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

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

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:15 am UTC

ucim wrote:But is research ever really the hinge point? I suspect not. The hinge point is just what it is that {group} wishes to accomplish. For example, a group might want to ban pornography, and another would want to publish it. What research would answer the question as to which group should prevail?

A pretty simple study of whether the proposal actually does what it claims to. And then people vote on it.

Each side could produce peer-reviewed research showing that their side would reduce {something or other}, and be right. But that raises the question of whether {something} should be reduced, or {other} should be reduced. Or whether it even matters to anybody except the publisher and the Women's League.

Research is a red herring in many cases. Probably most.

Yeah, I kinda don't want to live in a world where anti-GMO lobbyists get to spread easily discredited lies that cause thousands or more to starve, quack homeopath salesman get to avoid having their wares and claims tested by the FDA, and bible-thumping lobbyists get to promote laws that only allow rape and the necessity of abortions to flourish. Your continued insistence of "but this won't be an absolutely perfect system that solves all problems" does little to diminish that desire, and honestly reads very similarly to the "big-bad-government" scaremongering that got, for example, vitamin supplements to remain so nearly free of scrutiny.

Once more -- I have not, at any point, suggested that a "shadowy, anonymous cabal of 'scientists' get to decide policy beholden to noone". I'm suggesting that, at bare minimum, lobbyist proposals should have the thinnest veneer of proof that they actually accomplish what they claim they do, and then we can have people vote on them. I suspect that requiring basic fact-checking will do a lot to assauge the blatant propoganda and lies that the mega-rich corporations use to continue getting the law in their pocket.
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

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

Postby addams » Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:10 am UTC

Lobbists??
Why the fuck do you need lobbyists??

...oh...It's a good Job with good pay, good working conditions and all the shrimp and high quality wine a person could ever want.
The Lobbyists want Lobbyists!

No one can lobby like a Lobbyist.
Lobbyist must be a permeant part of the landscape in the US System.

Have ya' ever seen one?
Are they like Glow Worms?

Glow Worms are hard to see, especially in the light of day.
I can look right at one and not see it.

Do Lobbyists blend in seamlessly to the stiff and ultra-comfortable world of Law and Policy Makers?

I like Biology.
It's the Ugly Science.

To prove there are Lobbyists, we have to hunt some down.
Dissect at least one.
Freeze one and slice it very thin, it may have Secrets.

Keep one in Formaldehyde.
Keep one alive for as long as it can tolerate the light.

Like many other vectors, they will never go away, completely.
We can know more about them than they know themselves.

Can't we?
If we use Science?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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

Postby mat.tia » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:50 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Uh...a great number of historical accomplishments were indeed the result of someone trying to make a buck. Not all were successful, but the past is not some utopia free from folks striving for money. If anything, people were often more desperate, due to being more often in harsher situations. We no longer have to raid the next village over for food to not starve.
Tyndmyr wrote:A great many of the early explorers in the age of sail were motivated by dreams of wealth. Consider Amerigo Vespucci. You've probably heard of him in the history books, which often credit America with being named after him. Dude was a financier and stuff. His merchant work got him into exploring, which he parlayed into a massive salary running a school of navigation...which resulted in navigational discoveries. This was a benefit to his society, and also of benefit to him.
Tyndmyr wrote:Your view of the past is quite rose-tinted, and not a little inaccurate.

No I don't have a nostalgic view of the past; I am actually very ignorant about that, too! I simply try to look at it to see what, about the present, has always been, and hence should be taken for granted, and what instead belongs only to the current state of things. I used this perspective to challenge the idea that money incentive seen as a reward proportional to the hierarchy in society - in a proportion that is decided mostly in its "upper" sectors - is not necessarily the best and only way to create a better state of things.
I have never said the past was better or anything like that, so please DO NOT put words in my mouth that are not mine.
Of course some people that did great things did it (also) for money. And so? Since Amerigo Vespucci discovered Americas, and you say he did it for the money; you conclude money is the only possible drive for doing something good? That's a biased syllogism.

Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a simple proportion. Inflation exists, but one cannot assume that the value of a dollar is directly proportional to the size of the market.
Maybe not directly, but it is proportional, that's for sure.
1) merely on a theoretical (and useless) pov: wealth can grow absolutely, but can't be measured that way. Yes, normalized dollars are as good as standard-loaves-of-bread as unit of measurement. We could measure today's total wealth in 1300's loaves-of-bread. But it would still be proportional to a fixed wealth, in a fixed point in time. You cannot count wealth particles or weigh its mass. You can only compare it to another wealth.

That's what measurement IS. When I say something is twelve feet(or whatever), I am comparing it to a known fixed unit.

Obviously, one does the same with wealth.

well not completely the same thing. A foot is a foot; being there a total of 2 or 1000. When they fixed the unit of measurement they didn't care how many there were in total. It could be infinite for what concerns us. Not the same with money or loaves of bread. What distinguishes wealth is that it is limited and its limits do matter to us. You hear of scarcity of resources, not of scarcity of feet. 1$ on a total of 2$ is a lot, 1$ on a total of current market size is different.
Wealth on Earth is bounded by the quantity of resources accumulated in time and their growth rate (which is much slower than our productivity growth rate).
Another reason for which I consider the importance of wealth as a proportion is that, even though average wealth can grow among people in absolute value, the poverty lines move up with that: we are all richer than 10 years ago because we have laptops and smartphones. But if today you don't have them, you're cut out of society. Trivial example I hope illustrates what I'm saying.


Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:2) the relevant point: the discussion is about wealth distribution, not wealth quantity or absolute wealth per capita. This is so because in a society it matters not only how much one individual has, but what proportion of the total he owns.
For many reasons: the most immediate being power distribution and the human tendency to compare one own's situation with others'.
A man living in the past owning X standard loaves-of-bread was rich with that. Now in a world where everyone owns 10000*X standard loaves-of-bread he would be poor.

In that case, wealth distribution is not a problem, and so long as the world population continues to increase, it becomes increasingly less likely to become a problem. No one person owns a significant percentage of the world's assets.

What do you base this claim upon? If the world population keeps growing it is not obvious that wealth will be distributed proportionally among them.
It is the whole point of the conversation.


Not at ALL. Economy is the discipline that studies the distribution of resources among men.
Just like any other discipline, it USES math to do its calculations.
Economy means "good management of the house" and it comes from the Greeks. This tells us two things:
1) it is about management: decisions to take, not things to accept.
2) it considers the world as a house: in houses live families, not enemies.

Now, back to the tadpole frog similarity, if you want to fix an arbitrary, fixed, ratio to discern from "healthy and unhealthy" inequality, go for it. Fix a percentage. Use the indicators you wish. What I'm saying is that I know for sure which side of the classification will the current status of things fall into.

HOW do you know this?
What you "know" is only as valid as the how.

What does this even mean? Do you need to have read all enquiries on the nature of Number from Pithagora to Frege, Russell and whoever went deep on that road to know that 2+2 is 4? Do you need to be a neuroscientist and know the mapping of your brain to be convinced of something? Can you tell a frog from a tadpole? HOW?

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:As mentioned earlier, I think it should also be worth taking into consideration democratically fixed wages for "public" companies.
Wouldn't be this the more direct way to grant a person the right compensation for his value to society?
This requires some small (and immensely powerful!) group of people to get together and decide on a person's "value to society", a well nigh impossible task and one that would end up full of corruption. No, the best way is the direct way. I teach your son math, you give me six gold pieces. If that's too much, somebody else will offer to do it for five. If it's too little, I'll find somebody who will offer me seven. This doesn't guarantee every transaction is "fair" but it does tend to move transactions in the right direction.

Teach me some math, I'll give you some kudos : ) How is democratically fixing the wages prone to corruption? Are you going to pay 1$ to a billion people asking them to assign you a 1.000.000.001$ when it's their time to decide your wage?
I'm not proposing this mechanism as a solution; I just think that taking it into consideration challenges some of the basics assumptions that are always taken for granted, but I am personally not sure they should, such as the fact that wage must be based on negotiative power and that money incentive put on the best jobs is the best for production.
It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)
What if you pay less the for the jobs that are more difficult and more important? Then the ethics ("fair" and "deserve") is completely reversed (but not necessarily unconsistent); one could argue that in a world with two jobs and one person, this person will want to be paid more to work in a chicken farm rather than sitting in a comfortable office taking very abstract decisions about millions of people and jobs and other important stuff.
Only people that really want to do a "superior" activity wouldl apply for the job, making it less prone to corruption, cheating and people having a role solely for personal monetary interest. But this was just a parenthesis.


Tyndmyr wrote:Economics has been around for a while. The idea that a person wishing harm on another is irrational or not seeking happiness above all else is irrational shows only a limited understanding of rationality. It is not a disproof of economics. People have many goals. This is not necessarily irrational. Perhaps a person with many siblings is made happy by their well being, and seeks this, while the only child has differing priorities. No irrationality needs to exist to explain this.

What is irrational is if the person has a goal, yet is taking actions contrary to that goal. At which point, we explore why that behavior exists. Perhaps the goal they have stated is not their real goal. Perhaps they do not understand the probable results of their actions.

And in any case, a perfectly rational person is to economics what a frictionless perfect sphere is to physics. An example to illustrate something to a student. The lack of the former would not discredit economics any more than the lack of the latter invalidates physics.

But when you design a car that will drive on the real world you stop considering the latter as you have taught it to a student: the priority of a car is that it works safely. It doesn't matter how far from the ideal car driving in an ideal world it results to be; all the approximations and patches necessary will be applied, because if a car accident happens you cannot say it is the world's fault that it is not ideal enough. It is your ideal that does not model the world well.

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:But so you confirm your view of a "fair" distribution of wealth as one having the only purpose of rewarding the people that augment productivity.
No, I affirm, once again, that a distribution of wealth is a result, not a target


Yes, yes, wealth distribution is a result and you cannot change that directly and hope it would fix things.
There are though other tools one can use to give Economics a direction and that will result in a different state of things.

But in order to do that one must have a view of Society and must have a clear idea about what are the qualities that one values more important.
I am not sure everyone has that. Many seem to see Society merely as a collection of competing individuals that are gears inside the omniscent mechanism of Economics. Nihilists!

Would it not better for everyone to live in a Society in which poor are less poor?
I think it would be, for everyone living in that Society.
But do rich people live in Society? I think not.
They have their own. Different public transportation, different restaurants, different shops, different ways of shopping. Different lifestyle, different concerns. How much money does one need to have to stop going to public places and interact with the mass, and jump instead into the Other Society?
Where is the line? I don't know! But I can tell the difference.


@Jose: I said you were trolling because when I read your post I felt your assumptions on my thought were way too far from being caused by misreading and seemed more straw men arguing. If you had simply misread my post, it's ok, I have a hard time making myself clear, and misunderstanding happens to me all the time.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:28 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:Once more -- I have not, at any point, suggested that a "shadowy, anonymous cabal of 'scientists' get to decide policy beholden to noone". I'm suggesting that, at bare minimum, lobbyist proposals should have the thinnest veneer of proof that they actually accomplish what they claim they do, and then we can have people vote on them. I suspect that requiring basic fact-checking will do a lot to assauge the blatant propoganda and lies that the mega-rich corporations use to continue getting the law in their pocket.


Again, *how* will you enforce this requirement. Requiring people to actually read the bills they are passing has been tried. It has resulted in the hiring of a speed reader, because absolutely no fucks were given. I'm all for proof, but merely saying they must prove it will result in entirely unscientific claims of proof, etc.

KrytenKoro wrote:Okay, just to clarify, I was at most suggesting anonymity while they were running the research. Once the study's been published, there's little need to keep them anonymous because there's no longer a point to buying them off.

Literally all this is intended to be is a headstart on those wishing to bribe.


