David Thompson
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July 13, 2018

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David

Democratic Socialists.

R. Sherman

The cool kids are on page 2 of the comments.

Look at the replies to that tweet.

It never ceases to amaze me that despite all the evidence to the contrary, people continue to believe that there is only a finite supply of "wealth" which is randomly allocated among the denizens of this planet.

Pogonip

There IS only a finite supply of wealth. If everybody always had as much money as he needed, much less wanted, it would be of no value because it was too easy to get. And to a certain extent it is randomly allocated: if you’re born in Germany you have a much better chance of getting a big chunk of the available wealth than if you were born in Bangladesh.

So far all attempts to make this situation better have succumbed to two insurmountable problems: how do we decide who allocates the wealth, and how do you keep the allocators from robbing the pot?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Well, OK.

Geezer

how do we decide who allocates the wealth, and how do you keep the allocators from robbing the pot?

Here's where I like to start: The guy who creates the wealth has a right to keep it.

Darleen

There IS only a finite supply of wealth.

Nope.

First of all, 'wealth' isn't just money. Money is just a stand-in chit for an individual's labor. It's much easier, if I raise chickens and you bake bread, that I trade with you a piece of money for your bread than using a chicken.

The richest man in the 1890's isn't as prosperous as a upper middle class person of today - the wealth represented by advances in medicine, science, technology, etc ... tangible goods that didn't exist then but that have been created through free trade.

People free to make as much money as they want (emphasis on 'make') are incentivized to look for every new opportunity. And the rest of us less clever people who don't know how to design a cell phone or a MRI machine benefit.

Free trade & capitalism couple with Western principles of individual responsibilities have lifted more people OUT of poverty than any other economic system in history.

Chester Draws

Also inequality based on monetary wealth is inherently flawed.

A person who retired with say $1 million in assets is deemed wealthy. But that person may never have earned very much during their life. I will be in that situation, and I'm a school teacher.

I don't care that many of my colleagues blow their money on trips and fancy cars and frippery. It's their money.

I do care that it is deemed "unfair" that this situation is allowed to exist.

A newly minted lawyer from Harvard is "poor" when compared to her colleagues near retirement. Yet they are exactly the same person, at a different stage of life.

Simple measuring young people's wealth vs that of the mature is so stupid it can only be done with the intention of deceiving.

R. Sherman

To add to Darleen's spot-on observations, the reason people have a greater likelihood of doing well in the First World, as opposed to Bangladesh, is that generally, in the first world, there is free movement of capital, i.e. those ideas, property and labor Darleen mentions, and the rule of law to protect voluntary exchanges among citizens. And every time there is an exchange, wealth is created. It may seem like an even swap, but each side gets something he values more for something he values less. Thus, all sides are better off than before. The idea that there is only a finite supply of "wealth"--note quotes--and that all human interactions are zero sum is the most insidious idea that has ever existed. That idea is responsible for more human misery than any other IMHO.

David

That idea is responsible for more human misery than any other IMHO.

It is rather pernicious. But we’re talking about people who believe that when some Diabolical Rich Person builds a business that eventually employs thousands of people who might otherwise not have jobs – to say nothing of suppliers - this Diabolical Rich Person is actually making them poorer.

WTP

See Sherman/Muldoon, this is the very thing that I am talking about. Not to pick on Pogonip as her understanding, as demonstrated, is not unique even amongst those on the right. While I identify with Sherman's It never ceases to amaze me... point, it's really not that hard to understand why. Our schools and education systems and religions and entertainment media are thick with this misunderstanding. That's the part that amazes me. Not so much that individuals, and even the vast majority on the left, don't understand this but that there never seems to be a correction of the misconceptions in those domains. I am actually impressed when I meet someone who does understand where wealth comes from. It's just not taught at a high school level and by the time people enter college, they for the most part enter silos that either reinforce the leftist class struggle, historical struggle, land-based misunderstanding of wealth, etc. or avoid the subject all together (mostly because it doesn't apply). Yet such a thing really should be a core subject, far more important than sending engineers and doctors and such off to study Chaucer or whatever.

