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Old 04-23-2019, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
6,741 posts, read 2,348,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PamelaIamela View Post
I understand the distress that gross wealth inequality generates, especially in such a money-centric society as ours. But honestly, after the first hundred million does it make any real difference?
Not from the perspective of the holder. After you reach a point where you can buy basically anything on earth for you and your entire family... what's the value of more except some kind of winning score?

But that concentrated wealth, when it's at the ludicrous levels seen now and during the Gilded Age, means millions are notably reduced in meaningful ways - not just in ability to support selves and families, but in collateral ways such as housing quality, job opportunity, education opportunity etc.

So piled up over there, it does little or no good for those who have it and quantifiable damage, on a wide scale, for those who do not. But that doesn't stop the firmly middle class from stoutly defending the Waltons and Buffetts and Trumps. (I mean, after all, they might get that rich someday!)

Quote:
Plus, are only business tycoons in your crosshairs or will athletes and entertainers be targeted as well?
To start with, I don't really have any crosshairs. My concern is from the individual/family/consumer up, not some theoretical wealth equalization system down. But gross wealth inequality is an evil in both moral and 'civilized' senses, and we have to work to eliminate it.

There are also very few entertainers who are as wealthy as tycoons. I think Jimmy Buffett is said to have a net worth somewhere near $500M, but he has been largely a tycoon in recent decades as well.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:09 PM
 
7,608 posts, read 4,870,296 times
Reputation: 13075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I don't object to CEOs and stockholders making a lot of money. But when the ratios get as absurdly out of whack as we have now, it's destabilizing on every level.
Fair enough. What is your suggested remedy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
... that doesn't stop the firmly middle class from stoutly defending the Waltons and Buffetts and Trumps. (I mean, after all, they might get that rich someday!)
Interestingly, the ire of the middle-class is rarely directed at billionaires. The most-resented is what might be termed the upper middle class... the dentists and the lawyers, who may be have $1M or $5M. They're the vilified "elite"... whereas the Trumps and Waltons are aw-shucks regular folk who just worked hard and booted themselves by their pullstraps or whatever, and became billionaires.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:24 PM
DKM
 
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
2,645 posts, read 919,069 times
Reputation: 2612
I make 6 times more than I did 18 years ago starting out...this question is ridiculous to me because I never want to live like that ever again so why would I consider working less to go back to poverty.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
6,741 posts, read 2,348,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Fair enough. What is your suggested remedy?
I'm not smart enough to have a remedy. But that doesn't stop me from seeing the goal.

However, I don't see any real solution in moving around the existing pieces. Too many fundamental things have changed to keep trying to twist and poke and prod our current mess into further service. We have to start from what is a new and permanently changed functional economy to build an economic system that will work for the next century or two.


(Really? The system censored j i g g e r as in pokery?)
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:33 PM
 
7,608 posts, read 4,870,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I'm not smart enough to have a remedy. But that doesn't stop me from seeing the goal.

However, I don't see any real solution in moving around the existing pieces. Too many fundamental things have changed to keep trying to twist and poke and prod our current mess into further service. We have to start from what is a new and permanently changed functional economy to build an economic system that will work for the next century or two.
Well, I don't deny that we have a problem. But what terrifies me is that the potential solution is even worse than the existing problem.

Example: by the time of the early 20th century, Imperial Russia had grave and onerous problems. It was technologically backward. It had antiquated and unworkable institutions. It was militantly autocratic. And it had a level of inequality that makes modern American look like an Israeli kibbutz. Problems were rampant.

Then, 1917 came around... offering a solution. But it seems to me that the solution was vastly worse than the former problem.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
6,741 posts, read 2,348,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Well, I don't deny that we have a problem. But what terrifies me is that the potential solution is even worse than the existing problem.
Well... this demands way too big an answer. But I think you're going to extremes by citing what may be the worst political/economic/social regime change of modern history. After all, that little change of direction ca. 1776-1782 worked out pretty well, and a lot of countries modeled a completely new future on it. It's worked pretty well, globally, for a couple of hundred years.

But probably not much longer.

I'll just say that this is not a time in history where some of us are sitting around thinking, "Gee, I wonder if I could whomp up a better system for humanity." (That would be, roughly, a third of world population since we started banging rocks together.) I think we are approaching a crisis of such scale and complexity that we have no choice but to develop and implement a "better" system - one that does not try to solve tomorrow's problems with yesterday's assumptions and methods. We are not at yet another iteration of Malthusian doom; we are racing off a cliff the likes of which has never been seen in human history - certainly not on a global scale. This time there will be nowhere to run, no country to leave behind for a shining new world. Blithely saying things like we got through this before or panickers are always wrong or such comforting booshwah is to ignore multiple terrifying trends.