Ah, you effectively have that now. The media doesn't report with bated breath that scientist so and so is about to commence a study. Maybe they SHOULD, but in practice, it's usually a well after publication summary of it that boils it down to "eggs are bad for you now" or something similarly stupid.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Uh...a great number of historical accomplishments were indeed the result of someone trying to make a buck. Not all were successful, but the past is not some utopia free from folks striving for money. If anything, people were often more desperate, due to being more often in harsher situations. We no longer have to raid the next village over for food to not starve.
Tyndmyr wrote:A great many of the early explorers in the age of sail were motivated by dreams of wealth. Consider Amerigo Vespucci. You've probably heard of him in the history books, which often credit America with being named after him. Dude was a financier and stuff. His merchant work got him into exploring, which he parlayed into a massive salary running a school of navigation...which resulted in navigational discoveries. This was a benefit to his society, and also of benefit to him.
Tyndmyr wrote:Your view of the past is quite rose-tinted, and not a little inaccurate.

No I don't have a nostalgic view of the past; I am actually very ignorant about that, too! I simply try to look at it to see what, about the present, has always been, and hence should be taken for granted, and what instead belongs only to the current state of things. I used this perspective to challenge the idea that money incentive seen as a reward proportional to the hierarchy in society - in a proportion that is decided mostly in its "upper" sectors - is not necessarily the best and only way to create a better state of things.
I have never said the past was better or anything like that, so please DO NOT put words in my mouth that are not mine.
Of course some people that did great things did it (also) for money. And so? Since Amerigo Vespucci discovered Americas, and you say he did it for the money; you conclude money is the only possible drive for doing something good? That's a biased syllogism.


If you believe you are very ignorant about the past, then you probably should not use the past as the basis for your proposal. Better, you should learn about the areas you feel you are weak in. Our history is of great importance to understanding why society is as it currently is. If your perspective is at odds with history, it is time to learn more history, and revise your perspectives accordingly.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a simple proportion. Inflation exists, but one cannot assume that the value of a dollar is directly proportional to the size of the market.
Maybe not directly, but it is proportional, that's for sure.


No. It isn't. Inflation is mostly a result of the relationship between monetary supply and wealth(currency strengths are rather more complicated when we delve into them, depending on a number of factors). The fact that another part of the country suddenly became more productive and wealthy does not decrease the value of dollars in your pocket. If anything, a healthy economy that is highly productive tends to improve the strength of a currency.

mat.tia wrote:
1) merely on a theoretical (and useless) pov: wealth can grow absolutely, but can't be measured that way. Yes, normalized dollars are as good as standard-loaves-of-bread as unit of measurement. We could measure today's total wealth in 1300's loaves-of-bread. But it would still be proportional to a fixed wealth, in a fixed point in time. You cannot count wealth particles or weigh its mass. You can only compare it to another wealth.

That's what measurement IS. When I say something is twelve feet(or whatever), I am comparing it to a known fixed unit.

Obviously, one does the same with wealth.

well not completely the same thing. A foot is a foot; being there a total of 2 or 1000. When they fixed the unit of measurement they didn't care how many there were in total. It could be infinite for what concerns us. Not the same with money or loaves of bread. What distinguishes wealth is that it is limited and its limits do matter to us. You hear of scarcity of resources, not of scarcity of feet. 1$ on a total of 2$ is a lot, 1$ on a total of current market size is different.


Wealth is wealth, no matter how much there is. A loaf of bread is a loaf of bread regardless of if there is two or 1000.

Wealth on Earth is bounded by the quantity of resources accumulated in time and their growth rate (which is much slower than our productivity growth rate).


Productivity is the production of wealth. This statement is nonsensical.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:2) the relevant point: the discussion is about wealth distribution, not wealth quantity or absolute wealth per capita. This is so because in a society it matters not only how much one individual has, but what proportion of the total he owns.
For many reasons: the most immediate being power distribution and the human tendency to compare one own's situation with others'.
A man living in the past owning X standard loaves-of-bread was rich with that. Now in a world where everyone owns 10000*X standard loaves-of-bread he would be poor.

In that case, wealth distribution is not a problem, and so long as the world population continues to increase, it becomes increasingly less likely to become a problem. No one person owns a significant percentage of the world's assets.

What do you base this claim upon? If the world population keeps growing it is not obvious that wealth will be distributed proportionally among them.
It is the whole point of the conversation.


I do not claim that it will be exactly proportional or anything like that. However, if you are defining the problem as "one person owning too large a percentage of humanity's assets", then yes, that is a diminishing concern. The richest people to live by this metric are dead and gone, and this is a declining concern by current trends.

Note that this is NOT what most people are talking about when they say income inequality, and they are normally referring to a GINI index or similar.

Not at ALL. Economy is the discipline that studies the distribution of resources among men.
Just like any other discipline, it USES math to do its calculations.
Economy means "good management of the house" and it comes from the Greeks. This tells us two things:
1) it is about management: decisions to take, not things to accept.
2) it considers the world as a house: in houses live families, not enemies.

Now, back to the tadpole frog similarity, if you want to fix an arbitrary, fixed, ratio to discern from "healthy and unhealthy" inequality, go for it. Fix a percentage. Use the indicators you wish. What I'm saying is that I know for sure which side of the classification will the current status of things fall into.

HOW do you know this?
What you "know" is only as valid as the how.

What does this even mean? Do you need to have read all enquiries on the nature of Number from Pithagora to Frege, Russell and whoever went deep on that road to know that 2+2 is 4? Do you need to be a neuroscientist and know the mapping of your brain to be convinced of something? Can you tell a frog from a tadpole? HOW?


You are making a claim to "know" something. I am asking you to prove it.

To be more blunt, you are not differentiating between evidence and blind belief. Your views are more akin to religious faith than to economics.

mat.tia wrote:Teach me some math, I'll give you some kudos : ) How is democratically fixing the wages prone to corruption? Are you going to pay 1$ to a billion people asking them to assign you a 1.000.000.001$ when it's their time to decide your wage?


Democratic processes are not immune to corruption, and if you think that bribing every single voter is necessary in current systems to introduce corruption, you fail to understand politics.

However, even if this ideal situation WERE the case, then it's trivial to demonstrate that more populous professions would have an advantage in a voting scenario. Perhaps the unskilled laborers would vote themselves a raise, and vote on a pay cut for less numerous professions, say, research biologists or such.

Or perhaps they'd vote for paying everyone more, paying taxes less, and wonder cluelessly why the numbers don't work out.

mat.tia wrote:It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)


At the risk of being rude, this is not a novel question. It's a bit like navel gazing over long division. It's already been covered. Read the books, learn the skills, get to the interesting questions.

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Economics has been around for a while. The idea that a person wishing harm on another is irrational or not seeking happiness above all else is irrational shows only a limited understanding of rationality. It is not a disproof of economics. People have many goals. This is not necessarily irrational. Perhaps a person with many siblings is made happy by their well being, and seeks this, while the only child has differing priorities. No irrationality needs to exist to explain this.

What is irrational is if the person has a goal, yet is taking actions contrary to that goal. At which point, we explore why that behavior exists. Perhaps the goal they have stated is not their real goal. Perhaps they do not understand the probable results of their actions.

And in any case, a perfectly rational person is to economics what a frictionless perfect sphere is to physics. An example to illustrate something to a student. The lack of the former would not discredit economics any more than the lack of the latter invalidates physics.

But when you design a car that will drive on the real world you stop considering the latter as you have taught it to a student: the priority of a car is that it works safely. It doesn't matter how far from the ideal car driving in an ideal world it results to be; all the approximations and patches necessary will be applied, because if a car accident happens you cannot say it is the world's fault that it is not ideal enough. It is your ideal that does not model the world well.


All models are wrong, some models are useful. A simpler model that acheives the function of illustrating what it needs to is adequate. Nobody in economics actually believes that every person is perfectly rational all the time. Nobody.

Yes, yes, wealth distribution is a result and you cannot change that directly and hope it would fix things.
There are though other tools one can use to give Economics a direction and that will result in a different state of things.

But in order to do that one must have a view of Society and must have a clear idea about what are the qualities that one values more important.
I am not sure everyone has that. Many seem to see Society merely as a collection of competing individuals that are gears inside the omniscent mechanism of Economics. Nihilists!


Not sure what the hell nihilism has to do with this. Capitalizing things doesn't mean that you can put arbitrary words together and they'll make sense.

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

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Again, *how* will you enforce this requirement. Requiring people to actually read the bills they are passing has been tried. It has resulted in the hiring of a speed reader, because absolutely no fucks were given. I'm all for proof, but merely saying they must prove it will result in entirely unscientific claims of proof, etc.

The basic idea was requiring proposed bills to cite research, and be able to be struck down for not being up to let's say a college-level of snuff. Basically, make them easier to veto for lazy bills, and possibly allow mandatory penalties for stuff like conflict of interest in the study (why congressmen are only expected to volunteer to recuse themselves is beyond me...), misrepresenting the study, etc.
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

mat.tia
Posts: 90
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Location: Torino

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

Postby mat.tia » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you believe you are very ignorant about the past, then you probably should not use the past as the basis for your proposal. Better, you should learn about the areas you feel you are weak in. Our history is of great importance to understanding why society is as it currently is. If your perspective is at odds with history, it is time to learn more history, and revise your perspectives accordingly.

Are you the Depository of Knowledge in History? (And Economics?). I simply said I am ignorant; being ignorant doesn't mean knowing nothing.
On the contrary, not being ignorant, does mean knowing everything.
In any way, do you have something to argue about the actual content of my post instead of attacking personally on the basis of nothing?
Because what I said is simply that money is not necessarily the main drive for the evolution of human dynamics. It is today. And if you know history, you'll agree on that.

Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It is not a simple proportion. Inflation exists, but one cannot assume that the value of a dollar is directly proportional to the size of the market.
Maybe not directly, but it is proportional, that's for sure.


No. It isn't. Inflation is mostly a result of the relationship between monetary supply and wealth (currency strengths are rather more complicated when we delve into them, depending on a number of factors).

Proportional: Forming a relationship with other parts or quantities; being in proportion.
I think when you say wealth you mean its totality and not an arbitrary fraction of it.

Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:
1) merely on a theoretical (and useless) pov: wealth can grow absolutely, but can't be measured that way. Yes, normalized dollars are as good as standard-loaves-of-bread as unit of measurement. We could measure today's total wealth in 1300's loaves-of-bread. But it would still be proportional to a fixed wealth, in a fixed point in time. You cannot count wealth particles or weigh its mass. You can only compare it to another wealth.

That's what measurement IS. When I say something is twelve feet(or whatever), I am comparing it to a known fixed unit.

Obviously, one does the same with wealth.

well not completely the same thing. A foot is a foot; being there a total of 2 or 1000. When they fixed the unit of measurement they didn't care how many there were in total. It could be infinite for what concerns us. Not the same with money or loaves of bread. What distinguishes wealth is that it is limited and its limits do matter to us. You hear of scarcity of resources, not of scarcity of feet. 1$ on a total of 2$ is a lot, 1$ on a total of current market size is different.


Wealth is wealth, no matter how much there is. A loaf of bread is a loaf of bread regardless of if there is two or 1000.
Tyndmyr wrote:
Wealth on Earth is bounded by the quantity of resources accumulated in time and their growth rate (which is much slower than our productivity growth rate).

Productivity is the production of wealth. This statement is nonsensical.

You haven't addressed the content of my argument. 1) possible wealth is not unlimited. and 2) there is a minimum level of wealth that moves up when total wealth moves up.
I might be wrong; in that case, please show me I am, don't say what I say is nonsensical, because it isn't. It might be wrong, but it has a clear meaning.

Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:2) the relevant point: the discussion is about wealth distribution, not wealth quantity or absolute wealth per capita. This is so because in a society it matters not only how much one individual has, but what proportion of the total he owns.
For many reasons: the most immediate being power distribution and the human tendency to compare one own's situation with others'.
A man living in the past owning X standard loaves-of-bread was rich with that. Now in a world where everyone owns 10000*X standard loaves-of-bread he would be poor.

