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

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

Postby morriswalters » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:06 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:1. I think the orphanages were the best of that system and far far better than the current care system.
Can anyone cite anything that says orphanages are better than being raised by a family? Ever? Or for that matter even close. From this source a suggestion that it may not be the case.

Children who are institutionalized at an early age often demonstrate delays in emotional, social, and physical development. Institutionalization places children at great risk for certain diseases. Institutional care may affect a child's ability to make smooth transitions from one developmental stage to another throughout his/her life. Children brought up in institutions may suffer from severe behavior and emotional problems, such as aggressive or antisocial behavior, have less knowledge and understanding of the world, and become adults with psychiatric impairments. Finally, children raised in institutions are at risk for learning problems-such as poor reading ability and have more difficulty with critical thinking, establishing cause-and-effect, and impulsivity.


And this.
A large body of medical knowledge exists that can inform the public policy debate as to whether the current needs and future life prospects of poor children could better be served in orphanages than by continuing safety net programs, such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicaid, and Supplemental Social Security Income, which maintain children in families. This special article explores a century of pediatric and child psychiatry research covering five areas of potential biologic and social risk to infants and young children in orphanage care: (1) infectious morbidity, (2) nutrition and growth, (3) cognitive development, (4) socioaffective development, and (5) physical and sexual abuse. These data demonstrate that infants and young children are uniquely vulnerable to the medical and phychosocial hazards of institutional care, negative effects that cannot be reduced to a tolerable level even with massive expenditure. Scientific experience consistently shows that, in the short term, orphanage placement puts young children at increased risk of serious infectious illness and delayed language development. In the long term, institutionalization in early childhood increases the likelihood that impoverished children will grow into psychiatrically impaired and economically unproductive adults.
Foster care in the US is a court ordered outcome that happens before the children can be removed permanently.

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

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:58 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
sardia wrote:http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/scientists-are-alarmed-shrinking-human-brain-001446
No, I was right. Brains are getting smaller. The exception is our frontal lobes which are bigger.

That bit of science journalism is abhorrent, and makes some absurd leaps from the conclusions. *PARTS* of our brains may be shrinking, but mass of a brain is not the sole determining factor in intelligence.

Tyndmyr wrote:Depends on the kind of aggression. Warfare within one's own kind...actual, organized warfare is different from say, competing for a mate or what not. And yeah, while aggression of some kind is really common in the animal kingdom, the outliers on the intelligence scale tend toward violence. Chimps, dolphins, great apes, etc all have very complex, surprisingly violent behavior as part of their social norms.
Modern Warfare is still at least partially based on risk behavior, and more aggressive people are more likely to take risks.

Chimps, dolphins, elephants, whales, dogs, etc etc etc also are shockingly stupider when they are seeking mates or fighting for supremacy. There are species of lizards where the males will posture and pose and dance to be the alpha until they literally die of starvation. Male hummingbirds fly up and down in the equivalent of doing pushups to show off, and have to shut off most of their brain function to maintain the astronomical caloric expense.

Generally speaking, all throughout the animal kingdom, aggression is extremely expensive to maintain, and potentially very risky, and more often than not associated with reduced intragroup intelligence. In fact, that's one of the interesting things about highly social animals; manipulating a social hierarchy is far LESS costly, and potentially just as rewarding. It's one of the interesting means beta males can still be reproductive successes.

EDIT: But sorry for the off topic rant. Orm's comment seemed dangerously egging towards 'poor people are stupid and breeding stupid babies', which set me off.

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/02/132591244 ... ing-dumber
Apparently it's more about smaller brains = more tolerant /less aggressive, which is good for society.

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

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:31 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Can anyone cite anything that says orphanages are better than being raised by a family? Ever? Or for that matter even close.
Did you try typing in 'orphanages vs foster care' in google? Here you are.

That being said, after talking about it with my SO, I'm probably being way too swift to judge; mostly, my fascination with orphanages as a form of care over foster families has a lot to do with a bizarre situation in the states where alumni from orphanages throughout the early 1900s seem to enjoy greater academic, financial, and emotional prosperity than the average American from the same period.

It's a little quick of me to presume this is because orphanages are inherently better than foster care; it might have just been something to do with America's orphanages at that time.

