Daniel Goldman

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Why should we consider wealth inequality within the middle class as a negative?

Of course, it makes sense why poverty should be avoided, and there are issues with a group of people being able to control the flow of resources through society (elites), but what about wealth inequality within the middle class? Is equality necessarily the best condition?

When it comes down to it, new technology is almost always far more expensive than existing technology. However, because there are people with "too much money on their hands", someone is around to purchase such technology. This gives the initial capital necessary to continue the development and production of these technologies and thus allow them to eventually decrease in price enough for them to become common place.

For clarification, by middle class, I do not mean those having a certain income or level of wealth. By middle class I mean those who are actively part of the consumer-producer complex: the core of the free market capitalist system.

References to how I view class stratification:
http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/17
http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/919

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    Dec 13 2013: It is sad that so many people don’t see the need for the mega rich, and strive to bring them down instead of lifting-up those at the bottom.
    At first only the high-end rich could afford 60” TVs, car loaded with cool features remote unlocking, GPS navigation, LED headlights, side airbags, etc. , Ice makers in refrigerator doors, cell phones, and so on, but now they a common. But if not for the rich the manufactures would have not been able to afford the R & D needed to make them cheaper.
    Plus the Mega Rich is best chance for paying off our national dept.
    Do we get mad because farmers can grow much more than the average person can? No. so think of the rick as money farmers.

    I’m a big believer in living by the Nine Noble Virtues;
    Courage, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, Perseverance and Truth (to me truth is also something to seek/discover, see, and accept.)
    Sorry but today's’ main issue is that not enough people seek Self-Reliance, I have MS and work every day to stay healthy and keep working full time, maintain my home and health. But it is hard because of the high taxes I have to pay to support the healthy free loaders living off the government and protest to have the rich and working people taxed-enslaved to pay for their laziness.
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      Dec 13 2013: sigh, where were those "virtues" when the world economies where being plundered by corporate gangsters and their political henchmen?
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        Dec 13 2013: LOL & sigh,
        Well considering they originated with the Norse Vikings, I guess there always have been those who follow them and those who reject them. So not much has changed in some aspects, Hmmm? Also sad is that is that like long ago, it is the non-nobles that get all the press and added to the history books.
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        Dec 13 2013: They were superseded by the promises of government support. It's pretty easy for our more relictual instincts to kick in. All it takes is a little coaxing, and the government promising to essentially take on any and all risk associated with poor banking practices is a pretty good persuasion.
  • Dec 17 2013: Daniel,

    Think I understand the question now. You are asking, say for programmers, if it is all right to have a wide level between the bottom and the top earners. The bottom could be earning 50k while the top is earning over 200k.

    1. The 200k usually has a unique skill, like design and coding of the kernel of an rdbms
    2. the 50k usually is just starting out and is going into an area where there are a lot of programmers
    3. There is also the case where people take lower salaries at startups with a lot of stock options.

    Am I ok with the difference? Yes, especially if it is based on ability and performance. Some people think programming is easy. It is for certain areas but in others it is very difficult and requires tremendous ability. There are a lot of bad programmers who think they are good and deserve a better salary. Some jump to another company, get a raise but as soon as the company realizes they are bad, they get fired or put into a position where they can not hurt the company much and will never get another raise.
  • Dec 17 2013: wealth belongs to the living, who should earn it. Dead people dont need it. you should watch. its short. people can control their own legacy with intent and thought. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98NHoNc5AI0
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      Dec 17 2013: I'm not talking about dead people. I'm talking about living people with differences in wealth. Stop pushing the same damn link over and over again and try to argue your point, if you have one, or get lost. In addition, use the reply feature. You're going to flood the root thread.

      So now I'll ask you again, why is wealth inequality in the middle class a negative?
  • Dec 17 2013: lots of should we and whys out there, but no real actionable how to do it fairly ideas, but this one discusses how it would save the earth from over gathering greeds! Have a look? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98NHoNc5AI0
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      Dec 17 2013: Well this question is a "should we". If you want to address how to equalize wealth, start your own debate. You seem to be very set on equalizing wealth. Why?
  • Dec 17 2013: What certain income level do you mean?
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      Dec 17 2013: "For clarification, by middle class, I do not mean those having a certain income or level of wealth. By middle class I mean those who are actively part of the consumer-producer complex: the core of the free market capitalist system."
      • Dec 17 2013: This is copied from above. Again I will ask the question, if someone is making 300K but is still designing and producing things, are they middle class? What about 1000k?
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          Dec 17 2013: Of course it is copied from above. I wrote the question. You asked me something I already answered above. Why do you keep a question that is already answered? Whether or not someone is part of the middle class is not dependent on their income nor is it dependent on their wealth.

