Wednesday, January 6, 2021

891: Sense of Community threatened...

 First of all, I want to wish you all a good and healthy 2021, in which we can return to our pandemic free normal life.


It can't be denied that the neoliberalism of the past decades has brought prosperity and has made the consumer more individualistic.


Despite this prosperity, we worry. There is this longing for the good old times. Reagan coined the phrase "Make America Great Again", for instance.


In Europe, we see the emergence of populist parties, which plead for nationalism, national identity, sovereignty, which was the rationale for Brexit.


What is the national atmosphere in 2021? If I speak for the Netherlands, we see a remarkable fact. When asked, the Dutch come up today with exactly the same list of concerns since 2008.


I don't think it is typically Dutch. You may find the same concerns in other European countries and I wonder if the USA is so much different.


So, what might be the list of worries of 2021 for which the holy grail of neoliberalism, economic growth, does not contain straight answers?


The concerns: 1. not enough attention for the poor, 2. insufficient integration of migrants, 3. increase in anti-social and intolerant behavior, 


4. growing tensions between rich and poor, 5. problems in (elderly) care, 6. administrative elite not doing its job, 7. too much crime and too little punishment.


I guess a lot of these concerns sound familiar to you. After World War II there was a strong sense of community in the European countries. Each was focused on rebuilding the country, the nation.


Authority was respected. As a child I learned about "Uncle cop" and to be obedient. These days people throw firecrackers and bottles at cops and call them names.


What the points on the list have in common is, that they threaten and affect the social community. Let's have a closer look.


The first problem is the deterioration of our social manners. This complaint often tops the list of national concerns 


and is associated by many people with the increase in intolerance, individualism and selfishness.


As for the Netherlands, this concern was already at top of the list in 2008. But there has been added a new aspect to it in recent years: an increase in polarization.


It is the polarization between poor and rich, between native and immigrant, between left and right.


Willingness to compromise seems to be declining. Everyone has their own opinion. To give an example: there are elections in the Netherlands in coming March. 


At present, 89 parties have registered for this. According to the Dutch, there seem to be at least as many social visions to defend.


After WWII we had just a few mainstreams: liberals, Christians, split up in protestant and catholic, socialists and that was what it was,


It looks like we have not noticed, that the increasing influence of neoliberalism, the fixation on economic growth 


and the increasing attitude of individualism are undermining the sense of community in our societies.


Thank you for your attention again...


MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Gabriel van den Brink:"Ruw Ontwaken uit een Neoliberale Droom",, 2020


The Discussion

[13:16] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): here in the Netherlands everyone can start a party

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): if you have enough followers it's ok:)

[13:17] herman Bergson: only need 50.000 signatures

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes

[13:17] Windows Bhalti: i think that's the same in most western countries, isn't it?

[13:17] herman Bergson: In Germany you need to get at least 5% of the votes to get into parliament

[13:18] Windows Bhalti: ...that anyone can start a party?

[13:18] herman Bergson: I don't know Windows....

[13:18] Anuska (anuska.loon) is offline.

[13:18] herman Bergson: YEs...that's true....

[13:18] CB Axel: Are there so many because voters tend to care about only one issue and so they vote for the person who agrees with them on that one issue?

[13:19] herman Bergson: Everyone can start a party....but I don't know what the rules are to win a seat in parlement

[13:19] Windows Bhalti: good point, axel.

[13:19] herman Bergson: Yes issue parties....

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we have the beer party at work

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol

[13:19] herman Bergson: We have a Party for the Animals, a party for 50+ people

[13:20] CB Axel: But I'm 50+ and like animals. Who would I vote for?

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): most are not large enough to come in the parliament

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sounds like multiple inheritance problem in programming

[13:20] CB Axel: The elderly animal party?

[13:20] herman Bergson: For the 50+ animals party CB :-)

[13:20] CB Axel: :)

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when it is all a mashup, its unclear

[13:21] herman Bergson: But the main issue here is the increasing individualism....

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): who do I vore for

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): vote

[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there are 87 other parties to choose from CB;

[13:21] herman Bergson: the everybody for himself mentality....

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats an issue indeed

[13:22] CB Axel: That's what I don't like about the neoliberals.

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): showe everyone around u aside ME ME MEE MINE MINE MIIINE ONLY MINE!

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like that

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no cooperation

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): an issue indeed

[13:23] CB Axel: Why should I care about health care? I have insurance. Why should I care about schools? My kids are in good schools? etc.

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): why should i pay tax for something I dont use

[13:23] CB Axel: Yes

[13:23] herman Bergson: to give you a recent example.....

[13:24] Windows Bhalti: one must care for oneself first before one can care for others

[13:24] herman Bergson: It is said that all Dutch people will see an improvement of income....a raise....

[13:24] herman Bergson: here it comes...

[13:24] herman Bergson: if you earn 1250 euro you get 5 euro more

[13:25] herman Bergson: do you earn 2400 euro you get 45 euro more...

[13:25] herman Bergson: do you earn more than that you get 50 euro more per month

[13:25] herman Bergson: For me that is the world upside down

[13:25] CB Axel nods

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agree

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): if you have a 'pension' you get less

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the more u already have the more u get

[13:26] herman Bergson: the rich get richer and the poor get nothing

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i guess the bank directors have spoken

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MORE MORE MOOOOORE!

[13:26] herman Bergson: I find this bizar....

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sigh

[13:26] herman Bergson: the lowest income should get that 50 euro

[13:26] herman Bergson: and the highest the 5 euro

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the oldest people get nothing..they get less payes

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): payed

[13:27] herman Bergson: true....

[13:27] CB Axel: I agree, Herman.