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:54 am UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.npr.org/2011/01/02/132591244 ... ing-dumber
Apparently it's more about smaller brains = more tolerant /less aggressive, which is good for society.
Yup. That seems to support what I wrote.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:31 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Can anyone cite anything that says orphanages are better than being raised by a family? Ever? Or for that matter even close.
Did you try typing in 'orphanages vs foster care' in google? Here you are.

That being said, after talking about it with my SO, I'm probably being way too swift to judge; mostly, my fascination with orphanages as a form of care over foster families has a lot to do with a bizarre situation in the states where alumni from orphanages throughout the early 1900s seem to enjoy greater academic, financial, and emotional prosperity than the average American from the same period.

It's a little quick of me to presume this is because orphanages are inherently better than foster care; it might have just been something to do with America's orphanages at that time.


This says it better than I can, this from the Wikipedia. Note the statement "permanent temporary foster home". However it is not my intent to continue this, I just felt the need to say it once.

There is an increasing body of evidence that orphanages, especially large orphanages, are the worst possible care option for children.[13][14] In large institutions all children, but particularly babies may not receive enough eye contact, physical contact, and stimulation to promote proper physical, social or cognitive development.[15][16] In the worst cases, orphanages can be dangerous and unregulated places where children are subject to abuse and neglect.[13][17][18]

There is only one significant study which disputes this. It was carried out by Duke University. Their researchers concluded that institutional care in America in the 20th century produced the same health, emotional, intellectual, mental, and physical outcomes as care by relatives, and better than care in the homes of strangers.[19] One explanation for this is the prevalence of permanent temporary foster care. This is the name for a long string of short stays with different foster care families.[19] Permanent temporary foster care is highly disruptive to the child and prevents the child from developing a sense of security or belonging. Placement in the home of a relative maintains and usually improves the child's connection to family members.[19][20]

Whereas orphanages are intended to be reasonably permanent placements, group homes may be used for short-term placements. They may be residential treatment centers, and they frequently specialize in a particular population with psychiatric or behavioral problems, e.g., a group home for children and teens with autism, eating disorders, or substance abuse problems or child soldiers undergoing decommissioning.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:36 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Well yeah, we always want to analyze the system and ask whether we could spend our money more efficiently. I'm just arguing that the rich do indeed see benefits from public spending. You may have built your business out of gumption and bootstraps, but did every one of your customers do so? If not, you benefited from a government program.


This is a still a recursive argument that can be used to justify literally anything. That's a clue that it's a really bad argument.

In structure and purpose, it is much like "If god wanted x to be that way, he would have made it that way".

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

How is it recursive?

My arguments

1) there are some/many things government can do better than the private sector
2) the role of government is to make society as a whole better off
3) therefore there are some/many things government should instead of or addition to the private sector
4) what the government does is not necessarily the best possible
5) therefore we should always check to see if there is a better way of doing things

The argument that 'the rich benefit from government programs too' is a counter-argument to 'the JOB CREATORS don't benefit from government therefore they shouldn't pay tax'. If you have a business that's based on the Internet, guess who built the Internet? Government research grants. And France.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:43 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:How is it recursive?

My arguments

1) there are some/many things government can do better than the private sector
2) the role of government is to make society as a whole better off
3) therefore there are some/many things government should instead of or addition to the private sector
4) what the government does is not necessarily the best possible
5) therefore we should always check to see if there is a better way of doing things

The argument that 'the rich benefit from government programs too' is a counter-argument to 'the JOB CREATORS don't benefit from government therefore they shouldn't pay tax'. If you have a business that's based on the Internet, guess who built the Internet? Government research grants. And France.


Because, bluntly, you're relying on the existance of government programs to justify the existance of those government programs.

Government is involved to some degree in basically everything. It has been since long before I was born. I am not obligated to support anything on the basis of "that's how it's been done".

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

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

No, I'm relying on the superiority of government intervention in certain circumstances to justify government intervention.

There are plenty of places government fucks up. There are huge examples of bloat and waste. But simply put there are plenty of places that need government or could use more government. Would you seriously trust any health inspector than the USDA/FDA? Do you believe that there shouldn't be public schools? Would you really trust charities to replace food stamps?

