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Re-Framing Capitalism

rousseau

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But it's all good, right? As long as the KKR billionaires are getting richer.

One of the aspects of the capitalism conversation I find interesting, is that the critical are slow to apply their logic to themselves. Rich people and corporations are an easy target, and we can all diss them and high-five, but the internal logic is the same for most of us, just on a smaller scale.

Selfish people are always someone else, somewhere else, someone richer with more money, never me.

So how do you build a sustainable world that works for the collective when human nature is basically such that individuals always prioritize themselves over the collective? How do you build a world with minimal inequality, when there is natural inequality in how well people are able to exploit the environment, and inherent power disparities?

We can keep pointing our fingers at the other selfish people, but this just looks like an infinite loop to me where we're in a constant, thoughtless power struggle. Is there an answer beyond this type of thinking?

I may have to check out Giddens' Third Way at some point, maybe it has actual answers? I respect him as a Sociologist, and to date haven't seen anything else actually address this question.
 
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Swammerdami

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But it's all good, right? As long as the KKR billionaires are getting richer.

One of the aspects of the capitalism conversation I find interesting, is that the critical are slow to apply their logic to themselves. Rich people and corporations are an easy target, and we can all diss them and high-five, but the internal logic is the same for most of us, just on a smaller scale.

Selfish people are always someone else, somewhere else, someone richer with more money, never me.

So how do you build a sustainable world that works for the collective when human nature is basically such that individuals always prioritize themselves over the collective? How do you build a world with minimal inequality, when there is natural inequality in how well people are able to exploit the environment, and inherent power disparities?

You are preaching to the choir if you think you're rebutting my sentiments.

Many million of people are greedy. I do not want to change human nature, even if that were possible. (I think there are also millions of people with some charity and altruism and who are greedy but not excessively so. However these are generally not the sort of people that become billionaires.)

The way to reduce the excesses of capitalism is through government coercion. That is, taxes, subsidies and regulations.

During the Rational Era, there were laws preventing one billionaire or one corporation from owning an over-concentration of media. Now? In GOP-dominated Amerika, monopolies are not regarded as a problem. "If a billionaire wants to buy Twitter or one of the top newspapers then Why Not? It's his money to spend."

During the Rational Era, billionaires were taxed at a higher rate than the common people. Now? In GOP-dominated Amerika, Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. And Ayn Randists like Rand Paul think Buffett's tax rate is still too high.

During the Rational Era, we wanted healthy citizens. Now sick people are useful pawns to enrich the stockholders of Pfizer, etc.

During the Rational Era, education was a priority. Now the QOPAnon leader "loves the uneducated people." Educated people tend to vote against QOPAnon.

We don't need the masses to become more good-spiritied and charitable: Most of them already are. We need them to vote more rationally.
 

rousseau

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But it's all good, right? As long as the KKR billionaires are getting richer.

One of the aspects of the capitalism conversation I find interesting, is that the critical are slow to apply their logic to themselves. Rich people and corporations are an easy target, and we can all diss them and high-five, but the internal logic is the same for most of us, just on a smaller scale.

Selfish people are always someone else, somewhere else, someone richer with more money, never me.

So how do you build a sustainable world that works for the collective when human nature is basically such that individuals always prioritize themselves over the collective? How do you build a world with minimal inequality, when there is natural inequality in how well people are able to exploit the environment, and inherent power disparities?

You are preaching to the choir if you think you're rebutting my sentiments.

Many million of people are greedy. I do not want to change human nature, even if that were possible. (I think there are also millions of people with some charity and altruism and who are greedy but not excessively so. However these are generally not the sort of people that become billionaires.)

The way to reduce the excesses of capitalism is through government coercion. That is, taxes, subsidies and regulations.

During the Rational Era, there were laws preventing one billionaire or one corporation from owning an over-concentration of media. Now? In GOP-dominated Amerika, monopolies are not regarded as a problem. "If a billionaire wants to buy Twitter or one of the top newspapers then Why Not? It's his money to spend."

During the Rational Era, billionaires were taxed at a higher rate than the common people. Now? In GOP-dominated Amerika, Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. And Ayn Randists like Rand Paul think Buffett's tax rate is still too high.

During the Rational Era, we wanted healthy citizens. Now sick people are useful pawns to enrich the stockholders of Pfizer, etc.

During the Rational Era, education was a priority. Now the QOPAnon leader "loves the uneducated people." Educated people tend to vote against QOPAnon.

We don't need the masses to become more good-spiritied and charitable: Most of them already are. We need them to vote more rationally.

It wasn't so much a rebuttal, more a continuation of your thoughts.

Some of your comments highlight the issue I'm addressing, that the internal logic of human nature is such that, over time, it naturally wears down the cohesion of our communities. Entropy. People would vote more rationally if they actually had an interest in the collective, but they don't, so what do we do beyond wishful thinking?

In Canada we at least have the benefit of a centre-left majority.
 

DBT

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
 

Harry Bosch

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
 

DBT

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

It's not a matter of take, but to reframe conditions that enable suppression of wages, tax breaks for the very rich, etc. It's a matter of the balance of power, which naturally tends to be skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society.
 

Harry Bosch

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

It's not a matter of take, but to reframe conditions that enable suppression of wages, tax breaks for the very rich, etc. It's a matter of the balance of power, which naturally tends to be skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society.
Well, I'm against special tax breaks for the very rich. Could you give me an example? I'm for a progressive tax system. How are wages being suppressed? Are you talking about companies fighting unions?
 

bilby

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
 

Harry Bosch

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.
 

DBT

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.

Your 'general terms' remark was skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society. My remark was related to reframing capitalism in ways that enable a fairer more equitable economic system and society to emerge.
 

bilby

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Capitalism is only a couple of hundred years old. If the framing has rotted out to the point where it needs reframing already, then perhaps it would be easier and cheaper to just tear it down and start over. :)
 

Harry Bosch

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.

Your 'general terms' remark was skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society. My remark was related to reframing capitalism in ways that enable a fairer more equitable economic system and society to emerge.
Well, that sounds pretty cool to me. I'm all for more fair! What do you have in mind?
 

