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What are some realistic and creative ways to reduce wealth inequality?

I am a a third year student completing a degree in Social Work in Hamilton, New Zealand. I am currently doing a paper on Social and Community Development where I have to consider a topic of interest and then form a plan based on a theoretical perspective to eliminate or reduce a social issue.

My chosen topic is: Then impact of wealth inequality on social cohesion within New Zealand.

I would love to hear some creative and realistic thoughts around reducing this social issue which is a rapidly increasing, world wide issue. If anyone is well versed around topics such as this, stating your political ideology/perspective/basis of your ideas would be a great help so that I am able to further research the good idea's!

The primary focus will be on reducing wealth inequality as by doing this, social cohesion will increase. Despite this, I do hope to develop a small scale plan to increase social cohesion as well to strengthen the assignment.

Thanks heaps in advance :)

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  • May 23 2013: 100% socialism doesn't work, because if you get the same no matter what you do, you might as well not bother. similarly unbounded capitalism has produced the situation we have today, where the "work hard and you can be rich" dream is impossible because the result of hard work is the boss gets even richer than you do so no-one moves up.

    the answer then is clear - we need a salary cap. say $10m a year? and anything over that is taxed at 100% in every country. this means that individuals can strive to reach the top, but when they get there they are no longer able to keep going, which deprives others of their opportunities - remember every dollar one person has is a dollar another person doesn't have. a good historical example is benjamin franklin, who, on reaching the point where he was wealthy enough to live an extremely comfortable life without working any more, retired to work instead on his interests.
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      May 24 2013: Yep socialism has been proven not to work/be sustainable or attainable as shown by the biggest adherents ala Russia and even China, who has seen the light/benefits of Capitalism.
      Or as Margret Thatcher said...............Sooner or later you run out of spending other peoples money!

      And Ben........I just love this one of yours................'100% socialism doesn't work, because if you get the same no matter what you do, you might as well not bother.'.... which begs the question of why aren't you willing to put in 'the extra yard' for the betterment of your fellow man? And I further suggest that is a prime example of humans not being interested in equality.

      I remember every dollar I have, is a dollar I have earn t and accordingly I am entitled to have and any other person has no claims to my dollar. Now that is a clear answer.

      Ever thought of striving to become a boss or is it a road to hard?

      Cheers.............
      • May 24 2013: blade brilliant question. i used to think the same thing that we all should just chip in to help our fellow man and everything would be better for all, but while that's a great ideal, it doesn't work in reality because it enables cheats. it's actually an interest in equality that prevents people from becoming more altruistic. it works really well in small groups, but it happens so often in wider communities that there's someone somewhere who only takes and never gives, and the other members can't stand being the 'sucker' who does the right thing while someone else doesn't.

        every dollar you have, but not every dollar everyone has. for example say there was a small business employing 10 people. they all worked hard and so their profits went up by 20%, and to reward their employees' hard work the boss gave them a 5% pay increase. why if they've produced 20% more do they only get 5% more? they have legitimate claims on the money the boss kept for themselves.

        me personally i prefer working for solutions and improvements and don't care for management and administration. i don't thin it's something i couldn't do, it just doesn't hold my interest.
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          May 24 2013: Yep.. the real world is long stones throw from the altruists, the naive philosophers and academics in their cloistered towers of idealism.

          Suggest your ten employees only have a legitimate claim to anymore pay increases/payments beyond the 5% if they are 'shareholders' in that business by having put their money on the risk/investment bench with their employer.

