Showing posts with label society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label society. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Collection Post for Basic Income and Living Wages

This post is a working collection of blue road thinking on UBI and LW.  It is subject to additions, editing and other annoyances.  A more readable version an be found at http://jcarlinbl.blogspot.com/2016/11/universal-basic-income.html which is also a work in progress but updated as comments and careful thinking refine the blue road thinking here.

Once again a guest post to start things off.  
 

July 19, 2015 at 4:43am

The biggest reason I support UBI (Universal Basic Income) has nothing to do with our possible automated future, as labor becomes less essential, or at least as we need much less of it, though that's a great reason to support it. It's not even about eliminating poverty or making the unemployment rate a non-issue, though those are very good reasons too.

The reason I want a UBI is to make work at least -technically- optional. I want this because so long as work is not optional, so long as it is mandatory, it is coercive. I want UBI so that every low wage worker whose boss screws them on hours, who reprimands them for taking sick days, who asks them to work too fast in unsafe conditions (see the current fast-food lawsuit), every young employee whose boss secretly grabs their ass while no one is looking, who's constantly making lewd comments, or racist comments, or any other sort of hateful bullshit... So that every employee who finds themselves trapped in the fiefdom of some petty little tyrant of a boss, which is actually The Majority Of Low End Workers, so that they can say:

"TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT"

So that they can really, truly, meaningfully walk the fuck away. And not have it mean they end up on the streets or their kids starve or they find themselves turning tricks to keep the water running and the lights on. Or for that matter just ending up in yet another job with a slightly different petty tyrant. And they can do this, deal with this, without having to deal with lawyers or Union Reps, who though are better than -not- having them it'd be nicer to just be able to do it ourselves. Because if -enough- of them (us) say 'NO' to this petty fucking bullshit, then firms will be forced to stop letting the petty bullshit happen (those who fail to will simply not get workers), and work in general will end up less awful for everyone.

Because the ability to say 'NO' to someone who's actively abusing you... that should be pretty high on the list of 'Liberties' worth defending. In my mind.


GDP is ultimately people buying goods and services from other people. Somebody has to flip those burgers the basic income recipients are buying. 
Since low income people spend locally and buy from people they know (not robots) the income from outside the local economy stays in the local economy and all are better off. The multiplier effect of the basic income or entry wage dollar is nearly 3 times. That is, the burger flipper who is paid somewhat more than the basic income or hesh wouldn't work, spends most of herm income on local goods and services, creating more local demand for those goods and services.   Also some basic income recipients will use their time to pursue a dream of artisan goods production, a local service like a band or restaurant or performance venue.  Some will succeed and generate more local income. 

Eliminating corporate welfare in the form of support for inadequate wages for minimum wage workers would be the first step to a more equitable distribution of the GDP.  Instead of welfare to supplement inadequate earned income each adult citizen or green card holder would be provided with one half the income necessary for housing, medical care, education,  and local transportation for a family if married, less if single.  This assumes that a two parent household is preferred for raising children.  Single mothers would be encouraged to partner up with an interested co-parent of any gender to form a family unit enabling the larger per person payment. 

Eliminating welfare with all its administrative costs would more than pay for the BI for those unable to work or have better things to do with their time than unskilled minimum wage labor. Those with better things to do will probably provide taxes and purchase goods and services which will cover their BI. Everybody wants to start a restaurant, or write a graphic novel, or sing a song. Some of them would actually succeed if they didn't have to worry about feeding the family first.

It wouldn't take much transfer of wealth from the hoarders to have a profound effect on the GDP. If the corporate welfare queens had to compete for unskilled labor with a UBI minimum wage laws would be anachronistic. Market wages and working conditions for unskilled labor in a competitive market for those willing to work at those jobs would move even unskilled laborers into the low middle class.

The economic argument for a UBI is that it is outside money to low income people who spend locally for necessities provided by mainly other low income people. The bodega proprietor, (there would be food trucks on every corner) and other neighborhood business would thrive and economic benefits would trickle UP to landlords, food truck lessors, food truck builders, etc. They might even buy a solar food truck with a Powerwall 2 from Tesla if they are really successful.