DBT

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.

Your 'general terms' remark was skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society. My remark was related to reframing capitalism in ways that enable a fairer more equitable economic system and society to emerge.
Well, that sounds pretty cool to me. I'm all for more fair! What do you have in mind?

It's not that hard, basic models already exist...just look to Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland...the happiest people on Earth.

Executive salaries kept to fairly reasonable levels, a blend of capitalism and socialism, with the motto 'no one left behind.'
 

bilby

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.
The more I think about this, the more I think that fairness is the critical difference; But it's not fairness to the individual in terms of allowing him to keep his wealth, it's fairness in terms of having every individual playing by the same rules.

That is, there's nothing wrong with the government saying "You earned X dollars, so you must pay Y dollars in taxes", but there's something very wrong about them saying "You earned X dollars, and must pay Y dollars in taxes, but your neighbour who also earned X dollars must pay Z dollars in taxes, because his politics (or race, ethnicity, family connections, etc.) differs from yours".

It's not private ownership of property or wealth per se that matters, so much as the impartial enforcement of the same set of rules.

To use a sports analogy, a match where the referees are very strict can be enjoyable to players and spectators; And so can a match where the referees are very lax. But if the referees are strict with one team, and lax with the other, it's no fun for anyone - not even, in many ways, the team that is handed an unearned victory.
 
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Swammerdami

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It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.
Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

Nobody's trying to confiscate that cabin you built yourself where you raise your family. But to compare that cabin with the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Walmart stock owned by the Walton family shows misunderstanding of the very purpose of human society, and the covenants which have kept society working for thousands of years.

Why do inventors and writers get to own their creations? It's just NOT as simple as "What I own belongs to me." The correct answer is found in the U.S. Constitution
U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8 said:
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries[;]
See? Inventors are allowed to own their creations NOT for their own benefit, but for society's benefit ... "to promote progress".

This is not an isolated example. Here is a charter allowing one of the first English corporations 422 years ago. She did this for England's benefit, not just to help her loving cousin George.
Charter Dated the 31st December in the 43rd year of Her Reign said:
ELIZABETH, by the Grace of God, Queen of England [etc.] To all ... People ... greeting.
Whereas our most dear and loving Cousin, George, Earl of Cumberland, and our well-beloved Subjects, Sir John Hart, of London, Knight [and other members of the East India Company] ... [intend] ... for the Honour of this our Realm of England, as for the Increase of our Navigation, and Advancement of Trade of Merchandize [to] adventure and set forth one or more Voyages [etc.] KNOW YE THEREFORE, that we, greatly tendering the Honour of our Nation, the Wealth of our People, and the Encouragement of them, and others of our loving Subjects in their good Enterprizes, for the Increase of our Navigation, and the Advancement of lawful Traffick, to the Benefit of our Common Wealth, have of our especial Grace, certain Knowledge, and mere Motion, given and granted, and by these Presents, for us, our Heirs and Successors, do give and grant unto our said loving Subjects [the right to incorporate, and to operate in East India]

Ownership WITHOUT the active assistance of government exists only via violence or threat of violence. That government controls the right to ownership has been obvious fact ever since a caveman told his son "Oog, you share that banana with your sister now."

It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.
 
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rousseau

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The issue I see with the equity argument is that the past few centuries have seen unprecedented population growth and improvement in quality of life for the poor. If you re-frame this, what we're looking at is a more meritocratic world with a by-product of rich people.

Yes equity is worth discussing and a valuable goal, but IMO the real problem with our current economies is long term sustainability. Human nature will always work tirelessly to make things more equitable, but it almost never thinks about the future or unintended consequences / impact.
 

Harry Bosch

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Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.
That rather depends on how they came by it.

There's a spectrum of 'fair' involved; A person who outright stole their wealth doesn't get to keep it; If they got it by means of the labour of slaves then they possibly do get to keep it, but that's not generally regarded as very fair; If they defrauded people to get it, then there's a whole range from "told granny her driveway needed resurfacing and absconded with her deposit money" through "Insider trading" to "promised to build a wall on the border to win votes to obtain a job, but then got the job, but didn't build a wall" and on to "the large print giveth, but the small print taketh away" contracts; If they got it from ancestors who stole it then generally it remains theirs; If you earned it through hard work, you get to keep a fraction of it, with the remainder taken by the government in exchange for the provision of infrastructure that you needed in order to work in the first place...

It's far more complicated than "You get to keep what you have, because taking it from you ain't fair".

A major complication is that while many things are property, money isn't - but everyone behaves as though it is.
Well, I was speaking in general terms; to match DBT's speaking in general terms. I don't disagree with what you say above.

Your 'general terms' remark was skewed in favour of the upper echelons of society. My remark was related to reframing capitalism in ways that enable a fairer more equitable economic system and society to emerge.
Well, that sounds pretty cool to me. I'm all for more fair! What do you have in mind?

It's not that hard, basic models already exist...just look to Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland...the happiest people on Earth.

Executive salaries kept to fairly reasonable levels, a blend of capitalism and socialism, with the motto 'no one left behind.'
I don't have any problem with that. Finland and Denmark are very capitalistic. The primary difference between them and the US is that they favor a much larger safety net than the US. I actually agree. America is a very right wing country. Very shortly women won't even have the right to control their bodies. I fully assume that gay marriage will be overturned. Right to birth control could be in trouble. And yea, Americans hate paying taxes. That's how we are. I wish it were different. I vote differently. But I'm mostly in the minority. But that the things about a capitalist country: the people have the right to decide how large their safety net should be. And for whatever reason, the US has always constantly voted for smaller.
 

rousseau

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It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.
Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

Nobody's trying to confiscate that cabin you built yourself where you raise your family. But to compare that cabin with the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Walmart stock owned by the Walton family shows misunderstanding of the very purpose of human society, and the covenants which have kept society working for thousands of years.

Why do inventors and writers get to own their creations? It's just NOT as simple as "What I own belongs to me." The correct answer is found in the U.S. Constitution
U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8 said:
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries[;]
See? Inventors are allowed to own their creations NOT for their own benefit, but for society's benefit ... "to promote progress".

