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  #31  
Old 8th March 2017, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Why the tax system favors gentrification

Yeah, but i think the point of the article was that if half the populace barely have enough cash to eat it wont help those of us who love being billionaires.
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  #32  
Old 8th March 2017, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Why the tax system favors gentrification

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Thats an intelligent argument. If he considered the waste of human capital he might be tempted to join the occupy movement.
I sort of got the impression he was warning people that the shit would hit the fan, rather than having much compassion for the great unwashed.
Even if there is a compassion deficit there the point is that without a stable, viable economy to promote and maintain social cohesion and order the rich are as liable to suffer as much as the poor. The rich breathe the same air and drink the same water as the poor, and if deepening inequalities bring the economy to a point of collapse having a fleet of Bentleys and the odd billion stashed away offshore isn't going to slate one's thirst or feed one's kids.

The worrying thing as the moment is the weird strain of polirical apocalyptism--a characterisitic of the political thought of people like Steve Bannon--which holds that such a collapse will act as The Great Leveller, allowing society to be reordered in line with principle which, unsurprisingly, will secure the status and fortune of apocalypticists above all others.

The speaker's plea to fellow plutocrats is quite straightforward: It's in our own best interests to promote a system that reduces inequalities.
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  #33  
Old 9th March 2017, 01:34 AM
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But the industrial revolution didn't drive equality at all, the formation of unions did, until unionism the plebs were just as screwed under the industrial revolution as they ever were... And the formation of unions in the UK, US and even Australia all involved their fair share of violence, and horrible behavior by the people in power to suppress the populace gaining some humanity and dignity, at least at the start (not sure about elsewhere).

I think Nick is pretty much on track that is is historically through war and violence that we drove down inequality, at least so far, so it is in his benefit too to reverse the current trends. Maybe he simply understands that the only way to motivate his fellow plutocrats is to motivate them through their own self interest, as seemingly they have that 'quality' in abundance.

I dislike the American Philanthropy/Charity mentality, sure it makes you feel good to help the peons, but seriously charity is simply a means of continuing oppression when through your power you oppress people, keeping them poor, stealing land and otherwise wielding your power over them amassing obscene wealth and then handing it out to them as alms, rather than try and actually change the system and the immense imbalance. Its a salve for their conscience, nothing more..

I am not sure what to say about the information revolution, the level of inequity is only worsening.
Hi Joele, I was a little imprecise, with unions came violence, mostly from the owners of capital... but not always (October 1917 comes to mind in Russia).

However, I actually disagree with your other point. The industrial revolution did change the face of wealth and equality. Before the industrial revolution there really wasn't much of a middle class. You had wealthy nobles, wealthy merchants (often the same thing), you had some educated people working for them (the middle class), lesser merchants (also middle class) and then peasants and serfs, along with some free holders and skilled crafts and trades folk.

The industrial revolution needed raw materials, labour and educated people to run the factories and businesses that grew out of the mill towns. The middle class grew hugely at this time.

Later on as you noted, unions balanced things up quite a bit. But I think it is wrong to say the industrial revolution didn't drive equality. Compare the clothes worn in 1200ce by the common person* and that same common person in 1700ce, more compare the quantity that same common person would have owned as well. The industrial revolution had a profound effect on the distribution of wealth AND the distribution of economic benefit. However, I don't pretend for a second it was fair or fully equal.

*Some would say the serf didn't own their own clothes, not that that change had anything to do with the industrial revolution.
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  #34  
Old 9th March 2017, 01:59 AM
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Yeah, but i think the point of the article was that if half the populace barely have enough cash to eat it wont help those of us who love being billionaires.
But when borders are added into the equation, hunger and starvation are simply forgotten about because it happens over there. The wealthy are protected by the force purchased with their wealth, while citizens of other countries are protected by the enforcement with armies of inventions called borders.
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  #35  
Old 9th March 2017, 10:27 AM
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Hi Joele, I was a little imprecise, with unions came violence, mostly from the owners of capital... but not always (October 1917 comes to mind in Russia).

