World Inequality Report 2018

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So a large group of economists led mostly from the Paris school of economics and Berkeley has brought out a report on global inequality. It's called the World Inequality Report 2018 and is meant to be the first in a series of regular (meant to be annual, I think) studies into world wide inequality. Amonst the higher ups of this group is economist Thomas Piketty whom you may have heard of for his book 'Capital in the Twenty-First century'.

You can read about it in the link below:

http://wir2018.wid.world

I recommend browsing around there rather than taking my word for what it says. I'm hardly all that qualified to interpret economic data. Since I want to have something of an opening post though:

Some of the main results are that income and wealth inequality has increased worldwide since the 1980's. It has increased a little in Europe and a lot in the US, Asia and Russia. It has not increased in the middle east, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America where inequality has merely remained at the extremely high level it already was.

Whilst income in real terms has increased accross the board except for poor Russians (guess those commies were on to something) the increase for rich people has been higher everywhere. For example, the bottom 50% of incomes in the US and Canada have grown by 5% since 1980 in real terms. Meanwhile in those same countries the top 1% of earners has increased their income by 206%. There are loads more of these kinds of facts in the report.

The researchers also note that since the 1980's wealth has been transferred from the public to the private sector (privatisation). This has made it harder for governments to control wealth and income distribution and has generally benefited the wealthy a lot more than the poor.

Thoughts?

A recent article on Philip Alston exploring the extent of wealth inequality in the US of money making A, it is not a quick read and I do not see the benefit of a tldr.

Xsjadoblayde:
A recent article on Philip Alston exploring the extent of wealth inequality in the US of money making A, it is not a quick read and I do not see the benefit of a tldr.

you're not wrong about it being long. Also if 39% of African Americans are homeless (probably disproportionately male) and 13% are incarcerated, there must be that many male Africa Americans in the general populace.

ABCT tends to worry about public interests distorting the economy. Bailouts during the GFC for example. I've had a sneaking suspicion that private entities can wreck just as much havoc. One way is for the rich decreasing the velocity cash flows through the economy (as a New Keyensian might say)

I also hate how government can accept bribes and be (rightly) criticised but some people don't put the same amount of blame on the private individuals who paid the bribe. (Mind you it depends on if the bribe was asked for or given). They call it just doing business or searching for profits. I do like how some American companies are becoming more socially conscious, taking a more European philosophy instead of just worrying about profits.

Capitalism is about profit and LOSS. Too many times big companies place their liabilities onto others and distort the economy. Think of the credit default swaps, bribing privately owned rating agencies. Actual fraud of the original mortgage brokers and pretending sub prime is AAA. Literally destroying people wealth and livelihoods.

I also get concerned about our over reliance on government solving our problems for us.

trunkage:
Capitalism is about profit and LOSS. Too many times big companies place their liabilities onto others and distort the economy. Think of the credit default swaps, bribing privately owned rating agencies. Actual fraud of the original mortgage brokers and pretending sub prime is AAA. Literally destroying people wealth and livelihoods.

No, ultimately capitalism is based on the premise of people valuing things differently, or being willing to pay for convenience. Which is inherently useful. It's only once one starts adding debt and credit into the equation that crazy shit starts happening. But because it "generates wealth", companies are not willing to encourage people not to get into debt, or to put more effort into preventing people sliding into debt.

Loans in principle are a necessary evil. Loans in the current scheme of things are royally fucked up.

I also get concerned about our over reliance on government solving our problems for us.

What, our glorious leadership which only cares so far as the next 4 years* is concerned? Solving complex longterm issues?

Say what you like about monarchies / tribal elders / crazy dictatorships, but at least they had to think a little further ahead.

* or insert alternate term length here.

Catnip1024:

trunkage:
Capitalism is about profit and LOSS. Too many times big companies place their liabilities onto others and distort the economy. Think of the credit default swaps, bribing privately owned rating agencies. Actual fraud of the original mortgage brokers and pretending sub prime is AAA. Literally destroying people wealth and livelihoods.

No, ultimately capitalism is based on the premise of people valuing things differently

That's what trade is about, not capitalism. Capitalism is about employers and employees, specifically the employer using control of labor-saving devices (the means of production or "capital") to claim ownership of the produce of employees. It is supposedly voluntary, but in reality it is coercive: workers get to choose which entitled rich person owns them, which puts it one notch above slavery as far as morality.

Seanchaidh:
That's what trade is about, not capitalism. Capitalism is about employers and employees, specifically the employer using control of labor-saving devices (the means of production or "capital") to claim ownership of the produce of employees. It is supposedly voluntary, but in reality it is coercive: workers get to choose which entitled rich person owns them, which puts it one notch above slavery as far as morality.

Nobody is stopping you going back to hunter-gathering, or living off the land. Nobody is stopping you starting your own enterprise. People choose the current job because it is a far more reliable job - the more potentially rewarding paths are those that come with bigger risks.

You could also rent a device to gain ownership of your produce - again, most people don't bother, because there are far more elements to deal with - storage, transport, sales.

Ultimately, people endorse the capitalist system because of convenience. It isn't slavery. People always have choices.

Catnip1024:
Nobody is stopping you going back to hunter-gathering, or living off the land.

Capitalist property rights include, among other things, LAND. Hunting and gathering is criminalized as trespass.

Catnip1024:
Nobody is stopping you starting your own enterprise. People choose the current job because it is a far more reliable job - the more potentially rewarding paths are those that come with bigger risks.

The more rewarding paths are those that come with bigger barriers to entry and tendencies toward monopoly.

Catnip1024:
You could also rent a device to gain ownership of your produce - again, most people don't bother, because there are far more elements to deal with - storage, transport, sales.

Ultimately, people endorse the capitalist system because of convenience. It isn't slavery. People always have choices.

Ultimately, people endorse the capitalist system because competing systems are undermined by military and intelligence agencies on behalf of capitalists (especially if the competing systems are democratic). Infiltration, assassination, military takeover: these are just a few of the tools used to maintain capitalism. Capitalists also have a very well financed propaganda machine (among its many achievements is getting you to believe the things you posted above). Capitalism isn't technically slavery, as it replaces masters and slaves with employers and employees (just as it isn't technically feudalism as it replaces lords and serfs with employers and employees). But it shares much with those systems, including the incredible difference in power between owner and worker: that never went away.

Seanchaidh:
Capitalist property rights include, among other things, LAND. Hunting and gathering is criminalized as trespass.

Technically, at least in the UK, trespass is only a civil offence, therefore you can only be sued for the amount of damage you inflict. Which would be negligible, if you did it right. Picking up roadkill is perfectly legal and it is disturbingly plentiful at the minute, and as can be seen from the traveller communities that already exist, it is fricking hard to get someone off your land.

Also bear in mind the difficulty of filing a civil suit against someone with no fixed abode.

