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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 27 2013: * basic income for everyone (i.e. give all citizens a monthly amount of money. Equaly)
    * negative tax scale
    * luxury weighted consumption tax
    * demand complete transparency of income once it exceeds 20 million a year. Any false gain of money will be severely punished
    * inflation/deflation: give everybody a new currency equally and let the old currency inflate very fast.

    * Actually: printing a lot of money and sharing it inversely to the people... might reset everything

    * re-introduction of the sabbatical year

    * agree to abolish heritage
    * go spartan
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      May 28 2013: Curious...would that be called a Brave New World, Big Brother or Police State?

      Is it soma time, any time soon...........the stress is building! :)
      • May 28 2013: .
        Blade Runner,
        I couldn't find a way to add my reply, to your recent comment, after that comment. It appears a few comments above my previous comment; the one to which you responded about 2 hours ago. Hope you can find it......Larry
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          May 28 2013: Hi Larry......................Nope..........not an accountant, just that I find this forums 'working system' is IMHO crap compared to IMHO the user friendly systems on some other forums that allow for quoting which makes for an easier continued reply and I found by numbering items herein its easier to reference and keep track. So................

          1. Give credit where credit is due.

          2. Firstly cut the 'Sir' crap, I'm not a knight. As for the rest, am I to assume charity does not begin at home for you?

          3.Suggest technically I owe zilch to society because as you stated earlier its my taxes to the state/society which enables the state/society to make available 'any benefits'!
          No taxes = No state/society = no benefits! I've paid my debt.
          And where is it written/deemed that one automatically owes something to the future especially as one had no say in being placed in the present?
          And whatever guilt or responsibility you carry/feel for the planet or anything else is your load/burden to carry.
          And I always get a chuckle when humans have the preordained arrogance to think they have on their departure left the planet a better place and others might contend that's only the case because they have departed. :)

          5.Suggest that begs the question: Are the suppliers especially the multinationals so stupid that they would allow their consumers to become 'no existent' ?

          6, Suggest society and everything else on this planet runs on the 'chaos principle'.

          And personally I don't have a problem with that because as I see it if everything was totally secure and neatly organised and down pat the planet would be stifling, non creative and as boring as bat sh*t and we would all be taking our soma at the daily prescribed time.

          Cheers.......................
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          May 29 2013: "I am curious about the idea of not taxing income but taxing consumption instead"

          Well, the basic idea is that tax on labour seems unfair to me:
          1) you work: you get taxed (i.e. a penalty, punishment)
          2) you don't work: you get money (well, in European countries like Belgium, we do) , so you get rewarded.

          This seems so illogical to me.
          I do think that we need social support for the weak and the unfortunate, so I wouldn't giving people monetary support to live (not in luxury, but at least have sufficient to provide food and shelter).
          If you don't tax labor, you can't have fraud on that account, so you can save tax evasion remediation on that side (and use the people for other fraud like consumption tax fraud)
          If you tax consumption, you can apply different levels of taxation, depending on the pollution component (i.e. foodmiles and CO2 tax, health tax,... can be included), as well as a general tax component for government expenses. You can differentiate between healthy and unhealthy products and basic vs luxury products.

          If you, as a company think that the tax on your product is unfair (as the estimation is an approximation), you can try and prove your product is less polluting (e.g. part of recycling), healthy (vitamin content, clinical studies that prove it is healthy) or necessary (rice bread, water, internet,...) In which case the government adapts the tax rate of your product.

          As such, consumption might drop, but that is not a bad thing. We need to save our planet, and consumption does not make us happy. Nor is it a dogma in economics.

          As luxury products (yachts, jets, a second or expensive car) are taxed 200 or 300 percent, you can easily see that you can reduce inequality.

          &c &c.

          please note that I did not take everything into account, but if you have any objections to this theory, first think how you can solve some problems (by estimation, correction factors, adjustments). If you do find fundamental flaws in this paradigm, let me know
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        May 28 2013: They did ask for an opinion on wealth inequality, mr Blade Runner.

        That said, the connection between BNW, BB or a police state and what I wrote is quite far fetched, although I understand the hyperbole you are making.

        I am not saying that introducing alpha's and epsilons will create more equality. I'm not saying all power and money should go to a heavy structured and all seeing government. And I'm not saying police should survey everything for any kind of possible mischief and corruption they are up to.