In that case, wealth distribution is not a problem, and so long as the world population continues to increase, it becomes increasingly less likely to become a problem. No one person owns a significant percentage of the world's assets.

What do you base this claim upon? If the world population keeps growing it is not obvious that wealth will be distributed proportionally among them.
It is the whole point of the conversation.


I do not claim that it will be exactly proportional or anything like that. However, if you are defining the problem as "one person owning too large a percentage of humanity's assets"...

I haven't. I said one person owning too large a percentage of humanity's assets compared with other people's owned assets, is a problem.
If there were two people on Earth having 50% each there wouldn't be any inequality but your definition would still consider it a problem.

Tyndmyr wrote:
Not at ALL. Economy is the discipline that studies the distribution of resources among men.
Just like any other discipline, it USES math to do its calculations.
Economy means "good management of the house" and it comes from the Greeks. This tells us two things:
1) it is about management: decisions to take, not things to accept.
2) it considers the world as a house: in houses live families, not enemies.

Now, back to the tadpole frog similarity, if you want to fix an arbitrary, fixed, ratio to discern from "healthy and unhealthy" inequality, go for it. Fix a percentage. Use the indicators you wish. What I'm saying is that I know for sure which side of the classification will the current status of things fall into.

HOW do you know this?
What you "know" is only as valid as the how.

What does this even mean? Do you need to have read all enquiries on the nature of Number from Pithagora to Frege, Russell and whoever went deep on that road to know that 2+2 is 4? Do you need to be a neuroscientist and know the mapping of your brain to be convinced of something? Can you tell a frog from a tadpole? HOW?


You are making a claim to "know" something. I am asking you to prove it.

To be more blunt, you are not differentiating between evidence and blind belief. Your views are more akin to religious faith than to economics.

That's funny. How do you claim I have faith when I'm questioning everything? Faith in what?
It is not me the one that is Faithful - trust me!
Seriously, what do you want me to prove?
That this distribution is unhealthy? I can't prove something like that. I think noone can. I can tell you: well, there's some people that don't know what to do with their money and some that don't have enough to eat. Some people that are rich just sitting in their home and waiting for their money to grow, and some people that are poor despite working 16 hours per day. That is an unhealthy society to me.
Can you prove me the opposite?
Can you only believe in what Science is able to prove? Because that's a tiny fraction of the truths that are out there.
And opinions are allowed as well as intuitions. Science was not born out of Science; it was invented by unscientific men.
Before you say it, no I am not in any way against Science or w/e, just saying you can't translate everything in that language and method since they have limitations, just like everything else has.
If I gave you a 35 days old tadpole could you prove me it's not a frog - or it is?
Well you could come up with some kind of categorization that considers the frog's weight, age, or w/e to distinguish between the two states. But it would merely be a convention and would not demonstrate anything more than the fact that the tadpole is of that age, weight or w/e and that your categorization is based on that.

Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:Teach me some math, I'll give you some kudos : ) How is democratically fixing the wages prone to corruption? Are you going to pay 1$ to a billion people asking them to assign you a 1.000.000.001$ when it's their time to decide your wage?


Democratic processes are not immune to corruption, and if you think that bribing every single voter is necessary in current systems to introduce corruption, you fail to understand politics.

However, even if this ideal situation WERE the case, then it's trivial to demonstrate that more populous professions would have an advantage in a voting scenario. Perhaps the unskilled laborers would vote themselves a raise, and vote on a pay cut for less numerous professions, say, research biologists or such.

Or perhaps they'd vote for paying everyone more, paying taxes less, and wonder cluelessly why the numbers don't work out.

You're questioning effectiveness of Democracy, not of applying its principles to wage distribution.
I have many many doubts about it as well, but I don't think it makes any sense to question it in this discussion.

Tyndmyr wrote:
mat.tia wrote:It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)


At the risk of being rude, this is not a novel question. It's a bit like navel gazing over long division. It's already been covered. Read the books, learn the skills, get to the interesting questions.

Might be a bit rude, but it is also the only part of your post that was actually almost constructive. Can you point me to the books? I will happily read them. Unluckily I wasn't "born learnt".

Tyndmyr wrote:
Yes, yes, wealth distribution is a result and you cannot change that directly and hope it would fix things.
There are though other tools one can use to give Economics a direction and that will result in a different state of things.

But in order to do that one must have a view of Society and must have a clear idea about what are the qualities that one values more important.
I am not sure everyone has that. Many seem to see Society merely as a collection of competing individuals that are gears inside the omniscent mechanism of Economics. Nihilists!


Not sure what the hell nihilism has to do with this. Capitalizing things doesn't mean that you can put arbitrary words together and they'll make sense.

Man, you're so serious! It was a sarcastic provocation. Now, on the capitalization, I have to say my syntax had probably been influenced by addam's post above mine. My bad. I guess it's something like a Sponge Effect.
In any way, there's meaning in what I said; you can snipe at it with reason, but do not say it doesn't have a meaning.
And well, if you believe Man is but a gear in Economics mechanism, you ARE nihilist : )

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:31 pm UTC

Mat.tia, if you admit that you are ignorant why do you insist on arguing with people who aren't?

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

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:13 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
ucim wrote:What research would answer the question as to which group should prevail?
A pretty simple study of whether the proposal actually does what it claims to. And then people vote on it.
So a peer-reviewed study shows that yes, allowing ISPs to prioritize packets reduces costs by 53.7% (+/-6.32%), encourages the development of new secure streaming technologies (PMA, WF2, and pCast), reduces piracy by 24.2% (+/-7.88%) and does so by adversely affecting only 1% of projected network traffic (where "adversely affecting" is defined in footnote 42 as "typical load times increase by more than eight seconds"), and the projection includes the expected wash of HiDef video streaming this enables.

Not mentioned in the study is that the 1% of network traffic that is "adversely affected" includes virtually all nonprofit websites, most small businesses, most of the individual user sites, and all new sites that don't have a financial arrangement with a large internet backbone provider. Or that the reduction in piracy is accomplished by draconian intrusive surveillance of your computer's activity by the owner of any downloaded files.

The study is irrelevant, but it gives a veneer of legitimacy that the politician can hide behind.

KrytenKoro wrote:Yeah, I kinda don't want to live in a world where anti-GMO lobbyists get to spread easily discredited lies that...
Then go discredit those lies.

I'm opposed to GMO, but mainly because it gives Monsanto et. al. a chokehold over our food supply. And although I don't "fear frankenfood", I trust Monsanto about as much as I trust a tobacco lawyer.

KrytenKoro wrote:Your continued insistence of "but this won't be an absolutely perfect system that solves all problems" does little to...
That's not what I'm insisting. I'm saying that your proposal amounts to political homeopathy. It looks like a sensible solution, but in fact does nothing.

mat.tia wrote:Teach me some math, I'll give you some kudos : ) How is democratically fixing the wages prone to corruption? Are you going to pay 1$ to a billion people asking them to assign you a 1.000.000.001$ when it's their time to decide your wage?
How many kudos? :)

Just who is going to "fix" these wages? And adjust them every so often to correlate with a changed world? Either

1: You have a general democratic vote for the price of all commodities (irrespective of whether Jim is a better teacher than Fred, they each get the same wages); the impracticality of this should be self-evident. (Let me know if it's not.)

2: You have a democratic election of some representatives who will do the price fixing for you; the corruption potential of this should be self evident. (Again, let me know if it's not.)

3: You let individuals vote with their pocketbook at every transaction. So long as free market conditions prevail, this has the greatest tendency to coalesce around a fair set of prices which are dynamically responsive to the market. It has its issues, but they mainly revolve around keeping a free market, and dealing with the fact that the number of suppliers tends to shrink while the number of consumers tends to expand.

mat.tia wrote:It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)
What if you pay less the for the jobs that are more difficult and more important?...
When I pay for a job, it's because I want the job done. It's not because I want to benefit society. You seem to come from the POV that people should be paid from the sky... that there is (or should be) some magical entity that decides how much you are worth and pays you that much.

But you don't get paid on how much you are worth.

You get paid on how much the job is worth... to the person hiring.

You seem to see something wrong with that concept. Why?

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:15 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If you believe you are very ignorant about the past, then you probably should not use the past as the basis for your proposal. Better, you should learn about the areas you feel you are weak in. Our history is of great importance to understanding why society is as it currently is. If your perspective is at odds with history, it is time to learn more history, and revise your perspectives accordingly.

Are you the Depository of Knowledge in History? (And Economics?). I simply said I am ignorant; being ignorant doesn't mean knowing nothing.
On the contrary, not being ignorant, does mean knowing everything.
In any way, do you have something to argue about the actual content of my post instead of attacking personally on the basis of nothing?
Because what I said is simply that money is not necessarily the main drive for the evolution of human dynamics. It is today. And if you know history, you'll agree on that.


That is not a normal definition, no. I do not consider myself ignorant on the topic of history. Neither have I ever claimed to know everything. Someone claming ignorance is claiming a lack of knowledge. If you are claiming ignorance of a topic, you are not in a position to make claims about that topic.

And if you're making claims about history, I expect you to be able to back them up with examples. I have done so. You have not. You simply keep trying to shift the goalposts, and claim knowledge without supporting that knowledge in any way(claiming ignorance is not support, obviously).

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:18 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:Yeah, I kinda don't want to live in a world where anti-GMO lobbyists get to spread easily discredited lies that...


Then go discredit those lies.

I'm opposed to GMO, but mainly because it gives Monsanto et. al. a chokehold over our food supply. And although I don't "fear frankenfood", I trust Monsanto about as much as I trust a tobacco lawyer.



It's you. It's your fault. It's all your fault that Monsanto is as powerful as it is! Your fault! All these regulations exist on GMO food and the natural result is only a megacorp can break into GMO. No university startups, no mom and pops, megacorp only. Your fault.


Also it should be pointed out that Monsanto makes $12B from selling seeds, versus $60B in organic farming. Oh and those aren't mom and pops; most organic farming is done by megacorps as well.

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

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:33 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:All these regulations exist on GMO food and the natural result is only a megacorp can break into GMO. No university startups, no mom and pops, megacorp only.
Spoiler for OT
Spoiler:
The problem is that there's no money in GMO unless seeds are disabled. It's an inherent problem, not a megacorp problem or a regulation problem. It's a problem similar to copyright and easily reproduced media, except we're talking about food and ecology, not entertainment and computer viruses.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby mat.tia » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:03 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Mat.tia, if you admit that you are ignorant why do you insist on arguing with people who aren't?

First of all, from all of your responses, I guess the use of the word "ignorant" in English has a much more negative connotation than it has in Italian.
Among the first things I was taught was the Socrate's motto"what I know is that I don't know", so I never thought of my ignorance being something to be ashamed of.
Secondly, what is the utility (in the economic sense you taught me) of discussing if not gaining more knowledge/insight/points of view?
Discussions are definitely a win-win game when it comes to those utilities. Are they not?
Thirdly, as for any other wealth, I think an inequal distribution of it is bad for society. If non-ignorant people discuss only with non-ignorant people than the spread between ignorance and culture cannot but grow.
Fourthly, because I did not see any critic to my argument but rather a critic on a label I myself assigned to myself (can you say that??).

ucim wrote:Just who is going to "fix" these wages? And adjust them every so often to correlate with a changed world? Either

1: [...]

2: You have a democratic election of some representatives who will do the price fixing for you; the corruption potential of this should be self evident. (Again, let me know if it's not.)

3: You let individuals vote with their pocketbook at every transaction. So long as free market conditions prevail, this has the greatest tendency to coalesce around a fair set of prices which are dynamically responsive to the market. It has its issues, but they mainly revolve around keeping a free market, and dealing with the fact that the number of suppliers tends to shrink while the number of consumers tends to expand.