The more rewarding paths are those that come with bigger barriers to entry and tendencies toward monopoly.

I'm not talking about becoming a doctor or a lawyer. I'm talking about entrepeneurship, starting a business. Becoming a mercenary. There's plenty of options to say that it is effectively "slavery".

Ultimately, people endorse the capitalist system because competing systems are undermined by military and intelligence agencies on behalf of capitalists (especially if the competing systems are democratic). Infiltration, assassination, military takeover: these are just a few of the tools used to maintain capitalism. Capitalists also have a very well financed propaganda machine (among its many achievements is getting you to believe the things you posted above). Capitalism isn't technically slavery, as it replaces masters and slaves with employers and employees (just as it isn't technically feudalism as it replaces lords and serfs with employers and employees). But it shares much with those systems, including the incredible difference in power between owner and worker: that never went away.

Okay, I'll bite. What utopian alternative system would you be suggesting? Or have our capitalist overlords erased the options from your head, too?

The world is a very different place, as the workers do have power. They do have rights. Citizens have rights, regardless of whether or not they choose to contribute to society. In what world does slavery have the option of sitting on your arse doing nothing and still getting money from the government?

Slaves - slaves had no rights. Slaves only had two options, and one of them was death. Don't lessen the shit they went through because you've taken a dislike to the modern world.

Catnip1024:
Okay, I'll bite. What utopian alternative system would you be suggesting?

Democracy at work (instead of authoritarian control by owners) and an end to vast wealth inequality (taxing the shit out of the rich). A society guided by the principle that those who are affected by a decision should have a say in it, and that no one should be rich enough to buy political decisions or any other decision that they would otherwise have no right to make. An end to the private collection of economic rents based on the labor of others.

Catnip1024:
I'm talking about entrepeneurship, starting a business.

Which also has large barriers to entry. Even something like a hot dog stand has startup costs. Small businesses are not particularly well treated under capitalism: it's the largest that are rewarded hugely. And of course this is the case: under capitalism everything is for sale, including power (political and other forms); the richest get their way when it comes to how the economy is rigged.

That isn't to let small businesses off the hook. They do still exploit their workers; they are compelled to do so by competition. The petty bourgeoisie chase an illusion that they can become the real masters of the universe someday, which makes them useful idiots for the serious capitalists. Mostly they can't, and even if they could, that's no indication of the justice of the system: only that people occasionally have fortunes which might (but almost certainly will not) differ from their parents. The same can be said of feudalism and even slavery: the free laborer could in theory become wealthy enough to buy land. The landowner could in theory become wealthy enough to buy slaves. The slave could potentially be freed. The ordinary soldier could be knighted. The Count of wherever could become the Duke of somewhere else. The Duke of thus and such could become the King of there and then. The King of Elsewhere could become the Emperor of Everywhere. And the Empire of Everywhere could dissolve again into independent Kingdoms. If peasants killed enough nobles, they'd run out of 'em and need new ones.

Capitalists would like us to believe that the theoretical possibility of becoming one of them justifies the unfairness of the system they employ. They would like us to believe that there is something "natural" about the way they've organized production to their own benefit (such that they can make money by existing while workers perform the labor required both to maintain themselves and to maintain the capitalists.) The only thing "natural" about the economy of today is that this insane inequality is the natural result of allowing the wealthy to do as they will under a bourgeois property rights regime which allows the means of production to be owned by a select few.

Catnip1024:
Also bear in mind the difficulty of filing a civil suit against someone with no fixed abode.

Or getting cops to care about such a person's rough treatment or murder.

Catnip1024:
In what world does slavery have the option of sitting on your arse doing nothing and still getting money from the government?

Rome called them villains (owners of villas). Medieval Europe had many colorful names; baron, earl, count, duke. We might call them plantation owners, capitalists, or shareholders.

In what world are the modest welfare payments you wanted to be describing in any way comparable to the vast wealth gained by existing as a wealthy person? And in what world were such payments entailed by capitalism rather than a weak bribe to quiet the social unrest produced by capitalism?

Seanchaidh:
Democracy at work (instead of authoritarian control by owners) and an end to vast wealth inequality (taxing the shit out of the rich). A society guided by the principle that those who are affected by a decision should have a say in it, and that no one should be rich enough to buy political decisions or any other decision that they would otherwise have no right to make. An end to the private collection of economic rents based on the labor of others.

See, Lenin tried to implement a similar sort of system in the 1920s, with Russian agricultural production. In the end, he had to yield, because if you tax a man more for working harder, he suddenly has no incentive to work harder.

As for democracy at work? If I struggle to get together the funds and connections to start a successful business, why should I give every numpty recruit a say in how I run my business? There are ways through which the sharing of risks and rewards could be more equitable, but to call for democracy in the workplace is a ludicrous suggestion.

Rome called them villains (owners of villas). Medieval Europe had many colorful names; baron, earl, count, duke. We might call them plantation owners, capitalists, or shareholders.

In what world are the modest welfare payments you wanted to be describing in any way comparable to the vast wealth gained by existing as a wealthy person? And in what world were such payments entailed by capitalism rather than a weak bribe to quiet the social unrest produced by capitalism?

Jesus fucking Christ. You imply that being given money for nothing is some sort of pay-off, like you're a fucking high school bully ready to beat up the nerdy kid, and you think capitalism is the issue here? The system could happily let those people die. It did, for hundreds of years. Those people are worthless, and have no power, as they make no contribution to society. The workers that contribute, they have power, they have influence.

You can't expect the world to suddenly give you power and influence when you have done nothing to have it. Sure, some people get lucky and have rich parents. Somewhere down the line, someone worked their arse off for that money, or took some serious risks. Their reward is increased security for their descendants. That's just Darwinism at work. This closet revolutionary attitude smacks a lot of someone who feels like they could do with more but doesn't actually want to put the work in to get it.

And yes, theoretically, violent revolution would be a risk being undertaken for a potential reward of more power, be it money or say in how things work. But I somehow doubt you'd get much support. Put it down to "capitalist propaganda" if you will. Or, you know, take a look at yourself first.

Catnip1024:
esus fucking Christ. You imply that being given money for nothing is some sort of pay-off, like you're a fucking high school bully ready to beat up the nerdy kid, and you think capitalism is the issue here?

You have on the one hand a bunch of rich parasites attempting to hold on to power amidst the collapse of the Great Depression. You have on the other workers, unions, socialists marching around the country demanding change. You have a president that recognized that social stability required taxing the rich near 100% (incomes, at any rate; FDR wasn't perfect) and spreading wealth around. And all this with a national legacy of violently suppressing labor movements. You look at this situation and have sympathy... for the capitalists!

Christ.

