TED Conversations

Bill Harrison


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Money doesn't exist, not really.

Money doesn't really exist. Money is just a claim check upon the capital resources of the real economy. It's just a virtual artifice built upon real output.

Therefore, I agree with TEDster Malcolm Gladwell in believing it is socially justified to raise the top marginal tax rate to something like 90%, so no one can make more than ~2 million per year, and also to raise the estate tax, capital gains taxes, and the effective corporate tax rate.

First, because speculators, bankers, and hedge fund managers are not socially productive at all, let alone enough to justify making what they make.

Second, because every human being is entitled to food, water, clothing, and education, because there is more than enough to go around - just because you work on Wall Street doesn't mean you can squander the (finite, but growing) capital production of society on luxury goods while people starve.

"Those who create phantom wealth, and those who are the beneficiaries of mutual funds or retirement funds invested in phantom wealth, may never realize that they are giving its holder a claim on the real wealth produced by others, and that phantom-wealth dollars created out of nothing dilute the claims of everyone else to the available stock of real wealth. They may also fail to realize that Wall Street and its international counterparts have created phantom-wealth claims far in excess of the value of all the world's real wealth, creating expectations of future security and comforts that can never be fulfilled."

David Korten

Money doesn't really exist, but people do...think about it.


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    Oct 7 2011: It is difficult to create policies that can solve the problem of wealth distribution. Also, there are always grey areas and some people will always find ways to game the system. The way to address the issue might be to increase awareness in the populace, since it seems many people do not understand the issues they are facing.

    A member on our site has written more about this problem here:
    Revamping Wealth Distribution in Society
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      Oct 7 2011: what is the "problem of wealth distribution"?
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        Oct 7 2011: That's explained a bit more in the article mentioned above.
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        Oct 7 2011: What is it that you don't understand after reading the article?
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          Oct 7 2011: i haven't read it. i'd like to understand your take on what is the problem of wealth distribution. if i find it interesting, i will read the article.
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        Oct 7 2011: Oh, I see. My take on what is the problem of wealth distribution is that as human beings, each one of us has much to contribute to the Earth. However, if some people hog and take up a large percentage of the world's resources in the form of money, then other people will find it harder to spend money on what they need to help to improve the world.
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        Oct 7 2011: hog means to acquire, keep, or use a much greater share of a certain resource compared to most other people
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          Oct 7 2011: if the article is about that, i'm not going to read it. since when it is a problem that one person justly acquires more than another? since when we are about to "fix" that?

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