This is not an isolated example. Here is a charter allowing one of the first English corporations 422 years ago. She did this for England's benefit, not just to help her loving cousin George.
Charter Dated the 31st December in the 43rd year of Her Reign said:
ELIZABETH, by the Grace of God, Queen of England [etc.] To all ... People ... greeting.
Whereas our most dear and loving Cousin, George, Earl of Cumberland, and our well-beloved Subjects, Sir John Hart, of London, Knight [and other members of the East India Company] ... [intend] ... for the Honour of this our Realm of England, as for the Increase of our Navigation, and Advancement of Trade of Merchandize [to] adventure and set forth one or more Voyages [etc.] KNOW YE THEREFORE, that we, greatly tendering the Honour of our Nation, the Wealth of our People, and the Encouragement of them, and others of our loving Subjects in their good Enterprizes, for the Increase of our Navigation, and the Advancement of lawful Traffick, to the Benefit of our Common Wealth, have of our especial Grace, certain Knowledge, and mere Motion, given and granted, and by these Presents, for us, our Heirs and Successors, do give and grant unto our said loving Subjects [the right to incorporate, and to operate in East India]

Ownership WITHOUT the active assistance of government exists only via violence or threat of violence. That government controls the right to ownership has been obvious fact ever since a caveman told his son "Oog, you share that banana with your sister now."

It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.

Government enforced ownership raises a bit of an ethical dilemma doesn't it? I have no problem at all calling extreme wealth a problem, but who decides how much is 'too much' when the wealth is gained by legal channels? And if it doesn't belong to the holder, who does it belong to?

I'm not suggesting a stance on these questions, but that seems to be where the problem lies. When you dig into it it's a pretty deep wormhole.
 

DBT

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."

 

Loren Pechtel

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."

At least he's defining the family size, but that still doesn't say to what standard of living.
 

Swammerdami

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Government enforced ownership raises a bit of an ethical dilemma doesn't it? I have no problem at all calling extreme wealth a problem, but who decides how much is 'too much' when the wealth is gained by legal channels? And if it doesn't belong to the holder, who does it belong to?

I'm not suggesting a stance on these questions, but that seems to be where the problem lies. When you dig into it it's a pretty deep wormhole.
Oh no. I hope you are not joining Mr. Bomb in drawing wrong inferences from the rhetorical question in the "click-bait" title. High billionaire wealth is a SYMPTOM of high income inequality, NOT the cause.

I'm not sure what you mean by "government-enforced ownership." A main role of government is to HELP the rich with police, judges and prisons so that the mob can't rush in and seize the rich's property.

And I was definitely NOT proposing that a line be drawn beyond which all wealth would be confiscated. The way forward to reduce (not eliminate) income inequality is by
  • Making tax codes more progressive. People earning $10 million annually should pay at least a slightly higher tax rate than those making do with just $1 million annually. Corporations should pay higher tax. (In the global economy, taxes need to be "in sync" across countries, but the U.S. is dragging its feet.)
  • Repealing laws which discourage labor unions.
  • Improving public schools. It is a shame that the property tax revenue from rich neighborhoods is spent educating rich kids, while the poor kids who need a good education the most must make do with the property tax raised from their poor neighborhood. Those tax funds should be pooled city-wide, state-wide or even nation-wide.
  • I'm not a big fan of minimum wage laws, but that is one popular approach to reducing income inequality.
  • Free health-care; free or heavily subsidized child-care; affordable colleges; policies (e.g. rezoning or subsidies) that would make housing affordable.
  • Measures like a financial transaction tax which would steer resources to sectors which grow the real economy.
  • Better prosecution of "white collar" crime. The wealth grifted illicitly by rich criminals is much MUCH greater than total losses from auto thefts and burglaries, yet gets a slap-on-the-wrist or isn't prosecuted at all.
  • Et cetera.

It is a right-wing fantasy to think that progressives want to drag down billionaires rather than improving the lot of the under-privileged. (Some play into the right-wing liars' hands by directing anger at the super-rich. I'm sorry if my OP contributed to that. As I've stated I just thought it fun and interesting to look at some of the names on the list.)

ETA: Some will think me disingenuous to distance myself from thread title. But if I were complaining about shingles and hoping for advice on anti-viral drugs, I might use a "click-bait" title like "Do I have enough lesions yet?"

PLEASE, PLEASE: Respond to INDICATIVE statements. Do NOT draw inferences from rhetorical questions.


Ooops. I conflated this thread with another on a related topic.
 
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DBT

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."

At least he's defining the family size, but that still doesn't say to what standard of living.

Consumer price index: average house price, food items, clothing, transport, etc.
 

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."

At least he's defining the family size, but that still doesn't say to what standard of living.
From the link:
The court looked at 11 workers’ households to work out the ‘cost of living’ for an average working family. This included the cost of clothes, boots, furniture, insurance, union membership, lighting, sickness, books, newspapers, alcohol and tobacco. Higgins decided that wages had to be enough for a worker to meet the basic needs of a family of five.
So, no smartphones, trips with SpaceX or Tesla Ss. TVs were probably off the menu as well.
 

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It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.
Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

Nobody's trying to confiscate that cabin you built yourself where you raise your family. But to compare that cabin with the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Walmart stock owned by the Walton family shows misunderstanding of the very purpose of human society, and the covenants which have kept society working for thousands of years.

Why do inventors and writers get to own their creations? It's just NOT as simple as "What I own belongs to me." The correct answer is found in the U.S. Constitution
U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8 said:
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries[;]
See? Inventors are allowed to own their creations NOT for their own benefit, but for society's benefit ... "to promote progress".

