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gruffydd

Time To Spread The Wealth (what's Left Of It!) -

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/13/the-spirit-level

...We are rich enough. Economic growth has done as much as it can to improve material conditions in the developed countries, and in some cases appears to be damaging health. If Britain were instead to concentrate on making its citizens' incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks' holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would each live a year or so longer, and we'd trust each other more.

...The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet's resources.

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I like to think I'm fairly honest, but if I knew I could do the minimum amount of work - the easiest low-stress work that takes no skill - basically as little as possible whilst looking busy and still lead a comfortable life I would do it. That one sentence is the reason why such a scheme would never, ever work.

Even today I set myself a monthly income target and once I hit that I lay off the overtime and chasing new leads. Maybe it does work for certain low density countries with extensive natural resources to sell. For most, it wouldn't work at all. It's a bit like Injin world only the complete opposite. It involves everyone playing their part, and understanding long term where their interests lie. Most people won't and don't.

Edited by impatient_mug

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I like to think I'm fairly honest, but if I knew I could do the minimum amount of work - the easiest low-stress work that takes no skill - basically as little as possible whilst looking busy and still lead a comfortable life I would do it. That one sentence is the reason why such a scheme would never, ever work.

Even today I set myself a monthly income target and once I hit that I lay off the overtime and chasing new leads. Maybe it does work for certain low density countries with extensive natural resources to sell. For most, it wouldn't work at all. It's a bit like Injin world only the complete opposite. It involves everyone playing their part, and understanding long term where their interests lie. Most people won't and don't.

Slightly off topic, but along the same lines....

What is your opinion of inheritance? I can't* find it now, but I was reading an interesting article that hypothesised that inheritance was a significant factor amongst the various factors responsible for perpetuating inequality. Excuse my dreadfully in-eloquently rehashing of it - but it essentially outlined how inheritance supports the continuation of the 'controlling' classes over the rest of society and whilst it recognised that everyone has the opportunity to 'join the club' financial 'control' is massively stacked in the favor or rich families. By 'financial control' is included the ability to suppress the wealth opportunities of the masses. It also recognised the fact that most people would be disgusted at the suggestion of the state capping inheritance.

* be arsed to

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Slightly off topic, but along the same lines....

What is your opinion of inheritance? I can't* find it now, but I was reading an interesting article that hypothesised that inheritance was a significant factor amongst the various factors responsible for perpetuating inequality. Excuse my dreadfully in-eloquently rehashing of it - but it essentially outlined how inheritance supports the continuation of the 'controlling' classes over the rest of society and whilst it recognised that everyone has the opportunity to 'join the club' financial 'control' is massively stacked in the favor or rich families. By 'financial control' is included the ability to suppress the wealth opportunities of the masses. It also recognised the fact that most people would be disgusted at the suggestion of the state capping inheritance.

* be arsed to

I'm a bit torn on the whole inheritance issue. My general outlook is give people as much freedom as possible and only interfere with the individual if their actions are having an unacceptably substantial impact on others around them. That leads me to think that once someone has acquired wealth during their life it should be up to them what they do with it. They can leave it to a cats home, give it to their kids, or redistribute it to the rest of society - it should be their choice. Having said that, they shouldn't be allowed to pass it on early and then claim benefits (and this will be controversial I'm sure) towards their care.

Having said that, a lot of people with great wealth today - especially 'old money' - got it through less than fair means - methods that would be considered unacceptable today. Others got it via the tax payer - I'm sure the MP's expenses scandal only scratched the surface.

There you go - several lines and I've not answered the question. Can I be a politician? :lol:

Edited by impatient_mug

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Slightly off topic, but along the same lines....

What is your opinion of inheritance? I can't* find it now, but I was reading an interesting article that hypothesised that inheritance was a significant factor amongst the various factors responsible for perpetuating inequality. Excuse my dreadfully in-eloquently rehashing of it - but it essentially outlined how inheritance supports the continuation of the 'controlling' classes over the rest of society and whilst it recognised that everyone has the opportunity to 'join the club' financial 'control' is massively stacked in the favor or rich families. By 'financial control' is included the ability to suppress the wealth opportunities of the masses. It also recognised the fact that most people would be disgusted at the suggestion of the state capping inheritance.

