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The Fallacy of Wealth Redistribution

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In these times of bailouts and corporate corruption and growing inequality of wealth we hear a lot from the left about wealth redistribution, laws to set ratios between the salaries of workers and CEOs and other ideas to try to force an economic egalitarianism on the free market as the expression of a socialistic ideal of economic class warfare.

It is assumed on the left that the welfare of the people as a whole is threatened by growing wealth inequality, that the rich increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of society, and that our current unstable economic times have created opportunities for unscrupulous businessmen to enrich themselves while driving down the economy for everyone else. This is the fallacy of inelastic wealth, which mistakenly assumes that increase of wealth in one sector comes from the other sectors of the economy rather than primarily from that part of the economy which is growing.

This theory is fundamentally untrue, but it is the basis for what Edmund Burke described as the desire to “cut the throats of the rich” for the benefit of society. Just as there was more than 200 years ago, there is an element of the political left today which is absolutely convinced that if you just took away the earnings of the wealthy class and redistributed them, you’d be able to make everyone equal and solve all the problems of poverty.

Burke summed up this economic dynamic, which the equalizers don’t understand, succinctly when he wrote to Prime Minister Pitt advising against such a policy:

“The laboring people are only poor because they are numerous. Numbers in their nature imply poverty. In a fair distribution among a vast multitude none can have much. That class of dependent pensioners called the rich is so extremely small, that, if all their throats were cut, and a distribution made of all they consume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night’s supper to those who labor, and who in reality feed both the pensioners and themselves.”

That basic criticism of the flawed mathematical reasoning behind wealth redistribution remains as true today as it was in 1795 and today we have hard statistics with which to illustrate the point.

Consider what would happen if H. Lee Scott, the CEO of WalMart, were to give up his salary of $1.24 million a year and divide it a…mong the 180,000 WalMart employees. It would raise the salary of each of those workers by the grand total of 68 cents a year. If he were to give up his entire compensation package including stock options, which totals $10.46 million a year, it would raise the average salary of WalMart workers by a sumptuous $5.81 per year.

Don’t think that WalMart is an exception. The same mathematical relationship applies throughout the economy. If you took away the salaries of the CEOs of the top Five Hundred corporations in the US and divided all $5.4 billion in compensation between the oppressed workers of America, each of them would gain a staggering $18 a year. That’s barely an hour’s wages for the average worker — enough to take the family out for a meal at MacDonalds.

So the grand victory of the proletariat in cutting the throats of the capital class and bleeding out their ill-gotten wealth would be utterly meaningless in bettering the lives of the working class or anyone else.

I realize that ideas like wealth redistribution appeal to the moral conscience of many well intentioned people who have a genuine desire to help the disadvantaged, but as is so often the case, this is an argument based solely on emotion and totally unsupported by mathematical reality. At best it is pure ignorance and at worst it is conscious demagoguery and class warfare for no legitimate purpose. It is socialistic buffoonery and if you run into someone who thinks it makes sense, wake them up with some facts.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • bongstar420

    I do not find this mans promotion of upside down pyramids to be logical. It is more productive to build a pyramid right side up by definition. Their attempts to redefine what an ideal configuration for a pyramid requires an entirely non-objective perspective of reality. An upside down pyramid is only stable if perfect uniformity is maintained. The problem with this is that the universe does not have this attribute and therefore upside pyramids are very short lived

  • You’re absolutely correct, MathMan, but you’ll have to forgive Dave, he’s one of those old school politicos that value dogma and theory over facts and reality. You know, the kind of dated values that have contributed so much to the cheery global political situation we are currently witnessing…

  • MathMan

    I think the math might be wrong on the second page. Correct me if I am mistaken, but isn’t 1,240,000 divided by 180,000=6.8? Not .68? It may not be that big of a difference, but how are supposed to take an argument seriously if the math is not even correct.

  • Michele

    Let’s just be clear, Wal-mart wouldn’t have to “redistribute” wealth to their thousands of workers if they had left small town American alone. Their business model, adopted by all the other big box stores, is MADE to shut down all the mom and pop store those now walmart employees used to OWN! Where is main street? That’s where someone could get a little loan, start a business, live above it until he pays his loan off, and eventually build enough of a business to pay off his debt and buy a house, send his kids to college, or sell his business for a nice profit to be his cushion for retirement. But corporate greed is a good and inevitable thing, in your argument, and not at fault in any way.

    Humans, and other animals, are not inherently selfish, either. We are social beings, and we rely on each other, always have. Please, open your mind to the possibility that if the wealthy share, like not taking the extended tax cuts that are costing us TRILLIONS, we’ll all have a little more.
    An article on the altruism of animals, including humans.

  • Dear comrade EEAN stammerer,

    RE your # 123,

    That’ magnus cunnilinquator…motherfucker.

    Oh, BTW, them Pakistani Girls, do you know if their twats are horizontal or vertical. Should be a good subject for debate at Blogcritterlnd-o-world, sure beats the fuck out of all this worthless noise, static and chatter about intellectual freedom, debate, censorship, accountability and openness, etc.

    Again, BTW, have you used their services before? How much do they set back a guy? I mean, I got to know if I can afford it.

    You know, general rule of thumb principle of life:

    I never metahor who thought I didn’t pay her enough.

  • STM

    Then, appropriately, out of the blue, we get a spammer “Pakistani Girls Mobile Numbers”.

    Wonderful stuff, and perfect timing. It just feeds into the rest of this delicious madness.

    But seriously, let’s hope no one here actually tries to get the mobile (cell) phone numbers of those Pakistani girls.

    There’ll be an international incident, especially if Irv starts reading his Ophelia piece to them over the blower.

    I’ll say one thiong for Irv, though … he is certainly the cunning linguist.

  • STM

    Al: “STM, you’re back to the insanity insinuations? On any other web site, those would be considered a personal attack.”

    If you were referring to not getting out in the next review, I meant the next literary review, Al. Possibly the language barrier is a barrier after all.

    Getting out here means getting a gig.

  • STM

    Clav: “Hey Stan, you still on?”

    Am now mate.

  • Honestly, Mr. Knapp, have you nothing better to do with your life?

  • Alan @ #92: What public promise not to?

    ‘Twas the first comment on this article.

    The pledge lasted until comment 20 of the same thread.

  • El Bicho

    I say, I say, thanks for the plug, Alan. Surely no coincidence that character was referenced in this thread.

    “several former writers for Blogcritics have done just exactly that”

    several is a big number. odd that so many have confided in you, but feel free to share any names.

  • Costello

    I will agree you do have a problem. Now I’d suggest you drop the blustery conservative act, but you seem to have so much invested it and have surprisingly convinced a few that you really are fighting for the conservative cause.

    Instead, let me draw attention to your piss poor reading comprehension. I am NOT telling you to leave, far from it, but what good does it do to just bitch about being censored? When anyone comes into this thread, they have no idea if you are right or the censors are over what has been done.

    Now if you crossposted the comments and then highlighted the changes in question it would allow others to see the alleged injustice. But apparently you are just another lazy windbag bellyaching like you have a full diaper. The do-it-yourself mentality that drives many real conservatives is not found within you (coincidence?), so stick to the woe-is-me, name-calling schtick that affects so many of the do-nothings that have diminished cause the downslide of the USA.