I totally agree on point 2. But those problems are related to representative Democracy and not to its application to wage-fixing.
I also agree on point 3 in theoretical terms. An ideal world in which one can look for the things he needs among the ones offered by other people and then come to agreements when it's time to pay: awesome!
But I don't think this ideal models very well the real world. There are monopolies, cartels, and transactions that cannot be compared to a sheep given for three chickens. These transactions have an impact not only on the two contractors, but on many other people, sometimes even the whole planet. It's possible to spend money to influence people in wanting what you offer them, and them buying it. It is possible to spread a virus to sell an anti-virus. It is possible to buy the main access to whole human knowledge; or communication; once it is someone's private property, this someone has the right to do what he wants with it (in this theoretical model).


ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)
What if you pay less the for the jobs that are more difficult and more important?...
When I pay for a job, it's because I want the job done. It's not because I want to benefit society. You seem to come from the POV that people should be paid from the sky... that there is (or should be) some magical entity that decides how much you are worth and pays you that much.

But you don't get paid on how much you are worth.

You get paid on how much the job is worth... to the person hiring.

You seem to see something wrong with that concept. Why?

I don't see anything wrong with that concept, when applied to a world in which economics is limited to apple picking and exchanging simple goods. I don't think it can be as well applied to our economic context. Let me think about it and I will get back to you with a more definite and complete response.

Tyndmyr wrote:And if you're making claims about history, I expect you to be able to back them up with examples. I have done so. You have not. You simply keep trying to shift the goalposts, and claim knowledge without supporting that knowledge in any way(claiming ignorance is not support, obviously).

Ok, I didn't understand you wanted an example.
Consider the middle ages in our western world. I'd say an equivalent to what is money (and technological progress) now was God back than.
Architecture, art, social structure, politics, economics, literature, philosphy, common perspective (view of life, Earth, humans) were all driven by the concept of God. If you want I can further clarify how for all mentioned aspects.
Of course, money was important too back then. But take "God" out of the equation, and everything crumbles, you won't be able to make sense of that world. Take money out of the equation: you'll still make sense of most of it (actually barter had a revival in those times).
Now do the same with our current times in western world and the opposite should happen.

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

Arguing is "no, this is so". Asking is "why is this so". It's good when ignorant people ask "why is this so". Very good; the dumb guy who knows when to ask for help is smarter than the bright guy who isn't. But you aren't doing that. You are arguing. You act as if you know more about economics than the people who actually studied it.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:27 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Mat.tia, if you admit that you are ignorant why do you insist on arguing with people who aren't?

First of all, from all of your responses, I guess the use of the word "ignorant" in English has a much more negative connotation than it has in Italian.
Among the first things I was taught was the Socrate's motto"what I know is that I don't know", so I never thought of my ignorance being something to be ashamed of.
Secondly, what is the utility (in the economic sense you taught me) of discussing if not gaining more knowledge/insight/points of view?
Discussions are definitely a win-win game when it comes to those utilities. Are they not?
Thirdly, as for any other wealth, I think an inequal distribution of it is bad for society. If non-ignorant people discuss only with non-ignorant people than the spread between ignorance and culture cannot but grow.
Fourthly, because I did not see any critic to my argument but rather a critic on a label I myself assigned to myself (can you say that??).


Shame is not necessary, but one who claims to be ignorant is specifically claiming not to have knowledge. No doubt everyone has topics on which they have not yet informed themselves, such is life. However, when you do not know a given topic, it is strange to insist that others accept your viewpoint on it. A viewpoint that does not match commonly known data is sure to be viewed with skepticism.

A belief, by itself, is not of value. What matters is the evidence that supports it. Ask yourself, "What do I know, and how do I know it?". If you *know* that an inequal distribution of it is "bad"...why? What, precisely, is bad about it, and how would you test that knowledge in the real world?

ucim wrote:Just who is going to "fix" these wages? And adjust them every so often to correlate with a changed world? Either

1: [...]

2: You have a democratic election of some representatives who will do the price fixing for you; the corruption potential of this should be self evident. (Again, let me know if it's not.)

3: You let individuals vote with their pocketbook at every transaction. So long as free market conditions prevail, this has the greatest tendency to coalesce around a fair set of prices which are dynamically responsive to the market. It has its issues, but they mainly revolve around keeping a free market, and dealing with the fact that the number of suppliers tends to shrink while the number of consumers tends to expand.


I totally agree on point 2. But those problems are related to representative Democracy and not to its application to wage-fixing.
I also agree on point 3 in theoretical terms. An ideal world in which one can look for the things he needs among the ones offered by other people and then come to agreements when it's time to pay: awesome!
But I don't think this ideal models very well the real world. There are monopolies, cartels, and transactions that cannot be compared to a sheep given for three chickens. These transactions have an impact not only on the two contractors, but on many other people, sometimes even the whole planet. It's possible to spend money to influence people in wanting what you offer them, and them buying it. It is possible to spread a virus to sell an anti-virus. It is possible to buy the main access to whole human knowledge; or communication; once it is someone's private property, this someone has the right to do what he wants with it (in this theoretical model).


You're not really answering his question. And in the real world, someone spreading a virus intentionally would be dealt with under pretty much any system anywhere. This is not a real-world consequence of wealth inequality. And...what is exactly wrong if someone has access to lots and lots of human knowledge?

Tyndmyr wrote:And if you're making claims about history, I expect you to be able to back them up with examples. I have done so. You have not. You simply keep trying to shift the goalposts, and claim knowledge without supporting that knowledge in any way(claiming ignorance is not support, obviously).

Ok, I didn't understand you wanted an example.
Consider the middle ages in our western world. I'd say an equivalent to what is money (and technological progress) now was God back than.
Architecture, art, social structure, politics, economics, literature, philosphy, common perspective (view of life, Earth, humans) were all driven by the concept of God. If you want I can further clarify how for all mentioned aspects.
Of course, money was important too back then. But take "God" out of the equation, and everything crumbles, you won't be able to make sense of that world. Take money out of the equation: you'll still make sense of most of it (actually barter had a revival in those times).
Now do the same with our current times in western world and the opposite should happen.


So...you want a culture that is more religion-centric? Why? Yes, people connected god to basically everything back then, but again, money is not wealth. Even if you COULD take money out of the equation back then, you certainly cannot take wealth out of the equation. This is one of those contexts where the difference between wealth and money is important. Barter, etc still affects wealth. You really can't take the wealth out of ANY culture without significantly affecting it.

CorruptUser wrote:Arguing is "no, this is so". Asking is "why is this so". It's good when ignorant people ask "why is this so". Very good; the dumb guy who knows when to ask for help is smarter than the bright guy who isn't. But you aren't doing that. You are arguing. You act as if you know more about economics than the people who actually studied it.


This. And while I accept that you(mat.tia) could make a personal study of economics without attending a class, thanks to the internet or what not, it is clear that you have either not done so, or missed extremely basic concepts in doing so. The idea that your untrained musings about a field you have never studied are of more value than all the accumulated knowledge of that field is...not a little insulting. It is a little like seeing a creationist describe the problems in evolution. He or she will invariably describe evolution terribly, having never truly studied it, but instead misuing words, repeating folk wisdom, and vague ideas they've heard from their fellows. The end result is of no value whatsover, yet they unaccountably think that this ignorance is of equal value to actual knowledge gained by many, many accumulated lifetimes of effort and study.

There are indeed differences of opinion within any field, but to converse on them intelligently, a certain degree of understanding must be developed first. If your understanding differs from the standard explanation, you must justify why in some detail, not merely insist that your way is correct, and the rest of the world must unaccountably adjust to your opinion.

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

Postby KrytenKoro » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:57 pm UTC

ucim wrote:The study is irrelevant, but it gives a veneer of legitimacy that the politician can hide behind.

As if this doesn't happen already.

Then go discredit those lies.

...seriously?

Like, seriously, 'cause you seem to be implying that showing that a multi-billion dollar industry running a propoganda campaign to spread lies and stir up fear of "big government" is as easy as just going out and talking to people about it?

Seriously?

KrytenKoro wrote:That's not what I'm insisting. I'm saying that your proposal amounts to political homeopathy. It looks like a sensible solution, but in fact does nothing.

If making it easier to strike down bills because of shoddy support, and requiring bills to actually put more effort into the studies they use to engender support does nothing, what, pray tell, would actually work to reduce the stranglehold corporations have on propoganda and lobbying?
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

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

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 20, 2014 4:40 am UTC

mat.tia wrote:I totally agree on point 2. But those problems are related to representative Democracy and not to its application to wage-fixing.
Correct. But the point it that it is a form of government - telling other people what to do. Government should be avoided wherever possible, and this is one of those places. Setting prices is best left to the free market (with tweaks to help the market remain free), because this utilizes the natural tendencies of actual people, rather than working against those tendencies.

mat.tia wrote:I also agree on point 3 in theoretical terms. [...] But I don't think this ideal models very well the real world. There are monopolies, cartels, [and] transactions [that] have an impact [on] the whole planet...
Yes, there are concentrations of market power. But regulating prices and salaries does not really affect market power. Rather, market power affects prices and salaries. You shouldn't steer a ship by putting a magnet on the compass.

Where concentrations of market power adversely affect the public, and represent an abuse of the public's trust (such as by passing risk of failure onto the public), then the public should have a voice in the process. This is the purpose of monopoly law, product safety regulation, banking regulation, licensing, and similar limits on trade. Where it fails, the reasons for its failure need to be fixed (while also considering that the failure of one policy may be a side effect of the implementation of a different policy that also "seemed like a good idea at the time"). That's the thing about regulation - side effects can sometimes overwhelm the desired goal. And sometimes that is the intended effect - it's how one gets a controversial policy passed.

KrytenKoro wrote:
ucim wrote:Then go discredit those lies.
...seriously?

Like, seriously, 'cause you seem to be implying that showing that a multi-billion dollar industry running a propoganda campaign to spread lies and stir up fear of "big government" is as easy as just going out and talking to people about it?
Yes, seriously. Anybody can write to congress. Anybody can put up a website. Even you. (Yeah, I know - getting it noticed is the hard part! :) )

You may find that it's harder than it looks. I think that's your point. But the reason it's harder than it looks won't be addressed by a requirement to show a study. Remember what lobbying is, fundamentally. It's people talking directly to congressmen and trying to them of their point of view. Congressmen are not required to consider everything they hear - they have to be given a reason to do so. And that reason is almost always related to re-election. And congressmen should not be required to consider everything they hear, otherwise they become vulnerable to organic DDS. (That might be a good thing, but that's another subject!) So, in order to enforce your policy, you would need an outside gatekeeper, who would decide who gets to talk to congressmen. So... who elects this gatekeeper? And how do we know the gatekeeper is doing a good job?

KrytenKoro wrote:If making it easier to strike down bills because of shoddy support, and requiring bills to actually put more effort into the studies they use to engender support does nothing, what, pray tell, would actually work to reduce the stranglehold corporations have on propoganda and lobbying?
I don't have a good answer. I have some quick answers that sound good but don't actually work. (i.e. strict term limits, which would take re-election pressure off, but ultimately give more power to entrenched bureaucrats). It's not a question that lends itself to facile answers because it strikes at the heart of government - how leaders should be chosen from among a group of highly imperfect people who want power very badly, and how much power they should have to tell us what to do.

But it's important to realize what doesn't work, because implementing any policy has adverse side effects, and those should also be kept to a minimum.

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

Postby mat.tia » Sat Dec 20, 2014 11:43 am UTC

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:It might be obvious but I have fun exploring different scenarios. What if you paid more the jobs that no-one wants to do (but most people end up doing?)
What if you pay less the for the jobs that are more difficult and more important?...
When I pay for a job, it's because I want the job done. It's not because I want to benefit society. You seem to come from the POV that people should be paid from the sky... that there is (or should be) some magical entity that decides how much you are worth and pays you that much.

But you don't get paid on how much you are worth.

