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The 185,795 thieves who would rule the world

kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Money mouth


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kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Quote:

Wealth-X, the global wealth intelligence and prospecting company, presents its first annual report on ultra high net worth (UHNW) indi- viduals. The World Ultra Wealth Report 2011 provides insights into the next decade of global wealth among ultra high net worth individuals and families.

Quote:

The report, whose method has never been employed by other firms, provides a comprehensive distribution on the number of super rich by region and country, based on intelligence gathered by Wealth X – the Little Black Book of UHNW individuals. The in-depth study examines markets by country, wealth-tier, and more, uncovering exciting opportunities within the segment. UHNW are defined by individuals with a net worth of at least US$30 million.
 
Key findings of this unique analysis include the following:
 
• Wealth-X estimates there are 185,795 UHNW individuals globally, with a total net worth of US$25 trillion.
• North America is home to 62,960 UHNW individuals, and constitutes the largest concentration of UHNW wealth in the world. This region accounts for nearly 33% of the total $25 trillion held by the world’s UHNW segment.
• Europe currently has the second largest population of UHNW individuals. The region’s 54,325 UHNW individuals have a collective fortune of $6.8 trillion.
• Wealth-X forecasts that the UHNW population in Asia-Pacific will surpass that of Europe in 2024 and overtake that of the U.S. in 2032.
• Asia-Pacific, with its 42,525 UHNW individuals, represents $6.2 trillion.
• While the Latin American UHNW has captured considerable attention, its 15,100 UHNW individuals with $2.3 trillion in assets represent roughly a third of the Asian market.
• Wealth-X estimates there are 1,235 billionaires globally, with a combined net worth of $4.18 trillion. 2.5% of the total UHNW population around the world are worth $500 million and above, and they control 25% of the total fortunes of the super rich.

http://www.wealthx.com/articles/2011/wealth-x-launches-the-first-world-u...

How can we control these people.  there are so many of us and so few of them.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

kropotkin1951 wrote:
 

How can we control these people.  there are so many of us and so few of them.

Part of the problem is that there are people who divide the world into two categories: The rich and everyone else -- and then they actually classify people who make $100,000 per year as "rich" (as though someone making $100K is jetting around the world in private jets and sailing the oceans on their mega yachts).

As long as we have people envious of neighbors just down the street who make $100K (or even $250K) per year, we'll essentially be navel-gazing (and mired in unhappy self-pity to boot) while the UHNW folks just keep coasting along...above the riff-raff (because the riff-raff will be tussling among each other: "Oh? You make three times as much as me?!  You RICH BASTARD!!!")...


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

I don't think these things are necessarily rocket science

Financial transactions taxes would at least be a good start.

No tax-free havens where they can run to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

And a universal planet-wide inheritance tax 10% should just about do it. 

Btw Sven why bother posting if you don't want to contribute something worthwhile.


Sven
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NorthReport wrote:

Btw Sven why bother posting if you don't want to contribute something worthwhile.

Btw, NorthReport, you have a virtual "ignore button" of your very own that you can make use of any time you want. It's kind of like a TV: If you don't like what's on a particular channel, then don't watch it. 


NorthReport
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It's the Inequality, Stupid

 

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america...

 

How rich are the superrich? A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

 

 

The richest controls 2/3 of America's net worth

Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.

 


Vansterdam Kid
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Joined: Apr 15 2004

Sven wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
 

How can we control these people.  there are so many of us and so few of them.

Part of the problem is that there are people who divide the world into two categories: The rich and everyone else -- and then they actually classify people who make $100,000 per year as "rich" (as though someone making $100K is jetting around the world in private jets and sailing the oceans on their mega yachts).

As long as we have people envious of neighbors just down the street who make $100K (or even $250K) per year, we'll essentially be navel-gazing (and mired in unhappy self-pity to boot) while the UHNW folks just keep coasting along...above the riff-raff (because the riff-raff will be tussling among each other: "Oh? You make three times as much as me?!  You RICH BASTARD!!!")...

