Wealth Distribution

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Sarvis
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Wealth Distribution

Postby Sarvis » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:46 pm

So, ran across an interesting article the other night.

The short version is that wealth disparities have little to do with individual merits, and a LOT to do with the system itself. Essentially there is a distribution that is always present in every country, with every economic scheme where as the amount of wealth doubles the number of people who are holding that amount goes down by a constant factor, though that factor is different for different countries.

Two guys running this through some simulations found that this occurs even if all individuals were <i>exactly the same</i>, in fact. In other words, people who say the poor choose to be poor, or are poor because they are lazy or stupid are fundamentally incorrect.

The constant factor, however, can be changed even though it canot be eliminated. Apparently, and I wish they had gone into some more detail on this, a larger number of transactions reduces that factor while highly volatile investment returns tend to favor a higher factor. Essentially this occurs because a wealthy person can better afford a loss in investment.


Anyway, here's the article... give it a read!

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/pubitem.jhtml?id=2906&t=finance
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Postby Corth » Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:15 pm

Get your hand out of my wallet!
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Postby Sarvis » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:02 pm

Corth,

You are heavy on conclusions and light on reasoning.
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Postby rylan » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:36 pm

Well it is interesting. I believe the article is basically saying that if you start everyone out with the same amount of wealth, the network combined with luck of how people invest their wealth will lead to some having mroe and some having less... which in turn causes the wealthier people to invest more for larger returns since they had sucess at it, thereby increasing the disparity even more.
Damn that was a long sentence.
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Postby Ambar » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:48 pm

I really dont agree with Sarvis' interpretation of the article, but Rylan's seems DEAD-on accurate as to how I read it ...

It is kind of silly to guess how/why wealth is spread .. it's pretty obvious .. as your income goes up, so do your bills, so does your ability to invest larger sums of money ... a loss of thousands seems small to the rich but catastrophic to the poor .. duh ...

Keep in mind that there are always people who can succeed even under horrible conditions, you see new money spring from nothing .. its all in motivation/drive and a thirst to LEARN how to make mone, and a LOT of luck ..

anyone can do it ... look at the immigrant with a quarter in their pocket who becomes a millionaire ...

shrug .. just my .02

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Postby Sarvis » Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:31 pm

Ambar wrote:I really dont agree with Sarvis' interpretation of the article, but Rylan's seems DEAD-on accurate as to how I read it ...

It is kind of silly to guess how/why wealth is spread .. it's pretty obvious .. as your income goes up, so do your bills, so does your ability to invest larger sums of money ... a loss of thousands seems small to the rich but catastrophic to the poor .. duh ...

Keep in mind that there are always people who can succeed even under horrible conditions, you see new money spring from nothing .. its all in motivation/drive and a thirst to LEARN how to make mone, and a LOT of luck ..

anyone can do it ... look at the immigrant with a quarter in their pocket who becomes a millionaire ...

shrug .. just my .02

Happy Holidays!!!


Err... how is what Rylan said different from what I said exactly?

I only used it to point out the speciousness of the claim that everyone who is living in poverty is doing so because they are lazy or stupid.

You say it's all in the motivation to learn about money and motivation, but the article specifically points out the case where everyone has equal amounts of that and this disparity STILL holds true. In other words, none of those matter very much it seems.

Think about it, if you already have a good amount of money from birth or whatever then it doesn't matter very much whether you have drive or motivation. You can suceed anyway, as certain influential leaders of today prove.
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Postby teflor the ranger » Fri Dec 24, 2004 11:53 pm

There's a couple major things this article misses, however.

Taxation of varying forms of government (Saddam killing you and your family for looking at him funny).

And Just death in general.

Hey, some people give it all away when they give up the ghost.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Dec 25, 2004 12:56 am

teflor the ranger wrote:There's a couple major things this article misses, however.

Taxation of varying forms of government (Saddam killing you and your family for looking at him funny).

And Just death in general.

Hey, some people give it all away when they give up the ghost.


Err... actually this occurs in _every_ country, so the government really only affects that constant.

Not that I see how taxation and murder are related...
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Postby Corth » Sat Dec 25, 2004 8:19 am

I recently read an article somewhere about readership distribution relating to blogs. Basically, you have a few blogs that get an enormous amount of readers (Instapundit, Daily Kos, Andrew Sullivan, Little Green Footballs, Powerline, Etc.). Blogs below that first level are much more numerous, but the readership levels fall drastically. The curve is a very sharp angle.

I wouldn't be surprised if the curve for blog readership is similar to wealth distribution. Another curve i would like to see would be mud playerbase during their hayday. I'm guessing they all had a similar sort of distribution pattern. You can only have so many on top.

Corth
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Postby kwirl » Sat Dec 25, 2004 9:05 am

the distribution of wealth would be modified by the personal drive and ambition of people who had those qualities.

give 10 people a hundred bucks each, and if one of them works hard enough, he can go home with 500 in his pocket and all of the others feeling that they had been treated fairly.
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Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Dec 25, 2004 9:30 am

Sarvis wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:There's a couple major things this article misses, however.

Taxation of varying forms of government (Saddam killing you and your family for looking at him funny).

And Just death in general.

