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Thread: spreading the wealth

  1. #1
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    spreading the wealth

    before you guys go all nut-so, dan ariely is actually a world-reknown behavioral scientists, and his books (predictably irrational, the upside of irrationality) are excellent. He's a scientist not a politician.

    from latimes.com

    Spreading the wealth

    The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is bigger than at any time since the 1920s. Is that really what most Americans want?

    By Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely

    1:50 PM PST, November 8, 2010

    The gap between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest is bigger than at any time since the 1920s just before the Depression. According to an analysis this year by Edward Wolff of New York University, the top 20% of wealthy individuals own about 85% of the wealth, while the bottom 40% own very near 0%. Many in that bottom 40% not only have no assets, they have negative net wealth.

    A gap this pronounced raises the politically divisive question of whether there is a need for wealth redistribution in the United States. This central question underlies such hot-button issues as whether the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire and whether the government should provide more assistance to the poor. But before those issues can be addressed, it's important to understand how Americans feel about the country's increasing economic polarity.

    We recently asked a representative sample of more than 5,000 Americans (young and old, men and women, rich and poor, liberal and conservative) to answer two questions. They first were asked to estimate the current level of wealth inequality in the United States, and then they were asked about what they saw as an ideal level of wealth inequality.

    In our survey, Americans drastically underestimated the current gap between the very rich and the poor. The typical respondent believed that the top 20% of Americans owned 60% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% owned 10%. They knew, in other words, that wealth in the United States was not distributed equally, but were unaware of just how unequal that distribution was.

    When we asked respondents to tell us what their ideal distribution of wealth was, things got even more interesting: Americans wanted the top 20% to own just over 30% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% to own about 25%. They still wanted the rich to be richer than the poor, but they wanted the disparity to be much less extreme.

    But was there consensus among Americans about their ideal country? Importantly, the answer was an unequivocal "yes." While liberals and the poor favored slightly more equal distributions than conservatives and the wealthy, a large majority of every group we surveyed from the poorest to the richest, from the most conservative to the most liberal agreed that the current level of wealth inequality was too high and wanted a more equitable distribution of wealth. In fact, Americans reported wanting to live in a country that looks more like Sweden than the United States.

    So, if Americans say they want a country that is more equal than they believe it to be, and they believe that the country is more equal than it actually is, the question becomes how we lessen these disparities. Our survey didn't ask what measures people would be willing to support to address the wealth gap. But to achieve the ideal spelled out by those surveyed, about 50% of the total wealth in the United States would have to be taken from the top 20% and distributed to the remaining 80%.

    Few people would argue for an immediate redistribution of 50% of the nation's wealth, and such a move would unquestionably create chaos. In addition, despite the fact that individual Americans give large amounts to charitable causes each year in effect, a way of transferring wealth from the rich to the poor the notion of government redistribution raises hackles among many constituencies.

    Despite these reservations, our results suggest that policies that increase inequality those that favor the wealthy, say, or that place a greater burden on the poor are unlikely to reflect the desires of Americans from across the political and economic spectrum. Rather, they seem to favor policies that involve taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

    Michael I. Norton is an associate professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School; Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University and the author of "The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home."

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    i just want to say, to whoever gave this thread a 1 star vote without even LOOKING at it (1 view and that was me, but a vote!), you sir are a hater of the highest order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    i just want to say, to whoever gave this thread a 1 star vote without even LOOKING at it (1 view and that was me, but a vote!), you sir are a hater of the highest order.
    You have to be IN the thread to rate it...

    I gave it 1 star also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revi$_I$l@nd View Post
    You have to be IN the thread to rate it...

    I gave it 1 star also.
    did you read the article?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revi$_I$l@nd View Post
    You have to be IN the thread to rate it...

    I gave it 1 star also.
    so if it is true that one must be in a thread to rate it, what do we characterize the poster who wrongly accused others of being a haters by rating without readin???

    a knee jerk mouth foamer????

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    kick a star

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    In fact, Americans reported wanting to live in a country that looks more like Sweden than the United States.
    who wouldn't???


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    Reality check:

    The "GAP" is real and will only get worse. As the world's technology continues to outdo the need for "manual labor", this knowledge economy will make obsolete the need for labor and drive down the wage. This is real and a serious problem without a real solution.

    Taxing those with the income will not solve the problem but will of course make government bigger and will sound great to those with little opportunity for real employment. Have you recognized how we still have high unemployment etc...

    One of my colleagues owns a group of movie theaters where technology is now available that eliminates the need for a person to actually run a projector. It will be satellite digital.

    While he sees the cost savings he astutely pointed out "We need customers.... with no jobs, no customers".

    Education may be the only solution for income..manual labor now competes globally.
    Last edited by southparkcpa; 11-09-2010 at 04:55 PM.

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    I fully agree that the current disparity isn't a good thing. It would be wonderful if we had full employment and a booming economy that created upward pressure on wages while inflation stayed in check. If that happened we would have much less poverty and a vibrant middle class.

    The real question is how do we do that. We could go the Robin Hood route and rob from the rich and give to the poor. There are all kinds of redistribution schemes we could employ. The problem is without serious growth of our economy our government obligations are going to make us substantially poorer meaning we will be redistributing a shrinking life style for all.