* be arsed to

I agree with the article you can't find. A better world would have no income taxes, all wealth taxes and pretty much 100%inheritance tax; people should benefit from what they achieve in life themselves not what someone else achieved regardless of whether they are related to them.

And imagine how much cheaper houses would be if no-one even had an inheritance as part of the deposit and bid the price up. Consumption would be higher on average too- everyone would spend rather than some saving and others having nothing to spend at all.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/13/the-spirit-level

Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet's resources.

The problem is one half of the workforce is keeping the totally idle other half. No rest for workers, no work for idlers. I don't think it's as simple as inequality.

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I agree with the article you can't find. A better world would have no income taxes, all wealth taxes and pretty much 100%inheritance tax; people should benefit from what they achieve in life themselves not what someone else achieved regardless of whether they are related to them.

And imagine how much cheaper houses would be if no-one even had an inheritance as part of the deposit and bid the price up. Consumption would be higher on average too- everyone would spend rather than some saving and others having nothing to spend at all.

Unfortunately all schemes designed to distribute wealth evenly result in everyone being equally poor.

Human beings are not insects, we work for ourselves and our children, if we or our children don't gain a direct financial advantage from our efforts then we just don't work at all.

This is why communism and socialism just don't work.

Capitalism is far from perfect, but history has proven it to be the least worst option.

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I like to think I'm fairly honest, but if I knew I could do the minimum amount of work - the easiest low-stress work that takes no skill - basically as little as possible whilst looking busy and still lead a comfortable life I would do it. That one sentence is the reason why such a scheme would never, ever work.

You make the fairly massive assumption here that there is a direct relationship between how much people earn and how hard they work. Consider the fact that there are many thousands of corporate and local goverenment 'placeholders' who actualy do very little real work, but spend their days in nice warm office blocks that were built by people who worked bloody hard in all weathers, and who earn a lot less in many cases than the chair warmers they have provided shelter for.

What people earn is related to more to their social status than how hard they work- otherwise those doing the hardest, dirtiest jobs would be amongst the highest paid, rather than the lowest.

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I like to think I'm fairly honest, but if I knew I could do the minimum amount of work - the easiest low-stress work that takes no skill - basically as little as possible whilst looking busy and still lead a comfortable life I would do it. That one sentence is the reason why such a scheme would never, ever work.

The goal of making "citizens' incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia" plainly works in those places.

In any case, putting aside your inexplicable desire to look busy ;) what's wrong with doing the minimum required to lead a comfortable life? What's wrong with being able to follow the lifestyle that you would, by your own assessment, choose to follow if free to do so?

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Unfortunately all schemes designed to distribute wealth evenly result in everyone being equally poor.

Correction -

All schemes designed to distribute produced wealth evenly result in everyone being equally poor

Edited by Stars

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Guest UK Debt Slave
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/13/the-spirit-level

...We are rich enough. Economic growth has done as much as it can to improve material conditions in the developed countries, and in some cases appears to be damaging health. If Britain were instead to concentrate on making its citizens' incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks' holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would each live a year or so longer, and we'd trust each other more.

...The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet's resources.

It functions exactly as it is intended to function.

Your rulers don't want you to enjoy your life. You work for them. They own you.

They don't give a f-u-ck about people.

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The problem is one half of the workforce is keeping the totally idle other half. No rest for workers, no work for idlers. I don't think it's as simple as inequality.

What you've put your finger on there is inequality :lol:

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/13/the-spirit-level

...We are rich enough. Economic growth has done as much as it can to improve material conditions in the developed countries, and in some cases appears to be damaging health. If Britain were instead to concentrate on making its citizens' incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks' holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would each live a year or so longer, and we'd trust each other more.