So we can muddle along and try and patch and prop and use 1950s job-creation methods and 1970s urban renewal programs and 1990s economic theories to survive... in which case the future and the solution will be decided for us, by forces we have no hope of controlling, and your analogy with the Soviet Revolution will look positively charming and wonderful by comparison.

Or we can acknowledge that our (already crumbling) economic system is utterly unequipped for what's coming, and to a lesser extent our social and political systems, and build a planned, intelligent response on both a national and global level that will carry us through a rough couple of centuries.

It's simple. If the plan for our future doesn't begin by addressing climate change, explosive growth in population and (in the most immediate issue for most of us, now and in the next few decades) the implosion of individual productivity as an economic base... it's babbling barstool or ivory tower or ostrich nonsense.

And that's begin, as in start with as fundamentals... not try to bend existing notions into four-dimensional constructs trying to "accommodate" them.
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:09 PM
 
1,140 posts, read 396,033 times
Reputation: 3471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
Not from the perspective of the holder. After you reach a point where you can buy basically anything on earth for you and your entire family... what's the value of more except some kind of winning score?

But that concentrated wealth, when it's at the ludicrous levels seen now and during the Gilded Age, means millions are notably reduced in meaningful ways - not just in ability to support selves and families, but in collateral ways such as housing quality, job opportunity, education opportunity etc.

So piled up over there, it does little or no good for those who have it and quantifiable damage, on a wide scale, for those who do not. But that doesn't stop the firmly middle class from stoutly defending the Waltons and Buffetts and Trumps. (I mean, after all, they might get that rich someday!)


To start with, I don't really have any crosshairs. My concern is from the individual/family/consumer up, not some theoretical wealth equalization system down. But gross wealth inequality is an evil in both moral and 'civilized' senses, and we have to work to eliminate it.

There are also very few entertainers who are as wealthy as tycoons. I think Jimmy Buffett is said to have a net worth somewhere near $500M, but he has been largely a tycoon in recent decades as well.
There are plenty in the 100 million+ category. Have you seen the contracts of pro athletes lately?
Not to mention their lucrative side gigs like advertising, product lines, speaking engagements, etc. etc.
And now politicians are giving some of them a run for their money, too!

I am curious however if you would be as upset at the moral evil that you claim is 'inherent' in gross inequality if you had let's say 12 million dollars - a pittance to the truly rich - that generated a 6% return, or $720k per year.
Maybe you do have such a sum, but don't consider that amount a symptom of the same problem?

I have found that most folks think that the wealthy should be taxed more... so long as they get to decide just who the wealthy ARE. And it's never themselves.

And like I asked before, let me know your plan to decide what everyone should be compensated and how to enforce it without negative consequences. I'll be willing to listen.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:07 AM
Status: "Any Russian written here is for the benefit of trolls" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Proxima Centauri
4,604 posts, read 1,895,057 times
Reputation: 5021
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Food for Thought: And I think most of us know the reasons why.

But the unpleasant fact remains that the post-industrial workplace is structured, as it was for long before, to diminish the options, and bargaining power, of the self-reliant, and the measure of a skilled manager is often an ability to compel his/her subordinates to put in longer hours (often without direct compensation) at tasks for which they're obviously over-qualified.

Or, as Robert Frost expressed it a long time ago: "By working diligently eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss -- and work diligently ten hours a day."

I'm just looking "to stir the pot"; and am interested in what some of our junior/recent members think, and have to say about this.

Up until recently the level at which paid overtime is required was $23,660. By executive order Obama raised that to $47,500. Eight or nine months later a Texas judge knocked that amount back to $23,660. Trump recently raised that to $35,000.

A salaried individual working 50 hours a week making $35,001 a year is still making $13.46 an hour.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:54 AM
 
25,704 posts, read 28,082,001 times
Reputation: 24255
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
The big elephant in the room is that you forgot to adjust the economic growth numbers for inflation and population growth.
Correct. I don't think GDP has increased by 3X on a per capita basis over that time period.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:59 AM
 
25,704 posts, read 28,082,001 times
Reputation: 24255
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
First, is the economy “three times larger” adjusted for inflation, and for population increase? Let’s see some links. I wonder by what amount the per-capita, inflation-adjusted economy is “larger”.

Second, how much of this increase has been efficiently deployed? How much of it goes to better food, improved education and so forth – vs. just costlier healthcare, or higher tuition? How much of the extra pay that we receive for extra work, just goes into creating other work, for people who are on the opposing side? New laws are written, requiring new professional positions to interpret those laws, to comply with them, to litigate against them. That there’s more economic activity, does mean that said activity really improves our material prosperity. … and I do mean strictly our material prosperity, without digression to the ineffable and the spiritual and so forth.

Third, how much of this benefit is at the margin, and therefore not readily palpable? If my dinner is bad, then having a better dinner matters. If my dinner is already good, then a slightly better dinner, which happens to cost twice as much, offers little additional benefit.
Especially to the bolded.
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