Seanchaidh:

Catnip1024:
esus fucking Christ. You imply that being given money for nothing is some sort of pay-off, like you're a fucking high school bully ready to beat up the nerdy kid, and you think capitalism is the issue here?

You have on the one hand a bunch of rich parasites attempting to hold on to power amidst the collapse of the Great Depression. You have on the other workers, unions, socialists marching around the country demanding change. You have a president that recognized that social stability required taxing the rich near 100% (incomes, at any rate; FDR wasn't perfect) and spreading wealth around. And all this with a national legacy of violently suppressing labor movements. You look at this situation and have sympathy... for the capitalists!

Christ.

You aren't on the side of the unions. Unions want increased sharing of the profits to the workforce, and the imposition of certain conditions for the benefit of the workers. They do not want "democracy in the workplace". Because they aren't stupid enough to think that is a good idea. Pretty much nobody wants a 100% income tax beyond a certain threshold, because any sane person would recognise that that destroys the desire to continue working.

And, I don't have a president, bud. I'm British. So take your hobby horse elsewhere. I note you didn't actually attempt to address any of my points, rather came up with some new ones of your own.

I mean, come on. I am a militantly trade unioney type, and I think you're coming across as naive and deluded. There is a reason for that.

I'm about to piss both of y'all off with my opinion, I think. Probably more Catnip, though.

Capitalism in general, I have no real beef with. On a basic level it does provide incentive to work and start businesses that provide more work, which move the nation forward.

But unless it's HEAVILY regulated, it does turn into feudalism all over again. Late stage capitalism already has the "haves" who have insane amounts of money and power, and the "have nots" who face an uphill struggle to get ahead in life at all. Capitalism is designed purely to generate wealth and work, not inherently to make life better for anyone involved.

Capitalism has a "downward squeeze" as I call it. It not only encourages, but demands that more and more profit get generated every quarter (thank you, professional shareholders!). Once the market is completely saturated, the only thing a publically held corporation can do is to cut costs. Eventually, essential things get cut. And those who refuse to cut them will be booted out of power and replaced with someone who will. This means that those below them have to squeeze downwards to save costs on their end, until the workers at the bottom are told that "Sorry, we aren't paying your breaks anymore and your sick days are all cancelled...Oh and we'll have to lay a bunch of you off".

For capitalism to be viable in the long term, it needs BRUTAL guardrails and a generous safety net to catch people before they fall through the cracks.

With the massive corruption on display in the US, where big banks can engage in open fraud and crash the entire economy and get fined LESS than the profits they made and not go to jail (while smaller local banks don't get bailed out), nothing gets solved. But if those bank CEOs and shareholders were fined about 99% of their money to bail out their own banks, their banks got temporarily nationalized until the market stabilized, they went to jail for 20 years, and bank fraud would be punishable by prison time, you'd see a lot more careful stepping and a lot less fraud on wall street.

And a good safety net keeps being content and working, which makes them more productive and less desperate. A good chunk of the reason why Canada isn't boiling over with progressive rage right now is because we have medicare as a right and a half-decent wage.

Catnip1024:
You imply that being given money for nothing is some sort of pay-off, like you're a fucking high school bully ready to beat up the nerdy kid, and you think capitalism is the issue here? The system could happily let those people die. It did, for hundreds of years. Those people are worthless, and have no power, as they make no contribution to society. The workers that contribute, they have power, they have influence.

...uhhh...

Yeah, the workers have power, but only if they make demands en-masse. IE, collective bargaining and unions.

Which, you know, the guys running the corporations hate? And who donate huge sums of money to politicians who oppose unions and try to weaken them with "right to work" laws that shatter their potential for collective bargaining?

If the workers had all the power and influence and the people at the top were "worthless", then why the hell is all the money going up to the top and the middle class slowly being subsumed into the lower class?

Not to mention that the people at the top have every incentive to crush their competition. If you're a big ISP and have a game streaming service, and a small business starts one too and start getting popular, what's your incentive not to throttle the speed of your competition to make them unable to compete with yours?

To say nothing of the fact that the 8 different military interventions the US is doing are hugely unpopular, but both major parties will greenlight another trillion dollars to keep doing them.

And yes, theoretically, violent revolution would be a risk being undertaken for a potential reward of more power, be it money or say in how things work. But I somehow doubt you'd get much support. Put it down to "capitalist propaganda" if you will. Or, you know, take a look at yourself first.

NOW there's little support for violent revolution, but if the downward squeeze keeps happening, and the US hits a point where people are starving on the street en-masse despite working full time...Well, that's more or less what triggered the french revolution.

Starvation is a slow death. It gives you plenty of time to think "Why don't I just steal or sell drugs to be able to eat?" or "Hey, there's more of us than there are them, and the country is flooded with guns...Why don't we start a hostile takeover?"

And that won't end well for ANYONE involved.

aegix drakan:
Yeah, the workers have power, but only if they make demands en-masse. IE, collective bargaining and unions.

Nobody has any power in isolation. All power depends on the cooperation of the people in the environment you wish to exercise it.

And if a demand isn't supported en masse, maybe it's not that big a deal? The big things get overwhelming support.

If the workers had all the power and influence and the people at the top were "worthless", then why the hell is all the money going up to the top and the middle class slowly being subsumed into the lower class?

The worth of the people at the top comes from the owning of the machinery, to put it in the other guys rather archaic terminology. Ultimately, someone took a risk / worked their arse off to result in ownership of said machinery. Now, you can argue the toss about inheritance taxation all you like, but that ownership provides worth. In an economic sense, rather than any moral sense.

To say nothing of the fact that the 8 different military interventions the US is doing are hugely unpopular, but both major parties will greenlight another trillion dollars to keep doing them.

Popularity is secondary to necessity. The initial Iraq invasion was foolish, but a continued presence in the region is kind of essential to contain the consequences. Instability is not good for anyone. Except risk takers. Risk takers love instability.

NOW there's little support for violent revolution, but if the downward squeeze keeps happening, and the US hits a point where people are starving on the street en-masse despite working full time...Well, that's more or less what triggered the french revolution.

Starvation is a slow death. It gives you plenty of time to think "Why don't I just steal or sell drugs to be able to eat?" or "Hey, there's more of us than there are them, and the country is flooded with guns...Why don't we start a hostile takeover?"

And that won't end well for ANYONE involved.

Yes, and as far as the future goes, I'm convinced it will wind up with some serious confrontation, particularly with increased automation. But the ideas suggested above are not the solutions to the problems.

As an aside, most of the US is too drugged up to be able to launch any sort of revolution that may threaten the tablet supply, anyway.

Catnip1024:
You aren't on the side of the unions. Unions want increased sharing of the profits to the workforce, and the imposition of certain conditions for the benefit of the workers.

And they get this with..? Power. Authority. They do not need some tiny group of rich people to take all the profit gained by their labor. Capitalist shareholders literally do nothing for them. If they disappeared, workers would be better off.

