TED Conversations

Bill Harrison


This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 28 2011: The base premise is quite accurate. I worked in banking and quit it after refusing promotions etc. I tried working for a large American bank and then moved to a smaller European one. But the basic structure and the mechanism of financial markets is so grossly corrupted that its near impossible to find any meaningful purpose to working in a bank. Not only that, the lifestyle of bankers themselves can be very correctly described as unhealthy. No question that they have failed in their basic deliverable which is to deploy resources where available to where most efficiently used. banking no longer does that and bleeds money to the economy. Raising the tax to 90%, i am not sure about, I do think its fine to reward someone for adding genuine value and for everyone to have whatever motivates them to excel. I don't see why an apple or google, or someone else should not be able to make any sum of money if they produce genuine value. Carrot is important.
    • thumb
      Oct 28 2011: while i agree with you, i would like to underline that it is not a problem with money. money does not cause the absurdities that are going on in the financial sector. rather, these corrupt entities, in cooperation with governments, are destroying money, which is essential to a functioning economy.
      • thumb
        Oct 28 2011: think we said the same thing.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.