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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: Everyone has an opinion but no one has the authority to determine what someone else should or should not spend there money on. It is just no ones business. We can have an opinion and deep feeling but NOT the right to determine how much someone should be able to earn or what they should buy with what they earn. If someone earns an income equal to the poverty level should someone else tell them they can not buy beer, cigarettes or potato chips because we don't think that is a good use of their money?
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      Jan 2 2014: I believe the reason people establish social safety nets is as much to protect themselves from having to be exposed to poverty and ugliness in public space, as it is to help others. If cash is provided to the poor, taxpayers fear it may not be used to keep public space free of offensive people and smells. That, I believe is the primary reason people establish safety nets and want services vs. cash.
      • Jan 5 2014: I agree with you that the primary reason people establish safety nets and want services is as much to protect themselves from having to be exposed to poverty and ugliness in public space, as it is to help others.

        When one gives cash vs services it opens the door for the cash to be used in all sorts of ways whereas when one funds the services it focuses on a given set of ways that ideally will bring about an enriching transformation for everyone wellbeing. Evidently if one gives money to help someone buy a medicine and they go buy their drugs with it the problem can be exacerbated when they get the wrong drugs :--)

        give them a 'nudge' in the right direction, educate them and build positive institutions that encourage individuals to make decisions most beneficial for them and other. Help them to help themselves and help others to help...
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          Jan 6 2014: I think my point, however gently I attempted to make it, is that public entities and governments help "strangers" for selfish reasons, rather than to assist the less fortunate.
      • Jan 6 2014: Julie,

        Indeed some entities help "strangers" for selfish reasons, rather than to assist the less fortunate... in a way you could say they are taking care of the sick in the herd to milk them a bit more and to keep others from getting infected ... Of course thats akin to holding that a philanthropist acts as a selfish egotistical person seeking to feel good from the misfortunes of others by deriving personal benefits from helping the less fortunate ones. Then there are those who actively work to put on an act as being less fortunate and in deed to get strangers to 'help' them when all they want is for the strangers to fork over the money.

        Some entities DO help "strangers" to assist the less fortunate because of all sort of reasons that go from what they have gotten to what they will get from it. Though trough making an active effort to promote human welfare; a person can practice philanthropy for selfish reasons and eventually do it for unselfish ones. Without ever falling into (or for) emotional exploitative schemes.

        I sort of liked the underlying storyline within the point you are subtly making. I do need to work on a scheme to help the selfish to help out, rather than help them not to help. Thank you for letting me realize that "some help 'strangers' for selfish reasons, rather than to assist" will have to keep that consideration present from now on...

        I also have to work and incorporate that thing about 'gently attempting to make a point'. I seem to tend towards bluntly putting it and rubbing the issue which sort of leads to a reflexive rejection regardless of the facts involved.

        The idea of capping the top seems to seek and promote a limiting frame, likely stemming from those within a limiting resource frame ... seeking to use their limited frame on the others with abundant means and resources. Kind of like the 'no pain no gain mentality of those who suffer ' who still have to learn that there can be gains with joy and play mentalities.

        Again thank you
    • Jan 3 2014: You're right; the solution i believe is to give them a 'nudge' in the right direction. educate them and build positive institutions that encourage but not force them to make decisions most beneficial for them.

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