Another opportunity for recipients of UBI would be intermittent garage sales of art, crafts, artisnal foods, etc.  Advertising would be social media to regular customers who would avoid the gallery markup and have the same choices.


 About those "worthless idlers" living off the UBI as couch potatoes.

 People work. Even if it is only knitting at a boring meeting, and some of it will rise to saleable art. I am caregiver and supporter for a disabled person who assumes household chores and does them well even though hesh does not need to and does not get paid explicitly for them. Unpaid volunteer workers now could choose to be idle but work anyway. Why would that not become a way of life for those with no saleable skills? Also most people I know in the class of comfortable retired people are still working hard at something paid or otherwise. Only the trust funders are sailing and golfing their lives away.

 
Some work will be more useful economically than other work and it will be paid. Many "unskilled" jobs which need human attention will be filled inexpensively (to the employer) since they will be optional and provide incremental income for a slightly better life style. Those that do it well will necessarily be paid more as the market will be competitive. 

The few couch potatoes living off the stipend are probably just as well off the streets and not making trouble to survive. They still are consumers that drive the economy. They still eat, buy couches, TVs, and pay rent. If we make the "idle" comfortable enough to live a decent, if not easy, life what they do with their life is of no consequence to society.


 A note on what basic income would cover. UBI would be based on the needs of a family of whatever size is considered optimal by the goverment split between 2 adult citizens independent of relationship status or child care choices.   Basic housing, basic food, a local bus pass, HMO premiums and public education costs would be included. Infrastructure, and government costs would be abbsorbed by the govvernment.

--------------------------------------------------
 


4 comments:


J'Carlin said...
Why it is worth the daily slog through facebook.
J'Carlin said...
I learned about the TTJASI from a mentor at Pan Am. His advice: As soon as you save up enough "Fuck You Money" you can begin to do your job right. In a sense privilege, and/or another livable income in the family gives the same work freedom as FYM which is after all a relative term, but UBI puts a safety net under all who wish to "do their job right."
J'Carlin said...
Nyah Wynne Yes! Definitely. That's probably my number 2 top reason, in part because it's talked about very little. There are huge numbers of activities that people can engage in that are of real meaningful value to society that don't translate well into market value. Experimenting with art is a major one. Art sometimes pays off, sometimes doesn't, but all too often ends up either compromising itself in order to sell better or having to be fit into someone's spare time while they work some non-career, low end, dead-end job to survive. Other things include many sort of research, as finding grants can be as troublesome as trying to fund art. Care of children and the elderly sometimes pays but only if the ones being cared for can pay. In fact any sort of general service to the community tends to be deeply undervalued. The market values service to people according to their ability to pay, so serving the needs of 100 poor people is worth less than serving the whims of 1 wealthy person. There are all manner of truly valuable activities one can engage in that the market deems worthless.
J'Carlin said...
The compromises involved in selling art and research to the rich individuals and/or corporations is probably why real art and research so seldom see the light of day. On the hopeful side, the internet and crowd funding may be breaking the strangle-hold of the rich on both art and research. If you build it and post it on Facebook "The people will come."

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Future of Suburban Living

As the top 20% crowd into the cities, voluntarily as that is where all the good stuff is within walking distance including most of the jobs that support the top 20% what happens to the suburbs that they leave?  Property values crater, and it becomes reasonable for the bottom 80% to achieve the American Dream of suburban living.  Rents in the strip malls and local shopping centers crater along with the property values, and become affordable for bodegas, Dollar stores, and other services catering to the lower income groups.  Assuming existing transit is maintained, (roads don't matter) as travel outside the neighborhood is mainly for jobs serving the 20%.  The 20% will insure it is maintained as they don't use it anyway and they need the service people who are gentrified out of the city.  

The current suburban standard of 4-5 bedrooms and 2-3 baths will serve an extended family of many as well as it serves the current family of 3.  The family room or a big downstairs room will be turned into a dorm for the kids and the adults will occupy the 4-5 bedrooms.  The modern luxury kitchen will easily serve dozens as well or better than it serves 3.

One can expect the current suburban developments to become ethnic enclaves, since once the block is busted and prices crater further, friends and families will join the blockbuster and remake the development to serve their needs.  The fences will come down and the large backyards will connect to be a big playground for the neighborhood.