          Accordingly if the same business was making a loss and the boss/owner could not meet the monthly installments on the risk he took by buying new high tech machines to hopefully stay in business and competitive, should his 10 employes help with the installments?
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          May 25 2013: What percent of people are 'cheats' in your view? What percent is tolerable? Do people who take more than they should do so in all cases?
      • May 24 2013: why should they accept the risk of the company? the employer has a much higher salary to cover his risk, so even if his company makes no money and he still has to pay his employees, he still has more money than they do.

        say the employees are making $10k a year and the boss makes $100k. that's 10 times as much but that's right and fair because if the company fails, the employees lose their jobs but he loses his business. imagine for 2 years everything's fine and good, the company makes $200k a year so the employees get $10k each and the boss gets $100k. after 2 years then they have $20k and he has $200k. then disaster, the main client is lost and the company makes $0 profit for a year. the boss still has to pay the employees $10k for the year but he gets nothing. end result of a complete disaster is he has made $100k over 3 years while his employees have made $30k - he still made 3 times more money than them. why should they have to take a cut on top of already making less than he does?

        if an employee has produced 20% more profit why shouldn't he be entitled to a 20% raise?
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          May 25 2013: Ben.........suggest you examples may have some basis of argument based on the hypothetical figures/scenario you tendered if Socialism was the order of the day ..............however they totally ignore the case scenario I tendered where a company has gone into debt to keep up with the technology and then finds it is unable to meet repayments.

          Your contention and figures are totally based on the premise that the company/owner is making a sh*t load of money and when that is not the case, I suggest your argument/case does not hold water.

          Further suggest the reason businesses, especially small business owners are entitled to the higher rewards is because they have had the balls to take the risks, put in the extra hours and did the hard yards.

          Suggest if it wasn't for the risk taking entrepreneurs/business minded people the planet would still be in hunter gathering mode.

          Suggest it also begs the question as to why anybody should have any claim to anything beyond the terms of the agreement they have entered into?

          cheers................
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        • May 25 2013: yes bounded capitalism continues to show the best results the world over.

          a lot of people who promote the libertarian argument don't understand the interconnections in society, and can't understand that free health care actually costs less. we each personally benefit when everyone else has good health, safety, and can get around freely.
        • May 26 2013: .
          Ben,
          That is an extremely important point!

          It points out clearly the role that the social system plays in taking care of the citizens and how the economic system needs to be owned and firmly controlled so that it provides the financial means of the social system reaching its goals on behalf of the citizens.

          BUT.... those citizens who are members of the governing body must be of such honour and honesty that they cannot be bribed to pass laws favourable to the economic system but unfavourable to the social system (citizens) as has happened in most (all?) "predatory greed-capitalist" countries such as the UK, Canada, the US, Australia, etc., etc.

          It is not that capitalism is an unworkable economic system; it is that capitalism is merely a tool. It must never come to set the rules by which the social system operates. The social system (the citizens) must at all times own and control the economic system - no matter what economic system any society uses. Always.

          Capitalism, by its very nature, tries to consume all around it. In that respect it is like fire. It is a useful tool but a very dangerous one. Once we lose control of either fire or our economic system, it can, and does, run amok. We see the results of that in today's world.

          Again..... it is not capitalism itself that we need to rid ourselves of - it is uncontrolled, predatory greed-capitalism - capitalism without proper control, that is doing us so much harm, just as an uncontrolled conflagration would.
      • May 25 2013: blade what case study are you referring to? i don't see it. however it is the boss' sole decision to go into debt to keep up with technology, so why should his employees be liable for any losses incurred? if they were equal partners i'd totally agree. but employer/employee relationships are different.

        do you really think company owners aren't making close to 10x what each of their employees are? the standard franchise owner can expect to make $75-125k a year, and that's after paying a large portion of profits to the franchise owner. a small business owner can expect to earn much more than that because they don't have those costs (but of course with more risk).

        i agree that owners are entitled to higher rewards for the reasons you've given, but not increasingly higher rewards. a 20% increase across the board means the boss gets a bigger raise because he earns more. you understand that giving an equal percentage raise means an unequal dollar amount right?

        if the boss gets 20% more why should the employees gets less than 20%? they're already on a lower salary. they may not have a contractual claim but surely they have a moral claim? fair pay for fair work.

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