Hey, some people give it all away when they give up the ghost.


Err... actually this occurs in _every_ country, so the government really only affects that constant.

Not that I see how taxation and murder are related...


C.C...C...C.CCCoomunism? NnnNNn..nNnnnnnnazism? BBbububbbbuuhism? Ttttt..ttt tttibetans?

And Saddam's family has gotten so much richer.

There is such a thing as a changing of hands where it comes to wealth.

Revolution is such an odd thing.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 pm

kwirl wrote:the distribution of wealth would be modified by the personal drive and ambition of people who had those qualities.

give 10 people a hundred bucks each, and if one of them works hard enough, he can go home with 500 in his pocket and all of the others feeling that they had been treated fairly.



Yeah, you might think that... if you hadn't bothered to read the article!
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Dec 25, 2004 2:03 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:C.C...C...C.CCCoomunism? NnnNNn..nNnnnnnnazism? BBbububbbbuuhism? Ttttt..ttt tttibetans?

And Saddam's family has gotten so much richer.

There is such a thing as a changing of hands where it comes to wealth.

Revolution is such an odd thing.



So you're saying it's ok to have a huge wealth disparity because a revolution will eventually fix it?
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Dec 25, 2004 2:09 pm

Corth wrote:I recently read an article somewhere about readership distribution relating to blogs. Basically, you have a few blogs that get an enormous amount of readers (Instapundit, Daily Kos, Andrew Sullivan, Little Green Footballs, Powerline, Etc.). Blogs below that first level are much more numerous, but the readership levels fall drastically. The curve is a very sharp angle.

I wouldn't be surprised if the curve for blog readership is similar to wealth distribution. Another curve i would like to see would be mud playerbase during their hayday. I'm guessing they all had a similar sort of distribution pattern. You can only have so many on top.

Corth


Of course that makes sense. What you are forgetting is that simply because those blogs have the highest readership does not mean they are the best blogs.

In fact, even with muds I would argue that this was the best mud out there. When it first went down for a year I couldn't find any other muds at all which were worth playing. Yet I DID run into several muds which had much larger pbases.

So my point still stands, wealth (or success in the blog/mud realm) has little to do with individual merit.

Don't make me bring Britney Spears into this! ;)
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Postby rylan » Sat Dec 25, 2004 6:51 pm

Whats that, attention given to the music industry stars being proportional to the size of their breasts and their sluttiness factor?
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Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Dec 25, 2004 8:04 pm

Sarvis wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:C.C...C...C.CCCoomunism? NnnNNn..nNnnnnnnazism? BBbububbbbuuhism? Ttttt..ttt tttibetans?

And Saddam's family has gotten so much richer.

There is such a thing as a changing of hands where it comes to wealth.

Revolution is such an odd thing.



So you're saying it's ok to have a huge wealth disparity because a revolution will eventually fix it?


Well, in some ways, yes. What I'm saying is that the article was fairly shortsighted and also that I agree with Rylan's conclusion much more than yours.
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Postby Corth » Sat Dec 25, 2004 8:14 pm

Sarvis,

I agree to an extent. For instance, in the music industry... it has always been my belief that for every famous artist there are hundreds if not thousands who are just as good, if not better, and completely unknown. But to stick with that example, you are only looking at one side of the story. To be a famous artist you need a requisite amount of talent, which we agree is not so rare, but you also need to do other things to get to the top. You need to seek out and impress people who can further your career. You need to have personality, and a 'brand' image. You need to figure out a way for fans to identify with you and your music. Its more than just brute musical talent that separates the wheat from the chaff in that context.

Lets take it into the business context. Its not always the most talented or hardest working people that do well in business. Sure, you need a requisite amount of knowledge and experience, but thats not rare. Rather, I believe its the 'smartest working' people who make it in that context. Those who know how to seek out and impress investors or business contacts who can help further their career. Those who know how to identify a need in the community, and have the ambition and drive to put something together to fulfill that need.

The common denominator here is the profit motive. When I say profit, I mean it broadly. The point is, the artist might be driven by a desire to be appreciated, and famous, the business person might want power, and money, but the point is that they are doing it for something. The more you diminish the profit motive in any particular context, the less likely people will try to be succesful. That means that businesses aren't created, songs aren't written, etc. Thats the essential problem with wealth redistribution schemes.

Corth
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Dec 25, 2004 9:36 pm

<b>Rylan</b>

Whats that, attention given to the music industry stars being proportional to the size of their breasts and their sluttiness factor?


Sex appeal in general, not just boobie size. Don't forget boy bands! ;)


<b>Corth</b>

Ah but Corth, how much of that is really the _musicians_ effort? Most of the time it is the record label that makes a singer famous. Do you honestly think Britney has some kind of improved business sense that a band like Rhapsody or Opeth does not?

You're right, it is more than musical talent. In fact, musical talent isn't really the point at all.

Just like Sojourn being a kickass mud is never going to get it more players than the lamest MMORPG you can think of.

Profit motive as a common denominator doesn't work either, as it completely ignores everything said in this article. Look at it, no matter what economic system there is, be it communist; heavily socialist or pure capitalist, you get the same effect.

