Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wealth

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jseah
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby jseah » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:41 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:I understand your concerns about people making drugs to cure diseases not getting their money back. But:
1) if they can get back the money spent (no extra monetary earning for the company, no huge bonus for the manager, but everyone gets paid for his work), they do not do it either.
2) your concerns are valid in a context in which money incentive is what drives technological innovation. I said "in a context in which all is driven by money incentive you cannot do that" and you replied "you cannot do that, what money incentive would you have"?

<biology graduate, now a QC chemist:
If I could work on a drug and maybe 1 in 100 get a 100x normal salary, versus go to work at say, a quality control lab making a well-tested medical product, for 1x salary, then obviously I'm going to pick the 100% chance of a 1x return than a 1% chance of 100x return (it's made worse because the other 99% of the time, the return is negative). The average rate is the same and I don't feel like "being lucky" when it's livelihoods you're talking about.

And 100x normal salary is, btw, enough to put one in the "1%". And a 1% chance of a successful drug is overstating the odds, I've heard it said that each phase of testing (university -> chem lab -> phase I -> phase 2 -> phase 3 -> release) has 10x more drugs than the next phase.

Can I work on 100 drugs in my lifetime? No. It could be a 1% chance of a 1000x payoff (for 10x average rate) and I would have willies taking that kind of chance.

Don't even think about amortizing the risk, it's not possible with this level of uncertainty. It's basically a gamble, with unknown odds and poor estimate of the payoff.

Drug companies face this sort of thing. If you're not earning 50 to 100x the average rate, it's too risky.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:15 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
mat.tia wrote:I understand your concerns about people making drugs to cure diseases not getting their money back. But:
1) if they can get back the money spent (no extra monetary earning for the company, no huge bonus for the manager, but everyone gets paid for his work), they do not do it either.
2) your concerns are valid in a context in which money incentive is what drives technological innovation. I said "in a context in which all is driven by money incentive you cannot do that" and you replied "you cannot do that, what money incentive would you have"?

<biology graduate, now a QC chemist:
If I could work on a drug and maybe 1 in 100 get a 100x normal salary, versus go to work at say, a quality control lab making a well-tested medical product, for 1x salary, then obviously I'm going to pick the 100% chance of a 1x return than a 1% chance of 100x return (it's made worse because the other 99% of the time, the return is negative). The average rate is the same and I don't feel like "being lucky" when it's livelihoods you're talking about.

And 100x normal salary is, btw, enough to put one in the "1%". And a 1% chance of a successful drug is overstating the odds, I've heard it said that each phase of testing (university -> chem lab -> phase I -> phase 2 -> phase 3 -> release) has 10x more drugs than the next phase.

Can I work on 100 drugs in my lifetime? No. It could be a 1% chance of a 1000x payoff (for 10x average rate) and I would have willies taking that kind of chance.

Don't even think about amortizing the risk, it's not possible with this level of uncertainty. It's basically a gamble, with unknown odds and poor estimate of the payoff.

Drug companies face this sort of thing. If you're not earning 50 to 100x the average rate, it's too risky.


Considering time as your currency, it's really not different in principle from diversifying investments. Sure, you COULD dump all your money into a random penny stock and pray for luck, but no sane investment advisor would suggest such a thing.

Pooling risky ventures has a lot of value in many different areas.

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:... I don't see though how these innovations make any life better.
Lots of other people do though.

Jose, you cannot reply to only half of a sentence...
I guess Iphone6 makes lives of people who had Iphone5 slightly better (how?). But creating and selling drugs at their minimum cost to cure a deadly disease improves life quality in a way that is not comparable. If you think a new Iphone and a person's health are comparable, we will never understand each other I am afraid and we better stop discussing now.
If you agree these improvements are not comparable, you must agree technological innovation driven by money incentive per se is not the best way to imrpove people's lives quality.
The argument of the Invisible Hand was valid before we "killed" god and before we had mathematical arguments to explain why it is actually not valid.
Saying economy and finance have the power to balance out fairly everything is just another form of faith.


Communication advances actually do save a giant pile of lives and have significant additional value. There's a reason why, even in third world countries, cell phone saturation is climbing immensely. Now, comparing a version change in one phone to all drugs is...strange. Are you implying they have equal cost? Why this comparison? What about it is vaguely fair?

And I have no idea what god has to do with anything. We had math and economics before we had Nietzche.

mat.tia wrote:This might be just another form of the Keynesians vs Liberals argument.


What...what is this? Keynesian economics is not particularly conservative.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:41 am UTC

here, mat.tia wrote:....is the best and most efficient way to make populations' lives better.

"Quality of life" is more of a vector than a scalar. Further, it's a vector with a time component and feedback loops that makes it more like a vector function (or surface).

Even further, it's different for each different person. It's only vaguely meaningful to say one society is "better" than another, especially when coming down to details. There are a huge number of tradeoffs being made all the time, and a question which neglects this is doomed to an answer of "it depends" for all its variants. That's what's happening here. Not that thinking about the problem isn't productive, but rather that considering the answers to be valid isn't productive.

mat.tia wrote:I'd say that on this subtopic there can be two different views:
1) let economics laws do their job: they will work out what's best for people.
2) knowing economics laws, try to bend them to peoples' needs.

For example, here. There can be many more than two different views, and more than two different axes along which to align them. But I keep coming up against "what's best for people" as if it's something that's meaningful.

re: "killing god" - yes, the expression is used in the west but (I think) it refers (mostly) specifically to the falling away of faith in the Christian God which seemed to occur in the sixties or so, when Time magazine had the headline "God is dead". BTW, the US bills say "In God we Trust" as a propaganda device; it started appearing on bills in the 1950s to show that the US was better than the "Godless Communists" we were supposed to be enemies with. The motto was minted on coins since the 1800s; at that time part of the motivation was to show that we were better than the rebels during the Civil War (which was probably the least civil of all our wars).

