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Global wealth inequality: Looks like the top 1% are headed for a majority stake.

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Subyman

Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
Mar 18, 2005
7,876
32
86
The question I always ask - which usually gets ignored - is about the end effect of inequality. If I get an answer at all, it's usually a snarky answer such as "Boohoo, Richie Rich can't buy another gold plated yacht." But then on the flip side, what would the middle and lower classes have with a smaller wealth disparity that they don't have now? Would lower disparity result in less offshoring? Would the lower class suddenly become investors? Would they become entrepreneurs and start new companies? What do see as the end goal of reducing wealth disparity? More plastic stuff for everyone?
I see it as 1000 millionaires invest more diversely than 1 billionaire.
 

ralfy

Senior member
Jul 22, 2013
376
11
81
Significant inequality leads to global financial crashes, similar to what happened in 2008. One should expect more of the same, and coupled with other crises, such as peak oil and global warming.
 

dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,908
44
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
As an actual historian, yes that is true and it happened many times in the past, in fact I mention it in a post in this thread. Sorry it won't happen today, the rich have found a way to keep people poor and still entertained at the same time.

Sorry to squash your wet dream.
That's where you are out of touch and have it wrong.

More people than you apparently realize are losing access to their favorite TV shows because costs are going out of their reach.

Also people are losing their iPhones as well because they can't afford the data plans.
 

Blanky

Platinum Member
Oct 18, 2014
2,457
12
46
Without reading this thread I bet that a lot of people in it are defending this imbalance as good, that the poor can pull their bootstraps up, and people need to work harder. Then some anecdotes about people on food stamps with better stuff than they have. Finally, there's the funny part about most of these people defending an elite class of which they will never, ever be a part.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,874
4,204
126
Without reading this thread I bet that a lot of people in it are defending this imbalance as good, that the poor can pull their bootstraps up, and people need to work harder. Then some anecdotes about people on food stamps with better stuff than they have. Finally, there's the funny part about most of these people defending an elite class of which they will never, ever be a part.
It got even better. If you aren't one of the super rich it turns out you are half assed sloths, even if you are a highly trained professional. Loser!
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Wealth disparity continues to grow because of poker players who cheat?
And you wonder why people think you're useless. As I said, you cannot answer the questions honestly without undermining your ideology. So, you dodge and dance instead. Dismissed.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
The question I always ask - which usually gets ignored - is about the end effect of inequality. If I get an answer at all, it's usually a snarky answer such as "Boohoo, Richie Rich can't buy another gold plated yacht." But then on the flip side, what would the middle and lower classes have with a smaller wealth disparity that they don't have now? Would lower disparity result in less offshoring? Would the lower class suddenly become investors? Would they become entrepreneurs and start new companies? What do see as the end goal of reducing wealth disparity? More plastic stuff for everyone?
Several others have answered, but I'll offer my two cents as well. Yes, reducing wealth disparity will result in more people having more and better stuff. This means a better quality life, on the average: better and healthier food, better medical care, better education, safer cars, less debt, less stress due to financial concerns, a little more saving and investing, and yes, a whole lot of superficial plastic crap they don't really need.

But even that offers societal benefits, because increased spending is good for the economy. The simple fact is that the poor and middle class spend a far greater portion of their income than the wealthy. Ironically, that then increases the wealth of those at the top. Ensuring the middle class and poor get a bigger share of the pie actually helps grow the pie.

