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philnotfil
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... everybody has to earn a living.

quote:
We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
Buckminster Fuller
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JoshCrow
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Uhm... no?
Putting "it is a fact today" in front of your wildly unprovable assertion does not make it any more true.

Nor is creating a society in which some people work and others BY CHOICE do nothing but idle and consume resources a fair and positive outcome.

Maybe in some magical, Star Trek future land technology will have progressed to a point where we can all relax and let the robots do the work... but that's not now and not soon.

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kmbboots
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Why not?
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starLisa
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If someone wants to eat, they need to pay for the food. They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead. They can ask. I don't have any problem at all with people applying for a private grant and saying, "Listen, I think the most productive thing I can do is to study. Please fund me." If they can make a case for that that people will go for, that's great. But the idea that the "public" should fund them... it's kind of sickening.
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philnotfil
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If we have more people than we need to provide the resources that are needed, should the extra people starve to death because they aren't required for production?
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Nor is creating a society in which some people work and others BY CHOICE do nothing but idle and consume resources a fair and positive outcome.
Hmm... some people worked to make Wikipedia and others BY CHOICE don't contribute to it but use it nonetheless.

I'm not saying that the example of Wikipedia's creation and maintenance can be currently (or even soon) be expanded to all of labour in society -- but do you really find its existence unfair or negative?

quote:
But the idea that the "public" should fund them... it's kind of sickening.
I'll offer the same example to you, starLisa -- do you find Wikipedia "sickening", just because some contributed to it and others use it without paying for it?
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Pyrtolin
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Even more, a person doesn't have to directly contribute to Wikipedia in the short term to be a benefit to it- if they gain the knowledge they need from it to make a significant contribution to knowledge available to list there in the future, then they've indirectly provided valuable feedback in the cycle, feedback that might not have existed if they didn't have access to the resources that it provided them to get off the ground in the first place.

There is an absurdly false notion inherent in the argument that we need to force everyone to work for pay (specifically by using essential resources so plentiful that they should effectively be free as a method of extortion) that a person is either working for pay or being useless. It's actively belied in the argument that starLisa tried to make:
quote:
I don't have any problem at all with people applying for a private grant and saying, "Listen, I think the most productive thing I can do is to study. Please fund me." If they can make a case for that that people will go for, that's great.
The knowledge built by studying is, in and of itself a form of wealth creation that feeds back into more productivity for the entire society. And, even more, access to that wealth is an active prerequisite for being able to figure out productive ways to apply it. By forcing the situation she advocates- where the current holders of financial resources are allowed to act as gate keepers to that wealth, not only do we actively prevent the creation of that additional wealth, but we deny people access to the minimum level necessary to actually be able to figure out how to productively apply it to making the case that she suggests should determine who gets to be educated and who gets left in the dust.

On top of that, it directly hurts the people who are being productive here- the people teaching the knowledge and creating that wealth for the students (as well as the people producing the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the houses they live in, etc...) All of them earn less and create less wealth than they could be, and fewer opportunities for others exist to provide all those services overall because of a completely inane refusal to invest in their productivity to provide those essential resources.

It costs society nothing to "fund" the students, because society creates the credit necessary to pay for those services at a whim, by declaring the existence of the credit used to pay for them. The exact opposite of the claim is actually true- funding that education, food, and other resources is what creates the fundamental ability for society to prosper and grow in the first place. Forcing people to do try to fight over a limited supply of useless make-work to just be able to afford to feed themselves is, as Fuller pointed out, completely absurd, and only serves to waste our overall potential and undermine economic growth and mobility.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
If we have more people than we need to provide the resources that are needed, should the extra people starve to death because they aren't required for production?

No. Those people focus on building things that aren't needed but help make us more comfortable and then they sell them to the people who make things we need.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I'll offer the same example to you, starLisa -- do you find Wikipedia "sickening", just because some contributed to it and others use it without paying for it?
By her argument, you don't even have to go that far- the fact that there are people out there doing research or otherwise producing notable information that should be recorded is a sickening use of public resources if they're not also personally recording them in Wikipedia. or paying someone else to do it for them.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
If we have more people than we need to provide the resources that are needed, should the extra people starve to death because they aren't required for production?

No. Those people focus on building things that aren't needed but help make us more comfortable and then they sell them to the people who make things we need.
How can they do that if we're not letting them eat, nevermind get they education they need to produce such things until after they've already produced and sold them?