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

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:35 pm UTC

You rely on governments because they will be there as long as the fabric of society holds. Business comes and go within that fabric as do government programs. If government fails overall there won't be any business as it is seen today. Is that really debatable? If the structure of society is such that too much wealth is concentrated at the top end, then it is at least arguable that government should be responsible for leveling the playing field. My question would be, is the pool of wealth growing faster than it is being accumulated by that top .1 percent? Is the bulk of the population losing ground?

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:24 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You rely on governments because they will be there as long as the fabric of society holds. Business comes and go within that fabric as do government programs. If government fails overall there won't be any business as it is seen today. Is that really debatable?
Pedantry. Yes, your claim is highly debatable.

Governments come and go, too.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby morriswalters » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:33 am UTC

Perhaps. But those states have had functioning Governments during those times, continuously. Just like those businesses you cite have had multiple owners. On the other hand how many businesses do you think have come and gone since the first name on the list?

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

Postby Dauric » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:06 am UTC

In a feeble attempt to drag this back OT (I know, I know: "<Insert hysterical laughter from the audience here>")

morriswalters wrote: If the structure of society is such that too much wealth is concentrated at the top end, then it is at least arguable that government should be responsible for leveling the playing field. My question would be, is the pool of wealth growing faster than it is being accumulated by that top .1 percent? Is the bulk of the population losing ground?


I think one of the first questions would be "What constitutes too much wealth concentrated at the top end?" Does this kind of concentration in the top 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% have a measurable economic impact?

How stable is the population in that 0.1%? Is there significant turnover from gentlemen like the example mentioned earlier who made it big and lost it all, or are the people in that 0.1% a fairly stable set of individuals and/or families?

The third question I would have I alluded to in the previous page: How does the concentration of high-value assets, like company ownership, effect competition? With relatively few players I would expect that it creates an environment where there are relatively few giants in the playhouse, and for anyone to enter the market with a new competing product will require a rather large initial investment or get trodden underfoot (though there may be openings in the market for competitors "too small to be noticed" at least provided they don't grow large enough to get noticed...)

Don't get me wrong, I do think that the statistic in the tittle line is notable and concerning, I just think that by itself it raises more questions than answers. The question of what should or shouldn't government (or markets, or consumers, or anybody for that matter) do about it really hinges on knowing more precisely what we are looking at and what it means in the larger picture.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:04 am UTC

"What we should do about it" is "increase social mobility".

1) Increase funding for public education
2) Reform public education funding so it isn't based on property tax and redistricting and so forth
3) Better child labor laws
4) Remove the cap on payroll taxes; it shouldn't stop after $115k/yr
5) Townhouses taxed at the same rate as apartment buildings (1% for TH and 5% for Apartments in NYC, because fuck you for not owning)
6) No more hard cut-offs for assistance; if you earn an extra $500 you shouldn't lose $5k in benefits.
7) Disability reform; if you had a $50k job, got disabled and get $20k/yr disability, you shouldn't lose all of it if you get another job at $25k, you should keep half
8) If you are in the top 10% of you class in even the shittiest of high schools in your state, automatically accepted to any state school (Texas and Louisianna of all places has this). If top 5%, free ride too.

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

Postby morriswalters » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:13 am UTC

Dauric wrote:I think one of the first questions would be "What constitutes too much wealth concentrated at the top end?" Does this kind of concentration in the top 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% have a measurable economic impact?
For what it's worth I would define it as a situation where the only people seeing growth in wealth is that .1 percent. In other words is the wealth of the remaining 99.9 percent growing or declining?

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Perhaps. But those states have had functioning Governments during those times, continuously. Just like those businesses you cite have had multiple owners. On the other hand how many businesses do you think have come and gone since the first name on the list?