It is happening as we chat, many suburban neighborhoods and cities connected by transit to the urban core are now ethnic enclaves, and the white homeowners are taking the money and running while the money is still there.  The elderly to "Adult communities" and the working ethnics are blockbusting a new community for their ethnic group.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Artisanal Toast - Coping with Schizoaffective Disorder

http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676


An interesting comment on how Millenial trends get started, but more important how one person dealt with serious mental health issues without much medical help. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Is Internet Porn Ruining Our Next Generation? Is Censorship the Answer?

beliefnet
Thanks for considering the children.

Nice social conscience.IamGreatest
Most computers, smart phones and even home routers have controls to exclude unwanted internet content.  Parents who think porn is bad can filter it.  Social controls (your conscience) is not the answer. 

But if you really want to consider the children teach them early and often "About your Sexuality" or its successor "Our Whole Lives" curriculum from UU and UCC which treats sexuality as a natural part of the human existence.  If you don't teach them they will learn it from advertisements and TV reality shows.  Or their porn loving friends. 

Education always works.  Censorship never does.  

I read a study a few months ago about young boys and the effects of viewing porn (as a mom of two boys, I was curious) and it focused on the fact that porn skews a person's view of sex and of 'normalcy.' In the study, the boys interviewed thought all girls looked like the girls in porn and if they didn't then that was weird (i.e., all girls were fully shaved, etc). It also discussed how the sex in porn is not even realistic and so it causes young men (and young girls that view it) to have unrealistic expectations. IMO, porn is not harmless and it's not something that should be viewed by children.christiangirl

If young boys and girls don't know what normal is, of course porn will skew their view of sex and 'normalcy.'  If they are kept in the dark of "we don't talk about that" and the only light is porn, guess what, light is normal. I was given a sex education book as soon as I learned to read, about 4 or 5.  '40s. It was as might be expected poorly written and obscure but my parents encouraged me to ask them or my older sisters about anything I didn't understand. Needless to say I was a trouble maker in grade school as other kids knew I had answers to questions their parents wouldn't talk about.  

Mammals have sex at puberty and are interested in it far before that.  Humans are mammals.  They will figure it out one way or the other. 

And, yet, grown men have their views on sex skewed by porn. It's not just about whether or not a kid is taught about 'normal' sex prior to their viewing porn. ...watching too much porn desensitizes us to 'normal' sex. Studies back me up...christiangirl

I suspect that none of those studies included grown men that didn't learn about sex from the church (sex is sin, and the missionary position while still sinful is excusable for procreation.) Or in the military: FFF&F. 

I know and have followed many children both boys and girls that were taught properly about sexuality pre-puberty and most of them find kinky porn to be a stupid waste of time. Most had good relationships with the opposite sex through early puberty and later in life.  None of them had unwanted children. This is confirmed by follow up studies on children that were exposed to the About Your Sexuality and Our Whole Lives curriculums both by UU and UCC research.

Are you actually suggesting that parents take an active roll in raising their own kids? You're asking way too much.mountain_humanist
Liberals think it is the governments job, i.e. "it takes a village."Seraphim
Since religious parents and many others have shown they can't do the job of teaching sexuality and defusing porn, perhaps the village stepping in is not a bad idea.

 In subjects like sexual mores that have such an important impact on peoples "village" I think the government and schools should stay entirely out of the picture. Government and schools will fall to the lowest common denominator usually "Just say no" as unrealistic as that is for sex or anything else. 
First and most important are the parents, supported either by their church or secular resources, eg, charitable organizations providing information and contraceptives for those choosing that route, or the many "Sex Ed" books available at the library, some written at the child's level of development.  Amazon has a whole section in children's books>Growing Up and Facts of Life.  As noted earlier put a few on the child's bookshelf and encourage questions.  When the child needs them hesh will find them. 

Perhaps surprisingly I think the child's church should be the choice for parents who do not choose to be involved.  Make sure your church school has a sexuality resource center no matter what the doctrine is.  The child will have to live with the consequences of that doctrine so they had best know what it is.  Note that child is pre-pubescent.  If they learn before the hormones kick in they are more likely to make better choices. 