Even more, then that, you're already falsely assuming that that market isn't already saturated, because the labor to meet it if people have the financial resources to pay for it already falls into the category of needed production capacity. The area we're in is well beyond that and into the the area of producing pet rocks. Not meeding what people feel they want or producing anything that givesd them any actual subjective benefit, but using marketing to create completely spurious needs that don't actaulyl serve to provide anything as productive even as comfort.

We're just making people dig holes and fill them in again for the sake of forcing them to do work, no matter how unproductive because there simple isn't enough productive unskilled work to go around while dangling the eventual promise that one day them might be able to save enough in the margins (after all they're doing useless work, why should we ensure that it pays enough to allow them to do more than just barely survive?) to afford to sink themselves into mountains of debt to afford to gamble that they can pick a kind of skilled work to train for that might possible pay out.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
If someone wants to eat, they need to pay for the food. They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead. They can ask. I don't have any problem at all with people applying for a private grant and saying, "Listen, I think the most productive thing I can do is to study. Please fund me." If they can make a case for that that people will go for, that's great. But the idea that the "public" should fund them... it's kind of sickening.

Again, why?
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
If someone wants to eat, they need to pay for the food. They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead. They can ask. I don't have any problem at all with people applying for a private grant and saying, "Listen, I think the most productive thing I can do is to study. Please fund me." If they can make a case for that that people will go for, that's great. But the idea that the "public" should fund them... it's kind of sickening.

Again, why?
It was in the post: "They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead."

You may disagree with the reason, but I think you should create a detailed response, not just a two word open ended question. I'm personally not going to spend a lot of time responding to somebody who can't be bothered to put any effort into the conversation.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
It was in the post: "They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead."

You may disagree with the reason, but I think you should create a detailed response, not just a two word open ended question. I'm personally not going to spend a lot of time responding to somebody who can't be bothered to put any effort into the conversation.

That assertion is begging the question; it's not reasoning. Asking why to it is perfectly valid since it's essentially just a restatement of the premise that's being challenged with no real justification (nevermind the false assumptions that it's built on)

Getting beyond that, outside of an economy where only one from of currency was valid the same person would be able to offer their own personal credit marker as currency against the food and purchase it from the producer. Since we actively prevent them from doing that so that we can enjoy the benefits of a more stable and universal currency, what is the problem with issuing them enough currency to make such basic investments in their own survival and future productive potential?

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
That assertion is begging the question; it's not reasoning.

:sigh: That's just completely wrong.

Assertion: If someone wants to eat, they need to pay for the food.

Why? They aren't entitled to have others pay for their food instead.

That is not begging the question.

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Pyrtolin
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Put that way the reposnse is even more useless. The "why" has almost no bearing at all on the statement, it's completely tangential moralism that has nothing to do with why people have to pay for food, instead even more actively begging the question that the must pay for food at all by assuming that it must be paid for in the justification. There's no reasoning there just a random unsupported moral assertion.


The actual assertion is: People should be forced to work just to get the food they need to be healthy.

The "why" still doesn't illuminate that position, it just restates the basic premise of the assertion (that people need to present money that they've earned by working to prove that they're "entitled" to food) without explaining at all why that must be so. It also adds in the strawman that any suggestion was made that "others" would be asked to pay for it instead.

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kmbboots
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We don't even insist that people work to be "entitled" to food. They could just be lucky. I am not entirely sure what "entitled" is supposed to mean in this context. Deserve?
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D.W.
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The answer to why is because the 1 in 10,000 creative and smart enough to make such world altering innovations may be the same people who chose to sit on their ass asking for a handout indulging themselves instead of being motivated by their situation and environment. Now maybe I’m wrong and these avatars of productivity are chained to menial jobs and that is the reason our world bears no resemblance to the one the author in the original post has visited us from.
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JWatts
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[DOH] So, you aren't even going to attempt to defend or to acknowledge that your previous post was wrong. Instead, you are going to ignore it and keep typing.


First you say this:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Asking "why" to it is perfectly valid since it's essentially just a restatement of the premise that's being challenged with no real justification

Then you say this:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The "why" has almost no bearing at all on the statement,

So you aren't being consistent.

And finally,
quote:

The actual assertion is: People should be forced to work just to get the food they need to be healthy.

That's both a strawman argument and a false equivalency at the same time. [DOH]

Straw man:
Nowhere does starLisa state people should be forced to work. She says they need to pay for their food.

False equivalency:
Now, it's predictable that to pay they must either grow their own food or trade for food. But 'having' to do something to avoid a bad result is not the same as 'forcing' someone to do something.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
The actual assertion is: People should be forced to work just to get the food they need to be healthy.
Actually, people don't need to work to get food. They just have to find a way to get food without needing to pay for it.