Also don't forget I have not advocated any wealth redistribution in this thread. I am merely pointing out that just because someone is poor does not mean he is inferior.

Lastly, even if the wealth gap is at it's absolute minimum the profit motive is <i>still</i> there. Remember this article shows it cannot be eliminated, you can only minimize it.


<b>Teflor</b>

Doesn't it seem a little shortsighted to you to wait until people revolt rather than simply adopting a system which can minimize the wealth gap and prevent them from revolting at all? I mean, what happens to Corth's profit motive if you just expect to be killed in a revolution eventually anyway?
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Postby rylan » Sun Dec 26, 2004 1:17 am

Sarvis wrote:Sex appeal in general, not just boobie size. Don't forget boy bands! ;)


I thought boy bands appealed to gay men and prepubescent girls though. :P

Yeah yeah I know, sorry for getting off topic :)
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Postby Sarvis » Sun Dec 26, 2004 1:25 am

rylan wrote:
Sarvis wrote:Sex appeal in general, not just boobie size. Don't forget boy bands! ;)


I thought boy bands appealed to gay men and prepubescent girls though. :P


Exactly. ;)

Actually the largest part of Britney's fan base is prepubescent girls too... heh.
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Postby Vigis » Sun Dec 26, 2004 1:47 am

I don't know that anybody is suggesting that the poor are inferior. I've been poor, I grew up poor. I am not poor now.

The problem with pointing out that disparity exists when it comes to wealth is that there is a disparity in everything. Some kids are popular in school, some people get more promotions, some folks catch more fish or get more clients. The common denominator in all of the successes (in the U.S. at least) is that people who succeed don't necessarily succeed because they are the best at what they do, but they are the best at promooting them selves; they make people see them.

Case in point: I have only been with my company for a little over a year, I have received 3 promotions thus far. I like to think that it is because of my work ethic, but the truth is that people see me, they know who I am. Therefore, when something arises, my name is called.

It is the same with wealth and investments, people recognize the most obvious names. When I was in advertising it is a point that I really pushed to my clients. Make your name be seen, people will go with you and trust you over somebody else.

The poor aren't poor because they are inferior or because they don't do a good job, they are poor because they don't market themselves enough. I could be the best pooper-scooper in the world, but if there is a guy who tells everybody that he is the best pooper-scooper, he will get more business. Humility has no place in the accumulation of wealth.

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Postby kwirl » Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:51 am

But this particular 80-20 split is not really the point; in some other country, the precise numbers might be 90-20 or 95-10 or something else.


I can't put too much stock into the words of someone who uses 90-20 and 95-10 as examples for the distribution of 100% of something.

To find out, let's forget for the moment about creativity and risk taking, the distribution of intelligence, and all the other factors that might influence an individual's destiny.


This guy is working without much regard to the traditional scientific method, where you have to account for variables to prove something. Proving a fact by telling you to forget contributing factors was how people proved arguments 2,000+ years ago, wasn't it?


Pareto efficiency works just fine if you don't bother to apply real-world economic workings to the model. This theory is what inspired the italian fascist government of mussolini's day. We saw how well that worked off, according to this theory it was a perfectly viable and workable plan. Go world.

While the model tends to provide results that are consistent, there are too many missing variables to just accept this as a law.

You should read the counter argument instead of just taking it because you can't refute their "forget the rest and look at this" distraction technique.

http://econ.ucsd.edu/~nkartik/Papers/consist.pdf

Sen's Paradox is the work of of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, also called "Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal"
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Postby kwirl » Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:58 am

Sarvis wrote:Yeah, you might think that... if you hadn't bothered to read the article!


you would respond that way if you had read nothing but the article on the subject.
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Postby Xisiqomelir » Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:01 pm

Corth wrote:Get your hand out of my wallet!
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Postby sok » Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:36 pm

Corth wrote:Get your hand out of my wallet!


it's not your wallet i was feeling up.
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Postby Sarvis » Mon Dec 27, 2004 11:22 pm

Vigis wrote:I don't know that anybody is suggesting that the poor are inferior.


I'm not sure if anyone here has said those specific words, but there ARE people, usually libertarians and conservatives, who will say those exact words. It's their justification for wanting to get rid of things like welfare. They believe that anyone on welfare or in that kind of situation chose to be so because they are lazy and/or stupid.

The problem with pointing out that disparity exists when it comes to wealth is that there is a disparity in everything. Some kids are popular in school, some people get more promotions, some folks catch more fish or get more clients. The common denominator in all of the successes (in the U.S. at least) is that people who succeed don't necessarily succeed because they are the best at what they do, but they are the best at promooting them selves; they make people see them.


Which is, in and of itself, pretty shitty.

It is the same with wealth and investments, people recognize the most obvious names. When I was in advertising it is a point that I really pushed to my clients. Make your name be seen, people will go with you and trust you over somebody else.


To a point. Do you think anyone really trusts Microsoft? Or Wal-Mart?

They are basically just bullies now, money will come to them almost no matter what they do. It isn't about trust, it's about a lack of other options.

Wal-mart ensures the lowest prices, making it so people almost _have_ to shop there.

Microsoft simply makes people believe there are no other options, and in some ways they are right considering the price (and crappiness) of macs and the complexities of linux.