But that's a tangent. Religion does not belong in economics.

mat.tia wrote:...in the Invisible Hand (a subset of the physics laws)...
The Invisible Hand (economics) is not a subset of physics laws. It has nothing whatsoever to do with physics, except insomuch as all matter obeys the "laws" of physics (as scientists are trying to figure out just what they are).

mat.tia wrote:The opposite view 2), in my opinion pretty much says "we have a great and powerful engine that can take us very far. it is up to us to build a steering wheel and decide the direction we want to go".
The most important part is just whose hand will be on the steering wheel. No, I take that back - the most important part is how we decide whose hand (if anybody) will be on the wheel. And if we are going to vote on it, how? (If we vote with dollars, we've disconnected the steering wheel).

mat.tia wrote:1) if they can get back the money spent (no extra monetary earning for the company, no huge bonus for the manager, but everyone gets paid for his work), they do not do it either.
I don't invest so I can get my money back. I invest so I can get more than my money back. And the riskier the investment, the better the payoff has to be. Otherwise I'll just drink margaritas at the beach.

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:But now that you bring up "fair", how would you define "fair"? Because life is unfair, and any attempt to make it more fair is unfair.
what does this even mean, why do we have laws at all then?
We have laws because we decided to be unfair to some, in order to be more fair to others. But this doesn't say anything until we decide what "fair" means. Simple rhetorical questions:

1: Is it fair that I get to keep money I earn?
1a: Is it fair that I can spend it on whatever I want? (Otherwise what use is it?)
2: Is it fair that I can give it to whoever I want?
2a: Is it fair that I can choose to not give it to somebody else?

These are the questions that lead to the top 0.1%.

So... define "fair".

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:07 am UTC

ucim wrote:1: Is it fair that I get to keep money I earn?


After taxes, yes.

1a: Is it fair that I can spend it on whatever I want? (Otherwise what use is it?)


Not necessarily. Certain things are not for sale.

2: Is it fair that I can give it to whoever I want?


After taxes, sure.

2a: Is it fair that I can choose to not give it to somebody else?


After taxes, sure.

[edit]Actually, these last two are not always true. You could be ordered by a court to pay child support, for example, and would have to do so regardless of your wishes.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:10 am UTC

I understand your points from a theoretical point of view and within the economic context we currently are as western societies.
I have been asked to define words such as "fair".
This kind of words are generally overloaded; I believe the word "fair" has one broader meaning, shared by people in different historical and cultural contexts, and one meaning that strongly depends on the political/ideological/economical context it is used in.
In our current economical (and ideological) system I'd say "fair" is something that respects our free market general principles.
So, silly example, to show "fair" in market terms. if there are two persons, one starving with 0.50$ in a wallet, one obese but with 1.50$, the second person gets both slices of pizza I am selling. The first is sick not having eaten enough, the second because has some disease related to obesity. They go to the doctor, who has only room for one of them; the second gets cured if has more money than the first. (Other than "unfair" in common sense is also unefficient).

As you've probably noticed I am not an expert in Economics, nor am I in History, but I think you can observe a general tendency in our past: whenever an economical system's meaning of "fair" deviates too much from the broader, "human?", meaning of "fair", corrections, if not revolutions, are applied to it. This is probably because we have not found any "perfect" system, but we just react to previous ones when they go bad.
Adam's smith Invisible Hand's theory was a response to mercantilism and state owned economics (that were justified to the population by the existence of a god). The state had too much money, Smith argued that it was not a great thing.
Great idea at the time. But things evolved and got to an extreme capitalism, in which wealth was very unevenly distributed, that overcame the situation foreseen and saught by Smith; that's when Marx came out with Communism and his new idea of labour. We know how that has gone, too. But both their influences remain.

This is just to say that our current economical system, with its assumptions and rules, can be, and should be, revised if we think its "fairness" has parted too much from our common sense meaning of "fair".
Now, comparing a version change in one phone to all drugs is...strange.

I agree.
Comparing life saving drugs with a toothpase, the latter being convenient (easily passes the tests, easy money if well marketed), the first being a loss.
Comparing a rich person's right to dispose of his money at his will and other people's right to food, basic health-care, shelter.
Looking at a chart saying that 0.1% owns as much as 90% and not going nuts.
All these things are "fair", in our economical system.
If you want, I can try defining what fair means - in my mind -, in human, general terms; and how it fits with the above fairness. But I don't think it is necessary.

ucim wrote:"Quality of life" is more of a vector than a scalar. Further, it's a vector with a time component and feedback loops that makes it more like a vector function (or surface).

Semantically speaking, I would say that a vector function could be a model for quality of life, not that quality of life is a vector function. Don't want to be pedant here, but confusing the model with the actual thing is what causes these problems. Models need to adapt to reality, not vice versa.

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:The opposite view 2), in my opinion pretty much says "we have a great and powerful engine that can take us very far. it is up to us to build a steering wheel and decide the direction we want to go".

The most important part is just whose hand will be on the steering wheel. No, I take that back - the most important part is how we decide whose hand (if anybody) will be on the wheel. And if we are going to vote on it, how? (If we vote with dollars, we've disconnected the steering wheel).
In Democracy, the majority of a country's population. How? Voting - not with $-: one vote each, expressed through a pencil (maybe with a computer in US?).

jseah, you might find this article interesting: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21635005-startling-new-cost-estimate-new-medicines-met-scepticism-price-failure?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ed/pe

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby jseah » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:01 pm UTC


The analysis involving the capital cost is actually what I would consider a "true" cost that includes the time component. After all, one could build a new drug production plant instead of R&D.

And if it "only" costs 500m to get a drug approved, I would say 1.2 billion as a cost is probably low-balling it.

Certain drugs cost less. The ones with a relatively small patient target group (like the cancer drug examples) obviously don't require large trials.
Some drugs cost more, some of those are the ones we actually need. Like antibiotics.

And obviously, with 500m on the line, would you try sinking that kind of money into say, a malaria drug that might not work and probably won't be able to earn back the cost over the remaining lifetime of the patent? (due to third world countries not being able to afford the cost) Charities do that though.


The point about reducing the number of failures is true. But the industry already has a major incentive to do so, since failures are so much of the cost.

And you have to be careful about the incentive to cheat and say that the drug is not a failure when it is... Regulatory bodies fill this here today.
Or the incentive to simply not do any research on drugs that aren't "almost certain to pass". We already have this in spades.