  • Dear Abbot, I mean Mr. Costello,

    Why don’t you also stop being a typical lefty-pinko, etc., etc., intellectual and philosophic fascist? Let me explain why this sort of comment of yours at root core is fascistic [Edited] you know this could be construed as a debating point. [Edited]

    Back to you comrade. Because what you are saying in essence is for me to shut up, to conform and follow the party line [Edited] either that, or just simply pack up my bags and leave. [Edited]

    Well, I have a problem, yes, I admit I am obsessed, obsessed with this little, inconsequential, thoroughly unimportant, too irritating and annoying to be concerned or bothered about, thing called DISSENT; called unfettered and uninhibited, uncensored, reasonable, rigorous discourse and rational, reasoned DEBATE; called INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM, called intellectual and philosophic HONESTY and INTEGRITY; called personal, individual ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND OPENNESS; and also my fundamental opposition to arbitrary and capricious CENSORSHIP, to his stifling and suppression of true and legitimate debate, intellectual freedom and dissent. Yes I am obsessed with all that.

    For you see this is thoroughly a matter of principle and worthy principled conviction. For what you and many others here seem to fail to understand is that it is not a matter of just possessing conviction, but as the great philosophers and pacifists too, from Socrates and Plato to Ghandi and Martin Luther King have all known, preached and practiced – that that conviction must be right and true, moral and just. And I think dissent, intellectual freedom, debate at alia, are right and true, moral and just.

    In fact in several threads of mine which I must assume you never saw, because they were deleted literally in moments of their appearance, I said – and please excuse me if I paraphrase myself here – I said that as a combat-wounded veteran of the Vietnam War, that I had given my pound of flesh for my nation once before, and in the defense of freedom of dissent and debate and intellectual freedom, that I was more than ready, able and willing to sacrifice my blood once more again, and if needs be, with my own life too.

    I only hope you would be one tenth or better yet, just as much or even more concerned with these issues as I. For that would show both soul and conscience, and those are I should hope to think, both good things. That’s not for me to decide for you, rather that’s solely up to you.

    Again, here I stand and I will not be bullied nor cowed nor threatened nor intimated; nor my voice silenced and trampled upon, nor my dissent and intellectual freedom stolen and purloined from me [Edited].

  • Costello

    Just curious, Irv, why don’t you and others in your camp create a blog or website of some sort where you can post your comments free of this site’s censors?

  • By the way, who the fuck is … ?

    Is that an alias or the handle of a computer geek who has absolutely no persona whatsoever? Or is it an actual computer that thinks that it can think? Please inform.

    (Sotto voce: Fucking, dumb-ass jackwad.)

  • RE # 109.

    “”You know nothing about my “core beliefs.””

    Well that makes two of us, doesn’t it?

    Otherwise I appreciate everything else in the thread. Again, thank you for reading my poetry and appreciating it the way you do.

    Good comments all and again I thank you for them all. As the lawyer, ambulance-chasing, blood-sucking, morally and ethically challenged scumbag, shysters say; I’ll take that under advisement. But I wish you’d have seen more in the “Mighty Midway.”

  • o

  • (don’t know about the ‘too good for’ part, though…to good for the playground?)

  • M

    I agree wholeheartedly, Jordan.

  • Jordan Richardson

    A couple things, Irv:

    You know nothing about my “core beliefs.”

    I’m glad you write poetry and I think you should write more of it. I mean it sincerely. It does, indeed, confirm that you are the Real Deal.

    Believe it or not, I’ve actually read a great deal of your poetry. The “Midway” piece was also quite good. I found it to be delightfully modern, actually, and the perfect use of your rather…um, abundant manner of speaking/phrasing.

    The “Golden Eagle” piece was probably my favourite beside the Ophelia, actually. Very gritty and to-the-point.

    You’ve honestly got something good going on, Irv. Your command and use of language can serve you well – if you let it. Like another good (former) writer here, however, most of your time appears spent slogging it out in futile efforts on a site you’re too good for.

  • Dear comrade Jordan (or should that read jerk-dan richard-the-turd-son? I’m really at a loss here)

    RE your # 97,

    First, thanks for visiting my site which is still in the process of being built. I hope you could plainly see that I am first and foremost a would be poet and definitely not a fucking uncultivated, unlettered, rather intellectually shallow, monumentally ignorant computer geek/nerd/dweeb/dork/anal aperture.

    Which raises the burning question, are you playing me, m….rf…….r?

    Well, if you are, I don’t give a shit. Even though I disagree with you on your ethical, basic, core beliefs, nay, in fact rather fundamentally despise you as both a person and an intellect. Nevertheless I am pleasantly surprised you read “Ophelia” of which I am neither ashamed nor find it necessary to downplay its seeming lack of appropriate profound and deep heaviosity. It was downright fun to write and also now to re-read from time to time.

    There are several other poems plus whenever I get around to it I’m going to add another four or five. But my concern is whether you read my magnum opus, “The Once Mighty Midway, Revisited.” Yes, it is long, but it is a rather quick read. You can read it in an hour or so.

    I’d like you to comment on it or any other poems of mine. Problem is Apple is jerking me around with comments thingy-mah-jiggies. Got to fuck with those assholes for a while so it’ll be a while till I get the fortitude to do so. But you have both my URL and it has an email button at the bottom of every page. But please, if you do anything, read “The Once Mighty MIdway.”

    PS. You’re still a commei-lib/simp, commie-loving, pinko-lefty, Marxist leaning, maggot, scumbag, puke, slimeball, zleazoid, dirtbag Marxist, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

  • Well, since I moved to the south and stayed, I’m called a goddamned yankee down here…I guess the correct title would be goddamned yankee yanker!

  • So what does that make you, Andy, – a yanker or a yankee?


  • Yeah, I do, but it’s still fun to yank your chain now and then!!!

  • Alan – are you then denying that you have changed your byline recently?

    Andy – I think you’ve been around the site quite long enough to know where to draw the line…

  • M

    Sam #83 –I wonder if you shouldn’t start with small animals to see if you’ve really got a taste for it…if you haven’t already

  • Clavos

    Hey Stan, you still on?

  • Andy, you didn’t read far enough into #76 to answer your question. Here it is:

    Your assertions then are completely baseless, just as they have been every single time you have repeated yourself in that unique style of yours.

    Whether that is due to malicious intent, mental failure, excessive medication or some other cause I have no way of knowing, but perhaps you do?

    Obviously, Andy, that is an acceptable level of rudeness.

  • CR – for your comment 76..is there an acceptable level of rudeness?

  • STM, you’re back to the insanity insinuations? On any other web site, those would be considered a personal attack.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I really hope it’s someone playing a trick, just for Irv’s sake.

    Pretty sure Irv is the real deal, Stan. If his poetry is any indication, he’s as real as they come.

    I particularly like “Some Recent Variations Upon an Eternal Theme: An Ode and a Truly, Humble Paean to Ophelia.”

    My favourite part:

    “and I’ll be the mighty
    Cunnilinguator Magnus
    the man with the most
    cunning tongue in town
    while you’ll be
    the most satisfied woman
    on this great planet of ours”

    Pure magic.

  • Hi Stan, no, as far as we can tell they are indeed completely discrete lifeforms.

    For me the only worry is their apparent inability to accept factual information. I know Alan can do better when he’s not in a bad mood, not really sure about Irv as he just seems to prefer posturing to progress.

  • My byline has not been eviscerated at all; indeed, the blood and guts of it is all freely available to read.