Of course, Microsoft is also a prime example of a company whose initial success probably had less to do with their own intelligence and hard work than with another company's. There wouldn't even BE a MS operating system if it wasn't for IBM...


<b>Kwirl</b>

I can't put too much stock into the words of someone who uses 90-20 and 95-10 as examples for the distribution of 100% of something.


Umm... you're the one reading that wrong.

He's saying 90% of the MONEY is controlled by 20% of the PEOPLE, or 95% wealth controlled by 10% people.

I haven't had a chance to read that article yet though, and I want to before trying to reply to the rest of that post.

you would respond that way if you had read nothing but the article on the subject.


*snicker*

I was also being overly glib, and considering only the case in which everyone had equal ability.

However, just because one person may walk away with all the cash does not mean he did the most work for it or is the most deserving of it.

For instance, let's say there's a wise old man in there. This old man tells everyone that for $100 he will tell anyone how to vastly improve their own lives. Everyone pays him the $100 dollars, and he listens to their problems and helps them all.

Now, one of the the other guys in the room is just a huge, dumb brute with nothing to contribute. He does have one bright idea though, and after listening to the old man's advice he goes to stand in front of the door. He tells the old man it'll cost $500 to get out.

So without spending any effort the big dumb brute walks out with $500, while the old man who did a lot of work and actually improved people's lives walks out penniless.

Want a real world example? How about Wal-mart? All they really do is open up in a small town and sell products for lower prices than smaller "mom and pop" stores possibly can. I've even seen wal-mart outprice larger local grocery store chains, because they have the money, and therefore power, to buy more of something and therefore get it at a lower price. That means they can sell it cheaper and still profit while other stores struggle to keep their prices low enough.
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Postby Corth » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:53 am

Sarvis,

I have to take issue with the assertion that Libertarian and Conservative ideologies deem poor people in any way inferior. The essence of their position is that the fairest possible economic policy is one that does not discriminate against one group of people in favor of others. Redistribution schemes are inherently discriminatory because you are taking from one and giving to another. Furthermore, they believe that rather than redistributing wealth to poor people, the best way to enrich them is to give them the opportunity to create their own wealth in a vibrant economy unhindered by governmental regulation and intervention. These are ideals which many reasonable people share without any undercurrent of disdain towards poor people.

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Postby Sarvis » Tue Dec 28, 2004 7:03 am

Corth wrote:Sarvis,

I have to take issue with the assertion that Libertarian and Conservative ideologies deem poor people in any way inferior.


I didn't say anything about the ideologies. I said that when you hear the statement "poor people choose to be poor" it is invariably a conservative or conservative who says it. I am in no way implying that this is part of the ideology, nor even that the majority of people who are conservative/libertarian share that viewpoint. I am only saying that when you do hear that said, it IS by a libertarian/conservative.


The essence of their position is that the fairest possible economic policy is one that does not discriminate against one group of people in favor of others. Redistribution schemes are inherently discriminatory because you are taking from one and giving to another. Furthermore, they believe that rather than redistributing wealth to poor people, the best way to enrich them is to give them the opportunity to create their own wealth in a vibrant economy unhindered by governmental regulation and intervention. These are ideals which many reasonable people share without any undercurrent of disdain towards poor people.
Corth



The only problem is that a completely unfettered system itself is discriminatory to those who do not have money. Actually all systems are according to this article! The best we can do is to minimize that discrimination. One way the article claims that this occurs is by having money change hands more often, which wealth redistribution schemes accomplish quite nicely don't they?

The problem with the reasonable conservative viewpoint is that it takes a few things on faith. A few things which don't really make sense to me. For instance, you have to believe that when a company's profits improve their workers gain more money as well. This is completely untrue. Several companies reported record profits during the recession, yet even with the recovery wage growth is stagnant. Yes, people have benefitted... but those people are the CEOs and shareholders, who already had lots of money in the first place!
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Postby Corth » Tue Dec 28, 2004 7:37 am

Sarvis:

Theres nothing discriminatory about a system that allows people to have economic freedom. Sure, its easier to make money when you already have it. On the other hand, this country was built by people who immigrated here with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing, and managed to build a much better life for themselves and their descendants. Such opportunity to make something of oneself is hindered to the extent that the economy is burdened by regulation and taxes.

Let me put it this way... its difficult enough to start a business when your in a low tax environment. Try starting one where the government takes 70%+ of your income, and you need to spend thousands of dollars in legal and consulting fees to obtain licenses, comply with regulations, or worse, to bribe powerful governmental officials who are conveniently put in the position of having the discretion to let you do business or not. And you don't get new jobs without businesses being created.

Paradoxically, such a situation hurts poor people the most because their the bottom of the food chain when it comes to being chosen for jobs due to less education and skills. It gets tio the point, France being a good example, where you have generations of young poor people living off of whatever the government will give them, with no hope of making anything out of themselves. I'd rather be poor with opportunity, than beholden on the charity of others without hope.