Yeah, oh my god... Like if only these deluded commies would just accept the fact that lowering taxes = the policy solution to everything - everything would be like... better. If only we would let "job creators" "invest" we wouldn't have any economic problems at all, unemplyment would be zero, inflation would be zero, growth would be ten percent a year and deficits would be a thing of the past!1!1!1.

PS that was sarcasm. That said, what are your thoughts on tax policy in the last 30 years or so? Do you think it's reasonable and do you think it's led to a strong economy? Do you think the top 1% (regardless of your philosophical - or something - objection to identifying them) should have their taxes lowered further? Or do you disagree with Elizabeth Warren's assertion that they should acknowledge that their prosperity is built on common resources and therefore they have an obligation to pay for the resources that have contributed to their success? If you disagree with her critique, you'll save us all a lot of time by getting to your point quicker as time is money and envy is something or rather.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

Well, VK, of all federal taxes (income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes, inheritence taxes, etc.) that were collected by the US government in 2007 (the most recent year with complete information), the share borne by the bottom quintile of households was 0.8%, the next quintile paid 4.4%, the third quintile paid 9.2%, the fourth quintile paid 16.9%, and the top quintile paid 68.9%.

So, I don't think it's a matter of the more well-off "not paying their fair share."

In other words, the tax policy is not what is creating the wealth gap. I think that has more to do with free trade and the massive movement of lower-skilled jobs to places like China and India.

I looked at my own taxes this year (and I'm not even in "the hated 1%") and I forked over about 37% of all of my income in federal and state income taxes and payroll taxes (and that does not even include a host of other taxes that I also pay, such as property taxes and excise taxes).  And, quite frankly, I think that's more than enough. 


Mr.Tea
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Joined: Jul 9 2011

NorthReport wrote:

It's the Inequality, Stupid

Mark Zuckerberg will soon be worth about twenty billion dollars. So what? How does that negatively affect you or I? 


A_J
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Joined: Aug 12 2008

NorthReport wrote:

No tax-free havens where they can run to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

And a universal planet-wide inheritance tax 10% should just about do it. 

What right do we have to dictate the tax policies of other sovereign countries?


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

A_J wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

No tax-free havens where they can run to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

And a universal planet-wide inheritance tax 10% should just about do it. 

What right do we have to dictate the tax policies of other sovereign countries?

 

Yeah who do we think we are, the IMF, World Bank, BIS, and ECB? Who voted for any of those guys?


Jacob Two-Two
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

Sven wrote:

Well, VK, of all federal taxes (income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes, inheritence taxes, etc.) that were collected by the US government in 2007 (the most recent year with complete information), the share borne by the bottom quintile of households was 0.8%, the next quintile paid 4.4%, the third quintile paid 9.2%, the fourth quintile paid 16.9%, and the top quintile paid 68.9%.

So, I don't think it's a matter of the more well-off "not paying their fair share."

Technically, I agree with you. The problem is more that they're not making their fair share in the first place. Taxes are an imperfect way of trying to shoehorn some fairness into an economic system that plain doesn't work. The net worth of that justly-hated 0.01% has skyrocketed over the last thirty years. Is this some measure of their contribution to society? Did all of these people get many times more productive over this period? clearly not. Rather, they took of advantage of loosened regulations (that they lobbied for) to engage in a variety of financial dirty tricks that sluiced more and more of the wealth that the world produces to themselves. Wealth produced by other people's work. These plutocrats don't earn money. They steal it.

Does it even make sense to talk about "earning" such ludicrous amounts of wealth? If a doctor who saves lives every day makes less than a hundred grand, what does someone have to do to "earn" fifty times that amount. What contribution could they possibly make that would justify such outrageous compensation? There is nothing. These people just take the wealth of nations because they can. because nobody stops them. It's as simple as that. So yes, trying to claw some measure of that back through taxes is a rather poor solution, but until there gets to be some political will to address the real problem (capitalism) then it's all we've got. Stop weeping for ther uber-rich Sven. They steal your money too, and the more we can tax out of them the better for everyone. They never earned this money and they don't deserve it.

Quote:

In other words, the tax policy is not what is creating the wealth gap. I think that has more to do with free trade and the massive movement of lower-skilled jobs to places like China and India.