Some of those businesses persisted through government changes. Many businesses have come and gone; many governments have come and gone.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby morriswalters » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:37 pm UTC

@Izawwlgood
Spoiler:
I had to think on this. I suppose that my pov looks at Government as what it does versus what type it is. I see government as the mechanism that people create by living as a group. Types of Governments change, but even in the worst cases it can only devolve to some type of tribal type of organization. Business is what I consider a subtype of organization that promotes the ability to specialize by using an economy to support that specialization. If any business has lasted for over a thousand years it lasted because some type of Government has existed just as long. So if you had a trading center for tribal groups, it can exist only if the groups are governed in some fashion and can agree that it should. So Japan, used as an example, has always had some type of Government, continuously. Given my point of view, and using your list, if "Kongō Gumi" did construction as a business( the first on your linked list), it could only do so if a method of exchange was was available that was supported by some type of currency. Requiring what I call Government. The top .1 percent can only exist as it exists today because the structure of Government supports it by binding society so that it has the ability to specialize to the degree that we do. If that is Pedantry then so be it.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:07 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Perhaps. But those states have had functioning Governments during those times, continuously. Just like those businesses you cite have had multiple owners. On the other hand how many businesses do you think have come and gone since the first name on the list?


Changing owners is like changing presidents. That happens...frequently. In fact, it's probably downright healthy for the organization to have a certain degree of turnover.

Dauric wrote:In a feeble attempt to drag this back OT (I know, I know: "<Insert hysterical laughter from the audience here>")

morriswalters wrote: If the structure of society is such that too much wealth is concentrated at the top end, then it is at least arguable that government should be responsible for leveling the playing field. My question would be, is the pool of wealth growing faster than it is being accumulated by that top .1 percent? Is the bulk of the population losing ground?


I think one of the first questions would be "What constitutes too much wealth concentrated at the top end?" Does this kind of concentration in the top 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% have a measurable economic impact?


There is something of a lack of agreement as to any hard lines for "too much". There are economic tradeoffs, but the exact amounts of many of those are in dispute. This is a political/religious distinction, primarily.

Dauric wrote:How stable is the population in that 0.1%? Is there significant turnover from gentlemen like the example mentioned earlier who made it big and lost it all, or are the people in that 0.1% a fairly stable set of individuals and/or families?


It's going to vary depending upon exact bracket(some are using 1%, some .1%, some quintiles), but there is a certain stickiness. I believe in general for quintiles, it averages around 40% intergenerationally(ie, the likelihood of being in the same economic quintile as your parents). You'd expect 20% if economic outcomes were determined by random chance.

Rich parents are somewhat more likely for the extreme outliers. It's fairly common for millionares in the US to be self made, and to not come from wealth. It's less common for billionares, because it's just really hard to end up with a billion without some seed money.

Dauric wrote:The third question I would have I alluded to in the previous page: How does the concentration of high-value assets, like company ownership, effect competition? With relatively few players I would expect that it creates an environment where there are relatively few giants in the playhouse, and for anyone to enter the market with a new competing product will require a rather large initial investment or get trodden underfoot (though there may be openings in the market for competitors "too small to be noticed" at least provided they don't grow large enough to get noticed...)


Depends on industry. For instance, a cleaning company requires very low capital to start. However, a microprocessor production line has a certain barrier to entry. In general, the lower the barriers
, the more competition one expects to see.

This is, in part, why there is so little competition in areas like spaceflight. The number of potential players are simply fewer, because there's only so many companies with the necessary resources to do it.

morriswalters wrote:
Dauric wrote:I think one of the first questions would be "What constitutes too much wealth concentrated at the top end?" Does this kind of concentration in the top 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% have a measurable economic impact?
For what it's worth I would define it as a situation where the only people seeing growth in wealth is that .1 percent. In other words is the wealth of the remaining 99.9 percent growing or declining?


Generally growing. However, the top has been growing more. How much more depends on the time frame. How much is "too much" is a question that has been mostly addressed by personal values and feelings, and other such nonsense.

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

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr, are you including inflation in your growth? Because 40 percent growth of the 99 percent across 40 years is shitty once inflation is added. The rich got 275 percent in the same time period.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:19 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Tyndmyr, are you including inflation in your growth? Because 40 percent growth of the 99 percent across 40 years is shitty once inflation is added. The rich got 275 percent in the same time period.


Are you positing that the lot of the 99% has not improved significantly in the past 40 years?

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

Postby jseah » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:48 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Are you positing that the lot of the 99% has not improved significantly in the past 40 years?

Apart from my computer and handphone, which are awesome, the things I do today would not be significantly unrecognizable to my parents when they were growing up.

