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David Mansueto

Industrial Designer, Marc Newson Ltd.

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Some countries have a low "safety net". Do you think a "ceiling height" should also be established?

Many countries have established a safety net in which to prevent a certain population of people within a society to fall below a certain poverty line. Things like cash transfers, subsidies and public services are set up to support these people.

With the increased divide between low, middle and high income people, in real terms perhaps this safety net has not been lifted high enough to keep up. Often in tougher economic times certain programs and schemes that make up this safety net are reduced or given up completely in response to budgetary measures and debt.

There are many measures to try and maintain a certain equality amongst income distribution in a society such as a progressive tax system, however perhaps more is needed?

Perhaps a higher limit should also be established to try and close that gap in an aim to try to distribute money more evenly and direct excess money (if any) to re-invest in businesses and the economy.

In some sports a salary cap has been implemented for the aim to try and create a more even playing field amongst teams so that a single wealthy club cannot entrench dominance over players.

Could a similar idea be used to control income distribution within an economy? Opinions, ideas, suggestions and alternative examples of this idea would be very interesting to hear.

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  • Jan 2 2014: Recently I came across a video on Upworthy. I'm not here to promote the site in any way, but I think this video is extremely pertinent to this conversation.

    I'll give a link to it below, but if that doesn't work, try a search for '9 out of 10 Americans are completely wrong about this mind-blowing fact.

    It's not actually anti-American. I'm pretty sure the video would be largely correct for just about any country and any population in the world. The 6 and a half minute video is shocking. Basically if you divide the income of America up across the population and present it on a graph with 100 people across the bottom representing the various income groups, and their incomes as blocks above each group, the bottom earners don't hardly show up on the graph. The top 10% have the majority of the wealth. What's most shocking though is that the top 1%, their earnings won't even fit on the graph.

    I've not explained it half as well as the actual video, which is very clear due to its clear presentation of the facts. Well worth taking a look at, and it might contribute something to this conversation. I'd be interested to hear what people think!

    The link is. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk5OJBry2ss&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGk5OJBry2ss
    • Jan 3 2014: This video circulates the internet constantly, but its not the whole story. while i agree iit clearly presents the facts, it only presents HALF the facts. look up 'tax inequality in america' or something to that effect, by the econamist david angelo i believe. puts things into perspective quite well.

      basically if you look at how much people earn, the difference is shocking. however if you lookat the tax people pay, the difference is just as shocking (depending on your perspective). Many of the figures in the above video are BEFORE tax.

      The top 10% of americans pays 70% of the taxes, and the bottom 40% dont pay any tax at all; they GET money from the government. The top 1% pay 37% of the taxes!
      • Jan 5 2014: Thomas,

        To make an equitable comparison of individual's contributions one ought to normalize based on income... it isn't the same to pay $1 if one makes $100 or one makes $1,000; in one case on pays 1% in the other case one pays 0.001%. That is if each payed the equitable 1% ... the one who makes $1,000 would pay the same amount as 100 individuals who make $100 each. ( those who make $100 would pay $1 at 1%).

        You are right that the video presents a partial story... especially if we incorporate the world population the living standards and resource depletion/pollution. Some people would be shocked at the reality, what they think to be and what they consider it ought to be. A while back I remember seeing adds advertising how it was unfair for a particular country to accept an international treaty on contaminant reduction because some 'polluting' countries where exempt from it; what they didn't mention in the add was that the particular country 5% reduction surpassed the total pollution of the polluting exempt country. In other words they presented the facts in a way to distort what individuals considered and thought.

        If we look at the individuals contributions we will see how some people will contribute negatively to society; they take more than they give (and may even cause those that do give more than they take and excel to feel bad about excelling). Kind of like those who have bad grades making feel bad the good graders who push up the grading curve, rather than feeling bad about the bad grades lowering the overall average.

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