          Does that answer your question? If not, here are two essays I have sketched out on class stratification.
          http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/17
          http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/919
      • Dec 17 2013: read those essays and they are unclear on this point. thanks for your point of view.
  • Dec 16 2013: In “How to balance inequality” on Youtube, A few calls to a friend in the White House about an inheritance cap to let people redistribute their wealth fairly, realigns man's mission here with his natural, higher purpose.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98NHoNc5AI0
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      Dec 16 2013: You posted the same comment on two separate topics. In neither case does your comment really do much to actually move the discussion forward. However, it is slightly less off topic on this question, and so I only flagged your other comment.

      So this is a video about how to "balance inequality", but does it answer the question of "should we" and why?
  • Dec 16 2013: According to the cultists of the left, any and all inequality is negative. We must all be put on the bed of Procrustes and "adjusted", appropriately.
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      Dec 16 2013: Perhaps that is true, but it does little to really add to the discussion. Should we consider wealth inequality within the middle class as a negative? Why or why not?
      • Dec 17 2013: And what about wealth inequality within any given subsection of the part of the portion of the grouping within the middle class? At what point does someone realize that the whole approach is dimwitted. "Inequality" does not matter in and of itself, except to people whose lives are run by jealousy and greed. What matters is "objective" poverty--not being able to live a sufficiently comfortable life. If being able to guarantee a comfortable and dignified life for everyone, with nobody "falling through the cracks" comes at a "cost" of some teeny tiny little percent of the population having wealth that is several googolplex greater, it's a "cost" that is worth it. Inequality is not the problem IN AND OF ITSELF. After all, if you destroy all wealth, all factories, all products and goods, scorch the earth to rock, and leave everyone to starve to death, we'll all be equal, too. We'll all be equal in total poverty and death.

        Of course, if equality is automatically good, then that's a GOOD thing to do, right?
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    Dec 16 2013: Mr Goldman,
    You have caught me unawares, I didn't know that we considered wealth inequality within the middle class as a negative. In the past these conversations have been structured on the wealth of a Bill Gates and some poor homeless man living under a bridge... and a strenuous criticism of the inequity. I agree with your definition of middle class. And in spite of all the emphasis on wealth inequality... I find that there are really few really poor.

    Many poor are... geographically poor. For example, the income considered a poverty income in New York City, could be doable here in south Texas. Then again, my little tract house here in south Texas, would be worth seven figures in LA. None of that makes any sense.

    Overall, I would say that if the government with all those rules and regulations could get out of the way, our middle class could grow and do very well for itself.
  • Dec 13 2013: Because the self-appointed priesthood of the Cult have told us it is!

    It is not "inequality" that is the problem to solve, it is the poverty at the low level of the scale. However, the cultists refuse to admit this, since they would not longer be able to take advantage of class warfare to attain power and wealth, themselves. I've never seen a poor person elected to Congress, no matter how "liberal" the district might be.
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      Dec 16 2013: So you see no solutions to these problems.
  • Dec 13 2013: Sorry for the tangents Dan......
    There is wealth accumulation.
    There is wealth aggregation.

    I believe what people are concerned about is not Income Inequality but rather the DEGREE or SEVERITY of the inequality.

    you seem to be claiming that wealth inequality, AS IT EXISTS TODAY, is POSITIVE and perhaps NECESSARY.
    Is that your broader claim?
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      Dec 13 2013: It's fine. Often I find that people go off on tangents because they have little knowledge on the topic or simply cannot form a logical argument. However, in your case, I think it's simply that you are exceedingly passionate about the topic.

      "you seem to be claiming that wealth inequality, AS IT EXISTS TODAY, is POSITIVE and perhaps NECESSARY."

      Actually, as it exists today, wealth inequality is unhealthy, but more so, the ability that the few elites in our society have to control resources is far too great. So let me clarify what I mean a little bit. I already mentioned my view on the middle class as the core of free market capitalism and that the middle class should simply be thought of as the consumer-producer complex. (1, 2)

      So instead of saying that wealth inequality is positive and necessary, I will say that wealth inequality within the middle class is generally positive and might be necessary.