This is not an isolated example. Here is a charter allowing one of the first English corporations 422 years ago. She did this for England's benefit, not just to help her loving cousin George.
Charter Dated the 31st December in the 43rd year of Her Reign said:
ELIZABETH, by the Grace of God, Queen of England [etc.] To all ... People ... greeting.
Whereas our most dear and loving Cousin, George, Earl of Cumberland, and our well-beloved Subjects, Sir John Hart, of London, Knight [and other members of the East India Company] ... [intend] ... for the Honour of this our Realm of England, as for the Increase of our Navigation, and Advancement of Trade of Merchandize [to] adventure and set forth one or more Voyages [etc.] KNOW YE THEREFORE, that we, greatly tendering the Honour of our Nation, the Wealth of our People, and the Encouragement of them, and others of our loving Subjects in their good Enterprizes, for the Increase of our Navigation, and the Advancement of lawful Traffick, to the Benefit of our Common Wealth, have of our especial Grace, certain Knowledge, and mere Motion, given and granted, and by these Presents, for us, our Heirs and Successors, do give and grant unto our said loving Subjects [the right to incorporate, and to operate in East India]

Ownership WITHOUT the active assistance of government exists only via violence or threat of violence. That government controls the right to ownership has been obvious fact ever since a caveman told his son "Oog, you share that banana with your sister now."

It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.

Government enforced ownership raises a bit of an ethical dilemma doesn't it? I have no problem at all calling extreme wealth a problem, but who decides how much is 'too much' when the wealth is gained by legal channels? And if it doesn't belong to the holder, who does it belong to?

I'm not suggesting a stance on these questions, but that seems to be where the problem lies. When you dig into it it's a pretty deep wormhole.
Yea, I struggle with how am I hurt if someone has more stock than I. I only invest in index funds. I don't think that it's a great idea for the vast majority of investors to own direct stock anyway. Individual company stocks go up and down dramatically, far more volatile that mutual funds. My ownership in mutual funds means that I own some part of Twitter. Elon owns more. Okay. I don't see the crisis. I don't even use Twitter. People get excited about paper wealth.
 

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If it was only 'paper wealth,' nobody would bother....
Except that the paper belongs to someone else. The wealth in your house for example is only “paper”. Is based on an appraisal based on subjective educatated best guesses. But homes go up and down in value every day. Would you be happy if someone wanted to take the paper wealth in your house because you are in the upper 1 percent?
 

Swammerdami

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It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.
Our system of business appears to be weighed in favour of the super rich. A fairer distribution of wealth being something that government seem to be reluctant to address.
Well, in the current system in the west, a person's wealth belongs to the person who owns that wealth. To take someone's wealth; and give it to someone who doesn't own it doesn't seem fair. Russia is doing a lot of this in Ukraine.

Nobody's trying to confiscate that cabin you built yourself where you raise your family. But to compare that cabin with the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Walmart stock owned by the Walton family shows misunderstanding of the very purpose of human society, and the covenants which have kept society working for thousands of years.

Why do inventors and writers get to own their creations? It's just NOT as simple as "What I own belongs to me." The correct answer is found in the U.S. Constitution
U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 8 Clause 8 said:
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries[;]
See? Inventors are allowed to own their creations NOT for their own benefit, but for society's benefit ... "to promote progress".

This is not an isolated example. . . .

Ownership WITHOUT the active assistance of government exists only via violence or threat of violence. That government controls the right to ownership has been obvious fact ever since a caveman told his son "Oog, you share that banana with your sister now."

It's hard to discuss these things when the very nature of ownership in human society is not understood.

Government enforced ownership raises a bit of an ethical dilemma doesn't it? I have no problem at all calling extreme wealth a problem, but who decides how much is 'too much' when the wealth is gained by legal channels? And if it doesn't belong to the holder, who does it belong to?

I'm not suggesting a stance on these questions, but that seems to be where the problem lies. When you dig into it it's a pretty deep wormhole.
Yea, I struggle with how am I hurt if someone has more stock than I. I only invest in index funds. I don't think that it's a great idea for the vast majority of investors to own direct stock anyway. Individual company stocks go up and down dramatically, far more volatile that mutual funds. My ownership in mutual funds means that I own some part of Twitter. Elon owns more. Okay. I don't see the crisis. I don't even use Twitter. People get excited about paper wealth.
Suppose 0.5% of corporate profits were somehow diverted to help American children living in poverty. Suppose, that is, that instead of corporate profits totaling $10 trillion annually, that was taxed down to $9.95 trillion, and the extra $50 billion was spent improving the lot of America's 11 million children living in poverty, $4500 each. That would be enough to buy the uninsured children the medicines they need, better recreation venues, books, less crowding in their schools, with enough left over to help pay for childcare and make it easier for their parent to work.

Would that make America, on the whole, a better place? Yes, the value of your index-fund shares would decline from $200k to $199k perhaps, and you have no children who would benefit directly, but think altruistically, or patriotically if you will.

I admit that I find your response confused and confusing, but before we address that please answer the above question, to see if there's any commonality in our perspectives.
 
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Loren Pechtel

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Suppose 0.5% of corporate profits were somehow diverted to help American children living in poverty. Suppose, that is, that instead of corporate profits totaling $10 trillion annually, that was taxed down to $9.95 trillion, and the extra $50 billion was spent improving the lot of America's 11 million children living in poverty, $4500 each. That would be enough to buy the uninsured children the medicines they need, better recreation venues, books, less crowding in their schools, with enough left over to help pay for childcare and make it easier for their parent to work.

Would that make America, on the whole, a better place? Yes, the value of your index-fund shares would decline from $200k to $199k perhaps, and you have no children who would benefit directly, but think altruistically, or patriotically if you will.

I admit that I find your response confused and confusing, but before we address that please answer the above question, to see if there's any commonality in our perspectives.
Fundamentally this comes down to the usual leftist dream that there's always enough money to tax for what they want.
 

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If it was only 'paper wealth,' nobody would bother....
Except that the paper belongs to someone else. The wealth in your house for example is only “paper”. Is based on an appraisal based on subjective educatated best guesses. But homes go up and down in value every day. Would you be happy if someone wanted to take the paper wealth in your house because you are in the upper 1 percent?

Nobody has suggested devaluing the family home. The issue is correcting the huge disparity in power, wealth and income at the top and the rest of us. Which would be a good thing for the economy, larger disposable incomes for low income workers, investement, superannuation funds, financial security....
 