Darleen's observation, and Sherman's, are spot-on as stated, but who hears such a thing aside from those curious enough, those unsatisfied with the narrative's answers, to dig deep enough to understand it. Imagine a world were everyone understood economics but the vast majority thought diseases were a function of economic conditions not viruses and such. That's kind of the feeling I get about this subject in this universe. The really frustrating thing is that economics is not a hard thing to understand once you get past the wrote teachings and the mentality of land-based wealth and similar that people are steeped in. The real hard thing about economics is the acceptance of hard truths.

WTP

Heh...shouldn't be dragging Muldoon into this...I thought one of Sherman's comments was from Muldoon but was too lazy (until after I hit "Post") to go back to the previous page and verify...carry on...

R. Sherman

Sort of related: Those of us Americans of a certain age will recall the advert for Lay's Potato Chips (Crisps), "Eat all you want. We'll make more." It only took seven words to describe the miracle of capitalism.

Sam Duncan

“Well, OK.”

Yeah, that's fine. I'm as dry as a bone.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Heh...shouldn't be dragging Muldoon into this...

No worries, I've been dragged into and thrown out of worse before.

Damian

"Literally a communist and literally our hero."

I wonder what sort of fashion news Elle thinks they'll be reporting on post-revolution? Or which advertisers will be in existence to support them?

R. Sherman

I wonder what sort of fashion news Elle thinks they'll be reporting on post-revolution?

Something like that depicted here, I'll wager.

Darleen

"Eat all you want. We'll make more." It only took seven words to describe the miracle of capitalism.

Whoa! I had forgotten that ad, and that makes so much sense!

I had gotten into a debate with a left-feminist about the so-called "pink tax" -- pink razors (and other products marketed to women) costing more than blue razors, et al. I kept telling her that it wasn't a "tax" and no one was forcing her to buy 'pink'. If she was, it was her own choice or she wasn't being a smart shopper.

All I got back was "I shouldn't have to be a 'smart shopper', someone should force companies to price similar products the same, IT'S UNFAIR"

I told her she was free to start her own 'pink product' company, price it the same as men's products and $$$$$ profit!She called me a name and flounced.

She lives in a society that has produced CHOICE and she doesn't have to stand in line for 3 hours to get toilet paper, let alone a razor, and she's all about EVIL CAPITALISM.

There are days I just want to slap the crap out of people.

PiperPaul

"Eat all you want. We'll make more."

But the world will run out of resources!!!

Trevor

"I'm as dry as a bone."

Oh, I'm utterly desiccated.

R. Sherman

All I got back was "I shouldn't have to be a 'smart shopper'...

Right. In other words, "I'm such a weak-minded drone that I'm compelled to do the bidding of the nefarious patriarchy-sponsored feminine hygiene industry." Fascinating how fragile and compliant these empowered feminists seem to be.

Speaking of the choices we have as consumers, each such choice represents wealth accumulation for someone, because somebody else is willing to pay for that choice, because that choice has value to him/her. If the distribution of wealth is such a problem, why to the scolds like Bernie Sanders, who harped on the number of deodorant brands, wish to take wealth away from both the purveyors and consumers of those choices?

Hopp Singg

Free markets increase absolute wealth, absolutely. And they do so more fairly than any other system, too.

But Lefties are not interested in that because they're pecking-order people. Having more is irrelevant to them; what they want is to have more than you or I. No matter how much or how little we all have, or how much suffering must be endured, their position in the order, their status, their rung on the social ladder ... that's all they see. That's their real zero-sum game.

They use words like "wealth" and "economics," but they mean status. And I find that once you make that substitution, understanding their views on economics becomes simple, simpler, simplest in no time at all.

Hopp Singg

Or I can put it this way:

You and I each have $100. We start a biz together, with me as the active partner and you as the silent (investment-only) one. The biz does well and soon you have $1000 and I have $2000.

You or I would say, "Good stuff. We both come out way ahead, This is great."

