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(Guardian)   "The super-rich inhabit a world the rest of society can hardly dream of. It's a parallel universe"   (observer.guardian.co.uk) divider line 515
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22382 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Dec 2006 at 2:02 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-12-17 12:14:54 PM  
Maddogjew

I am not advocating everybody making the same wage. I am advocating putting a ceiling on personal wealth. There is a helluva difference between $30k an year and $1 mil a year.

Yes there is a helluva difference. A salary cap would be bad - why should ambition be stifled? It's a poor argument that if industrialist A starts slacking off after he hits his salary cap, then another one will step right up to the plate. For starters, there aren't that many people who CAN step up to the plate. More importantly, using the auto industry as a convenient example, look what happened in the 70's when the automakers generally slacked off. Ass got handed to them by German and Japanese makes.
 
2006-12-17 12:15:00 PM  
mmm... pancake: I see this non-sequitur coming up a lot more recently. Physics are just as responsible for a super-rich person's wealth as the person themselves. Rich people use physics to their advantage!!!

What the fark, you really don't see how the entire concept of wealth is predicated on the context of society? A dude with a metric ton of gold bars stranded on a desert island isn't very rich is he?

Conservatives want to say there's no limit to wealth. Well, there's certainly a limited number of man hours that can be worked at any given time. Is the work people do enriching a few at the top, or everybody? I'd much rather see a civic works project completed than a new mansion built.
 
2006-12-17 12:15:11 PM  
mmm... pancake

czarangelus: Yeah! fark giving it to people who will spend it on food, healthcare, and to afford to spend time with their families. What we really need is more hand-gilded leather wallpaper.

That is a utopian pipedream. You could give every person $100,000 in cash right now and you would find 99% of them in the same situation as before after blowing it on stupid crap.

Ah yes, yet another variant of the bankrupt "rich people are rich because they're better and smarter and wiser than the rest of us" claim.
 
2006-12-17 12:15:31 PM  
clovis69: No its not a parallel universe. Even Bill Gates will die like the rest of us.

If Bill Gates had any imagination he would devote a couple billion a year to extending his own life.
 
2006-12-17 12:15:45 PM  
mmm... pancake: That is a utopian pipedream. You could give every person $100,000 in cash right now and you would find 99% of them in the same situation as before after blowing it on stupid crap.

This is because we don't teach people how to spend their money. Knowing how to make and spend money intelligently is a useful life skill that they never teach you in school. Instead, you learn how to reduce a sentence to its component parts.
 
2006-12-17 12:15:54 PM  
www.kevinworthington.com:8181
 
2006-12-17 12:16:08 PM  
moerty: right, that's why gerald ford was stupid to give his workers a decent salary and get them off the company store, oh wait, giving his people a decent salary meant they were able to afford his cars, which in turn made him a very wealthy man.

FTW!!!

Gerald Ford makes awesome cars!!!

/shiatty president though
 
2006-12-17 12:16:45 PM  
I read an interesting book the other day called "The Progress Paradox". One of the interesting things it pointed out was that the differences in the fundemental aspects of life for the poorest poor and the richest rich are getting surprisingly close to each other relative to where they were even as recently as 50 years ago. 100 years ago, your average person would toil in back breaking labor, never get anything but a primary education, not be able to afford (and therefore not recieve) basic healthcare, and were engaged in a constant struggle to make sure they were fed. The rich would have non-labor intensive jobs, be educated at Universities, afford the best healthcare, and were able to eat plentifully. Now, it's not uncommon to hear of the poor working a non-manuel labor based job, attending a University, recieving the best healthcare that is available, and being overweight. To compare examples from the article, maybe the poor can't get a top flight soccer play to coach their sons for a day, but it's certainly not uncommon to hear of any and all sorts of athletic teams from desperately poor neighborhoods. Maybe the poor can't fly off to an iceberg to see penguins (or whatever they were flying there for), but it's certainly not uncommon to see a very working class family take a weekend to fly off on some sort of vacation, or to visit relatives. Maybe the super rich still do inhabit a different universe, but the poor's universe is alot closer to the rich one then it has been at any other point in history.

//Commence your revolutions.
 
2006-12-17 12:20:08 PM  
Skeptos: Ah yes, yet another variant of the bankrupt "rich people are rich because they're better and smarter and wiser than the rest of us" claim.

You're right. It's all "luck".

It has nothing to do with better wealth management and investments. The difference between the rich and the not-so-rich is that the rich tend to invest in things that appreciate where the not-so-rich tend to "invest" in things that depreciate.
 
2006-12-17 12:20:12 PM  
PostUno: Maybe the poor can't fly off to an iceberg to see penguins (or whatever they were flying there for), but it's certainly not uncommon to see a very working class family take a weekend to fly off on some sort of vacation, or to visit relatives.