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

EDIT:
A side point, anyone have any figures for the following.

Income of the bottom 20%, in purchasing power (aka real terms), from 1960s onwards?
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Zamfir » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:42 pm UTC

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
Comes with the following graph, I think this is after-tax income.
Image

As always, numbers need interpretation. It's household income for example, it includes demographic effects on the size and age and number of incomes at the various percentiles.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

The Census data I posted has households. There is also another chart with family income that I think goes back to 1947.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:01 am UTC

@mat.tia - Yes, the word "fair" is overloaded; this is a problem when discussing things like this because everyone has their own idea of what is and isn't fair, and expects it to match the other person's.

mat.tia wrote:if there are two persons, one starving with 0.50$ in a wallet, one obese but with 1.50$, the second person gets both slices of pizza I am selling.
I presume that you are selling the slices for $.75, so the first person can't afford a slice, and the second can afford both.

mat.tia wrote:...the second gets cured if has more money than the first.
I presume in this case the doctor put his services up for auction? Otherwise, if both can pay the asking price, how to decide? (You didn't say "didn't have enough money", you said "one had more money"). Do you actually mean it this way?

mat.tia wrote:...you can observe a general tendency in our past: whenever an economical system's meaning of "fair" deviates too much from the broader, "human?", meaning of "fair", corrections, if not revolutions, are applied to it.
I'm not convinced this has anything to do with the concept of fairness. It's always the ones on the short end of the stick that revolt. They cry "unfair" for marketing purposes, but the reason they revolt is that they aren't getting any, and they want some.

===

There is no perfect system. Both capitalism and communism (and socialism and a lot of other isms) have valuable ideas to add, but they all have big failings too.

mat.tia wrote:This is just to say that our current economical system, with its assumptions and rules, can be, and should be, revised if we think its "fairness" has parted too much from our common sense meaning of "fair".
Unfairness is a consequence of fairness. Trivial example - it's fair that I make a profit, and increase my estate over my lifetime. It's fair that I may leave my entire estate to my son... and he to his... and the pile keeps getting bigger and bigger. Soon we have one very rich man. UNFAIR!

The reverse is also true.

It's about balance, and how to decide how to find the right balance.

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:"Quality of life" is more of a vector than a scalar. Further, it's a vector with a time component and feedback loops that makes it more like a vector function (or surface).
Semantically speaking, I would say that a vector function could be a model for quality of life, not that quality of life is a vector function.
No, I mean it the way I said it. A function is a rule for applying a value given another value. "Quality of life" is a vector value whose value depends on how far in the future we are looking. To embrace the entire idea, it needs to be thought of as a function of time.

But semantics are not the point of it. The point is that it's not monotonic. In broad strokes many people might agree that this situation is "better" than that one, if they are different enough in certain ways. But you cannot generally do this; thus the proverb: "Be careful what you wish for - you might get it."

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:The most important part is just whose hand will be on the steering wheel. No, I take that back - the most important part is how we decide whose hand (if anybody) will be on the wheel. And if we are going to vote on it, how? (If we vote with dollars, we've disconnected the steering wheel).
In Democracy, the majority of a country's population. How? Voting - not with $-: one vote each, expressed through a pencil (maybe with a computer in US?).
This would entail setting up a democratically elected Economic Council, who would be empowered to.... what?

Regulate prices?
Regulate salaries?
Regulate the output of factories?
Regulate who can buy how much of what?

Do you see any way this can go wrong? :)

Zamfir wrote:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
Comes with the following graph, I think this is after-tax income.
Image

As always, numbers need interpretation. It's household income for example, it includes demographic effects on the size and age and number of incomes at the various percentiles.
It would be clearer if it were inflation-adjusted. (edit: It is.) But just a quick glance at the chart:

1950: red line is at 12K, green line is at 40K, top blue line is at 63K
2000: red line is at 29K, green line is at 110K, top blue line is at 195k

12/63=.190
29/195=.149

40/63=.635
110/195=.564

12/40=.300
29/110=.264

So yes, the spread is increasing, somewhat, based on that chart's numbers. But inflation is also a big deal - it's a hidden tax. Government gets the benefit of a devaluaing currency inasmuch as assets that do not appreciate in real value still show up as worth a larger number of dollars. That difference is taxed even though it does not represent a true gain. Yes, it's taxed at a lower rate, but the correct rate should be zero. Nonetheless, it's viewed as an "unfair loophole".

Here's a distortion of the graph to account for inflation (edit: that makes relative changes more evident). (It's a copy with perspective by Gimp. Alas, I couldn't figure out how to simply do a trapezoid distortion instead of perspective, so this view exaggerates the 1950s and de-emphasizes the present. (I needed to make the present smaller to make the lines more-or-less horizontal). However, if you can see past that, it shows the relative movement of the various percentiles better than the original. (Of course, it's the same data, with the same other issues). Try to ignore the "equal dollars" lines; they create an optical illusion.

Image

RSIR
Spoiler:
income graph perspective shift.png

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Last edited by ucim on Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Thesh » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:29 am UTC

ucim: that graph is already inflation adjusted, hence the "2007 dollars."
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:16 am UTC

Thesh wrote:ucim: that graph is already inflation adjusted, hence the "2007 dollars."
So it is. I guess you can see a lot by looking!

Post corrected.

So how can everybody's income be going up that much, and not be due to inflation? Are we really that much more productive at turning dirt into goods? I suspect not. Perhaps it just shows an increase in trade - more trade means more income and more outgo, so there's a corresponding increase in real outgo? I find that hard to believe too.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby elasto » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:So how can everybody's income be going up that much, and not be due to inflation? Are we really that much more productive at turning dirt into goods? I suspect not. Perhaps it just shows an increase in trade - more trade means more income and more outgo, so there's a corresponding increase in real outgo? I find that hard to believe too.