  • So you’ve finally changed your byline then? I was wondering how long you would allow that public display of failing to stick to your words to stand. No surprise that you try to play ignorant by writing “What public promise not to?”

  • STM

    OK, initially I thought Irv was someone – Alan – playing a clever trick.

    If not, that’s a worry.

    I really hope it’s someone playing a trick, just for Irv’s sake.

    Otherwise, Irv’s not going to be getting out in the next review.

  • What public promise not to?

  • Alan, whilst noting that you are still commenting here despite your public promise not to, I will respond thusly.

    This thread has not been “eviscerated” at all; indeed, the blood and guts of it is all freely available to read.

    The only remarks that have been removed are those that either insulted people or were full of false assertions that have already been responded to on more than one occasion. I really can’t be held responsible for those who wilfully refuse to accept the information they have been given.

    If you genuinely believe that anything has been deleted “for no better reason than it’s considered embarrassing to those who wield the all-powerful delete button” then you are mistaken.

  • It trivializes things, don’t you think? I mean, here we have a web site where one can read the latest DVD review of Looney Tunes Super Stars – Foghorn Leghorn & Friends, and presumably comment upon it freely. Yet this thread is eviscerated for no better reason than it’s considered embarrassing to those who wield the all-powerful delete button.

  • Stan, to the best of my knowledge Alan and Irv are not connected – except by their unusual inability to process information…

    Alan has actually changed his byline here at the site so it states that he will no longer contribute articles or comment on the site. As with many things, he is only half right.

    As always, any BC writer can very easily contact me directly if they do have anything substantive to say.

  • STM

    Anyway, I thought you threw in the towel. What happened?

  • STM

    Actually, Al, I hadn’t read Rosey’s post about medication. I have been following this thread, however, and yes, mostly in real time.

    You and your alter-ego are quite the entertainers.

  • Clavos

    Clarabell was my childhood role model.

    And now, in my golden years, I have you, Al Baby.

    Life is good!

  • And of course what thread would be complete without comedy from Clavos the Clown?

  • Clavos

    All we’re missing is Nurse Ratched and a big hulking semi articulate Indian and we could do a scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

    Doc, you’re an experienced actor, I bet you could you could handle Randle McMurphy.

    Hey Cindy, you up for playing Ratched?

    I think I can play the Chief.

    And we already have the rest of the inmates…

  • Sam klein

    Even if cutting the throats of the corporate overlords wouldn’t fix the problem I’d still like to do it just for the sheer pleasure I’d get from it, so I say go for it.

  • And as for making assumptions, STM pops in here out of nowhere, without having followed tonight’s posts on this thread in real time, with no clue as to what was said and deleted, and of course he avails himself of a fully informed opinion about how to characterize an exchange of which he is and will forever remain ignorant because it was ephemeral, existing only long enough to be deleted by the censors.

  • STM

    I’m actually talking about the general tone of this thread, and how it’s spiralled into a “he-said”, “no, he-said” tit-for-tat exchange that has evolved once again into an unwinnable, circular argument … again.

  • STM

    Lol. And I see you’re making assumptions again Alan. Why do you insist on leading with the chin. I’m going with Roger’s analysis. BC is an asylum, I’ve never disagreed with anyone on this thread, nor do I have fixed opinions on most things.

    The fact that I don’t always agree with EVERYTHING you or others posit on here shouldn’t be misinterpreted as me not agreeing with everything you or others say on every issue here. It’d be wrong, for starters.

  • Let’s be fair, Alan. Didn’t he just refer to BC as an asylum?

  • STM, I see you’re taking up this mantra that anyone who disagrees with you is a lunatic and on medication. Can you stoop any lower?

  • STM

    Are the lunatics are taking over the asylum? Hope they’ve been taking their pills. Not hopeful at this point.

  • Irv, despite the fact that you appear to be incapable of actually understanding what I am addressing to you, I will try one last time.

    You are not being censored at all in terms of expressing your opinions on matters of debate.

    You are being “censored” in terms of being unacceptably rude to people. It is that simple.

    As to your claim above that a comment of yours that simply said “Bullshit in, bullshit out.” has been deleted from this article or elsewhere on the site today, it appears to be 100% untrue.

    That is also the case for your amusing assertion that we “feel threatened or intimidated by many of my other threads”. We don’t.

    In the interests of accuracy, rather than the empty rhetoric you seem to prefer, I have ploughed back and forth through the comments tool and can confirm that no such comment by you has been made to the site, nor would it have been deleted if it had.

    In fact, the last two comments you made prior to the one above were these:

    “Posted by A Irvin F Cohen to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Strips Medical Care From Poor; People Dying on 2011.01.25, 00:55:13 AM”


    “Posted by A Irvin F Cohen to Metaphors Don’t Kill People; People Kill People on 2011.01.25, 00:30:38 AM”.

    In the latter of these you wrote “Unfortunately, got to go, it’s late and I got a doctor’s appointment early tomorrow. Actually today. So will get back to you in a day or two. ”

    Since then you have not made any comments at all until the one I am now responding to.

    Your assertions then are completely baseless, just as they have been every single time you have repeated yourself in that unique style of yours.

    Whether that is due to malicious intent, mental failure, excessive medication or some other cause I have no way of knowing, but perhaps you do?

    I suspect you lack the integrity to own up to your prolonged and determined misjudgements and false statements about Rob, myself and the site itself or the decency to apologise but perhaps you will, for the first time, surprise me…

    Finally, lest you misconstrue me, this is not an invitation to open a prolonged debate about the comments policy in the comments space, so if you are not minded to retract your unfounded accusation, then we will simply go back to deleting all your inaccurate remarks about the site, its policies and the people who implement them. The choice is yours.

  • He ain’t my hero, Irv. I’d like to believe I think for myself. But if “bullshit” is the only response you’re capable of, I should think you’re somewhat impatient.

  • Well the comments editors [Edited] have done it again. [Edited] I can understand why they’d feel threatened or intimidated by many of my other threads, but my # 74 posted at 9:22 a.m. this morning was thoroughly innocuous and a little on the humorous side too. I simply responded to Roger and his hero Richard Wolff with:

    “Bullshit in, bullshit out.”


    Now again, what is so fucking offensive or insulting about the former, about ‘bullshit in, bullshit out? In fact that’s rather tame compared to most of the posts on Blogcritics, but somehow they’re not deleted, but this little piece of innocuous fluff is deleted. Rather selectively, arbitrarily and capriciously so I might add. [Edited]

  • Using Marxian definition, Dave, as per recent review of Richard D. Wolff’s seminar. The definition is fairly straightforward, and it has to do with whether you control the disposition of the finished product, including the surplus. Besides, the definition itself is not ideological, although ideologies are built around it. If you have a problem with this definition, critique it on analytical, not ideological grounds.

  • Roger, there’s no such thing as exploitation. It’s a gross misrepresentation of natural capitalist relationships.


  • zingzing

    it is a very important point that irene brings up, and how, if we can’t expect it of ourselves, could we ever truly expect it of corporations, whose imperative is to make money? if people are willing to accept work at such low wages, what’s to stop them? either we need to be willing to stop paying so little (ha), or we need to stop being willing to work for such meager wages (not likely). such is the conundrum.

    there’s no easy answer. but people have done more with less, and if an unselfish moment comes up in history, i think it’s possible, if far-fetched. i’m doing okay for myself right now, but some of my friends aren’t, and it’d be nice to be able to go out and have fun without worry, i say. and surely, those places that offer such fun would do better if we all could. and surely, those places that offer more expensive goods would like more customers.

    if business could get behind the idea of a better off working class, they’d soon find its benefits. it’s like dominoes. but no one has set up the first pair.

