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>> No. 92021 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 11:19 am
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Is tackling inequality a pipe dream?

If you're financially secure enough to have capital to invest then you can sit back and watch your wealth increase which, over time, makes the gulf between the haves and the have-nots grow. Either you've got the money to be able to do this or you don't.

Is focusing on inequality a bit of a red herring? It seems like it would be more constructive to instead focus on raising the minimum standard of living for everyone, to ensure they can have a comfortable and secure life.
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>> No. 92023 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 11:40 am
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I'd like to see UBI implemented under the Worgl Experiment type conditions, but that'll never happen.

I hear Bristol has their own local currency though.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%B6rgl#The_W%C3%B6rgl_Experiment
>> No. 92026 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 11:46 am
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I would direct you to Piketty's 'Capitalism and Ideology' for his take on this. Historically whenever the Gini coefficient gets too high it results in revolt which is always followed by destruction and instability. Keeping inequality low benefits those at the top more because there is no incentive for people to disrupt the natural order.

Different people have different minimum standards of living and what is considered acceptable changes over time.

One could make the argument that a lot of slaves were/are comfortable and secure and that this is more ethical than having a precarious labour class. This kind of logic could be applied to argue for the implementation of a kind of Technofeudalism, but I trust I don't need to elaborate on why this is wrong/dangerous.

Accumulation of immense wealth is invariably achieved on the back of the exploitation others, so there can be no world with billionaires and also no poverty as capitalism is a zero sum game.

The argument for supply-side economics which the Neoliberal hegemony we've seen in the past 50 years is underpinned by is the idea that wealth trickles down, but 50 years of data generated by this political experiment plainly shows that this is just not the case.

The economic problems we are facing today are due to lack of Demand-side consumption due to austerity and the fact that capitalists have moved from value creating enterprises like those seen during the industrial revolution, to value capturing enterprise which seeks to accumulate as much of the value already in circulation.

Look at the covid economic response. Pennies fir the proletariat and billions for board members. Give a poor man a grand and he'll spend it stimulating the local economy. Give a corporation a million and they'll hide it in a tax haven, then claim they're broke and ask for another million.
>> No. 92028 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 2:42 pm
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>>92021

Good post, though I don't see how the two goals are mutually exclusive. Often the measures that gives the "haves" the surplus capital to invest is derived from insecure or worsening conditions of the subordinate classes, i.e. certain measures raising minimum standards of living necessarily limits the excesses of the richest.
>> No. 92030 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 3:01 pm
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>>92026
>Accumulation of immense wealth is invariably achieved on the back of the exploitation others, so there can be no world with billionaires and also no poverty as capitalism is a zero sum game.

Is that always the case though? I know the likes of Jeff Bezos don't get where they are without being a massive cunt, but most of the rise in his wealth last year is from the stock markets going crazy bonkers and is tied up in his Amazon shares rather than because he ramped up his exploitation.
>> No. 92031 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 3:41 pm
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>>92030

No it isn't inevitable. Wealth is more than just money. For example I am much more wealth in many ways than a dark ages king. I can eat better food than him, sleep in a better bed than him. My house is warmer in the winter, my clothes are softer and cleaner And have more sophisticated communication, transport and entertainment than he could ever afford. Conversely there are things he would have considered cheap that I couldn't afford like a live in servant. In a more extreme recent example a boomer is used to a world where they could get a house for 5 years wages but would consider owning more than 1 tv decedent. Wealth is really a measure in what you can get that is scarce to others

Why I am mentioning all this is that a lot of modern wealth has been generated by intellectual property and advances that improve all our lives and skimming the profit off the top.