The worst choice for parents who don't want to be involved actively is unfortunately porn.  Make sure the door is open to talk about it.  They will see it.  Banned or not.  If they can't talk to parents and mentors, they will learn from peers and porn stars.  

Still,  education simply cannot satiate curiosity,  it won't.  Your 12 year old is still going to want to see what he can see on the internet.   After all I have seen and even done I still have curiosity myself from time to time.

That is where things can get weird,  even with eduation kids are still forming impressions and still forming connections and can get things sadly wrong with some of the stuff they can see online.

I almost ( I said almost, not quite)  think you should do some porny web surfing with kids to be there to correct where things are wrong and where it is not realistic.   But I also believe in strong boundaries and can't imagine doing something like that myself. Funderey

There is a difference between education and indoctrination.  Education is open inquiry where questions and issues are invited and welcome.  When a 12 year old surfs some disturbing porn, either they will hide it if indoctrinated and get things wrong, or if educated ask a trusted mentor what the hell is this?  But they have to know what "Normal sexuality" is in their culture before they can ask about "Abnormal sex"   
I still find you wildly unrealistic and out of touch here.   NO, your average run of the mill - NON indoctrinated, not even religious 12 year old is not going to be totally up front and honest about the porn he or she surfed. They will talk to their friends if it is particularly weird. funderey

One of the early activities in a sexuality education curriculum is defusing taboos.  A bunch of taboo words are written on a sheet of butcher paper, and the kids are asked to write synonyms under them and cross out any wrong synonyms.  Then the fun begins.  "What is wrong with that crossed out word?" asks the facilitator. The kids begin to argue and all sorts of taboos see the light of day.  But the kids learn that they can discuss anything at all, and they do.  One thing they usually argue about is whether a word is nice or not, and the facilitator smiles.  Sexuality education has just sprung up unannounced.

I may be out of touch with the real world, but I have been asked questions by pre-pubescent kids that I had to research to answer.  And I told the kid just that.  Not that it was wrong, just that I didn't know. 
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Thuggish Mediocracy

http://popehat.com/2015/09/16/willful-paranoia-the-classic-excuse-for-willful-paranoia-istandwithahmed/

American lives are controlled by the thuggishly mediocre. The best measure of their control is this: when called out on their mediocre thuggery, they can comfortably double down.
Being non-white or having a foreign sounding names helps them get away with the persecution of the "different" read able to think and act for themselves, but the point of the article was that difference is bad. You must be mediocre like us or you are dangerous. 
 
The fact is that we are dangerous and always have been, regardless of color or name. As a child in the 50's, white, common name, I was dangerous. I read books, I read Steinbeck, I sang radical folk songs. I was frequently in trouble with the authorities petty and powerful. Which is why you have never seen my real name in print. And why I have always chosen my friends with care. Even on Facebook when I am too old to matter anymore.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thinking About Beliefs.

beliefnet
I think at this point the only thing being achieved with this thread is "people from various backgrounds coming together to tell the OP that their methods are unnecessarily offensive."LDS
The OP got your attention, that is at least progress.
Progress towards what?Jewsha
Progress towards thinking about the prevailing misogyny in religion that spills over into the society dominated by those misogynic religions.

Even the attacks, diversions, and lies, make people "see the smoke" most people will simply rubberneck, a few will figure out there is a fire, one or two will try to do something to put out the fire, and as many if not more will scream "Let it burn!"

But just seeing the smoke makes people think about their belief about the cause of the fire.  And that thinking is inside the conceptual blocks that protect the belief.  Thinking inside the blocks is a disaster for beliefs.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is Religion Useful?

beliefnet

I find fundamentalism to be a victimless crime as long as it stays in the community of fundamentalists.  I am not convinced that bringing a child up to fit into herm community is child abuse if the community is large enough to provide for the needs of all in the community.  In the well connected cosmopolitan society in which they are embedded I suspect that they are non-competitive, but that is their problem not the larger society.  Political proselytizing can and should be discouraged politically, but most societies are able to do so long term.  

Other than political activity I have no issues at all with believers in some supernatural focus for their lives.  It provides a prepackaged social and ethical structure that can be at the very least comforting and satisfying, and relieves them from the difficult activity of making sense of being alive and having to die.  If the great mother Goddess or the misanthropic God takes care of all the spiritual needs one can devote ones attention to the social and material needs of living with greater focus.  

