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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Does income inequality matter to you?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012...-wrecking-ball

    It matters to Springsteen.

    Anyway, to be honest I never thought it was that big a deal, until I learned about the sorts of incredible pay packets and bonuses the banks which have been bailed out at everyone else's expense have been awarding, even against the wishes of shareholders (not to mention tax payers).

    It got me thinking about whether I thought this was wrong because of the failures involved in the banking system and that they currently live at the taxpayers expense. To honest that's not the whole of it really. Not at all.

    To be honest given the crisis which has occured and failures within the banking system I would have expected a market correction would take place resulting in a resetting of the wages and bonuses of these "masters of the universe" but that hasnt happened and I dont believe will happen or could happen.

    I think there's something seriously wrong with the income gap, when people earn four times that of a lottery winner as something totally surplus to their average earnings, which are something in the same range. That money translates directly into privilege and without anything at all in common with everyone else how will any of them care about anything other than defending their privilege?

  2. #2
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure libertarians love income inequality.
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  3. #3
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Yes and no. I'm okay with people making more than me who work harder and/or do more demanding jobs. Money isn't the most important thing to me. What does bother me is so many people living in poverty or near poverty. There are plenty of people who are working hard and still have trouble making ends meet. Then you have others like famous celebrities and sports stars are making more in a year than many of us will ever make in a lifetime.
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  4. #4
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    Income equality matters to me less then standard of living of the lowest classes

  5. #5
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    It's often complained that while incomes have risen on average over the last twenty or years or so, incomes have risen faster than average for the top income brackets.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that high-income people are getting wealthier faster than people in lower income brackets. People move in and out of different income brackets all of the time, especially over decades. Some people who were in a top income bracket ten years ago will have fallen into a lower bracket today, and the opposite is true for some people who were in lower brackets ten years ago. Statistical categories imply very little about flesh and blood human beings. It is actually consistent with such claims to suppose that everyone in the top 1 percent of earners began their careers at the very bottom, and that would seem to suggest that very poor people were getting wealthier much faster than everyone else. This scenario may be highly improbable, but it exposes how lacking in meaningful content these broad statistical claims usually are--it's the intellectual baggage that you bring to the numbers that does most of the heavy lifting.

    The default explanation for why some people are increasing their incomes faster than average ought to be that they are increasing their productivity faster than average. Your income is the market value of what you produce, and those who produce goods and services with a higher market value achieve higher incomes.

    There are some professions where income inequality is very high and others were it is very low. For example, inequality among sportsmen is very high, while it is relatively low among plumbers. I would expect that more is spent on plumbing services each year than professional sports, and so aggregate income is probably higher among plumbers than sportsmen. However, there are probably only a handful of plumbers who earn anything near what top sportsmen earn. It's relatively obvious why this would be. If plumbing services could be broadcast into peoples' homes across the globe at relatively low cost, then a minority of extremely skilled and experienced plumbers could dominate the market. Likewise, if everyone had to watch professional sports in their home town, then many less gifted sportsmen could make a reasonable living providing that kind of entertainment. The reasons for income inequality in these professions have little to do with greed, corruption, capitalist exploitation, or whatever else.

    My hunch is that the economy as a whole, over the last thirty years, has become more like professional sports and less like plumbing, and this is most noticeable in finance. Just as the invention of the television massively increased inequality among sportsmen, the rise of communications technology and globalisation have allowed a minority (especially in high finance) to increase their productivity much faster than average. This trend may continue or it may be grinding to a halt right now--I don't know.

    It's worth reflecting that there have been times in history when income increased disproportionately among lower income groups, and that was in times with far fewer efforts to "redistribute income" than today.

    Another thing--a lot of income is double-counted. Returns on savings are often counted as income in a way that defies basic economic principles.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    It bothered me in my last job as although we were not supposed to openly discuss our income, we did. Turned out i was the lowest paid of the advisors by about £3000pa and it pissed me off. I still worked hard though as in my eyes i knew i would be leaving at some point and i wanted a good reference.

    Also having worked in a bank, i must say i was grateful for the yearly bonuses and my redundancy pay which was a pretty penny. Did i deserve it? hell yeah. It was also a great company to work for.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
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  7. #7
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Yes, it matters. Income inequality can create a range of problems. There is hypothetically an amount of equality that also causes problems, but I don't think there's any country that has reached that point. As it stands, too little equality is the norm, and the USA is worse than the norm.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tantive View Post
    Income equality matters to me less then standard of living of the lowest classes
    Very Rawlsian.

  9. #9
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    No. But if I had a less than average income, you bet it would matter!
    -----------------

    A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
    A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
    A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '


    -----------------

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    No. But if I had a less than average income, you bet it would matter!
    What if you had more than average income?

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