Catnip1024:
They do not want "democracy in the workplace".

Aside from when they do:

In 2009, the United Steelworkers initiated a discussion with Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain about a pilot project converting manufacturing companies to worker cooperatives in the U.S. The union, during a time of grievous assault by capital and governments on labor in the U.S., continues to explore possible pilot projects on which this work can focus.

In 2010, the idea of labor unions - with their funding and research staff - as a model for initiating worker co-ops was raised at the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops conference in Berkeley. Lisabeth Ryder of AFSCME Western Region discussed a strategy for countering privatization of government agencies with worker cooperatives, and Deb Groban Olson of Center for Community Based Enterprise in Detroit raised the potential for union cultivation and incubation of worker cooperatives.

(There is more if you follow the link.)

Catnip1024:
Because they aren't stupid enough to think that is a good idea.

Pay no attention to the Mondragon corporation behind the curtain.

Catnip1024:
Pretty much nobody wants a 100% income tax beyond a certain threshold, because any sane person would recognise that that destroys the desire to continue working.

Yes, I'm sure the world will be devastated when professional athletes, movie stars, and television show hosts no longer feel any desire to push themselves past a million dollars of income in a year. Without the invisible hand of the market to guide him, David Mitchell might not keep appearing on inane panel shows. It would be the dawn of a dark age for British television, I'm sure.

The highly paid professions are the exceptions which tend to prove the rule: past a certain point, increasing income really isn't about work, but instead is about position.

Who in their right mind would think "gosh, I'd much rather be a coal miner if I'm only getting paid a bit more to be a pharmaceutical executive after tax." Only someone who really likes mining coal. And in that case: more power to him for being a coal miner, for fuck's sake.

Catnip1024:
And, I don't have a president, bud. I'm British.

Yes, just a Queen and a currently terrible Prime Minister (with a nominal left party in recovery from neoliberal centrism-- nothing like the situation of the United States). I'm not terribly familiar with exactly what prompted the UK to develop welfare state policies, but I'm pretty sure socialist agitation was a big part of making that happen-- Fabians and revolutionary socialists respectively playing the roles of "do this..." and "... or else". I mean, it's not like the capitalism Karl Marx lived in and critiqued was literally the British... oh, it was.

Catnip1024:
So take your hobby horse elsewhere. I note you didn't actually attempt to address any of my points, rather came up with some new ones of your own.

Yes, your great point about Lenin doing something completely different from what I'm talking about. I am content to focus on your apparent contempt for workers, not really interested in rehashing Lenin's adventure in state capitalism.

Do you really think I haven't seen this unsubstantiated claim a million times? "Sure, some people get lucky and have rich parents. Somewhere down the line, someone worked their arse off for that money, or took some serious risks. Their reward is increased security for their descendants. That's just Darwinism at work. This closet revolutionary attitude smacks a lot of someone who feels like they could do with more but doesn't actually want to put the work in to get it."

Sorry for not marking it for you as the tired regurgitation of the naive capitalist party line anyone remotely interested in the subject would recognize it as. I guess you get extra points for explicitly endorsing Social Darwinism and then going on to speak of being "militantly" for trade unions, though.

Catnip1024:
I mean, come on. I am a militantly trade unioney type, and I think you're coming across as naive and deluded. There is a reason for that.

Is it because your commitment to that sentiment is as considered as your opinions on economics and history?

Catnip1024:
The worth of the people at the top comes from the owning of the machinery, to put it in the other guys rather archaic terminology. Ultimately, someone took a risk / worked their arse off to result in ownership of said machinery.

Or, as is often the case, someone years ago took the risk / worked their arse off, and their descendants own the machinery just because they were born with it. And even then, breaking into these hallowed ranks is heavily dependent on someone back when working, because it provided ones parents with the wealth to afford a good upbringing, education, and social connections.

Really, wealth sits with those at the top so much just because they are the top. This allows them to control the distribution of gains from society, and to extract rents to divert other people's productivity into their own pockets. It allows them to control the media and what people think of distribution of society's production. It allows them to buy political control. It allows them to buy intellectual or pseudointellectual defences. It allows them to choose who else can be the elites.

The answer, now as ever, is that the general public must band together to claim their share and impose some control for themselves. But that's very difficult to do when they are bombarded with the message that the system as is is the way the system should be. No-one can suggest any means to wrest some control from the economic elites - be it taxes, labour unions, increased worker rights, worker boardroom representation, etc. - without walking through a firestorm of criticism and condemnation.

So deep does it go, that even when we get leaders who rise to prominence and might offer alternatives, they end up stymied, picked at and torn down even by their own side: something supporters of Corbyn and Sanders will recognise only too clearly.

Seanchaidh:
Pay no attention to the Mondragon corporation behind the curtain.

Let's stop at this first fundamental mistake. Setting a corporation up as a cooperative is a whole different kettle of fish to trying to hijack existing businesses because you don't like rich people, which is what you were suggesting.

Yes, I'm sure the world will be devastated when professional athletes, movie stars, and television show hosts no longer feel any desire to push themselves past a million dollars of income in a year. Without the invisible hand of the market to guide him, David Mitchell might not keep appearing on inane panel shows. It would be the dawn of a dark age for British television, I'm sure.

Yes, because it's not like people who set up highly successful global businesses should get any reward for doing so, or any incentive to carry on bringing convenient products to people. No, they should be limited to the same shit pay as people who sit on their arses.

100% income tax rates are a ludicrous idea.

Yes, your great point about Lenin doing something completely different from what I'm talking about. I am content to focus on your apparent contempt for workers, not really interested in rehashing Lenin's adventure in state capitalism.

And you completely overlook the point I made. He took away the desire to work through ill thought out policies. And experienced the consequences. Learn from history.

Is it because your commitment to that sentiment is as considered as your opinions on economics and history?

Maybe it's because I'm a realist. Total democratic control over businesses is a flawed idea. Some people are more equipped to run international businesses than others.

Total worker power is a flawed idea, too. You need a balance. The worker-manager relationship is symbiotic, anybody who thinks otherwise is fooling themself.

Agema:
Or, as is often the case, someone years ago took the risk / worked their arse off, and their descendants own the machinery just because they were born with it. And even then, breaking into these hallowed ranks is heavily dependent on someone back when working, because it provided ones parents with the wealth to afford a good upbringing, education, and social connections.

That is what I said. Taxation of inheritance is a good idea. 100% income taxation is a crazy idea.

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
Pay no attention to the Mondragon corporation behind the curtain.

Let's stop at this first fundamental mistake. Setting a corporation up as a cooperative is a whole different kettle of fish to trying to hijack existing businesses because you don't like rich people, which is what you were suggesting.