  • CLavos, I think of the situation that existed when people who didn’t OWN slaves were enjoying the sugar in their tea that was only available through slave labor. People were so used to thinking “that’s the way it is, there’s nothing I can do.” It took a few people with vision to get the movement going.

    The majority of consumers are panicked about the economy, and even out of work, so I’m not sure how much progress we’re going to make on that score until this “blows over.”

    Maybe experiencing economic hardship ourselves will be the very thing that teaches us compassion. Well, goodnight, Clavos, and thanks for reading all that. 🙂

  • Clavos

    Your point about the consumer’s place in the equation is very important, Irene.

    For example, the outsourcing phenomenon and the explosive rise of Wal-Mart to the position of world’s largest retailer are directly connected — by the consumer’s unceasing quest for ever lower prices when purchasing goods.

    I like your idea of consumers agreeing to fair pricing, but I fear it’s little better than a pipe dream given the price fixation of the majority of consumers.

  • OK Irv and Roger, maybe we’re overlooking the most important element of free markets: the consumer.

    What Dave and others have established is that redistributing a FIXED AMOUNT of money within a company– even going so far as to eliminate deadwood managerial positions–is not going to significantly improve the lot of the workers.

    But what if CONSUMERS were really willing to pay 50% more, maybe half again as much more, for a product or service provided by an outfit that paid its workers more fairly than the competition?

    We can’t take ourselves, the consumers, out of the injustice equation. Instead of focusing ALL our energy blaming the worker for his envy and unreasonable demands, or the managers/owners for their avarice and heartlessness, maybe it’s way past time we had a conversation about what people’s labor is worth to US as consumers, and make a commitment to be willing to pay a fair PRICE, if we’re demanding that capitalists pay a fair WAGE.

    Do you know what mindless jacking up of the minimum wage does? It doesn’t make life easier for the worker. It forces his company to go out of business, worst case, or maybe worse yet, outsource part or all of its manufacturing overseas to sweatshops where the term “minimum wage” gets a whole new meaning.

    There’s a lot of “fair trade practices” awareness being built. That’s a good start.

  • Why not, Irv? I’m out of vitriol for tonite.

  • Gee-zsus H. Christ! This is turning into a veritable fucking love fest. What the fuck is next, holding hands and singin’ Kumbayah?

    Will someone give me a fucking break already? I can’t take this goddamn phony civility anymore. Pleez spare me, save me!!!!

  • Thank you Paul,

    But I must admit and apologize that I did attempt to involve you in this fight, this little war I am waging against the Comments Editors who behave and act like pure intellectual and philosophic, fascist thugs and petty tyrants accountable to no one, not even to their own souls and consciences if they have any.

    But my language to you was quite polite and complimentary, and my language to them was equally polite. But they still deleted it in its entirety. The subject was intellectual freedom and free and unfettered, uninhibited, rigorous discourse and reasoned debate, and the chilling effect of irrational, arbitrary and capricious censorship upon the former. I just simply pointed out that this was not tolerated by the comments editors, especially as I was concerned, but they also do it regularly to others too.

    And incredibly I advised you to be as one of my colleagues and fellow writer here is wont to say, “be nimble, be quick” because you only have five minutes to at most, an hour to read it. How prophetic, n’est-ce pas?

  • Paul, forgive me for not being aware that you’re a regular BC contributor, albeit to another section. My remarks addressed a sui generis, come-and-go BC visitor, of which there are many.

    No harm intended.

  • I wasn’t being ideological, Irv, just stinking practical, I’m afraid, for which fact I profusely apologize. But given that one enjoys a standard of living that’s higher than most, even if in America we call it “subsistence,” a few bucks more a month can surely go a long way – like supplying me with sufficient quantity of bourbon.

    Again, I apologize if my presumably Marxist leanings have led you astray in this particular instance.

  • Paul Roy

    If your #57 was directed at me, then no I am not one of the professional, politics section responders like yourself who spends what seems like your entire day doing nothing but this, but that also doesn’t make me a “a shot in the dark, an indistinct face behind what’s probably an alias.” I am the same guy that writes dozens of music reviews for Blogcritics and who also enjoys reading these politics threads and occasionally throwing in my two cents – if that is OK with you of course.

    Irvin, looks like the thread #53 you mentioned submitting to me never made it.

  • Dear Roger, point duly noted and well taken. If that is the case, then I was wrong and misspoke. My bad, just a knee jerk reaction on my part.

    All of which Roger, you must understand, all of this niceness and overly factitious civility, is just fucking killing me. I mean I got my MMM “creds” to keep up. (MMM for you strangers and passing visitors to this site stands for Mean Misanthropic Motherfucker, and also add the additional epithet of “bigget etc., et.c, etc., on the block” too.)

  • Dear Roger as for my # 56 which I truly wonder why it hasn’t been deleted yet.

    I do not dispute you on this one, especially as a matter of viability and efficacy. You’re right, I just might be barking up a tree, the wrong tree at the very end of a dead end street with no space to maneuver or to back out too.

    But one; this is first and foremost a matter of principle and principled conviction for me; and two, there is more method to my madness than meets the eye; and three, I am just simply a stubborn, goddamn mulish, dumb son-of-a-bitch.

    But am conflicted now with other shit, but as promised, will get down to creating that list of grievances and proposals – soon, well for me soon, for most others it’ll take a little longer.

  • I don’t care either, Irv. what other people make, I’m not motivated by envy. All I said it would make a hell of a difference to me getting three or four more bucks an hour. That’s all that what meant and nothing more was implied.

  • Just a quick comment. Roger I am sorry, but with all due respect I take great umbrage to you statement,

    “…it makes a hell of a difference whether one’s working for a minimum wage or, (let us) say, double…that.”

    No it doesn’t, a job is a job! In addition to all your factoids and petulant should have, would have and could have, ought therefore must be true, unrealistic demands – yeah the good ‘ol Greek Potential Optative again – there is also such a thing as a decent work ethic, of pride in one’s job and in one’s self, etc.. I don’t care if someone makes eight dollars an hour or 800; each single person has a moral, personal responsibility to do their job and to do it well. Regardless of what they are paid.

    Otherwise they are an intellectual and philosophic and spiritual fraud and oh yes, cheat too!

    So please, refudiate me with some lame, heavy, contrived, convoluted, densely opaque and incomprehensible syllogistic sophistry; or just do as most leftists and Marxist anarchists do; resort to ad hominem attack, smear, innuendo and insults.

  • Irv, you’re grasping at straws. Your Paul is but a one-time visitor, a shot in the dark, an indistinct face behind what’s probably an alias. Those people come a dime a dozen. They make their grand entrance, make their point, and just as abruptly, they disappear never to be heard from again. You had better stick to the original plan of drafting a list of grievances and as I’ve told you, I’ll take a look at it. The strategy you’re employing is not going to work.

  • Dear Paul

    Did you read my thread # 53 in which I praised you on both your points that I thought were well taken?