When was the last time you worked on the bottom rungs of the ladder? The poor aren't flying off places for weekend trips. They're living with ex-boyfriends because neither can afford rent on their own. They're waiting to take their children in for medical attention until they require ER treatment, because they can't afford a basic checkup. They're working and on welfare, because 40 hours a week of minimum wage doesn't cut it.
 
2006-12-17 12:21:58 PM  
oops, meant to say henry ford.
 
2006-12-17 12:21:58 PM  
mmm... pancake

Skeptos: Ah yes, yet another variant of the bankrupt "rich people are rich because they're better and smarter and wiser than the rest of us" claim.

You're right. It's all "luck".

It has nothing to do with better wealth management and investments. The difference between the rich and the not-so-rich is that the rich tend to invest in things that appreciate where the not-so-rich tend to "invest" in things that depreciate.

I guess we should all be looking to Paris Hilton for investment advice, eh?
 
2006-12-17 12:23:02 PM  
mmm... pancake: Tell me, when was the last time you got a job from a poor person?

I've never gotten a job from a rich person. If I was doing private work, it was for middle and upper middle class. If I was working for a company, then I would normally get my job from HR.

Listen, don't listen, I don't care. I'm just trying to come up with a peaceful solution that would work. The poor always have 2 advantages on the rich: much less to lose, and sheer numbers. Ask Marie Antoinette how well the rich fair when the poor have had enough. No matter how many police you have, no matter who protects you, it will not be enough to save you and your family's skins.
 
2006-12-17 12:23:57 PM  
Mr. Right

When the super-rich spend these enormous amounts of money on these supposedly ridiculous items, where does the money end up? In some merchant's or tradesman's pocket, that's where. So spending thousands on a particular curtain tie is a great idea. The curtain tie merchant now has a bunch of money he/she can spend on food, drink, friends, jobs. Money doesn't just lay around collecting dust in the rich folks' mattresses. Every dollar spent on what you may consider frivolous means that dollar is going into some working person's hand and will make their life better. So the "idle rich" should spend more money! Or they could invest it in things like companies that provide more jobs. When you figure out how that is evil, let me know. Do they need all that money? No. But it's good for all of us when they spend it.

Otherwise known as trickle-down economics.
 
2006-12-17 12:24:00 PM  
No "Ric Romero" reporting? For shame.
 
2006-12-17 12:27:59 PM  
Skeptos: I guess we should all be looking to Paris Hilton for investment advice, eh?

Paris Hilton was like a gift from God for couch riding class-warfare revolutionaries.

Are you suggesting that the wealth she inherited is not the result of proper investments?
 
2006-12-17 12:30:30 PM  
mmm... pancake

Yes, society is the sum of individual actions. But that doesn't change the fact that everything we do is interconnected. No individual exists in a vacuum. My choice to shop or not shop at your store could make or break your business, regardless of how hard you actually worked to make said business successful.
 
2006-12-17 12:30:37 PM  
mmm... pancake

Skeptos: I guess we should all be looking to Paris Hilton for investment advice, eh?

Paris Hilton was like a gift from God for couch riding class-warfare revolutionaries.

She's been a damn fine argument for inheritance taxes. I'll give you that.

Are you suggesting that the wealth she inherited is not the result of proper investments?

I'm saying that it's not the result of good investments by her. She has done absolutely nothing to deserve her great wealth.
 
2006-12-17 12:32:53 PM  
czarangelus

"When was the last time you worked on the bottom rungs of the ladder?"

Within the last 3.5 years.

"The poor aren't flying off places for weekend trips."

When I had a good friend pass away, I bought a plane ticket with a credit card and picked up a second job for about a month when I got back to pay it off.

"They're waiting to take their children in for medical attention until they require ER treatment, because they can't afford a basic checkup."

But when they require treatment, it's never unavailable, which it would have been as recently as 50 years ago.
 
2006-12-17 12:34:06 PM  
If I was doing private work, it was for middle and upper middle class. If I was working for a company, then I would normally get my job from HR.

Globally speaking, that would be from the richest 3%.

The poor always have 2 advantages on the rich: much less to lose, and sheer numbers. Ask Marie Antoinette how well the rich fair when the poor have had enough. No matter how many police you have, no matter who protects you, it will not be enough to save you and your family's skins.

But they lack the same motivation that, if applied, would lead them out of poverty. I'm not worried that someone who can't put forth enough effort to work their minimum wage job is going to put forth the necessary effort to rise up. These people aren't being oppressed by anyone other than themselves.
 
2006-12-17 12:35:29 PM  
fifth_of_november: Yes, society is the sum of individual actions. But that doesn't change the fact that everything we do is interconnected. No individual exists in a vacuum. My choice to shop or not shop at your store could make or break your business, regardless of how hard you actually worked to make said business successful.