Not really. You just void the shares. (It's also possible to handle it in other ways, but it's not as if figuring out how is hard.)

Catnip1024:

Yes, I'm sure the world will be devastated when professional athletes, movie stars, and television show hosts no longer feel any desire to push themselves past a million dollars of income in a year. Without the invisible hand of the market to guide him, David Mitchell might not keep appearing on inane panel shows. It would be the dawn of a dark age for British television, I'm sure.

Yes, because it's not like people who set up highly successful global businesses should get any reward for doing so, or any incentive to carry on bringing convenient products to people. No, they should be limited to the same shit pay as people who sit on their arses.

Today I learned ownership is valuable work and in need of huge rewards while workers "sit on their arses."

Or maybe you could try not being so transparent about your contempt for people who don't own the means of production and must therefore be lazy because Catnip1024 said so.

Catnip1024:
100% income tax rates are a ludicrous idea.

Because if it weren't possible to make a personal fortune of 100 billion dollars, obviously no one would have bothered with e-commerce. I mean, who wants to make money from owning stock when one could instead be wearing adult diapers at an amazingly awesome poultry processing job over at Tyson. But I guess people who aren't allowed bathroom breaks at work are just lazy, right? Sitting around on their arses?

Catnip1024:

Yes, your great point about Lenin doing something completely different from what I'm talking about. I am content to focus on your apparent contempt for workers, not really interested in rehashing Lenin's adventure in state capitalism.

And you completely overlook the point I made. He took away the desire to work through ill thought out policies. And experienced the consequences. Learn from history.

Lenin changed Russian agriculture from feudal to capitalist. You're not even describing something that happened, much less any "experience" to "learn" from. You may as well cite the "experience" of hobbits and orcs.

Catnip1024:

Is it because your commitment to that sentiment is as considered as your opinions on economics and history?

Maybe it's because I'm a realist. Total democratic control over businesses is a flawed idea. Some people are more equipped to run international businesses than others.

Total worker power is a flawed idea, too. You need a balance. The worker-manager relationship is symbiotic, anybody who thinks otherwise is fooling themself.

1)You're just making an unsubstantiated claim here. You could say, "You need a balance, because..." or "... is symbiotic, because..." or "... is a flawed idea, too, because...", but you didn't. You just said it and expressed your personal incredulity at the opposite.

2)Capitalists aren't necessarily managers and managers aren't necessarily capitalists. Workers can manage and managers can work.

3)Way to say "I'm a realist" and then proceed with some vapid assertions. Is 'realism' just a certain kind of rhetorical tone for you?

Catnip1024:

Agema:
Or, as is often the case, someone years ago took the risk / worked their arse off, and their descendants own the machinery just because they were born with it. And even then, breaking into these hallowed ranks is heavily dependent on someone back when working, because it provided ones parents with the wealth to afford a good upbringing, education, and social connections.

That is what I said. Taxation of inheritance is a good idea. 100% income taxation is a crazy idea.

You're not really saying anything here other than your opinion. It's not adding anything to the conversation, it's just an expression of personal disagreement with scant to nonexistent apparent reasoning. Or do you consider your obsequious deference towards the existing hierarchies that organize production (and benefit those with power, which is why the hierarchies stick around) a form of reasoning?

Catnip1024:
And you completely overlook the point I made. He took away the desire to work through ill thought out policies. And experienced the consequences. Learn from history.

Which policies, specifically? How did this impact the desire to work? You seem to be imagining some series of events in which Lenin abolished reward for work, and then nobody turned up to their jobs. That didn't happen.

Catnip1024:

Total worker power is a flawed idea, too. You need a balance. The worker-manager relationship is symbiotic, anybody who thinks otherwise is fooling themself.

Do you imagine that this "symbiosis" currently exists in any way, shape or form in Capitalist society? It obviously, obviously doesn't.

Seanchaidh:
I'm not terribly familiar with exactly what prompted the UK to develop welfare state policies, but I'm pretty sure socialist agitation was a big part of making that happen-- Fabians and revolutionary socialists respectively playing the roles of "do this..." and "... or else". I mean, it's not like the capitalism Karl Marx lived in and critiqued was literally the British... oh, it was.

There are (as always) various spots to lay the credit for prompting the UK to develop the welfare state, but the most credible one would be Nye Bevan, Minister for Health 1945-51, with his roots in the South Wales mining town of Tredegar.

Nye Bevan:
"Now the NHS had two main principles: one, that the medical arts of science and of healing should be made available to people when they needed them, irrespective of whether they could afford to pay for them or not. That was the first principle. The second was that this should be done not at the expense of the poorer members of the community, but of the well-to-do. In short, I refuse to accept the insurance principle".

...And yes, he was a unionist, and a "troublemaker" in the eyes of his employer.

Silvanus:
Which policies, specifically? How did this impact the desire to work? You seem to be imagining some series of events in which Lenin abolished reward for work, and then nobody turned up to their jobs. That didn't happen.

Basic GCSE History.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/history/russia_1914_1941/war_communism/revision/3/
War communism, the system in which all excess grain was taken from the farmer, led to farmer growing less. The NEP, a move towards a more capitalist, although also rather poorly implemented system, helped alleviate that. For a while.

Do you imagine that this "symbiosis" currently exists in any way, shape or form in Capitalist society? It obviously, obviously doesn't.

Look at the 18th century working conditions. Look at working conditions now. Said symbiosis exists. The system works because the power is balanced. You tip it too far either way, things go tits up.

Seanchaidh:
Not really. You just void the shares. (It's also possible to handle it in other ways, but it's not as if figuring out how is hard.)

Well. That's theft. And if we are entering a world in which theft is suddenly acceptable, I'm not sure I like the direction this is going in.

If you want to say kill the rich, just say it. We all know you pretty much mean it.

Catnip1024:
Yes, because it's not like people who set up highly successful global businesses should get any reward for doing so, or any incentive to carry on bringing convenient products to people. No, they should be limited to the same shit pay as people who sit on their arses.

Today I learned ownership is valuable work and in need of huge rewards while workers "sit on their arses."

Or maybe you could try not being so transparent about your contempt for people who don't own the means of production and must therefore be lazy because Catnip1024 said so.

First of all, way to misrepresent an argument. Secondly, bullshit aside:

In the UK in 2016, 80 businesses were created every hour.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/12/record-80-new-companies-being-born-an-hour-in-2016/

How many people do you think would bother if they had to give every employee an equal say in how their own personal business was run? How many small businesses do you think would attempt to expand, knowing that they were risking their company by allowing new numpties in?

And back to the point, certain businesses require certain types of person. Individuals. Do you think SpaceX / Tesla would be anything like the company it is if it was run by a committee? The best businesses take risks. A committee is always filled with a mix of people, some of whom are risk-averse. Great things are less likely to happen.