I don't think you can point at a company like Microsoft and accuse Bill Gates of having been exploitative, in theory the person computer should have made all our lives better by making us more efficient and therefore we could all have been just as productive as before whilst doing a lot less work. Instead what has happened is that we as a society turned that freedom against it self to expect more productivity for the same wage. No secret master exploited us the madness of crowds and human nature does.
>> No. 92032 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 3:44 pm
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>>92030
Exactly, the meaning of their wealth gets misunderstood a lot. Ultimately yes they are filthy stinking rich beyond the comprehension of most people, but it's not as if they're sat on a giant chest full of gold and diamonds. If any of these billionaires tried to cash in more than a small portion of the wealth they have on paper at any one time, the value of their shares would start dropping as fast as they could sell it off.
>> No. 92033 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 4:58 pm
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>>92031
>I don't think you can point at a company like Microsoft and accuse Bill Gates of having been exploitative, in theory the person computer should have made all our lives better by making us more efficient and therefore we could all have been just as productive as before whilst doing a lot less work.

I disagree with you, not because you're wrong about what you say regarding personal computers, but because I think it's a huge fallacy to credit Bill Gates or Microsoft with paving the way to common ownership of personal comptuers.

Virtually every single aspect of the technology we're using right now has its origins in military research and development that was overwhelmingly risky (investment-wise) during it's early and intermediary phases. Because much of this research happened in the U.S., military R&D is essentially a fig leaf for massive public spending with a very deliberate intention of maintaining their status in high tech industries.

"Entrepreneurs" and business people such as Gates, Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg, Jobs, etc. are the direct beneficiaries of essentially privatising this technology the moment it becomes a less-risky invention, for example when computers started becoming small enough to sell as personal units. And even then, it's often not the earliest or most effective company to fill the niche that ends up becoming successful; if I remember right, IBM were much earlier in that race but lost ground based on many arbitrary political and business machinations.

I'm not disputing that Microsoft made consumer-friendly advances in software and UI systems, or that Apple were very good at marketing, but their contributions to the overall path leading from "room-sized calculator" to "smartphone" are surprisingly small considering their current influence and profitability.

Similar things can be said about university-based biotechnology research and later medical devices/pharmaceuticals, but this post is getting long enough.
>> No. 92034 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 5:04 pm
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>If you're financially secure enough to have capital to invest then you can sit back and watch your wealth increase which, over time, makes the gulf between the haves and the have-nots grow. Either you've got the money to be able to do this or you don't.

No, the big determining factor in financial security is taking control of your finances. Wealth helps but rich people have their own equivalent of massive tellys and no shortage of people trying to squeeze money out of them (the housing market for instance). That's why you get a divide between Neville Richey and old money.

Only once you take control of your finances can you reliably have money at the end of the month. And once you have that you need to resist temptation to waste it on a holiday or some get-rich-quick scam. Then when you do invest there's a constant battle with greed and panic along with a balancing act between luck, research and returns which I'd bet most people lack the temperament for.

>Is focusing on inequality a bit of a red herring? It seems like it would be more constructive to instead focus on raising the minimum standard of living for everyone, to ensure they can have a comfortable and secure life.

Probably. It doesn't really matter if everything is mostly great and people have dignity and the chance to follow their dreams. Looking across different cultures it obviously also has an interplay with social conditioning and can be quite cyclical between moronic slogans about eating the rich and people wanting to get rich quick.

But raising minimum standards in itself requires a societal investment that must be done effectively and be paid for. That is very difficult when, for example, sending everyone to university won't necessarily give them the tools to compete in tomorrow's job market. You'd need a very clear policy to try and strong-arm your way into equality when history shows the only great levellers are war, revolution and plague. Tech would probably save us in the long-run but that's everyone's strategy.

>>92026
>The argument for supply-side economics which the Neoliberal hegemony we've seen in the past 50 years is underpinned by is the idea that wealth trickles down, but 50 years of data generated by this political experiment plainly shows that this is just not the case.

Globally it has. I think you might mean 40 as well - 30 if you count the shit-heap of central planning.

I'd personally like something new suggested rather than repeating the same ideological arguments of the 20th century.
>> No. 92035 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 6:32 pm
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>>92028
>Good post, though I don't see how the two goals are mutually exclusive.