        As for my opinion on reducing inequality: As numbers show: inequality-size is one of the best predictors of health, crime, hapinness,... &c, in moderate to high developed contries more than gdp (that hase a close to 0 correlation).
        This means that we do need to keep inequality within boundaries, while at the same time provide competition and forms of true meritocracy.
        I am a proponent of abolishing tax on income and having tax on consumption instead. If there is abundance, it might as well be shared, and if we are capitalizing our planet for the future, we do need to pay for it now, and not leave it to our children to be poor, sick and clean up the mess.

        I hope you see the differences with the novels and ideas you pointed out.
        • May 28 2013: .
          Christophe,
          I am curious about the idea of not taxing income but taxing consumption instead.

          I know that those who have very low incomes do not pay income taxes on that pittance and are thus able to stretch our their dollars to better meet their needs. How would you enable those of low income to survive if their purchases are heavily taxed (I presume that such a tax as you advocate would be added to already existent sales taxes). Would you not also need to introduce a minimum wage that is about triple present minimum wages and that would increase as inflationary, and other, factors increased the cost of living?
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          May 28 2013: Well Chris..........don't know about your neck of the woods, but in mine we already have income tax, sales tax, GST (Goods & services tax) stamp duty on land and vehicle purchases just to mention a few and suggest that has not made any difference to inequality. in fact it. I suggest has just added to the inequality by creating a bigger division between those that can afford to buy and those that can't.

          As for the books I alluded to..............Suggest both Orwell and Huxley had a better insight into the human condition and where and what the 'state' had done to or for the masses both then and now, than you do.

          Suggest when you set out to rob Peter to give to Paul because of Pauls 'inadequacies' then you quickly find out that Peter is no longer interested in putting in the extra to support Pauls thieving.
      • May 28 2013: .
        Blade Runner,
        Well sir, it's been fun but it has become all to clear that you did not come to this discussion to put forward ideas that would help Laree to gain some understanding of how to reduce the income gap.

        I find it interesting that you, with your enthusiasm for a society based upon a particularly nasty form of predatory greed-capitalism, have either succeeded in doing very well for yourself or have hopes to do so.

        I, who have also done very well for myself, advocate a society based upon the concept that the proper purpose of a society is to serve the needs of its members instead of serving the needs of its economic system. Whatever that economic system might be.

        We share a liking for capitalism but in your form of it competition starts at the level of bare survival - cave-man style - and in mine competition starts after basic necessities are guaranteed by the society and prefers the competitors to start on a relatively level playing field.

        You feel no obligation (other than paying a few taxes) to the society that has, or will, provide you with whatever opportunities come your way. You take but only give back what is demanded of you by law.

        I suspect that you are a great deal younger than I and have yet to compare the reality of a dog-eat-dog society as compared to a combination co-operative / competitive society. You may not even have recognized that the model for the society that I advocate is very similar to the model of a corporation where the members must co-operate within the company for the company to be successful but yet they compete with each other for promotion within the company also.

        Co-operation and competition are not mutually exclusive.

        Cheers back at ya......L
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          May 28 2013: Ok Larry.............here we go again..............your:

          para1.Firstly I see you are still doing the 'Sir' bit and Chris has started with the 'Mr' bit.... curious are they in that context supposed to imply some sort of demeaning?

          Anyway, moving along and as for Laree..............I would have thought by now it would be plainly obvious to her (especially if she perchance has some historical knowledge of the planet) that wealth equality (which really equates to possessing more of something than the next person) is just a stupid pipe dream that barely makes passing dinner table talk for the realists who understand the motivators of the human psyche.

          para2. Firstly......suggest its not that I have an 'enthusiasm' for what you are labeling a ' particularly nasty form of predatory greed-capitalism', its that I'm a pragmatic realist and know a 'little' history and see the way of the world for what it actually really is..........there are winners and loosers.
          Ponder this....If there is a heaven, and if the believers of that heaven end up there, they, I suggest will quickly discover even heaven champions inequality. :):):)

          Further suggest my status of having or not having done well for my self or any plans to do well for myself have zilch to do with the concept of the topic.

          para3. Always found it interesting that some of the tribe, that after having feathered their nest decide they need to 'save the world' or label it as giving something back and others deem its just a cleansing of their guilts for feeling 'bad' because they have done better.