Except that they were too poor to afford a washing machine (those were around then, IIRC). Since, you know, Malaya was kinda undeveloped then.


On the other hand, facebook might be said to have added huge utilons to people's lives, given the immense amount of time they spend on it. (assuming, once again that people do things they like to do)
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby leady » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:55 pm UTC

Another way of looking at it is that the top 1% have enabled the overall economy to grow by 10x over 40 years and yet take a suprisingly small slice of the pie :)

Of course the wealth of the 1% is somewhat irrelevent, what is important to the rest of society is how they generated it. By and large starting advantages aside most of them (in the US certainly) are there due to major innovative leaps and the fact that they personally have done extremely well out of these pales aside the benefits to everyone else. Now go somewhere like Russia or China and the way huge wealth is made is far more due to neopotism which is destructive. Go to the UK and you have a strange mix of the import of innovator wealth, the import of neopotist (is that a word ?) wealth, local innovative wealth and a goodly chunk of sustained inheritted wealth sustained through government policy (i'm looking at you Duke of Westminister). Two of three of those categories are pretty bad sources of wealth consolidation, although London being the capital of looted wealth is a net benefit to the UK :)

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

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
sardia wrote:Tyndmyr, are you including inflation in your growth? Because 40 percent growth of the 99 percent across 40 years is shitty once inflation is added. The rich got 275 percent in the same time period.


Are you positing that the lot of the 99% has not improved significantly in the past 40 years?
I assume you are talking about the whole world. For instance a decline of the middle class in the US would be overshadowed by the increase in wealth in poorer parts of the world. If that were true would it be acceptable?

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

Postby leady » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:24 pm UTC

the middle class as it were has still absolutely gained in the states, just not relatively vs the upper 1% and none of this is as zero sum game vs the rest of the world

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

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:26 pm UTC

leady wrote:Another way of looking at it is that the top 1% have enabled the overall economy to grow by 10x over 40 years and yet take a suprisingly small slice of the pie :)

Of course the wealth of the 1% is somewhat irrelevent, what is important to the rest of society is how they generated it. By and large starting advantages aside most of them (in the US certainly) are there due to major innovative leaps and the fact that they personally have done extremely well out of these pales aside the benefits to everyone else. Now go somewhere like Russia or China and the way huge wealth is made is far more due to neopotism which is destructive. Go to the UK and you have a strange mix of the import of innovator wealth, the import of neopotist (is that a word ?) wealth, local innovative wealth and a goodly chunk of sustained inheritted wealth sustained through government policy (i'm looking at you Duke of Westminister). Two of three of those categories are pretty bad sources of wealth consolidation, although London being the capital of looted wealth is a net benefit to the UK :)


This argument would be a lot more persuasive if the top 1% primarily consisted of innovators. It isn't. The most common profession among the top 1% is "manager".

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

Postby Chen » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:This argument would be a lot more persuasive if the top 1% primarily consisted of innovators. It isn't. The most common profession among the top 1% is "manager".


Manager is quite general though. I know many of the managers around here have multiple patents hanging on their walls. Just being a manager doesn't preclude also being an innovator.

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

Postby leady » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:41 pm UTC

If you don't think true senior management doesn't innovate then I have to suspect you've never met any. You might not like their attempts at it (lord knows I don't a lot of the time), but they need to do it. Its just that implementation innovation (true management) probably doesn't tick most peoples definition box.

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:46 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:This argument would be a lot more persuasive if the top 1% primarily consisted of innovators. It isn't. The most common profession among the top 1% is "manager".
Can you elaborate on that? I don't consider Bill Gates or Elon Musk to be 'managers', for example, even though as CEOs of enormous companies, that's probably a huge part of what they do.

leady wrote:Another way of looking at it is that the top 1% have enabled the overall economy to grow by 10x over 40 years and yet take a suprisingly small slice of the pie :)
I don't think this is remotely accurate.

leady wrote:By and large starting advantages aside most of them (in the US certainly) are there due to major innovative leaps and the fact that they personally have done extremely well out of these pales aside the benefits to everyone else.
I don't think this is remotely accurate for most 1%'ers. For some, absolutely, but it is not representative of how most got there.