A Leftie would say, "Wait a minute, I used to have as much as you did, and now you have twice as much as I do. This is awful."

I suspect this is very much behind the "greed is good / greed is bad" dichotomy, too. Wanting more is generally fine, but wanting more than leads to all sorts of problems, as the history of the world will attest.

Ten

There IS only a finite supply of wealth. If everybody always had as much money as he needed, much less wanted, it would be of no value because it was too easy to get.

You are mistaken (and it is "too easy to get"). The very nature of money is it's inexhaustible supply - as long as there is sufficient velocity, there shall be more money, for money is the spontaneous creation of arithmetic, not worth, value, or another abstract.

Money has absolutely no concern for or inherent support involvement with ideas about work, intrinsic wealth, reward, or goodness. That talk is the right reacting to the left, its Achilles Heel.

The almost puritanical misconception that anything about the so-called economy is either fair or moral, finite or self-balancing is a fundamental failing of, of all things, arm chair capitalists and their notions about supply side virtue.

Ten

^ supporting

WTP

Agree mostly, but as long as there is sufficient velocity, I've always been suspicious of this "monetary velocity" concept. Mostly because when I look at economics, I try to focus on work performed to create goods and services. Money is an illusion. A very good and useful illusion, but still a distraction from understanding economic reality. I think a more useful, though probably not complete, substitute for monetary velocity would be an aggregate increase in demand for goods and services. I dunno. My thoughts on it are certainly far from flushed out but whenever I see it referenced my spidey senses get all tingly.

Ten

Yes, velocity of money is used as a canard by monetarists, consciously or not, to disguise the root of the problem, which is eventual runaway expansion - just today we learned the world is a quarter quadrillion dollars in debt, a neat trick for hundreds of years of accumulated "wealth". Anyway, they claim that all eventual such effects are settled by velocity when actually, velocity is the vehicle that created them.

Extending this shows how everything eventually inverts and prosperity becomes the faster spinning hamster wheel that cannot settle all of its concurrent debts. Over here our rightist friends take credit for Trump's expansion - missing its parallel bubble - and ding his predecessor for his Marxist stagnancy when in reality coinciding monetary regimes simply inflated one while previously stagnating the other.

This we call progressive policy, the idea that management should write stuff into natural law, as it were, because it's smart.

Sam Duncan

“Or I can put it this way:”

A similar thought occurred to me whilst watching, of all things, one of those afternoon shows where two antiques dealers are given the same amount of cash and challenged to make the most profit out of it. Now, it's just a game show, but they're basically doing the same thing in their real lives. They're doing “the same job”, but one ends up with more money than the other.

“It's not fair!”

But how, exactly, isn't it? One of them has done a better job than the other. Why shouldn't he be rewarded for that? This is one of the chief errors of socialism: two people given the same task don't necessarily end up doing the same job.

And so, yes, it comes down to status. That BBC woman who claimed to be doing the “same job” as her American correspondent clearly wasn't. But her position was deemed to have the same status, therefore, by Leftist thinking, ought to carry the same remuneration.

Ten

That BBC woman who claimed to be doing the “same job” as her American correspondent clearly wasn't. But her position was deemed to have the same status, therefore, by Leftist thinking, ought to carry the same remuneration.

Marx's theory of labor: Expended effort should determine remuneration instead of natural law. The sheer central force thereof is almost never considered.

"Conservative" theory of markets: Free banks provide capital and with it, all good things.

But banks house parasitic "investment analysts" whose purpose is to claw money out of the "market" by any presently legal means - HFT algos and liquidity bubbles are as good a means as any. The sheer central regime thereof is almost never considered either.

Governor Squid

Thanks for the Wendy's ad, Sherman. To this day, I will regularly proclaim "EES NEXT -- EEEVENINK VEYAR!" any time the Lovely Bride comes downstairs in her sweatpants after dinner.

"VAYREE NICE!"

jen

More Avery...

https://twitter.com/OrwellNGoode/status/1019986249283768321

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