I looked at my own taxes this year (and I'm not even in "the hated 1%") and I forked over about 37% of all of my income in federal and state income taxes and payroll taxes (and that does not even include a host of other taxes that I also pay, such as property taxes and excise taxes).  And, quite frankly, I think that's more than enough. 

Sure, but you'd think that if it was 30%, or 20%, or even 10%. You just hate paying your taxes. Your personal distaste tells us nothing about whether your tax "burden" is appropriate or not. The proof of that is more in the balance we can see between public and private spending in society. Does the public sector have the revenue required to do the things it was designed to do? I think we can look around and see that the public sector is falling apart, and that a lot of the problems we're facing now have to do with not having the stability and equalising factors that the public economy is supposed to provide.

It's not envy, Sven. There is a real problem here. The economy can't function properly because the uber-rich have taken all the money, and we all struggle to survive while they sit on the wealth of the world like Smaug on his hoard. I'd rather bring down this corrupt system than pussyfoot about rasing taxes, but if you're not willing to support that, you still need some solution to this. How are you going to get all the money back from the thieves who have taken it? If you are against raising taxes, then what's your solution?


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

I thought Sven this community has told you repeatedly that you derail threads by talking about envy.

You show no respect for others which is probably why you resent paying anything into a shared pool.  Sorry I take that back you seem to believe you have the right to piss in our swimming pool.

Please stop derailing this thread with your envy bullshit.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Sven wrote:
As long as we have people envious of neighbors just down the street who make $100K (or even $250K) per year, we'll essentially be navel-gazing (and mired in unhappy self-pity to boot) while the UHNW folks just keep coasting along...above the riff-raff (because the riff-raff will be tussling among each other: "Oh? You make three times as much as me?!  You RICH BASTARD!!!")...

Sven, are you on vacation? I've noticed a significant uptick in baiting statements like this one. I wonder how you can look at someone who makes three times more than another human being and think that it's some insignificant thing. (I'm further baffled by Mr. Tea's ludicrous statement that Mark Zuckerberg making $20 billion in a day has no bearing on my financial reality--he's probably of the same ilk that thinks it's no big deal that JP Morgan can lose $2-billion without realizing it, apologize, and move on.)

I can't say, of course, that the above statement is explicitly against babble policy (although it's clearly against the spirit of this place, as you know); but it does adversely affect our tolerance as a community of your brand of politics. Since, doubtless, you will once again stray on the wrong side of policy--you might want to think about what kind of stead you want to stand in when you get there.

As for our other capitalist cheerleaders in this thread, well, carry on, I guess. How did you find babble anyway?


Vansterdam Kid
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Sven wrote:

Well, VK, of all federal taxes (income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes, inheritence taxes, etc.) that were collected by the US government in 2007 (the most recent year with complete information), the share borne by the bottom quintile of households was 0.8%, the next quintile paid 4.4%, the third quintile paid 9.2%, the fourth quintile paid 16.9%, and the top quintile paid 68.9%.

Since you insist on using American examples on a Canadian message board I'll use them for your benefit as well.

The only reason your useage of quintiles is relevent is because it proves that the US government is not taking in enough money to pay for the services that it provides, which is why it's running a massive defecit. This is alright if you are a deciple of Grover Nordquist and have a fetish for making the government so small that it can be "drowned in a bathtub", which due to your defence of increasing economic inequality I assume you are in favour of? Personally, I'm against this. While I'm not sold on an outright rejection of captalism, because I've never been convinced that pure alternatives have ever worked and I don't think they ever will, I think you have to be pretty dense to think a turn towards increased capitalism will solve any of these problems. You've basically admitted this yourself by alluding to increased competition from the third world leading to a downward pressure on wages and thus living standards. One way to mitigate this problem is with more communal (and government is the only realistic tool for this) action.

In any case, for government to be effective it needs money. Running a defecit will rob it of its effectiveness. As such, running a defecit is something I'm against (although in adition to a fiscal defecit, I'm also against running social and environmental ones too). Hence the two logical choices to close that defecit gap are to slash services or to raise taxes. I actually agree that the average person pays too much in taxes too whether directly through traditional taxes or indirectly through service fees charged on things that used to be covered by taxes. The reason this is the case is presicly because of this chart.

