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Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:43 PM

Is it immoral to make a certain amount or have a certain amount of wealth?

Simple question. Is it immoral to make a certain amount or have a certain amount of wealth?

112 replies, 6264 views

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Reply Is it immoral to make a certain amount or have a certain amount of wealth? (Original post)
BrentWil Dec 2012 OP
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #1
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #45
DRS Dec 2012 #62
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #66
dchill Dec 2012 #101
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #106
dchill Dec 2012 #110
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #111
teddy51 Dec 2012 #2
Throd Dec 2012 #3
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #4
NYC_SKP Dec 2012 #5
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #6
GreenEyedLefty Dec 2012 #7
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #8
GreenEyedLefty Dec 2012 #11
liberal N proud Dec 2012 #14
GreenEyedLefty Dec 2012 #41
DRS Dec 2012 #65
dkf Dec 2012 #30
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #43
dkf Dec 2012 #91
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #92
dkf Dec 2012 #93
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #94
marions ghost Dec 2012 #87
Xipe Totec Dec 2012 #9
Hekate Dec 2012 #10
BrentWil Dec 2012 #12
Stinky The Clown Dec 2012 #13
La Lioness Priyanka Dec 2012 #15
ProSense Dec 2012 #16
devilgrrl Dec 2012 #17
RandiFan1290 Dec 2012 #34
jberryhill Dec 2012 #18
subterranean Dec 2012 #19
hunter Dec 2012 #20
BrentWil Dec 2012 #32
hunter Dec 2012 #54
eShirl Dec 2012 #21
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #25
one_voice Dec 2012 #22
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #23
Trillo Dec 2012 #24
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #26
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #27
BrentWil Dec 2012 #33
elleng Dec 2012 #28
undergroundpanther Dec 2012 #29
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #58
guardian Dec 2012 #59
defacto7 Dec 2012 #31
MrSlayer Dec 2012 #35
aandegoons Dec 2012 #36
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #37
sendero Dec 2012 #38
NYC Liberal Dec 2012 #39
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union_maid Dec 2012 #44
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gollygee Dec 2012 #47
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Cleita Dec 2012 #49
mainer Dec 2012 #50
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #63
eShirl Dec 2012 #74
mainer Dec 2012 #80
Incitatus Dec 2012 #77
mainer Dec 2012 #81
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #51
riqster Dec 2012 #52
macwriter Dec 2012 #53
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #55
JustAnotherGen Dec 2012 #56
jollyreaper2112 Dec 2012 #57
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #60
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #61
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #71
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PETRUS Dec 2012 #97
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #99
Silent3 Dec 2012 #107
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #108
Silent3 Dec 2012 #112
Silent3 Dec 2012 #98
BrentWil Dec 2012 #68
Raine Dec 2012 #70
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #90
oldhippie Dec 2012 #64
haele Dec 2012 #67
laundry_queen Dec 2012 #100
Raine Dec 2012 #69
Incitatus Dec 2012 #72
Rex Dec 2012 #73
ronnie624 Dec 2012 #75
Skittles Dec 2012 #76
raouldukelives Dec 2012 #78
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2012 #82
cpwm17 Dec 2012 #83
Ikonoklast Dec 2012 #84
Enrique Dec 2012 #86
marions ghost Dec 2012 #88
ann--- Dec 2012 #102
lalalu Dec 2012 #103
MoonchildCA Dec 2012 #104
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #105
Zoeisright Dec 2012 #109

Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:44 PM

1. It's not the amount. It's how you got it

and what you do with it.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:40 AM

45. Yep. (nt)

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:17 PM

62. what you do with it ?

 

And who's business is it (besides you) how you spend your money ?

Does it have to be earned or is it ok for you to give you son or daughter a few thousand....or
even a few hundred thousand if you have it....isn't it yours to use as you see fit ?

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Response to DRS (Reply #62)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:37 PM

66. Legally, yes, but that's not what we're talking about.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:17 PM

101. Or if it's such an amount that you have to keep it offshore...

Or buy politicians to help preserve that amount for your great-grandchildren.

Seriously, I believe that morality comes into play whenever one has more than enough money than one can reasonably spend. Off-shored to avoid taxes? Oh yeah, that's immoral.

