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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday July 15, @10:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the status-quo dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Human beings largely object to income inequality and are willing to correct injustice—unless, of course, it rattles their status quo.

That's the conclusion of a recent study looking at how far people would go to redistribute resources between the haves and have nots. Participants fiercely objected to "when winners become losers and losers become winners," researchers note in the paper, published in the latest issue of Nature Human Behaviour.

Researchers initially recruited Indian, American, and Chinese participants take part in an experimental game they called "the redistribution game." The gist of the game was simple: Participants were given a number of scenarios that would redistribute a fixed sum from a richer person to someone poorer. Participants were told the original standing of wealth was assigned randomly.

In the first scenario, participants had to decide if they wanted to transfer two coins from person A (who already had four coins) to person B (who had one). Researchers note the "transfer would reduce inequality," (as there's less of a gap between them), but person B would end up one coin richer than person A, reversing their status.

In the second version of game, participants were asked whether they'd transfer one coin to person B (where person A ended up with three coins and person B with two coins). Researchers ran a third and fourth scenario that allowed participants to transfer coins from person A to B, where the outcome still left person A with significantly more coins.

-- submitted from IRC


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @10:44PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @10:44PM (#539673)

    Socialism will fix everything.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by julian on Sunday July 16, @01:02AM (12 children)

      by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @01:02AM (#539722)

      I'll steal this top comment and mention of socialism to clear up some misconceptions.

      Social democrats like myself assume that the economy will remain capitalist. We are also fine with income inequality in general. We simply believe that society could improve if the relative difference between the richest and the poorest was reduced. This shouldn't even be done as a direct wealth transfer except in the most extreme cases such as permanent physical disability--which we already do. We want to give people the tools to reach their own personal potential, and then unleash them to compete in a meritocracy. That means everyone gets to pursue their education as far as they wish, limited not by their family's wealth but by their own intelligence. It means having consistent, reliable, affordable access to health care that isn't tied to employment so workers are free to change jobs or start their own businesses without worrying about losing access to medical care. It means lowering barriers to entry for small businesses and entrepreneurs (hello, Net Neutrality!).

      The government's role in regulating the rest of the economy should be a hands-off approach except when two classes of problems are faced: coordination problems and tragedies of the commons. Environmental protection is one clear example--and a conservative idea (or at least it used to be). Regulating the EM spectrum is another.

      If you interpret that as radical Marxism, or even socialism generally, then your political compass is so misaligned that you're not going to be able to find your way to a reasonable argument even if I give you a map.

      • (Score: 2) by julian on Sunday July 16, @01:05AM (2 children)

        by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @01:05AM (#539723)

        I typed "EM spectrum", but I should have said "RF spectrum"

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:08AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:08AM (#539741)

          It's the same spectrum.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:05AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:05AM (#539787)

            RF generally excludes the visible spectrum and above, AFAIK.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:09AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:09AM (#539789)

        Sounds great. I like it! Remove desperation, take care of people's needs, make education available without a cash hurdle - good stuff!

        Just a few questions (some rowdy folks have kind of been spoiling things, so I'm sure you'll be delighted to continue clearing things up):

          * Maximum tax rates. What are they? How will they be enforced? (Not the tax collections, the keeping of politicians honest about maxima.) If they go over a marginal 33% rate do we get an automatic lynch legalisation for politicans? What happens? And how, to paraphrase Tony Benn, can we get rid of those politicians if they displease us?

          * I like the limitations on government. Sound great! How can we actually put some real teeth in them, unlike what happened to the Tenth Amendment? I want to be sure we're not writing any blank cheques, because everything has some externalities. A friendly court could easily interpret that as all the powers, for all time.

        * Forgive me, but nationalisation seems to be a recurring theme with socialists, social democrats, democratic socialists, nordic socialists, socialist nordics and all sorts of other guys with socia- in their names. How will it be prevented, undone, or to what extent will it be permissible?

        * "Coordination problems" is frightfully vague. What are we talking about here? Contract law? Five year plans? Picking winners and losers? We sort of have a track record here, and it's not great.

        You say that you're a social democrat, and that it's not general socialism. Please elaborate in detail on the differences; policy, philosophical and organisational. We need to hear a lot more about that.

        Thanks in advance!

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by julian on Sunday July 16, @05:14AM (5 children)

          by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @05:14AM (#539806)

          Maximum tax rates. What are they? How will they be enforced? (Not the tax collections, the keeping of politicians honest about maxima.)

          What the actual rate ends up being is too fine a detail for me to give because it would depend on too many factors that can't be foreseen. Our top marginal rate in the past has been as high as 91%, although the *effective* rate was much lower during those years.

          In general I can suggest a few guidelines and expectations that would likely be true of a future tax code to support the type of society I outlined. The first principle is that taxes should generally be progressive, not regressive. Sales tax is a regressive tax because the portion of one's income paid in sales tax drops off the more money you make. We want the opposite effect. It's also fair to say that taxes would generally be higher for most people. Yet this would be partially or even mostly offset for the working and middle class because two huge expenses would be eliminated or heavily reduced: education and healthcare.

          You get rid of promise-breaking politicians the same way you do now: vote. I have some things to say about making that more effective but that's another topic.

          I like the limitations on government... How can we actually put some real teeth in them...

          Solve problems as locally as possible, because communities usually know more about their problems and needs than a far away Federal Government. There's also the principle that we start from the assumption that a market will work until it proves it can't. Health care does NOT work when run by markets. It's an economic and humanitarian catastrophe. Markets work great for producing smart phones and automobiles but there is sometimes compelling reasons for minimum safety standards, emissions controls, or certification that a wireless device doesn't cause harmful interference, etc.

          How will [nationalization] be prevented, undone, or to what extent will it be permissible?

          It's generally unwarranted unless there is an urgent need for something that the market cannot or will not provide to everyone. When it is warranted it should, if possible, be administered on a state or local level as with public universities and utilities. The big one that currently isn't fully nationalized but which should be is health care. I say fully because large chunks of the population are already served by a national system: the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid.

          Coordination problems

          The economic exploitation of space is one example that gives the character of what I mean. Businesses are reticent to move into markets that require enormous capital investments and have unquantified risks and rewards. NASA didn't have to worry about making a profit, so they did a bunch of basic research and engineering, proved that space travel was possible, and showed the potential economic rewards for investing in space infrastructure. After that, the markets took over and we have satellite TV, phones, real time weather data for the entire planet, and a plethora of other technologies spun off from the basic research NASA did as a prerequisite to putting men and equipment in orbit and beyond. We now even have private space programs to do the grunt work of hauling material into orbit. This frees up NASA to focus on expanding our economy into the next frontier. The planets or maybe the asteroid belt will be next.

          The investment in NASA more than paid for itself, but it required the US Government to commit to spending an incredible sum of money for rewards that were at best uncertain or purely intangible like national prestige.

          The other big problem, probably the most important one today, is climate change. If you accept that climate change is real and man-made then you need no convincing that this is a pressing matter which markets have proven to be unable to address. Brazil just zoned 1% more of their rain forest for logging, mining, and farming. The rain forests produce 20% of the Earth's oxygen. This is serious and requires massive, global, cooperation. NY Mag recently published a great piece on the topic. [nymag.com]

          If you don't accept that it's a real issue, then there's probably nothing I can say to change that.

          You say that you're a social democrat, and that it's not general socialism. Please elaborate

          The basic difference is that socialism requires or intends to move toward worker control over the means of production for all goods and services everywhere. A socialist doesn't see capitalism as inevitable, enduring, or beneficial. Then you have communists who don't see *socialism* as enduring either, but merely a waypoint along the road to communism.

          Social democrats don't want to see capitalism replaced, they want to see it rehabilitated. I liken it to fire. A fire in your fireplace is a great asset, but turn your back on it and you could burn your entire house down. More is not always better. The fire has just gotten out of control, but there's still time to put it out unless we keep sipping our coffee and saying, "This is fine." [orlando-hoa.com]

          It's not fine. [salon.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:02AM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:02AM (#539826)

            Sales tax isn't necessarily regressive. It gets that bad rap when people assume that it's a one-size-fits-all across-the-board tax, but that's rarely how it is implemented. In actual fact (whether you're talking GST or VAT or some other concoction) there are usually exemptions for precisely the things poor people buy. So there's that.

