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  1. #81
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    .
    Ah. Then I stand by what I said and you are clearly exaggerating far too much with your statement.

    I get the growing feeling I'm just dealing with more people who have infinite faith in market signals and that euphemistic oxymoron "self-regulation", in rational consumer sovereignty and judicious business practice. All of that old homo economicus kind of crap.
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  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Ah. Then I stand by what I said and you are clearly exaggerating far too much with your statement.

    I get the growing feeling I'm just dealing with more people who have infinite faith in market signals and that euphemistic oxymoron "self-regulation", in rational consumer sovereignty and judicious business practice. All of that old homo economicus kind of crap.
    I'll leave it to @uumlau (who has infinitely more patience than I do) to keep pulling your argument limb from limb.

    It just seems like you never made peace with (or have any real understanding of) the market.

  3. #83
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Would giving money away really solve problems related to stuff like world hunger?

    No. Of course not. Money is not a unlimited resource. Some people think that rich people just giving them money will fill all the holes in their pockets, when in fact problems like hunger are more related to means of production of goods, education, and proper living coditions. Sure giving money away would temporarily solve problems but in the long run everyone would end up broke. The rich? Broke. The poor they helped? Broke too, and now with no rich people to take care of them. Its a wonderful idea, give all your money away, like Saint Lawrence, unfortunetaly its not very farsighted. Like I said everyone would end up broke, not because there isnt enough to go around, but because money is capital. Its not a resource. People dont understand money and think its about just having the money. But what if you have money and the market crashes? You would still have the money but it wouldnt be worth shit. Thats why we have an economic crisis now. Money (esp. the US dollar) isnt worth what it used to be, because it doesnt represent anything anymore. Money represents the things it can buy, and if it doesnt represent anything anymore(because theres nothing left to buy) it wont be worth squat.

    Its not money its the things money can buy. But if there is nothing left or worth buying what value does money have?

  4. #84
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    First note, I'm a little wary of these figures because I don't know where they got
    an income gini of 32 for Denmark from. Both the CIA and WB put it at 24, and it has hovered within around a 1 point range of that for a long time. So that is, in fact, a big difference.
    It's always fair to be skeptical of the numbers, but as I pointed out before, it's HOW the numbers are measured that matters more than the numbers themselves.

    But it's also not like a consumption based gini is any more interchangeable than an income based one than a consumption tax is interchangeable with an income tax. And I feel I may be losing sight of what your point was. I mean, redistributive policies are largely what should allow such disparities between the two in the first place, which is to say, without the government taking from the rich and giving to programs that assist the poor, it wouldn't be so equal. So, are you trying to make a point about the value of redistributive policies, or a point about the correlation I was citing?
    My point is that it matters which Gini is being measured. Given that the US consumption Gini is on a par with the European ones, while the income Gini is much higher indicates that the mechanism of redistribution differs between the two. If the consumption is similar, why would we be worried about the income Gini at all? It just means that in the US, the redistribution is not counted as income (or at least doesn't happen before the income is measured). What does it matter that the income Gini is higher, if in the end everyone gets more or less the same amount of real stuff?

    And on that note, why do you think there is a correlation between income inequality (as far as the normal gini goes) and GDP PC (plus so many other things)? What does it mean? Even with your points about adjusting the gini, the fact remains, and it seems significant. It appears to be a predictor.
    This is a predictor?! ...


    There's barely even a correlation, there. If you go by countries with large territories and populations , there isn't much Gini variation and the GDP PC is all over the place. (OR, if you want to draw a line with a slope for correlation through those bold points, it points dramatically up and too the right - though the chi^2 on the data would be rather high.) There is a much better correlation between GDP PC and economic freedom: http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=5575


    But let's say there is something of a correlation, in that there's nothing in the upper right corner of the graph. The low GDP PC countries span a large range of the income Gini index. The high GDP PC countries span a smaller, somewhat lower range, but the range is still fairly wide.

    None of this would indicate to me that the Gini causes the high GDP PC. It looks more like the high GDP PC allows a higher likelihood of a low Gini. The economic freedom index, on the other hand, clearly indicates a strong correlation, and there is economic theory to back up the cause effect relationship.


    But I don't feel satisfied with this response. You seem to be saying the situations I put forward exist and are malinvestment, but you wave them off confidently with something vague assurance that failure is obvious and investors will be discouraged. This assumes that the signals are clear, the investors have a good idea of what they are doing, and that there is no way to turn out a personal profit out of malinvestment. I question all three premises.
    Fair enough to question the premises, but all that means is that you aren't bothering to learn about investment. Instead, you are assuming that I should prove to you how investment works. Sorry. I can explain how investment works, but you can only prove things to yourself via your own research. I'm just showing you the paths to expand your investigation of the topic, where to find the perspectives that are an alternative to the a priori assumptions you've adopted. In the end, it isn't enough for you to just say that my explanations aren't sufficient: if you cannot talk about investment in the terms I'm discussing them, you don't understand enough for me to communicate more to you.

    This isn't really a flaw in our conversation, but its like my discussing quantum mechanics with someone who is interested in physics, but never had calculus or college-level physics classes. Without the time and effort spent to learn the topic, all I can do is give "cartoon explanations", which will always fail tests requiring strong rigor. Of course my cartoon explanations aren't proof. But you're arguing against them from your ignorance, not your knowledge.

    None of this is intended as an insult: I always admire those who stand up for their beliefs, and willing to argue them with others. I respect it enough to say, "You're beliefs aren't true: here is what you need to learn in order to reevaluate them." I also understand if you simply don't believe me. That's OK too, as long as you don't pretend that you "won" an argument by saying that I didn't present my case well enough to you.