So no the Top 1, 0.1 and 0.01% do not need you to defend them. And if you have no problem with this then there is probably little point in you even posting here.


Rebecca West
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Catchfire wrote:

As for our other capitalist cheerleaders in this thread, well, carry on, I guess. How did you find babble anyway?

One wonders, what's the entertainment value of trying to bait progressives with indefensible arguments supporting wealth and privilege?  Kind of sad, when you think about it.


Caissa
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There seems to be an assumption on the apologists part that wealth is infinite rather than finite.


Sven
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Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Technically, I agree with you. The problem is more that they're not making their fair share in the first place. Taxes are an imperfect way of trying to shoehorn some fairness into an economic system that plain doesn't work.

I think that's the nub of the issue.  Looking at tax rates as way of evening things out among different economic classes is really an indirect way of trying to fix something that is much more structural.  Income tax rates are not the fundamental cause of income disparity, so they are really not the solution, either.  If a person is concerned about income disparity, then there are root causes for that disparity (unrelated to taxes) that should be examined.

Again, my sense is that free trade (and globalization generally) has probably had the biggest effect on expanding income disparity over the last twenty years than any other factor.

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Does it even make sense to talk about "earning" such ludicrous amounts of wealth? If a doctor who saves lives every day makes less than a hundred grand, what does someone have to do to "earn" fifty times that amount. What contribution could they possibly make that would justify such outrageous compensation? There is nothing.

I think the question is: Who decides what is the proper compensation for doing job X?

Is Alexander Ovechkin's contribution to society really worth him being paid over $125 million under his current contract?  Who's to say?  He sure as hell doesn't do anything "important," like saving lives.

Looking at your doctor and your saving-lives example: I know a guy who used to be a framing carpenter and he started a cleaning business about three years ago (just as the economy tanked), most of it relates to cleaning windows.  He doesn't save lives but I suspect he makes about the same income as a well-paid registered nurse who does save lives.  Is he making "too much" money because he merely cleans windows?  I think he makes as much money as his services demand (he does a great job and people are willing to pay him for that job).

Now, obviously, the über wealthy that the OP is talking about are on a completely different scale.  But, virtually all political discussion about taxes and income disparity is focused on a far smaller scale than that (like a small business owner or consultant who earns a $200,000 a year and is thereby labeled as "rich" and is lumped in as an indistinguishable part of a class that includes those über wealthy individuals who have billions of dollars.  They are barely on the same planet, let alone in the same economic class.

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Stop weeping for ther uber-rich Sven. They steal your money too, and the more we can tax out of them the better for everyone. They never earned this money and they don't deserve it.

I don't weep for the über rich billionaires of the word (what did the article say, that there are over 1,000 billionaires in the world?!).  What I get antsy about is people casually lumping someone making as little as $100K a year in the category of "the rich".

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Sure, but you'd think that if it was 30%, or 20%, or even 10%.

Actually, no.  Although I pay plenty of taxes now, I don't advocate cutting my taxes (I wouldn't oppose a cut but I'm fairly ambivalent about it).  What I object to is people wanting to increase my taxes beyond the rates I'm already paying.

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

Does the public sector have the revenue required to do the things it was designed to do? I think we can look around and see that the public sector is falling apart, and that a lot of the problems we're facing now have to do with not having the stability and equalising factors that the public economy is supposed to provide.

I don't know.  It depends on what you mean by what the public sector "was designed to do".  Was it designed to help the truly poor (which I support) or was it designed to provide something far beyond that?

 

That all being said, JTT, I enjoyed reading your comment and found it interesting and thoughtful.


Sven
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Vansterdam Kid wrote:

...your defence of increasing economic inequality I assume you are in favour of? Personally, I'm against this.

I'm not "in favor of" inequality.  What I'm in favor of it personal autonomy and choice...and that will inevitably lead to inequality because some people make poor choices and other people make better choices.  Choice is not wholly determinative, of course (there's good and bad luck, there's continuing effects of racism, etc. that also affect outcomes).  But choice plays a significant role in how a person's life evolves.

