Wednesday, August 07, 2013

That's not how it works

From the Democratic Socialists of America (who plainly are confused as to what each of those first two words mean), via Facebook:

Again, we see the theory of wealth as a zero sum game.  Which is of course ridiculous.

As always, though, the real gold is in the comments:

(I'm not blurring out names 'cause this was shared publicly.)

Take a look at that.  Multimillionaires don't get their money by working hard.  They get it...from the Millionaire Fairy, I guess?

Take a look at this 2012 CNBC article.  It quotes a group called United for a Fair Economy as saying that 40% of the billionaires on Forbes magazine's list of 400 inherited some or all of their wealth.  (Forbes itself claims 30%, which isn't really that far off; a difference of 40 people.)  But then it breaks things down further:

United for a Fair Economy breaks down the Forbes list using a baseball analogy. It says 35 percent of the list was born in the “batter’s box,” with a lower-middle class or middle-class background...

The report says 22 percent of the list were born on first base: they came from a comfortable but not rich background and might have received some start-up capital from a family member....

Only 11.5 percent were born on second base, the report says. Second base is defined as people who inherited a medium sized company or more than $1 million or got “substantial” start-up capital from a business or family member...

The report says 7 percent were born on third base, inheriting more than $50 million in wealth or a big company...
 Now, I edited that a bit, but only to cut out the examples.

Out of 400 billionaires, according to a left-leaning group, 88 came from a lower-middle class or middle class background.  By contrast, 74 came from wealthy backgrounds.

That's not a huge difference by any means, but it is notable that, even according to a Leftist group more billionaires came from nothing than from wealth.

But they didn't work hard.


I've said it before, and I will say it again: every single person I know personally (or even through the Internet) who has more than I do has one single thing in common: they've worked harder than I.  Or smarter, which is the same thing in the long run.  I can't say that my high school friend who is now leading the Windows Phone enterprise apps department worked physically harder, but he paired ambition and education and has never, in the nearly twenty years I've known him, not had a job.  (For real, dude was pulling substitute teaching gigs senior year.) The other thing nearly all of those people have in common is that they came from comfortably middle class backgrounds, whereas I did not, but that's no more their fault than my upbringing is mine.  (Someday soon I will talk about how economic past influences economic future, but not right now.)

But somehow these people who have spent their lives working hard, who started companies and poured decades of their life into them, who invented things we all need, who saw opportunity and seized it, who moved halfway across the fucking country for a better opportunity...they're pathological.  They're not hard workers.  They're holding people down.


And Socialism and Democracy are co-existent systems of government.


skippy said...

Ummm....wealth is a zero sum game. It has to be, otherwise it has no value. If we are the only two people and you want more money, it has to come from me.

And while you need hard work to succeed, you need a wide spectrum of other variables as well. Opportunity, not everybody has many, or any that they can use. An education. If Bill gates had been born in a ghetto he wouldn't have made Microsoft. An aptitude. Something that lends itself to generating wealth, which is time and place specific. Twenty years ago you couldn't make a living playing games. Now being the best at Starcraft is worth money.

Most people think being rich and successful is fine. Being rich and successful *at the expense* of the well being of the rest of society is not. Using your wealth to modify society through legislation to generate more wealth at the expense of society is not. And an awful lot of people think that is what's going on.

Dave said...

If we are the only two people and you want more money, it has to come from me.

Yes, but don't you get something in return for the money you give? Assuming you don't just willy-nilly hand over $20, do you not get some of Sabra's fine knitting products or something else of value?

skippy said...

Sorry for the delay I've had a major event, and a long set-up and recovery.

"Yes, but don't you get something in return for the money you give?"

Yes so in this case the wealth total would be "x" value of money and 1 knit garment. Wealth can be exchanged. But we don't magically get more. Sabra exchanged wealth for the materials. I exchange money for the product. If more product is made the relative value in wealth of that product decreases. (We are using an overly simplified system here) The more you have of something the less wealth it is worth. Name something that can be infinitely generated that won't be devalued by doing so.

Also Socialism and Democracy are totally coexistent systems of government. See "nearly every industrialized country in the world" for examples. Including ours.