User Tag List

First 91011

Results 101 to 107 of 107

  1. #101
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    953 sp/so
    Posts
    5,708

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Yeah, I have the feeling that you're one of those people who has the typical Libertarian black and white view of force. Guns = force. Starving =/= force.
    I have the feeling that you're one of those people who makes straw man arguments.

    Huh? Where did this "zero disparity" thing come from? Did I say anything about "zero disparity"? I don't think it's even possible, in practice.
    See my reply to Not_Me for more detail. It's a means of approaching the question.

    I agree that it's impossible in practice.

    I have the feeling you have me pegged as some sort of socialist. You're pretty new to this forum, so I'll just mark that one down as ignorance.
    Yes, but on whose part?


    I'm glad you got that (whatever that was) out of your system. Do you feel better now?
    I have the feeling that you "argue" by ignoring arguments rather than addressing them.

    Define significant. Compare that "ideal" disparity to the disparity in the current US economy since that is the context of this thread.
    Yes, that is one of the many questions I am introducing.


    Yes, the feudal lords' wealth was limited by the serfs' poverty because they were independent actors unable to see the bigger picture. They didn't work collectively, at least not on any meaningful scale. I wonder if American business owners can see the eventual limits to their wealth due to them shipping jobs overseas to save a few bucks and (temporarily) increase their profit margins.
    I don't think business owners think that way, no. I don't believe, however, that "shipping jobs overseas" is a primary factor with respect to any limits to their wealth.

    Umm, what? Who said anything about "the rich get their money from the poor"? In the US, the rich are raping the middle class.
    Hmm. I wonder where the middle class gets their money?
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  2. #102
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    MBTI
    ESTJ
    Enneagram
    9 so/sx
    Posts
    21,669

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Hmm. I wonder where the middle class gets their money?
    I'd be interested to hear exactly how you'd answer that.

  3. #103
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    MBTI
    Yin
    Enneagram
    One sx/sp
    Posts
    13,911

    Default

    Okay. I've been frustrated with trying to answer the OP because I've gone for too much detail, so I'm going to settle on keeping my points simple and finally get something posted here.

    [I apologize since there will probably many typos and words in the wrong places, but I wrote this really quick and I'm about to take off for Thanksgiving]

    Yes, inequality, particularly extreme inequality of wealth (as I imagine it) does harm to a society. I'm going to list some reasons why, although I'll be alternating between wealth and income specifically.

    1:
    This is number one because it is the most important. The more inequality of wealth there is, the more corruption there is and the less chance democracy has of surviving. As wealth is concentrated a smaller number of people have a bigger share of not just money but power itself. Power to get politicians elected, to lobby for bills, to bribe people that should be monitoring/investigating them, to influence what the media says, etc. It comes to a point when 1% or less of the population has more power in the process of government than the rest of the 99%. There is no representation.

    2:
    The more concentrated wealth is the poorer publics services will be, in particular, infrastructure will get worse, education will get worse, health care, law enforcement, etc.. will all get worse. The reason is that the more money a private citizen has, the more ability they have to buy private services better than public services. As this becomes available to them, they will become increasingly less cooperative in funding public services, because why would I want to spend money on a road that I'm never going to use when I could spend it on improving my personal helicopter? As the distribution of wealth becomes more hyperbolic, that means a larger and larger percentage of wealth that could be used to fund public services goes into the hands of people who have less and less reason to fund public service, and at the exact same time the number of people who'd benefit from a public service grows, as more people will gradually fall into a position opposite of the wealthy elite (that is, they cannot afford good private service and need to split costs between them just to get any service at all).

    3:
    Employment incentives become perverted. Concentration of wealth makes it more likely that you can get a well paying job that provides very narrow utility. That is, it increases the odds that you can get paid more for catering a wealthy private citizen than you can for manufacturing, being an engineer, police officer, doctor, lawyer, etc. Economic incentives start weighing toward those things that indulge the whims of an elite few and away from things of great utility to society at large. This could be seen as the other end of the issue noted in point 2.

    4:
    The economy can actually stagnate as a result of wealth inequality. It is true that rich people spend more money than anyone else, but they also have more money. The important question is how much they spend as a percentage of their wealth, and the answer is that they spend less than anyone else. Once you move beyond the middle class, the richer a person gets the less of their total wealth they spend. When all the country's money pools into a few peoples' hands, that means a larger percentage of all of that money is going to be saved instead spent, at best just paying out interest and probably getting eaten by inflation. This problem is compounded by the fact that as the rich get rich, they will spend even less proportionally. So, more of the country's money falls into the hands of people that will spend it less and less (yes, even as they spend it on their private goods instead of public services), slowing down the economy and making it more vulnerable to recessions, which is great since...

    5:
    ...Volatile financial behavior will become more common. As the elite have a larger cushion of cash to sit on and better ability to evade/manipulate law enforcement, they will become more likely to do questionable and risky business money. I'm talking about crap like our recent great recession or the panic of 1907. And since these people have so much money, they will have the ability to capriciously throw around a much larger absolute and relative amount of money, meaning the impact of their behavior will be greater than if any random person took a gamble.

    6
    It is possible for wealth to be redistributed so fast that some people will get poorer in absolute terms even as the country gets richer. And thanks to the way a hyperbolic distribution works, the number of people in the demographic that gets poorer will grow, while the number of people in the demographic that gets richer will shrink. This means that if the trend continues you can eventually hit a point where more than half the population gets poorer even as the country is supposedly getting richer. To put it another way, it is possible for both the GDP per capita and the Gini to grow at such a rate that an increasingly large number of people will lose money even as the GDP per capita is increasing, thanks to the Gini. However, let's consider that the situation doesn't even have to be this extreme to be worth stopping. Even if everyone is getting wealthier, odds are you can speed that process up by reducing inequality. If you had two countries with otherwise equal economies, and they set a mark for reducing poverty, and one did it by increasing the GDP PC alone, and the other by increasing the GDP PC and decreasing the Gini, country two would hit the mark a hell of a lot faster. Hopefully I don't have to explain the math behind all of this, because I think it's pretty simple and easy to visualize. The point is, inequality reduces the amount that a country's population actually receives any wealth.