Lenin changed Russian agriculture from feudal to capitalist. You're not even describing something that happened, much less any "experience" to "learn" from. You may as well cite the "experience" of hobbits and orcs.

See my answer to Silvanus above. And then go and revise some Russian history. It'd do you good.

1)You're just making an unsubstantiated claim here. You could say, "You need a balance, because..." or "... is symbiotic, because..." or "... is a flawed idea, too, because...", but you didn't. You just said it and expressed your personal incredulity at the opposite.

2)Capitalists aren't necessarily managers and managers aren't necessarily capitalists. Workers can manage and managers can work.

3)Way to say "I'm a realist" and then proceed with some vapid assertions. Is 'realism' just a certain kind of rhetorical tone for you?

You need a balance. The 1970s UK showed the perils of too much worker power, the Victorian era showed the perils of too little. We are teetering on the owner-heavy side at the minute, but anyone denying the need for a balance is, again, deluded.

Now, are you going to stop nitpicking and come up with an actual counterpoint?

You're not really saying anything here other than your opinion. It's not adding anything to the conversation, it's just an expression of personal disagreement with scant to nonexistent apparent reasoning. Or do you consider your obsequious deference towards the existing hierarchies that organize production (and benefit those with power, which is why the hierarchies stick around) a form of reasoning?

And I wasn't really saying anything to you there at all. I thought I'd start with simpler concepts.

If a man earns wealth, said man deserves wealth. Said man's descendants do not, automatically, although that's a separate argument. Higher inheritance taxation is the fairer way to achieve wealth equality.

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
Not really. You just void the shares. (It's also possible to handle it in other ways, but it's not as if figuring out how is hard.)

Well. That's theft.

The end of feudalism was a violation of "natural" property rights. As was the end of slavery. The end of capitalism will be a violation of "natural" bourgeois property rights. 'Theft' is the taking of something with the intent to deprive it from its rightful owner. Capitalists have defined themselves as having rights to the produce of others; denying their conception of 'rights' is, to them, therefore theft. But at that point you're just applying a label to a thing. Freeing the slaves was theft according to the slavemasters. Should we be super concerned about that? No, obviously.

Catnip1024:
If you want to say kill the rich, just say it. We all know you pretty much mean it.

In 1860 someone like you might have said that I want to kill the plantation owners of the American South. I'd like the rich of today to give up their ill-gotten and ill-maintained power willingly and join in building a new chapter in world history; one in which all people have genuine liberty and democracy rather than authoritarianism at work and a dog and pony show every election.

Do I expect them to enjoy losing their power? No. In fact, I expect the rich to finance fascist movements to protect capitalism just like they have in the past. Some may even put their own lives on the line to protect the oligarchy just like some plantation owners served in the Confederate Army. Doesn't mean I'm going to say "oh, well, I guess we'll just keep capitalism, then."

Catnip1024:
And if we are entering a world in which theft is suddenly acceptable, I'm not sure I like the direction this is going in.

Jesus wept.

Catnip1024:

Yes, because it's not like people who set up highly successful global businesses should get any reward for doing so, or any incentive to carry on bringing convenient products to people. No, they should be limited to the same shit pay as people who sit on their arses.

Today I learned ownership is valuable work and in need of huge rewards while workers "sit on their arses."

Or maybe you could try not being so transparent about your contempt for people who don't own the means of production and must therefore be lazy because Catnip1024 said so.

First of all, way to misrepresent an argument.

You say, after interpreting a top bracket tax rate of 100% as meaning literally everyone is paid the exact same amount.

Catnip1024:
Secondly, bullshit aside:

Apparently not.

Catnip1024:
In the UK in 2016, 80 businesses were created every hour.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/12/record-80-new-companies-being-born-an-hour-in-2016/

How many people do you think would bother if they had to give every employee an equal say in how their own personal business was run?

More, if we also have a more equal distribution of wealth. The idea that societies need to allow some people to make enough from owning not to have to work at all in order to convince them to be entrepreneurs is an idea you'll have to do more to substantiate.

Catnip1024:
How many small businesses do you think would attempt to expand, knowing that they were risking their company by allowing new numpties in?

Yeah, because obviously small business owners know better than workers. I mean, they have more stuff, so clearly they must be smarter!

Catnip1024:
And back to the point, certain businesses require certain types of person. Individuals. Do you think SpaceX / Tesla would be anything like the company it is if it was run by a committee? The best businesses take risks. A committee is always filled with a mix of people, some of whom are risk-averse. Great things are less likely to happen.

Why the fuck would I want SpaceX and Tesla to be anything like they are? Yeah, they'd pay their workers reasonably and wouldn't be deathly afraid of them unionizing.

Catnip1024:

Lenin changed Russian agriculture from feudal to capitalist. You're not even describing something that happened, much less any "experience" to "learn" from. You may as well cite the "experience" of hobbits and orcs.

See my answer to Silvanus above. And then go and revise some Russian history. It'd do you good.

The Bolsheviks took control of factories, mines, workshops and railways.
Workers were forced to work in factories.
Grain was taken from the peasants using force.
The Bolsheviks took control of the banks.
Private trade was not allowed.
Food was rationed.

If this sounds like "democracy at work" to you, you may need your head examined. It's regimented state slavery.

Catnip1024:

1)You're just making an unsubstantiated claim here. You could say, "You need a balance, because..." or "... is symbiotic, because..." or "... is a flawed idea, too, because...", but you didn't. You just said it and expressed your personal incredulity at the opposite.

2)Capitalists aren't necessarily managers and managers aren't necessarily capitalists. Workers can manage and managers can work.

3)Way to say "I'm a realist" and then proceed with some vapid assertions. Is 'realism' just a certain kind of rhetorical tone for you?

You need a balance. The 1970s UK showed the perils of too much worker power, the Victorian era showed the perils of too little. We are teetering on the owner-heavy side at the minute, but anyone denying the need for a balance is, again, deluded.

Now, are you going to stop nitpicking and come up with an actual counterpoint?

Vaguely gesturing at Thatcherite propaganda is still not a substantive argument. Did the UK in the 1970s show such? How so?

What about the 1970s makes you think that "balance" between workers and owners is "needed"? That some amount of deference to autocratic owners is necessary? You've yet to come up with anything even remotely convincing for why anyone should believe that owners separate from workers are necessary.

Catnip1024:

You're not really saying anything here other than your opinion. It's not adding anything to the conversation, it's just an expression of personal disagreement with scant to nonexistent apparent reasoning. Or do you consider your obsequious deference towards the existing hierarchies that organize production (and benefit those with power, which is why the hierarchies stick around) a form of reasoning?

And I wasn't really saying anything to you there at all. I thought I'd start with simpler concepts.

If a man earns wealth, said man deserves wealth.