It's also good for society because it means fewer people rely on the government for subsistence, and those who do need less assistance, on the average. It will reduce crime and reduce the risk of major social unrest. Historically, when the elite get too greedy, the peasants start revolting.
 

maddogchen

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2004
8,909
2
76
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, believed to be one of the richest men in the government, tells the Russian people to eat less and use less electricity

"When a Russian feels any foreign pressure, he will never give up his leader," Shuvalov said. "Never. We will survive any hardship in the country &#8212; eat less food, use less electricity."


http://news.yahoo.com/russia-country-must-prepare-deeper-longer-crisis-115153395--finance.html

LOL, you poor fucks, eat less so there is more for me
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Massive inequality leads to people at the top who view anyone who isn't there with them as moochers and looters. As takers. As people who are less than they are. People who don't deserve to be able to vote. As people who should only be able to vote based on how much they pay in Federal Income Taxes. It provides a pseudo-rational for writing laws that favor themselves, because they're such great jobCreators that if they get richer than they already are, everyone else will benefit, too! They'll have to, because they're Makers! They're the jobCreators. These are all words/phrases/ideas of the people at the top who view anyone else as rabble. As people who should just shut up, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and succeed how they themselves did, by inheriting lots of money and being born on third base.

Massive inequality leads to people underneath the people at the top to view them as out-of-touch. As self-appointed Masters of the Universe who consider themselves to be better human beings and Amuricans. It leads to distrust (ya think?) of the people with all of the money.

You can find all sorts of Devil Libruuls who want to murder the rich and take their money on the internet. Just like I can find all sorts of lunatic conservatives who will openly talk about taking away the votes/rights of poor people since they're just moochers and looters. Hell, you can watch a debate where someone who suffers a catostrophic injury is cheered on for death.

The point is that in this country, it used to be a given that if you worked hard and played by the rules and attempted to better yourself and provide for your family, that you could. Tax laws ensured that the rich could be rich and have lots of liquidity, as long as they re-distrubuted some of their wealth back to the people who worked for them:

Education/training programs. Health insurance. Raises that kept up with increased productivity. Time-off for sickness/vacation.

And you know what has happened? As we've lowered taxes, the rich now don't need to worry about re-investing as much of their profits for tax breaks. So Education/training, health insurance, raises keeping up with prodictivity, fringe benefits/time off, pensions, have continued to shrink and shrink and become non-existant.

When you give the richest people no incentive to help out the people below them through various programs/benefits, and decide that you're not going to pay them more even though they produce more, it leads to the type of inequality we have now.

There were plenty of obscenely rich people in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. But because there was an actual middle class who could expect their lives and their children's lives to improve because they were getting paid higher for better/more productive work, along with other benefits, they weren't so conscious of how much more their bosses were getting paid.

But for the past 30+ years, this has changed. The tax structure/tarrif structure has changed so that the rich don't need to care anymore. Now, if you have a higher education, it's through massive debt, and you're just happy to have a job. So you can't just walk away to get another job at a moment's notice for better pay or benefits. You can't just go and start a business and do something for yourself, because of student loan debt, mortgage debt, etc.

And recently, the rich have been pushing everyone else's noses in it. They've decided that they are going to use their money and lobbying power to push for laws that benefit themselves without benefiting the people who work to earn them their money.

This is why class, wealth, and inequality are coming to the forefront.

You can blame Amurica-hating libruuls and Democrat™ party operatives and the Kenyan Muslim Atheist Communist Fascist in the White House, but he's just a small artifact of the US sliding into corporate feudalism.
That was an impressive amount of words to say absolutely nothing. You still didn't answer the question, just rant and parrot a bunch of left wing talking points. Well done, you've met my expectations for you.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Lower disparity would indeed mean more money for lower income people to invest, thereby slowing the growth of new disparities. They might well become entrepreneurs more often, as we see in countries with stronger social safety nets and a resulting higher level of entrepreneurship, because they're not risking their literal food on their kids' plates if the business fails. More money to pay for kids' colleges, and health care, and food to prevent childhood malnourishment that stunts mental and physical growth (most people without stable food in this country are children, as are most people in poverty overall).
So you want to decrease disparity in order to decrease disparity? That's awfully... circular...

Again I ask: Why?

Basically, less income inequality would mean more opportunity for more people to make the most out of their lives through hard work.
So you want less disparity so people can work hard. That's your goal, working hard.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
I'll take shot here.