            A complicating factor of course is that the same people who complain about sales taxes, and regressive taxes, and regressive sales taxes are usually first in line to propose duties on financial transfers - despite the evidence that slowing the markets is actually more likely to induce crashes and imbalances, than less.

            On the one hand you say "It's also fair to say that taxes would generally be higher for most people." which is quite worrying, since "most people" necessarily includes a lot of people who aren't that well off, and then: "Yet this would be partially or even mostly offset for the working and middle class because two huge expenses would be eliminated or heavily reduced: education and healthcare." which is even more worrying, because now you're saying that everyone over some cutoff is somehow paying the way for everyone else - a massive, and massively concentrated burden, but at the same time you won't actually put a conceptual cap on tax, beyond what people will vote for.

            How do you escape the proverbial trap of running out of other people's money? Answer as yet absent.

            Also, addressing the voting concept - you don't explain how you'll get people to vote for a set of policies that so far they show no inclination whatsoever to go for. As popular as Bernie looked, he evidently had major problems when you count up the real numbers.

            Ironic that you would declare unilaterally that markets don't work for health care, when the market, as far as it goes, for health care in the USA is one of the most openly, vastly distorted one can think of, by government action. Ranging from forced compliance of providers with a whole list of dictates, both practical and financial, to active support of rent-seeking groups, through flat-out creation of monopolies - the USA is simply not an example of that thesis. And, as sheer fortune would have it, in The Economist: (https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/07/senate-s-health-bill)

            After having parts of my internal organs removed in a single-payer system (Britain’s NHS) and in the American system (using employer-provided insurance), I can attest that for those fortunate enough to be able to pay, the American system is miles better.

            So ... no. Not only does your thesis fall at the first hurdle, as not being applicable, the simple declaration that the butter can be spread on the bread doesn't explain how the result will be adequate, much less feasible. Stating flatly that it is a catastrophe isn't persuasive without some kind of reference point. Sudan? Afghanistan? Chechnya?

            Your statement that health care should be nationalised appears to fly in the face of the experiences who've suffered under it, and don't like the results. The USA is actually a medical tourism destination precisely because, as broken as it is, it's not nationalised..

            I'll broadly concede that governments are better at prestige projects, but I'll utterly refute the idea that it's a prerequisite for big research leaps, and given the track record of things like DARPA grants, it's mostly good at bogging things down. Once in a while something like the internet escapes the monkey house, but that's rare.

            "Social democrats don't want to see capitalism replaced, they want to see it rehabilitated." That sounds all warm and fuzzy, but the things that you're mentioning are very worrisome. Norway has a very well-documented problem with institutionalised risk aversion to the point that their sovereign fund, that's supposed (among other things) to invest in norwegian entrepreneurialism can't actually find enough norwegian entrepreneurs to boost. Boosting taxes on the wealthiest is likely to drive capital away (a well-documented problem as well - notoriously look at the business refusing to repatriate profits for just one example), nationalising health care doesn't promise to improve it and in fact shows every sign of being apt to wreck it. Even the tightening grip of Medicaid is driving more doctors out of the profession right now to the point that, what with the AMA's stranglehold on further training, there's a serious replenishment problem.

            Right now climate change appears to all plausible measurements to be under way, but the book is definitely not written on the causes nor the consequences. Dictating any one course of action is apt to be counterproductive at this point. You call on the example of Brazil, but Brazil is famous for having a lot more centralised economic decision-making and more dictatorial industrial policy than the USA, so if Brazil will make decisions you don't like (assuming the anthropogenic narrative, such as it is, is both detailed and perfect, which it is clearly not) why should you believe that any or every other country would, just because they like social democracy?

            As they say in Scotland: case not proven.

            • (Score: 2) by julian on Sunday July 16, @08:33AM (3 children)

              by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @08:33AM (#539837)

              How do you escape the proverbial trap of running out of other people's money?

              You overdignify Thatcher's thought terminating cliché by elevating it to a proverb. Anyone who uses this phrase is dealing in the currency of facile political slogans, not meaningful ideas. I reject the premises implied by the question.

              Your passages about health care are, bluntly, either false or where they are true reveal a disturbing indifference to human suffering. A healthcare system that only covers those capable of paying is not among the candidates of acceptable solutions. It does not meet the minimum standards to be considered. It is a moral obscenity. I have no more obligation to rebut it than I do the proposal that cannibalism is sound agricultural policy.

              We see employed also the old trick of never assigning to capitalism the failures of capitalism, and never assigning to socialist policy the successes of socialism; keeping two sets of books.

              That's rounded off with a lot of "just so" hand-waving and procedural quibbling under the absurd premise that every single failure in every other similar country would be replicated, simultaneously, here. As if we could learn nothing.

              And if that wasn't enough you're an anonymous climate change skeptic. Although, at least one sharp enough to realize it's unacceptable to come right out and say so. I've already spent more time replying than your comment deserved and no more will follow.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @10:59AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @10:59AM (#539867)

                We see employed also the old trick of never assigning to capitalism the failures of capitalism, and never assigning to socialist policy the successes of socialism; keeping two sets of books.

                What successes of socialism?

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:03PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:03PM (#539971)

                  Here we find the willfully ignorant turd floating in the sink. Now, you may want to argue, make rational arguments, generally use reason to overcome our differences.

                  But the don't lose track of the most important question, who craps in a sink?? Retards, that's who.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:03PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:03PM (#539940)

                "You overdignify Thatcher's thought terminating cliché by elevating it to a proverb. Anyone who uses this phrase is dealing in the currency of facile political slogans, not meaningful ideas. I reject the premises implied by the question."

                Answer not given. What limits are provided in the system where everyone below the very top tier, as per your prior post, comes out ahead? You can only soak the rich so much, and since they're a tiny minority, you have to bleed them hard to get much at all.

                So: how would you determine what you would presumably describe as a fair tax, and how would you differentiate it from an unfair one? Verifiable metrics, not warm fuzzies.

                "Your passages about health care are, bluntly, either false or where they are true reveal a disturbing indifference to human suffering. A healthcare system that only covers those capable of paying is not among the candidates of acceptable solutions. It does not meet the minimum standards to be considered. It is a moral obscenity. I have no more obligation to rebut it than I do the proposal that cannibalism is sound agricultural policy."

                Didn't propose anything of the sort. Pointed out that the USA doesn't have anything even resembling a free market in health care - and even so the outcomes, where financially supportable, are world-class. If the problem is one of distribution, please explain which bathwater you will throw out and which babies will have to go with it.

                "We see employed also the old trick of never assigning to capitalism the failures of capitalism, and never assigning to socialist policy the successes of socialism; keeping two sets of books."

                I assign all sorts of failure to capitalism - but it was social democracy that was under discussion. If you want to differentiate the two by comparison, feel free. But explain not merely your goals, but also your methods - because as illustrated, there are massive problems with the methods at which you hint.

                "That's rounded off with a lot of "just so" hand-waving and procedural quibbling under the absurd premise that every single failure in every other similar country would be replicated, simultaneously, here. As if we could learn nothing."

                Fine. What have you learned, and what would you change? I promise to read every word. Probably a couple of times, and analyse carefully. The floor is yours.

                "And if that wasn't enough you're an anonymous climate change skeptic. Although, at least one sharp enough to realize it's unacceptable to come right out and say so. I've already spent more time replying than your comment deserved and no more will follow."

                I'm sceptical of many things. In some cases, I've been proven right, in others wrong. That's life. But I don't accept because I said so from anyone purporting to be a scientist - and that includes climate scientists. There are serious open questions about positive and negative feedback loops, interactions with independent variables and the rate of change.

                ... but you're taking your rhetorical ball home and sulking rather than actually defending your position. Fair enough.

                Case still not proven, and given that the advocate rests his case, I think that one gets swept away. Next, please?

      • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Sunday July 16, @12:42PM (1 child)

        by Aiwendil (531) on Sunday July 16, @12:42PM (#539877) Journal

        And to clarify for those that missed it - this basically is a description of how the scandinavian/nordic countries work. (Well, except for that the gov't gets its hands into everything and EU is even worse in this regard).
        The trick seems to be to have a society that values fulfillment/happiness ("quality if life") over money.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:38PM (#539946)

          They're also running up against the limitations of that model on a number of fronts, and walking their social obligation model back. They've not only determined that the freeloader problem really is a problem (both indigenously and in terms of refugees) but that sterling efforts to remove risk also have serious unintended consequences with respect to risk-taking behaviours.

          Such as entrepreneurialism.

  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday July 15, @11:00PM (7 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday July 15, @11:00PM (#539678) Journal

    It assumes zero-sum, which is a false premise.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:24PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:24PM (#539688)

      For even more stupid, look to the linked study which claims “Last-Place Aversion” and which fails to account for self-destructive behaviors such as trolling, suicide, or career suicide by not sucking cock for funding like every fucking scientist who publishes shit.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:28PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:28PM (#539690)
        • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:54PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:54PM (#539701)

          Fuck yes! Last place! Last place!

          Make a Bonfire of Your Reputations [warplife.com]

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:16AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:16AM (#539704)

            MDC is a talkative loon and some commencement speech from 117 years ago is his excuse.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:36PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:36PM (#539691)

      They used an odd amount of resource, so there was never *TRUE* equality.

      What would people decide if there was the option for each person to get 2.5 coins instead of having to choose which person got 3 coins?

      It seems like the experiment was set up to coach the results it established.

      This is an example of what is wrong with scientific studies: Maybe intentionally choose to willfully ignore a/the scenario which would refute their hypothesis/preconceived result.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:01AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:01AM (#539702)

        What, none of the participants decided to throw away the odd-coin-out? But I always see rich people on tech forums talking about how they earn six figures as full stack coders and they always throw pennies directly into the trash because rich people have no use for change.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @04:46AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @04:46AM (#539797)

      One of the primary aversions to wealth reversal is that somehow those with the money "earned it, deserve it, got it because they are better and should be rewarded, etc." While there's some grains of truth in this, and we all like to believe that if we "play it smart, do the right things, contribute to society, etc." we will also be rewarded, what's missing from this picture are the incredible lottery aspects of life in a world with seven billion people who have, on _average_ far more than they need to not only survive but also prosper.

      There's the Charlie Daniels effect - give some people great piles of wealth and they will squander it - well, gee, can't give them more wealth, can we? Won't they just "waste" it? However, if you look at Charlie Daniels vs Steve Jobs, Charlie contributes to the world economy, keeps the money changing hands and creates jobs by spending (or, rather, giving back) his fortune, whereas Steve - on average - sat on most of his wealth, kept it squirreled away.

      There's the very serious problem of the "Trust fund baby" effect, where you give an average, or even below average, performing individual an advantaged start in the world and they end up in positions of great power, making not so great moves and decisions that affect thousands of lives simply because one of their ancestors happened to accumulate an unusually large pile of money.

      Then there's the simple lottery effect of who gets to cash in on their skills, talents and ambitions. You can have top 1% natural talents, top 1% developed skills honed through decades of development and ambition, and put it out there in the big wide world, make all the best contacts, shoot for all the big roles, and still fall flat - mostly un-recognized, receiving mediocre compensation in an also-ran role because those top 1% opportunities are mostly locked up by people with less talent, skill and ambition but better relationships with the important contacts, luck, timing and position. Also, many of the top 1% opportunities are de-facto lottery roles because the people who fill them have to have credible "every person" attributes, appearing to the masses like "anyone" could possibly aspire to that role and attain it.

      The one I'll never understand is the poor man who votes for people who will look out for his boss, because if their boss gets pissed off about some new regulation or cost of doing business then their lives are going to get worse when the boss does something petulant like lay a bunch of people off. These are people who seem to change not only jobs but whole career paths every few years, and yet they're worried about keeping the sucky job they currently have. Yeah, the "yacht tax" was a bad idea for the domestic yacht industry, but that's a rare example of an optional luxury - if you want to get ahead in the world, maybe you shouldn't be building shiny playtoys for people richer than you ever think you'll become. If one jerk gets out of a real industry like housing construction or food distribution because of a legislated increased cost of doing business, two more will step up to take over the work that the jerk turned down.

      So, yeah, on average, the wealthy "earned it" more often than the poor "deserved, but didn't get it", but it's a thin marginal difference, with huge numbers of wealthy who never did anything to deserve what they have, and huge numbers of less well off who could fill the roles of the wealthy and "do a better job" for everyone concerned, but will never get the opportunity.

      In other words: I see this as much more than an abstract: Bob has 4 and Charlie has 1, therefore it is unfair that afterwards Bob only has 2 while Charlie gets 3... we've got to know a little more about Bob and Charlie and what they are doing to "earn" this abstract reward. We also need to get past the mindset that wealth is a zero-sum game, that may be true in the financial trading markets, but it's not true in the larger actual working economy. I've got no problem with the early Chef at Google earning hundreds of millions with his stock options, or the CEO of Ben & Jerry's only earning 5x what an uneducated line worker makes moving product around the production floor.

      Maybe if we could get some realistic education going at the elementary school level about economics and where wealth comes from, we might get a better educated public who could guide their elected officials better than we have been for the last 50 years. Too bad that any such program would be seen as a political grooming project and subject to such extreme biases that it gets scrapped altogether because the various ideologies can't agree how the children should be indoctrinated.

  • (Score: 1) by nicdoye on Saturday July 15, @11:07PM (8 children)

    by nicdoye (3908) on Saturday July 15, @11:07PM (#539683) Homepage

    In Europe, the left have traditionally cared more about the poor than identity politics, so I suspect a different result would happen over here. Well, until our political system becomes completely infected by the madness we see over the pond. (Which is certainly happening in the UK).

    --
    I code because I can
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:41PM (#539695)

      Um, where is "here", and whose "our" are you talking about? And, which pond: the little one, or the big one, or that down-undy one?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:42PM (#539697)

      They coached the results by making the resource quantity odd, and not allowing the odd coin to be shared equally between the two parties. The result of this was 'somebody' had to end up rich, rather than each side actually ending up evenly dispensated.

      While not everyone would, many people, even in america, might have chosen a different result if neither side ended up being 'richer' than the other. But OF COURSE if somebody ended up richer they would rather retain that extra wealth themselves, than just flip it to the other side. It is not that different from the current Right vs Left 'PC' conflict going on: When one side demands 'more' rights/privileges so the balance of power is reversed, instead of reaching equilibrium, of course both sides are going to want the OTHER side to be disadvantaged rather than themselves. The trick is to do what you need to to ensure both sides feel evenly treated/represented and benefitted. Hard in the real world, but nobody really tries to, because everybody is trying to push a fucking angle.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by looorg on Saturday July 15, @11:45PM (3 children)

      by looorg (578) on Saturday July 15, @11:45PM (#539698)

      In Europe, the left have traditionally cared more about the poor than identity politics, so I suspect a different result would happen over here. Well, until our political system becomes completely infected by the madness we see over the pond. (Which is certainly happening in the UK).

      That stopped quite some time ago. It's been all about the identity politics for about a decade now in the euro-mainland. It's probably turning a bit now since it has utterly fucked up and failed in every possible way. They seem a bit lost now as to what to pick instead.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by julian on Sunday July 16, @01:14AM (1 child)

        by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @01:14AM (#539727)

        It's the worst thing the left could have done. We needed to stick to an economic message targeted at the working class. The immigration question is also killing us. Mass immigration from Africa and the Middle East/Asia is unsustainable given the type of society we want to have at home; liberal, individual rights, gender equality, social safety net. It's a tragedy, but reaching your hand out to a drowning person often results in two people drowning instead of just one.

        We need to drop the gender/sex hysteria and get real on immigration/refugees and the left will start to win again. The West is worth preserving and improving and we can't let the far right (which often attracts people who are motivated by actual racism) be the only group that can get away with saying it.

        • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday July 17, @07:18AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 17, @07:18AM (#540212) Homepage Journal

          But supposing "you" actually started to talk and act sensibly now... in general they're nowhere close to doing that around these parts, I know since I live right smack in the middle of it all. On rare occasions there are outliers like yourself but the public and official examples here can be counted on a single hand with fingers to spare, and that is over the span of the last four decades! That count includes those who are dead now (because for some people terminal illness is the only source of enough courage to state the truth).

          ...but let's say they did then why should anyone trust you/them now after at the very least forty years of madness and destruction? Of the vast majority those too old do not truly care any longer and those too young have nothing to compare and contrast the present to. Even fools like me don't see much point in it any longer; writing comments like this one. Those calling it genocide aren't entirely wrong (and it's kind of crazy that those people are the closest to being sane although still entirely deluded).

          I live in one of those Nordic countries and (almost "of course") I've been to the rest of them as well as plenty of others. As just about everyone knows these countries are or at least used to be very closely related, almost a single culture (when seen from the outside) but not quite. I was born here at the time when the earliest motions of this madness were being implemented, as I grew up I was raised and indoctrinated to buy into and indeed bought all the lies.

          I hate to say it but with each passing year it seems more and more likely to me that everything at least from WWII onwards is fabricated, but quite likely long before that too. So much for historical facts, and don't get me wrong: this includes everything ordinary and uncontroversial that one wants to be true. There is no reason to trust any of it nor any of the alternative narratives as far as I am concerned.

          Every political party that has ever been in parliament here is some version of socialist or communist, even the so-called "conservatives" and the so-called "far right" admit to being somewhat "socially democratic". I will no longer vote for any of them, they are nothing but a distraction and an insult and likely deserve a fate worse than any human or country is able to give them. Out of spite I will perhaps vote for a tiny microscopic party which has no chance of winning but I can hardly convince myself that it is worth the bother because it really isn't and in a way not voting in any way actually has more impact.

          The second largest voter block in this country is that of those who do not vote at all. Back when I believed all the lies I couldn't comprehend it but now I can.

          The social experiment didn't start with migration that's for sure, it started with mass manipulation and mass conditioning, at the very least in the fifties but likely much earlier. It worked on your grandparents, it worked on your parents, and it worked and is still working on you and still me as well despite me writing something like this.

          I haven't read "Quiet weapons for quiet wars" yet but I really ought to, maybe it will prove insightful and explanatory (or maybe it will be a shit pile of the usual nonsense, it's a toss-up).

          Now I really ought to stop reading and writing and get my ass moving as I don't really have the time for this —sorry for venting, nothing personal :D

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @01:40AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @01:40AM (#539737)

        The problem is that non 1st world immigrants demands western level of healthcare, schools and infrastructure but will not perform as high salary nor be employed in the corresponding rate to contribute their share. Which means that the native population is setup to sponsor them forever without any gain.

        Secondly they bring a lot of social, health, crime and general disorder problems. For which again their is no gain to the native population.

        It's a net negative both in the short term and the long term. It's unlikely to be sustainable and the resolution is unlikely to be pretty. But responsible leadership can mitigate a lot of the uglier possibilities. But when such leadership is lacking, policies will be reactive or simple have no bearing in realities. The honeymoon is running out in a non-linear time.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, @11:50PM (#539700)

      It's the same book, same play as always. A broken refrain of Facts vs MAH FEELZ. Except in countries that suffered result of MAH FEELZ, aka Communism. You will be hard press trying to parrot that bullshit there, because there is only one place it will lead you to, your own place dangling from a tree branch.

    • (Score: 2) by mth on Sunday July 16, @02:11AM

      by mth (2848) on Sunday July 16, @02:11AM (#539743) Homepage

      I doubt the results would have been very different. While there is far less opposition to wealth redistribution in Europe compared to the US, I don't know of any party in Europe arguing that wealth should be redistributed in such a way that current rich people would end up with less than current poor people.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by sea on Sunday July 16, @12:19AM (35 children)

    by sea (86) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @12:19AM (#539706) Journal

    I think the issue is that people have an innate sense of what is Fair.

    and no matter how you slice it, taking something away from someone who has it just isn't fair to that person.

    You might be improving the state of the poor person, but at the end of the day, everybody is going to know, deep down, that the rich person didn't do anything to deserve an injustice like that.

    The only way forward is to generate new coins and give them to the poor persons, not steal from people who haven't done anything wrong.

    Now if the richer person willingly donated, it's different. Strong-arming the goods out of them is theft, though, plain and simple.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:27AM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:27AM (#539707)

      Rich people shouldn't pay taxes because taxes are unfair to people who earned their money. Tax the poor instead. Poor people are already poor and they know how to live with less so let's give them less. That's fair.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:42AM (12 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:42AM (#539711)

        A lot of folks don't realize that when USA's personal income tax was thought up, it was a tax on what would today be called billionaires; Joe Average paid nothing.

        Over the years, The Rich have bought off the politicians and shifted the bulk of that tax onto The Working Class.
        This is what Oligarchs do.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday July 16, @01:28AM (11 children)

          Bullshit. The proper poor pay not one dime of income tax. The proper rich pay very little except to their accountants. The middle class are the only ones paying huge chunks of their income to support this bullshit system.

          --
          Save Ferris!
          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @05:25AM (10 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @05:25AM (#539811)

            The middle class are the big target - no point in taxing the poor, you just have to give it back to them anyway to keep them from resorting to crime to survive. Taxing the rich is too much trouble for the ROI - there aren't enough of them to make a real difference, and besides - they employ legions of middle class lawyers and accountants to keep their taxes low, so, in effect, these loophole laws are creating jobs and generating tax income that way.

            No, the bulk of the US economy is still the middle class, which is why it's worrying to see it disappearing. We're going to have to start taxing the rich more if they insist on hoarding all the wealth, unless we just want to kill all the poor before they have a chance to revolt. People may find urban homeless "revolting" today, but that's minor compared to the problems the rich had in the French Revolution. Then, there's the problem that if you kill all the poor, the rich won't stay rich for long - sometimes I wonder if they realize this, it often seems like they don't.

            • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday July 16, @10:33PM (9 children)

              by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday July 16, @10:33PM (#540059) Journal

              Taxing the rich is too much trouble for the ROI - there aren't enough of them to make a real difference

              Huh? The top 1% in the U.S. possess ~35-40% of all U.S. private wealth. The top 0.1% possess ~20% of all wealth. I'm not sure who you define as "rich," but "aren't enough of them to make a real difference" isn't true when they own a significant chunk of the pie.

              (I'm not arguing about the fairness or unfairness of tax rates or brackets -- but the idea that the rich are a relatively insignificant portion for tax purposes just isn't true.)

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:22AM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:22AM (#540088)

                Income != assets.

                We keep having this damn non sequitur show up.

                "Tax the rich! Tax the monkeyfuck out of the rich!"

                "There ... aren't that many of them, and their share of income isn't that big, so that even if you simply confiscated all income for the top 1% you wouldn't get as much as your social programmes require."

                "But they have so much!"

                "Not the point. You're not proposing just taking their shit - but taxing their income."

                "Then let's take their shit!"

                "Compensation ... eminent domain ... yeah, you'll have to change the constitution to do that."

                "Fuck the USA! The system's broken! Bring in socialism!"

                "You cray."

                The fact is, even if you levied huge fat asset taxes to the point of being confiscatory, all you'd achieve (besides driving mobile assets out) is dropping the very value of assets like a rock because all of a sudden every car, every boat, every strip of grassland, every bit of business turns into a moneypit. And if you made it conditional upon a certain degree of accumulated wealth (net or gross) that would be a de facto confiscation from a subgroup of the population, which would almost certainly fail constitutional scrutiny - unless they applied the broken logic of the drug war, thereby rapidly converting the USA into one of the worst places in the world to own assets and build wealth.

                Not exactly sterling public policymaking, yo.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @01:16AM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @01:16AM (#540106)

                  ...and the rich stuff their money into mattresses where it gains them no additional income.
                  ...and real estate has never been know to appreciate in value.

                  Don't you even -think- about things before you put your silly notions into comments?

