Author Topic: HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion  (Read 377 times)

Sandra Craft

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HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion
« on: January 13, 2018, 12:24:53 PM »
Has anyone started this yet?  My copy is still in the mail.
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"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 02:21:43 PM »
I finished it over a week ago, I read it on my new Nook. I liked it, it was informative and backed up by evidence. It wasn't a very big book.

While reading it, it felt like the author was describing another species. Like mostly the only traits I share with the people described are that I'm fallible, dumber than I think I am, and prone to falling into irrational traps. The other things don't seem to fit me, though I can see it in other people's behavior. So may be other people can see it in mine. However, for an instance, when I was doing pretty terrible financially, I wasn't unhappy at all and kept trying to save and plan for the long term as much as I could. I've only cared about things other people had that I didn't only when I thought it was cool or useful.

For the other things, the book has helped me to describe things I've been noticing. For instance, when I am driving, I see that many people drive like the book describes poor people, they take any and all immediate gains even when there are easy to see long term gains or even no gains at all. However I see that kind of behavior more often with very expensive cars, so maybe they see people in front of them and think that they're in an inferior position and behave like they are the poor in the book.

It did seem like the author was talking about how things were a decade ago. They seem a lot worse now. I wonder what the author would have thought about the recent tax bill.

I had to be extra skeptical because the author was saying things that I already agreed with and there weren't very many things (definitely none of the major things), that I didn't agree with before reading it. That's always the tougher part of a reality check, because those are easy to go unnoticed into the pile of accepted evidence without a proper evaluation.

One disagreement was more of a quibble. The author says that even if people's income just doubled, then they would feel worse off because the wealthy would even more above them and the ladder would grow even though their own position would have gotten better. The idea is that people's budgets expand to  use up all the available money. And to an extent, I agree. But economies also grow their expectations of price. If people suddenly started buying more things, then those things would start to get more expensive because companies aren't going let profits get away from them when they see demand rising.

Over all I agree with the rest, inequality causes and exacerbates a lot of social problems.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 05:40:19 PM »
Still only halfway thru this book, but I'm giving myself some extra time as I've already read the Murakami book (and just need to remember what was in it).


I had to be extra skeptical because the author was saying things that I already agreed with and there weren't very many things (definitely none of the major things), that I didn't agree with before reading it. That's always the tougher part of a reality check, because those are easy to go unnoticed into the pile of accepted evidence without a proper evaluation.

Having the same struggles with possible confirmation bias.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 01:09:12 AM »
Finally, finally finished this book.  My only excuse is that I've been sewing a lot more lately, and I've found that sewing is the one activity I enjoy as much as reading.

I liked the book quite a lot and thought it treated the issue both sensibly and fairly.  Payne was careful to point out something I myself often forget (esp. in the heat of argument) -- that neither side is entirely right or wrong, both sides have a point that is complementary with the other:

"When people debate between individual behavior . . . and systemic factors as the source of inequality, as if the issue were an either/or debate, they are missing the point.  Inequality affects our behavior, and differences in behavior can magnify inequality."

Well worth the read, however long it took me.

Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: The Broken Ladder discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 01:57:32 PM »
"When people debate between individual behavior . . . and systemic factors as the source of inequality, as if the issue were an either/or debate, they are missing the point.  Inequality affects our behavior, and differences in behavior can magnify inequality."

That's a very common mistake a lot of people make, they try to refute statistical data with the behavior of an individual. Mostly different individuals for each point of refutation, which is something that's kind of odd. Because they seem to know, at least when trying to find strong counter points, that individuals share actions with others even if some things are different per person.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.