Originally posted by addabox
Gosh, thanks everybody for the lessons in dumb-fuck economics.
Now, if only we could concentrate more wealth into even fewer hands, then the rest of us would be sitting pretty, what with all the house-cleaning and pool vacuuming and grounds keeping and brass polishing gigs.
Obviously, the only way to get money into the hands of the average American is to make sure that very wealthiest among us get to live like medieval kings, so that they might be obliged to dribble some of their largess on the peasantry.
It tell you, 1850 is shaping up to be a banner year!
The more free people are in their actions, the greater the distribution of outcomes.
i.e. If you are free to do whatever you want, some people will fail to become rich, or will choose to do something that is guarenteed to not make them rich.
The Gini coefficient represents this mathematically:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
The higher the gini coefficient, the greater the dispairity between rich and poor (and this coefficient has risen slightly in the US over time).
But the Gini coefficient does not only measure inequality. In the absense of government corruption and crime (which is largely the case in a democracy), it also measures freedom (because freedom gives you the chance to become rich or to fail and lose your wealth more readily). As long as we do not have an oppressive government, the higher the gini coefficient the better, because that means that we are all the most free to reach our potential.
It seems to me that the people who are bitter about the disparity between rich and poor fall into the following categories:
1. Rich people who are guilty of their wealth
2. Poor young people who are pessimistic about their ability to become rich through their own efforts.
3. Poor middle-aged or old people, who resent the success of others.
The bitterness that I see is all individual psychology - no amount of taxation can fix #1 and #3 - but #2 can be counteracted by a strong social security system (so young people feel safe to grow old), and by abundant education choices.
The reality is that we live in an abundant society, and fears about poverty, homelessness and starvation (which is what you are really worried about when you are worried about the differences between rich and poor) are non-rational. Unless you are so insane that you can't get to the welfare office, our social safety net covers you.