However, I actually disagree with your other point. The industrial revolution did change the face of wealth and equality. Before the industrial revolution there really wasn't much of a middle class. You had wealthy nobles, wealthy merchants (often the same thing), you had some educated people working for them (the middle class), lesser merchants (also middle class) and then peasants and serfs, along with some free holders and skilled crafts and trades folk.

The industrial revolution needed raw materials, labour and educated people to run the factories and businesses that grew out of the mill towns. The middle class grew hugely at this time.

Later on as you noted, unions balanced things up quite a bit. But I think it is wrong to say the industrial revolution didn't drive equality. Compare the clothes worn in 1200ce by the common person* and that same common person in 1700ce, more compare the quantity that same common person would have owned as well. The industrial revolution had a profound effect on the distribution of wealth AND the distribution of economic benefit. However, I don't pretend for a second it was fair or fully equal.

*Some would say the serf didn't own their own clothes, not that that change had anything to do with the industrial revolution.
OK but driving up the base whilst driving up the wealth at the top even further is not equality, it is merely lifting the base whilst inequality still grows..

For example economist N. F. R. Crafts said about the rise in living standards and wealth of the poorest in england that real income doubled on average (per person) from 1760 and 1860. He goes on to say the share of the bottom 65% in the same time period only dropped from 29% to 25% so their wealth GREW substantially.. That is true, but I find that a funny rationalization as the level of INEQUALITY also grew. I.E. Yes the base lifted but this was also the start of a new stage of wealth inequality growth which is still going today.
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Old 9th March 2017, 12:31 PM
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OK but driving up the base whilst driving up the wealth at the top even further is not equality, it is merely lifting the base whilst inequality still grows..

For example economist N. F. R. Crafts said about the rise in living standards and wealth of the poorest in england that real income doubled on average (per person) from 1760 and 1860. He goes on to say the share of the bottom 65% in the same time period only dropped from 29% to 25% so their wealth GREW substantially.. That is true, but I find that a funny rationalization as the level of INEQUALITY also grew. I.E. Yes the base lifted but this was also the start of a new stage of wealth inequality growth which is still going today.
Joelle, we are talking at slightly crossed lines here. I read that you are looking purely at wealth inequality, which your statement is largely correct. I am looking at a broader picture. The industrial revolution provided a lot more opportunities to escape the bottom rung than before, because education, healthcare and available goods vastly increased at this time. The ability to move up socially has been a real thing since the industrial revolution removed feudalism.

However, jumping to today the growth in inequality in the western world in the last 30 years is due to improvements in productivity accruing to the owners of capital and not the suppliers or labour. The clock looks like it is turning back and that is scary.
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  #37  
Old 9th March 2017, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Why the tax system favors gentrification

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But historically have we ever had a large degree of change that wasn't triggered by a war or violent revolution?
The social democracies of Northern Europe were not the result of violent revolution.

The growth of the middle class in countries like the US and Australia, of widespread prosperity and social mobility, improvements in education, improvements in social justice, civil rights and employee rights, social welfare in some western countries, women's rights and the movement towards equality (still a long way to go of course), most of which occurred mostly as a gradual process (sometimes not so gradual) after the industrial revolution and without violent revolution, although sometimes violence was employed on both sides.

With the advent of neoliberalism (which to a large extent started with Thatcher and Reagan and the popularization of the economic and social ideologies associated with them) we've been going backwards over the past few decades. And unless people can get united and agree on what needs to be done.... things will get ugly. Because right now people around the world are getting angry.
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Old 9th March 2017, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Why the tax system favors gentrification

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Joelle, we are talking at slightly crossed lines here. I read that you are looking purely at wealth inequality, which your statement is largely correct. I am looking at a broader picture. The industrial revolution provided a lot more opportunities to escape the bottom rung than before, because education, healthcare and available goods vastly increased at this time. The ability to move up socially has been a real thing since the industrial revolution removed feudalism.