          Para 4, Suggest survival is at the root of it all and how much 'tinsel' you want to add to your tree of life depends on ones skills and concentrated efforts.

          para5. Suggest as they are only 'opportunities', not guarantees my taxes have paid for such because the rest is up to me.

          para6. Suggest wrong again! One more strike and your out! :)

          para7. Sure, if its beneficial to both parties.

          Cheers...................:)
    • May 29 2013: .
      Chris,
      I'm not sure that I can work this site very well yet so I hope this appears in the right place.

      First off, don't take anything I say to you as a personal attack. I try NEVER to attack any person who doesn't attack me. BUT... ideas are fair game!

      Your idea of a tax on consumption rather than on earnings is about as bad an idea as I can imagine. Let's look at a few facts.

      1- Low income earners spend pretty much 100% of their income in order to survive.

      2- High income earners spend only a fraction of their income for their survival.

      -- Your idea would mean that the high earners would pay only a very tiny fraction of their income on taxes while the low income earner would pay a much bigger percentage of his income on taxes. How do you see this as fair or helpful to reducing income disparity?

      3- The problem of income disparity is built into the socio/economic system that we happen to use.

      4- As a systemic problem it cannot be solved by band-aid solutions such as you propose.

      -- If you read over the comments that I've posted in this blog you'll see the beginnings of a systemic solution. It involves making certain changes to our entire system. The economic system that our society uses - predatory greed-capitalism - has gained the upper hand over our social system. It is busily re-organizing our social system into the kind of dog-eat-dog system that is so great for that form of capitalism.

      But the rules that make an economic system very successful do not make a social system successful. In fact they can destroy a social system. They are destroying ours.

      We need to empower our social system so that it controls the economic system and makes it work on our behalf. Instead of us working to enrich the economic system, it should work to enrich us.

      ALL of us work in the economic sector NOT just an elite few.

      In a properly organized society citizens should not need to pay any personal taxes; sales, income or otherwise. Only profitable corporations should.
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        May 30 2013: Thanks for the reply.
        I think it's good to attack ideas, especially if they are flawed. Your input is much appreciated...

        The problem of the lower incomes is solved if you provide a basic income for everyone... which means that if you don't work, you spend 100% on survival, and every penny you earn above it, will be completely spendable on extra's
        As for the very rich: there are still options to tax property or "resting money" or speculation &c,
        As luxury produce are heavily taxed, they will pay a lot (factor 3 or 10 if needed).

        On the other hand, people's wages should go up as well, as the total cost of an employee stays the same (and is untaxed).

        The social system is good in Belgium, so I can't share the same experience as you when it comes to dog-eat-dog mentality.

        taxing corporations seems a good idea. I guess you'll need a global government or import tax for multi-national organisations; as they will try and evade taxes
        • May 30 2013: Chris,
          Yes. Many people have recognized that if all people have a decent basic income then that solves a whole host of problems. The difficulty appears when the question of where that money is to come from arises.

          It has been suggested that the rich should be taxed heavily to pay for that since the survival of the rich would not be threatened by having a bit less money. But people like the idea of gaining wealth and don't want it drained away and given to others who don't gain it. I can understand that.

          My proposal allows anyone who cares to do so, to amass all the wealth they can. But there are some rules too. Since no wealth could be amassed (earned or not) without a whole society providing the means for that to be done, any wealth amassed should therefore benefit the society as well as the individual.

          Other systems pit society against the individual in a fight for that wealth. Mine says, let them amass it to their heat's content. Let them enjoy it for as long as they live. But when they die, let it return to the society which provided them the means to get that wealth so that the society can see a return equal to the opportunity it provided and thereby continue to offer that opportunity to others.

          Since about 80% of government employees and budgets now support huge number of people in need of assistance to survive, that would cease to exist when they own shares that provide them with a decent income. A drastic lessening of both the size of government and its cost to us. Taxes on business profits would meet government needs easily, so NO TAX on any kind of personal income would be necessary. Those trying to amass fortunes should LOVE that!

          Those who evade taxes can't profit from doing so. What can they do with what they save by doing that? If it goes into their own pocket, then, when they die it comes back to the society anyway. Let them cheat! Who cares? It all comes full circle back to the people no matter what the greedy do!

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