In the Amazon forest, for instance, there are plenty of people who get food without paying for it. They are called hunter-gatherers. They live in a place where no one own the land and they can hunt animals and gather vegetables as they please.

If people can find a way to get food that someone else has not put labor into producing, then they can have it without being forced to work for it.

The (obvious) problem is, of course, that just about all the land in our society belongs to someone. And all the food we have available is the product of someone's labor. So the person who grew the food is entitled to compensation for his labor. The question is, who is going to compensate him for it if not the consumer?

This still does not address Buckminster's original question, that if human labor is not necessary, how are people going to work in order to eat? It's an idea I've been kicking around for a while, trying to beat a SF story out of. So far, no luck. [Frown]

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kmbboots
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And some people are born with money. What "entitles" them?
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MattP
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It's entirely plausible that the majority of traditional labor will one day be automated. So far we've done reasonably well at replacing many of the automated jobs with additional service- and knowledge-based jobs, but even those are not immune. What happens when we eventually have less need for human input in the production of goods and services than we have humans available to provide those goods and services. Are the owners of the robots then "entitled" to whatever their devices produce and everyone else is just out of luck?

[ September 06, 2012, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
[DOH] So, you aren't even going to attempt to defend or to acknowledge that your previous post was wrong. Instead, you are going to ignore it and keep typing.


First you say this:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Asking "why" to it is perfectly valid since it's essentially just a restatement of the premise that's being challenged with no real justification



In support of kmb asking why of sL's unsupported assertion in support of the premise that Fuller was challenging- that people need to be forced to work, regardless of how productive that work is, it afford the basic necessities of life. SL'
s statement that they're not entitled to have others pay of the food both begs the question of "entitlement" to necessary food (inserting the moralistic concept of "entitlement" where Fuller's statement was focused on simply providing them with what they needed without any appeal to entitlement) and making the spurious assertion that others would have to pay for it, where the context would imply that it's being suggested that they be provided the credit to pay for it themselves without needing to do useless work in order to obtain it.

quote:
Then you say this:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The "why" has almost no bearing at all on the statement,



In response to your presentation of a completely different assertion, then applying sL's response to it. "If someone wants to eat, they need to pay for the food." isn't germane to the question at all, and the answer to it lies in why monetary systems are useful in helping track and transfer credit, and only stays even somewhat relevant because sL mentioned paying at all.

quote:
[ab]So you aren't being consistent.
[/qb]
I was perfectly consistent. You're trying to ignore the different contexts of the replies. The new assertion that you invented barely had any relationship to the justification that you tried to peg onto it.

quote:
Now, it's predictable that to pay they must either grow their own food or trade for food. But 'having' to do something to avoid a bad result is not the same as 'forcing' someone to do something.
In other contexts, sure, but in this context people are explicitly being put in a situation where they are directly being forced to to acquire the only legal currency allowed to get the resources they need to survive or being denied those resources. You can't trade other goods with the grocery store (and just try offering them your own personal money and see what happens), urban residents can't exactly grow food on what property they have access to and cannot afford to purchase or move to rural property sufficient to feed them or acquire the tools and resources necessary to do so. Since we insist that they only use one formal common currency to transfer credit, we actively prevent them from generating their own to trade for their needs, and thus are actively coercing them to acquire that currency in order to pay for things. That's not a passive "allow bad things to happen" but an active restriction placed on them, which becomes coercion to acquire that currency in order to survive, and more specifically, to trade labor if they have no other resources or access, for it, regardless of the productivity of that work.

On the baseline, that's the purpose of using a single community monetary standard in general; it is a tool to force people to be productive in order to earn the ownership of more valuable resources. But it breaks down when applied to the essential resources needed to be productive and goes from being a communally acceptable tool to facilitate such trade and turns into an instrument of extortion when people are forced to pursue it just to survive, nevermind to afford the resources necessary to be productive enough to actually profitably participate in the economy.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
This still does not address Buckminster's original question, that if human labor is not necessary, how are people going to work in order to eat?

Phrased that way it looks like Buckminster argument is flawed.

If people need to work in order to eat then human labor is necessary. So for human labor to not be necessary then people don't need to work in order to eat.

But honestly, I think it's a non-issue. As society becomes more and more productive, the cost of food goes down. Generally, the price of food currently is cheaper as a percentage of income than at any point in history.


Here's a chart covering the US over the last 70 years, but the trend line has been dropping steadily for all of history. Link

You'll notice that the drop has been substantial even over the last 30 years.