You get paid on how much the job is worth... to the person hiring.

You seem to see something wrong with that concept. Why?

I thought about this last night. I do share your individualistic point of view, I always have; and I do share your opposition towards a government, I always have.
But I believe ideals need to come to terms with reality.
This world is no more the apple picking world.
One is born and cannot freely put some bricks together and build a house; tear down some trees, build a fence, and plant apple trees inside it.
Resources are scarce. They need to be distributed, they can't just be taken.
One is born and needs to find a place in a structure already estabilished; this structure is something much more complicated than the collection of all individual activities on the market.

It is true that in theory the final decision lies in the hands of the "voters" (in a representational way) when it comes to regulations; and of the "consumers" (in a direct way) when it comes to endorsing a corporation's activity.
But I think this latter decisional process, has at least two huge problems.

First of all, voting power: the more money you have, the more things you can buy, the more decisional power you have.
Why should rich people have more decisional power on public issues related to companies' behaviour (even within legal limits)?

Secondly, this kind of decision-taking is much more prone to corruption than it is a representative democracy. For the only reason that in a representative democracy at least one is aware of what one's doing the 2 or 3 times he gets to vote.
I don't think people are conscious of the consequences of their actions when they buy a burger, or a car, or w/e.

And there exists influence, the most subtle and effective form of corruption.
There is advertisement. Fuck no one needs all the things he buys. He starts needing them when they suggest him he does.
I can tell the freer/more advanced the market is, the more this happens.
Spoiler:
At night I sometimes come across US shows on tv with all these compulsive shoppers, it's crazy.
Or these shows that pretend to be scientific shows, with a huge smiling audience and a semi-good looking anchor man that explains how to have white teeth. Being cynical I at first thought there was something strange; but it took me a while to notice a hidden brand logo and to realize what it was. Fucking advertisment!
Fortunately, in Italy this extreme hasn't arrived yet. But it is coming and if it hasn't is simply because we're too busy corrupting one another the old fashioned way.
Because of ads, people will stay hungry to buy shit. I guess from an utilitarian pov you can say that at least they save themselves some digestion.

And there are other types of influence. Information: how does the media pay for its service? Yes, you said it.
Education: have you noticed how in Economics schools they tend to lay out the axioms on the first days so they stick well deep in your economic thought? I know, I have been there.
Have you noticed how people tend to not challenge those? And how those axioms usually represent the axioms of the market system in which the University is in? Do you realize that it is totally arbitrary?
Spoiler:
What about that "got milk?" ad I saw in high school some years ago? It seemed to me as a "progess ad" (I mean a no profit one that is meant to spread good habits and such), but was it? Because for the info I have here in Italy, it seems as milk is not that universally good for teens and adults. Surely not as universally good to justify a campaign that targets high school students
And, what if tomorrow the corruption came from the food you eat or the medicine you take? I know it sounds like a tin hat thing to say, but you never know with people ... they'll do anything for the Money.
Food you eat and cigarettes you smoke already contain substances to get you addicted or at least attached to that same product.
Hopefully doctors are aware theirs is a mission and not a job (they do swear on Hippocratic Corpus, right?) so in theory they shouldn't allow corruption to happen in health sector. But are they the only people involved? And did they choose the job because of the mission it represents or because of the money it makes?
And what about the pharmacy industry?
Spoiler:
Another personal experience. I never ever met as many psychopaths in my life as I have in the brief period I was in the US.
Now, they were not psychopaths to me, at all. I fell in love with one, she was simply 17 and weird. Lovely Miranda.
But they were all psychopaths for Science, at least the Science of the place.
So many teens were taking drugs for their mental health. OCD ADD w/e... It's again the tadpole frog thingy.
In some contexts if you get distracted easily they'll tell you: "go read books". In others: "go meditate". In others: "go buy a pill".
Can you see how different "drives" or "goals" can result in different decisions? No one is arguing about the chemicals in the pills. I'm just saying, there's other options.




Now, coming back to "WHY" I took part in the discussion, as if this is something that needs an explanation - do you realize how hideous this is?
I admit I might have misused the word "arguing"; my bad. I meant "to argue" as "to challenge one's opinion" not "to impose mine as a better one".
But I tried to make clear from the beginning that my discussion was not about Economics and its internal functioning, on which I don't feel I have enough knowledge to say my view (that's why I asked many "what if.."?) but rather on Economics' role in society.
Which is by definition not a subproblem of Economics. (Unless you consider Economics as almighty God which is recursive, fractal and not recursive and not fractal at the same time.)

I challenged your reasoning not on the conclusions, but on its very axioms.
I don't feel you have remotely tried understanding what I was trying my best to say.
You took the argument from a competitive point of view: destroy the person, discard his content.
If my questions were so obvious and already treated in Literature, why didn't you simply stop me back then and say: "Hey Mattia, people have written about this for long. I suggest you read this and this and that". I asked. I heaven't read any title, or author,
We would have both [edit: not referring to anyone in particular, but to the behaviour in general that was held by Tyndmyr and CorruptUser] saved, at least time, I would be less ignorant, you would not have had to waste time to not-educate me. See? Cooperation sometimes can be better than competition.
Mine was more a political/philosophical argument rather than an economics one.
But how - how can I try to make my point if when I say that in the middle ages God was the drive - to show that Money (meant as the distribution of wealth) is not and has not always been the only possible drive - I am told that I want a religious society?
Fuck that. I know I am completely right on that [edit: just because Tyndmyr interpretation is unpredictable: on the fact that the main driving force of society changes, not the fact that society should be religious. Jesus!] . Famous men have noticed that. Ever heard of Heidegger? Jaspers? I'm ignorant in Philosophy too, but I know a little bit.
And please tell me HOW you know I'm ignorant and you aren't. You tadpole.

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

Postby ucim » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:20 pm UTC

.
@mat.tia: We may be more in agreement than it seemed.
mat.tia wrote:This world is no more the apple picking world.
One is born and cannot freely put some bricks together and build a house; tear down some trees, build a fence, and plant apple trees inside it.
Actually, that's exactly what this world is like in some areas. The web for example is just like this. It does not take massive investment and government connections to write a killer app or website. It takes a killer idea, some talent, dedication, and publicity. This of course does not guarantee success, but at least in this field there are no big barriers to climb.

The old days weren't molpies and roses either. Even during the renaissance there was a strict guild order. I'm no historian but I don't think getting into a guild was all that easy, and if you didn't get into the guild, you simply could not learn, let alone ply, the trade. And if you lived in the city but wanted to be a farmer, you had to somehow get a farm. That's hard to do without land or money. There have always been barriers.

Barriers to entry depend on the industry. Starting a railroad has always been a big deal. You don't just start laying track and selling tickets. To do it you have to get a bunch of people to put their resources together, in exchange for a piece of the pie. It's your (hoped-for) pie, you get to decide how big the pieces are, and it's their money, they get to decide to buy in or not. It's up to you to convince them, and those who have better people skills will be better at this part of the game.

mat.tia wrote:Resources are scarce. They need to be distributed, they can't just be taken.
I assume you mean they need to be traded for because they are already somebody's property rather than just lying around.

I will admit that most resources are already spoken for. We are not being born into a wilderness; we are being born into an existing civilization. But we are also capable of providing services in exchange for those resources; some of those services could be quite valuable.

mat.tia wrote:First of all, voting power: the more money you have, the more things you can buy, the more decisional power you have.
Why should rich people have more decisional power on public issues related to companies' behaviour (even within legal limits)?
They don't. They do however have more persuasive power. You seem to think there's something wrong with that, but let me turn the question around.

Why should the Pink Flowers Advocacy group have more persuasive power than the Green Cement advocacy group, just because they have more members? At the polls, the Pink Flowers advocacy group constantly outvotes the Green Cement advocacy group, and thus the GCAG can't get any of their policies passed. Why shouldn't each group have equal shares in governance? (It's a serious question, and the way you back up your reasoning should illustrate the parallels here).

mat.tia wrote:Secondly, this [voting with dollars] kind of decision-taking is much more prone to corruption than it is a representative democracy.[...]I don't think people are conscious of the consequences of their actions when they buy a burger, or a car, or w/e.
Not at all. The corrpution that takes place when money buys power is a flaw in representative democracy, not a flaw in markets. Conceptually, it is a natural result of having representatives make your decisions for you. It is in fact working as designed. It's one of the reasons representative democracy is the worst kind of government there is (except for all the others).

mat.tia wrote:Because of ads, people will stay hungry to buy shit
The gullible go hungry, the discerning rise to power. Are you saying you'd prefer the opposite? And then you go on about misinformation and corruption and medicine... the general theme being "people do bad things for money".

Well, fine. People do bad things for lots of reasons. The problem is that people do bad things.

mat.tia wrote:I challenged your reasoning not on the conclusions, but on its very axioms.
I don't feel you have remotely tried understanding what I was trying my best to say.
I am going to assume you mean a general "you" here, and not me specifically.

Going back to one of your first posts here
mat.tia wrote:In the same way I don't think this kind of wealth inequality can be treated simply as a wealth distribution problem - meaning the variations in amounts of goods and services you can have; I see it much more as a power distribution problem.
I agree with that statement. In fact re-reading it, I may have ascribed to you an opinion ("it's because they have too much money") that is not in fact yours.

And while money buys power, it's not so much personal wealth that does it as "position wealth" - the fact of being a leader of a powerful company for example gives you control of enough money (that is not yours) to make you somebody to whom politicians should listen if they wish to be re-elected.

And that is the issue. Power doesn't "go away" because it's re-assigned to somebody else. We don't want power to "go away", otherwise the politicians we hired to do the job they do won't be able to do it.

The question "what is the best decision" always has at the end of it: "... for whom?"

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

Postby Zamfir » Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:25 am UTC

Actually, that's exactly what this world is like in some areas. The web for example is just like this. It does not take massive investment and government connections to write a killer app or website. It takes a killer idea, some talent, dedication, and publicity. This of course does not guarantee success, but at least in this field there are no big barriers to climb

I hear this a lot. All you need is a computer, etc. I don't buy it at all. On the small level, software takes costly time to write. Before you can earn revenue. We can gaze at exceptions, profitable prices of work that were written in hobby time and went on to become valuable. But in the typical case, the work required was a lot. Work that needs to be paid, because most people simply cannot afford to spend months or years on a gaming future.

That's the ultimate barrier to entry: the costs are separated from income. A small new competitor faces costs without revenue, while the the existing players have revenue at moderate costs. Which is why successful players can make so much money: their success in itself from es them from new competitors.

Which shows up in the global structure. Silicon valley is one of the strongest geographically concentrated industries of all. Not exactly the pattern of an industry without barriers to entry. Killer ideas, talent, dedication, you can find those everywhere. If those were the limiting factors, the web would see its successes pop up in all kinds of places. Instead, the big successes either start on the US west coast or quickly move their operations there. Exactly because talent and dedications play less of a role than in most fields of work, and network effects more.

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

Postby elasto » Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:26 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:I hear this a lot. All you need is a computer, etc. I don't buy it at all. On the small level, software takes costly time to write. Before you can earn revenue. We can gaze at exceptions, profitable prices of work that were written in hobby time and went on to become valuable. But in the typical case, the work required was a lot. Work that needs to be paid, because most people simply cannot afford to spend months or years on a gaming future.

That's the ultimate barrier to entry: the costs are separated from income. A small new competitor faces costs without revenue, while the the existing players have revenue at moderate costs. Which is why successful players can make so much money: their success in itself from es them from new competitors.


Hang on. For one thing ucim never said there was no barrier to entry any more, just that it is much lower than most industries have been to date.

I mean. In the past, if you wanted to open a shop, you'd have to get a loan from the bank or remortgage your house to fund the deposit/rent/stock and so on. You might be operating at a loss for months and so need to have savings to tide that period over. Spending months laying groundwork with no prospect of income is nothing unique to software. At least with software you can code for a couple of hours every night while still going to your day job, and only make it your career once you actually have a self-sufficient income stream.