    I also said some things about intellectual freedom and censorship, and dissenting voices in vigorous discourse and lively but reasoned debate. I imagine you as any other reasonable person would think that to be quite innocuous and harmless, but evidently not so the comments editors herein for they deleted it in its entirety some time in the past two hours.

    I’d ask you to comment but they just might delete you too.

    However what do you think zingzing, Baronius, STM, Clavos, et al; do you think it is right and perfectly proper for the comments editors to silence me, to daily trample on my intellectual freedom and to destroy the evidence of my many detailed and exhaustive arguments and rebuttals in both my own defense and especially in the defense of intellectual freedom and rigorous discourse and reasoned debate?

    Please, do not be afraid to respond to me, I can’t delete your words, only the comments editors have that unaccountable, absolute power, and I doubt very seriously if they would delete one single word of yours let alone pages of serious well-thought-out and reasoned arguments of mine and their many legitimate rebuttals.

    So please, just a word or two; for all I want to see is what you truly and sincerely think; and whether you side with them or not, I really don’t care, I just want to see what you have to say. That’s all, nothing sinister nor nefarious, just a little intellectual honesty and perhaps a modicum of intellectual integrity as well.

  • It’s debatable what good would it do. Given any small or mid-size firm, the reduction of the upper management salaries while increasing the pay of the underlings could go a long way. It’s incremental and marginal, it can be argued, but it makes a hell of a difference whether one’s working for a minimum wage or, say, double of that.

    It’s this point that’s being missed, intentionally I suppose, by all those who are so keen on couching the topic of redistribution in terms of the aggregates.

  • zingzing

    hrm. ok, let me retract some of 53. i guess i was reading it strange. the thing is, no one believes that simply distributing the ceo salary amongst the worker is going to do anything real. it’ll just make one more poor person. dave tries to knock the entire idea down by attacking an idea no one realistically thinks will do anything. if that’s all wealth redistribution was, dave would have a point. but it’s not. and he seems to be ignoring that.

  • zingzing

    “Zing, my point about #8 (and follow-up comments) was that you’re complaining about pretty much what Dave was arguing against. You say you don’t want to see CEOs’ salaries distributed among the workers, but you do want to see workers get paid more and higher-ups get paid less.”

    which is a vastly different thing than what dave is saying. he simplified it down to a ridiculously stupid level (of course it looks dumb if that’s all you’re going to do). just taking the ceo’s compensation and spreading it around the hundreds or thousands of workers isn’t going to do squat for anyone. and that’s what dave said. and it’s true.

    but, raising the worker’s salary to a livable standard and getting rid of ridiculously high executive salaries across the board (and replacing them with salaries that are a little more down to earth) would greatly benefit many.

    how you’re not seeing the difference is baffling. but i think you do.

  • Good article, Dave. If it were only that simple to take the money away from the wealthy and give it to those who don’t have. I’m not against helping those in need, but no one should have to lend a hand to the clueless, or those who are trying to milk the system.

  • Paul Roy

    Zing, if you think it is bad in corporate America, you should see it at work in the Federal Government. STM #47 comments are dead on. Just look at our current and previous President for the two best examples of the Peter Principle.

  • Baronius

    Zing, my point about #8 (and follow-up comments) was that you’re complaining about pretty much what Dave was arguing against. You say you don’t want to see CEOs’ salaries distributed among the workers, but you do want to see workers get paid more and higher-ups get paid less.

  • Dear fellow writers and commenters. I must publicly apologize to you and especially to the Comments Editors for what I said in my # 49 posted at 8:08 this morning. It of course is not allowed here. So again, I must apologize for saying the ineffable and the intolerable.

  • Dear comrade commie-lib/simp, commie-pinko EEAFN, fellow, brethren [Edited] writers and commenters of Blogo-critter-land-o-world,

    The pig, when trussed, defatted, carved and cooked well, tastes rather good. Besides it’s rather nutritious and again, rather delicious.

    And oh BTW, some pigs look rather good with lipstick. And with high heels and nylons too, and some don’t look good no matter what you put on them damn, no good skanky sluts.

    And oh yes, I never met a metahor who thought I didn’t pay her enough.

    There is exploitation and there is exploitation. A child taking advantage of a mother’s unconditional love could be considered and construed as the exploitation of the mother by the child. Of course this is the case when speaking solely in Marxist terms – of course.

    Please feel free to respond [Edited]. Well fellow commenters and writers, again please feel free and totally open to exercise your intellectual freedom herein. [Edited]

  • STM

    Zing, you’d undoubtedly have heard of the Peter Principle, whereby in a hierarchical environment – large private company, military or government department, say – people rise up the promotional ladder until they are finally promoted to the level of their incompetence.

    And generally, there they stay (although some are lucky enough to keep rising while still totally incompetent, while those beneath them, those with the real talent, rescue them from complete disaster by doing all the work and making sure it’s done properly.

    It also tends to go hand in hand with the Dunning-Kruger Effect, whereby those who have risen to the level of their incompetence also lack the meta-cognitive skills to recognise that they don’t have the skills to cope with the job. These are the ones who make so many balls-ups, they eventually get found out … but in the meantime have ruined untold careers, cost their companies money and have held back the promotion of others more deserving because their own incomptence leaves them blind to actually does or doesn’t have talent, and promotes people who should actually be sacked (that’s the sceanario whereby someone in an organisation who is regarded as a total imbecile gets a great job over other worthier, employees, and everyone goes: “What, does he (or she) have a photom of the boss doing something with a goat?”).

    We had a classic here a few years back when a fast-talking Brit who’d only ever worked in London got hired on big money as a chief of staff … for an Australian newspaper. The chief of staff’s job is to run the reporting staff and deliver up news and package it up for the paper.

    Soon after this person started, we were all scratching our heads. Sometimes, things would be knocked back on the basis he/she didn’t understand them … which might have been perfectly understandable, really, given that the person in question was fresh off the boat from London and had no clue about Sydney, its neighbourhoods, its pop culture, its attitudes, its social life. He/she managed to cling on by the fingernails, probably only being carried by the reporting staff who often went straight to people higher up the pole to present ideas for stories that had already been knocked back by our foreign friend.

    Eventually, said person got punted. I say good luck to them for getting the job in the first place, and you can’t blame them taking the opportunity, but whoever it was who thought it a good idea to do the hiring probably should have been held accountable. Of course, that never happens and no one ever is in that kind of organisation. But if you screwed up lower down the pole on that kind of scale, you’d be shown the door quicksmart.

    Sadly, that kind of thing happens all the time at every level of business and government, especially when the old boys’ network is in operation (don’t know what it’s called in the states but there’d have to be an ivy-league version, surely).

    The old boys’ network is the one that lives on the slogan “it’s not what you know, but who you know”.

    In those cases, often undeserving people hit the stratosphere in terms of leadership, pay and responsibility, and spend most of their time letting talented underlings make them look good.

    However, when the ice-cream hits the fan, the rort is over … like with the GFC.

    That’s when we find out that a lot of these folks are running businesses they thought would run themselves, but a glitch like the GFC shows them up for what they are: bulsh.it artists with a sense of entitlement.

    I love the idea that the self-declared smartest guys in the room were too incompetent to realise that what they’d done could bring the world’s finincial system to its knees, and kept doing it anyway.

    Classic examples of the Dunning Kruger Effect, the Peter Principle, and a whole lot of other effects, prinicples and conundrums at which most of us can only shake our heads and laugh.

