TED Conversations

Mike Colera


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Why should there be wealth distribution or redistribution?

A recent TED talk by Ms. C. Freeland discusses wealth inequality. It seems, she is against it. I don't quite understand her concerns. If people acquire wealth....legally, people got wealthy legally. A newly elected senator from Massechuses laments how American bankers have gotten wealthy and the American middle class is falling behind. Americans should do spmething about that. Again, if people acquire wealth...legally, people got wealthy legally. I think what I am hearing is that wealth should be redistributed from the wealthy to the... not so wealthy. That seems to be the new chorus being sung.
I am at a loss as to why. Why would some seemingly considerate people talk about taking property of one person to give to another. Let's go past any moral issues or legal ones.... how would it be done? Well, that isn't clear to me. It seems to be said it should be done. Now, if a wealthy person wanted to redistribute his wealth... OK, it is his wealth. But, what if the wealth person wants to keep it all. OK, it is his wealth.
Could someone explain why legally acquired wealth should be redistributed by anyone other then the owner of the wealth?
Of course governments take wealth from people in the form of taxes supposedly to provide the services deemed to be provided by the government. Sometimes, governments have used tax money to provide wealth to some of it's citizens the government has determined needs this wealth. Is it any more moral or legal for the government to take wealth and redistribute it? By passing laws to legalize the redistribution of wealth, could it be inferred that elected officials are currying favor and subsequent votes by redistributing wealth? Are elected officials above such actions? Many questions, so few answers


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  • Apr 24 2014: I believe there should be a wealth redistribution to a certain extent. In order for society to function, there should not be a wide stratification between the rich and the poor. The difference in wealth between the poor and the rich will sure make the poor sometimes infuriating or depressed. Society is like a pyramid. The poor is at the bottom while the minority of rich is at the top. Pyramid cannot stand if the basis of the pyramid collapses, which is the poor in this case.
    Yes, the rich accumulated that wealth through hard work. However, if the poor is unable to function within the society, the rich will cease being rich. In my opinion, this is just how a society works.
    A complete redistribution is kind of absurd in my opinion, but there should be one to a certain extent so that the poor can get back up their feet and then at least try to make a progress.
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      Apr 24 2014: I don't think there should be wealth distribution. If the "poor" become infuriated or depressed because some other people have acquired more wealth does not say much about the poor. Are they greedy? Self centered? Immoral?
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        Apr 24 2014: Hi Mike, Lets see if I understand this redistribution thing ... You and I go to college and share a room ... you work a part time job and spend every minute studying and get all A's. Your hard work paid off.

        Now me ... I party every night and have to ask directions to my classes and beg food, whacky weed, and drink from everyone .... straight F's.

        However, lucky for me the feds redistribute everything so we should both get a C ... I deserve it right?

        Can't wait for you to start working ... hope it is a good paying job because I'm kinda hungry?

        Is this a great country or what?
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          Apr 24 2014: How come I'm the one that has to be the hardworking studious one?
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        Apr 24 2014: We had a meeting to decide who gets to do what ... you didn't come. I won.

        Next time we will post the time and dates for meetings.
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          Apr 24 2014: The story of my life... a dollar short and an hour late
      • Apr 24 2014: Maybe the poor were born into an unfortunate conditions, they were not given enough chance to show their full ability. Wealth distribution and providing poor with minimal resources required for them to get back on their feet will enable the poor to display their ability in fullest.
        I think it's only fair to give everyone a chance to display their ability in fullest.
        Some might be dissatisfied because we take your money and distribute it to the poor. The society will not last if the base of the pyramid collapses.
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          Apr 24 2014: So, you are the "we" that will take all that wealth and give it to the poor. Finally a name. I had begun to think you didn't exist.... like that "they" people refer to....
          I understand your concerns, but who appointed you to do the collection and the distribution. Maybe you are not the appointed one, just a volunteer. I want to volunteer too! Where do we sign up?.
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          Apr 25 2014: Christopher, I come from dirt poor .. you can not even imagine. We gor lucky and was allow to move into a "project" within a year it was a dump ... Ophra tried to help some families .. it became a dump ... I could tell you many stories ...

          Here is the bottom line. If I give you something for nothing it has no or little value .. the mentality is that you use it and if it goes bad so what ... not mine.

          I can tell you that there are millions of people who are generational welfare that laugh at the bleeding hearts who "give" them stuff. The philosophy is why should I work ... I get housing allowance .. food stamps ... free medical ... WICK ... free cell phone ... and the list goes on ... like the girl on Ophra .. I get $1,500 a month for each of my illgitimate children plus all the goodies ... If I worked I would have to make in excess of $80,000 a year to equal what I get for having kids ... I would be stupid to get married ... I am going to have another baby.

          The type of mentality you propose is a enabler to the "takers". When the "kool aide" stops the cold hard facts come into focus maybe some of them will get off their butts and go to work ... that really sounds cruel to a liberal/socialist I know .. but the difference is that I have been there and most bleeding hearts could not find the area of concern with a map.

          Change happens when you take responsibility and step up to meet the challange.
      • Apr 25 2014: I absolutely do not agree with total wealth distribution. That I think it's pretty stupid and that is in essence communism. However I do agree in certain amount of wealth distribution. The reason lies in that I am concerned that a society might not function at its fullest when there are great levels of stratifications between classes.
        Hm. but maybe some people are taking responsibility and stepping up to meet the challenge but just not being able to climb that wall.
        Also, charity is not always available to everyone.
        To be fair, I am a Canadian where a certain level of wealth distribution deems to work great and I might be influenced by that.

        So I might be really biased in my opinions and such, just hope you guys understand how I think about wealth distribution.

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