No. You've misidentified the problem with this industry completely: The biggest barrier to making money is ironically that there is no barrier to making money... Hundreds of new games and apps are released to iTunes every day. The chances of you getting noticed at all are slim, and the chances of getting noticed once you slip out of 'new releases' and become lost in the swamp of 1m+ competing releases are virtually zero.

Most apps and games make double-digit sales in their lifetime. Almost all industry profits are made by a tiny number of entrants. It's the 1% phenomenon writ large.

One thing that doesn't help is that Apple's search sucks balls apparently: I've heard tales of developers typing their own app's exact name into search and their app not appearing (or appearing down the list of results). Really helpful!

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

Postby ucim » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:10 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:I hear this a lot. All you need is a computer, etc. I don't buy it at all. [...] in the typical case, the work required was a lot. [...]That's the ultimate barrier to entry: the costs are separated from income.
Was I claiming it's all free money? Yes, it's work. Sometimes a lot of work. And there are no guarantees when you start your own business. But it's within reach - much moreso than ever before.

Ch*rp - even school is an example of costs being separated from income, but we take that for granite.

Zamfir wrote:Silicon valley is one of the strongest geographically concentrated industries of all. Not exactly the pattern of an industry without barriers to entry.
Just the opposite. Talent gravitates together. Mobile talent even more so, because it can. It's not network effects that generate success, but success that generates network effects.

As elasto says, getting noticed is hard. And convincing people of a new paradigm is also hard. But that's always been true. If there were an industry that was dedicated to getting people noticed, it would be a multi-billion dollar industry which would certainly add value by helping the better ideas rise to the top. Or at least the better financed, which can serve as an imperfect proxy.

Only one out of every hundred is in the top 1%. You can't make that go away. I suppose you could make it not matter, but I don't think that would be an improvement.

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

Postby mat.tia » Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:07 am UTC

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:This world is no more the apple picking world.
One is born and cannot freely put some bricks together and build a house; tear down some trees, build a fence, and plant apple trees inside it.
Actually, that's exactly what this world is like in some areas. The web for example is just like this. It does not take massive investment and government connections to write a killer app or website. It takes a killer idea, some talent, dedication, and publicity. This of course does not guarantee success, but at least in this field there are no big barriers to climb.
ucim wrote:I will admit that most resources are already spoken for. We are not being born into a wilderness; we are being born into an existing civilization. But we are also capable of providing services in exchange for those resources; some of those services could be quite valuable.

But there are necessary goods and superfluous goods. You seem to treat all of them the same way.
They all respond to the word "wealth".
But while some goods can virtually be created out of thin air, the necessary ones can't.
So even if you grow indefinitely the number of services available, the underlying problem of distributing/trading the basic resouces still remains.
I don't even think it's necessary to consider the two kinds of goods differently: with fluorishing apps you will be using some necessary resources to create them (materials, energy) but there will be so many of them (apps) that their cost will decrease.
On the contrary, with less necessary resources available and everyone wanting them, their cost will increase a lot, making up for the most significant part of wealth. And you find yourself again in a world that does not resemble apple-picking. Does it make sense?

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:First of all, voting power: the more money you have, the more things you can buy, the more decisional power you have.
Why should rich people have more decisional power on public issues related to companies' behaviour (even within legal limits)?
They don't. They do however have more persuasive power. You seem to think there's something wrong with that, but let me turn the question around.

Why should the Pink Flowers Advocacy group have more persuasive power than the Green Cement advocacy group, just because they have more members? At the polls, the Pink Flowers advocacy group constantly outvotes the Green Cement advocacy group, and thus the GCAG can't get any of their policies passed. Why shouldn't each group have equal shares in governance? (It's a serious question, and the way you back up your reasoning should illustrate the parallels here).

Well not completely. The Pink Flowers Advocacy group has more influence because it is formed by more people.
The Rich Man's wallet's transactions has more influence because it contains more money.
Not exactly the same thing.
This is the context of this bit of discussion:
ucim wrote:Just who is going to "fix" these wages? And adjust them every so often to correlate with a changed world? Either

3: You let individuals vote with their pocketbook at every transaction. So long as free market conditions prevail, this has the greatest tendency to coalesce around a fair set of prices which are dynamically responsive to the market. It has its issues, but they mainly revolve around keeping a free market, and dealing with the fact that the number of suppliers tends to shrink while the number of consumers tends to expand.

It could make sense if the money contained in a person's wallet was proportional to his honesty, intelligence, culture... but saying so is a strong statement very far from reality.
Now you could argue that not everyone should have the same voting power because some know, some don't, some are honest, some are not, some care, some don't, and so on.
I admit I agree. But man, unless you come up with a revolutionary system that is not based on the decision of the majority, that's what we'll need to stick to.
Not only because it can be seen as the most "fair" (sorry : ))from an ethical pov, but it is the least prone to corruption (in theory, it is corruption-proof. Application of course is different).
Said that, it should be clear that creating an educated and honest majority is a priority.


ucim wrote:
mattia wrote:Secondly, this [voting with dollars] kind of decision-taking is much more prone to corruption than it is a representative democracy.[...]I don't think people are conscious of the consequences of their actions when they buy a burger, or a car, or w/e.
Not at all. The corrpution that takes place when money buys power is a flaw in representative democracy, not a flaw in markets. Conceptually, it is a natural result of having representatives make your decisions for you. It is in fact working as designed. It's one of the reasons representative democracy is the worst kind of government there is (except for all the others).

Yes, I did not make myself very clear. I didn't mean to say corruption in representative democracy is caused by free market - it is indeed cause by corruptable people in representative democracy.
What I meant to say is that there is another form of corruption, which is very subtle but also very very efficient, which is influence of thought, inception of desires and all that disgusting messing with your minds that one can do today.
So if you leave things as they are, you get a very corrupt situation - the one we are in. And I mean "corruption" in all its meanings.


ucim wrote:
mattia wrote:Because of ads, people will stay hungry to buy shit
The gullible go hungry, the discerning rise to power. Are you saying you'd prefer the opposite?

No no, not at all. But please consider two aspects:
1. Gullibility is mainly a result of education. Gullibility is necessary to advertisement. Advertisement has become part of education: schools, universities and the media rely on advertisement (more or less directly) to function. Take your conclusions.
2. People with a bunch of money can well hire psychologists or chemists or whoever, that will make even who is not gullible prone to influence. I think I can say I am very hard to be influenced by ads today, and I consider myself not a very gullible person. But I remember when I was in my first years of schools how I wanted THAT and THAT because I saw it on tv. And I wasn't spoiled, at all. But ads' opinions would influence me more than my mother's.
What kind of society is one that not only allows but incentivates fucking with kids' minds to make them more gullible so they'll buy some shit? Is it childern's faults they are gullible?
They (kids) could have become great discerning men I'd vote... but instead of being told by society to read books and develop critical thinking they were taught to desire things they don't want and have faith in who tells them so. "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them"

ucim wrote:And then you go on about misinformation and corruption and medicine... the general theme being "people do bad things for money".
Well, fine. People do bad things for lots of reasons. The problem is that people do bad things.

No it is not in my view. People do bad things, ok.

First of all it is a fact that how "bad" people are is strongly correlated to the society they are in. A society in which everyone is taught to overcome others and cheat on them to become successfull, is much more prone to generate frustrated angry blind bulls, instead of courageous intelligent noble loving men.
I was not at all surprised of reading that the percentage of sociopaths unable to experience empathy is much higher in the upper sector of society than it is on total average. I can't find the direct link, but if you're interested I can keep looking.

Secondly, even taking for granted that people are "bad", what rules and laws and such are for is exactly to try to reduce their scope of action and hence their damage.
Go back in time and you see different kinds of oligarchies concentrating pretty much all powers in their hands.
Sometimes they were enlightened rulers, sometimes not.
But people not being part of the oligarchy (the rest) decided that, even though oligarchy could be fine as a system, its powers need be diminished. That is because all people - besides the rest - even if in disagreement on many things, agreed on the fact that some things were better not be left in the hands of a few. There you have the magna charta and all other agreements of that sort.

Now even though everyone is different and an individualistic POV is as valid as a collective one, you cannot fail to see there are some interests that are in common to all people - but the ones in power.
These can be an indipendent education and news system; an uncorruptible health system that responds to the people it cures; clean air to breathe, healthy food to eat; maybe (not sure everyone shares this) a distribution of basic resources so that no one is hungry.
Why leave these aspects in the hands of a few? As long as they are a few, they can have an interest that goes against all others.
They can decide it's ok to reduce the amount of clean air, because they have the power to assure themselves some.
They can decide it's ok to make cheap food unhealthy, because they have the money to buy the healthy one.
See what I'm saying?

ucim wrote:
mattia wrote:I challenged your reasoning not on the conclusions, but on its very axioms.
I don't feel you have remotely tried understanding what I was trying my best to say.
I am going to assume you mean a general "you" here, and not me specifically.
Yes that was mainly an unpersonal "you" to the straw men or personal responses I got.


ucim wrote:And while money buys power, it's not so much personal wealth that does it as "position wealth" - the fact of being a leader of a powerful company for example gives you control of enough money (that is not yours) to make you somebody to whom politicians should listen if they wish to be re-elected.
You are right. The two problems are not the same. But they are strongly correlated, and one can be a sympton of the other. I guess we're discussing the other.

ucim wrote:The question "what is the best decision" always has at the end of it: "... for whom?"

Thanks for the question, it helps clarifying. For whom?
For "any" man that is yet to come to the world.
I say any future man,would rather have the above mentioned basic "public" priorities granted and not in the hands of a few people acting on their own personal interest of increasing the percentage of the world they own.
And mind that this holds true even if the man is born in a rich family (read: has a rich fate): today's rich do not act in the interest of every rich man, past or future, but only on the present. So if we end up having an education system that sucks, food of lower quality, environment polluted... that will impact rich and poor.

[edit: I missed a very important bit]
ucim wrote:And that is the issue. Power doesn't "go away" because it's re-assigned to somebody else. We don't want power to "go away", otherwise the politicians we hired to do the job they do won't be able to do it.

Sure. Not only power should not go away, but power cannot go away, as long as there is (at least something resembling to) free will. Even in an anarchist system, power is distributed evenly among people, but it still is there.
I guess my whole point can be summarized in: The decision place of how to distribute power, and to whom, should not be left to be taken in the marketplace.
The marketplace is a place to exchange goods and services, and is not suitable, in its structure, to be an assembly to take decisions.
And it should also be self-evident how the market is today above governments (I did not get to vote my 3 most recent Premiers; rating agencies did).
Last edited by mat.tia on Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby ucim » Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:48 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:But there are necessary goods and superfluous goods. You seem to treat all of them the same way.
I am not the arbiter of what is superfluous. And goods that can be created out of thin air can help generate or preserve the ones that cannot.

But I was not trying to solve the problem of scarce resources, nor to create a world where apples are yours for the picking. God did that in Genesis and it didn't work out very well.

mat.tia wrote:...But man, unless you come up with a revolutionary system that is not based on the decision of the majority, that's what we'll need to stick to. Not only because it can be seen as the most "fair" (sorry : ))from an ethical pov, but it is the least prone to corruption (in theory, it is corruption-proof. Application of course is different)....
Such a system exists. It's called the market. In theory it's corruption-proof. Application is of course different.

Note also that we are talking about different kinds of power.

Regarding your thoughts on advertisement, note that advertisement is necessary to a functioning economy. How else will one learn that there's a sale on apples, that my apples are better than his apples, and that Susan has a new fruit that's even better than apples. The problems with advertisement concern dishonesty, not the thing itself.