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Response to dchill (Reply #101)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 03:12 PM

106. Interesting point

A huge amount of money under the control of one person tends to create a moral climate.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #106)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:41 PM

110. Or more likely, a moral hurricane.

And keeping a huge amount of wealth out of circulation is a unique variety of theft. It has been effectively removed from the national economy.

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Response to dchill (Reply #110)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:59 PM

111. That's another good point.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:45 PM

2. And as importantly, how you treat other people when you are rich.

 

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:46 PM

3. It's not the amount, it's how you got it

and what you do with it.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:46 PM

4. It is when you gain that wealth at the cost of those around you


CEO takes 46% increase in compensation while cutting more than 10% of it's employees.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021956693

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:47 PM

5. It is inhuman to cheat people, even if it's legal, to get there (eom)

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:48 PM

6. It's what you did to get it.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:50 PM

7. If you're talking amassing more money than one can spend in, say, a hundred lifetimes, yes.

But, that is why there is philanthropy. The desire to give back, to help others. I think wealth can be used to make good in this world... but it's sure not happening enough.

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Response to GreenEyedLefty (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:56 PM

8. So it is ok to make people poor as long as you give some back to charity?

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:00 PM

11. No, and while I can see how you might get that from my post, that is not what I meant to imply.

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Response to GreenEyedLefty (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:03 PM

14. Please explain

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:24 AM

41. I apologize for my posts last night... I was quite emotional and tired

So basically the OP asked if it is immoral to make a certain amount of money or have a certain amount of wealth?

I have to give a very short answer in a short time (sorry)...

No, it is not immoral to make enough money to be financially secure and perhaps to pass along an inheritance to one's children.

With that said, to answer your question about making people poor, I do not think it's moral to make that kind of money on the backs of people who are not paid a decent, living wage whether here or overseas. I also don't think that turning to philanthropy makes making money in a morally questionable way acceptable, but there is no denying the influence and legacy of 20th century philanthropists, from whose vast fortunes some (certainly not all) of us have benefited.

I do think it is possible to become wealthy as an caring and socially conscious business person. It is not the norm, unfortunately. Becoming *extraordinarily* wealthy it seems to me requires a disordered personality.

Alas, I am out of time...

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Response to GreenEyedLefty (Reply #41)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:32 PM

65. Well put

 

Good job, Its hard to give a clear valid response in a very short post....
Some don't understand what 'freedom for ALL' means.

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Response to GreenEyedLefty (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:43 AM

30. What if you use it to build a plant that makes you richer but also employs hundreds of workers?

 

Why is Wealth that creates value worth less than philanthropy?

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Response to dkf (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:35 AM

43. Philanthropy cannot create value?

Why the dichotomy between philanthropy and creating value?

Do you believe everything of value can be assigned a cash value in coin of the realm?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:08 AM

91. Would you rather be handed $10,000 one time or be employed?

 

Money spent is gone. Money invested creates more money.

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Response to dkf (Reply #91)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:07 AM

92. $10,000 or a $1 per day job?

Give me the $10,000.

That was easy.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #92)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:22 AM

93. $1/day? Where do you live? Ethiopia?

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:43 AM

94. I live here

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Response to GreenEyedLefty (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:14 PM

87. yes but

then the money gets routed to a charity at the whim of the philanthropist...

Koch Bros--is that philanthropy.

Philanthropy does not justify economic injustice.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:56 PM

9. It's not a simple question, if there's not a simple number next to it

Name your price, son.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:58 PM

10. Simple answer: No, not of itself

You know it's not simple, though, don't you?

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Response to Hekate (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:01 PM

12. Why isn't it? NT

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:03 PM

13. .....

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:04 PM

15. no

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)


Response to devilgrrl (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:23 AM

34. You should recognize it by now

They usually ask a bunch of stupid rw questions before they eat their pizza.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:05 PM

18. It is immoral to make any more than I do

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:14 PM

19. Do you think it's immoral?

Personally, I don't believe there is a certain level of wealth that automatically makes a person immoral. I just think it is undesirable for most of the wealth of a society to be concentrated in the hands of a small percentage of people.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:17 PM

20. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...

... than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:25


Jesus casting out the money changers from the Temple by Giotto, 14th century:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_poverty_and_wealth

My views are entirely old school Christian.

I think the vast majority of wealthy people got that way by being immoral, unethical sharks.

I would tax the very wealthy out of existence. If they leave the USA, good riddance. We keep their stuff.

The non-linear distribution of wealth in the USA and the increasing distance between the very, very wealthy and the poor is utterly obscene.



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Response to hunter (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:17 AM

32. Hmm...You idea on how they should be treated isn't very Jesus based. NT

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Response to BrentWil (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:48 AM

54. It is absolutely "Jesus based"

The wealthy people of my utopia continue to exist in great comfort, they simply pay taxes at a rate that prevents them from becoming sinfully wealthy. The money changers are cast out of the temple.

Thomas Aquinas wrote "...it is a sin directly against one's neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them... it is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, inasmuch as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."

When the very least among us are provided for -- healthy communities, safe shelter, good food, schools, and medical care -- only then does great wealth lose it's evil stench.

Capitalism is a wonderful engine for creating wealth, but it is an unethical system when the wealth created is hoarded by a few at the expense of the communities laboring, or whose natural resources are destroyed, in the creation of this wealth.

I'm not saying tax-dodging billionaires like Mitt Romney or the Koch brothers are going to hell, instead I believe anyone who is unable to live a simple life and share their wealth with the less fortunate, people who see every last dollar they've sucked into their hoard as a means of controlling others, of controlling the political system, or of getting what they want, I'm saying people like that are already living in hell.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:23 PM

21. That's one of the stupidest canards RWNJs repeat about the left.

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Response to eShirl (Reply #21)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:18 AM

25. Shah he's on a roll

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:37 PM

22. no it's how you got the money...

what you did to earn/get it. Did you hurt people, the environment, etc?

What you do once you have it.

I think those questions are more important

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:40 PM

23. No.

But I think if you are hugely wealthy it is immoral if you do not contribute to charities.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:08 AM

24. Question centers around what is right and wrong

wordnet says "deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong"

Historically, as I understand it, there have always been a few very wealthy individuals, and a bunch of slaves. So, is that right, or wrong?

One can look at the statistics of the few versus the many, to try to determine a mean, what is common. If what most of the people do is right, and what the few do as a minority is different, then perhaps it can be construed as wrong. But this concept runs up against the historical one of there always having been a few exploiting the many.

Perhaps, just perhaps, that is what it means to be human. To either be very wealthy and a dictator of sorts, even a rather cruel one; or to be poor, and being at the dictators' beck and call at all times.

Should it be moral to amass great wealth, than that prior paragraph seems correct.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:20 AM

26. It isn't the amount, per se

But the method in which one obtained it.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:27 AM

27. I will leave morality out of it...nice RW talking point by the way

Social stability...every time a society reaches a certain imbalance in the distribution of wealth, for example when certain heirs own something like 40% of all wealth, you are setting yourself for guillotine time.

You know...if you have so much that there is no way you can enjoy it because you cannot safely walk the streets that is a problem.

But hey, the canard here at play is that the mythical left believes people should not make money...wrong. It is in the actual distribution. You should ask what is a healthy one where those who are well off don't have to fear kidnapping, murder, and a few other things. But hey, if you believe in no limits, you are in good company, Marie Antoinette even advised the people to eat cake.

By the way I will leave the morality to those quoting St Luke.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:21 AM

33. So much condemning and saying I am "right" wing

Rather silly. The distribution of wealth in this country is outrageous.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:30 AM

28. No,

'immorality' comes from actions other than making or having wealth.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:31 AM

29. yes when that wealth causes others to not be able to have survival,

Because the super rich destroy others ability to live,no one should go without so a few can have everything they ever want or could possibly spend for 1,000 lifetimes.

There needs to be a cap on personal wealth& corporate wealth. To have the super rich able to buy our system of government from under us and skew law to favor themselves, and keep most people living paycheck to paycheck, it means poverty will keep grinding others lives to stunted stumps and broken lives.

No one should have it all. All need SOME.

Zero sum games over survival vs accumulation of obscene wealth are destroying us .

Every rich man is a parasite upon others.
Capitalism is sociopathy on an economic scale.

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Response to undergroundpanther (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:59 AM

58. Not everyone gets rich by screwing someone else

For example, one can get very rich as an actor or a writer or an athlete, and doing so does not inherently screw other people.

It is also possible to get rich in business without being immoral, although that is a lot tougher in today's economy, with the sickening race to the bottom to stay competitive. But there are companies that treat their workers well and are still successful.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #58)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:04 PM

59. Not true

 

What about the income disparity in the film industry? Why should an A list actor make $20,000,000 and a caterer or grip or some assistant only make minimum wage and have no benefits?????

Actors, directors, and producers should be limited to making 25X the lowest paid salary on the set.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:43 AM

31. I can be very ignostic about this....

It's not that it's a simple question at all, it's just not a good question. You would have to define the following before it becomes realistic....

Immoral?

to make?

certain amount?

have?

Define those and call me in the morning.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:29 AM

35. Yes.

 

Once you make more than $76.13 an hour straight time, you become immoral.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:40 AM

36. It is immoral to never have enough.

That my friend is where the problem is.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:46 AM

37. yes.

 

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:47 AM

38. No..

... but it is immoral to use that wealth to buy off the government to funnel more wealth to yourself.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 05:49 AM

39. No, it's not.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:15 AM

40. No, but let's not assume they're doing anything with that wealth except lining their own coffers.

There's no Carnegie-benevolence among today's wealthy (and the turn-of-the-century Robber Barons were only generous because of legacy, not because they had any hot desire to part with even one red cent of their wealth):

http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2007/03/18useconomics-easterbrook

Now subtract Buffett and his generous gift from the group, and the rest of them begin to look downright miserly, handing to others a mere $7 billion of a combined net worth of $584 billion—or just over 1%. Numbers from the philanthropy watch organization Giving USA show that Americans as a whole annually give away about 0.5% of their net worth. So, except for Buffett, society's top givers donate to others at only a tad higher rate than the population as a whole. That's, well, pathetic. And that's just counting top givers, not the super-rich who give away little or nothing.

Microsoft mogul Paul Allen, net worth $16 billion, gave away $53 million in 2006, according to Slate—one-third of 1% of his fortune. Software magnate Lawrence Ellison, net worth $20 billion, gave away $100 million—half of 1%. Pierre Omidyar, founder of EBay, net worth $7.7 billion, gave away $67 million—less than 1%. Nike tycoon Philip Knight, net worth $7.9 billion, gave away $105 million—slightly more than 1%.

Donations of this sort, in the multimillion-dollar range, inevitably mean a lot to charities or schools, and of course it is certainly preferable that the super-rich give millions rather than nothing at all. But for those whose net worth soars into the billions, even $100 million is a pittance compared with what they have the means to give. Financier George Soros, net worth $8.5 billion, in 2006 gave away $60 million, which sounds like a lot until you reflect that it is less than 1%. Soros rails against the inequities of capitalism. Yet when it comes to his own disproportionate stash, that's another story.

snip

Carroll speculates that the super-rich won't give away money they know they will never use for two reasons: because they love money, and because extreme wealth confers power. We know already that people who give their lives over to loving money surrender their humanity in the process. As for clout, Carroll quotes Howard Hughes: "Money is the measuring rod of power." That $53 billion ensures Gates will be treated with awe wherever he goes. If he gave away 78% of his wealth like Carnegie did, he might be universally admired, but he would no longer be treated with the same degree of fawning reverence. He might even, someday, find himself in the same room with someone who has more money!


Of course, a few here would probably like the later part of the article, when the author says it would be unwise to "legislate away extreme wealth entirely" on the reasoning that the rich do "So many GOOD things" for the rest of us plebes.

He also laughably (and quite incorrectly) states that "Middle-class income is today the highest it has ever been. Living standards are too. Longevity, healthcare quality and education levels are all at historic highs."

But hey, I guess this is what happens when I go to a conservative-leaning site for sources. And to be fair, this article WAS written in 2007 . . . . before that . . . bad thing in . . . 2008 happened . . .

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:26 AM

42. It is inhumane to hoard vast resources while others have nothing

It is Immoral to gain those resources by exploiting others.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 06:39 AM

44. You know, it probably is

There is such thing as having an obscene amount of money. However most people are not deluded into thinking that real redistribution is a viable solution to anything. It's simpler then to limit ourselves to examinining the morality of how the wealth was accumulated and what the holder of said wealth does with it. I think it's safe to say, though, that a CEO making hundred and hundreds of times what the average worker makes probably should have a little trouble sleeping at night.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:36 AM

46. Yes.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:39 AM

47. I think it's immoral to hoard money when people are starving

I don't think having any amount of wealth is immoral in and of itself - depending on how it was acquired - but I think there's a moral imperative for wealthy people to use some of that wealth to help others, and the more wealth you have, the more you should give away.

Note: I'm talking about morality, not laws.



(edited for a stupid spelling error)

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:45 AM

48. Is there such a thing as morality, and if so, whose morality are you talking about

As to what the impact on human survival may or may not be, it is certainly unethical to hoard resources while many starve to death, it is certainly a drain on the resource pool to live a lifestyle of unlimited spending and a harm to the environment. Lots of rational arguments to be made, so I would ignore the subjectivity of morals. But to convince many people, a "moral" argument might be the best way to sway them.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:45 AM

49. Depends if you made it honestly, not legally mind you, but honestly

and how much of it you give back in noblesse oblige. Most of how money is made today is immoral IMHO.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:47 AM

50. Is it immoral that JK Rowling sold so many damn books?

And made a fortune doing it?

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Response to mainer (Reply #50)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:21 PM

63. She lives in England right?

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Response to mainer (Reply #50)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:03 AM

74. On which income she gladly, PROUDLY paid her taxes.

As any moral rich person would do.

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Response to eShirl (Reply #74)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:03 AM

80. The question was whether it's immoral that she's rich

not whether she pays her taxes.

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Response to mainer (Reply #50)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:18 AM

77. No

Does she make money from merchandise made in Chinese sweat shops, or from the movies where the lowest paid employees are in poverty, maybe. Does she do anything with her wealth to benefit society, I don't know I never looked into it.

Of course, the wealthy people like her are few and far between and you know it.

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #77)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:06 AM

81. I know plenty of people who make their wealth in ways like Rowling

I work in an industry where everyone I know happens to be a writer or an entertainer. So it's hardly few and far between in my sphere of friends.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:54 AM

51. no

 

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:00 AM

52. God, and the devil, are in the details

Things are neither moral nor immoral. People can be either or both.

If I ever become wealthy, I will be handing out the bulk of it to those who have less. As Don Henley put it, "you don't see no hearses with luggage racks".

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:05 AM

53. No, it's not immoral...

if you are a socially responsible person. There are plenty of rich people and families like the Kennedys who have dedicated their lives and their millions to improving society. It's all a matter of degree to be sure. Some rich people like Gates could never contribute enough money to foundations and charities to satisfy people, but if every rich person behaved in a similar manner and made an effort to be compassionate and involved the world would be a vastly better place.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:55 AM

55. Definitely not to make a certain amount

But I think it's immoral not to give generously to those less fortunate if you have a certain amount of wealth.

I believe that people who are financially successful should be able to live very comfortable lives, but when I hear about people who collect 50 antique cars or 10 houses or spend $250,000 on a meal, it churns my stomach thinking about all of the people in need who could have been helped with that money.

I do not resent success or think people should be punished for it, but I also think it's not much to ask that people who live in the lap of luxury pay a little more (or even significantly more) toward the common good. It's probably true that taxes over a certain amount discourage hard work and innovation, but we are so ridiculously far from that point with the current tax levels.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:55 AM

56. Nope

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:56 AM

57. This is a good, complicated question

The money itself is not immoral, just like the Bible says, it's love of money, not the money itself that is the root of all evil.

How you get the money is one part of the equation, what you do with it is another.

If you lie, steal and cheat, leaving others impoverished to make your fortune, that is immoral. If you happen to have a good idea, charge a fair price and make a fortune, that's fair. But I'll note that you don't typically see innocent billionaires.

Once you have the fortune, if you spend it on ridiculous luxuries like a rapper, trolling for haters and basking in the jealousy of others, you are an asshole. Not the case if you came by the money honestly and put it to good use.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:07 PM

60. "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime" Still true today. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:10 PM

61. What "great crimes" did JK Rowling commit? (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #61)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:31 AM

71. I thought about answering this and the other two replies. It would be long and require

 

the type of flexible thinking that Honoré de Balzac was noted for. Then I realized that two of you for sure, are not and never have been actually interested in answers. There is nothing that I or anyone that does not share your sad view of relative morality can say that will move you to consider your positions, so I'll just use this opportunity to kick the thread.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #71)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:49 AM

79. You thought about answering it, but realized that JK Rowling has a great fortune,

but has not committed any crimes, let alone "great crimes".