    ‘Cos if we didn’t, we’d all be crying. Unfortunately, that particular episode DID leave a lot of people in tears.

    Some of the fallen high-fliers deserved it; the people down the pole who got shafted probably didn’t.

    As for wealth resdirtibution, I’m all for it up to a point.

    The federal government is now talking about a one-off flood tax levy (presumably not for those affected).

    I’ll be happy to kick in for that no matter what – but especially if the idiots currently in charge in federal parliament made better use of the rest of our tax dollar, for instance not squandering $43 billion of taxpayers’ money on a ridiculous high-speed broadband network we don’t need.

    I like universal healthcare, and flood relief, because it’s fair and euitable and makes for a happy nation, but I’m damned if I’ll stand idly by, watching them spend (incompetently) zillions on ridiculous schemes they’d best be shot of completely.

  • zingzing

    clavos, that may well be true, but from my wheelings and dealings in corporate america, i’ve become convinced that very few of the executives i’ve come across know what they’re doing. (so i think my magazine boss was more in the majority than you think.) and even when they do know what they’re doing, they’re usually overpaid for what they are doing.

    of course, it is easy to say that the guy above you (who certainly does no more work than you do,) is overpaid. if they were making double what you did because of their title, that’d be one thing. but if they’re making 10x or more, how is that even close to fair? and i know not everything has to be fair, but why should i struggle to pay the rent while the other guy struggles with which yacht he’s gonna buy? and why is it that far, far more people have the same problem i have, rather than the one he has?

    besides, if more people could afford to buy shit, THEY’D BUY THE SHIT THESE FUCKERS ARE TRYING TO SELL. it’s a win-win. pay your workers a living wage, they will buy more shit. if everyone got paid a decent piece of the pie, most everyone would be better off and the obscenely rich would be just a little less obscene. i want a leather gimp mask with a diamond-studded zipper as well, but i’ll live.

  • Ah, ‘This Pig looks Pretty in Pink’ is my fav from good ol’ Acme Cosmetics Capitalism Collection.

  • Clavos

    I’ll say! And although I find it difficult to disagree with much of what you say that pertains to your boss and the circumstances under which you worked, I spent thirty years in business in an executive position at more than one company and found that the type of boss you had certainly does exist, but they are by no means the norm, or even the majority.

  • zingzing

    i guess i’ll have to go into a little more detail if baronius doesn’t get the distinction. i worked at a magazine here in new york. i worked for a level III executive, of which, as far as i could tell, there were about 8-10 of on my side of the editorial/advertising divide. each of those executives had 1-2 peons working for them. the peons, who came in at 9 am (as opposed to 11 or whenever the fuck they pleased, as the executives would), who didn’t take 3 hour lunches (1/2 an hour, if you’re lucky), and who did the actual work (as far as i could tell, all she did was delegate and get told what meetings she had to go sleep through), got paid 15-20x less than the level III executives (i know, because i handled some of her bank accounts when i was doing her expenses, which wasn’t part of my fucking job description when i took the fucking job, but whatever).

    now, a level III exec demands that there ought to be level I and level II execs (and maybe IV and V, but i’m not really sure which way that goes). and she was nowhere near the top. and those above her made far more than she did (although, hopefully it wasn’t on a similar or exponential scale compared to the vast gulf between her and her underlings).

    so, this was in the magazine industry, which you know is not the most stable of industries. expenses got out of control, salaries were deemed too much. so, many of the level III execs took packages, their departments were let go (no packages, of course), departments were consolidated into about a half to a third of the previous number and a few peons were hired back to perform their old functions in the newly formed departments.

    and you know what? the magazine looks no different and it still comes out on time. the executives were expensive dead weight. these changes were necessary in the magazine industry, but the former structure of the company is all too common within american corporate culture.

    executives (all levels) are paid far more than they are worth to the company. peons are paid far too little. i started at $17/hr, which dave here claims is below average. and in nyc, it certainly is. she was getting paid about $400k a year, but she worked fewer hours, and certainly did a lot less work than i did. in fact, when she was let go (or took the package), her department was reduced to just one of her underlings (not me) and attached to another department, where all her functions were completed by someone making about $20/hr.

    used to be that my boss would fly to san francisco (and not on the redeye flight) and stay at a 4-star hotel and take cars everywhere (she didn’t rent a car… she rented a driver) for a 2-hour meeting, then spend a few days lolly-gagging. which was fine with me. now, that same meeting is completed over the phone on someone’s lunch break.

    maybe i’m being a little harsh on her. maybe i’m bitter because she got a year’s salary and a retirement package, while i was on the job market again. maybe i just didn’t like her (no one did, really). maybe i begrudge her for many reasons. maybe you should take this all with a grain of salt, and maybe so should i, but the way i see it, the executives at this company didn’t anywhere near justify their salaries. and i was struggling to pay my bills even though it’s been since proven that she wasn’t even necessary to the company.

    there’s something wrong with corporate culture when any of that is anywhere near to being true. (and i’d say it’s all true.)

    well. that was a rant.

  • M

    geeze Rog, where have you been? He’s been declared a Reasonable Person by the Council of Editors…they planted a tree for him and everything

    try to keep up

  • Says who that’s not so, Baronius? Since when we decided that anything Baronius says is the case?

  • zingzing

    baronius, how is comment #8 just the same thing that dave said?

  • Mark

    Baronius, I believe that you will find that along with the history of the rise and fall of capitalism encoded in the bible

  • Baronius

    Zing, how is comment #8 not just the same thing that Dave said?

  • Baronius

    “Capitalism is based on exploitation”? Says who, Marx? Since when did we decide that everything Marx said is true?

  • Boeke

    #33 roger: “Irv, capitalism is based on exploitation, no matter how you may choose to glorify it. It’s what makes it work.”

    Yes. Because exploitation is what attracts loafers and criminals to capitalism.

    I used to hope that reforming corporatism would solve capitalisms root problem, but capitalists won’t let it happen. It’s like taking guns away from criminals: it’s just too good a thing.

  • Mark

    Irv, speaking of business, as rep for Acme Cosmetics I’d like to introduce you to our latest line in porcine lip gloss that we call Enlightenment…I’ll have my people get with your people

  • It’s the producers who produce – not the financiers or the CEOs or the management. It goes for intellectual production as well as material one. Get out from under the spell of ideology and start thinking clearly about this. Anyway, this is the hurdle you yourself must overcome. It’s not my job to convince you, and I won’t do it either.

  • Irv, capitalism is based on exploitation, no matter how you may choose to glorify it. It’s what makes it work.

  • Again, you miss my point. Enlightened capitalism is not exploitation, it is a form of love!

    Unfortunately in your perverse epistemology – that means reasoning – you can’t understand that free choice, the liberty and freedom to exchange goods and services and ideas in the free marketplace between free men and women is not only an act of love of oneself, but it is also an act of love of others as well.

    It is utterly humane and compassionate, and also intellectual as well – which most of you on the left absolutely cannot fathom. You do not see business, commerce and the marketplace as intellectual, rather you see it as brutish and instinctual, you have a leftwing bias against the former for you cannot fathom nor tolerate the idea that anyone beside you can be deeply and profoundly intellectual who deals in business, commerce, trade and the marketplace; again as their being intellectual – like you and your ilk.

    Simple rule of thumb principle as evoked in the slimy-limey, English common aphorism (or adage), “the proof is in the eating of the pudding.”