Going back to fundamentals here, but wealth is money and money is an exchange medium for stored work. Work is required produce water, food, shelter, safety, education, comforts, etc and can be traded for them.

So while Gates doesn't eat 100X a normal person, $50B Gates dollars are equal to the work to provide 20 million people meals for a year.

Now it's incorrect to say that by keep $50B he's denying 20million people food obviously. Gates is bad example to, because his money isn't just sitting around, it's doing quite a bit of good.

It's also not correct to assume that the total pie is fixed $50B smaller. When allocated correctly work and technology can be used to grow the pie larger.

However inefficient allocation of work/money can effectively shrink the pie. War is a good example of that. Wealth hoarding is another. If the wealth is not invested in ways that grow the economy or like Goldman Sachs cornering of the aluminum market it effectively reduces the amount availabe for the rest of us.

I think that's what they were trying to get at.
I fully agree that inefficient allocation or resources is a bad thing. But are you saying that the allocation isn't correct when it's held by fewer people than when it's held by more?

It seems to me that it's a fundamental part of left wing philosophy that you cannot count on individuals to do the right thing, and that it takes government to tell them how to manage their lives correctly for the greater good, the tragedy of the commons and all.

So if we have a billion people with a thousand dollars instead of a thousand people with a billion dollars, how can you ensure that those billion people will allocate their resources more correctly than the other way around? If those billion people all want to watch Ow My Balls instead of Shakespeare, is that the correct allocation of resources? That sounds an awful lot like the free market, and you know how the free market cannot be trusted...
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Significant inequality leads to global financial crashes, similar to what happened in 2008. One should expect more of the same, and coupled with other crises, such as peak oil and global warming.
That's simply false.
 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,388
1,013
126
So you want less disparity so people can work hard. That's your goal, working hard.
Everyone who works, works hard. The only difference is that he doesn't like how the market doles out compensation and wants to "fix" it it be more to his liking. It's the labor equivalent of music file sharing - someone else is expected to do the creative work to generate something of value but then the reward is to be shared with everyone and the creator not paid for his efforts.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Several others have answered, but I'll offer my two cents as well. Yes, reducing wealth disparity will result in more people having more and better stuff. This means a better quality life, on the average: better and healthier food, better medical care, better education, safer cars, less debt, less stress due to financial concerns, a little more saving and investing, and yes, a whole lot of superficial plastic crap they don't really need.
I can buy the stress angle. But:

Better food? People have the option for better food now and they choose to forgo fresh fruits and vegetables for junk food. And don't give me the tired argument that it's expensive to eat healthy. A 10oz bag of Doritos costs more than a pound of apples.

Better education? Better medical care? We spend more per capita on both than other countries for worse results. The problem is not inequality, but squandering what we do have. There's simply no shortage of education due to inequality. Medical care, you may have slightly more to argue there, but not much. And ACA should fix much of that, right? The mandate means everyone will be covered.


But even that offers societal benefits, because increased spending is good for the economy. The simple fact is that the poor and middle class spend a far greater portion of their income than the wealthy. Ironically, that then increases the wealth of those at the top. Ensuring the middle class and poor get a bigger share of the pie actually helps grow the pie.
Aren't you arguing then that the results you want is what we already have? The pie has grown, and the portion the wealthy owns has grown as well. The lower class have little wealth, but they have a lot more trinkets than they used to because they spend a greater portion of their income. Basic math tells us that if the poor spend a greater percentage of their income, then their wealth will build at a slower rate than the wealthy. Graph it out if would help you visualize it.

It's also good for society because it means fewer people rely on the government for subsistence, and those who do need less assistance, on the average. It will reduce crime and reduce the risk of major social unrest. Historically, when the elite get too greedy, the peasants start revolting.
I've seen little to make me believe that reducing actual poverty will reduce the need for government programs. Government handouts create bureaucratic fiefdoms to be defended. "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy." Eliminate poverty, poverty will be redefined. As is pointed out, the poor in the US are nothing like the poor historically, or even today when looking at it globally. The poor have running water, electricity, air conditioning, cell phone service, the internet. The poor in the US today live better than royalty did 500 years ago.
 