Three causes spring to mind:

- Greater efficiency as you say
- Lower taxes (note it's 'after-tax income'): Despite everyone always complaining, taxes are at historic lows
- More members of a household working (note it's 'household income' not individual): Probably two people working a part-time job earn more than one person used to 50 years ago

Even though it's an inflation adjusted chart I don't reckon people generally have more buying power though. In the UK - and I bet the US is similar - utilities (gas, electric, private transportation, schooling costs etc.) have generally gone up faster than inflation. The main thing deflating for the ordinary man on the street is technology: You can buy a PC for $1k today that'd rival a $1m supercomputer from 30 years ago.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:16 pm UTC

GDP growth has also been much higher than the rate of inflation for this period (historical average seems to be about 8%).

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:30 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:So how can everybody's income be going up that much, and not be due to inflation? Are we really that much more productive at turning dirt into goods? I suspect not. Perhaps it just shows an increase in trade - more trade means more income and more outgo, so there's a corresponding increase in real outgo? I find that hard to believe too.

Three causes spring to mind:

- Greater efficiency as you say
- Lower taxes (note it's 'after-tax income'): Despite everyone always complaining, taxes are at historic lows
- More members of a household working (note it's 'household income' not individual): Probably two people working a part-time job earn more than one person used to 50 years ago

The taxes thing is legit. People always gripe about high taxes, because it makes an easy justification for lower taxes. And selling lower taxes is usually popular. But objectively, taxes are not terrible at the moment overall.

Also, note that households tend to be smaller, because less kids. It's going to generally be easier to build wealth with two kids than six. Or keep wealth concentrated, for that matter. The more folks getting a chunk of daddies money, the quicker it gets widely distributed, of course.

Even though it's an inflation adjusted chart I don't reckon people generally have more buying power though. In the UK - and I bet the US is similar - utilities (gas, electric, private transportation, schooling costs etc.) have generally gone up faster than inflation. The main thing deflating for the ordinary man on the street is technology: You can buy a PC for $1k today that'd rival a $1m supercomputer from 30 years ago.


Well, on average, roughly half things will outpace inflation at any given time. So, overall, yeah, you still have more buying power.

Additionally, gas prices are down currently, so that's fairly helpful, to the ordinary man on the street or anyone else. Sure, advancing tech is *huge*, but there are definitely other factors as well. Things are generally looking up at the time being. Yeah, the recession hurt, but there is little reason to expect that the economy is somehow fundamentally broken.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:15 pm UTC

All this is well and good, but from 1950 to 2000 we're looking at a factor of three in what is presumed to be real buying power. Is that really the case?

If so, why is that the case?

Given that, who made that happen?

Mightn't they deserve their reward?

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

They did get their reward. Their purchasing power (supposedly) increased by a factor of 3.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:52 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:They did get their reward. Their purchasing power (supposedly) increased by a factor of 3.
We all got that reward. But they made it happen. Don't they deserve a little more? They also took big risks to make it happen. (How many failed companies are there that you never heard of?) So maybe the winners deserve a little more than more?

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:03 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:They did get their reward. Their purchasing power (supposedly) increased by a factor of 3.
We all got that reward. But they made it happen. Don't they deserve a little more? They also took big risks to make it happen. (How many failed companies are there that you never heard of?) So maybe the winners deserve a little more than more?

Jose


Huge citation needed on "they made it happen".

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:13 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:They did get their reward. Their purchasing power (supposedly) increased by a factor of 3.
We all got that reward. But they made it happen. Don't they deserve a little more? They also took big risks to make it happen. (How many failed companies are there that you never heard of?) So maybe the winners deserve a little more than more?

Jose

And this deserve you keep referencing, how does that lead to "never raise taxes to pay for things the public wants"? Because that's what all the rich people talk about when they talk about income inequality.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:41 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Huge citation needed on "they made it happen".
Of course. But it's enclosed in the set of if-clauses a few posts above. If you cite tech as contributing significantly to the three-fold productivity increase that is being shown in the graph (if indeed that's what's really being shown), then those who made that happen are heros. And not just the workers; they could not do it alone otherwise every company would be just as good as every other one. They need people who supply strategic guidance and financial ammunition. Credit lies there.

sardia wrote:And this deserve you keep referencing, how does that lead to "never raise taxes to pay for things the public wants"?
It doesn't. I never claimed it does.

sardia wrote:Because that's what all the rich people talk about when they talk about income inequality.
All of them? I think not. And while rich and poor alike want to keep their money (don't you?), "income inequality" is not about never raising taxes. (Note - "raise" has two meanings: collect, and increase the percentage. Which one of you is here today?)

Taxes for public works is conceptually different from taxes to address income inequality. The former is irrelevant. The latter is merely welfare, and comes from the idea "the poor are too poor" rather than what's being addressed here, which is "the rich are too rich".

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:00 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Huge citation needed on "they made it happen".
Of course. But it's enclosed in the set of if-clauses a few posts above. If you cite tech as contributing significantly to the three-fold productivity increase that is being shown in the graph (if indeed that's what's really being shown), then those who made that happen are heros. And not just the workers; they could not do it alone otherwise every company would be just as good as every other one. They need people who supply strategic guidance and financial ammunition. Credit lies there.

sardia wrote:And this deserve you keep referencing, how does that lead to "never raise taxes to pay for things the public wants"?
It doesn't. I never claimed it does.

sardia wrote:Because that's what all the rich people talk about when they talk about income inequality.
All of them? I think not. And while rich and poor alike want to keep their money (don't you?), "income inequality" is not about never raising taxes. (Note - "raise" has two meanings: collect, and increase the percentage. Which one of you is here today?)

Taxes for public works is conceptually different from taxes to address income inequality. The former is irrelevant. The latter is merely welfare, and comes from the idea "the poor are too poor" rather than what's being addressed here, which is "the rich are too rich".

Jose

Its funny how you deny claiming that higher taxes are bad and then jump into a misleading spiel on how we should keep our money and taxes shouldn't be spent on welfare. Raising the percentage and collect more are pretty similar in my post. It shouldn't matter as you need to raise percentages to collect more.