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Suppose 0.5% of corporate profits were somehow diverted to help American children living in poverty. Suppose, that is, that instead of corporate profits totaling $10 trillion annually, that was taxed down to $9.95 trillion, and the extra $50 billion was spent improving the lot of America's 11 million children living in poverty, $4500 each. That would be enough to buy the uninsured children the medicines they need, better recreation venues, books, less crowding in their schools, with enough left over to help pay for childcare and make it easier for their parent to work.

Would that make America, on the whole, a better place? Yes, the value of your index-fund shares would decline from $200k to $199k perhaps, and you have no children who would benefit directly, but think altruistically, or patriotically if you will.

I admit that I find your response confused and confusing, but before we address that please answer the above question, to see if there's any commonality in our perspectives.
Fundamentally this comes down to the usual leftist dream that there's always enough money to tax for what they want.

Tax is based on income.
 

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."
Can you tell us how high a wage Justice Higgins decided that working women should be paid?
 

Swammerdami

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Suppose 0.5% of corporate profits were somehow diverted to help American children living in poverty. Suppose, that is, that instead of corporate profits totaling $10 trillion annually, that was taxed down to $9.95 trillion, and the extra $50 billion was spent improving the lot of America's 11 million children living in poverty, $4500 each. That would be enough to buy the uninsured children the medicines they need, better recreation venues, books, less crowding in their schools, with enough left over to help pay for childcare and make it easier for their parent to work.

Would that make America, on the whole, a better place? Yes, the value of your index-fund shares would decline from $200k to $199k perhaps, and you have no children who would benefit directly, but think altruistically, or patriotically if you will.

I admit that I find your response confused and confusing, but before we address that please answer the above question, to see if there's any commonality in our perspectives.
Fundamentally this comes down to the usual leftist dream that there's always enough money to tax for what they want.

Hunh? What have you been smoking?

I used ACTUAL numbers specifically to refute the innumerate meme you posit. $10 trillion is a ballpark estimate of U.S. corporate profits; to tax that all the way down to $9.95 trillion hardly represents the sort of confiscatory tax that leftists supposedly envision. Use Google and a calculater and discover that $4500 was an UNDER-estimate of the annual per capita benefit to poor children. A much smaller amount would have a big effect, but I didn't want to rework the numbers.

If reducing childhood poverty is just a "leftist dream", then most of the world's developed countries are better dreamers than the U.S.

The United States ranks near the bottom of dozens of advanced nations in terms of the well-being of its children, according to a report with data from before the coronavirus epidemic.

The rankings were published by the United Nations Children’s Fund, known as UNICEF, which show that of 38 advanced countries for which data was compiled in a range of wellness markers, the United States was No. 36. (See ranking chart and full report below).

The two countries worse than the U.S. on that ranking chart were Bulgaria and Chile.

Does this help?
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by "government-enforced ownership." A main role of government is to HELP the rich everyone with police, judges and prisons so that the mob can't rush in and seize the rich's property.
FIFY.

Which is to say, when the mob rushes in and seizes the rich's property, who exactly do you think it is that winds up doing grunt work in Paris while going from salon to salon trying to convince anyone who'll listen to help restore them to their former riches, and who exactly do you think it is that's still trapped in Russia, starving to death in the resulting famine?

The way forward to reduce (not eliminate) income inequality is by
  • Making tax codes more progressive. People earning $10 million annually should pay at least a slightly higher tax rate than those making do with just $1 million annually.
This is a popular sentiment. I find it incomprehensible except as an expression of unalloyed outgroup hostility, or else perhaps as a strategic attempt to divide and conquer by creating a conflict of interests. Why on earth should the government involve itself in interfering with the results of the market specifically on behalf of those making $1 million a year, people who don't need the help, people who are evidently entirely capable of simultaneously standing on their own feet while also paying their full share of a citizen's obligation to help cover the general overhead of maintaining a functioning society?

The moral case for a progressive tax is two-fold. First, it's a way to correct for the economic insanity western civilization has gotten itself into of taxing workers on their income instead of on their profit: the excess of their income over the necessary expenses they must pay in order to maintain that income stream. We know better than to tax businesses that way. It's absurd. If we taxed a grocery store on its revenue and didn't first subtract out what it had to pay to get all that food on the shelves, we wouldn't have grocery stores. The custom of not having food, housing and medicine tax-deductible for regular taxpayers is idiotic. Progressive tax rates at the low end of the income scale help correct for that.

And second, a progressive tax is a compassionate way to give a break to the workers at the margins, those for whom paying the same tax rate as prosperous people would be a hardship. Progressive tax rates at the low end of the income scale do that quite effectively.

But neither of those reasons has any bearing on people making $1 million a year. So what moral justification is there for progressive tax rates at the high end of the income scale?

Corporations should pay higher tax.
A corporation is a legal fiction. When you give money to a corporation you're actually giving it to the owners, the shareholders. Why should that income be taxed twice, as corporate tax and then again as a tax on dividends, just because of an accounting convention? There's a fair answer to that -- a corporation tax can be seen as a Pigovian tax, a payment for the externalities of limited liability -- but what's the right price for that? "Higher" is not a calculation; it's just another expression of outgroup hostility.

(In the global economy, taxes need to be "in sync" across countries, but the U.S. is dragging its feet.)
Actually the U.S. is pretty much in the middle of the pack.


  • Improving public schools. It is a shame that the property tax revenue from rich neighborhoods is spent educating rich kids, while the poor kids who need a good education the most must make do with the property tax raised from their poor neighborhood. Those tax funds should be pooled city-wide, state-wide or even nation-wide.
Then again, what justification is there for treating public schools as different from the rest of government functions and paying for them with property tax instead of with a suitably increased income tax? Taxing people on their property instead of on their income (or better, their profit) is just a regressive way to screw over those, usually the elderly, who are income-poor but became land-rich when property values rose. Which is to say, it's a way to force people to give up their homes because other people want them more.

  • I'm not a big fan of minimum wage laws, but that is one popular approach to reducing income inequality.
Like most approaches to reducing income inequality, raising the minimum wage is actually a way to split up the poor and reduce income inequality for some of them while increasing income inequality for others. Reducing income inequality is a difficult technical problem and if people really cared about it they'd hand designing the measures for it over to economists instead of leaving it up to politicians and popular opinion. We might as well design suspension bridges by Twitter.