    Now, while I was first looking over your post, I was getting bugged by this feeling that we were veering way too far off the actual issue of whether or not inequality causes problems. I know I had written about this somewhere, so I went and dug it up. It's not short, and it's not written with anyone other than myself in mind to see. You can ignore at least one of the points as being written off by the conversation we've had thus far. The benefit and the cost of inequality ought to be examined as too separate things, so this list posits costs. Even if the benefits you propose (which I do not so far accept in entirety) were true, how much would they be worth these costs?

    This should link to it. Hopefully it can be viewed.

    It is a lot to respond to. No need to respond in full detail. Summarize your opinion. How much can the price of inequality be tolerated?
    Given the data I supplied above, I would say economic freedom is a much better indicator of high GDP PC than Gini. I haven't the time to run the numbers (all available for download at the heritage.org site I linked above), but it would be interesting to see how the Gini correlates with the various pieces of the economic freedom index. I would hypothesize that the overall index correlates somewhat positively with Gini (higher economic freedom => greater inequality), but that particular pieces of the index correlate very negatively (e.g., freedom from corruption).
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

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

  5. #85
    Sweet Ocean Cloud SD45T-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Caveat: I know jack about economics, but I do know a thing or two about human nature.


    If they're going to give it, they should give it to those who aren't going to squander it.

    My in-laws and siblings-in-law live in a developing country. Lots of stuff sucks over there, for sure, more so than here in the good ol' US. Half of our family over there is pretty responsible and dedicated, and they use money/resources well; and half piss it away either due to laziness or mismanagement. Guess which half we actually help out?

    I'm all for creating opportunities for those who have the capacity to seize them. Redistribute wealth in a way that actually makes us all better off. Give me a grant request over simple random chance any day.


    go go anecdotes
    It's like P. J. O'Rourke said in Parliament of Whores; you can't fix poverty just by giving people money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Would giving money away really solve problems related to stuff like world hunger?

    No. Of course not. Money is not a unlimited resource. Some people think that rich people just giving them money will fill all the holes in their pockets, when in fact problems like hunger are more related to means of production of goods, education, and proper living coditions. Sure giving money away would temporarily solve problems but in the long run everyone would end up broke. The rich? Broke. The poor they helped? Broke too, and now with no rich people to take care of them. Its a wonderful idea, give all your money away, like Saint Lawrence, unfortunetaly its not very farsighted. Like I said everyone would end up broke, not because there isnt enough to go around, but because money is capital. Its not a resource. People dont understand money and think its about just having the money. But what if you have money and the market crashes? You would still have the money but it wouldnt be worth shit. Thats why we have an economic crisis now. Money (esp. the US dollar) isnt worth what it used to be, because it doesnt represent anything anymore. Money represents the things it can buy, and if it doesnt represent anything anymore(because theres nothing left to buy) it wont be worth squat.

    Its not money its the things money can buy. But if there is nothing left or worth buying what value does money have?
    O'Rourke wrote about this in Eat the Rich when he traveled to Tanzania. Tanzania has received huge amounts of foreign aid money over the years, but it hasn't solved their problems. The government is corrupt and incompetent, so the aid money is squandered. Besides, they have great natural resources (not to mention cool animals that people like to see), so they already have the potential to be prosperous.
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  6. #86
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as a free lunch and poor kids would do well to remember that.
    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  7. #87
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    There is no such thing as a free lunch and poor kids would do well to remember that.
    Unless they go all Robinhood on the skeevy, hoarders' asses.

    Rich people should look at it this way, if you don't give money to the poor, we're gonna come into your homes and take what we need. If we're starving on the streets, we will get good at violence and theft to survive. You steel from us by benefitting from the sweat on our backs without paying enough money to sustain a family? We will get it back.

    I also hear that prisons have free lunches.

    One more thing - if the wealthy want to live in a world were the majority have nothing to lose? Well, then just keep on hoarding like you've earned it.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  8. #88
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post

    If I had money like, say, Warren Buffet, I would just give it away.
    He is giving it away. See here.

    This too

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/15-tyc...195610442.html

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  9. #89
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    There are definitely laudable rich folks who give a way a lot. However, in general, rich people aren't amazingly generous.

    For example: giving.jpg (in which the top quintile of household income gives around 2.1% of annual income)

    Or a somewhat rosier view from the Heritage Foundation:



    In either case, charitable giving doesn't go much above 3% (on average) for those who are well off self-made folks. I think something like Buffet's Giving Pledge can make a big difference, since swaying even a few of the hyper-rich can have a big impact, given that each person in that range has a huge amount of personal wealth. Still, in general, being rich makes you less empathetic and generous rather than more so.

    I also think the idea of "fractal inequality" is useful. As you move into higher income levels, you tend to socialize with new people, some of whom are much richer than you. Hence, you always feel like you've never quite made it, because you are keep comparing yourself with people who have more. So, in a weird way, I think the people who claim to be "poor" making $300,000 per year are being honest, but lack a wider perspective (or much empathy). They feel poor compared to people they know... so enough is never enough.

    (There's a separate argument to be made about how best to give and spend charitable dollars. Is it better to meet the needs of those who are hungry today, or try to invest in longer range transformation and improvement? Which are good charitable "investments" and which are bad?)

  10. #90
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    There are definitely laudable rich folks who give a way a lot. However, in general, rich people aren't amazingly generous.

    For example: giving.jpg (in which the top quintile of household income gives around 2.1% of annual income)

    Or a somewhat rosier view from the Heritage Foundation:



    In either case, charitable giving doesn't go much above 3% (on average) for those who are well off self-made folks. I think something like Buffet's Giving Pledge can make a big difference, since swaying even a few of the hyper-rich can have a big impact, given that each person in that range has a huge amount of personal wealth. Still, in general,
    How are people making those incomes well off?

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