I would predict you and the corporation you work at are bigger welfare quuens than the poor. You just gussy it up under fancier names like the mortgage interest deduction or the capital gains tax discounted rate.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:24 pm UTC

sardia wrote:then jump into a misleading spiel on how we should keep our money
I am not saying "we should keep our money". I am acknowledging everyone's desire to keep their money. It's not just the rich that want to (though I'll admit they have more of it).

sardia wrote:Raising the percentage and collect more are pretty similar in my post.
Yes, but that's not the distinction I'm making. "Raise" means "collect". Period. It also has a different meaning: "increase" (as in "collect more"). I suspect that this sometimes gets in the way of interpreting what somebody means by "raise taxes". And raising (increasing) taxes is always desired by government - there's never enough money.

sardia wrote:I would predict you and the corporation you work at are bigger welfare quuens than the poor. You just gussy it up under fancier names like the mortgage interest deduction or the capital gains tax discounted rate.
You are wrong on all counts.

First, you do not know what my employment situation is. You guessed wrong on both counts. (and you misspelled "queens" too - so there! :) ). The mortgage interest deduction is not welfare, it is social manipulation - trying to encourage more people to buy (rather than rent) their homes thus giving them more of a stake in the country. Whether that is a good thing or not is a separate issue. The capital gains discounted tax rate is a recognition of the fact that much of what is called "capital gains" is inflation in disguise. If you buy an asset, keep it while inflation makes it worth more dollars even though it itself doesn't become more valuable, and then sell it, you will end up with more dollars, simply due to inflation. You'll be taxed on the difference, which does not represent a real gain. The capital gains discount in theory is supposed to (imperfectly) reflect this. There are probably better ways to do that, but tinker with the tax code at your peril! It's also not welfare.

And I'm not arguing for or against welfare. It has its place. Just call it what it is, and argue it on its merits, rather than on the "rich people have too much money" ticket.

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:49 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Huge citation needed on "they made it happen".


Of course. But it's enclosed in the set of if-clauses a few posts above. If you cite tech as contributing significantly to the three-fold productivity increase that is being shown in the graph (if indeed that's what's really being shown), then those who made that happen are heros. And not just the workers; they could not do it alone otherwise every company would be just as good as every other one. They need people who supply strategic guidance and financial ammunition. Credit lies there.


And, of course, to the absolutely massive amount of government resources, infrastructure, research and development that went into making many of those technological advances possible, nevermind the numerous key technologies outright invented in government labs. It's hard to overstate the importance of the US government involvement in the tech sector. That's to say nothing of the literally trillions of dollars of direct subsidies and bailouts that the taxpayer had dumped into key (and not so key) industries over the years.

ucim wrote:
Because that's what all the rich people talk about when they talk about income inequality.


All of them? I think not. And while rich and poor alike want to keep their money (don't you?), "income inequality" is not about never raising taxes. (Note - "raise" has two meanings: collect, and increase the percentage. Which one of you is here today?)

Taxes for public works is conceptually different from taxes to address income inequality. The former is irrelevant. The latter is merely welfare, and comes from the idea "the poor are too poor" rather than what's being addressed here, which is "the rich are too rich".


Er, I like taxes. I consider paying tax to be a civic duty that is at least as important, if not significantly more important, than voting. "Keep your money" is a very strange way to phrase it. Taxes are the price you pay for a functioning society. I'd probably keep significantly less of my money, in practice, were there no taxes, because I would have to pay individually for a lot of things that benefit from economies of scale of everyone collectively paying for them, and would be at far higher risk of someone coming along and trying to steal what I do have. There is a reason that Silicon Valley is in the United States and not in the until-recently-tax-free-libertarian-paradise Somalia.

That is quite aside from the rather significant economic and social benefits to living in societies with reduced income inequality. It is important to realize that relative wealth has a very substantial effect on many important societal indicators--crime, for example, is strongly correlated to income inequality, but is not correlated to absolute income. That is, a country with a per capita GDP of $10k USD per year but a relatively even distribution of incomes, will tend to have lower crime rates than a country with a per capita GDP of $40k USD but greater income inequality. There seems to be very little utility to society for there to be people with six orders of magnitude more wealth than the average, and considerable downsides.

[edit]As to the question of how rich is too rich, I'd say when losing a substantial portion of your wealth/income has no effect on your standard of living. If Warren Buffett were to lose half of his wealth, or half of his income, would he actually be any worse off than he is now? Would it affect his quality of life in any way? I'd rather think not. He'd still be the 9th richest person in the United States. The vast, vast majority of his fortune provides no benefit to him, personally, beyond allowing him to accumulate a larger fortune. By contrast, were you to pick the average person off the street and cut their income or their wealth in half, and they'd probably be in pretty dire straits.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:They did get their reward. Their purchasing power (supposedly) increased by a factor of 3.
We all got that reward. But they made it happen. Don't they deserve a little more? They also took big risks to make it happen. (How many failed companies are there that you never heard of?) So maybe the winners deserve a little more than more?

Jose

And this deserve you keep referencing, how does that lead to "never raise taxes to pay for things the public wants"? Because that's what all the rich people talk about when they talk about income inequality.


That's universal human behavior. Everyone wants more stuff, and to pay less for it. With taxes, as with everything else. It isn't a rich person deal.

LaserGuy wrote:Huge citation needed on "they made it happen".


Responsibility is no doubt distributed among many. However, responsibility is certainly not distributed equally among the entire population. As a trivial example, the unemployed cannot reasonably be held responsible for large efficiency gains.

Tech is also significantly tied to efficiency gains, of course. A great number of tech advances are simply not reasonable without a certain degree of scale. The basement tinkerer is not going to set up a processor manufacturing plant. Such a thing requires a great degree of coordination and significant scale to produce those gains. This means that the rich CEO, or some functional equivalent, is essential. Yes, yes, other systems exist. Co-ops or what not. These exist at the local level, and have not been significant in tech development.

ucim wrote: The mortgage interest deduction is not welfare, it is social manipulation - trying to encourage more people to buy (rather than rent) their homes thus giving them more of a stake in the country. Whether that is a good thing or not is a separate issue.


It's definitely not a good thing, but yeah, it's definitely not a corporate deal. It's a homeowner deal. Would getting rid of it help inequality? Probably. At least on the functional scale of someone moving from renting to buying, because it'd deflate property values. This is likely of far more practical importance than anything regarding the .1% or what not. We can't all be on top of the heap, no matter what the heap looks like, but we all gotta live somewhere.