Corth
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Dec 28, 2004 7:49 am

Corth wrote:Sarvis:

Theres nothing discriminatory about a system that allows people to have economic freedom. Sure, its easier to make money when you already have it. On the other hand, this country was built by people who immigrated here with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing, and managed to build a much better life for themselves and their descendants. Such opportunity to make something of oneself is hindered to the extent that the economy is burdened by regulation and taxes. Let me put it this way... its difficult enough to start a business when your in a low tax environment. Try starting one where the government takes 70%+ of your income, and you need to spend thousands of dollars in legal and consulting fees to obtain licenses, comply with regulations, or worse, to bribe powerful governmental officials. And you don't get new jobs with businesses being created.

Corth


And since when do new businesses make so much that they'd lose 70% in taxes, ANYWHERE?

In Canada a rich _person_ pays 50% in taxes, but your average startup isn't making anywhere near that much money.

I'd love to hear how the lack of taxation and regulation has improved the lives of your average mexican or taiwanese factory worker...

How can you claim there is economic freedom when the only way to make money is to have a lot already?
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Postby Corth » Tue Dec 28, 2004 8:27 am

I'd like to also address your point about wage growth being stagnant. Your statement is more or less true... currently. But it means nothing at all in the context of this debate about wealth redistribution.

The job market, like any other market, is subject to the economic law of supply and demand. When the supply of competent workers looking to sell their time (looking for a job) increases, it stands to reason that employers will enjoy the opportunity to pay less for that time. Conversely, in a situation where competent workers are in short supply, or where business has a larger than normal appetite for more workers, employers will have to pay more.

In the context of the job market, in macro terms, supply and demand are determined by many different factors. Supply is often governed by demographic trends such as population growth and migration. Demand will often be determined by the health of the economy as a whole. However, these factors are not exclusive.

The primary reason that the US job market is now a buyer's market is that technological innovations have made many industries a lot more efficient, lessening demand for additional workers. One important manifestation of this phenomenon is outsourcing. For instance, with advances in VOIP technology, it now makes a lot more economical sense in many cases to hire foreign workers to staff call centers. Thats just one of many examples and reasons why technology has lowered the demand for US workers. What is essentially happening is that some US workers are being replaced by and as a result of technology, which is slowing job growth and creating a larger pool of qualified unemployed workers than would otherwise exist.

This doesn't necesarily mean that the job market will always be in favor of employers. Not long ago it was the other way around. During the late '90s, internet companies were having bidding wars for qualified job applicants. At some point, the efficiencies introduced by new technology to the current market will run their course, and the only way businesses will be able to grow is by hiring new workers. As qualified workers become more demanded, their wages will grow accordingly, since they will be able to go elsewhere if not paid sufficiently.

Now, you make the point that the economic recovery has not resulted in increased jobs and wages, which I have conceded. But the health of the economy, as I hope I demonstrated, is not the only factor that weighs upon the job market. If anything, the economic recovery has allowed us to retain the status quo. Now think about it logically. If you increase how much it costs for businesses to hire workers, what will happen? Their appetite for workers will decrease. There is nothing to be taken on faith here. If some bright liberal like yourself were to get elected and raise payroll taxes, we would be in a much worse position than we are now.

Corth
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Corth » Tue Dec 28, 2004 8:40 am

Sarvis:

I never said the only way to make money is to have it already. Tell that to my grandfather who came to this country penniless after WWII and worked in bakeries 18 hours a day until he made enough money to buy his own bakery. There are millions of stories just like that. Not many people came to this country rich.

Corth
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby kwirl » Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:41 pm

Sarvis, thank you for correcting me regarding the distribution system ratio numbers. I was wondering how a harvard writer would read that wrong.


Also, wal-mart runs companies using shipping and distribution contracts, which *is* because they have more money, but also because all of these other companies are willing to support wal-mart's effort to do so.

Thanks for pointing out to me my mistake, I'll go back re-read it with your corrections.
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Dec 28, 2004 5:17 pm

Corth wrote:Sarvis:

I never said the only way to make money is to have it already. Tell that to my grandfather who came to this country penniless after WWII and worked in bakeries 18 hours a day until he made enough money to buy his own bakery. There are millions of stories just like that. Not many people came to this country rich.

Corth


I'll deal with your longer post later, for now though:

1) Why did your grandfather work 18 hours a day? To get money. So yes, he did need money to make money.

2) As I believe I mentioned, there is a decline in the amount of business opportunities available today. I'm not even sure bakeries _exist_ any more

3) The reason for that is large corporations who have taken over almost every niche market that exists. If you want bread these days you go to tops or wegmans, there are no more bakers, no more butchers... almost nothing that a man like your grandfather might have opened up after a few years working for someone else.



Perhaps we should have a small experiment though. Can you find out how much your grandfather probably made working 18 hours a day, then adjust it for inflation so we know how much it's worth today? We also need to know how long he spent working...

The experiment is to total all that up, then see if you can think of any businesses a man like your grandfather could start today with just that money.

Though even then we need to remember that he probably didn't have student loans and such to pay off, which would likely bite even more into his startup funds. Also working as a baker for that length of time probably gave him good experience for running his own bakery, which is something many people today would lack for starting up almost any business.