    My version, “If you izz so goddamn smart, why ain’t you rich?”

    Which means to say if you lefty Marxist intellectuals are so damn smart, why aren’t you as productive as those supposedly brutish, thuggish, Philistine, bourgeois, etc., etc., business types who produce all those goods and services, products, ideas and inventions which make all our lives so very much better?

    Who is the productive intellectual here and who is not. I dare say you commie, lefty pinko, commie Marxists are not at all productive, you produce nothing but hot air, poverty and misery; while the business types produce wealth and prosperity and more social good and more than mere sustenance, as well as the opportunity for people to be as much and more than they could possibly ever imagine.

    Simply put, all those whom you demean, ridicule and despise, all those business people – produce social good; you do not. Rather the only thing you produce is universal poverty, starvation and political repression and genocide. Again, to re-iterate and re-emphasize the point – they produce, you do not. And their production is infinitely more humane and compassionate than your petty, nebulous but almost always tyrannical and despotic ideas, nostra, dicta and petty biases could ever produce or be.

  • You’re missing my point, Irv. I never suggested that re-distribution of wealth is any kind of solution – only that the producers should be entitled to the fruits of their labor – including the disposition – not middle men, financiers and thieves. What could be more American than that? You’re misreading Atlas Shrugged and John Galt, for that in effect was the message. Besides, Ayn Rand, though a talented novelist, was a third-rate thinker. You ought to know that.

    Finally, there is no such thing as “enlightened capitalism.” It’s an oxymoron. Any system based on thievery and exploitation cannot be enlightened.

  • Dear comrade EEAN Rodger,

    RE your # 28.

    You precisely prove my point. Socialist or communist redistribution of wealth by forcibly doling out absolute equal shares to everyone, does not solve poverty and starvation; rather it only creates more of it, and exacerbates the pain even further. Yes it is absolutely egalitarian, it absolutely makes everyone poor and hungry if not starving them to death in the process.

    There is a solution, it’s called “liberal, democratic, enlightened capitalism.” No other system of economic, political and social governance provides more prosperity and wealth and basic sustenance, nay, much more than basic sustenance; for more people per square inch, than liberal, democratic, enlightened capitalism. The emphasis being here on “enlightened capitalism” again, á là Milton Friedman.

  • zingzing

    “Milton Freidman “In Free to Choose” called your thievery – “theft.””

    so he went to south america… where all was good forevermore.

  • Indeed, perhaps splitting the whole pie equally and equally alike will not make everyone “stinking rich” (considering the world’s population). But it will make a hell of a difference in a world where a great many still die from malnutrition or starvation – a difference between life and death.

  • Dear comrade, commie-lib/simp, lefty-pinko EEAN, boeke,

    RE your # 22.

    “But in the end, the kind of Wealth redistribution favored by the rulers is accomplished and maintained by thievery, chicanery and violence.”

    Oh, do you mean by your boys, by liberal-progressive, statist, collectivist, big government, liberal democrat types who are only at the bottom of the spectrum which then proceeds through liberal socialists qua socialists qua communists qua New Age Marxists qua Neo-Marxists qua Marxist Anarchists á là Chomski, Zinn and Marcuse as well as the oldline, traditional Marxists too?

    And oh by the way (BTW as I understand in computer geek-ese) Milton Freidman “In Free to Choose” called your thievery – “theft.” So I guess you actually agree with Milton more so than your lefty-pinko Marxist chums; or, more than you might ever have thought. And guess what? I find that deliciously ironic!

  • Distribution problem is tied to the production problem. The latter is in the wrong hands. You can’t expect a thief to share what he himself had appropriated from others.

  • Mark

    ((dying at the rate of…etc))

  • Mark

    (oh, they already are?

    at the rate of more than 15/minute world-wide — far more than die by direct murder and war)

  • Boeke

    #2 roger: we don’t have a production problem, we have a distribution problem.

    At least that HAS been true for 50 years. But the more effective the rulers are at distributing wealth to themselves and their friends the more in danger our production has become. Some day it will fail and people will be starving (oh, they already are?) and then it is only a matter of time before internal revolution or external invasion overwhelms us. Thus we will have completed another turn on the wheel of history.

  • Boeke

    The rightists seem to think that people must be bribed to become rich! What a weird idea.

    Most ‘Economics’ is an attempt to justify greed, selfishness and oppression with a dressing of verbal and mathematical justification.

    But, in the end, the kind of Wealth Redistribution favored by the rulers is accomplished and maintained by thievery, chicanery and violence.

  • The argument from numbers, as per Dave’s citation, is perhaps one example of Burke trying to make that kind of sense. I suppose it’s equally arguable that it takes precisely nothing less than multitudes in order to enrich a mere handful of pensioners. Again, it’s an example of dissociating cause and effect.

  • As a postscript to #2, one might want to add that control of the production processes (including the disposition) by the producers is more advantageous to accretion of wealth in general and better use of it than under the present system. Those who have control over the fruits of their own labor are less likely to steal or commit fraud (for they’d only be stealing from themselves). Not so when the rewards of labor come to one as a result of thievery – which establishes thievery as a major economic principle. It is thus that the morality of non-exploitative systems is accompanied by any number of practical advantages.

  • Mark

    I read Burke as another shock victim trying to make rational sense of an essentially moral and aesthetic dissonance.

  • To make that kind of argument would be like saying that the problems facing us are unrelated to causes. Which, BTW, makes me want to re-read parts of Burke on the subject of capitalism.

  • Mark

    I appreciate Burke’s understanding that it is ‘those who labor’, ie the working class, who “who in reality feed [ie create the wealth for] both the pensioners and themselves.”

    …and I don’t see how the claim that capitalists primarily expropriate wealth from growth sectors answers the complaint that this expropriation occurs at the expense of the society as a whole.

    The idea that there is a disconnect between unemployment, crushing debt obligations etc and the present concentration of wealth is off point — these problems are caused by the decisions made by capitalists about how to use that wealth.

  • The rich and powerful have been redistributing wealth towards themselves for the last 30 years. That’s why we have the problems we have: unemployment, crushing debt, unable to meet our obligations, foreclosures, etc.

    Except that as this article points out, the increased disparity between rich and poor is not the cause of any of those problems and if it were corrected it would do nothing to end any of those problems.

    Try again.


  • Disabuse wasn’t intended, Irv, just so you know.

  • Dear comrade EEAN Roger [edited],

    Read your piece and was not disabused.

    In fact I began writing a point-f…k..g-counter-f..k..g-point rebuttal, but I found myself falling into a rather tedious trap of quibbling over this or that highly impenetrable, arcane syllogistic point: and of pedantically dropping names here and there. E.g. Marx-blah-blah-Malthus-blah-blah-Ricardo-blah-blah-Bentham-blah-blah-Robespierre-blah-bla-blah-barf puke, ad nauseam.

    So therefore, in my ‘umble estimation, and with all due respect; just more typical leftist commie dribble and warmed over Marxist spittle. No need to fight – in fact I hereby surrender.

  • we hear a lot from the left about wealth redistribution

    What kind of premise is that? Wealth redistribution? And who is this “we”? Did I miss the memo?

    I read the memo about San Francisco Bay area women wearing their pants tucked into boots, but I missed the one on wealth distribution. Moreover, since Olberman has quit as CEO of the Professional Left and the position is now between me and Dana Millbank, I am pretty sure the topic would have come up.