Look, leady, I agree that the US has better upward mobility than, say, 18th century Britain, or rural Congo, but I think you're doing the conversation a disservice by misrepresenting the reality of the economic situation in the US. Being 'better than Congo' isn't really a stopping point.

On the flip side, most inherited wealth is lost in subsequent generations, so maybe there's wealth management/taxation issues to be addressed across the board.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

And a good manager can't also innovate? Are you also implying that a great manager can't add to the economy, that a brilliant one can't overhaul a company and turn a shitty little joke of a company like Apple of the 90's into the behemoth that is Apple today?

A great riveter may be able to places twice as many rivets in half the time, but a great manager is the difference of whether those rivets go into a pile of scrap or the Eiffel Tower.



As for the economy growing, a large chunk of that is growing population as well.

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

Postby Zamfir » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:04 pm UTC

By and large starting advantages aside most of them (in the US certainly) are there due to major innovative leaps and the fact that they personally have done extremely well out of these pales aside the benefits to everyone else. Now go somewhere like Russia or China and the way huge wealth is made is far more due to neopotism which is destructive.
If wealth is OK if it is associated with benefits to others, than surely rich people in China are in a lot better position than those in the US.

Rich businesspeople everywhere are the people who manoeuvred themselves to a position of power, where others have to pay them in order to take part in attractive exchanges. That's true for China, and just as true for the US. Bill Gates became rich as part of major innovative leap where PCs became part of many households and workplaces. Doesn't mean he created that leap, it means that he got himself in the very nice position where people could either cough up money to him, or jump through unattractive hoops, or forego taking part in the leap.

The leap would have been even better if we didn't had to fork over a few dozens billion to Gates and his mates. It's just that the benefits were large enough that lots of people could demand a sizable cut, and the remainder stayed attractive. That's no different for rich people in China: they control some aspect of a booming sector, so they can demand a cut from others who want to take part in that process.

Now, many of those people got themselves into that power through (mostly) legitimate means, if rarely perfectly moral means. But that doesn't make the existence of such a powerful position a good thing.

That's usually very clear when we look to foreign places, or historic times. But in feudal days, people were just as good at explaining how dukes deserve their position because look how prosperous the commoners are under their guidance and protection. It's the same process that makes modern people ascribe the benefits of huge economic processes to a handful of people who happen to be boss.

Edit: don't get me wrong, it often takes hard work and exquisite skill to get to a position of power. And leadership can be an important part of a large scale endeavour. But that doesn't mean that any money that good leaders can take is automatically a proper reward for good leadership. The amount they can take is only a reflection of their power, not of the quality or importance of their leadership.

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:27 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Now, many of those people got themselves into that power through (mostly) legitimate means, if rarely perfectly moral means. But that doesn't make the existence of such a powerful position a good thing.
That the acquisition of wealth CAN be done unscrupulously doesn't make the existence of wealth a bad thing.

Zamfir wrote:That's usually very clear when we look to foreign places, or historic times. But in feudal days, people were just as good at explaining how dukes deserve their position because look how prosperous the commoners are under their guidance and protection. It's the same process that makes modern people ascribe the benefits of huge economic processes to a handful of people who happen to be boss.
I think this is a bit of a leap. Being born into power with royalty is different than how most CEOs find themselves managing a company, I wager. Bill Gates wasn't born into extreme wealth.

That's sort of what I was getting at; wealth mobility in America might not match the expected American dream, but it's EXTRAORDINARILY better than your wealth mobility as a serf under a Feudal Duke. By most metrics, the wealth inequality and wealth mobility available to Americans is some of the best it's ever been at any point in history. Which is NOT to say it's perfect.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:36 pm UTC

But you're implying the people who advocates more social safety nets should stop whining and be glad they aren't serfs. Its no better than saying the rich should be glad we are only taxing them and not beheadings them a la the French revolution.

Are there people who are ok with massive inequality and large transfer payments aka social safety nets? Seems like it happens with philanthropists.

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

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:47 pm UTC

Zamfir, I think you are confusing wealth generation with rent seeking. A guy creating a movie but then charging as much as he can get for it is still creating wealth even if there would be more 'created' if he charged a lower price and let more people see it; society is better off for his actions even if it isn't the best possible. A distributor bribing congress to change the laws so that only he could show the movie is rent seeking; society loses just because this person exists.