However, jumping to today the growth in inequality in the western world in the last 30 years is due to improvements in productivity accruing to the owners of capital and not the suppliers or labour. The clock looks like it is turning back and that is scary.
yes maybe we were, I was focused mostly on wealth inequality as having watched nick's Ted presentation before that's how I interpreted his issue, not about opportunity, though he does cover that and describes the opportunity to become a billionaire largely as luck, but my take away was mostly about the rising wealth inequality.... which I see as a huge problem as it leads to a type of power inequality too.

I just think the groundwork for those "improvements in productivity accruing to the owners of capital" were layed down already in the industrial revolution. It helped the western middle classd in the way you describe, I don't deny that, but I think it was in no way combating the problems we see now.
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  #39  
Old 9th March 2017, 07:06 PM
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yes maybe we were, I was focused mostly on wealth inequality as having watched nick's Ted presentation before that's how I interpreted his issue, not about opportunity, though he does cover that and describes the opportunity to become a billionaire largely as luck, but my take away was mostly about the rising wealth inequality.... which I see as a huge problem as it leads to a type of power inequality too.

I just think the groundwork for those "improvements in productivity accruing to the owners of capital" were layed down already in the industrial revolution. It helped the western middle classd in the way you describe, I don't deny that, but I think it was in no way combating the problems we see now.
Previously, improvements in productivity accrued wealth to the industrialists and benefit to the worker. My simple clothing example describes this clearly. People left the land for the mill towns in the Midlands of England for one reason: money. They earned more and could acquire more in a town than a farm. With money, they could buy more of the clothing they were producing for less cost than before.

Roll forward to today and the measure of real economic growth that benefits us is measured in terms of productivity improvement. Getting more outputs for the same inputs (or same outputs for less inputs, with the caveat that labour and capital inputs need to be redeployed). In Australia we grew our economy from 1980s to the early 2000 by massively improving our productivity. With this our wages grew sensibly and our purchasing power grew strongly. However, since ~2007 wage growth has stagnated and more and more income disappears into servicing capital (I.e. stupidly over priced homes). Our economy grows because of the growth in population (imported and home grown) not gains in productivity. Thus, our purchasing power is declining and the benefit accrued to the owners of assets: banks and investment home owners (bringing us full circle) and not to the people who risk capital in productive enterprise.

Don't take this as advocating for the accumulation of wealth, but, after you have accrued a few billion dollars, it becomes nothing more than a score card to compare to your fellow billionaire. Unless you do a Gates and fund a massive charity empire or decide to fund the colonisation of Mars, you have more money than you can spend. Breaking this inequality will help us all. But my point is, blaming the wealthy is only part of the problem. The system has made it too easy to accumulate and hide wealth, breaking the measures of wealth transfer that is the tax system, which benefits us all.

We in Australia need to break from rubbish investment in homes, which do not grow the economy meaningfully, to the next round of productivity gains (which is not code for casualisation of the work force).
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Old 9th March 2017, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Why the tax system favors gentrification

There are three factors of production: land, labour and capital. Workers have traditionally had a bargaining position of sorts, in that labour was needed to operate the capital.

For wealthy capitalists their biggest controllable cost is usually labour, but in recent years it has become increasingly possible to reduce labour costs by offshoring production and through automation and robotisation. Where we used to have humans (labour) manning an assembly line (capital), we now have robots (capital) manning an assembly line (capital). Or we send iron ore and coal and other resources to China and Thailand and they send us TVs, cars and washing machines.

Less demand for labour in a market economy means at least one thing: cheaper labour. Which means more money in the bank accounts of the already very wealthy. But less money in the pockets of workers, and almost no money in the pockets of former workers whose jobs no longer exist. If this had happened overnight there would be rioting in the streets. But it has happened over a period of decades, while politicians and economists have been telling us that it's for our own good, and a younger generation has grown up with much lower expectations in terms of prosperity and happiness. The problem, for now, is that there are too many of us still drinking the Kool-Aid.
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