Subyman

Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
Mar 18, 2005
7,876
32
86
BoberFett said:
Basic math tells us that if the poor spend a greater percentage of their income, then their wealth will build at a slower rate than the wealthy. Graph it out if would help you visualize it.
There are need-costs though such as food, housing, utilities, and such. Those take up the vast amount of a poor person's income, while those same needs for a wealthy person are inconsequential. So its an exponential effect of having more to invest because a wealthy person's need costs relative to their wealth become smaller and smaller. It may take a person in poverty more than a life time to actually save enough money to start accruing interest at a rate that they can begin to be wealthy. If proposed with that situation, then they would choose to spend now because there is no later. That is part of a problem, but I have no solution.

I've seen little to make me believe that reducing actual poverty will reduce the need for government programs. Government handouts create bureaucratic fiefdoms to be defended. "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy." Eliminate poverty, poverty will be redefined. As is pointed out, the poor in the US are nothing like the poor historically, or even today when looking at it globally. The poor have running water, electricity, air conditioning, cell phone service, the internet. The poor in the US today live better than royalty did 500 years ago.
Yes, poor have it better than 500 years ago, but being better than the dark ages (more than 500 years ago, I know) shouldn't be our terminal goal. Its not about inequality, its about the amount of inequality. No way do I want a flat-line society. I want my merit and work to show through in my quality of life, but how much value in the world should I be able to personally own? Its not an easy task to set limits or ceilings for success. There isn't a great answer to this question. One thing I can agree with though is that we don't want too much power isolated to only a few people.

Let's flip your question. What is the end result of going down the path we are? 1-10 people being trillionaires?
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,321
2
0
And you wonder why people think you're useless. As I said, you cannot answer the questions honestly without undermining your ideology. So, you dodge and dance instead. Dismissed.
You replied to my question with your own question, then of course accuse others of dodging. I will ask it again, why makes you think you are entitle to what someone else earned?
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,321
2
0
I can buy the stress angle. But:

Better food? People have the option for better food now and they choose to forgo fresh fruits and vegetables for junk food. And don't give me the tired argument that it's expensive to eat healthy. A 10oz bag of Doritos costs more than a pound of apples.

Better education? Better medical care? We spend more per capita on both than other countries for worse results. The problem is not inequality, but squandering what we do have. There's simply no shortage of education due to inequality. Medical care, you may have slightly more to argue there, but not much. And ACA should fix much of that, right? The mandate means everyone will be covered.
You can almost always eat better for less. Hel you can grow it yourself if you want.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
I can buy the stress angle. But:

Better food? People have the option for better food now and they choose to forgo fresh fruits and vegetables for junk food. And don't give me the tired argument that it's expensive to eat healthy. A 10oz bag of Doritos costs more than a pound of apples.
Yes, but the Doritos cost more than a pint of blueberries. Similarly, apples cost more than macaroni and cheese. It's easy to cherry pick specific examples to support one's position, but overall, higher incomes lead to healthier diets.


Better education? Better medical care? We spend more per capita on both than other countries for worse results. The problem is not inequality, but squandering what we do have. There's simply no shortage of education due to inequality. Medical care, you may have slightly more to argue there, but not much. And ACA should fix much of that, right? The mandate means everyone will be covered.
While I agree there are many other problems in both healthcare and eduction, once again, higher incomes tend to yield better results.



Aren't you arguing then that the results you want is what we already have? The pie has grown, and the portion the wealthy owns has grown as well. The lower class have little wealth, but they have a lot more trinkets than they used to because they spend a greater portion of their income. Basic math tells us that if the poor spend a greater percentage of their income, then their wealth will build at a slower rate than the wealthy. Graph it out if would help you visualize it.
I take your point, but the poor and middle class simply have not shared equally in the growing pie. Their wages have been effectively stagnant for decades, even as those at the top have gained more and more.