LaserGuy wrote:And, of course, to the absolutely massive amount of government resources, infrastructure, research and development that went into making many of those technological advances possible, nevermind the numerous key technologies outright invented in government labs. It's hard to overstate the importance of the US government involvement in the tech sector. That's to say nothing of the literally trillions of dollars of direct subsidies and bailouts that the taxpayer had dumped into key (and not so key) industries over the years.


Government moneys expended on this, in large part, are directed to the corporations to actually produce stuff. Sure, the government benefits from this, but this is a little like an apple purchaser claiming credit for the development of the newest iphone. Yeah, you're a part of the economy that enables it, but...it's a distant connection.

Now, some direct research and such also happened, which is awesome. Research is not a particularly large component of the government. Same goes for industry, interested individuals, etc. Research is, of course, vitally important, but the actual production of efficiency is almost wholly a corporate deal. Not a lot of US government made hardware out there making all the tech stuff tick. Having a good idea is great, but implementation is frigging huge.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:14 pm UTC

I can dress up my spending too. Its social manipulation of the class of people at lower incomes to supplement their nutruonal needs and thereby encourage them to have a stake in the country by being sufficiently nourished. With food security high, they can be more productive citizens. Your corporate welfare subsidizes rich peoples vacation homes.

I am always surprised at how many poor people buy into the drivel that the 1 Percenter's sell. The rich are selling a fantasy and the odds are lower than they ever been at moving up the ladder.

Lastly your basis for the capital gains tax is questionable at best. Can you cite an economist who agrees with you?

PS. Deductions on your healthcare spending? Welfare for the rich since the poor rarely use the 1040a or 1040 form.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Now, some direct research and such also happened, which is awesome. Research is not a particularly large component of the government. Same goes for industry, interested individuals, etc. Research is, of course, vitally important, but the actual production of efficiency is almost wholly a corporate deal. Not a lot of US government made hardware out there making all the tech stuff tick. Having a good idea is great, but implementation is frigging huge.


Well, if you own a smart phone, then you can pretty much thank the governments (in the US and Europe) for developing virtually all of the key technologies necessary for modern smartphones to work.

Nice quote from the article above to highlight the importance of government in R&D:

Federal funding accounted for more than 50 percent of all US R&D from the early 1950s through 1978 and exceeded the total spent by all other OECD countries over this period. The conventional economic justification for government spending on basic research is that business won’t make sufficient investments because no single company will be able to benefit sufficiently from the potential financial returns.


Yeah, the government only contributed half of all US R&D through the period of some of the highest economic growth in the country's history. Clearly the government isn't an important player at all.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:46 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:And, of course, to the absolutely massive amount of government resources, infrastructure, research and development that went into making many of those technological advances possible, nevermind the numerous key technologies outright invented in government labs. It's hard to overstate the importance of the US government involvement in the tech sector. That's to say nothing of the literally trillions of dollars of direct subsidies and bailouts that the taxpayer had dumped into key (and not so key) industries over the years.
Yes, that is true. But I'm not arguing that it's not. I am merely saying that even with all this, success requires somebody good at the helm. Lots of companies want somebody that good. There is competition for that kind of talent, and it pays off in profits which are used to pay the salary and benefits. That sets the price.

It's not just a bunch of rich kids playing polo. Although they also exist, they won't last. They will drain themselves.

LaserGuy wrote:...Taxes are the price you pay for a functioning society. I'd probably keep significantly less of my money, in practice, were there no taxes...
Indeed. But again, I'm not arguing for no taxes. (I'm not even arguing for less taxes or more taxes!)

LaserGuy wrote:...relative wealth has a very substantial effect on many important societal indicators--crime, for example, is strongly correlated...
I suspect this has less to do with the fact of income inequality than with the source of income inequality. Careful you don't treat the symptom rather than the disease.

Tyndmyr wrote:Would getting rid of [the mortgage deduction] help inequality? Probably.
Probably not. It would leave more people renting indefinitely and ending up broke, not building equity in their homes which they could use in their retirement. It can go too far (and arguably did) leading to the housing bubble, but that's implementation. As for deflating property values, probably not a big effect. I think the mortgage deduction is a net plus in the direction of getting more people to buy (invest in!) their own homes. Often it's the only investment they make.

sardia wrote:...to supplement their nutruonal needs and thereby encourage them to have a stake in the country by being sufficiently nourished. With food security high, they can be more productive citizens...
There's something to that, similar to the "it's good for me that you are educated" argument for public schooling, with which I agree.

sardia wrote:Lastly your basis for the capital gains tax is questionable at best. Can you cite an economist who agrees with you?

PS. Deductions on your healthcare spending? Welfare for the rich since the poor rarely use the 1040a or 1040 form.

Yanno, this can go on forever. I'm not an economist, I'm a taxpayer (who among other things runs his own small business and fills out his own tax forms by hand). You can point to just about anything and cry "welfare for the rich!" but I think I'm going to stop here.

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:04 pm UTC

That's kinda the point. You called out spending on the poor and dismissed it as 'welfare'. You didn't reserve such contempt for other classes that we spend more on.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:That's kinda the point. You called out spending on the poor and dismissed it as 'welfare'. You didn't reserve such contempt for other classes that we spend more on.
... because in the context of this thread, it was relevant. Welfare is money given "just because they are poor". It falls into several categories, including worthy aims, but the overall basis for it is that they don't have much money, and they should have more. Similarly, this thread is about "they have too much money, and they should have less".

I am pointing out that the reasons they have so much or so little are important. That is what needs to be addressed, but there's no addressing it while the emphasis is on how much (or how little) they have.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:47 am UTC

One cannot mention the word "fair" because "we all have a different interpretation on what it means".
So one cannot say it is "unfair" that some people own and some people owe from the start. Someone might see it as fair. Tell me one!
But one can say it is - what? "just"? "honest"? "supposed to be"? - that rich people deserve their richness becuase they made it happen.
Rich people increased the amount of richness in the universe by 3x! Was Lavoisier wrong? They must be magicians.

ucim wrote: It's always the ones on the short end of the stick that revolt. They cry "unfair" for marketing purposes, but the reason they revolt is that they aren't getting any, and they want some.
Marketing purposes (MERDA incentive) have existed since a market as we know it existed. Social Fairness and Economics are older than that - and are not only about MERDA. Today they are, but existed long before MERDA.
Anyway, I understand what you say. What is creepy today is that even not-rich people defend rich people and often they adopt their meaning of "fair".
http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21635524-new-paper-looks-how-economists-became-so-influential-power-self-belief?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/powerofselfbelief

Another chart on global wealth distribution: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicd ... c/purseone

[edit: just saw the Trolley Problem comic: https://xkcd.com/1455/ Funny]

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:27 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:One cannot mention the word "fair" because "we all have a different interpretation on what it means".