Take your time, I'm going to bed... heh.
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Postby Corth » Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:14 pm

Heh, thats absolutely ridiculous. Walk down any commercial street in the country and you will see plenty of small businesses. Gas stations, restaurants, law offices, whatever. And still plenty of bakeries, at least around here. And I don't see how you conclude that my grandfather needed money to make money. I said he came here penniless, and he made money by working. You don't need money to sell your time.. just time. Nobody said anything about it being easy.

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Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Ambar » Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:21 pm

may as well give up, Corth

arguing with Sarvis is like paddling upriver with a single oar ..
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Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:27 pm

The principle that Sarvis espouses in this thread may well apply not only to money, but the distribution of stupid.
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:27 am

Corth wrote:Heh, thats absolutely ridiculous. Walk down any commercial street in the country and you will see plenty of small businesses. Gas stations, restaurants, law offices, whatever. And still plenty of bakeries, at least around here. And I don't see how you conclude that my grandfather needed money to make money. I said he came here penniless, and he made money by working. You don't need money to sell your time.. just time. Nobody said anything about it being easy.

Corth


So you're dodging the question?

Let's see, most gas stations are parts of chains. Most restraunts, though not all yet, are parts of chains. Law offices? Sorry, but I didn't see you mention your grandfather spending $100K on law school like you did. I must have missed that part when I asked what <i>someone like your grandfather</i> could start up...

And yes, he needed money. That is why he sold his time. See, he needed money to start his own bakery, so he sold time to get it.

Unfortunately someone like me is currently selling most of his time just to pay for his education, but that's a different story.

I wonder if 50% of small businesses failed in their first year back then, like they do now...?
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Postby Corth » Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:40 am

Most gas stations are independently owned franchises. Most restaurants are not chains.. they are individually owned.. I borrowed 100k to goto law school.. which anyone can do.

And yes my grandfather needed money, and he worked to get it. Which is my point. He was able to obtain money without previously having it.. enough to start a business and make more money. What, do you expect someone to give you a few hundred thousand dollars so that your in a position to fulfill your ambitions?
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Sarvis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:04 am

Corth wrote:Most gas stations are independently owned franchises. Most restaurants are not chains.. they are individually owned..


TGI Fridays is individually owned? McDonalds? Applebees? Pizza Hut?

I can name more chains in my area than I can individually owned restraunts. Sorry to disappoint you with facts...

Also, have you ever looked into buying a franchise? I have. To open up a Papa Johns pizza resteraunt you have to have a personal net worth of $1M. That's not the money to buy the franchise, this is what your personal worth has to be.

I don't see anyone saving up a million dollars working as a baker...

I borrowed 100k to goto law school.. which anyone can do.

And yes my grandfather needed money, and he worked to get it. Which is my point. He was able to obtain money without previously having it.. enough to start a business and make more money. What, do you expect someone to give you a few hundred thousand dollars so that your in a position to fulfill your ambitions?


Someone gave you a hundred thousand dollars so that you were in a position to fulfill your ambitions. Youre wife gave you money and allowed you to use her credit while you started your business. You, sir, are running your entire ambitions on other people's money. It's pretty funny that you object to your own assumption that this is what I am asking for...

Also, you are still dodging the actual question. Could you work 18 hours a day in a bakery, or the equivalent, and save up enough money to succesfully open and operate a succesful business.

Finally, no I do not expect anyone to give me money. However you are once again setting up a straw man with this. The issue at hand is whether or not the system is unfair to those with less money. George Bush can run four businesses into bankruptcy and still manage to become President. Do you think YOU could survive running one business into bankruptcy?

<b>Teflor</b>
The principle that Sarvis espouses in this thread may well apply not only to money, but the distribution of stupid.


That would explain how Bush got re-elected...
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Postby Ambar » Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:35 am

See? He argues anything .. even down to what it took or didn't take Corth's gramps to succeed


moron
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Postby rylan » Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:17 am

I blame WalMart!
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Postby Corth » Wed Dec 29, 2004 4:35 am

Pure unadulterated sillyness. Yes, many of those restaurants that you list are franchises, and many are individually owned. And I don't know where you live but around here there are probably at least 3 non-chain restaurants for each chain restaurant. As for needing 1 million net worth to open a papa johns, im not so sure. I represented a client who recently sold his subway franchise for about 160K, and i'm pretty sure he didn't own much else besides the restaurant. As for the person buying the subway restaurant.. he borrowed about 70% of the purchase price.. so he needed about 50k in cash up front. Not too difficult to save that kind of money over a few years if you work hard and are frugal. People do it all the time to buy their house.

As for me using 'other people's money' to finance my career... guilty as charged. Some of my loans were subsidized insofar as the government guarantees the loan in the event that I default. That effectively means I can get a lower interest rate on it. Most of it was not subsidized so essentially it was a regular loan. People lent me money because they determined I was a good enough credit risk and they wanted a return on their investment. Pretty simple. I wasn't asking for any handouts, and I'll be paying the student loans off for the next 28 years.

Of course now that we have gotten totally off the real topic of the thread, I guess its a victory for you because you have once again deflected legitimate criticism of your ideas by nitpicking on smaller points.