I find deconversion activity is useful for the community, but I suspect that SBNR is the reasonable expectation rather than atheism. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alive with Stories




 “When you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up, and if you’re not ready you’re going to stay pretending that you’re just a ‘poor little me.’ And since you’re all here and engaged in this sort of inquiry and listening to this sort of lecture, I assume you’re all in the process of waking up. " Alan Watts

 I was born awake and never was put to sleep by dogma.  I never had that rude awakening to find out that God, the divine and everything else was just a story.  Stories to help me learn how to be a better person and contribute to my chosen society but stories nonetheless with some truth and lots of garbage. 

My society is relatively demanding, one must think rationally and independently, one must constantly be aware of the mores of the society and comply with them intelligently rather than dogmatically, and problems must be resolved reasonably for all involved.  The stories are there to help, even the religious ones, but none of them can tell me what is right or even what to do.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Morals as Thought Police

beliefnet
I think you are confusing morality with social justice.

Morality at least for those of us that don't get it from some deity, is a way of policing one's own thinking.  I think that is what Jesus was getting at with the message about mental adultery. If you are thinking about adultery/rape rather than simply enjoying the scenery, assuming that adultery/rape is a defined problem for you, then I would suggest you have a moral issue you need to deal with.  

Occasionally there will be moral conflicts that need to be resolved, but if you are truly responsible for your behavior you need to resolve those conflicts at the mental level before any action is taken. Jesus or a surrogate isn't going to pat you on the head, tell you to say three Hail Mary's, and don't do it again.  A responsible person must insure that it can't happen. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Purse-Seine

beliefnet May 12, 2013 -- 12:50AM
This is how I see it:

Like music is the result of the various interactions of the instruments of an orchestra, the mind is the result of the interactions of the various parts of the brain.

And since a brain (as in the actual brain matter) is as  different from one person to another as a face is, each mind plays to its own tune.  Truman47

OK as far as it goes.  But if each mind plays to its own tune as we see currently in the US "Cultures decay and life's end is death." Robinson Jeffers The Purse-Seine 1937!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Retroactive Culture Change - Fail.


The Kissing Sailor, or “The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture”

The kissing sailor, Greta Zimmer Friedman, George Mendonsa
Most of us are familiar with this picture. Captured in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945, it has become one of the most iconic photographs of American history, symbolizing the jubilation and exuberance felt throughout the country at the end of World War II.
http://cratesandribbons.com/2012/09/30/the-kissing-sailor-or-the-selective-blindness-of-rape-culture-vj-day-times-square/


Retroactively trying to change a culture or even using a past culture to criticize a current culture is a fool's errand.  I grew up in that culture and never imagined that the sailor asked for prior informed consent of the nurse.  Sailors at liberty from an all male environment were expected to be aggressively promiscuous as were most single men at the time.

It was in fact a male aggressive culture, a reflection of the dominant religious culture of female submissiveness.  Ask any cheerleader at the time about the victory parties.  Or the loss parties for that matter.  It was an article of manliness dogma that if you could get a woman in a compromising position good for you!  The then current excuse for the man was if the woman didn't want to be molested she should have stayed home.   Directly related to the current Muslim attitude to women.  It isn't the man's fault if the woman is alone and improperly dressed. 

Better to focus on examples of current non-consensual sexual contact which have a better chance of changing current culture than bitching about the past. 

Lets fight about this shit:
 http://unwinona.tumblr.com/post/30861660109/i-debated-whether-or-not-to-share-this-story

excerpt:
I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money.  I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I’m married (I’m not) and keep to myself.
Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes.  The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting with body language that practically screams LEAVE ME ALONE and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows.  Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends.  Without fail, the man or boy in question will lean to close and ask me
What are you reading?
Is that a good book?
What’s that book about?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post enlightenment social values

beliefnet

post-"Enlightenment" (supposedly) Autnomous "Modern" Humans, who value The Individual SELF above almost anyone or anything else -- even including "God" ...
teilhard
Post-enlightenment humans are generally well integrated into the interconnected and interdependent web of all humans and are well aware that the individual is a small but important part of the larger society. But for post enlightenment humans it is that society and their place in it that is important. Gods have no place in it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Source of Wisdom

beliefnet

In a modern working society there is no single source of wisdom. All profound thinkers have been examined by peers and then the profound thoughts are further winnowed by thoughtful people who are the intellectual leaders of the society. The result is a society which integrates the wisdom of all and benefits not only those who choose to be a part of it, but the larger society of which it is a part.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ancient Religions in a Modern Society.

