Eight people own the same wealth as 3.6 billion other people

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/05/eight-people-own-the-same-weal.html

Or, we could switch to a different not-yet-gamed money and leave them with lots of monopoly money.



Yay Capitalism, it’s working!


Exactly as designed.


Sure, but it is more useful as practice than theory.

If only my economic and political actions had no consequences, life would be so much easier!


So basically anyone breathing gets a 100% free ride? What if not enough people want to become doctors or teachers or farmers since they get a house and land and food and all this stuff they are entitled to anyway?

If some sort of “basic living stipend” isn’t enough for people to live in someone’s idea of comfort and dignity there will be endless demands for more. More this, more that and more everything else since it is their right to it.

At what point do the men with guns come to tell the villagers "You have not supplied enough doctors, pick five people and we will educate them. They must not fail the “people” by failing their task or "You must hand over any food that exceeds what the government has decided you need so that it can be given to others who have as much right to it as you do and you will need to produce 10% more next year as people also have the right to all the children they want…

I do believe something very much like this has been tried before in Soviet Russia and we all know how well that worked.

Out of curiosity and because this article makes it look like those 8 people are sitting on giant bags of money like Scrooge McDuck, how many people in total do they employ, directly and indirectly?.

Not saying there aren’t problems but this “Take it all away and distribute it “evenly”” never works and the people doing the “distribution” always end up with a lot more of everything and a lot of power.

“People have a right to housing”? What sort? Communal barracks, a single room in a ten thousand room apartment block in a city full of identical such so no one has an “unfair” advantage or a ten room condo on the beach? Who gets the outside cubicle with a window?

Or is it 'You live in too large a home for your needs, the Federal Equality Administration van will be by tomorrow with a family of eight. Share things equally or else. They have a right to free child care too so you’ll be responsible for their kids three ways a week since you don’t have children…


Well, maybe with eroding faith in the system that gives them nearly all the money and the rest of us nearly nothing. The only people with faith in that system is them. So sure, erode away.


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.


Then increase the incentives so that they want to. Once you’ve decreased the cost of essentials to zero, feel free to hike the cost of luxuries as high as you want.

Do you really want a doctor or teacher who only does what they’re doing because it’s their only way to survive? Myself, I’d prefer to have a doctor whose mind is entirely on their next operation, and not on their next paycheck.

There may always be demands for more, but you don’t have to accede to them. Saying that society will accede to them just because they’ve decided to give away the basic essentials needed to survive is a slippery slope argument, and I’ll need proof.

Um, at no point? I live in Canada, where there’s a perpetual family doctor shortage, and I don’t remember anyone coming around with guns.

I would imagine the lowest level would be something akin to a one-bedroom apartment. As capitalism wouldn’t be abolished entirely, larger and better places could be purchased by going out and earning money as a doctor, or teacher, or farmer.


Mazal tov to those 8 people!

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What if it doesn’t ultimately have anything to do with “want”, and it turns out that neither life itself nor human society were fundamentally transactional in the first place? Maybe squabbling over resources is a naive philosophy which takes up 99% of people’s time and resources simply because they can’t/won’t think of anything better to do.

Or, perhaps nobody actually owns anything, and it is pure “belief”. And “power” is derived from exploiting this belief. In practical terms, commerce is based upon wishful thinking, and makes no effort to ever accurately measure nor manage resources. Your concerns here all imply somebody else who imposes equality, fairness, etc which suggests that you are simply stating a preference of people being subordinated to a vast obfuscated system than directly to a committee, but I think that difference is superficial.


It’s pretty easy to “win” at a game that you can invent the rules to as you go along. A limited winners’ circle makes it exclusive, but not truly elite or any sort of notable accomplishment in itself. YMMV


Cry more.

I will not waste time humoring you, nor will I treat you with dignity. The debate over UBI has already been rehashed a bajillion times, with the exact same argument and the exact same conclusion.

Firstly, comrade, there are 50+ states with individual, labyrinthine disparate social safety systems in addition to the dozen or so federal ones. It is a morass of paperwork, one that does not give citizens the help they need and one that can be exploited by malicious actors. Abolishing those and instituting a UBI means the money goes to those who need it, without a million hoops and loops (like Florida, who wasted millions drug testing aid recipients - and found none).

Secondly, fuck the wealthy. There is dignity in work, and all who work expend effort. There is no dignity in being born into wealth. There is no dignity in nepotism. Look in my eye and tell me: do you believe the Trumps of this world deserve their lofty positions of power?

Thirdly; Socialism works. It need not be paired with authoritarianism. But even when it is, it can achieve great feats: Cuba has 100% literacy and the finest health care money cannot buy. Cut off from the capitalist world, Cuba has developed effective medicines, better - open source - high yield crops, and an education system that makes the Nordic countries look american by comparison.

Fourthly, fuck off with your sanctimonious bullshit. All humans have rights. Some of these rights are aspirational. But it is our duty as a people to ensure these rights are provided for: the right to eat, the right to shelter, the right to learn, the right to be well.

Me, I wanted to be a lawyer. Never had the money for prep school. And in this economy, there are no jobs for me, no matter how much pavement I pound.


Just gonna leave this here…


I have negative net worth. The only things I own are a handheld, about thirty used games, a laptop rescued from a dumpster, and a few sets of clothes. Software is, of course, licensed/rented.

I’m pretty sure poor people in Gambia own more than I.


Thank you for that reply. I started to read his response, figured out what he was spewing and was trying to think of what to say when I saw this. You beat me to it and I salute you.



So in other words…?


Hah, yeah. Used to try to engage posters like that guy but why bother? Other liberal bubble dwellers have told me to moderate my tone since there’s the off-chance some young spark could be persuaded to join us if only I were a bit nicer and less blunt.

He’s still wrong, though.


Sure we can. A 90% wealth tax on any household’s assets over $200-million* would solve the problem in the headline right then and there, and some others in the bargain (optional: add other progressive levels of the tax down to, say, $25-million). That could fund a lot of post-secondary education and healthcare insurance. I think capitalism will survive that just fine, and might open the way for some new multi-millionaires – it’s a lot easier for talented people to focus on building a career or a business when they’re not worried about their next meal or a roof over their heads or having illness go untreated, especially if they’ve made the most of a quality post-secondary education.

[* figure off the top of my head: with capitalism and investment vehicles still in place, I think even an unemployable layabout will manage to survive on $200-million in assets in any given year]