Some people get nervous when no one is "in control".  I'm reminded of the comments that Catchfire made the other day in a thread in which he and I were discussing choice in college education.  I don't want to put words in his mouth, and I'll be happy to be corrected, but I got the sense that he was uncomfortable with education not being run by the experts (the professoriate class) ...and that education has evolved into a system where students have choices and power to demand certain things from educational institutions and that has lead to an array of negatives.  Some students are going to make stupid decisions.  I've made stupid decisions in the past.  But, I want the freedom to make those decisions...and to live with the consequences.  I don't want people telling me this is what I should or must do.  Some people want the comfort of having decisions made for them.  I don't.  I'm confortable with the ambiguity of uncertainty.

I think a lot of folks here share my views when it comes to things like decisions about who they can marry, or control over their bodies, or what they have a right to read, and other civil rights matters.  But, when it comes to economic matters, many of those same folks want centralized or collectivized control over everything.

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

The reason this is the case is presicly because of this chart.

What is more telling than nominal tax rates is the amount of taxes actually paid by varous groups.  In the context of the USA (sorry!), I'd be more than happy to send you a PDF from the Congressional Budget Office that shows, going back to the 1970s, the actual percentage of total taxes collected by the five quintiles.  The percentages have trended up for the top quintiles and down for the bottom quintiles over the last forty or so years.

I do, by the way, appreciate your civil approach to having an open-ended discussion like this.

 


Sven
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Caissa wrote:

There seems to be an assumption on the apologists part that wealth is infinite rather than finite.

Wealth is neither infinite nor finite.  The wealth of a society can contract or expand over time, depending on how that society is structured.  I'm of the belief that wealth grows when people have an incentive to make it grow.  That's why China, after Mao came to power, eventually gave farmers a right to keep and sell a portion of their crops and livestock.  When it was all collectively owned, food production was terrible (few wanted to work hard because there was zero direct benefit for doing so).  When the farmers had a personal incentive to increase production, production bloomed.


Catchfire
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Sven wrote:
I don't want to put words in his mouth, and I'll be happy to be corrected, but I got the sense that he was uncomfortable with education not being run by the experts (the professoriate class) ...and that education has evolved into a system where students have choices and power to demand certain things from educational institutions and that has lead to an array of negatives.  Some students are going to make stupid decisions.  I've made stupid decisions in the past.  But, I want the freedom to make those decisions...and to live with the consequences.  I don't want people telling me this is what I should or must do.  Some people want the comfort of having decisions made for them.  I don't.  I'm confortable with the ambiguity of uncertainty.

This, of course, is wrong. I don't want experts in control. I want the people in control. You, mistakenly, imv, believe that what neo-liberalists call "choice" gives the consumers power. It doesn't. In fact, it's not even choice. My criticism of students nowadays (which equally, if not moreso, applies to administrators and faculty) is not that their capacity to choose allows them to exert a new influence on professors and thus subvert the existing hierarchy; it's that their capacity to choose--more precisely, their belief in their capacity to choose, which is encouraged at every turn by the media, government, economy and culture--is false. In the other thread's example, the students hectoring and complaining about an allegedly inferior professor did nothing to improve their education. Nothing.

If Wal-Mart treats me poorly so I opt to shop at Zellers instead, that's not choice. My ability to eat sweet corn in December isn't either--not while industrial monocultures continue to reduce the number of available seed varietals, all the while flogging a choice between bland, dry off-season corn and shrivelled second-freshness peas. The fact that I can choose between a Ford, a Honda, a Toyota or nothing does not empower me, because I am still subject to a geography, a cultural ethos, a civic infrastructure and an economic system which will determine the context in which I make my decision. Autonomy? Ha! You may call it choice, but it's choice without option.

Aside from the fact that you equate wealth with money--rather than some realistic definition of the good life--your point about autonomy is demonstrably false. After societies have accumulated a baseline of material wealth, more wealth doesn't make people happier--equality does. You, contemptuously, call this envy--rather than an unacceptable social reality which punishes people for the racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and anti-ablist prejudice of others. And then calls it "choice." 