Corth
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:05 am

The problem is that Sarvis sees the islands, but ignores the bridge between.
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:11 am

Corth wrote:Pure unadulterated sillyness. Yes, many of those restaurants that you list are franchises, and many are individually owned. And I don't know where you live but around here there are probably at least 3 non-chain restaurants for each chain restaurant. As for needing 1 million net worth to open a papa johns, im not so sure. I represented a client who recently sold his subway franchise for about 160K, and i'm pretty sure he didn't own much else besides the restaurant. As for the person buying the subway restaurant.. he borrowed about 70% of the purchase price.. so he needed about 50k in cash up front. Not too difficult to save that kind of money over a few years if you work hard and are frugal. People do it all the time to buy their house.

As for me using 'other people's money' to finance my career... guilty as charged. Some of my loans were subsidized insofar as the government guarantees the loan in the event that I default. That effectively means I can get a lower interest rate on it. Most of it was not subsidized so essentially it was a regular loan. People lent me money because they determined I was a good enough credit risk and they wanted a return on their investment. Pretty simple. I wasn't asking for any handouts, and I'll be paying the student loans off for the next 28 years.

Of course now that we have gotten totally off the real topic of the thread, I guess its a victory for you because you have once again deflected legitimate criticism of your ideas by nitpicking on smaller points.

Corth


You know, I was just thinking about how you had derailed the thread. Yes, you... by offering up contentious claims that ignored the main point of the article.

In fact, rather than discuss the article's claim that a higher rate of money exchange leads to a more fair distribution of wealth you had to argue that anyone can come over on a boat and get rich just by working hard. Guess what, good for your grandfather. But he got lucky.

Meanwhile you have completely ignored questions I posed, and really done nothing but stick to your point of how a poor person can succesfully start a business. Ok, so they can start one. There's a 50/50 chance of it failing in the first year according to the SBA. A loss like that would be devastating to someone who was working a minimum wage position to save up the money. I notice you dodged that point as well actually. Not ready to claim how sure you are that you could run four businesses into the ground and still be fine eh?


As for how much franchises cost, you can check Papa John's website. McDonalds costs between $466K and $1m. Though they don't have any requirement that you be worth a certain amount, they DO say you need a proven ability to manage money. I wonder how many people in your grandfather's position have that? (Hint: Holding onto money and not spending it is not the same as managing it.)

As for your loans, guess what. They make you a hypocrite. You claim that low taxes lead to a better business environment. The subsidy on your loans, and by the way the government is paying the excess between your interest rate and the prime interest rate every month, comes out of the government's pocket. The government gets that money from us, and from businesses which would be much better off without taxes right? (Well, actually most of it comes from China since certain "conservatives" are unable to restrain themselves from spending so damn much.) So get your hand out of MY pocket.

Now, to try and get back on track... though I'm sure you will once again try to dodge this particular argument:

The article makes the claim that a high rate of money exchange reduces the wealth gap. What this actually means, in real life terms, is that there is more opportunity for more people to obtain wealth.

You are claiming that Capitalism provides the most opportunity to the most people for obtaining wealth. Now, in many ways this does appear to be true since it keeps money moving fairly well. However, money also tends to pool at the top and no longer move around as much. Not to mention that it also creates a very volatile market, which is something the article claims favors the already wealthy in terms of investment.

Pure, unfettered capitalism, does that <i>even moreso</i> since corporations no longer have those pesky laws to worry about. Seriously, do you think the whole Enron affair was somehow good for Californians, or the country in general? How much worse would that be <i>if it were legal!?!</i>

In fact, I'm curious... what regulations do you want to get rid of on business? Most of them tend to be directed at keeping them honest or making sure they don't dump toxic chemicals on us. I'd rather not have the US all have air quality like California, or worse yet Mexico City.


<b>Ambar</b>

Hi there! How's your reading comprehension? I never argued about what it took his grandfather to succeeed, I am arguing about what it would take for someone like him to succeed today.

Now why is it you are here contributing nothing exactly? Can't you go troll somewhere else? Or should I start popping into every thread you post in and try to flame you?


(For the reading impaired: GO AWAY)

<b>Teflor</b>

You are right that I do tend to get stuck in small parts of an argument, though I think that is a symptom of the piecemeal form of argument that tends to appear on the internet really. I mean, everyone breaks down every post point by point and responds to each so often the argument as a whole ends up lost.


However, at least I don't go into various threads and purposefully add nothing of value to them just to be annoying like certain people around here.

So as not to repeat myself, read my reply to Ambar next please.
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:19 am

<b>Kwirl</b>

Ok, I glanced at that article last night. Well... everything but the first six pages at least.

I'm not sure I want to go more into depth on it, and I'm even less sure it is trying to accomplish the same thing you are.

Here's why:

1) Your article seems to be trying to disprove a formula that was developed through observation of factual data. The BEST this can achieve is to show that the forumla does not hold true for all <i>possible</i> systems. However, since the original formula was developed by observing all current systems it only means that we should be looking for a better system. A possibility I do not mind, but Corth here would probably rail against since it isn't his beloved capitalism.

2) The conclusion of the article seems to be that it passes 2 tests for consistancy, but not a third... so they seem to be a little inconclusive about the whole deal.