                  .
                  Tax the rich

                  ...or don't allow them to use The Commons to make money.
                  Let them buy their own rights of way then build their own private roads, put in their own electrical wires and communications fiber, etc.

                  .
                  eminent domain ... yeah, you'll have to change the constitution to do that

                  Gawd, you are a moron.

                  -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:52AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:52AM (#540164)

                    "...and the rich stuff their money into mattresses where it gains them no additional income."
                    "...and real estate has never been know to appreciate in value."

                    Missing the point. If you're taxing it at a rate commensurate with income, it's effectively an income tax and we're back at square 1 - they don't actually have, on balance, as much income as you'd think. Certainly not enough, in the top 1%, to finance all those delicious social programmes. The top 1% get maybe 20% of the nation's income (USA, here). The top of the pyramid spikes high, but it's pretty narrow. If you want a broad-based tax on income, you need to go a lot deeper.

                    If on the other hand you're simply taxing the raw value of assets, you're inducing a whole different problem. I'd thought it would have been fairly clear from the post above, but evidently it wasn't so let me spell it out:

                    Bob Bigbucks has a Massive Mansion that he lives in. Very elitist of him. On paper (i.e. unrealised value) it might or might not accumulate cash value, but unless he sells, that's essentially imaginary. He lives in it, he's not renting it out, and it requires maintenance. Sure, it's nice that he has it, but it is the proverbial money-pit, only justified by the idea that the alternative is renting, and it might actually increase in market value in the long run. In the short run, as we all know, the value fluctuates.

                    Now Greta Government comes along, wearing her bustier and carrying her riding crop, and tells Bob Bigbucks to cough up money because he has an asset. Not because he sold an asset; not because the asset is making him money; because it just is. Because it exists. Because it's there. Not just an extra 2% on his property tax bill, mind you, but a big enough chunk to make a major difference to the USA's medical bill.

                    Bob does his sums. Bob looks his mansion square in the eye, and says: "Sweetie, it's been great. We'll always have the good times. But there's this little beachfront property in the Bahamas I want to live in, so ... hasta la pasta."

                    If it's just one guy, who cares? But it's not just one. It's dozens, hundreds, thousands of Bobs all putting their property on the market around the same time. And it's not just mansions, it's yachts, it's cars, it's vacation cabins, it's farms, it's wads of stock in ExploitoCorp, it's everything that constitutes a convertible asset.

                    Now, let's take a little trip back to the theory of supply and demand, shall we? What happens to the value of items on the market, when there's a glut of items on that market, and when the costs of ownership of those items have just spiked? Anybody? Bueller? That's right - the market falls like a balloon with a brick in it. Asset values? Wow. Yeah. Not so much.

                    The good news for Bob, assuming he could even close a sale, is that he now has some cash in hand, and the eye-watering loss he just took at least can come off his taxes, but now he looks around and determines that the best place for this cash is somewhere, anywhere, but here where assets are being taxed merely for existing, at rates that it would be polite to call extortionate. (The annual budget, for those wondering, for health care in the USA has a few zeroes ... might it be in the region of twelve? Yeah, a little property tax today is nowhere near that kind of money, especially not when we're soaking the rich preferentially.)

                    So we're either taxing the crap out of assets because wealthy people are blood-sucking vampire squid, or we're taxing the crap out of their incomes. One way or another they're not motivated to stick around and say: "Please sir, may I have another?"

                    But let's not forget other assets: assets that show an affirmative return. Bob Bigbucks also has rental property. Of course he does! He's Bob! Dozens, hundreds of families living on his land! Now all of a sudden those evil rental assets turn into ... what? Rental problems, because not only is he being taxed on the whole rental income thing, but the rental asset itself just suddenly got a hell of a lot more expensive to own.

                    Oooh, this is a tough one. What can Bob do to get out of this problem? Well, he can kick people out, resubdivide, and rent half sized apartments for the same money to recoup his losses. Or he can raise the rent like a firework going up. Or he can simply ditch the asset because it's now a losing proposition. Hell, he could sign it over to the IRS and let them worry about it. Either way, Bob ditches the thing that was supposed to be a nice nest egg, but is now a leech on his balance sheet. And again, we have Bobs in their thousands doing the exact same thing. The little people, who aren't being taxed, but are customers of people who are being soaked, suddenly find that rent is crazily expensive. Or the building just got sold out from under them and they need to get a U-Haul before the eviction notices start coming.

                    The long and the short of it is that confiscatory policies, regardless of how you dress them up, don't actually tend to have the effects desired. Assets tank, people leave (or find loopholes, or find loopholes while they're leaving) and then you just have a new selection of 1%ers, just poorer than the previous lot. One way or another, you're still stuck with your social programme and a worse situation.

                    And while we're at it, I can point out that this would apply just as easily to other assets, such as cooperative co-ownership ...

                    On another front, it's worth pointing out that estate taxes have had similar results on a smaller scale. They've created an entirely artificial liquidity preference in estate planning, just so that you don't have to ditch major family assets at firesale prices. This is a classic example of unintended consequences, where the asset-wealthy (and often income-poor) are essentially pushed into shoving their money into virtual mattresses. Woo.

                    "...or don't allow them to use The Commons to make money. Let them buy their own rights of way then build their own private roads, put in their own electrical wires and communications fiber, etc."

                    Yeah, funny thing with that. That was tried during the Gilded Age, and it turns out that it's a great way of lending them power. They build exactly what they need, and don't build what anybody else needs, and then they charge everyone else to use those assets. This is actively counterproductive. Many company towns had company roads, company lighting, company steam pipes, company everything. You may want to check the details of this, but the consensus is that it did not make for a very good outcome.

                    Instead, what happened is that things like rights of way were taken over by the government, for use by rich and poor alike, in the interests of giving the poor suckers at the bottom a break. It may come as a shock to learn this, but this was actually very good for small business, even though Bob Bigbucks was only too happy to run his trucks and vans on public roads.

                    "eminent domain ... yeah, you'll have to change the constitution to do that"

                    "Gawd, you are a moron."

                    Quote the whole thing. But what the hell, since you're having trouble with the nuances here, let me break it down. Just taking the shit of rich people runs into a problem, because confiscation without compensation is actually illegal. This is one of the big hurdles for projects such as Hyperloop. Confiscatory taxes and legislated confiscation ("takings") are outlawed by the constitution. If you don't fix those items, or find a root password to the constitution (Drugs! Terrorism! Think of the children!) the basic idea of confiscatory approaches is doomed - the most that can be done is taxation, and in that context you run into asset value problems, or simple magnitude of income problems.

                    Now, I won't call you a moron for not figuring all this out on your ownsome, but I will say that your scholarship is lacking. Fortunately, that can be improved with study.

                    You gotta lotta work to do.

              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 17, @03:22AM (5 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday July 17, @03:22AM (#540151)

                So, are you proposing taxing static wealth holdings? Property taxes are some of the most unpopular, and most likely to drive the wealthy overseas - the smaller tax havens make a point of not taxing property, or income, only consumption, specifically to attract the wealthy to their jurisdictions.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:00AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:00AM (#540168)

                  That certainly does sound a lot like what Athanasius is proposing.

                  And property taxes, by the way, tend to work out to be wickedly regressive. It doesn't look that way at first, and if you're only looking down Broadway, it wouldn't be - but it's not. They take effect out in rural areas, where the vast majority of people range between scraping by, broke and broker. There's a lot of detail to understand, but property taxes are one reason that Washington (the pacific state, not the swamp) has the most regressive taxes in the nation.

                • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday July 17, @04:36AM (3 children)

                  by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Monday July 17, @04:36AM (#540177) Journal

                  Sheesh -- do I have to do all the thinking for everyone? No, I'm not proposing increasing property taxes or proposing anything else for that matter as I stated quite clearly at the end of my first post. I'm just noting that there's a significant chuck of the pie concentrated in the "rich," so even if they are a small fraction of the population, the "ROI" in taxing them is not insignificant.

