonuses from the consumers to support their companies endeavors. If the middle class consumers didn't want to see these big CEO's getting so much and them to keep more of their money, they would not buy their products or use their services.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:02 PM
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Originally posted by Wolf321 If the middle class consumers didn't want to see these big CEO's getting so much and them to keep more of their money, they would not buy their products or use their services.


Or what? Make/do the product/service themselves?

Maybe 50 or a hundred years ago but that ship has sailed.

Just because a consumer makes a purchase doesn't mean he or she has any idea of or condones the absurd difference in hourly rate between the cashier and the CEO.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by KillerQueen
 


With all the Ultra rich CEO's, they run companies that have ample competition. The consumer has options. You don't like that JP Morgan Chase CEO is making gobs of cash and still losing for investors, switch to local city savings and loan. There are always options. While going without is one of them, there are plenty of substitutes before reaching that point.

In the first world, in America especially, the information is available. If you buy something or use a service of a business while knowing you disagree with the pay or practices of that organization, then you may not be condoning them, but are willfully supporting such actions.

Why is it that the consumer can be credited with being able to create jobs, but we want to ignore the fact that their buying power can stop bad business practice and ludicrous pay schemes?



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by Wolf321
Why is it that the consumer can be credited with being able to create jobs, but we want to ignore the fact that their buying power can stop bad business practice and ludicrous pay schemes?


I agree, this is possible - if more people pay attention. Most consumers are just mindless. Maybe more people will get clued in the more it's debated.



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:56 PM
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Brilliant video, S+F

I'm also a bit disappointed this didn't get more attention, like most of the better TED talks.

But this is my thinking; if they are erasing the middle class in the US, then isn't that like biting the hand that feeds you? Part of me thinks the cabal/corporate-cartels are so obese they don't even need the hand anymore, they could live off of "body fat" for an eternity. Besides many individuals are waking up to the endless corruption and some have means to make the road very bumpy for these elite corksnorkelers and their band of corrupt buddies.

The last thing they want is to have to pay their fair share as they are caught leaving Dodge City with the town's coffers in the trunk. Except this time they were rewarded a bonus for being so blatant about it? How is it that you get rewarded in this country for being excessively greedy?



posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by Wolf321
reply to post by KillerQueen
 


With all the Ultra rich CEO's, they run companies that have ample competition. The consumer has options.


Exactly.....you can pay $100 a month to t-mobile and get crappy service, or $100 to Sprint or $100 to Verizon for crappy service too! You have a choice plebe, stop acting so ungrateful!!

Now get in your car and go to work, stopping at the gas pump to pay one of those leeches...but dont worry, you can choose which leech to pay!
edit on 17-5-2012 by aching_knuckles because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 21 2012 @ 10:59 PM
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Well it shows you what policies the "TPTB" want to continue.

Feel disgust for the poor and praise people like Romney.



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 09:18 PM
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Ouch. I bet TED wishes they had just run the 5 minute video. LOL!

www.alternet.org...



Why TED Is a Massive, Money-Soaked Orgy of Self-Congratulatory Futurism
It has become an exclusive, expensive elite networking experience. Strip away the hype and you're left with a reasonably good video podcast with delusions of grandeur....

...For most of the millions of people who watch TED videos at the office, it’s a middlebrow diversion and a source of factoids to use on your friends. Except TED thinks it’s changing the world, like if “This American Life” suddenly mistook itself for Doctors Without Borders.

The model for your standard TED talk is a late-period Malcolm Gladwell book chapter. Common tropes include:
Drastically oversimplified explanations of complex problems.
Technologically utopian solutions to said complex problems.
Unconventional (and unconvincing) explanations of the origins of said complex problems.
Staggeringly obvious observations presented as mind-blowing new insights.

...This is the blinding ideology of the globe-trotting do-gooder billionaire class that mistakes its self-evident dogma for a pure lack of ideology.

The people at Davos and in Aspen also think they’re saving the world, and the majority of them are also deeply involved in making it much worse for people who can’t afford to go to Davos and Aspen. It is no wonder at all that a talk on how their voluntary charity can better the lives of the unwashed is received with much more enthusiasm than one on how a better use for their money would be for them to have much less of it and everyone else a little more.