It is a right-wing fantasy to think that progressives want to drag down billionaires rather than improving the lot of the under-privileged.
It's not a fantasy and it's not right-wing -- it's a fact that should be self-evident to every liberal who read your post. It isn't right-wingers' fault that the very first item on your list was about how $1 million earners should be treated better than $10 million earners. That was not about improving the lot of the under-privileged.
 

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Cost of living is a metric. A "living wage," not a bare minimum wage.

"In 1907 the President of the new Conciliation and Arbitration Court, Justice Henry Bournes Higgins, brought in the idea of a basic or minimum wage. Using the Sunshine Harvester Factory as a test case, Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."
Can you tell us how high a wage Justice Higgins decided that working women should be paid?


I didn't say that society was perfect, or even ideal at the time. The point was the implementation of a living wage. Something that in principle can include all workers regardless of sex or gender.
 

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Except that the paper belongs to someone else. The wealth in your house for example is only “paper”. Is based on an appraisal based on subjective educatated best guesses. But homes go up and down in value every day. Would you be happy if someone wanted to take the paper wealth in your house because you are in the upper 1 percent?
It doesn't have to be based on a subjective appraisal. I think property tax is a bad idea, but never mind that; if we're going to have one, there's a smarter way to design it.

Instead of you having to give the government, say, 1% of the value of your house, you could have to give the government 1% of your house. You don't get an annual tax bill; they get an annual tax lien. You don't have to do anything at all; if you want you can just let the liens accumulate year after year. Whenever you sell your house, the government gets its cut of the sales price. If you never sell, when you die the government can make your executor sell if by then the liens have accumulated to the point where the government is the majority owner of the house. No subjective estimates required. And if the government doesn't want to wait for you to sell or die to get its money, it always has the option of selling its liens on your house to the highest bidder in an aftermarket. If the government's appraisers are any good at their job then some investor will take them up on the deal. Plus if you'd prefer to go on owning your whole house you can always buy back the lien and it will be no different from paying property tax just like you always did.
 
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... Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."
Can you tell us how high a wage Justice Higgins decided that working women should be paid?
I didn't say that society was perfect, or even ideal at the time. The point was the implementation of a living wage. Something that in principle can include all workers regardless of sex or gender.
The point is that "Justice Higgins decided" is a pretty messed-up argument to offer for anything. Higgins ruled that women could be paid less than men for the same work because he based his decision on his prejudices about how society should be arranged and on notions he got from unscientific folk-economics. Do you have any reason to think his decision that a man's wage should be enough to support a family of five wasn't equally based on prejudice and folk-economics?
 

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... Justice Higgins decided that working men should be paid a wage that would allow them to support a family of five. Justice Higgins’ ruling, known as the Harvester Judgement, became the basis for setting Australia’s minimum wage standard for the next 70 years."
Can you tell us how high a wage Justice Higgins decided that working women should be paid?
I didn't say that society was perfect, or even ideal at the time. The point was the implementation of a living wage. Something that in principle can include all workers regardless of sex or gender.
The point is that "Justice Higgins decided" is a pretty messed-up argument to offer for anything. Higgins ruled that women could be paid less than men for the same work because he based his decision on his prejudices about how society should be arranged and on notions he got from unscientific folk-economics. Do you have any reason to think his decision that a man's wage should be enough to support a family of five wasn't equally based on prejudice and folk-economics?

The societal values of the time have nothing to do with the basic dignity of fair pay and conditions for employees, a pay rate sufficient to support a family in reasonable comfort. Good for workers. Good for both the economy and to build a fairer, more equatable society. isn't that a worthwhile aim?
 

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The societal values of the time have nothing to do with the basic dignity of fair pay and conditions for employees, a pay rate sufficient to support a family in reasonable comfort.
Why is that the criterion for fair pay? Suppose it takes $15/hour to support a family in reasonable comfort, but the job a worker does in an hour only increases his employer's revenue by $12. If the employer pays him $12 for that work, what's unfair about that?

Good for workers.
Good for some workers. Kind of sucks for the workers who don't know how to do anything that will increase an employer's revenues by $15. Do you think outlawing $12/hour jobs is going to magically make an employer be willing to pay $15 in order to get $12? Why would she do that? Why wouldn't she just save her money and not hire the guy who doesn't know how to get her $15 more revenue?

Good for both the economy
Can you explain how having a guy who's able to produce goods or services customers are willing to pay $12 for, and who's willing to do it for $12, instead just sit on his ass watching TV while others are working and being taxed to support him, is good for the economy? Why would it not be better for the economy if he increased total production by $12/hour, and incidentally in the process got some real world experience that might after a while ramp up his skill set to the point where some employer could pay him $15 and not take a loss on it?

and to build a fairer, more equatable society.
In what way is a society that cuts a marginal worker's pay from $12 to zero in order to raise some other worker's pay from $12 to $15 fairer and more equitable? Did you ask both workers whether doing that was fair and equitable, or only the one who'll get the raise? Or did you ask neither, and just apply folk economics to determine that a so-called "living wage" is fairer?
 

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The societal values of the time have nothing to do with the basic dignity of fair pay and conditions for employees, a pay rate sufficient to support a family in reasonable comfort.
Why is that the criterion for fair pay? Suppose it takes $15/hour to support a family in reasonable comfort, but the job a worker does in an hour only increases his employer's revenue by $12. If the employer pays him $12 for that work, what's unfair about that?

Good for workers.
Good for some workers. Kind of sucks for the workers who don't know how to do anything that will increase an employer's revenues by $15. Do you think outlawing $12/hour jobs is going to magically make an employer be willing to pay $15 in order to get $12? Why would she do that? Why wouldn't she just save her money and not hire the guy who doesn't know how to get her $15 more revenue?