                  For the record, the top 1% also have something like 22% of total annual income in the U.S. too. Do some research before assuming a bunch of things I didn't even say.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @05:17AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @05:17AM (#540189)

                    The 22% number is substantially disputed. Not in terms of order of magnitude, but in terms of a substantial proportion. If I remember correctly, Piketty came up with that number, along with fellow researchers, but made some rather aggressive assumptions when doing so. Other numbers I've seen are below 20%.

                    That aside, what you DID say was "the idea that the rich are a relatively insignificant portion for tax purposes just isn't true."

                    In the context of where to put taxes, it does raise the question of what taxes to demand of whom - and since those were options on the table, guessing at what you are advocating seems reasonable.

                    But aside from that, your observation by itself isn't that helpful anyhow. It doesn't address questions such as the people who earn nothing (like babies, the indigent, college students living off loans rather than jobs) and it leaves the question of households a little open. It also takes no account whatsoever of living circumstances. If you're in the 1% of household income, and you're in rural Mississippi, you're doing just great! If you're living in Manhattan, you're ... kind of doing OK. There's a massive difference.

                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 17, @12:11PM (1 child)

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday July 17, @12:11PM (#540264)

                    Getting closer to reality - and I agree with Warren Buffet, it's not only unfair but also insane that his receptionist pays a higher percentage of her income as tax than he does.

                    But, you're talking about "attacking" capital gains, and all the other sacred cows that have been elevated to protected status in the last 30 years. That 22% number is including more than just what gets reported on 1099s and W2s.

                    In the early 70s, the rich were supposed to be paying >50% of income as taxes, though the loopholes rebates and incentives were legion. In a sense, I think they were right: the tax laws were essentially dictating to the rich a limited number of options of what to do with their money unless they wanted to give over half of it to the general fund, and that's insulting. I'd much rather tax the rich at 40% flat, no loopholes, rather than 60% with various incentives that can bring that down to 20 if they invest as they are told to by the government.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:46PM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:46PM (#540351)

                      For the record, Warren's chief gripe related to more than just the income tax structure in general, but also things like capital gains tax rules.

                      The 22% number was arrived at by ignoring things like transfers - at which point vast segments of the population earn a big, fat 0. This is not a reasonable way of calculating where we are now, because it doesn't reflect things like - well, even as prosaic as the humble food stamp.

                      I find it amusing that what you're recommending is so close, in spirit, to what the Reagan-era congress achieved, by dropping top rates like a rock, but also killing a lot of tax exemptions. Financial big bosses found themselves paying more tax because their favourite tax dodges had vanished.

                      The real problem is that taxes have a couple of roles, the most obvious of which is stuffing the government's coffers, and the next most obvious of which is social engineering. Hence, sin taxes on cigarettes and so on.

                      The government can hardly resist the temptation to socially engineer - but that means that the most compliant people can get their tax bills greatly reduced as long as they're inclined to play the government's game.

                      Flat taxes means that the government is giving away power, and they hate that.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by julian on Sunday July 16, @01:23AM (18 children)

      by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @01:23AM (#539732)

      The rich are rich because society existed and gave them the opportunity to make that money, and a fair amount of luck is required on top of that. You cannot name a single person who achieved great wealth entirely on their own. They had to be born and raised at the very least. The rugged individualist is a myth; simply trace their life back to when they were in diapers which someone else was changing.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday July 16, @01:30AM (15 children)

        You have to do some wicked mental gymnastics to buy that bullshit. Make sure to stretch first.

        --
        Save Ferris!
        • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday July 16, @02:44AM (14 children)

          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday July 16, @02:44AM (#539758)

          God damn it, why don't we have a "-1, Fractally-Wrong" mod? That statement is wrong on every scale you examine it on. I realize you've said you're here to troll, but at some point good taste needs to win out over the urge for your daily dose of shitzngiggles.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @10:00AM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @10:00AM (#539857)

            It's called "Disagree". Which means exactly the same thing as "Wrong" since believing the latter means that you take the former position, and claiming the former means that you believe the latter. "Disagree" is something you don't like because it implies that YOU may even be the one who is wrong. Live with it; we all are sometimes.

            (Personally, I would actually prefer "Wrong". The Newspeak way of always being forced to turn all dissent on yourself is creating a society of butt-hurt victims. If you don't for example like someone's holy book, say it is wrong instead of that you don't believe it. You can still be polite when holding a strong position.)

            • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday July 16, @11:30PM (3 children)

              by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday July 16, @11:30PM (#540079) Journal

              If I'm not mistaken, though, "Disagree" is a neutral mod, which does not affect post score. Parent was asking for a "-1, factually wrong" mod, which doesn't exist. Problem is that such a mod would likely be abused, just as "troll" or "flamebait" sometimes are already... so I'm not sure it would actually help things.

              On the other hand, it would be helpful in some circumstances, because sometimes posts get modded up by people who don't know better, and then someone comes along with actually references, links, etc. that show it was complete BS. That doesn't necessarily mean the parent was acting in bad faith (deserving a troll or flamebait or whatever). I suppose "overrated" is the general purpose mod for this scenario.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:26AM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:26AM (#540091)

                Asked for "fractally wrong" not "factually wrong". Read again.

                Also, we have enough of an issue with modbombing going on. Giving people with an axe to grind yet one more hammer is highly unlikely to make anything better.

                • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday July 17, @04:28AM (1 child)

                  by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Monday July 17, @04:28AM (#540174) Journal

                  I can read and I saw the spelling the first time. Given the rest of the post and the fact that "fractally wrong" doesn't make much sense in that context (or really any context) I assumed it was a misspelling.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:32AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:32AM (#540176)

                    The hint is in the following sentence:

                    "That statement is wrong on every scale you examine it on."

                    Fractals have a self-similarity characteristic, where they are similar to themselves in appearance at widely varying scales.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday July 16, @10:23AM (8 children)

            Because being wrong does not detract from a discussion, it creates more informative discussion if your harpy ass can stow the venom long enough to correct the record.

            --
            Save Ferris!
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:09PM (7 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:09PM (#539975)

              Oh look, TMBis back and full of shit. We all need some continuity in life, buy TMB yours is just sad.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:28AM (6 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @12:28AM (#540092)

                What, the fact that Azuma keeps stroking that big, throbbing, silicon virtual hateboner for TMB every chance it gets?

                Yeah, that is kind of sad, but it's not Buzz's fault, is it?

                • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday July 17, @02:24AM (5 children)

                  by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday July 17, @02:24AM (#540127)

                  LOL, hateboner. Seriously? Understand something: I don't hate him, for the same reason I'm not trying to make him see sense either. And that reason is that it is not possible to "save" someone so far gone, nor would any amount of hate or any emotion reach him.

                  My only intent in engaging his posts is to make sure anyone reading them gets a quick followup dose of the antidote to whatever memetic poison he's decided to spew at that particular point in time. Think of him as something like a small, mobile Superfund site of the mind, a walking (waddling?) cognitohazard. He himself is lost, and for all I know was lost since before I was born. It's sad, but this is all that can be done.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:06AM (4 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:06AM (#540169)

                    "God damn it, why don't we have a "-1, Fractally-Wrong" mod? That statement is wrong on every scale you examine it on. I realize you've said you're here to troll, but at some point good taste needs to win out over the urge for your daily dose of shitzngiggles."

                    That's your idea of a memetic antidote? It's basically poo-flinging, with somewhat less panache and grace than the second-rank chimp at the zoo.

                    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday July 17, @07:03AM (3 children)

                      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday July 17, @07:03AM (#540207)

                      Believe it or not, yes, it is. Let me explain: first impressions matter a whole hell of a lot. If you were new here, you'd see just two people up there, one poster and one respondent.

                      Now, Uzzard has stated that he is here mainly to troll. Leaving aside the fact that that's about as convincing as someone who admits to "ironic racism," having that pointed out directly below means that a casual viewer will be less likely to take him seriously, in this post *or any other future one.* That right there is a sort of global if low-strength immunization to anything he further spews.

                      Ripping apart individual posts of his is actually *less* useful, mainly due to the way human minds work. This is a consequence of two things: 1) it's easier to, as it were, shit on the rug than clean a shitstain out of the rug, and 2) human minds are lazy and will be annoyed with a massive wall-o-text. They may also, if even subconsciously, suspect that the person posting said wall-o-text in response actually has a weaker position than in reality *because* it took a lot of text. (In other words: tl;dr: "tl;dr").