    The best way to close the gap is through a vibrant growing economy and a better educated work force. As long as we have failing schools, large numbers of unskilled workers and illegals coming in, the disparity in income is going to be chronic. If we add to it a huge economic drag through government regulation and taxation, it's only going to get worse.

    A cultural value attached to raising children and a solid work ethic would also do alot to accomplish these worthy goals.
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 11-09-2010 at 04:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    before you guys go all nut-so, dan ariely is actually a world-reknown behavioral scientists, and his books (predictably irrational, the upside of irrationality) are excellent. He's a scientist not a politician.
    Ever been to Sweden bit? I"ll bet not, I have and it sucks! BTW, I don't want what the rich have, I want to WORK to get there. As I've said before to you, you are richer then over 90% of the world give 80% of your income away.
    Last edited by acepepe; 11-09-2010 at 04:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acepepe View Post
    Ever been to Sweden bit? I"ll bet not, I have and it sucks!
    You must have been to a different Sweden then I went to. Loved it but I also loved India and Indonesia although for different reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acepepe View Post
    Ever been to Sweden bit? I"ll bet not, I have and it sucks!
    maybe if it's such a great place he should move, no???

    then again that's the hysterical thing....people who never lived in sweden would rather live in a country that looks like sweden rather than the US....until they live in a country that looks like sweden- then they want back in the US....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winstonbiggs View Post
    You must have been to a different Sweden then I went to. Loved it but I also loved India and Indonesia although for different reasons.
    I'm not talking about the sites or the people I'm talking about the costs and the social system.

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    Why do all of these surveys and thought pieces seem obsessed with the idea that wealth is somehow "distributed", as if from a gigantic Godsized piggy bank, and that seemingly by waving a magic wand, it will be "distributed" differently if only we wish it in all our hearts....

    Wealth shouldn't be distributed by the State, nor should the Stat ebe deciding what we "deserve".

    It should be earned by the Individual, and kept by the indiviual as they see fit.

    The very premise of the article comes from a flawed idea, that wealth is simply "distributed", and that the distribution method is the problem.

    The problem is people are not equal (shock!), do not work equally hard (shock!) and far too many want a handout (i.e. distribution, to them) as opposed to working their ever loving asses off for what they get.

    Just admit it Bit, you're a communist at heart. You're perfect world has 100% taxrate, and the State deciding who gets what, and every need is state-covered. If you admitted it, I could at least respect your honesty, if not your ideology.
    Last edited by Warfish; 11-09-2010 at 05:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Why do all of these surveys and thought pieces seem obsessed with the idea that wealth is somehow "distributed", as if from a gigantic Godsized piggy bank, and that seemingly by waving a magic wand, it will be "distributed" differently if only we wish it in all our hearts....

    Wealth shouldn't be distributed by the State, nor should the Stat ebe deciding what we "deserve".

    It should be earned by the Individual, and kept by the indiviual as they see fit.

    The very premise of the article comes from a flawed idea, that wealth is simply "distributed", and that the distribution method is the problem.

    The problem is people are not equal (shock!), do not work equally hard (shock!) and far too many want a handout (i.e. distribution, to them) as opposed to working their ever loving asses off for what they get.
    While I disagree with the last paragraph (there's no way income would be distributed equally if "people were equal and worked equally hard"), the rest is 100% correct.

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    In fact, Americans reported wanting to live in a country that looks more like Sweden than the United States.

    Then move to Sweden

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    Quote Originally Posted by acepepe View Post
    I'm not talking about the sites or the people I'm talking about the costs and the social system.
    Sweden was doing fine with their social system until they started importing labor to do all the jobs that Swede's no longer wanted to do. As the country gets poorer paying for these additional workers because Swede's no longer want to work, more and more Swede's who want to make money and have a future have left.

    Socialism works fine as long as people are willing to work with little monetary incentive or there is a work ethic and social contract between the people that is almost tribal.

    In a mulitcultural society, there is little that binds us together anymore other than real economic incentive. Socialism is a nice idea but the bigger and more diverse the tribe, the harder it is to enforce rigid social mores. That's were capitalism is far more successful.

    The US socialist system, limited as it is has come under increasing pressure as the country has more and more abandoned the idea of the melting pot for more of a multicultural society. I'm afraid the liberal model of diversity and socialism is at odds and will continue to fail at even greater levels as we become more diverse.
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 11-10-2010 at 08:36 AM.

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    Everybody sh*ts. I'll always have work...

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    if read the article closely, this scientist (he's not a politician) doesn't recommend any particular method for redistributing the wealth.

    It was entirely focused on where we are and where Americans want to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Just admit it Bit, you're a communist at heart. You're perfect world has 100% taxrate, and the State deciding who gets what, and every need is state-covered. If you admitted it, I could at least respect your honesty, if not your ideology.
    communism is a failed form of government, it is not what I want.

    What I want is a USA closer to the 1950's and 1960's. Where the middle class stood a chance. Instead we have a USA closer to the 1920's before the crash.

    I believe most Americans want that as well... even if they won't admit it.

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