Good for both the economy
Can you explain how having a guy who's able to produce goods or services customers are willing to pay $12 for, and who's willing to do it for $12, instead just sit on his ass watching TV while others are working and being taxed to support him, is good for the economy? Why would it not be better for the economy if he increased total production by $12/hour, and incidentally in the process got some real world experience that might after a while ramp up his skill set to the point where some employer could pay him $15 and not take a loss on it?

and to build a fairer, more equatable society.
In what way is a society that cuts a marginal worker's pay from $12 to zero in order to raise some other worker's pay from $12 to $15 fairer and more equitable? Did you ask both workers whether doing that was fair and equitable, or only the one who'll get the raise? Or did you ask neither, and just apply folk economics to determine that a so-called "living wage" is fairer?

If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
 

skepticalbip

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
That seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how a business works. A great many people in a business do not generate any revenue. Many people are employed like supply clerks, maintenance personnel, etc. that make it possible for those who are actually creating the product to create that product and make a profit. It is the business as a whole that has to make a profit, not each individual. Also, salaries are not based on how much profit the individual produces because many workers do not create products. Salaries are based on what the pool of workers with the qualifications necessary for the job being offered will accept. If there is a pool of a hundred qualified applicants for two openings, what salary will they agree to?

The workers are their own profit centers and they are selling their labor as their product so they need to decide what price they are setting for their product. If they over price their product then their potential customer (the business they want to work for) may buy their competitor's product.
 
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DBT

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
That seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how a business works. A great many people in a business do not generate any revenue. Many people are employed like supply clerks, maintenance personnel, etc. that make it possible for those who are actually creating the product to create that product and make a profit. It is the business as a whole that has to make a profit, not each individual. Also, salaries are not based on how much profit the individual produces because many workers do not create products. Salaries are based on what the pool of workers with the qualifications necessary for the job being offered will accept. If there is a pool of a hundred qualified applicants for two openings, what salary will they agree to?

The workers are their own profit centers and they are selling their labor as their product so they need to decide what price they are setting for their product. If they over price their product then their potential customer (the business they want to work for) may buy their competitor's product.

Service providers, income, charging for services, etc. Not everything can is said in a brief remark. Checkout operators, for instance, may not generate 'revenue' but are essential for the running of the business.
 

Swammerdami

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Hi, Bomb. I know you're smarter than you sound. At this point, if I wrote "The sky is blue" I think you'd post an erudite-sounding paragraph discussing the difference between azure and cyan.

I'm not sure what you mean by "government-enforced ownership." A main role of government is to HELP the rich everyone with police, judges and prisons so that the mob can't rush in and seize the rich's property.
FIFY.

Which is to say, when the mob rushes in and seizes the rich's property, who exactly do you think it is that winds up doing grunt work in Paris while going from salon to salon trying to convince anyone who'll listen to help restore them to their former riches, and who exactly do you think it is that's still trapped in Russia, starving to death in the resulting famine?
I'm not bothering to understand what this means, except as a variation on "The police will protect the homes of everyone. whether they live in a $100 million mansion or under a bridge." Oh, wait. Even that's not true: Wealthy people do generally get better response from police and justice system.
The way forward to reduce (not eliminate) income inequality is by
  • Making tax codes more progressive. People earning $10 million annually should pay at least a slightly higher tax rate than those making do with just $1 million annually.
This is a popular sentiment. I find it incomprehensible except as an expression of unalloyed outgroup hostility, or else perhaps as a strategic attempt to divide and conquer by creating a conflict of interests. Why on earth should the government involve itself in interfering with the results of the market specifically on behalf of those making $1 million a year, people who don't need the help, people who are evidently entirely capable of simultaneously standing on their own feet while also paying their full share of a citizen's obligation to help cover the general overhead of maintaining a functioning society?
So multi-millionaires have the same needs, wants and life-styles as multi-billionaires? How about people earning $900,000? The way you write, I'd guess your ideal tax table would be full of "cliffs". My guess is your math is good enough to know that an infinitely-differentiable function which is straight-lined over any tiny segment must be straight-lined everywhere.

The moral case for a progressive tax is two-fold. First, it's a way to correct for the economic insanity western civilization has gotten itself into of taxing workers on their income instead of on their profit: the excess of their income over the necessary expenses they must pay in order to maintain that income stream.

What on earth are you babbling about? If you think Elon Musk should have been allowed to deduct his health insurance premium from his $30+ billion income in 2021, I don't disagree. It's the political clique which you now seem to be allied with that eliminated most deductions.

. . .But neither of those reasons has any bearing on people making $1 million a year. So what moral justification is there for progressive tax rates at the high end of the income scale?
I write "a slightly higher tax rate" and you accuse me of coddling those with a million-dollar income? If I were going for the grade-school "logic" that apparently appeals to you now, I'd accuse you of coddling those who make just $900,000.

Shheeezh. Do we need to post detailed tax schedules before we can discuss progressive tax?

And why are we speaking of "morality" again?
Corporations should pay higher tax.
A corporation is a legal fiction. When you give money to a corporation you're actually giving it to the owners, the shareholders.
. . . Why should that income be taxed twice, as corporate tax and then again as a tax on dividends/
. . . outgroup hostility
Gibberish. Much of the money "given" to corporations is retained, and tends to present as unrealized capital gains. How much of Buffett's wealth has he "realized"?

And where did I say I wanted to revert to old-style taxation of dividends? You're gasping[sic] at straws to bring up side-issues like this. What's next? A lecture on the difference between "qualified" dividends and "unqualified"?

[*]Improving public schools. It is a shame that the property tax revenue from rich neighborhoods is spent educating rich kids, while the poor kids who need a good education the most must make do with the property tax raised from their poor neighborhood. Those tax funds should be pooled city-wide, state-wide or even nation-wide.
[/LIST]
Then again, what justification is there for treating public schools as different from the rest of government functions and paying for them with property tax instead of with a suitably increased income tax? Taxing people on their property instead of on their income (or better, their profit) is just a regressive way to screw over those, usually the elderly, who are income-poor but became land-rich when property values rose.
...
We might as well design suspension bridges by Twitter.
Show me where I wrote that schools SHOULD be financed with property taxes. I was describing reality and suggesting a minor change within that framework.

Anyway, property tax — though arguably regressive — is a better way to raise revenue than, e.g. sales or payroll tax. If you don't know why start a thread and ask ... AFTER you've calmed down.