Sven
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Catchfire wrote:

I don't want experts in control. I want the people in control. You, mistakenly, imv, believe that what neo-liberalists call "choice" gives the consumers power. It doesn't. In fact, it's not only choice. My criticism of students nowadays (which equally, if not moreso, applies to administrators and faculty) is not that their capacity to choose allows them to exert a new influence on professors and thus subvert the existing hierarchy; it's that their capacity to choose--more precisely, their belief in their capacity to choose, which is encouraged at every turn by the media, government, economy and culture--is false. In the other thread's example, the students hectoring and complaining about an allegedly inferior professor did nothing to improve their education. Nothing.

Although there are many interesting things to discuss there, I appreciate your clarification.

Catchfire wrote:

If Wal-Mart treats me poorly so I opt to shop at Zellers instead, that's not choice.

Or, at least, not much of a choice.  But, that isn't your only choice in a free market.

If all means of production and distribution was controlled by the government (or the collective), then you'd have whatever "choice" that monolith decided that you'd have.  That's truly a case of an individual not having any choice.

I have many, many choices, for example, as to where I can buy food.  There are big chain stores, there are region chain stores, there are local cooperatives, there are farmers' markets, there are local organic shops, etc.  It's not a false choice.  Can I get whatever I want?  Of course not.  But there are many, many choices and alternatives that I have for food.  I happen to like that.  Same with restaurants.  Same with many, many things.

Catchfire wrote:

After societies have accumulated a baseline of material wealth, more wealth doesn't make people happier--equality does.

So, who's right is it to decide for everyone what is best for them and what will make them happiest?  Why not let people figure it out themselves?  If someone wants to spend ever minute of her life earning as much money as she can because that's what makes her feel happy, then I say, "Knock yourself out."  Who am I (who is anyone?) to make that decision for others?


NorthReport
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Seriously Sven what are you doing here?


Vansterdam Kid
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Quote:
What is more telling than nominal tax rates is the amount of taxes actually paid by varous groups.  In the context of the USA (sorry!), I'd be more than happy to send you a PDF from the Congressional Budget Office that shows, going back to the 1970s, the actual percentage of total taxes collected by the five quintiles.  The percentages have trended up for the top quintiles and down for the bottom quintiles over the last forty or so years.

I'm not interested in such a PDF, because the point you're making doesn't change the fact that government does not have the resources required to mitigate the causes of extremes in income equality. It will need more money to do so. While I don't disagree that increased globalization has led to lower standards of living, perhaps more so than taxation, increased privatization leads to lower income individuals paying more for services they used to enjoy at lower rates when they were public services. This contributes to the problem. As such, this contributes to a lower standard of living for lower income individuals, whereas the highest income individuals benefit as they reap the profits made.

For example, let's say that a new government is elected that announces that it will cut everyone's taxes in half. Yippie? Also, very historically accurate everywhere.

Person A makes 50K/year and Person B makes 500K/year.

Person B will still contribute more to the funds used to operate government than person A. Then, a newer government is elected. It also promises tax cuts (because those are all the rage!), but it realises that it can't afford to give everyone tax cuts, so it only offers person A a 25% tax cut (or at least a tax cut on the first 50K of income). Because who can be against a tax cut for regular old person A (or at least the first 50K of income). Great, person B is still paying a bigger portion of the pie, albiet a much smaller pie.

But wait, the government is hurting for funds!

Easy, and typical solution, the government decides to privatize various services so as to pay it's bills! This privatization includes various everyday services such as Health Care (because that's Kenyan socialism, duh!), Fire and Police departments, public transportation, education, etc, etc. The added bonus will be that everyone will take care of these issues themselves and utilize the services should they so desire. Huzzah! Ayn Rand would be so proud!

Great, so the amount of money everyone would've spent on these essentially services that used to be covered by their taxes - in a pool of resources provided by everyone thus utilizing an economy of scale - will come out of their own pocket and everyone will now have a "choice" to use these services or not provided they can pay for them. But regardless of ones value judgement on that, at least they have this choice! Because everyone now "has the choice" to use these essential services those who don't have the money will not be able to, but that's just the way it is.