You are right about the way those who know psychology and such have an upper hand in this regard. This is especially true now in the era of Big Data.
Spoiler:
With enough data (and this data already exists and is aggregated), it is possible to figure out what kinds of prose are more convincing to you. It is also possible now for computers to write prose based on input data, and to write it with different slants depending on parameters. The web delivers individually personalized content right now. I am not concerned with its use in selecting the ads I see (or block with adblock and noscript) but with editorial content. I might read an article, like it, and send you a link to the article in the newspaper's website. When you click the link, you can be sent a different version of article based on what the newspaper knows about you.

If they control what you read, they control what you think.
But while the rich could always afford more than the poor, this is not inherently an economic issue. It is one of... well... I can't think of a word that fits. It's "people skills" on a massively scale. To see this as a money or power issue is to miss the point, even if it results in money or power.

There were always tigers in the woods. We just have a different kind of tiger, and a different kind of woods. Parents have to bring up their children to be aware of this.

Yes, we need to keep an eye on people with power, because they have power. In the case of economic power, we have people with political power to work on our behalf. In the case of political power (including the failure of politicians to balance economic power), we have the polls.

mat.tia wrote:And it should also be self-evident how the market is today above governments (I did not get to vote my 3 most recent Premiers; rating agencies did).
Certainly multinational corporations are wielding power and influence at the same level as some countries. I don't know how your Premiers are chosen in Italy; we vote for our politicians but individuals are influenced by political ads which may not lead them to make the right choice a choice consistent with their actual desires. (By the way, the strikeout tags are just the letter s, enclosed in the appropriate [] and [/] forms. Underline uses the letter u.)

Anyway, we seem to be in agreement that money can buy power, and that power is prone to misuse. But I'm not sure I understand your proposed solution (or even if you have one).

I think that there is no general solution. However, individual issues that come up each will be amenable to a range of individual solutions. To discuss them we'd need to identify each one carefully, without tying it to the "he has too much money" flag; even if money gives fuel to the problem, it is not itself the problem.

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

Postby mat.tia » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:18 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Anyway, we seem to be in agreement that money can buy power, and that power is prone to misuse. But I'm not sure I understand your proposed solution (or even if you have one).
Well I don't know, it's not something one can come up with alone. I guess this is one good thing of discussing.
But limiting the scope of free market - NOT limiting its freedom, I think the freer the better - would be a first solution.
Europe still having a small legacy of socialism resisting, I do personally experience some negative aspects of the free market are avoided, in the aforementioned sectors of health, education, quality of the food and such.

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:...But man, unless you come up with a revolutionary system that is not based on the decision of the majority, that's what we'll need to stick to. Not only because it can be seen as the most "fair" (sorry : ))from an ethical pov, but it is the least prone to corruption (in theory, it is corruption-proof. Application of course is different)....
Such a system exists. It's called the market. In theory it's corruption-proof. Application is of course different.

I guess this is the main node of our disagreement.
For the reasons I have above explained (unawarness of voters, their ease of influence, incapability of directly addressing extremely important issues for most - if not all - participants, complete lack of a definite shared policy and goals, an ethics that forgets about solidarity and altruism instead valuing self-interest and extreme competition, the complete lack of consideration of everything that is not an utility (ethical values, culture, art, quality of life, nature - pretty much all things that make a life worth living) ) I see democratic process, with all its flaws, still more suitable than free market for some kinds of decisions.

Edit:
ucim wrote:(By the way, the strikeout tags are just the letter s, enclosed in the appropriate [] and [/] forms. Underline uses the letter u.)

Thanks, I looked for it but couldn't find it. Edited the previous post.

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

Postby ucim » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:13 pm UTC

mat.tia wrote:I see democratic process, with all its flaws, still more suitable than free market for some kinds of decisions.
Absolutely. But not for all of them.

There are some decisions (i.e. price) which are naturally fall under the umbrella of trade, and others (i.e. product safety) which naturally belong under governance. There is a third (society-shaping) which falls under the ruberic of meddling; sometimes it's good (education), sometimes not (censorship). One must be very careful when moving a decisionmaking power from its natural home to a different one, such as moving price and wages from the trade umbrella to the governance umbrella, or moving product safety and environmental issues from the governance one to the trade one.

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

Postby elasto » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:54 am UTC

ucim wrote:One must be very careful when moving a decisionmaking power from its natural home to a different one, such as moving price and wages from the trade umbrella to the governance umbrella, or moving product safety and environmental issues from the governance one to the trade one.


One must indeed be very careful, but fortunately we have examples of countries with far more progressive tax and social safety net regimes that are none-the-less highly successful socially and economically, with no slowdown in capital investment or r&d etc. (Scandinavia)

Just as importantly (or more importantly) they are happier across the board to boot - from the rich to the poor.

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

Postby ucim » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:25 am UTC

elasto wrote:...fortunately we have examples of countries with far more progressive tax and social safety net regimes that are none-the-less highly successful socially and economically, with no slowdown in capital investment or r&d etc. (Scandinavia)
Worth looking at, but not copying wholesale. Their environment is different, their values are different, and they exist in an environment which includes the US the way it is.

Also, their definition of "happy" may not match mine. Or yours.

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

Postby sardia » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:42 am UTC

ucim wrote:
mat.tia wrote:I see democratic process, with all its flaws, still more suitable than free market for some kinds of decisions.
Absolutely. But not for all of them.

There are some decisions (i.e. price) which are naturally fall under the umbrella of trade, and others (i.e. product safety) which naturally belong under governance. There is a third (society-shaping) which falls under the ruberic of meddling; sometimes it's good (education), sometimes not (censorship). One must be very careful when moving a decisionmaking power from its natural home to a different one, such as moving price and wages from the trade umbrella to the governance umbrella, or moving product safety and environmental issues from the governance one to the trade one.

Jose

The people who decide what falls under what governance are entirely under the influence of what falls under trade. For example.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nat ... story.html
The FAA was and still is under pressure to speed up approvals for commercial use of drones despite the safety warnings that are now prescient. The drones are flying off course, crashing or risk collisions with passenger planes. Why are these drones being allowed? Because of pressure from industry to ignore safety measures, and rubber stamp the approvals. This is the power of the .1% vs the 90%.

Not recognizing that the decision making process, (and meta-cognition itself) is being swayed, corrupted even, by those with wealth is a common flaw in ucim's posts. Why is it that wealth is the problem? Because those with wealth want more wealth, and will use their wealth to get benefits that the average person cannot. (Name 1 time a poor guy hired a lobbyist to exempt themselves from 15 FAA safety regulations) Trying to separate wealth, money(another word for a promise for future services and goods), and power/influence seems deceitful.
Take my example, are the Hollywood execs wielding too much power, without regard to their vast wealth? No, it's in service to increasing that wealth that they are trying to influence FAA regulators.

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

Postby mat.tia » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:42 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The people who decide what falls under what governance are entirely under the influence of what falls under trade.

I'd go further. Since the market extends its scope to include pretty much all things, all decisions fall under the umbrella of trade.
Being "worth it" (marketwise) is a necessary condition for all things to happen. And this is not a given.

ucim wrote:There is a third (society-shaping) which falls under the ruberic of meddling; sometimes it's good (education), sometimes not (censorship).

Society shaping: it happens despite the fact you want it or not. It is many of us, therefore society exists, and unless you go live up on a mountain, you are forced to live with others.
You can let society take its shape only on the basis of the interactions of everyone's self interest; or you can agree with your neighbours about some things like: you don't fuck with my kids, I don't fuck with yours. If you ever need help I give you some, if I need some, you'll give me some. (note that trade is not necessary. If your neighbour needs help it doesn't make much sense to create yourself a problem just to get his help in return). And so on.

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

Postby ucim » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:18 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The people who decide what falls under what governance are entirely under the influence of what falls under trade.
Of course trade tries to influence governance. Governance also tries to influence trade. But there are eigenvectors, as it were, and it is usually best to align with them.

The FAA is under pressure from many directions, and the fearmongering that the public sees is one of the forms of pressure too. I'm a pilot and am well aware of the issues surrounding drones. But like cell phones, they are also useful. Neither side is a slam dunk (but I cannot imagine Amazon's drone delivery system actually being taken serously, for many reasons).

sardia wrote:Not recognizing that the decision making process, (and meta-cognition itself) is being swayed, corrupted even, by those with wealth is a common flaw in ucim's posts.
I am also well awaare of the role of wealth in garnering influence. I just don't share the view that wealth is therefore the inherently evil part of the equation. That would be disingenuous.

mat.tia wrote:I'd go further. Since the market extends its scope to include pretty much all things, all decisions fall under the umbrella of trade.
The same can be said of governance. But some things naturally fall more under one umbrella than another, and that should be taken as a starting point.

mat.tia wrote:Society shaping: it happens despite the fact you want it or not.
Society acquires a shape no matter what. It's like exercise. "I'm in shape: Round is a shape." But I am talking about topiary - where rules are created in order to create a certain shape of society. For example, in the US, tax laws that make it easier for people to own their own homes were designed to shape US society, giving citizens more of a stake in their country, rather than being transients. Laws that make it easier for blacks to live in certain areas of town served a similar topiary function, as do laws that make it easy for poor people to live in wealthy areas of town, or for houses of worship and superstition to flourish on the government dime.

Leaders of society have taken the view that these things are Good Things, whether you agree with them or not. It's not "agreeing with your neighbors about some things".

Not all laws are topiary by any means. But it does constitute another eigenvector of influence.

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

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:32 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I am also well awaare of the role of wealth in garnering influence. I just don't share the view that wealth is therefore the inherently evil part of the equation. That would be disingenuous.
What has evil got to do with it? The Koch brothers aren't evil. But they want what "they" want. And their voice is disproportionate to mine. I don't mind that, but we need to quit feeding pablum to the babies of the general public, lies like, that this is an egalitarian society. When in reality it bears a striking resemblance to Animal Farm, you know, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Then go discredit those lies.

...seriously?

Like, seriously, 'cause you seem to be implying that showing that a multi-billion dollar industry running a propoganda campaign to spread lies and stir up fear of "big government" is as easy as just going out and talking to people about it?

Seriously?


Propaganda isn't all about big industry. For instance, look at the anti-vaxxer nonsense. That somehow caught on to some degree, despite big pharma, etc obviously disliking it.

But debunking efforts do help, regardless of where the BS comes from. Cigarettes had a whole pile of corporate funded BS. Probably one of the most dramatic cases of it...but debunking efforts eventually did quite a lot of good with exposing the truth. Instant, easy, no...but few things are.

And yes, individuals can have a strong effect. I and a few others testified against a bill at the state level recently, and effectively killed it. I spoke purely on technical grounds, describing the futility of what they proposed in an objective fashion, and I dare say there was a significant mood shift after that. Yeah, it sucks to have to take time out of your day to go talk, prepare a solid argument, etc, but it does matter when you do. It's very tempting to claim there is nothing that can be done on any number of topics, because it provides a reason not to do anything, but folks are out there making a difference all the time.

mat.tia wrote:I thought about this last night. I do share your individualistic point of view, I always have; and I do share your opposition towards a government, I always have.
But I believe ideals need to come to terms with reality.
This world is no more the apple picking world.
One is born and cannot freely put some bricks together and build a house; tear down some trees, build a fence, and plant apple trees inside it.
Resources are scarce. They need to be distributed, they can't just be taken.
One is born and needs to find a place in a structure already estabilished; this structure is something much more complicated than the collection of all individual activities on the market.


True. But this has been true for a significant length of time. If resources were around and readily gatherable, odds are that SOMEONE has already laid claim to them. The exception, of course, is your own labor(as we are not generally big fans of inter-generational slavery). The expectation of endless natural resources is not reality. It is not assumed as part of economics. Scarcity is always with us.

However, the "you're born into this society, and thus you're stuck with it" aspect is troublesome.

mat.tia wrote:First of all, voting power: the more money you have, the more things you can buy, the more decisional power you have.
Why should rich people have more decisional power on public issues related to companies' behaviour (even within legal limits)?