[rant rant babble babble]
I had a very favorable impression of Bomb#20. Well-informed, articulate and intelligent centrist views. I hope that Bomb#20 comes back.
 

Loren Pechtel

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
So the person gets $0/hr rather than $12/hr. Somehow I think the $12/hr is better.

Killing bad jobs doesn't magically make good jobs appear. If good jobs exist the bad jobs will die a natural death anyway, no need to do anything to get rid of them.
 

Loren Pechtel

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That seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how a business works. A great many people in a business do not generate any revenue. Many people are employed like supply clerks, maintenance personnel, etc. that make it possible for those who are actually creating the product to create that product and make a profit. It is the business as a whole that has to make a profit, not each individual. Also, salaries are not based on how much profit the individual produces because many workers do not create products. Salaries are based on what the pool of workers with the qualifications necessary for the job being offered will accept. If there is a pool of a hundred qualified applicants for two openings, what salary will they agree to?

The workers are their own profit centers and they are selling their labor as their product so they need to decide what price they are setting for their product. If they over price their product then their potential customer (the business they want to work for) may buy their competitor's product.
This, also. IIRC 1989 was the last time I made a penny for my employer. Since then my job has always been to to help other workers produce more. And then the leftists go complaining that those other workers aren't getting paid fairly for what value they create for the company.
 

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
So the person gets $0/hr rather than $12/hr. Somehow I think the $12/hr is better.

Killing bad jobs doesn't magically make good jobs appear. If good jobs exist the bad jobs will die a natural death anyway, no need to do anything to get rid of them.

It's a matter of a power imbalance between management and workers and not good or bad jobs, or killing jobs.

Managers are motivated to keep running costs down, which means paying the minimum. Without protection for vulnerable workers, a race to the bottom.
 

skepticalbip

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
So the person gets $0/hr rather than $12/hr. Somehow I think the $12/hr is better.

Killing bad jobs doesn't magically make good jobs appear. If good jobs exist the bad jobs will die a natural death anyway, no need to do anything to get rid of them.

It's a matter of a power imbalance between management and workers and not good or bad jobs, or killing jobs.

Managers are motivated to keep running costs down, which means paying the minimum. Without protection for vulnerable workers, a race to the bottom.
What??? People want to spend as little as they can to get as much as they can. So managers being people, you are right.

If you need to buy a new car and you find the model you want for two thousand dollars less at one dealership than another one, which dealer are you going to buy from? Do you feel that you should make the dealer with the lowest price take another two thousand dollars because it just wouldn't fair not to? After all, the dealer has financial responsibilities for his family.

On the other hand, workers want to get payed as much as they can get. Should they voluntarily ask for less because to accept more would mean someone else would have to do without?
 

DBT

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
So the person gets $0/hr rather than $12/hr. Somehow I think the $12/hr is better.

Killing bad jobs doesn't magically make good jobs appear. If good jobs exist the bad jobs will die a natural death anyway, no need to do anything to get rid of them.

It's a matter of a power imbalance between management and workers and not good or bad jobs, or killing jobs.

Managers are motivated to keep running costs down, which means paying the minimum. Without protection for vulnerable workers, a race to the bottom.
What??? People want to spend as little as they can to get as much as they can. So managers being people, you are right.

If you need to buy a new car and you find the model you want for two thousand dollars less at one dealership than another one, which dealer are you going to buy from? Do you feel that you should make the dealer with the lowest price take another two thousand dollars because it just wouldn't fair not to? After all, the dealer has financial responsibilities for his family.

On the other hand, workers want to get payed as much as they can get. Should they voluntarily ask for less because to accept more would mean someone else would have to do without?

You missed the bit about a power imbalance between individual workers and employers.....where there is virtually no negotiating pay rates in some sectors, this is our rate, take it or leave it.

Which is the reason why unions were formed in the first place - collective bargaining increases negotiating power - and progressive nations set a minimum wage.
 

skepticalbip

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If a job can't generate enough revinue to pay someone a reasonable rate, the firm should reconsider its business plan. Of course it's not that simple, some menial jobs can be allocated to juniors on commensurate rates. Janitorial work may generate no revenue, yet cleaning is essential work, therefore the business, being otherwise profitable wears the cost. Just a part of running a business.
So the person gets $0/hr rather than $12/hr. Somehow I think the $12/hr is better.

Killing bad jobs doesn't magically make good jobs appear. If good jobs exist the bad jobs will die a natural death anyway, no need to do anything to get rid of them.

It's a matter of a power imbalance between management and workers and not good or bad jobs, or killing jobs.

Managers are motivated to keep running costs down, which means paying the minimum. Without protection for vulnerable workers, a race to the bottom.
What??? People want to spend as little as they can to get as much as they can. So managers being people, you are right.

If you need to buy a new car and you find the model you want for two thousand dollars less at one dealership than another one, which dealer are you going to buy from? Do you feel that you should make the dealer with the lowest price take another two thousand dollars because it just wouldn't fair not to? After all, the dealer has financial responsibilities for his family.

On the other hand, workers want to get payed as much as they can get. Should they voluntarily ask for less because to accept more would mean someone else would have to do without?

You missed the bit about a power imbalance between individual workers and employers.....where there is virtually no negotiating pay rates in some sectors, this is our rate, take it or leave it.

Which is the reason why unions were formed in the first place - collective bargaining increases negotiating power - and progressive nations set a minimum wage.
No I didn't miss the power imbalance. There is a power imbalance in all human dealings. But you seem to believe that the worker is always at the mercy of the business manager. Not so. A worker that feels that they are so valuable to the business because of their great qualifications that they deserve a higher wage can negotiate with the company for their wage. They also are free to leave (and can use that as bargaining leverage) and offer their expertise to another company that recognizes their talent, leaving the first business to suffer the loss of his talent.

And labor unions do not always benefit the worker. My older brother was a staunch union man working for the old Eastern Airlines. The airline was in financial problems and the Union decided to strike for wages. This bankrupted the airline and he had to find a grunt job pulling wire for a contracting company for one third the salary he had been making... still a union job though. Thousands of old Eastern Airlines employees ended up in the same boat.
 
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