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 09:59 PM
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Great speech and it's great to hear this coming from someone on the "other side," someone who can speak the truth of his own position and understands how problematic the system he's a part of really is. As a venture capitalist, he does have an important role to serve, which is great and I don't begrudge him his success at all. It's refreshing to hear someone who holds such a position understand his duty to society and how his position is essentially like a public trust, like a bank should be, and that for him its not about hoarding money.


Originally posted by Wolf321
The ultra rich get their fat paycheck, stock options and bonuses from the consumers to support their companies endeavors. If the middle class consumers didn't want to see these big CEO's getting so much and them to keep more of their money, they would not buy their products or use their services.

Most of them get their fat paychecks from financial manipulation of the system, such as absurdly low tax rates on capital gains which do nothing for society at large, and only enhance the bank accounts of the super rich who make most of their money in that way.

As for not buying these products and services, how does one avoid buying for food at a supermarket or Wal-Mart, which is often the only place in much of American one can buy their food? How does one avoid buying gas, or buying a car or truck to get to work, or in some cases to work out of if they have a job as, say, a plumber, landscaper or contractor? You can't ask people to not buy products they need. You can't ask people to not pay to have a telephone, electrical power or access to the Internet (which by now is a utility as much as the phone or gas and electric). People have to buy these things, and if they stop, then the economy really does tank completely.

The problem is those running these companies are skimming too much for themselves, and hoarding it and all of that money doesn't go back into the economy. The worst of the worst are those involved in hedge funds which do literally nothing but absorb money out of the economy for only the very wealthiest individuals, and provide nothing of any value in return. They are purely money sponges that create no jobs (except for a very small number at the hedge funds, themselves).
edit on 5/22/2012 by LifeInDeath because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 10:09 PM
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Originally posted by aching_knuckles
Exactly.....you can pay $100 a month to t-mobile and get crappy service, or $100 to Sprint or $100 to Verizon for crappy service too! You have a choice plebe, stop acting so ungrateful!!

Essentially true, I agree, however I did find that you can also pay only $45.00/month to Virgin or Boost and get the same crappy service (in the case of Virgin it's on the Sprint network). I switched from Sprint to Virgin, get a slightly better plan than I had, and I have the same exact phone as when I payed almost $100/mo to Sprint.



posted on May, 22 2012 @ 10:15 PM
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Originally posted by Aliquandro
But this is my thinking; if they are erasing the middle class in the US, then isn't that like biting the hand that feeds you? Part of me thinks the cabal/corporate-cartels are so obese they don't even need the hand anymore, they could live off of "body fat" for an eternity. Besides many individuals are waking up to the endless corruption and some have means to make the road very bumpy for these elite corksnorkelers and their band of corrupt buddies.

It is biting the hand that feeds you, but everyone at the top is only thinking short term. They are thinking about how much money they can get and how quickly. They aren't thinking in terms of macro-economics when they make their business decisions, just quarterly for the sake of the corporate bottom line. They even have to think about not upsetting their investors, because there are major law firms that specialize in nothing but class actions suits vs. companies who have a downturn in their stocks, as if market fluctuations are actually unavoidable or bad quarters and bad years don't happen, even to the best companies.

This is what happens in oligarchies, the rich become super rich and they wind up annihilating the middle/working class, grinding them down to the point that you can have a total economic collapse. The end result tends to be an uprising of the masses against the oligarchs and sometimes those are very violent and bloody affairs. It may not be against the ones doing these things now, but it could be against their children or grandchildren. Societies are destroyed by such systems.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 07:48 AM
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Nick Hanauer's speech is amazing. As many people as possible need to watch the video or read the transcript. He has so precisely addressed the problems with American economics that not much more can be said really. I was just about to start a thread about him and his TED talk myself, but then I found this thread... S&F.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by LifeInDeath
This is what happens in oligarchies, the rich become super rich and they wind up annihilating the middle/working class, grinding them down to the point that you can have a total economic collapse. The end result tends to be an uprising of the masses against the oligarchs and sometimes those are very violent and bloody affairs. It may not be against the ones doing these things now, but it could be against their children or grandchildren. Societies are destroyed by such systems.


You're right, and this is exactly what is happening now. Excellent post, I don't want to think in this manner, but I am afraid that we will eventually end up in some type of revolution that will have echoes of the french revolution.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 03:39 AM
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Well that is sad to know.





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