This is either tautological or unsubstantiated, as "earns" is often taken to imply a moral judgment of deserts but also sometimes it just means "gained". We could speak of the "earnings" of a crime family. So you're still not saying anything here. At least not anything perspicuous.

Catnip1024:
Basic GCSE History.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/history/russia_1914_1941/war_communism/revision/3/
War communism, the system in which all excess grain was taken from the farmer, led to farmer growing less. The NEP, a move towards a more capitalist, although also rather poorly implemented system, helped alleviate that. For a while.

Yes, I am aware of "basic GCSE history", having studied history to degree level.

You were talking about tax, initially, weren't you? And both of you were discussing the structure on which to base society.

Mass confiscation of produce-- practised also by the White Army, by the way-- does not fit that bill. It was an abhorrent practice, but was never intended to be the basis for the economy-- the clue is in the name.

Catnip1024:
Look at the 18th century working conditions. Look at working conditions now. Said symbiosis exists. The system works because the power is balanced. You tip it too far either way, things go tits up.

I am looking at working conditions now. I'm seeing a system in which owners (or shareholders) make many hundreds or thousands times what the worker will make, often for a tiny fraction of the input-- or often no input at all. A system in which even that ownership or shareholding position need not be earned, but is often gifted or inherited. A system in which the worker's position is often perilous, and is the first to be threatened when the profits drop, even while the owner may make millions upon millions and need not cut a penny.

Things are already tipped almost entirely in one direction. The shareholders and owners have every drop of power; the worker earns a tiny fraction, works more hours, and lacks even the job security of his superiors. All decisions that affect the company or wage structure are made by the former. Every redundancy or funding cut affects the latter.

It is delusional to imagine there is "symbiosis" between Philip Green, whose worth is almost ?4 billion, and the employees whose pensions he fucking robbed.

Catnip1024:
100% income taxation is a crazy idea.

Even if said 99% tax is applied AFTER a certain really high amount?

Like, for the sake of argument, let's say you have the option to start up a Hedge Fund and you're likely going to earn 20 million dollars a year running it under the current system.

Now let's imagine that a law is passed saying "Any personal income over 10 million dollars a year will be taxed at 99%".

Are you suddenly going to say "Bah, I have no interest in becoming a hedge fund manager now, because now I can only make 10 million a year plus 1% of 10 million on top"?

If so, you don't understand the fundamental idea that after a certain point, additional money doesn't improve your life or happiness. It's nearly impossible to spend 10 million dollars a year unless you're buying completely insane things like a new mansion just for yourself every 2 years. At that point, 10 million or 20 million a year doesn't really change much in the long run for you. You'd just have the 10 million (give or take) that you spend a year, plus the 10 million you put in the bank (or the cayman islands) and just stockpile it year after year instead of re-injecting it into the market, which just keeps increasing and doing jack shit for anybody. One person can only spend so much, after all.

I'm not opposed to there being rich people. I just think there should be an upper limit, because otherwise you have human dragons sitting on their massive hoards, not using it to give back to society, or even keep the market turning. This goes doubly so if the person inherited their wealth and just has to make a few smart investments every year to make money, rather than actually, you know, work for it.

Silvanus:

It is delusional to imagine there is "symbiosis" between Philip Green, whose worth is almost ?4 billion, and the employees whose pensions he fucking robbed.

Preach it, bro.

Silvanus:
Yes, I am aware of "basic GCSE history", having studied history to degree level.

You were talking about tax, initially, weren't you? And both of you were discussing the structure on which to base society.

Mass confiscation of produce-- practised also by the White Army, by the way-- does not fit that bill. It was an abhorrent practice, but was never intended to be the basis for the economy-- the clue is in the name.

I was talking about what happens when you set up a system where the rewards for working hard are effectively removed. Be it 100% income tax or commandeering of all surplus. The lesson remains.

Things are already tipped almost entirely in one direction. The shareholders and owners have every drop of power; the worker earns a tiny fraction, works more hours, and lacks even the job security of his superiors. All decisions that affect the company or wage structure are made by the former. Every redundancy or funding cut affects the latter.

Clearly not, as things are a lot better than they have historically been.

There's work to be done, but all this doom-saying is a little over the top.

aegix drakan:
Even if said 99% tax is applied AFTER a certain really high amount?

We were talking about 100% taxation, but even so. That would be less harmful to things, but would also move towards defeating the point of it.

You are still better off with an incredibly high inheritance tax, to stop the establishment of dynasties of rich people, than you are with a tax that effectively prevents people earning the money fair and square. IMHO.

Seanchaidh:
Did the UK in the 1970s show such? How so?

Waves of industrial action to the degree that the workers, not to mention the population as a whole, actually began to suffer, open intimidation of those workers that did choose to work,to name but a couple. I despise Thatcher, but there was a reason people voted for her.

If this sounds like "democracy at work" to you, you may need your head examined. It's regimented state slavery.

Whoosh...

If you think we're talking about Democracy at Work with that example, you may need your head examined.

Catnip1024:
I was talking about what happens when you set up a system where the rewards for working hard are effectively removed. Be it 100% income tax or commandeering of all surplus. The lesson remains.

Would it not be better, then, to look at countries which have had a very high income tax rate? Roosevelt's highest band-- 94% on income over $200,000-- did not lead to any such situation. People continued to work, and the New Deal is credited with pretty general success in improving living standards. No crisis.

These tax bands apply after a certain point, after all-- the earnings below 200,000 (the equivalent of over 2.5 million today) are taxed at a lower rate. And frankly, nobody actually needs that much money. After a certain point, it ends up funnelled into speculation, investment, or-- worse-- sitting in a bank account accumulating interest without having any stimulus impact on the economy.

The individual still works, because they are still being paid exceedingly well. They're just not being paid so ridiculously obscenely well as before. Nobody would pack up shop because they're "only" making 2.5 million, rather than the 2.8 they could be making if the government wasn't taking some to fund things like life-saving healthcare or poverty relief.

Catnip1024:
Clearly not, as things are a lot better than they have historically been.

There's work to be done, but all this doom-saying is a little over the top.

Things have been worse in the past, and therefore they must be more-or-less fine now?

There's no logic to that. It doesn't even follow.

Catnip1024:
I was talking about what happens when you set up a system where the rewards for working hard are effectively removed. Be it 100% income tax or commandeering of all surplus. The lesson remains.

That is very questionable, though.

There's no reason to assume that a high earnings cap actually prevents attainment whatsoever. If you think about what it takes to become an executive of a major business (the sorts of people who'd be hit), these people really aren't the kind of people who'd not bother if their income was capped. Many people are working for status, or just because they love work, etc. The former like money because money provides a form of status, but given a choice of two equally paid jobs, they'll take the one with more power and respect attached. Footballers would rather play for Manchester United than Southampton, even if paid the same, etc (except maybe odd exceptions like Matthew Le Tissier).

