Monday, February 15, 2010

How unequal should we be?

via Too Much Weekly.

8 comments:

  1. Well hey, if shares of wealth are up for a vote, I vote myself 7% of the net worth of the nation, like George Washington held.

    So, how does one determine how much "makes sense"?

    And does it make sense that since the working class has most of its net worth tied up in property- house and cars- the working class has its net worth taxed directly, while the wealthy, who have large non real estate holdings, do NOT have their net worth taxed directly? Especially since income taxes make it harder for the middle class to amass those non-property holdings?

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  2. I would love to know what percentage of the land is owned by the richest 20% and what's owned by the remaining 80%.

    I think you can tell what makes sense in a nation by how well the people with the least are doing. Currently in the US, they die faster than rich folks, which says to me there's a problem.

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  3. To be fair, though, name three countries in which the poor DON'T die faster than the rich.

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  4. What matters most is the rate at which they die faster. Follow the link above to the current Too Much Weekly, where they discuss the Marmot Review and have a link to it. From it: "Societies that have done a better job narrowing these inequities than Britain — or the United States — have people who live longer and healthier lives."

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  5. I notice they dismiss behavioral causes, then later list the top killers- which are all strongly affected by behavior. I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of how old the wealth is in various countries; I suspect England has one of the oldest-wealth skews. Their class structure is so much different from ours that it's incomprehensible to Americans unless you see it yourself. My trip across the pond was a tremendous eye opener; it dramatically changed my views on class.

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  6. I'm not sure about that - the US has one of lowest rates of social upwards mobility in Western countries. While people may believe in the American dream, most research shows it just ain't so. Countries that are more socialist have more upwards social mobility.
    Oh and the smaller the social gap, the happier people are (even if everyone is a bit poorer) see Denmark on that account.

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  7. "the US has one of lowest rates of social upwards mobility in Western countries." Really? I've never researched it, but there are millions of millionaires in the US- "A report by Capgemini[13] for Merrill Lynch on the other hand stated that as of 2007 there are approximately 3,028,000 households in the United States who hold at least US$1 million in financial assets, excluding collectibles, consumables, consumer durables and primary residences (p. 35)." And from The Millionaire Next Door "About 80 percent of us are first-generation affluent." If 1% of the country are millionaires, and 80% of them are new millionaires, (both figures also agree with what I was taught when taking license classes to sell securities), and that's the lowest rate of upward mobility in Western countries, then Europe must be having the greatest economic boom in human history. That wasn't the impression I got on my last several trips there.

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  8. That < irony > left-wing rag < /irony > The Economist also wrote a few years back about the stalling of class mobility in America.

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