Comments on: The “working rich” and the rest of us Sun, 28 Jul 2013 14:34:09 +0000 hourly 1 By: TmsGsn Fri, 01 Apr 2011 12:39:04 +0000 So, what is there to maximize?
As an individual? As a family? A village, a society, a planet?
As an individual, if I were to chose between happiness and wealth, I’d be naive to chose wealth.
As a family, I will spend all my money if my child is sick.
As a village, we will all contribute for the one village school to make the best out of our kids it can.

Somewhere down this argumentative line something breaks. That is, when the other is no longer a brother, a child, or a neighbor, but far enough away from us to assume that their happiness or misery no longer affects us.

But that, of course, is only an assumption.

By: jmmx Fri, 28 Jan 2011 10:29:05 +0000 Good article – thanks.

@ beofaction you write:
” The governments of the world confiscate wealth from their wealthy citizens by the trillions in an attempt to create classless societies and the result? The “super-rich” are richer, and the rich have a higher proportion of overall income.”

I think instead that YOU miss something. It is impossible to have a modern government that does NOT influence the distribution of income.

To me it is interesting that the shift of wealth to the highest levels began in the 1980s – the coming of the Reagan-Republican revolution. The policies set then and continued through the present day are the ones that have facilitated the redistribution of wealth away from working people in the USA.

Yet Americans on the right continue to think that these poor billionaires need tax breaks in order for our system to work.

By: usANDthem Fri, 28 Jan 2011 04:44:29 +0000 i get the feeling that nobody from the ‘1%’ posted a reply on this article nor do they care to read it.

isn’t that some testament to the stark reality that it presents?

so then, what must us regular folk do? it bothers me to admit that some scenes from “Braveheart” come to mind… sigh …

By: Glennn Fri, 28 Jan 2011 01:56:21 +0000 How do you know when a Davos man is lying? His lips are moving.

We are still living in an age of kings, where we are the jesters dancing for their entertainment.

By: stanrich Fri, 28 Jan 2011 01:21:21 +0000 Your article points out the precise reason the attendees at Davos will NEVER come up with any ideas that might change the status quo.

Those people are IN that top 1%. They have never spent a day in their lives wondering about how to buy food and pay the rent out of their paycheck. Well connected, extremely well paid bureaucrats or outright multi-millionaires are trying to come up with ideas to fix the income equality gap?

Give me a break…

By: pmagellan Thu, 27 Jan 2011 23:50:00 +0000 I logged in to thank you Ms. Chrystia Freeland. It gives me hope, albeit educated and therefore restrained, to see you and Reuters bringing up what must be one of the most important issue of our present times — the recurring issue, and evolutionary obstacle, of extreme and growing income and wealth inequality.

The extreme inequality created and perpetuated by the machine-like power of corporations and wealthy individuals in their chipping away at the economic foundations of societies through their political minions reduction of government to a corporate tool, such as in tax code manipulation, instead of a level-playing-field guarantor/creator.

Our economies need steering and regulation so as to empower all individuals to work with a sense of dignity and without undue taxation; and not just those aligned with existing wealth and corporations. The first steps in the USA would be to create a public option in health care, increase quality and availability of public education, simplify the tax code away by reducing loopholes and develop a more progressive tax code that does not give space and incentives for corporations to game both the tax and political systems.

Of course that with supreme court decisions such as United Citizens and Bush v. Gore we can see our deepening problem.

By: Trooth Thu, 27 Jan 2011 23:40:07 +0000 If the rich get richer and the quality of life gets better for everyone, then I have no problem with that. If the rich get richer at the cost of everyone else getting poorer than that is where the problem arises. Henry Ford recognized that his employees should be able to make enough money to buy his product. That way he has more customers. Businesses are not designed to make everyone poor, customer’s must have money to purchase your products or else you go out of business.

By: sangjmoon Thu, 27 Jan 2011 22:02:37 +0000 Until people realize that increasing economic inequity is a result of the money supply continually being overinflated beyond the ability of the economy to stably support it, we won’t be able to prevent the real problem of bigger and bigger economic crisis occurring one after each other.

Think of a simple model where you have two people. One person buys one cent of stuff from the second person in a day. The second person buys two cents of stuff from the first person in a day. The combined total of money the two have is ten cents. In the long run, it is easy to see that person one will have nine cents and person two will have one cent. The government then comes in and makes five cents out of thin air and gives it to the poorer person two. After a few iterations, person one will have fourteen cents and person two has one cent. Economic disparity was made worse by the government giving money out of thin air to the poor.

It gets worse. Let’s say that the economy can only stably support a money supply of nine cents. Because the government increased the money supply from ten cents to fifteen cents, when a correction occurs, instead of one cent evaporating, it is a far higher six cents evaporating. The far greater loss is a much higher shock than just one cent. So what does the government do in response? they replace the evaporated money based on thin air with even more money based on the same thin air.

Until we get smart and realize that there are repercussions far worse if we let the government keep spending the way it is doing than any relatively short term populist benefit from that spending, the next economic correction will surpass the Great Depression in every imaginable way.

By: bhu Thu, 27 Jan 2011 21:32:45 +0000 This is the problem with misleading statistics. You write:

“Robert Reich, a professor at Berkeley who is a former U.S. labor secretary, illustrates the disparity with a vivid statistic: In 2005, Bill Gates was worth $46 billion and Warren Buffet was worth $44 billion. That year, the combined wealth of the 120 million Americans at the bottom of the pyramid, 40 percent of the population, was about $95 billion — barely more than the sum of the fortunes of those two men.”

This may be accurate in terms of the wealth, which is a result of savings, of the bottom 120 million people. If you look at income, which is a better indicator of how people actually live, we get a more accurate picture. (120 million times $1,000 equals $120 billion. So Robert Reich’s statistic merely states that the bottom 120 million people in America have accumulated savings of less than $1,000 per capita. Students, children, young workers, sure…) Income per capita is a totally different story. If we assume $10,000 per capita income for the bottom 120 million (men, women, children, students), we get $1.2 trillion in annual income. If the bottom 120 million were to save even 10% of this annual income it would equal Gates-Buffett wealth in just 1 year.

Any glaring statistics pointing out disparities in wealth in America and compares this to wealth disparities in India are missing a fundamental point: In America, the fat people are poor. In India, there is no such thing as a fat poor person. On an absolute basis, the bottom 120 million in America live better than the top 10% in India.

By: Shamrock21 Thu, 27 Jan 2011 21:05:44 +0000 Thank God there’s someone writing about all the hard work and turmoil the “working rich” are doing while the rest of us take it easy and sponge up their genius. If only I wasn’t so lazy and stupid, I’d be a billionaire too! God bless these demigods, and may he smite all that try to drag them down with petty concepts like “equality” and “social responsibility”. If we don’t have a society that resembles a reverse pyramid, with the few at the top holding the rest of us by the ankles and scooping up the change that falls out of our pockets, than we’ll never be free. Hopefully one day those poor, oppressed elite will finally shake off the shackles of fairness and common sense and be able to walk the streets with their heads held high. Anyone who doesn’t accept feudal serfdom is a communist.