The issue with an income cap or high taxes is more a practical one: people with the option might choose to live in other countries: "brain drain", etc. Although some argue the impact of this is overstated; similar to the above, people are actually following opportunities (e.g. research funding for scientists) more than financial gain. High taes also tends to drive aggressive tax avoidance schemes (in practice, 100% tax rate never ends in 100% tax liability). Never mind that the government usually makes exceptions anyway: the UK government provides tax reliefs worth ~?150 billion, nearly all of which reduce the tax liabilities mostly of the rich and corporations, and then to a lesser extent the middle classes.

People will also swallow higher tax rates as long as they think they are getting something for it, there is sufficient attraction to a place, or they have "ties that bind" (emotional, family, etc.). An irony of the USA having such low tax rates is that it is in one of the best positions to have high tax rates. After all, where's an American going to go? He'll either be thousands of miles away from where it's going on, in a developing world country, or Canada: and Canada will probably have even higher taxes.

Silvanus:
After a certain point, it ends up funneled into speculation, investment, or-- worse-- sitting in a bank account accumulating interest without having any stimulus impact on the economy.

Banks do loan that money out. Or I guess they loan out new money based on what they've got deposited. Money is debt etc.

McElroy:
Banks do loan that money out. Or I guess they loan out new money based on what they've got deposited. Money is debt etc.

Well, Banks have their own poorly-regulated investment systems, yes, where profit motivates them to seek recipients who cannot finish repayment. This is gambling, not true stimulus-- and even with this taken into consideration, trillions still lie static and without use.

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
Did the UK in the 1970s show such? How so?

Waves of industrial action to the degree that the workers, not to mention the population as a whole, actually began to suffer, open intimidation of those workers that did choose to work,to name but a couple.

And..? Why does it have to be the workers who back down to be "balanced"?

Catnip1024:
I despise Thatcher, but there was a reason people voted for her.

Because the Labour Party was working against the interests of its core constituency immediately prior (by imposing the wage restraint policy)? Callaghan's approach to dealing with stagflation seemed to resemble that of notable trade unionist... Richard Nixon.

Catnip1024:

If this sounds like "democracy at work" to you, you may need your head examined. It's regimented state slavery.

Whoosh...

If you think we're talking about Democracy at Work with that example, you may need your head examined.

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
Democracy at work (instead of authoritarian control by owners) and an end to vast wealth inequality (taxing the shit out of the rich). A society guided by the principle that those who are affected by a decision should have a say in it, and that no one should be rich enough to buy political decisions or any other decision that they would otherwise have no right to make. An end to the private collection of economic rents based on the labor of others.

See, Lenin tried to implement a similar sort of system in the 1920s, with Russian agricultural production. In the end, he had to yield, because if you tax a man more for working harder, he suddenly has no incentive to work harder.

As for democracy at work? If I struggle to get together the funds and connections to start a successful business, why should I give every numpty recruit a say in how I run my business? There are ways through which the sharing of risks and rewards could be more equitable, but to call for democracy in the workplace is a ludicrous suggestion.

I should apparently have my head examined for thinking you were even attempting to speak to the point. Fair enough. You got me! XD

Silvanus:
Would it not be better, then, to look at countries which have had a very high income tax rate? Roosevelt's highest band-- 94% on income over $200,000-- did not lead to any such situation. People continued to work, and the New Deal is credited with pretty general success in improving living standards. No crisis.

First of all, a very high income tax band is very different from a 100% income tax band.

Secondly, the current system has enormously wide loopholes which mean that anybody earning millions is generally not getting it paid directly as income in the way you or I would. Think share schemes, sort of thing.

Things have been worse in the past, and therefore they must be more-or-less fine now?

There's no logic to that. It doesn't even follow.

Well your argument was that the scale was almost entirely to the owner. It isn't, as that was the case in the Victorian era. We have come a long way since then. It may not be balanced, but it is an exaggeration to claim the owners still have all the power.

Agema:
snip

Largely the same as my first response to Silvanus.

Secondly, there are bands of income - a Premier League footballer is on such a band that it makes little difference whether they get 5k a week more or less at one club, their standard of living is essentially unaffected. If it were the choice between being a neurosurgeon or a local GP for the same money, though, people would probably stick at GP - much less stress, among other things. The reason people go for the specialisations is at least partially for the money. Sure, helping people is also nice, but still.

Seanchaidh:

Catnip1024:

Seanchaidh:
Democracy at work (instead of authoritarian control by owners) and an end to vast wealth inequality (taxing the shit out of the rich). A society guided by the principle that those who are affected by a decision should have a say in it, and that no one should be rich enough to buy political decisions or any other decision that they would otherwise have no right to make. An end to the private collection of economic rents based on the labor of others.

See, Lenin tried to implement a similar sort of system in the 1920s, with Russian agricultural production. In the end, he had to yield, because if you tax a man more for working harder, he suddenly has no incentive to work harder.

As for democracy at work? If I struggle to get together the funds and connections to start a successful business, why should I give every numpty recruit a say in how I run my business? There are ways through which the sharing of risks and rewards could be more equitable, but to call for democracy in the workplace is a ludicrous suggestion.

I should apparently have my head examined for thinking you were even attempting to speak to the point. Fair enough. You got me! XD

Funnily enough, I was replying to the bits you selectively chose not to bold, regarding incredibly high income tax. But good selective vision there.

Catnip1024:
First of all, a very high income tax band is very different from a 100% income tax band.

Indeed it is! You'll notice that you're the only one here who has actually mentioned a literal 100% tax band; Seanchaidh did not.

Catnip1024:

Secondly, the current system has enormously wide loopholes which mean that anybody earning millions is generally not getting it paid directly as income in the way you or I would. Think share schemes, sort of thing.

Yes, closing loopholes is also important. This should go hand-in-hand with the higher tax rate in order to ensure it's effective in what it sets out to accomplish.

Catnip1024:
Well your argument was that the scale was almost entirely to the owner. It isn't, as that was the case in the Victorian era. We have come a long way since then. It may not be balanced, but it is an exaggeration to claim the owners still have all the power.

Is it an exaggeration?

Workers are undeniably paid the tiniest fraction of the money made by shareholders and owners, with the latter often doing very little to earn that income (often having inherited those shares, or invested inherited money).

The workers cannot make the decisions the owners can. The workers' jobs are more insecure. The workers' quality of life is lower. one side of this equation makes literally billions more than the other, and has almost all deciding power in the company, yet works a fraction of the hours.

Then, if a worker is guilty of theft, they will lose their job or go to prison (or both); if Philip Green (or countless others) plunder the pension fund, they will lose their knighthood, but remain a free man (and a free multi-millionaire).

I'm searching for the balance. For the symbiosis. Please let me know where it is.

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