    7:
    And this is really a culmination of the other points, but, inequality of wealth actually hurts inequality of opportunity. A person at the bottom has higher to climb, fewer sources of support, a much larger pool of competitors, and a more powerful more corrupt authority stacked against them, the more unequal the distribution of wealth is. The odds are no where close to even distributed amongst the population, and the largest chunk of the population has the worst odds.

    One last comment I want to make is that discussions of inequality almost invariably settle on a false dichotomy. The settle on the notion that you can either grow the economy or make it more even, but you can't do both, and so then the argument about which is better. I'm tired of the bullshit. I have looked, and looked, and looked, and I have not found evidence that we have to pick. We can both, and doing both is pretty much always better than doing one.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


    _________________________________
    INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp.
    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right

  4. #104
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    MBTI
    Yin
    Enneagram
    One sx/sp
    Posts
    13,911

    Default

    There are a lot of considerably wealthy people in Africa and the Arab world. I think there is fair debate in regards to how much those are free societies that respect private property in such places.

    And what about China?!

    And if we're being honest, does Russia even qualify?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


    _________________________________
    INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp.
    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right

  5. #105
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    MBTI
    INTj
    Posts
    1,650

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    So investigating what degree of disparity is bad/good is irrelevant to whether any particular degree of disparity is bad or good? "Extreme" is a rather imprecise quantity of disparity in the first place.

    So ... is no disparity good or bad, and why? Is some disparity good/bad and why? At what point does disparity become good/bad, and why? If one doesn't know one's own answers to these questions, at least in a tentative way, one might assert a belief about the OP, but one cannot engage in much of an argument about it.
    This thread deals specifically with the disparity of wealth and income. Discussing other forms of disparity has no relevance on whether it's good for some people to be much richer than others.

    One doesn't win a chess game by insisting that chess is pointless. It's OK to disagree with me and give a value-based reason (even based on different values than mine - it happens all the time!), but the reson you give cannot be valid within the context of this thread, because the thread itself requires one to argue about values.
    The TED Talk video in the link mentioned many reason why disparity is "wrong". On what basis do you dismiss the reasons?

    Like those found in Somalia or Afghanistan? Yeah, they're obscenely rich all right.

    Most of the obscenely rich in non-free economies are those who happen to have oil to sell - on the world market.
    Slave labor can also effective.

  6. #106
    Tempbanned
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    6w5 sx/so
    Posts
    8,161

    Default

    From The Economist this morning:

    Charts, maps and infographics
    Daily chart

    Incomes
    Inequality street
    Dec 5th 2011, 14:42 by The Economist online

    Income inequality is rising in rich countries

    THE gap between rich and poor has grown ever wider in wealthy countries over the past three decades. A new report (LINK) by the OECD has reams of data on this phenomenon and is well worth looking at. The Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality in which zero corresponds to everyone having the same income and one means the richest person has all the income, increased by almost 10% from 0.29 in 1985 to 0.32 in 2008, for working-age people in OECD countries. The trend is caused by earnings: the pay of the richest 10% of employees has increased at a far greater rate than that of the poorest 10% of employees. Within the upper echelons, the top 1% have reaped the greatest gains. Technology has disproportionately benefited high-earning workers, who also spend far longer at work than do low-earners. High earners marry other high earners. And governments are doing less to redistribute wealth than they have done in the past. So far, so familiar. But the report also argues that globalisation is not a significant cause of inequality, and that one of the many reasons for the rise in income inequality is that more people are in work now (or at least they were before the financial crisis hit) compared with the 1970s.


  7. #107
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    3w4
    Posts
    6,276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I have the feeling that you're one of those people who makes straw man arguments.
    That wasn't actually a straw man argument, that was a character assassination. Surely you know the difference.

    Yes, but on whose part?
    Definitely yours.

    I have the feeling that you "argue" by ignoring arguments rather than addressing them.
    I address what is relevant.

    Yes, that is one of the many questions I am introducing.
    One thing that we do know is that it is a lower level of disparity than we have today.

    I don't think business owners think that way, no. I don't believe, however, that "shipping jobs overseas" is a primary factor with respect to any limits to their wealth.
    It depends on the industry. For someone whose market is primarily domestic, the reduced income caused by shipping jobs overseas will eventually lead to reduced profit because of the country's reduced buying power, even if the profit is temporarily increased due to reduced labor cost.

    Hmm. I wonder where the middle class gets their money?
    By working for the wealthy. The buying power of the middle class has been dropping because they are forced to compete with laborers in China, India, etc. And this era of "free trade" never would have happened if the wealthy didn't lobby for it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

Similar Threads

  1. Multiculturalism : Good or Bad ?
    By redScorpion in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 105
    Last Post: 02-13-2011, 10:05 PM
  2. Quantitative Easing : Good or Bad idea?
    By William K in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-22-2010, 07:03 PM
  3. Talking "blind" - good or bad?
    By fidelia in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 08-09-2009, 11:09 AM
  4. Overall, are drugs good, or bad, for people?
    By Brendan in forum Health and Fitness
    Replies: 59
    Last Post: 07-15-2009, 03:49 AM
  5. [ENFP] ENFP's: Good or Bad Listeners?
    By SillySapienne in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 12-04-2008, 04:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO