mat.tia wrote:no. ucim put words in my mouth I never even thought of. That's trolling.
Where? Which words? Your quote was empty.
mat.tia wrote:You are talking of fairness when you didn't accept that word.
I don't reject the word (or the concept). I merely hold that life is inherently unfair, and to be "more fair" to one group you have to be "less fair" to another. To ignore this when supporting one position or another is to be disingenuous. In these (simplified) examples, the unfairness to the other group is made explicit, for example, by introducing (perhaps) the idea that my inventing of a machine obligates me to feed those it replaces, and inviting explicit support of this idea.
mat.tia wrote:The kind of distribution you illustrate has the only goal of rewarding the inventor of the apple-picking machine. (Assuming it was invented and built from scratch all by the same person using his own material).
In this simplified scenario, yes. The inventor did it all himself, using only what is available to everyone else. (I am not even talking about patents; in this scenario nothing stops my neighbor from building his own machine).
mat.tia wrote:If things were as you say, today we would be using electricity while working, but all money that its invention generated would be in the hands of the Edisons family.
Only if electricity is patented (or secret), which is not part of my scenario. Also, the sellers of the electricity would find no market if the buyers found no net benefit. So, the price would come down to a point where each (buyer and seller) were happy. Now, if I'm happy buying at ten, and you're happy selling at four, a free and open market ought to find the "fairest" price, over the long run. But sometimes it's a buyer's market and sometimes it's a seller's market. That's unfair too.
Should unfairness always be eliminated?
mat.tia wrote:I had asked you what you think an ideal distribution should do.
I don't think this is a sensible question. A distribution is a result, not a goal. And an ideal distribution results from the discovery of a number that is greater than seven and less than five. But ok, I'll take a stab at it.
In an ideal distribution, people are rewarded for their value to other people. Sometimes that reward is financial, sometimes not. But everyone would be happy with the result, and nobody would feel exploited. At the same time, those who are unable to be very valuable to other people would not be cast aside. They would be nurtured by society (which is made up of other people), so that they could become
valuable to other people. As a result of this ideal distribution, everyone
would be encouraged to become valuable to (at least some) other people, and would be able to grow unfettered in that direction. At the same time, those with drive and ambition, who actually become very
valuable to other people (indirectly, through scientific discoveries, commerce, invention, whatever) would be richly rewarded for this.
"valuable to other people" is my (generalized) take on "productive member of society", because it includes even the idea of something like "valuable in and of themselves" (friends, housewives, children, volunteers, and others who add color to life without necessarily drawing direct financial reward for it).
"unable to be valuable..." is my generalized take on "drain on society". One can't (without offense) list examples, but that should not be necessary. It should be noted that some that might fall into this category also
fall into the other.
"nurtured by society" includes things like education, rehabilitation, treatment, etc.This situation however is not stable unless you can also change people's overall nature.
That's the issue I take with all of this. You can posit an ideal (of any sort), but this usually requires ideal people. Ain't gonna happen.
Real people have built-in wants, needs, and tendencies, some of which are not very nice. The ideal system
uses these to advantage to create a halfway decent distribution. But with real people, I don't see how an ideal system will create an ideal distribution (if that can even be defined sensibly), without creating other far-from-ideal conditions. Because an economic distribution is merely one
result of the way people interact.
mat.tia wrote:[(responding to CorruptUser)] If you decide to address point 2, you can:
2a) directly reduce their wealth
2b) regulate market to address wealth distribution so that it will tend to be more even
2c) regulate market and laws to limit CEOs decisional powers so that, despite their money, the have less power to limit competition
2d) revolutions of different sorts
2c) is the route I'd pick, because it directly addresses the issue.
2a) is ethically unjustified.
2b) addresses the wrong thing in the same way bussing to integrate schools does.
2d) will happen by itself if things go too far, and it's messy.
Now 2c) suffers from the fact that the source of a CEO's market power is not usually his or her personal wealth. It is a direct result of their control of the company, and of the company's
wealth. If you reduce their control of the company, then you risk the company's health (or at least its right to decide on its health). This might be justified, but might not be the best way to accomplish the goal.
I'd propose 2e (a variant on 2c) - at a certain point, when the company's size and structure start passing its risks and externalizing its costs onto the public, then that same public should start to have a say in how the company is run, or have an apporpriate share in the company's gains and wealth, based on the idea that it's sneakily being taken from
the public in the first place.
CorruptUser wrote:I want the society where we can turn around and say to the CEOs "hey, why are we paying you 8 figs? We found a girl that's more competent than you and she'll do it for high 6 figs!". What I DON'T want is the society that simply turns around as says "hey, you make too much, we are taxing you back down to high 6 figs".
But this requires an attitude change in the boardroom. It's not so easy to impose from the outside.
LaserGuy wrote:Sure, but the since the supply has gone up, the price per bushel of apples has now fallen by a factor of almost seven, so even though the worker is being paid the same, or even less, they make up the productivity gains by increased purchasing power. In a free market, your profits remain exactly the same in both scenarios.
Well, the price will certainly fall, but maybe not by a factor of seven. At least not right away. (cue the story of floppy disks) Depends on how saturated the market for these apples are. My profits will not go up by a factor of seven of course, but I expect they will rise. At the very least, I could pick fewer apples and use the time saved to make and sell pies. Which may even boost the market for apples. With first-mover advantage, I could also start some apple fairs to get people more interested in apples and pies and aprons and hogs and whatever else I can think of. So no, there certainly will be pressure on profits, but not so much, so fast.
And in any case, it would be a net gain for all.