But wait! Because there is no economy of scale utilized and because some people will wait to use certain essentially services until it's almost too late and very expensive (hello Health Care in the USA - unless of course you subscribe to the Ron "let them die" Paul theory) more money will come out of individuals pockets to pay for the same services that one cannot avoid so as to use said services. Oh well, at least it's free choice!

As for Catchfire's argument, assuming you've read it right the disdain that people show for "experts" is sometimes downright illogical. If I were to use your logic (and I use the term loosly in this case) on this matter I shouldn't consider that an expert, such as a doctor, knows more about my health than me (with no medical training) or that a civil engineer could build a better bridge than me (with no training in engineer). No, no, I should not only have the right but the duty to make stupid decisions about these things out of purely ideological reasons because making a decision is more important than making a correct decision. Sorry, but that's stupid. And while experts are not infaliable and people should have every right to an opinion and in most cases an ability to excercise that opinion, nor should experts be treated with some exagerated sense of importance where people fall at their feet, one should weight their opinions more heavily than some random person who happened to read an article about something some time who insists "but my opinion is just as important, even though I have less knowledge on the matter."


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Sven wrote:
But there are many, many choices and alternatives that I have for food.  I happen to like that.  Same with restaurants.  Same with many, many things.

Then why is it when I go to buy locally-sourced, organic apple juice at my local co-op it always costs about 10x more than the concentrate-in-a-can stuff at Safeway? What kind of autonomy does that grant me? Ever think that the reason you like (what you call ) "choice" is because it affirms your financial superiority?

Quote:
If all means of production and distribution was controlled by the government (or the collective), then you'd have whatever "choice" that monolith decided that you'd have.

You always come back to this appeal to a "monolith." It's not unlike your appeal to censorship when you start expressing your free speech fetish. Fetishizing choice has about the same success. Whenever you think about alternatives to neo-liberalism, the only image you can muster is some Maoist cartoon propaganda disseminated by the Public Broadcasting Corporation. There is no reason that a free association of humans can't jointly decide how to live their lives heterogeneously. If anything is monolithic, it's capitalism--whose breathless revolutionary force destroys difference, flattens diversity and eliminates mobility (all the while claiming to be an exemplar of all three). 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

So much for talking about ways to reduce the power of the thieves who run the world's economies.

Sven is a troll that destroys threads.  This is fucking unbelievable.

May I suggest that the troll should either be banned or not fed.  Please can we have a conversation that is not about Sven's right wing views.

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I don't know, kropotkin, I think there is some productive material in this thread. And Sven isn't the only defender of the ultra-rich in this thread. I count three. Shall I ban them all?

As for the question posed in the OP, I'd prefer to start with local billionaires and the local infrastructure which supports and enriches foreign billionaires. First step? Tax the rich. It isn't rocket science.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

I am sure you and Sven and the others will enjoy debating whether penis envy is the root cause of our economic woes.

Sorry for raising the issue in a context that is not compatible with Sven's penis envy meme.  I will just bow out of this conversation now. Continue on.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Suit yourself. There's lots of room for discussion. You could always try entering the discussion yourself and see where that gets you.


Slumberjack
Online
Joined: Aug 8 2005

Catchfire wrote:
If anything is monolithic, it's capitalism--whose breathless revolutionary force destroys difference, flattens diversity and eliminates mobility (all the while claiming to be an exemplar of all three). 

Not all mobility. Capital itself is more mobile than ever before, and economic privation seems to have people the world over fleeing in all directions. Upward mobility is a bit of a challenge no doubt, despite all the poster children the corporate media makes use of.


quizzical
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Joined: Dec 8 2011

Catchfire wrote:
There is no reason that a free association of humans can't jointly decide how to live their lives heterogeneously. If anything is monolithic, it's capitalism--whose breathless revolutionary force destroys difference, flattens diversity and eliminates mobility (all the while claiming to be an exemplar of all three). 

gr8 responses. this 1 too. except for the "eliminates mobility" part IMV. if e1 is equal and maintaining diversity (class) mobility isn't part of any societal construction. if ya mean actual travel mobility then it's all good.


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