                      Make sense now?

                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:36PM (2 children)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:36PM (#540344)

                        "Make sense now?"

                        In theory, sure.

                        In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice.

                        In practice I see one moderately snarky but relatively sober voice, and one shrieking, hysterical, over-emotional response to everything the sober voice says.

                        If you want to be the persuasive one, you have to look saner.

                        • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday July 17, @04:55PM (1 child)

                          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday July 17, @04:55PM (#540396)

                          Oh, you again.

                          See, your response tells me one thing: tone is more important than content to you. That's fine; unfortunately a lot of humans work that way :/ All it means is you can't be saved either. Have fun in the playpen shittin' yourself with all the other useless degenerates.

                          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @04:30AM

                            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @04:30AM (#540777)

                            You say:

                            See, your response tells me one thing: tone is more important than content to you. That's fine; unfortunately a lot of humans work that way :/ All it means is you can't be saved either. Have fun in the playpen shittin' yourself with all the other useless degenerates.

                            Excellent point. Let's look at the content as well as the tone of your original comment:

                            God damn it, why don't we have a "-1, Fractally-Wrong" mod? That statement is wrong on every scale you examine it on. I realize you've said you're here to troll, but at some point good taste needs to win out over the urge for your daily dose of shitzngiggles.

                            Tone: Ah yes. Nothing but unadulterated sober professionalism at work here... well, maybe a little schoolyard whining ... or no, actually, it's straight from the heavy trolling playbook.

                            Content: A statement to the effect that the parent is wrong, and a self-proclaimed troll, and an appeal for good taste.

                            So what did TMB originally state to merit this response?

                            You have to do some wicked mental gymnastics to buy that bullshit. Make sure to stretch first.

                            ... which was in response to:

                            The rich are rich because society existed and gave them the opportunity to make that money, and a fair amount of luck is required on top of that. You cannot name a single person who achieved great wealth entirely on their own. They had to be born and raised at the very least. The rugged individualist is a myth; simply trace their life back to when they were in diapers which someone else was changing.

                            ... which was in turn a response to:

                            I think the issue is that people have an innate sense of what is Fair. and no matter how you slice it, taking something away from someone who has it just isn't fair to that person. You might be improving the state of the poor person, but at the end of the day, everybody is going to know, deep down, that the rich person didn't do anything to deserve an injustice like that. The only way forward is to generate new coins and give them to the poor persons, not steal from people who haven't done anything wrong. Now if the richer person willingly donated, it's different. Strong-arming the goods out of them is theft, though, plain and simple.

                            Given that julian was referring to the value of society, the reasonable interpretation of TMB's statement appears to be a rejection of the connection of society's role to the justification for expropriating the property of the wealthy.

                            At its most feeble, TMB's position is at best an expression of opinion on the merits of socially-motivated expropriation. You then sail into the argument with a personal criticism topped off by unsupported contradiction.

                            This is like a classic Navy argument: flat statement (julian) followed by flat contradiction (TMB) followed by personal abuse (AH).

                            But you know what? I'll bite. Explain to me, slowly and with specific reference to the interpretive details, precisely how you're providing what you are pleased to call a memetic antidote, because right now I don't see it, and as someone who reveres notions well-represented among the liberal arts, your stooping to his level (and worse) is like watching a fellow soldier shoot himself in the foot.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:09AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @11:09AM (#539869)

        The rich are rich because society existed and gave them the opportunity to make that money, and a fair amount of luck is required on top of that.

        Correct.

        You cannot name a single person who achieved great wealth entirely on their own.

        Not within the context of your preceding sentence, only within the context that terms like self-made are employed.

        They had to be born and raised at the very least.

        Not every wealthy person had a good upbringing.

        The rugged individualist is a myth;

        [citation needed]

        simply trace their life back to when they were in diapers which someone else was changing.

        Your implication is completely wrong. No matter their start in life, those who take the risks and do the work find there are no barriers to wealth acquisition or social mobility.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:22AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @03:22AM (#540152)

          No matter who take the risks and do the work find there are no barriers to wealth acquisition or social mobility. Except for the fact some have much more to fall back on, get a lot more help often undeserved. Your start in life matter way more than any of the things you mentioned.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @05:04AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @05:04AM (#539800)

      You're right, about the sense of "fair," but what's wrong in this picture is when the "wealthy" haven't done anything to get that wealth - simple luck of the draw.

      If you watch how lottery payouts evolve over time, what you'll see is that the "big winner" pot gets bigger over time, at the expense of the runners up. Florida lottery payouts (last time I checked) are only 50% return to the players, the other 50% goes to the state, so the odds really suck to start with, but then the bulk of the winnings goes to the hardest "pick six" winner, while those who match 5 or 4 or 3 numbers get a relatively tiny return compared to the odds of how hard it was to hit the match they made.

      So, if you have such a system where everybody pays in a dollar a week - do you prefer a game where everybody gets $0.50 per week back, or one where most people get nothing back, and one person a month becomes a multi-millionaire. People prefer to dream that they might be the one who wins. I actually know a coworker of my Uncle's who won $14M in a lottery, took a nice ride on his boat once... but I also know literally thousands of people like him who have played the lottery and net-lost money, never winning anything of significance.

      Personally, I think the lottery is an interesting form of entertainment, and also a potential tool for screening people for gambling addiction problems... I see no reason to abolish it, but if people are spending more than 1% of their disposable income on this form of entertainment, they should seek counselling. Similarly, I think basing the larger economy on similar schemes is lunacy, but I feel like a very significant portion of our economy is built on pointy-top pyramids that more resemble lotteries than anything resembling fairly distributed compensation for services rendered.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:01PM (#540027)

      The only way forward is to generate new coins and give them to the poor persons, not steal from people who haven't done anything wrong.

      But that doesn't work because the rich don't store their wealth in coins, they mostly store it in property, stocks and shares. If you increase the money supply you are mostly hitting those with cash savings, who perhaps aren't poor, but likely aren't rich either. So effectively you are taking from people with a bit of money, but not the really rich who can easily afford it. Is that fair?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gaaark on Sunday July 16, @12:32AM (15 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @12:32AM (#539708) Homepage Journal

    Do it again, but with one person getting 1,000,000,000 coins, and the other one gets 1 coin.

    I bet you'd see people wanting to have that wealth distributed better..

    The difference between the ultra ultra rich and the very very poor is widening more than 4 coins can show.
    1 coin, 2 coins: who cares: much more and much less coins and you'll see people caring about distribution more.

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Entropy on Sunday July 16, @01:00AM (14 children)

      by Entropy (4228) on Sunday July 16, @01:00AM (#539720)

      Actually, no. Not if the 1 coin person is a drain on society in every sense of the word, and the (whatever higher number coin) person creates jobs, products, scientific knowledge, and other things.

      Some people really are worse than useless: They are actively destructive and a net negative for society. What the bottom percentage is? Who knows...But it exists. Probably something like 10%.

      It's unfortunate that the top 1% of minds that drag us kicking and screaming into the next age of science are not rewarded more than they are.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by mth on Sunday July 16, @02:22AM (1 child)

        by mth (2848) on Sunday July 16, @02:22AM (#539748) Homepage

        Just because someone has managed to acquire a lot of wealth doesn't mean they made a net positive contribution to society.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by julian on Sunday July 16, @03:30AM

          by julian (6003) on Sunday July 16, @03:30AM (#539775)

          And it often means nothing more than that their parents were wealthy.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:08AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:08AM (#539801)

        The useless eaters are dragging us down. [regent.edu] "Would you, if you were a cripple, want to vegetate forever?"

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @05:14AM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @05:14AM (#539805)

          Stephen Hawking fans will hunt you down...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:14PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:14PM (#539956)

            In what? A laser-equipped shit-seeking wheelchair?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 16, @05:11AM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday July 16, @05:11AM (#539803)

        So, that bottom 10%, should they be homeless, denied medical care, maybe just shot on sight because the world is better off without them?