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

Postby leady » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:00 pm UTC

Are there people who are ok with massive inequality and large transfer payments aka social safety nets?


A huge number of them apparently because this is essentially the case in all western society

If wealth is OK if it is associated with benefits to others, than surely rich people in China are in a lot better position than those in the US


Some certainly, but I'd posit that the proportion of the chinese 1% gaining such wealth due to family or political connections that are a drag on the economy is higher. Corruption in all its forms is a drag. Would I class some of Microsofts behaviour in the 80 / 90s as a corruptive influence - sure, but overall they are a massive net positive to the world economy. I find it difficult to accept a narrative that people that Gates are lucky eploiters, rather than a driving force. Even if they are though, i'm not sure that gives others claims to their fortune or that their getting lucky is a net loss to others.

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

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:27 pm UTC

No leady. You're missing the point. The death penalty happens in the usa but I'm not ok with it. Having both inequality and some safety nets doesn't mean the same people support both. If people really did support safety nets, we wouldn't be pushing so hard for cuts in the size of them. Or calling out people as welfare queens. The decline in social spending is a big contributor to the inequality we see.

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

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:00 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:And a good manager can't also innovate? Are you also implying that a great manager can't add to the economy, that a brilliant one can't overhaul a company and turn a shitty little joke of a company like Apple of the 90's into the behemoth that is Apple today?

A great riveter may be able to places twice as many rivets in half the time, but a great manager is the difference of whether those rivets go into a pile of scrap or the Eiffel Tower.



As for the economy growing, a large chunk of that is growing population as well.


CEO is under a separate category in the infographic, as are other several other executive positions.

But yes, let's thank the unsung heroes of the modern economy: Middle managers.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:35 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Are you positing that the lot of the 99% has not improved significantly in the past 40 years?

Apart from my computer and handphone, which are awesome, the things I do today would not be significantly unrecognizable to my parents when they were growing up.

Except that they were too poor to afford a washing machine (those were around then, IIRC). Since, you know, Malaya was kinda undeveloped then.


On the other hand, facebook might be said to have added huge utilons to people's lives, given the immense amount of time they spend on it. (assuming, once again that people do things they like to do)


Perhaps. No doubt there is some subjectivity as for the value of specific sites. Life expectancy has been generally rising, yes? That seems like it'd be more clear. Starvation rates have fallen. That also seems fairly unambiguous. Results will differ somewhat by country, but on the whole, I think it's fairly clear that things have improved in the past 40 years.

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
sardia wrote:Tyndmyr, are you including inflation in your growth? Because 40 percent growth of the 99 percent across 40 years is shitty once inflation is added. The rich got 275 percent in the same time period.


Are you positing that the lot of the 99% has not improved significantly in the past 40 years?
I assume you are talking about the whole world. For instance a decline of the middle class in the US would be overshadowed by the increase in wealth in poorer parts of the world. If that were true would it be acceptable?


I was thinking of the US when I stated this, but it is also accurate for the world at large. As for what is acceptable, that is again in the realm of what should, instead of what is. Opinions there seem to vary widely. However, it certainly is curious that many who are great advocates of equality within the US are far less enthused about worldwide equality.

sardia wrote:But you're implying the people who advocates more social safety nets should stop whining and be glad they aren't serfs. Its no better than saying the rich should be glad we are only taxing them and not beheadings them a la the French revolution.

Are there people who are ok with massive inequality and large transfer payments aka social safety nets? Seems like it happens with philanthropists.


Taxation and donations are not the same thing, and should not be treated as interchangeable.

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

Postby EMTP » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:06 pm UTC

Phew, lots of topics flying around. Some of the questions have answers, though. For example, are the middle class losing ground or just gaining more slowly? At the moment, losing ground.

The poor are obviously losing ground; I trust no one disputes that.

Leady claims rich people "generate" wealth. I am skeptical of that notion and would like to see some evidence. The overall economic system, over a complex web of exchanges, secured by the rule of law, creates wealth, and that system rewards certain participants. That doesn't mean that the people with the money created wealth. If it were true that the 1% created wealth, you could put them on an ice floe and watch them, Galt-style, become wealthy and successful again. Outside Ayn Rand novels, the world doesn't work like that.