...The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. THE WELFARE STATE causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet's resources.

Just one change made. It's basic game theory and the reason why all socialist systems ultimately fail. If you are given equal rewards for unequal effort you are always going to choose the path of least resistance as it makes more sense. Eventually the system fails as the number of unproductive elements outweighs the productive. (however you wish to define the productive constituent). The point at which it makes more sense to stay or go on welfare as it pays more than working is perhaps a clue that a tipping point of sorts is being reached.

Socialism, which is always sold to the unlucky, greedy and naive as a solution to the unsolvable deficiencies of the human condition, is just Theft disguised as Egalitarianism.

A stricter inheritance tax system won't work either-it will just be like japan where Parent's give their Kids the key to a safety deposit box full of gold or antiques. Try and taxing a key

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Just one change made. It's basic game theory and the reason why all socialist systems ultimately fail. If you are given equal rewards for unequal effort you are always going to choose the path of least resistance as it makes more sense. Eventually the system fails as the number of unproductive elements outweighs the productive. (however you wish to define the productive constituent). The point at which it makes more sense to stay or go on welfare as it pays more than working is perhaps a clue that a tipping point of sorts is being reached.

Socialism, which is always sold to the unlucky, greedy and naive as a solution to the unsolvable deficiencies of the human condition, is just Theft disguised as Egalitarianism.

A stricter inheritance tax system won't work either-it will just be like japan where Parent's give their Kids the key to a safety deposit box full of gold or antiques. Try and taxing a key

I don't disagree with this.

An interesting problem that we face is that liberal democracies tend to give more and more to the willingly unproductive members of society at the expense of the productive members of society.

Because we are a democracy, self interest means that we eventually reach a tipping point where the income and wealth transfer from productive to willingly unproductive members of society reaches a point where there is no longer any incentive to be productive.

I think that we are perilously close to that tipping point already.

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I don't disagree with this.

An interesting problem that we face is that liberal democracies tend to give more and more to the willingly unproductive members of society at the expense of the productive members of society.

Because we are a democracy, self interest means that we eventually reach a tipping point where the income and wealth transfer from productive to willingly unproductive members of society reaches a point where there is no longer any incentive to be productive.

I think that we are perilously close to that tipping point already.

This is where they allocate you a job, real socialism, aka communism.

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I don't disagree with this.

An interesting problem that we face is that liberal democracies tend to give more and more to the willingly unproductive members of society at the expense of the productive members of society.

Because we are a democracy, self interest means that we eventually reach a tipping point where the income and wealth transfer from productive to willingly unproductive members of society reaches a point where there is no longer any incentive to be productive.

I think that we are perilously close to that tipping point already.

Danegeld that the Dane are able to vote for.

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I agree with the article you can't find. A better world would have no income taxes, all wealth taxes and pretty much 100%inheritance tax; people should benefit from what they achieve in life themselves not what someone else achieved regardless of whether they are related to them.

And imagine how much cheaper houses would be if no-one even had an inheritance as part of the deposit and bid the price up. Consumption would be higher on average too- everyone would spend rather than some saving and others having nothing to spend at all.

Yuck - What a horrible thought. Like we aren't a nation of greedy feckers already.

But I will backtrack. I do regularly tell my mum to sell up and buy something small and spend the rest enjoying herself.

I think though, that passing on your wealth to your kids is probably inate. Survival of the fittest (wealthiest). The selfish gene. Also the desire for your children to do better than you.

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I'm a bit torn on the whole inheritance issue. My general outlook is give people as much freedom as possible and only interfere with the individual if their actions are having an unacceptably substantial impact on others around them. That leads me to think that once someone has acquired wealth during their life it should be up to them what they do with it. They can leave it to a cats home, give it to their kids, or redistribute it to the rest of society - it should be their choice. Having said that, they shouldn't be allowed to pass it on early and then claim benefits (and this will be controversial I'm sure) towards their care.

Having said that, a lot of people with great wealth today - especially 'old money' - got it through less than fair means - methods that would be considered unacceptable today. Others got it via the tax payer - I'm sure the MP's expenses scandal only scratched the surface.