And that is wrong?
 
2006-12-17 12:35:31 PM  
mmm... pancake: Are you suggesting that the wealth she inherited is not the result of proper investments?

By her? No. But hey, Paris is rich, I'm just sure that if she had been born in some small town she would have just as much money. Rich people have more because they are better than us right?

Uh, no. She would probably work at the hair salon and would have gotten pregnant at 17. The rich are rich, until the people decide differently.
 
2006-12-17 12:38:37 PM  
Maddogjew: By her? No. But hey, Paris is rich, I'm just sure that if she had been born in some small town she would have just as much money. Rich people have more because they are better than us right?

For the last time... YES. They are better at financial management. Paris can spend her way to poverty if she so chooses. Flo, in the local hair salon, can also go to business school and franchise her own hair salon and create wealth for herself. It happens every single day.

There are very few people who are born into such extreme wealth that they never have to work again.
 
2006-12-17 12:39:13 PM  
Well, which one is it, a world or a parallel universe? If it's both, then that's one freaky small universe, and I laugh at the superrich for inhabiting it compared to ours which is like 500 hilliongajillion times bigger than a single world.
 
2006-12-17 12:39:39 PM  
Skeptos: She's been a damn fine argument for inheritance taxes. I'll give you that.

Why? Because you don't like her and what she does? So much for "live and let live", eh?
 
2006-12-17 12:40:43 PM  
a book for some of you:
images.bestwebbuys.com

a book for others:
 
2006-12-17 12:41:10 PM  
mmm... pancake: I'm not worried that someone who can't put forth enough effort to work their minimum wage job is going to put forth the necessary effort to rise up.

Ok, history never repeats itself. Those kinds of things can never happen here. The police are always in control, ask anyone who was in LA during the riots. I can hear them now "Tsk, tsk, those silly weak poor, they can never threaten me. Cody and Tyler will defend my family with my golf clubs and my skeet gun."

Gated communities will just make rounding them up easier.
 
2006-12-17 12:41:33 PM  
sorry, here's the one for the rest of you:
www.albany.edu
 
2006-12-17 12:41:53 PM  
That article was weak. You'll know a rich person when you build his/her house.
 
2006-12-17 12:42:18 PM  
Skeptos: I'm saying that it's not the result of good investments by her. She has done absolutely nothing to deserve her great wealth.

I won't argue with this one bit. But I don't find it morally wrong to pass wealth on to your heirs. I don't like her either but I'm not about to sick the wealth gestapo on her for it.
 
2006-12-17 12:43:18 PM  
The point is, many people in this country still have the ability to make unreal amounts of money by being frugal and earning a decent wage. The problem is, many other people in this country will never have the opportunity to make that decent wage and they do live in real, grinding poverty where simply staying alive for one more day is a struggle.

You can't build wealth when you're climbing hurdles every moment of your life. It is absolutely impossible.
 
2006-12-17 12:45:00 PM  
www.dvmx.com
 
2006-12-17 12:46:10 PM  
If I was working for a company, then I would normally get my job from HR.

HR doesn't hire people, they just try to filter out retards so that the hiring manager (who doesn't work in HR) doesn't have to read through as many resumes. HR's function is basically to limit company liability.

/just sayin'
 
2006-12-17 12:46:54 PM  
Maddogjew: Ok, history never repeats itself. Those kinds of things can never happen here. The police are always in control, ask anyone who was in LA during the riots. I can hear them now "Tsk, tsk, those silly weak poor, they can never threaten me. Cody and Tyler will defend my family with my golf clubs and my skeet gun."

You're right. Mugabe's revolution was a sure success!!!
 
2006-12-17 12:47:30 PM  
mmm... pancake

Skeptos: She's been a damn fine argument for inheritance taxes. I'll give you that.

Why?

Because extreme, hereditary socioeconomic inequality a) is manifestly unjust -- which I admit is a subjective opinion, albeit one shared by the vast majority of people with functioning consciences; and b) has historically tended to lead to unpleasant things like class warfare, violent revolutions, and socialism -- which is a fact.

And if you think that the kind of shiat that happened in Paris in 1789 and St. Petersburg in 1917 couldn't happen in, say, LA and New York City in 2015, then you are, put simply, an idiot.
 
2006-12-17 12:48:09 PM  
Now, here's another little suggestion:

If the mega rich were to invest in their societies, they would find a burgeoning middle class with great disposable income better suited to purchasing the things upon which the rich depend for their income.

If we're all broke, we buy nothing, and so no wealth is generated. The concept of trickle down economics only works when there is an existing social structure in which all people have the opportunity to make money. This only happens when people can be well educated and healthy. You don't buy consumer good when you barely have the cash for raman and your teeth are falling out.
 
2006-12-17 12:49:27 PM  
mmm... pancake

I'm just pointing out that other individuals in society are just as responsible (probably more so, actually) than you are for your own success. The investers who decide whether or not to sponsor your business, the customers who choose whether or not to patronize your business, the government police forces that protect your rights to your property and enforce the contracts that you sign off on.

Its pretty obvious that an individual can't take all the credit for their success. And for this reason, I believe that society as a whole has some stake in the fortunes of the super rich, which makes estate taxes, inheritance taxes, and some progressive taxation morally just.
 
2006-12-17 12:49:53 PM  
Hey Pancake,

All those jobs McDonald's creates that you listed . . .

Agriculture, Construction, Paper, etc. . . .

You can make the same argument there. In each of those fields, a very few people get paid a lot while the ones who do the hardest work get paid beans.

Unless migrant workers are getting paid a lot up in Central Cali, or the immigrant workers who pound the nails and lay the tile and paint the walls . . . . no, I think you're the one who is shortsighted.
 
2006-12-17 12:49:58 PM  
I've had folding money and I've had pocket change. Every morning I open my eyes I'm looking foreward to what I will see and do.
I guess in some peoples eyes I'm a sad case but I have never cared much what other people thought or what they were making payments on.
 
2006-12-17 12:52:34 PM  
Skeptos: And if you think that the kind of shiat that happened in Paris in 1789 and St. Petersburg in 1917 couldn't happen in, say, LA and New York City in 2015, then you are, put simply, an idiot.

Those were revolts against oppressive governments, which I support wholeheartedly. They weren't going after the "rich" because they were "rich".
 
2006-12-17 12:53:23 PM  
I like tying my own shoes. Really.
 
2006-12-17 12:53:39 PM  
But is the cat alive or dead?
 
2006-12-17 12:54:09 PM  
Oh, and pancake . . .

Just to show I have some personal experience to back up what I'm saying, I volunteer as a tutor here in L.A., and most of these kids whose parents are completely absent from their lives because they work ungodly hours to pay for the little they have . . . most of these parents work for big companies.

One kid I know, his dad is a butcher at a meat-packing plant that boats McDonald's as a client. This kid's dad makes barely enough to pay for a rundown apartment and a single rundown car.
 
2006-12-17 12:54:34 PM  
mmm... pancake

although I agree that there is nothing wrong with passing wealth on to your heirs. (Isn't that the point of making money in the longrun anyway - providing for the security of your progeny and thus the success of your genes?) I don't think there's anything wrong with the society that helped to foster that wealth taking its cut. Provided that cut is reasonable, of course. As for what is reasonable, I don't know, I'm not a tax lawywer or economist.
 
2006-12-17 12:56:54 PM  
"Those were revolts against oppressive governments, which I support wholeheartedly. They weren't going after the "rich" because they were "rich". "

pancake, open a history book please. Or go rent "October." Those revolutionaries were fed up with BOTH the government AND the upper-middle-class. But mostly the latter.
 
2006-12-17 12:56:59 PM  
fifth_of_november: Its pretty obvious that an individual can't take all the credit for their success. And for this reason, I believe that society as a whole has some stake in the fortunes of the super rich, which makes estate taxes, inheritance taxes, and some progressive taxation morally just.

It is the individual who fronts the capital and, most importantly, who takes the risk. In a free country it is she and she alone who should reap the most benefit. Most of the wealth created from her business will be reinvested in the business via jobs and expansion. Increases in taxation have a negative impact on the economy as a whole.
 
2006-12-17 12:58:11 PM  
rockman55: One kid I know, his dad is a butcher at a meat-packing plant that boats McDonald's as a client. This kid's dad makes barely enough to pay for a rundown apartment and a single rundown car.

So he'd be better off if McDonalds didn't exist and he didn't have a job at all?
 
2006-12-17 12:58:12 PM  
It is called capitalism biatches. Get used to it.
/Adam Smith was a smooth pimp who loved the pussy!
//Get a job, do the job the best of your ability, and maybe someone will take notice. If they don't: well you are fucqed. But hey, at least we aren't communist hippies!
 
2006-12-17 12:59:58 PM  
It is the individual who fronts the capital, takes the risk, then hires Day Laborers to avoid paying high wages.

Or have you not seen a Home Depot and 5am when all the "Small Business Owners" show up with their company vans?
 
2006-12-17 01:00:43 PM  
mmm... pancake

Skeptos: And if you think that the kind of shiat that happened in Paris in 1789 and St. Petersburg in 1917 couldn't happen in, say, LA and New York City in 2015, then you are, put simply, an idiot.

Those were revolts against oppressive governments, which I support wholeheartedly. They weren't going after the "rich" because they were "rich".

Uh, hello? Lenin? Robespierre?
 
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