I guess what I kind of mean is that "tackling inequality" seems to be seen as an actual end goal, when it's more that it should be a means to an end rather than the end itself.
>> No. 92036 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 7:27 pm
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>>92031
Arguing that it's cool that Zuckerberg has more money than many nations and continues not to pay a stitch of tax because we have a higher standard of living than literal medieval peasants is a pretty weak argument lad.

In real terms the Millennial Generation is objectively worse off than their parent's generation and this will likely only get worse for young people on the other side of the pandemic.
As much as the billionaire's wealth has increased in the figure on >>92030 there has to be a corresponding decrease in wealth/increase in debt elsewhere.

Historically this was in the form of the looting of value from other countries. All of the major military conflicts of the past 40 years ultimately boils down to access to oil and who gets to hold the money from it.

Due to the success of Globalization there is no frontier to loot anymore and now we see a kind of economic civil war waged by elites to see who can suck the most juice out of the system.

>>92032
In the past the wealthy contributed to the development of the areas they lived in and earned their privileged position by virtue of the civic duties they performed. In recent years 'The Revolt of the Elites' has led to a situation where these people are taking corporate welfare from governments, not paying any taxes, and outsourcing jobs to countries with the most easily exploitable workforce. In this race to the bottom we will find ourselves ranking among the list of most easily exploitable workforce if there is not a serious change in the political ideology of the ruling classes. Again this will foment the kind of discontent we saw erupt in the BLM protests and the Capitol Hill failsurrection which may precipitate in more significant ways in future.

I'm enjoying this discussion but it always makes me sad when I see middle class people simping for billionaires online.
>> No. 92038 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 7:36 pm
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https://mkorostoff.github.io/1-pixel-wealth/

Watching the attitude that most people had to the spread of covid in the early days of the pandemic it became pretty apparent that most people have zero concept of exponents.

Numbers like a million, and a billion are so large as to be meaningless.

The difference between a million and a billion pounds is approximately a billion pounds.

There is zero ethical justification for billionaires to exist. People may 'deserve' wealth, but if that's your belief then you must also believe that poor people deserve their lot also (Which is a form of Secular Calvinism).

The link I've posted attempts to illustrate Bezos wealth graphically and it is mind-boggling.

To the lad who earlier said something along the lines of 'well it's not like that money is just sitting in their bank accounts'. If you own a house it is easier to secure finance to buy a car than it would be for a person renting, or a person that lives out behind the bins. If you are making the argument that liquid capital is the only meaningful form of wealth you are being disingenuous at best, and a mouth-breathing moron at worst. I don't can't discount the possibility of the case that you may be both
>> No. 92039 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 7:37 pm
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>>92036

>I'm enjoying this discussion but it always makes me sad when I see middle class people simping for billionaires online.

It's because we kid ourselves into believing we're one good market bubble or house flip away from being ones ourselves.
>> No. 92040 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 7:40 pm
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>>92034
>Globally it has.
Again, opening up China in the 70s and elevating a bunch of peasants out of abject poverty isn't really a very strong argument for the kind of economic policies and the socioeconomic fallout at home.

The IMF says trickle-down is BS
https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1513.pdf
>> No. 92041 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 7:56 pm
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>>92039

When my BB shares blow up I'll almost have enough for a downpayment on a parking space in Lambeth. Pretty excited tbh.
>> No. 92042 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 8:06 pm
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>>92036
>As much as the billionaire's wealth has increased in the figure on >>92030 there has to be a corresponding decrease in wealth/increase in debt elsewhere.

Does this mean if my BlackBerry shares go up by £100 other people somewhere else are down £100?

>simping

Let's not.
>> No. 92043 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 8:14 pm
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>>92042

>Does this mean if my BlackBerry shares go up by £100 other people somewhere else are down £100?