    Did Sarah Palin tweet something about it or is this just more of John McCain’s nonsense about an NPR piece featuring President Obama in 2001? You failed to attribute it to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, published in 1848.

    At least, very least, you have drummed up some comments. It’s a slow politics day.

  • Dear [edited] Boeke,

    Sorry but I must correct you. Actually, by your epistemology and line of reasoning, the rich have been fucking over the poor at least two days prior to the dawn of time and perhaps even prior to that.

  • Boeke

    What fallacy?

    The rich and powerful have been redistributing wealth towards themselves for the last 30 years. That’s why we have the problems we have: unemployment, crushing debt, unable to meet our obligations, foreclosures, etc.

  • “No exploitation” proviso, Irv, simply means that the producers are entitled to control the disposition of the finished product, including the surplus. Nothing radical about this idea. In fact, it’s arguable it represents capitalism at its purest, including Ayn Rand’s ideology.

    To that end, I refer you to a recent article, as per link.

  • zingzing

    “And as Milton Friedman pointed out, it is by far more democratic and egalitarian…”

    milton friedman in theory may be fine and dandy, but milton friedman’s theories in practice are pretty fucking evil, if wonderfully self-defensed. if something goes wrong (and it always does), it’s just because the theory wasn’t followed closely enough. what an evil prick.

  • zingzing

    i’m pretty sure the argument isn’t based on just cutting a ceo’s salary and redistributing it amongst the workers of that company… it’s probably more along the lines of giving the workers an actual living wage that allows them to exist without being raped every month by the credit companies, while not vastly overcompensating the 3-hour “working”/drinking lunch crowd.

    i once had a boss that took a car service to and from home every day. something like $130 each way. i made that much in a day… before or after taxes, i don’t quite recall. and this was in the magazine business… executives live like there’s no tomorrow. in order for that magazine to survive, they had to axe all sorts of executives. including the one i worked for. and the entire department underneath her (me and a girl). hey hey! JUST DON’T TAKE A FUCKING PRIVATE CAR SERVICE HOME EVERY GODDAMN NIGHT, AND DO SOME WORK, AND MAYBE YOU (AND I) WOULD STILL HAVE A JOB THERE. asshole.

    but don’t let any of that stand in the way of making your point, dave. even if it reduces the argument to something no one could argue against. mostly because it’s kinda silly.

  • Dear comrade Roger the artful dodger

    Haven’t you heard that “workers of the world unite” as both God and history are my witnesses; have never worked in the past and as we sit here in the present “now” right this minute, this very second; still continue not to work either, and I suspect will continue well into the future to absolutely fail and to fail dismally and miserably so.

    I make this little extra analogy beyond Milton Friedman’s Thesis on both the innate and superior rationality and the inherent egalitarian, that is, democratic nature of a true, as is humanly possible – laissez faire, entrepreneurial, free-enterprize, enlightened-capitalism marketplace.

    Oh boy here it comes. Nothing but lots and lots of pedantic, prolix verbosity full ‘o dem big ass, multisyllabic words. Well be forewarned m…..rf……rs! Cause here it come hot and heavy too!

    Well let’s start with Ayn Rand who said that capitalism was actually a matter of self interest and self interest was good. Agreed. But the usual suspect libs, commie-libs/simps, EEAN, said noooooooh. Self interest is evil cause it really is a smokescreen for unbridled selfishness, greed and avarice, all of which are capital offenses punishable with death. Or as close to it as those on the liberal-progressive, Etc.!, Etc.!, Ad Nauseam; commie, Marxist spectrum and persuasion can stomach – or can get away with.

    Now along comes Walter Williams, Ph.D. whom I will paraphrase here (cause I can’t quote anyone to save my life). Who fundamentally answered the whining, constantly yammering lefty-pinkos that all business people are evil cause they’re in it just for the money.

    To which Dr. Williams (my words here, not his, his ideas, but my sort of embellishment and oh well, you’l quickly get the picture) essentially said, “Duhhhh, what the fuck you think they’re in it for? Why do you think they slave away at their businesses 24/7 25 hours a day? To feed the poor homeless alkies and addicts and junkies of the world? You f…k..g jackwads (again my words not his).

    But to get back down to earth once more – sort of. He then said, yes, of course, business people go into business in order to earn money (and lots and lots of it). And yes that can be construed as selfish, and yes there even is some greed and avarice involved in it as well.

    But then he poses the question, ‘but look at all of the good they do in spite of themselves, in spite of their so-called, supposed selfishness, greed and avarice? Look at all the goods and services, products and jobs they provide which make all of our lives better. And a job is the greatest socially beneficial program ever devised by humankind which unfortunately you commie-lib/simps just don’t seem to understand. It’s always “yes…but” with youse guys. It’s always everyone will suffer, but the poor, the underclasses and all women and children and minorities will suffer even more adversely – oh the humanity of it all, et., etc., f…k..g etc..’

    And finally, I make this analogy. Most everyone in this world with very rare, infinitissimal exceptions such as myself who is a MMM (Mean Misanthropic M….rf…r…r) and the biggest one on the block too; absolutely no one else thinks “love” is a bad thing. Well then, is not “love” as the most cherished and desired human attribute imaginable, isn’t love itself the purest form of selfishness? Let’s not quibble sophistically here – yes love is selfish, whether it be amongst a man and a woman, a parent and his or her children, or for the intellect and the pursuit of the life of the mind or it be to make a profit, a product, a good life, and jobs for your worthless nephews and nieces.

    The next question I therefore must pose, if love is a greater if not greatest good, and love is thoroughly selfish, then why do you rail against business people, why are you so antithetical and so viciously belligerent towards them. In fact I maintain this selfishness of theirs, this enlightened self-interest, is far more humane and compassionate and full of love than your ideologies are , have ever been, or will most likely ever be.

    And as Milton Friedman pointed out, it is by far more democratic and egalitarian because every single day we exercise our freedom literally billions of times a day to make choices with our purchases, whether they be enlightened, intelligent or downright stupid; whether it be to purchase a stick of gum or a Beethoven concerto.

    Welll, nuff said pahd-ners.

  • Chernigov.

    Nice irrelevancy, Cindy. Nothing in this short and fairly simple argument pertains to the general decline in the economy. Everyone is poorer, sure. That doesn’t change the dynamics of relative wealth. Class warfare demagoguery doesn’t make you look cute and cuddly, junior jacobin.

  • Oh, and I agree with what Mark and Roger said above. No cutting throats needed and no simple wealth redistribution plan will do.

  • Dave, you are a hoot. You deny the actual experience of everyone on the ground in favor of your theoretical hogwash.

    People don’t have money. Towns don’t have money. No one can afford the basic things that used to be affordable. Austerity measures are being imposed.

    Since 1980 80% of the newly created wealth went to the wealthiest top 2%. The rich have the money! Hello, Dave!

  • “Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.” –Bertrand Russell

  • It’s not wealth redistribution that’s going to fix anything; that would be like replacing one static picture for another. What’s needed is a new model of production that’s no longer dependent on exploitation. Once in place and given time, the working class – the presently disenfranchized – will come unto its own.

  • Mark

    I agree that it is foolish to imagine that ‘cutting those throats’ alone would get us any closer to solving the problems of poverty. I suspect that that will require coming up with some other approach to motivating and rationalizing production than private ownership of the means of production and the maximization of profit.