Why not? If someone is better at producing wealth, would not his or her input be more valuable?

mat.tia wrote:Secondly, this kind of decision-taking is much more prone to corruption than it is a representative democracy. For the only reason that in a representative democracy at least one is aware of what one's doing the 2 or 3 times he gets to vote.
I don't think people are conscious of the consequences of their actions when they buy a burger, or a car, or w/e.


Half the people in a democracy don't vote at all. This at least gets everyone. And unconscious decisions still matter, do they not?

mat.tia wrote:There is advertisement. Fuck no one needs all the things he buys. He starts needing them when they suggest him he does.
I can tell the freer/more advanced the market is, the more this happens.


Advertisement is a large part of voting too. Plus...what is this "needs" focus? Yeah, maybe I don't NEED that new shiny thing, but I want it. Is that bad? Sure, I may learn something exists, and want it, when I would not express such a desire if I did not know of it....but isn't learning about the existance of more things good? Why is ignorance and only fulfilling needs good, and knowledge and fulfilling desires bad?

Zamfir wrote:
Actually, that's exactly what this world is like in some areas. The web for example is just like this. It does not take massive investment and government connections to write a killer app or website. It takes a killer idea, some talent, dedication, and publicity. This of course does not guarantee success, but at least in this field there are no big barriers to climb

I hear this a lot. All you need is a computer, etc. I don't buy it at all. On the small level, software takes costly time to write. Before you can earn revenue. We can gaze at exceptions, profitable prices of work that were written in hobby time and went on to become valuable. But in the typical case, the work required was a lot. Work that needs to be paid, because most people simply cannot afford to spend months or years on a gaming future.


It's relative. It does cost time, yes, but we all have time. It's a real expenditure, but at least you have the possibility of expending it. A start-up opportunity that costs a million dollars, though, not everyone can pursue. So, tech is pretty awesome at opening up opportunities in some respects, but a cost definitely still exists.

Zamfir wrote:Which shows up in the global structure. Silicon valley is one of the strongest geographically concentrated industries of all. Not exactly the pattern of an industry without barriers to entry. Killer ideas, talent, dedication, you can find those everywhere. If those were the limiting factors, the web would see its successes pop up in all kinds of places. Instead, the big successes either start on the US west coast or quickly move their operations there. Exactly because talent and dedications play less of a role than in most fields of work, and network effects more.


Talent actually is highly concentrated as well. It's perhaps the biggest reason why tech industries are so urbanized and segmented. If it's just you working on an app, yeah, you can live in Bumfuck, Midwest. However, when you need to hire someone to grow, well, Bumfuck probably doesn't have a significant tech labor pool. Industry goes where the resources are concentrated, and in the case of tech, labor is essential. So, the jobs migrate to the workers are, and of course, the workers migrate to where the jobs are.

But that effect isn't quite the same as barrier to entry. More of a barrier to growth. This is still important, of course, but barriers to entry are particularly problematic. If they're high enough, you don't get a lot of startups at all. Barriers to growth mean more small business or failed startups, but at least they have a chance to get started.

mat.tia wrote:But there are necessary goods and superfluous goods. You seem to treat all of them the same way.
They all respond to the word "wealth".
But while some goods can virtually be created out of thin air, the necessary ones can't.
So even if you grow indefinitely the number of services available, the underlying problem of distributing/trading the basic resouces still remains.
I don't even think it's necessary to consider the two kinds of goods differently: with fluorishing apps you will be using some necessary resources to create them (materials, energy) but there will be so many of them (apps) that their cost will decrease.
On the contrary, with less necessary resources available and everyone wanting them, their cost will increase a lot, making up for the most significant part of wealth. And you find yourself again in a world that does not resemble apple-picking. Does it make sense?


What, exactly, are the necessary ones? Food would be necessary yes? Then what about the fertilizer that makes the food grow in greater quantity? And the chemist that designs that fertilizer? How about the biologist that modifies and studies the plants for greater yields? How about the shipping industry that moves the food to the hungry people? How about the information network that does this more efficiently and with less spoilage?

It's ALL necessary. Just because wealth isn't physical doesn't mean it is irrelevant to the physical world.

mat.tia wrote:It could make sense if the money contained in a person's wallet was proportional to his honesty, intelligence, culture... but saying so is a strong statement very far from reality.
Now you could argue that not everyone should have the same voting power because some know, some don't, some are honest, some are not, some care, some don't, and so on.
I admit I agree. But man, unless you come up with a revolutionary system that is not based on the decision of the majority, that's what we'll need to stick to.
Not only because it can be seen as the most "fair" (sorry : ))from an ethical pov, but it is the least prone to corruption (in theory, it is corruption-proof. Application of course is different).
Said that, it should be clear that creating an educated and honest majority is a priority.


Why are these things important to setting prices? If a man is uncultured and wishes to drink bud light instead of a better beer, well...that is the specific thing he has chosen to affect. But all goods and services need price information. Should only beer snobs be allowed to set the price of cheap beer, even if it is popular with a great many other people? Why?

And if someone consumes a LOT of beer, should his opinion not have more weight than the man who will consume none?

mat.tia wrote:
ucim wrote:
mattia wrote:Because of ads, people will stay hungry to buy shit
The gullible go hungry, the discerning rise to power. Are you saying you'd prefer the opposite?

No no, not at all. But please consider two aspects:
1. Gullibility is mainly a result of education. Gullibility is necessary to advertisement. Advertisement has become part of education: schools, universities and the media rely on advertisement (more or less directly) to function. Take your conclusions.


Really? Do you have evidence for the claim that people who are highly educated are more gullible?

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:One must be very careful when moving a decisionmaking power from its natural home to a different one, such as moving price and wages from the trade umbrella to the governance umbrella, or moving product safety and environmental issues from the governance one to the trade one.


One must indeed be very careful, but fortunately we have examples of countries with far more progressive tax and social safety net regimes that are none-the-less highly successful socially and economically, with no slowdown in capital investment or r&d etc. (Scandinavia)

Just as importantly (or more importantly) they are happier across the board to boot - from the rich to the poor.


The Scandinavian countries are more liberal than us in some ways, yet in others, highly conservative from our perspective. Sometimes, apples to apples comparisons are even hard to come by. However, they are still pretty capitalistic. There's no central board setting the price of everything.

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

Postby elasto » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:35 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The Scandinavian countries are more liberal than us in some ways, yet in others, highly conservative from our perspective. Sometimes, apples to apples comparisons are even hard to come by. However, they are still pretty capitalistic. There's no central board setting the price of everything.

Yup. They are pretty capitalistic. That's why we we can take seriously their example of progressive taxation, wages and social safety nets yet retaining a thriving capitalist free market.

For example, I read elsewhere someone's bemusement at the plight of McDonalds workers in the US:

It's a bit strange how McDonalds in the US is so different to McDonalds in Denmark.

In Denmark McDonalds have an agreement with the appropriate union and McDonalds have won the "Best place to work" award, and this is being voted by employees. Employees at McD get $25,85 an hour, plus all the standard benefits most employees have in Denmark.

If it is profitable to run McDs in Denmark, of which we have many, then surely it must be possible to treat the McD employees in the US alot better than they are being treated now.


And despite ucim's skepticism, human feelings such as happiness are actually universal. Scandinavians aren't a different species to us or anything :)

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:34 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The Scandinavian countries are more liberal than us in some ways, yet in others, highly conservative from our perspective. Sometimes, apples to apples comparisons are even hard to come by. However, they are still pretty capitalistic. There's no central board setting the price of everything.

Yup. They are pretty capitalistic. That's why we we can take seriously their example of progressive taxation, wages and social safety nets yet retaining a thriving capitalist free market.


In some respects, we also have these things. A common comparison is the number of government dollars spent per person on subisidizing health care. By such a metric, the US gov is actually contributing quite a lot.

The question of if what we're getting is worth the cost is something else entirely.

For example, I read elsewhere someone's bemusement at the plight of McDonalds workers in the US:

It's a bit strange how McDonalds in the US is so different to McDonalds in Denmark.

In Denmark McDonalds have an agreement with the appropriate union and McDonalds have won the "Best place to work" award, and this is being voted by employees. Employees at McD get $25,85 an hour, plus all the standard benefits most employees have in Denmark.

If it is profitable to run McDs in Denmark, of which we have many, then surely it must be possible to treat the McD employees in the US alot better than they are being treated now.


And despite ucim's skepticism, human feelings such as happiness are actually universal. Scandinavians aren't a different species to us or anything :)


Well, that would be difficult to claim indeed, seeing as how genetically, I am scandinavian. That said, happiness can very definitely be affected by cultural norms, and even between folks that are genetically essentially identical, cultural norms can differ significantly.

McDonalds is an excellent example. McDonalds occupies to a very different role in Europe than it does here in the US. There, it's something of an American novelty, and it's not particularly cheap. Here, they're frigging everywhere, and they're pretty much the walmart of fast food. The way Americans consume McDonalds is not exactly like the way the rest of the world does. Average cost of a normal combo meal(not supersized, etc) in Denmark is what, almost $11 US? While in the US, the average cost for the same thing is $6.50* Comparing wages without comparing the resulting changes isn't really a fair comparison.

*Source: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living

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

Postby ucim » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:What has evil got to do with it? The Koch brothers aren't evil.
What does "evil" mean to you?

elasato wrote:And despite ucim's skepticism, human feelings such as happiness are actually universal. Scandinavians aren't a different species to us or anything :)
Finally I have an explanation for why some people are happier when they know they will be taken care of, and others are happier when they know that their future is up to them, and not dictated by others. And why some people are deeply unhappy when gays (for example) move into town, and others are deeply unhappy when they are stymied when looking for a place to rent. And why some people are happiest when they are striving to accomplish something, and others are happiest when they can sit back on their own (or others') laurels.

Tell me again how sheep's bladders can be used to prevent earthquakes.

If you are trying to say that all people are happiest when they are happy, I might go along with that. But to say that your favorite political system is what makes people happiest strikes me as unjustified arrogance. I don't think we have even agreed between ourselves as to what makes us "happy", and what values we'd be willing to surrender to achieve that, let alone projected it onto the entire world.

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

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:58 pm UTC

http://www.propublica.org/article/banke ... acco-bonds

Did you get a bad credit score? Shop around the credit rating agencies and hire the one that gives you the best rating. Still not good enough? Pressure them by threatening to hire someone else. Demand to see the algorithm they use to grade your product so you can better game the system. Better scores for junk products means more fees from suckers , I mean investors, who rely on such grades to invest. Capitalism at its best. .. Only available to the elite.

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

Postby morriswalters » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:19 pm UTC

ucim wrote:What does "evil" mean to you?
As close as I can get to it, is doing something hurtful for the joy of doing something hurtful.

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:29 pm UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.propublica.org/article/bankers-brought-rating-agencies-to-their-knees-on-tobacco-bonds

Did you get a bad credit score? Shop around the credit rating agencies and hire the one that gives you the best rating. Still not good enough? Pressure them by threatening to hire someone else. Demand to see the algorithm they use to grade your product so you can better game the system. Better scores for junk products means more fees from suckers , I mean investors, who rely on such grades to invest. Capitalism at its best. .. Only available to the elite.


On the flip side, the credit agencies can give you ratings for free, which coincidentally will be significantly lower than if you paid.

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

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

Just to be clear, I'm referring to the investment rating companies, sp Moody's and Fitch. You're probably thinking of commercial credit agencies for regular folks, transunion Equifax and experian. The big three are the same agencies that help lead us to the 2008 crisis. This article just shows they haven't learned their lesson, are still corrupted, and big banks are bragging about how badly they bent them over.
. Sarcasm. You know, all the things ucim is completely OK because inequality of wealth totally isn't rela ed to corruption.

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:45 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Just to be clear, I'm referring to the investment rating companies, sp Moody's and Fitch.


Just to be clear, so am I.


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