3) Way too much math, can you find something with less math please? I could probably understand it all if I took the time and dug out my discrete math text... but I got three new games for christmas so it's really not worth the effort! ;) I mean, what the hell is contraction consistancy and why should I demand any of it?
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Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Dec 29, 2004 9:48 am

Sarvis, I was talking about the class system. You see the class system, but not the class mobility.
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Postby Ambar » Wed Dec 29, 2004 10:26 am

Sarvis .. check your posting trends

you seem to NEED to pick on people .. EVERYONE is wrong except you ...... you argue ANYTHING it seems... yeah I seem to pick on YOU in threads YOU post on .. feel free to do the same to me .. it's text, it doesnt piss me off at all like it seems to piss you off

I am very curious .. what do you do for a living?
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:44 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:Sarvis, I was talking about the class system. You see the class system, but not the class mobility.


Once again you fail to check your facts before spouting off.

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-mobility.htm

Damn.. the server those charts I mentioned earlier is down, and I don't know where else to get them.

Simple fact is that you have to prove there even <i>is</i> a decent amount of class mobility in this country before you can claim I'm not seeing it.

<b>Ambar</b>

Newsflash: I started this thread for the specific purpose of having a discussion. How is it surprising to you that I'm in this thread arguing?

Furthermore, why the hell do you care? Was I arguing with you? Talking to you? Were you even the slightest concern in my mind?

The answer is no.

Fine, you don't like other people having discussions. Good for you, now go away.

And no, I actually won't hound you through every thread you post in... because unlike you I actually have some modicum of maturity.
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Postby Ashiwi » Wed Dec 29, 2004 9:19 pm

Sarvis wrote:TGI Fridays is individually owned? McDonalds? Applebees? Pizza Hut?

I can name more chains in my area than I can individually owned restraunts. Sorry to disappoint you with facts...


I know I'm going to regret saying anything here, but I just thought I'd point out that this logic doesn't have anything to do with "facts," as it's speculation based on personal experience, which is purely subjective.

Just because you can't name the locally owned businesses doesn't mean there aren't a lot of them. I just got off the phone with a fellow in the Community Development Agency here in Oklahoma City, and I was disappointed to find out that the general ownership of a business isn't part of the local business census. In the area I live in, however, there's probably fifteen to twenty locally owned businesses to every chain outlet... that I can see on first glance... and that's being generous towards the chains. That does not include businesses which typically aren't visible to the naked eye, such as appliance repair, music lessons, and other such businesses run from the individual's home. If you live in an upscale market, that number's going to change, with the chain business numbers growing (for instance, around a shopping mall, or along the business strip that follows the expressway).



Sarvis wrote:Also, have you ever looked into buying a franchise? I have. To open up a Papa Johns pizza resteraunt you have to have a personal net worth of $1M. That's not the money to buy the franchise, this is what your personal worth has to be.

I don't see anyone saving up a million dollars working as a baker...


There's a nice little pizza restaurant around the corner from my apartment which has some of the best pizza I've ever had. It was started by a couple of ex-Pappa John's delivery drivers who disagreed with the company's business practices and decided to strike out on their own. Perhaps they took out a small business loan, which would support your 'it takes money to make money' statement, but if you ask them, they'll definitely tell you their dream started before they had any money to close the deal. Maybe they're not wealthy yet, but that leads to your next statement...

How are you defining wealth? Do you have to be able to set aside an untouched million dollars in order to be wealthy? Do you have to have a certain amount of assets in the bank at the end of the fiscal year?

In comparison to how he began, Corth's grandfather ended up very wealthy. As for Corth's student loans for his education... he had to apply for those loans, so technically his dream started before he had money. Certainly, our government had to have the money for him to make money, and people had to pay taxes for the government to have that money, and you can devolve into arguments like that to prove any kind of point you wanted... even proving that every success today relies on the development of the first economy using rocks and twigs. That's kind of a given, isn't it? Isn't Corth's point more than you don't have to be wealthy to become more wealthy than you are?

I'm sure that's probably all I'm going to post here. Feel free to flame me all you want, but honestly Sarvis, you're aggressive and hateful on the BBS, and then you wonder why people jump on you, when you seem to encourage it. You thrive on conflict, letting each disagreement build you up farther until you're fairly well frothing. I'm not very apt at debate, and I'll be the first to admit that, but there's no way I'd tackle you in a debate, because you tend to split hairs, argue inanities, take absolutely everything out of context if it suits your point, and then on top of it all, you resort to name-calling, chest-beating and crying... and then you make sure everybody understands exactly how much more mature you are than everybody else. I get the feeling that in a real debate, you'd be the one covering the cameras in spittle, right before jumping the podium and taking a swing at your opponent.

Okay, so you like a good debate... or at least a frenzied one. If that's the case, then surely you realize that you're posting in a public forum, and you should expect public comment. If you don't want public comments, then the obvious answer is to take it to a private forum... but you don't, you continue to make a spectacle of yourself in public, which logically leads one to assume that you seek the confrontation, creating a situation in which you can feel free to insult others all you want in the name of a cause which you create. If you just want a good bout of name-calling, why didn't you say so?

Well okay, it's your thread, go for it... but stating your maturity level after resorting to name-calling isn't doing a whole lot for your credibility.
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