No. But you cannot use the word "fair" without defining it, and expect not to be misunderstood, because of that. The same is true of other loaded words. They inject emotion and fuzziness into a discussion, which tends to derail it. When you start to define these words however, the actual merits of your points become more clear.

mat.tia wrote:Marketing purposes (MERDA incentive) have existed...
What is the MERDA incentive?

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:48 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:And, of course, to the absolutely massive amount of government resources, infrastructure, research and development that went into making many of those technological advances possible, nevermind the numerous key technologies outright invented in government labs. It's hard to overstate the importance of the US government involvement in the tech sector. That's to say nothing of the literally trillions of dollars of direct subsidies and bailouts that the taxpayer had dumped into key (and not so key) industries over the years.


Yes, that is true. But I'm not arguing that it's not. I am merely saying that even with all this, success requires somebody good at the helm. Lots of companies want somebody that good. There is competition for that kind of talent, and it pays off in profits which are used to pay the salary and benefits. That sets the price.

It's not just a bunch of rich kids playing polo. Although they also exist, they won't last. They will drain themselves.


And you feel that giving those people six orders of magnitude more wealth than the average person will accumulate is appropriate compensation for this supposed "talent"?

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:07 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:And you feel that giving those people six orders of magnitude more wealth than the average person will accumulate is appropriate compensation for this supposed "talent"?
I don't know. It's a worthy topic of discussion. But I'm not the one that's deciding right now. You all are, every time you buy an iphone, a Nike shoe, a Chevy Chevette, or search on Google or Bing, or use a proprietary operating system. You are giving him (or her) a little bit of your money. If enough people do that, money accumulates.

You can get on the other side of the equation too. You can invest in these companies, buying stock (even if only a little at a time). Doing so will get you, for very little effort, some of the rewards of these people's efforts and expertise.

You may find that choosing which ones is harder and riskier than you think. Actually running said company is going to be much harder and riskier than you think.

So, maybe it is appropriate compensation for the successful ones. But the interesting issue isn't "they have so much money". It's "what bases are reasonable to use to allocate this kind of return".

Jose
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:32 pm UTC

ucim wrote:You may find that choosing which ones is harder and riskier than you think. Actually running said company is going to be much harder and riskier than you think.

So, maybe it is appropriate compensation for the successful ones. But the interesting issue isn't "they have so much money". It's "what bases are reasonable to use to allocate this kind of return".

Jose


I doubt that running a major corporation requires orders of magnitude more responsibility or risk than say, being President of the United States. Yet the POTUS is only paid a meagre 400k.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Zcorp » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:37 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:And you feel that giving those people six orders of magnitude more wealth than the average person will accumulate is appropriate compensation for this supposed "talent"?
I don't know. It's a worthy topic of discussion. But I'm not the one that's deciding right now. You all are, every time you buy an iphone, a Nike shoe, a Chevy Chevette, or search on Google or Bing, or use a proprietary operating system. You are giving him (or her) a little bit of your money. If enough people do that, money accumulates.

You are missing a very large part of the equation, which is law. Both what laws we create or don't create to regulate a market place that better improves society, and the result of breaking laws for the empowered.

To focus on the latter, Apple makes great products, if I want a good phone, computer or other devices they are a great company to purchase from. What they offer improves my life, which is great, its what we want. Apple is often pretty fair to the consumer. That is when they aren't fixing the price of ebooks, wage-fixing their engineers (one that deflated the entirety of the tech industry) or various other practices.

We have laws that they are breaking, and we want to establish more laws to maintain fair practices and those are being prevented or delayed so people can make a lot of money at the cost of other people through ways that harm society.

We need a justice system that actually takes action to punish and deter such behavior and we need to laws to stay at least up with the progression of technology. This isn't just about people 'voting with their wallets' people want and should want many of the products from those companies, in fact many of them provide technology that is absolutely necessary for many peoples jobs or productivity within them. That however does not excuse the way they have been treated by the justice system. People have already actually voted with their votes but the people enforcing those laws are failing us when it involves the rich and their abuse of power.

Then beyond these big tech companies we could talk about how bankers are abusing the justice system as well.

The reason we want a good market is that it benefits society, we want people to produce good products that increase productivity, accessibility and other aspects of well-being. More and more jobs are requiring devices made by tech companies, specific devices, specific software. If Uber and the like continue to grow, simply being a driver could require a phone from a company that is abusing our law which is then serviced by a company that is abusing our law. What benefit they bring and the positive depth and breadth of affect they have on society is great. However, This should not excuse the harm they do and right now much or the harm they cause is at best getting a slap on the wrist.

I know this doesn't speak to people being paid relative to the value they add to the company, but the argument that we should just 'vote with our wallets' to fix the problem is quite flawed.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:08 pm UTC

ucim wrote:No. But you cannot use the word "fair" without defining it, and expect not to be misunderstood, because of that. The same is true of other loaded words. They inject emotion and fuzziness into a discussion, which tends to derail it. When you start to define these words however, the actual merits of your points become more clear.

You keep considering half a question... : ) The word "fair" is as misleading as is "to deserve". And on the concept of "rich people deserving their richness" is based the whole argument you are sustaining.
Now, you say emotions derail discussions; they can. But they can help finding shared meanings and points of view.
Emotions can help you get back to reality when you're trying to discuss it through abstract concepts. I'm not saying you're wrong in a purely intellectual context; I am saying that if you are actually picturing in your mind the things we are talking about, you cannot really say that rich people deserve the money they have (implying that if they were simply very rich and not immensely rich it would be "unfair") more than poor people deserve to have basic rights (implying that if they do not have them, it is "fair"; or, at least, more fair than if rich people weren't so rich). Are you picturing in your mind how rich are the rich people we're talking about and how poor are the poor people we're talking about? Because THAT is what we're talking about. Not numbers.

ucim wrote:You can get on the other side of the equation too. You can invest in these companies, buying stock (even if only a little at a time). Doing so will get you, for very little effort, some of the rewards of these people's efforts and expertise.