% of disposable income
1930 - 23.4
1940 - 20.7
1950 - 20.6
1960 - 17.5
1970 - 13.9
1980 - 13.0
1990 - 11.4
2000 - 9.9
2010 - 9.4

And over the same time period the quality of food has been consistently increasing. At some point we will just give people basic food, because the cost will be to trivial to worry about. I ran a very basic exponential trend line on the data using Excel and the trend line below the 5% line by 2060 and was under 3% by 2112.

At some point the cost is just trivial. I expect obesity to be a much greater long term issue than the cost of food.

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DonaldD
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Necessary for what?
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LetterRip
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JWatts,

did you look at your own link? Basically it is stating that we have lots of billionares now (and thus the mean disposable income has increased, even as the mode and median disposable income has drastically decreased).

That has got to be one of the most misleading calculations I've seen.

[ September 06, 2012, 05:16 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Generally, the price of food currently is cheaper as a percentage of income than at any point in history.
That spending on food is a smaller percentage of average disposable income does not mean that it's cheaper, necessarily, because it's also possible that other things have simply increased faster. It also says nothing about how gains in disposable income are distributed- if only a small fraction of society saw real and substantial increases in disposable income, then the overall affordability of food for other segments of society that have little or no disposable income. (Especially because food is a pre-"disposable" expense)

quote:
At some point we will just give people basic food, because the cost will be to trivial to worry about.
Where will the food they're
"just given" come from? Are you suggesting that we go back to something like the ancient practice of leaving the outer rows of crops unharvested so that people who can't otherwise afford food can glean it? Requiring farmers to give away part of their crop rather than allowing them to monetize it all seems more like the exact kind of invasive behavior that sL might more legitimately complain about. Trivial production costs are still production costs and there's no reason to expect that people will be satisfied to simply write those costs off just for the sake of handing out some portion of the food they produce when it's already a monetized resource.

Since we already produce it in sufficient quantity to do so, why not "just give" people food by crediting them the money required to purchase it. Then there's no need to find or force anyone to contribute the food for free so it can be given out, and normal market forces can better apply to helping direct the overall production rather than having to figure out what we should be "just giving" them.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
JWatts,

did you look at your own link? Basically it is stating that we have lots of billionares now (and thus the mean disposable income has increased, even as the mode and median disposable income has drastically decreased).

That has got to be one of the most misleading calculations I've seen.

Yes, I looked at my own link. But your question makes me strongly believe that you didn't actually look at it in any depth.

From the link: "The chart above is based on data from the USDA showing "Food expenditures by families and individuals as a share of disposable personal income," from 1929 to 2008"

And they provide a link directly to the underlying data: Excel

So, if you had started your response with something like, the USDA data doesn't necessarily take into account these factors, etc. I'd be inclined to listen to you. Instead it looks like you glanced at the data and jumped to a conclusion. So, if I'm forced to choose between your hasty conclusion and data from the USDA, I'm going to believe the USDA.

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philnotfil
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I found the quote to be interesting because it fit into some ideas that I had been playing with in my head.

What do we do with the extra people when we don't need them for anything? I find the thought that they should just roll over and die a little distasteful. But I also do believe that people should work to support themselves. My theories on work and survival can't really handle the hypothetical of a post-scarcity economy, but I can see that we are inching towards it. Will this break capitalism? What will replace it?

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Pete at Home
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Lisa, Do you believe that a newborn baby should be considered entitled to food and care?

What if it turns to the advantage of the workers to provide for the nonworkers? In lower crime, for instance?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
I found the quote to be interesting because it fit into some ideas that I had been playing with in my head.

What do we do with the extra people when we don't need them for anything? I find the thought that they should just roll over and die a little distasteful. But I also do believe that people should work to support themselves. My theories on work and survival can't really handle the hypothetical of a post-scarcity economy, but I can see that we are inching towards it. Will this break capitalism? What will replace it?

The US as it stands is already a post-scarcity economy, and disimployment is a real issue that we've already been fighting for a century- we've already created the 40 hour work week and retirement to try to stave it off, but we've let them become inadequate by not gradually increasing the overall rationing to reflect productivity increases. (And, in fact have been going the wrong way by allowing salaried professionals be extorted into working unpaid overtime and even giving in to irrational demands that we raise the retirement age) and we've let pay fall behind productivity increases, meaning that we can't actually even afford to consume all of our potential output, nevermind build sufficient savings for people to enjoy the security required to take more productive innovative or entrepreneurial risks that most people who are able can only afford to do once they have the more secure backstop of a steady retirement income.
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