      1. http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/17
      2. http://politicoid.us/blog/archives/919
      • Dec 13 2013: I dig it. What is the trajectory of this middle class? On the upswing? On the downswing?
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          Dec 13 2013: If you're asking how the middle class, as I define it, stands today, I would say that it is being crushed by government forces on behalf of corrupt elitist interests, but again, we're moving off topic.

          So again, while those within the middle class are producers and consumers, those who have the ability to spend more than the norm are the ones who drive the funding for new technologies.
      • Dec 13 2013: Bingo. And who are these elitists with their arm firmly up the puppet of government?
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          Dec 13 2013: The elites are those who have the power to control the resources through society. That is the definition I use for someone who is an elite. Those people are generally the ones who have direct connections to those within government, especially the federal government, since government is the primary force by which resources are controlled. The elites thus have power over where tax money goes, subsidies, bailouts, etc.

          However again, you are moving off on a tangent. Your current line of questioning does nothing to answer the original question.
      • Dec 13 2013: Forgive me again por favor. I suffer from attention issues....mildly. I do indeed stray. Reflecting back, I can't help but wonder if the question might be superseded by the mutual acknowledgement that the middle class is rapidly rapidly shrinking. Any effective demand for 'change' would have to be brought by this middle class. The ones 'below' are powerless and the ones above.......well, they don't quite feel the pinch.

        If I may pose a question: what is to be done?
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          Dec 13 2013: Yes; the middle class is rapidly shrinking, but that does not change the nature of this question in any way. Yes; something should be done about the middle class shrinking, but again, that is not what this question is about. Perhaps if you would like to address that topic, you should post the question yourself and I will be happy to give possible solutions to that problem at that time.
  • Dec 13 2013: no one wanted to touch this topic publicly, I think :-)

    Trickle down economics is effective.......but only if one is close to the source of the trickle.
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      Dec 13 2013: Trickle down economics isn't really the topic being addressed here, although to be honest, I consider the concept of trickle down/trickle up to be incompatible with free market dynamics. There really is no bottom or top within a properly functioning free market system. Yes; there are wealth inequalities, but the idea of the free market system is a group of consumers and producers interacting with each other. Therefore in reality there is only a flow through the middle class.

      However let's get back to the topic itself. Does wealth inequality allow for the development of new technologies?
      • Dec 13 2013: sorry. was teasing just a bit there.
        No, wealth inequality does not allow for the development of new technologies.
        Wealth accumulation and aggregation does assist in the creation of new technologies.
        The inequality is a separate matter. Though, I would imagine many a rich dude would like to believe that the inequality is necessary and justified.

        Unfortunately, a mentality seems to have developed among the richies as far as investments in new technologies.....or, it may have always been like this but just not as noticed. They have hamstrung themselves by placing Rapid Return on Investment at such a very high priority.

        Everyone wants to make moolah....quick! Rarely does an individual like Musk come along wishing to make a dent in the universe.......wishing to disrupt the status quo. The richies have stagnated to a large degree. Sit down randomly with VC's in Silicon Valley......they lack spirit. They lack vision.

        Make a quick buck on social media....thats the game. Quite shallow.

        The belief that wealth inequality as a precursor to technological development is painfully transparent.
        Question your beliefs......or justify them.
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          Dec 13 2013: If we had a roughly equal wealth distribution, then how would new technologies be purchased? Are you suggesting that new technologies would cost roughly the same amount as old technologies?

          Once again, most of your post is tangential to the topic. How much R&D projects, which cost large sums of money get funded without those with excess wealth? Note: it seems unreasonable to assume that if everyone had roughly equal wealth that they would all have excess wealth necessary to push new innovations.
    • Dec 13 2013: I agree that "trickle down" doesn't work--after all, it is just a trickle, but this does not mean that even a "severe" inequality is automatically evil. If the lowest level in a society is living at constant $PPP(1990) 50,000 per year, then even the lowest level is living very comfortably. It wouldn't matter how "unequal" the overall distribution of wealth might be. The trick is getting the lowest level to that point. I don't say we MUST leave the highest level sacrosanct, but why presume that we MUST attack the highest level, either? Why not develop plans that essentially make the highest level irrelevant either way?

      Note for the ignorant, I chose specific notation. If you do not understand what $PPP(1990) means, learn before you try to comment.
      • Dec 13 2013: Yes! And how does one perform this trick? Certainly, with the use of such notations, you must have a hunch :-)