There you go - several lines and I've not answered the question. Can I be a politician? :lol:

Inheritance is my main gripe with the Tories.In my opinion it's fairer that someone with net worth of a million pounds should pay some of it in tax rather than someone on minimum wage should have deductions taken from their £220 a week.

My net worth with Mrs P is not a million but it isn't that far short,certainly our one little "p" would gain substantially from Dave's proposal to exempt a million.I see these kids everywhere,driving brand new cars at 17 and flashing their bling.OK so I am old fashioned but I think you should have to make your own way in the world,not have it given to you.

On the other hand if you shared everything out equally the same people would end up with all the wealth in a fairly short space of time.Ne'er do wells will spend it on drink,drugs,gambling,burgers.I like the idea that if you put in some effort you get some reward.Dave wants us to return to the good old days..Boris speeding down the open road in a sports car scattering the peasants...parp parp!

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The rich don't get caught with inheritance tax. Inheritance tax effectively creates a glass ceiling for people.

No - I would get rid of inheritance and capital gains taxes, and introduce land and property taxes instead.

+1

Exactly...

edit to ad..no need for property taxes (as we presently know them), simply leave it at land tax

Edited by Stars

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I like to think I'm fairly honest, but if I knew I could do the minimum amount of work - the easiest low-stress work that takes no skill - basically as little as possible whilst looking busy and still lead a comfortable life I would do it. That one sentence is the reason why such a scheme would never, ever work.

Even today I set myself a monthly income target and once I hit that I lay off the overtime and chasing new leads. Maybe it does work for certain low density countries with extensive natural resources to sell. For most, it wouldn't work at all. It's a bit like Injin world only the complete opposite. It involves everyone playing their part, and understanding long term where their interests lie. Most people won't and don't.

Think about income as, earning enough for the present + past debts + future income...then stop anything else is over and above surplus requirements and amounts to labour for nothing. ;)

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+1

Exactly...

edit to ad..no need for property taxes (as we presently know them), simply leave it at land tax

I believe the French have a form of this,a wealth tax. It could be levied at say 1% per annum on wealth over £500k.It amounts to the same thing really.

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The problem is one half of the workforce is keeping the totally idle other half. No rest for workers, no work for idlers. I don't think it's as simple as inequality.

However it is easy to devise a system where that does not happen.

In return for your citizen's income, everyone rich/poor employed/unemployed has to contribute in someway by doing community work for 1/2 - 2 days per week.

Parents? 1/2 day a week helping in school to educate children

Maintaining public spaces

Caring for the elderly

Sorting recyling

etc

etc

The issue is that what is best for society is often not what is best for short term economic output.

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I don't disagree with this.

An interesting problem that we face is that liberal democracies tend to give more and more to the willingly unproductive members of society at the expense of the productive members of society.

Because we are a democracy, self interest means that we eventually reach a tipping point where the income and wealth transfer from productive to willingly unproductive members of society reaches a point where there is no longer any incentive to be productive.

I think that we are perilously close to that tipping point already.

I agree. The way things are presently orchestrated encourages waste and inefficiency on a massive scale.

If there were no benefits system but also no taxes on production the tendency would gravitate towards investment in the production of wealth. This would be in the self interest of the individuals concerned as it would ensure that they were always able to meet their most basic needs as well provide luxuries that were earnt from the increase in productive capacity.

The further away you get from this model the more waste is encouraged because its becomes easier to squander wealth when you're guaranteed it in the future without having to go through the effort of creating it.

This Friedman quote sums it up for me:

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman

Edited by chefdave

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I believe the French have a form of this,a wealth tax. It could be levied at say 1% per annum on wealth over £500k.It amounts to the same thing really.

It doesn't amount to the same thing

Land itself only collects value from benefits created by the community at large, while 'wealth' could be solely the result of the owner's individual efforts.

The reason we are is such a pickle is precisely because we have ignored the moral difference.

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