If people are shorting, they'll be down more than that.
>> No. 92044 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 8:28 pm
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>>92042
In the case of technology shares the increase in value is meant to be due to recognition of goods and services rendered in the past, present, or future and ultimately this will be the result of the capture of surplus value in the system of capitalism. (i.e. £100 of work has been done or will be done).

When some shares go up other related ones often go down. Look at comparative charts for Intel and AMD to see examples of this. The business ecosystem is complex and although causality is always there, it's not always apparent or easy to see.

In the specific case of the rise in share prices recently, QE has increased the volume of fiat in circulation and a lot of this has gone into buying shares. Ultimately this will have to be repaid by the taxpayer in the form of higher taxes or reduced public services.

The current bubble could be argued as a type of inflation given that everything is getting more expensive. When the bubble bursts a great number of people will find themselves worse off to the same economic magnitude as winners have won (2008 serves as a pretty striking case study in this respect).

In the case of the GME squeeze it's more direct and obviois, as much money as the winners have won last week the losers have lost.
>> No. 92045 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 10:04 pm
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It's not a pipe dream, but I think we're going all the wrong ways about it. Or at least, the people who often talk about it have their priorities in all the wrong places.

If I were the king of England and its realms, I would focus on cracking down on parasitic bullshit like interest only mortgages and buy-to-let rent seeking, nationalise the bits of public utilities and infrastructure that it makes sense to do so, and probably create some kind of public work programme. My focus would be on reducing what I can only see as unfair financial pressures those on the lowest rungs of society have to bear, and eliminate the poverty trap.

At the end of the day I think that would probably do a lot more toward levelling the playing field than just keeping on raising the minimum wage or handing out free money (though frankly, if we got the economy sorted out I would still eventually implement some kind of UBI.) Ultimately, if you make it so the peasants have more money, the capital-owning class will just keep raising their rents, prices and tarriffs to gobble it all back up again. What we should do is restrict such opportunism in order that the poor have a lower cost of living, and therefore more disposable income with which they may be encouraged to invest in savings, pensions, other financially sensible options they are currently all too often just unable to do.

I will say, I absolutely hate it when people come out with that line about how you can always make savings or go on r/personalfinance and if you don't you're just stupid and it's your own fault for buying a big telly. I have only ever heard that rhetoric in real life from people who have grown up comfortably wealthy. I'm pretty well off by this stage in my life, but for many years I was dirt poor, and in no small part I attribute my current financial wellbeing to the plain, simple tight-arsed thrift I was forced to learn when I had to support myself on £500 per month. Poor people are often stupid, but more often than that they are trapped in a situation where there are very few winning moves.
>> No. 92046 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 10:20 pm
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>>92045

I'd vote for you, but only if you can summarize that passage as a three word slogan and give me a scapegoat to hate on.
>> No. 92047 Anonymous
23rd January 2021
Saturday 10:32 pm
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>>92046

You don't vote for a King.

But if you must, it will be "Big, Hard, Britain" and the scapegoat will be pensioners who emigrated defected to the south of Europe.
>> No. 92048 Anonymous
24th January 2021
Sunday 10:34 am
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>>92021
>It seems like it would be more constructive to instead focus on raising the minimum standard of living for everyone, to ensure they can have a comfortable and secure life.
The problem is that the political economy for this will never exist. To have people care about the standards at the bottom, you need a relatively equal society. Otherwise the political power of those at the bottom approaches zero.

Also, we live in a society where people can always see how other people live. You can't neatly sequester the rich off in their own little bubble where their immense wealth isn't visible to the poor, so the poor are always going to feel like their lives are shit in comparison to what they see elsewhere. Deep down we're monkeys, and monkeys care about relative status, they're going to feel like they're falling behind if their lives get better by 5% a year while everyone (perceived, not actual) else's get better by 25% a year. Let alone the world we actually live in, where their lives have tended to get 5% worse a year while the other side are going to the moon.

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