[13:27] Windows Bhalti: the poor get more, the rich work less

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): since 2008 they already got 20% less money

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(

[13:27] herman Bergson: In the past ten years my income has decreased by a 2% a year

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the world need a new Robin Hood

[13:28] herman Bergson: But this is the neoliberal philosophy in action

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that's a lot increase

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I heard people say of old people that they are "dry wood."

[13:29] herman Bergson: I just wonder...why doesnt do anyone something about it...why is it accepted that the lowest incomes get the lowest increase

[13:30] CB Axel: What is the purpose of the increase?

[13:30] herman Bergson: The increase is a consequence of some taxation changes, CB

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's easy CB,,,old people don't demonstrate much

[13:30] Windows Bhalti: perhaps no one should get increase.

[13:30] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.

[13:31] CB Axel: But why were the taxes changed?

[13:31] herman Bergson: I dont know.....but they always reason in percentages....

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a Swedish comedian made a Christmas tune about CEO for elderly care and school swiming in money adt Cayman Island while the elderly sleep in their shit and the kids graduate to a life of unemployment

[13:31] herman Bergson: Everyone gets a raise of 2%....:-)

[13:31] CB Axel: I see.

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): except...

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the olde

[13:32] herman Bergson: so the one with 100 euro gets 1 euro extra ...big deal

[13:32] CB Axel: So it wasn't to correct something that was wrong.

[13:32] herman Bergson: no no....

[13:32] herman Bergson: not at all

[13:34] CB Axel: So instead of increasing it by the same percentage across the board you think they should have a graduated increase with the poor getting a higher percentage than the rich.

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): absolutely

[13:34] herman Bergson: So...the main observatio of today is that the sense of community, the feeling we have to stand for it all together is diminishing these days due to the neoliberal policies

[13:34] herman Bergson: of course, CB

[13:35] CB Axel: That's harder to figure out than an across the board increase. It requires mathematics.

[13:35] CB Axel: :)

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but the ones deciding these things are among the rich and so they will scream NOOOOOOOOOO!

[13:35] herman Bergson: But the neoliberal philosophy is...when you earn just a is your own fault...just work put is simple

[13:35] Windows Bhalti: perhaps no one, except those too ill or old to work, should get anything and, instead, taxes should be across the board percentage based.

[13:35] CB Axel: Meritocracy, Herman.

[13:36] herman Bergson: Indeed CB

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm :(

[13:36] herman Bergson: What do you mean Windows?

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if ur not born with silver spoon in your mouth ur screwed

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as we say here

[13:37] CB Axel: Exactly, Bejiita.

[13:37] herman Bergson: Nice song of Sade...Jezebel....

[13:37] Windows Bhalti: i mean that all who work should be taxed a straight, say, 10%

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the rich should tax more

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they can have but they cant have EVERYTHING

[13:38] herman Bergson: Is that fair....?

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as it is now

[13:38] Windows Bhalti: if you earn 1000 eu you pay 100 eu and so on

[13:39] herman Bergson: What you earn depends on your job

[13:39] herman Bergson: the job depends on your education and intellectual capacity...

[13:39] herman Bergson: We aren't born equal.....

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that silver spoon sadly

[13:40] herman Bergson: but we could share our resources more equally

[13:40] herman Bergson: and such a flat tax doesn't do the job

[13:40] Windows Bhalti: what would 10% of a billion be?

[13:41] CB Axel: It depends on if you mean a US billion or a UK billion.

[13:41] Windows Bhalti: eu

[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Maybe everyone a basic income to start with?

[13:42] herman Bergson: That has been suggested indeed Beertje

[13:42] Windows Bhalti: any currency ...we can only speak generally and according to our country and it's citizens so it doesnt matter which currency in this discussion

[13:42] CB Axel: 10,000,000,000

[13:42] Windows Bhalti: thank you, cb

[13:42] Windows Bhalti: my point is proven

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): fun thing is that billion in swedish = miljard = 1000 million and what we call biljon in sweden is 1 million million = 1000 times more then the english billion

[13:43] CB Axel: Should we only tax income or should we tax wealth?

[13:43] Windows Bhalti: just income

[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the problem is that the groceries for the poor are the same prize as for the wealth

[13:44] CB Axel: price?

[13:44] herman Bergson: yes

[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lot's of the poor have to go to the foodbanksd

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or eat cat food :(

[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or from dumpsters

[13:45] CB Axel: Yes. I person paying 10% of a 1000 whatevers in income will feel that 900 more than a person who pays 10% on 1 billion.

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): alll have right to tasty healthy and safe food

[13:46] Windows Bhalti: how is the price of commodities a problem? commodities are based on supply and demand. you can only eat so much and wear so much

[13:46] herman Bergson: The main issue here is, in a community, being ityour own fault or not and in that case how does a commuity care for the poor

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): problem is the rish want just more and more, more luxury cars and other unneccesary things to boast their status

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): things they really dont need

[13:47] Windows Bhalti: as i said earlier, taxes on all who ARE ABLE to earn ...this excludes the ill and the old

[13:47] herman Bergson: ok

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa

[13:49] herman Bergson: So, the question the sense of community and solidarity decreasing due to the neoliberal politics.....

[13:49] Windows Bhalti: i think so, professor, yes.

[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): im afraid so

[13:49] herman Bergson: Just think about it and we'll discuss it a next time :-)

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its just about who have more money = status

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not how it should be

[13:50] herman Bergson: So we may start thinking about alternatives :-))

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for sure

[13:51] herman Bergson: Good for a next lecture on Thursday :-))

[13:51] CB Axel: :)

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:51] Windows Bhalti: nods

[13:51] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation :-)

[13:51] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)

[13:51] Windows Bhalti: thank you

[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

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