        The bottom 10% of caribou calves are eaten by wolves, improving the genetic quality of the herd, if what you care about are calves that get up and run fast at birth.

        A big part of humankind is defined by the fact that we don't treat our less fortunate like those slower caribou calves. A big part of what makes the better parts of the world better is that they take care of the bottom 10% well enough that they don't feel forced to prey on the more fortunate as they are able to out of necessity. When there are people around who are left in desperate conditions, the rich end up living in fear, which is both expensive and unpleasant for everyone involved.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:20PM (#539957)

          Actually, you're partially defining civilization, not humanity. The history of humankind is full of tribal culturally-accepted of abandonment of the aged and infirm. Along with ceremonial sacrifice, genocide, and cannibalism. The first humans were, by necessity, a pretty nasty lot.

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Sunday July 16, @10:37AM (2 children)

        by acid andy (1683) on Sunday July 16, @10:37AM (#539861)

        They are actively destructive and a net negative for society. What the bottom percentage is? Who knows...But it exists. Probably something like 10%.

        Many or most of the people having actively destructive effects on society would likely be less destructive if they had a basic income and a home of basic quality. If you force such people to do work that they are not competent at then their incompetence will have that net negative effect you describe. Further, if completely deprive them of all sources of income or a home, they will often be driven to crime which again is that net negative. Emotions of resentment, anger and hopelessness are also factors in this behavior.

        Sometimes taking care of people at a basic level is simply the least expensive option for society.

        --
        Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
        • (Score: 1, Troll) by Entropy on Sunday July 16, @04:58PM (1 child)

          by Entropy (4228) on Sunday July 16, @04:58PM (#539937)

          We already give jobless baby factories on welfare free money. We can either spend additional money on "helping" a useless segment of the population, or on the most intelligent scientists in our population. I vote the latter, but the former is certainly more popular these days.

          I'm not saying everyone in need is useless, but there's a certain significant segment of them that really seem to be. Just like there's a segment of the top wealthy that is actively destructive.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:26PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @07:26PM (#539979)

            We also have sociopathic pieces of shit like yourself. Make no mistake, if we go down the chopping block route people such ad yourself will be given the boot.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday July 16, @10:58AM (1 child)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @10:58AM (#539866) Homepage Journal

        A person who uses their wealth and power to change laws to their favour in order to increase their wealth and power are just as much a 'drain on society'.

        Yes, some people ARE a drain and are a net negative: but the top 1% of minds are NOT dragging us kicking and screaming... they are STEALING from everyone else for their own benefit.

        Usually this ends in revolution, which seems to be coming one way or the other.

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
        • (Score: 2) by Entropy on Sunday July 16, @04:47PM

          by Entropy (4228) on Sunday July 16, @04:47PM (#539932)

          Honestly I consider the top 1% to be the brilliant MINDS that drag us forward into the next generation of civilization. Those minds are usually under-rewarded and certainly not regularly the wealthy elite.

          There is a percentage, perhaps even a high percentage of the wealthy elite that are actively destructive.

      • (Score: 1) by YeaWhatevs on Sunday July 16, @12:43PM (1 child)

        by YeaWhatevs (5623) on Sunday July 16, @12:43PM (#539878)

        The goal of the rich is to get rich, nothing more. The capital choir would say that enlightened self interest is the best way to improve society, but I only really see engineers taking up that mantle; capital does what capital does and tries to shut down any real improvements so they can make a buck and steal ownership. You probably imagine yourself as one of those engineers, but don't mistake those guys for the ones pulling the strings.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:23PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:23PM (#539958)

          You win the internets today.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:33AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:33AM (#539709)

    Pressure gradients drive gas flow. Thermal gradients cause heat flow. Concentration gradients lead to ion motion. Income gradients induce human activity. Without income inequality, humanity would be even less productive by many measures than it is now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:18AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:18AM (#539745)

      Enough of a current through a potential gradient will kill you.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mth on Sunday July 16, @02:29AM

        by mth (2848) on Sunday July 16, @02:29AM (#539753) Homepage

        Yep. I think the discussion shouldn't be about whether inequality should exist, but what levels of inequality are acceptable.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:20AM (#539818)
      Income gradients, if much too extreme though, will do something analogous to attempting to increase the potential gradient (voltage) between two terminals separated by an insulator beyond the maximum it can stand. The technical term is 'breakdown voltage', because it usually results in the insulator breaking down. Societies tend to behave like insulators when it comes to income gradients, and just as with electrical insulators there is a maximum income gradient that a society can endure before it breaks down. Trying to go there usually results in unpleasant things like revolutions and civil wars.
    • (Score: 1) by YeaWhatevs on Sunday July 16, @12:55PM

      by YeaWhatevs (5623) on Sunday July 16, @12:55PM (#539880)

      I like your thinking. Keep in mind though, equally distributed capital tends to become concentrated, not the other way around. This means trying to make a buck is doing work on the system. If you want to see a real explosion of productivity, reset all debts to 0 and distribute capital equally. Then watch the system move towards its equilibrium distribution.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:42AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @12:42AM (#539712)

    "Participants were told the original standing of wealth was assigned randomly." so everyone was an imaginary lotto winner, some just hit the big pot and others the small pot. Imaginary too, of course. And test subjects would chose to rearrange that in different ways.

    Humans are stupid. It was not that someone worked hard for the money, or inherited it, or stole it, or weaseled it or anything, it was random dealt to begin with. And imaginary.

    So the rational reply is: fuck them all, give me all the coins. They are false anyway. :P

    Next time put the three in a table, and deal legal bank notes. See how it goes. Keep first aid kit at hand, just in case.

    • (Score: 2) by mth on Sunday July 16, @02:35AM

      by mth (2848) on Sunday July 16, @02:35AM (#539754) Homepage

      Expectations matter a lot. If you told a person they would be gifted $100 the next day, then the next day hand them $50 instead, they'd probably feel disappointed, even though they're still up $50 from their starting point.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @03:02AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @03:02AM (#539760)

      The rational behavior would be to not care who has how many fake coins. I outgrew playing Sims in middle school.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by leftover on Sunday July 16, @03:17AM

    by leftover (2448) on Sunday July 16, @03:17AM (#539768)

    All the talk about RE-distributing wealth misses the point. It presumes that all wealth actually belongs solely to the holders of capital. That is an entirely artificial definition. What happens if we instead structure the creation of wealth as a mix of capital and well-applied labor? Then part of the wealth intrinsically belongs to the workers and the idea of redistribution is moot. Several generations of BA majors have been indoctrinated with a fallacious exaggeration of "capitalism" as though it was a natural law like gravity. It is no such thing, even according to Smith.

    Also, the so-called "tragedy of the commons" can be revealed as the "travesty of the commons". Under which set of insane conditions is raping and pillaging considered as adding value?

    Individual people can be magnificent but our behavior in large groups is wearying.

    --
    Bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @09:45AM (#539853)

    In the first scenario, participants had to decide if they wanted to transfer two coins from person A (who already had four coins) to person B (who had one). Researchers note the "transfer would reduce inequality," (as there's less of a gap between them), but person B would end up one coin richer than person A, reversing their status.

    In the second version of game, participants were asked whether they'd transfer one coin to person B (where person A ended up with three coins and person B with two coins). Researchers ran a third and fourth scenario that allowed participants to transfer coins from person A to B, where the outcome still left person A with significantly more coins.

    Ain't that just reasonable behavior? It's one thing to help others, it's something else to give up most of what you have to make other richer than you. That's just dumb. It's not like money is growing on trees.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @02:09PM (#539892)
    In the Gospels there's the story of the Widow's Mite, where an old widow gave two pennies, just about everything she had, and Jesus proclaimed that she had given the most of them all: 'Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.' This sort of thing is not taken into account in the experiment. Taking two coins from someone with four coins and giving those two to a person who has only one doesn't feel so fair because the value differences are so small. Now, if they had used values that more closely reflect wealth inequalities of the sort that obtain in the world today, e.g. one has a billion coins and the other has only one, I'm pretty sure no one would have any qualms about taking the 'surplus wealth', even if it amounted to 500 million coins, and giving it to the person with only one.
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