Knock on God's Door - beliefnet.

I don't see how a patriarchal, high maternal and infant mortality rate society can have any stories, myths or Gods that are relevant to a modern technological society where one conception equals one economically productive and reproductive adult of either gender.

Added to that is the problem for faith based religions that information is essentially a free good in today's society. Even the most repressed, burkaed, housebound female can access the internet to see how the rest of the world lives. It won't change many lives but it will change enough to create social networks that will change their world. Maybe even ours.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"In God We Trust"

"In God We Trust" nation’s official motto? - Beliefnet

Yeah, McCarthyism worked by destroying the cultural diversity that made America Great. It worked by denying some of the nations best and brightest a living by a Christian witch hunt for 'godless communists.' It worked by destroying an educational system that was the envy of the world by making students and teachers no matter what their beliefs or lack thereof, pledge allegiance to God instead of 'One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all' no matter what religious beliefs they held or did not hold. Instead of 'E Pluribus Unum,' out of many, one we get 'In God We Trust' fuck everybody else.

The entire decline of the United States can be traced to the fight against 'Godless Communism.' Korea, Viet Nam, the cold war, the Bamboo Curtain, a resource suck that took many of our finest men and either killed them or turned them into PTS dysfunctionals. I can justifiably add Iraq I and II to the list, as Communism was just a modifier to Godless. And you can be sure that the God in question was the Christian God.

Yeah, it worked. Maybe we can get Jesusland to secede and let the rest of us who do not trust in God try to rebuild the USA with the original E Pluribus Unum motto.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

God Helmet Redux. Science at Work.

Michael Persinger God Helmet Questions... - Beliefnet

Electrical brainstorms busted as source of ghosts: Doubt cast on theory that magnetic fields spark religious feelings.
http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041206/full/news041206-10.html

Although I suspect that there is a God/ghost hole in many people's mind/brain I was never impressed with Persingers experiment and even less with the pop sci reports of it. My theory is that there is a genetic predisposition for some maybe a majority of people to believe uncritically in a leader, usually that little vuvuzela in the fancy dress in the over decorated balcony, but perhaps a political/organizational leader. Ultimately God/ghosts come from control stories and myths parents use to socialize children again a critical function of nurturing a social animal. The God myths are typically maintained throughout life. Hopefully the ghost myths are shed with maturity but one does wonder given the popularity of astrology, psychics, etc.

Fortunately there is a genetic predisposition for some usually in adolescence to examine that God/ghost/leader belief predisposition, and figure out ways to express their disbelief. If done intelligently this can be way the societies grow and become more useful to members. If not done intelligently the rebellion is either suppressed or the person becomes a socially dysfunctional member of the society. One of the intelligent ways to express the disbelief is to become a little vuvuzela in the fancy dress in the over decorated balcony and change the belief system from within. This is not risk free, push too hard and a heretic's fate awaits. In today's society that may not be a bad thing, find a new age publisher, and see if it sticks to the wall.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

God or Mammon - Take your pick

Op-Ed Columnist - The Gospel of Wealth - NYTimes.com:

"The tension between good and plenty, God and mammon, became the central tension in American life, propelling ferocious energies and explaining why the U.S. is at once so religious and so materialist. Americans are moral materialists, spiritualists working on matter.

Platt is in the tradition of those who don’t believe these two spheres can be reconciled. The material world is too soul-destroying. “The American dream radically differs from the call of Jesus and the essence of the Gospel,” he argues. The American dream emphasizes self-development and personal growth. Our own abilities are our greatest assets."

These two spheres cannot be reconciled because the American dream requires intelligence and reasoning to achieve the self-development and personal growth. Religion requires conceding self-development to the church, that is, the little vuvuzelas (tinhorns are archaic) in the fancy dresses in the overdecorated balconies like David Platt.