True. But you are just getting on the other side of the equation, not changing it with another. So the potential of there being a massive accumulation on the other side is the same, as long as the equation allows it.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:08 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I doubt that running a major corporation requires orders of magnitude more responsibility or risk than say, being President of the United States. Yet the POTUS is only paid a meagre 400k.
There's not a lot of competition for presidents. However, there's a lot of competition among potential presidents.

Zcorp wrote:You are missing a very large part of the equation, which is law. Both what laws we create or don't create to regulate a market place that better improves society, and the result of breaking laws for the empowered.
No, I'm not "missing" it. It's just not focused on the idea that "they make too much money". Consumer protection laws are important, as are laws about monopolistic practices and about other things. But they should be focused on protecting consumers, or preventing monopoly abuse, or whatever other thing the law is supposed to be focused on. And those laws should be enforced. (I'm assuming these are good laws to begin with; a discussion of whether or not this or that law is a good law is OT).

Money's influence on justice is important and worth talking about, but in the context of justice and corruption, not in the context of "he has too much money". And the fix is to ensure that money does not influence justice, not that it is taken away because "he has too much".

Zcorp wrote:If Uber and the like continue to grow, simply being a driver could require a phone from a company that is...
This isn't because Uber's CEO has too much money. It might be because money buys lobbyists. That is where to focus attention. It might be first mover advantage; it's still difficult to not interact with proprietary software, and it's getting difficult to get along without facebook stealing my privacy (whether I am a member or not). And it could easily come to pass that I won't be able to get a job without having a facebook account.

Zcorp wrote:I know this doesn't speak to people being paid relative to the value they add to the company, but the argument that we should just 'vote with our wallets' to fix the problem is quite flawed.
It's important to identify the actual problem being addressed, before addressing it. I don't think this is happening here. The premise of the thread is that {these people} have "too much money". But the problem is that money buys influence, perhaps disproportional to the amount that it should be able to buy influence.

mat.tis wrote:The word "fair" is as misleading as is "to deserve".
Yes, it is. "Deserve" embodies the idea of "fair". But this thread is about how {these people} don't deserve their wealth (and the implication that it should be taken away). But what is it that lets somebody "deserve" something? When I give a present to my friend, does she "deserve" it? There's a real sense in which she does. But there's also a real sense in which she doesn't. There's a lot of luck in life; people don't deserve their good luck or their bad luck. But the guy whose company failed, and who lost all his investment in it, isn't getting his money back from the company that beat him in the marketplace. Should he?

That's a serious question.

mat.tia wrote:[...investing...] But you are just getting on the other side of the equation, not changing it with another.
Correct. Maybe the equation isn't bad, you're just on the wrong side of it. You can change that.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:10 pm UTC

ucim Said "It's important to identify the actual problem being addressed, before addressing it. I don't think this is happening here. The premise of the thread is that {these people} have "too much money". But the problem is that money buys influence, perhaps disproportional to the amount that it should be able to buy influence."


If we want to argue over something more concrete, what social safety net/welfare/transfer payment programs are you against since they aren't justified? I can spin you a sob story/justification for just about anything, are you just advocating for general democracy (e.g. 50%+1 of us voted for it, so we should tax & spend money this way.)

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby Zcorp » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:33 pm UTC

ucim wrote:No, I'm not "missing" it. It's just not focused on the idea that "they make too much money". Consumer protection laws are important, as are laws about monopolistic practices and about other things. But they should be focused on protecting consumers, or preventing monopoly abuse, or whatever other thing the law is supposed to be focused on. And those laws should be enforced. (I'm assuming these are good laws to begin with; a discussion of whether or not this or that law is a good law is OT).

Money's influence on justice is important and worth talking about, but in the context of justice and corruption, not in the context of "he has too much money". And the fix is to ensure that money does not influence justice, not that it is taken away because "he has too much".

They are issues that are inclusive of each other , so 'not focusing' on it is either ignoring it or missing it. It is a positive feedback system.

The issues is both that 'they make to much money' and 'everyone else makes to little money' and how that is a near zero-sum game. While the total payout increases in this game, those payouts are not going to workers.

Moving from 500k to 50million in salary, perks and bonuses while no one else is seeing noticeable growth in pay for their contributions while productivity is soaring is problematic and does not suggest that the CEOs are the only ones adding value to companies. The point of having an opportunity to make a lot by being productive is to add value to society, if you then 'choose not to focus on' the affect this has on society, including the aspect of that money being spent to corrupt the systems that are supposed to keep the people with money in check, then you are missing the point entirely even if you are doing so on purpose.

It's important to identify the actual problem being addressed, before addressing it. I don't think this is happening here. The premise of the thread is that {these people} have "too much money". But the problem is that money buys influence, perhaps disproportional to the amount that it should be able to buy influence.

Which is to say nearly the same thing considering the system in which they are working. That you are unwilling to focus on the effect of them making to much money, which is the point of saying thyey are making to much money, is a lack in your perspective of the conversation not the other way around. If they were making less money they would have less influence on systems outside of their company. If workers were making more money they would have more. If CEO's and investors made less money, workers could make more. Both from a perspective on the effect this has on society and that it is not representative of value added by each employee, they make to much money.
Last edited by Zcorp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:39 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby addams » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:34 pm UTC

oh, ucim;
Maybe, others think that deserve has something to do with it.
I don't.

Maybe, others think that depriving the very wealthy is fair.
I don't.

Yet; For a very small group to control large and important economic tools,
without a duty to the entire group; That bothers me.

Some of those Jerks are Jerks.
Not that the Masses are not Jerks.

What I see is people that can afford Privacy to act Publicly.

Darn.
I know nothing about Economics. That's a hard major.
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