I've seen little to make me believe that reducing actual poverty will reduce the need for government programs. Government handouts create bureaucratic fiefdoms to be defended. "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy." Eliminate poverty, poverty will be redefined.
That doesn't match reality. With this last recession, we saw huge spikes in government assistance: unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. As we've recovered, they have dropped. While I agree these programs are unlikely to disappear, consumption will vary according to the overall prosperity of the working class.


As is pointed out, the poor in the US are nothing like the poor historically, or even today when looking at it globally. The poor have running water, electricity, air conditioning, cell phone service, the internet. The poor in the US today live better than royalty did 500 years ago.
Absolutely true, just as the pharaohs, and kings, and barons of old couldn't even conceive of the wealth of today's rich. That's not really relevant to the issue of disparity today. We, as a society, do not use the eighth century as our standard for poverty; we, as Americans, do not use Guatemala as our standard for poverty. We are better than that.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,660
4,483
126
Conservatives won't rest while America's poor have television and air conditioning.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
You replied to my question with your own question, then of course accuse others of dodging. I will ask it again, why makes you think you are entitle to what someone else earned?
Fluff off. I answered your question quite directly by pointing out its major flaw: "earn" is ambiguous. You've now spent several posts weaseling out on addressing this huge hole. Again, this is because you cannot answer that question honestly without undermining your ideology.

Go play.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Yes, but the Doritos cost more than a pint of blueberries. Similarly, apples cost more than macaroni and cheese. It's easy to cherry pick specific examples to support one's position, but overall, higher incomes lead to healthier diets.
Correlation is not causation.

While I agree there are many other problems in both healthcare and eduction, once again, higher incomes tend to yield better results.
Again, correlation is not causation.


I take your point, but the poor and middle class simply have not shared equally in the growing pie. Their wages have been effectively stagnant for decades, even as those at the top have gained more and more.
But how does that translate into standard of living, which is the only thing that really matters? In healthcare, does a smaller percentage of Americans have the absolute highest available quality of healthcare than they did 40 years ago? I would say that's probably true, but even the poor can get an MRI now, something that didn't even exist 40 years ago. So despite the fact that billionaires don't have to worry about medical bankruptcy, that doesn't mean that the poor aren't benefiting massively. I guess I just don't see wealth inequality is not the be-all-end-all measure of society that some do.

That doesn't match reality. With this last recession, we saw huge spikes in government assistance: unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. As we've recovered, they have dropped. While I agree these programs are unlikely to disappear, consumption will vary according to the overall prosperity of the working class.
But it does match reality. The War on Poverty is an abject failure. How much money spent, and yet inequality continues to rise? One could claim that the WoP has prevented it from becoming worse. Or one could claim that the WoP has contributed to making it worse.

Absolutely true, just as the pharaohs, and kings, and barons of old couldn't even conceive of the wealth of today's rich. That's not really relevant to the issue of disparity today. We, as a society, do not use the eighth century as our standard for poverty; we, as Americans, do not use Guatemala as our standard for poverty. We are better than that.
So what's your standard? I've pointed out in this forum on more than one occasion that average home size, cars per family, college graduation rate and many other metrics that could be considered as measures of standard of living have increased drastically and continue to increase since the "golden era" of postwar America. What year would you like me to compare to?

Again, you seem to be combating inequality as an evil unto itself. That smacks of emotion and greed, not logical thinking and rationality. "I don't care how much more I have now than I did yesterday, I'm mad that somebody else has more!" That's childish thinking.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,587
9
81
Conservatives won't rest while America's poor have television and air conditioning.
And senseamp won't rest until the brown people of the world are all picking his lettuce for a penny a year.

You're worse than any conservative.
 

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