We know, for example, that professional investors consistently fail to outperform index funds over time. We also know that the upper 0.1% get most of their money from capital gains. Their money generates wealth; it would generate wealth if it were possessed by sometime else; they no more generate wealth than a feudal lord generates grain. The system entitles them to rents.

There is also an answer to the question of whether all rich countries have soaring inequality. To some extent that is true. However, because the United States has an exceptionally shoddy social safety net and exceptionally low taxes, the final effect (through a combination of unequal rewards from capitalism and government policy) is that the United States has exceptional and rising levels of inequality.
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Re: Top 0.1% to pass bottom 90% of Americans in combined wea

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:38 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:And a good manager can't also innovate? Are you also implying that a great manager can't add to the economy, that a brilliant one can't overhaul a company and turn a shitty little joke of a company like Apple of the 90's into the behemoth that is Apple today?

A great riveter may be able to places twice as many rivets in half the time, but a great manager is the difference of whether those rivets go into a pile of scrap or the Eiffel Tower.



As for the economy growing, a large chunk of that is growing population as well.


CEO is under a separate category in the infographic, as are other several other executive positions.

But yes, let's thank the unsung heroes of the modern economy: Middle managers.
Perhaps I'm reading the wrong result. Your infographic refers to the top 1 percent. The OP's links are talking about the top .1 percent. I believe the paper refers to those having net assets of 20 + million.

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

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:19 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:Phew, lots of topics flying around. Some of the questions have answers, though. For example, are the middle class losing ground or just gaining more slowly? At the moment, losing ground.

The poor are obviously losing ground; I trust no one disputes that.


In relative terms, certainly. In absolute terms, I would dispute that. The most obvious issue is that in discussing income disparity, we're not including non-income sources of wealth, such as various social programs that tend to give money to the poor. Usually not in sufficient amounts as to make them not-poor, and this is less relevant for the middle class, but looking at income alone is not a complete picture of how well a given class is doing.

Also, short term results are obviously going to generate less positive results than longer term ones, because the economy hit a bit of a rough patch recently, and still hasn't fully recovered.

Leady claims rich people "generate" wealth. I am skeptical of that notion and would like to see some evidence. The overall economic system, over a complex web of exchanges, secured by the rule of law, creates wealth, and that system rewards certain participants. That doesn't mean that the people with the money created wealth. If it were true that the 1% created wealth, you could put them on an ice floe and watch them, Galt-style, become wealthy and successful again. Outside Ayn Rand novels, the world doesn't work like that.


I suspect there is a distinct lack of ice-floe experiments in this exact format. However, some people are definitely more skilled than others as entepreneurs, etc. Some folks start many businesses, and have success in each.

We know, for example, that professional investors consistently fail to outperform index funds over time. We also know that the upper 0.1% get most of their money from capital gains. Their money generates wealth; it would generate wealth if it were possessed by sometime else; they no more generate wealth than a feudal lord generates grain. The system entitles them to rents.


Index funds cannot supply all demand for capital. Index funds tend to track a limited number of already established businesses, and the need for loans is far, far broader than that. You cannot reasonably assume that portfolio manager results can be generalized to all financial management.

For that matter, index funds are managed as well. It's simply a BETTER way, on average, of managing funds.

There is also an answer to the question of whether all rich countries have soaring inequality. To some extent that is true. However, because the United States has an exceptionally shoddy social safety net and exceptionally low taxes, the final effect (through a combination of unequal rewards from capitalism and government policy) is that the United States has exceptional and rising levels of inequality.


I dare say that a portion of this is a result of comparing the US, which is quite large, and composed of disparate regions with significantly different economic statuses with far smaller and more homogenous nations. If you compare the US as a whole to the EU as a whole(which admittedly, still isn't apples to apples, but it's closer than many other common comparisons), the EU GINI climbs over 30. This still isn't bad, mind you, but it's closer. Likewise, if you choose to instead use after taxes and transfers numbers, the US drops significantly. It's certainly true that however you measure it, the US is higher than average for developed countries, but the manner in which this is presented often seems calculated to misrepresent the size of the difference.


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