But that's OK.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #79)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 12:59 PM

85. No, but as I said. It would require far too much time to explain for no purpose.

 

Some people want to discuss and learn, and then there's you.

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #85)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:27 PM

89. OK. That makes perfect sense.

Thanks for replying anyway, even if just to explain that it would take far too long to answer my question.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #71)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:59 AM

95. Is the "I haven't the time to explain my wisdom to fools like you" attitude a crime?

You've been asked a good question, and you're ducking it. Please don't imagine that anyone sees anything else but you taking the cowardly way out.

If the only response you can imagine to this post is yet another iteration of how we aren't ready or willing or worthy to receive your great wisdom, please don't bother wasting your apparently very precious time with another round of such transparent evasion.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #95)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:11 AM

96. OK here's the shortest version. Participation in a crime is a crime.

 

Ms. Rowling is guilty of nothing other than getting hers from a criminal system, but there is the crime behind her great fortune (compounded by the third and fourth films).

Buh-by

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #96)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:06 AM

97. Some people get it, some people don't.

Still others get it but find the implications so disorienting that they wage a mighty internal war while outwardly defending the system.

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #97)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:27 AM

99. Well put. Most didn't get it when Balzac said it over a century ago and most

 

are determined to continue the trend.

What can you do?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #99)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:23 PM

107. Balzac made money from his writing.

Criminal! Participant in a criminal system!

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #107)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:52 PM

108. And was born into a wealthy family. Might have aided in his perception, don't you think?

 

He never realized a great fortune himself, however.

Please carry on not getting it.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #108)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:02 PM

112. Since Balzac didn't generate a "great fortune" for himself then somehow his for-profit publishers...

...and the capitalistic publishing industry that Balzac willingly participated in cease to be "criminal"? And if they don't cease to be criminal, doesn't "participation in a crime is a crime" still apply?

Care to follow up with a bit more haughty dismissiveness about how the people who don't immediately accept the wisdom of your words just don't "get it", perhaps sighing dramatically at our sad ignorance, oh great champion of the downtrodden?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #96)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:19 AM

98. Book publishing is criminal? Movie making is criminal?

All profit of any sort is a "crime"?

You're using a computer and the internet right now to post messages to DU. I'm sure by whatever broad standards of criminality you're applying here, you're now complicit in hundreds of "crimes", considering all of the evil capitalistic profit-making businesses and corrupt government organizations directly and indirectly involved in making it possible for you to post. But I suppose you've either got blinders on for your own complicity or convenient rationalizations because of your need to "fight the good fight" or something like that.

"Buh-by"

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:16 PM

68. hmmmmmm...

People do want products and people do think of them. That seems a little simplistic to me.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:47 PM

70. No ... What crime did the founder of COSTCO commit? nt

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Response to Raine (Reply #70)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:57 PM

90. Egalitarian Thug's time is apparently very valuable,

and it would "take too long to explain" why Costco's founder and JK Rowling are evil despicable criminals.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:30 PM

64. Yes.

 

Simple question. Simple answer.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:45 PM

67. What side of "make a certain amount" or "have a certain amount" scale of immorality are you on?

I think it's immoral to be making $2.50 an hour + tips. I think it's immoral to have an empty savings account and not have the means or ability to be able to put some little money aside in it and build up a rainy day or disaster fund. (not the will, mind you, but if you work, you should be able to save.)

I think it's immoral to inherit millions and think you earned it simply because you were lucky enough to come out of the right vagina at that time.

I think it's immoral to conn other people investing in your casino game, rake hundreds of thousands of "fees" off the top to make great wealth for yourself while letting the vagaries of the market bankrupt them or leave them with less wealth than you "earned" from your fees.

I think it's immoral to make a living falsely representing yourself, your product or your talents for lots of money. That's just as immoral to steal for a living.

I think it's immoral to claim to be "working hard" being a "leader" when you are warming a comfortable chair fitted with a golden parachute so you're risking nothing - and thousands of other people are risking their livelihood to make "your money".

I think it's immoral to claim that gathering virtual money is more important than providing a service or a product.

But more than anything, I think it's immoral to demand that people less fortunate be forced to pay their debts, impacting their ability to survive, while the more fortunate spend a minuscule amount - about the cost of a day's entertainment, in many cases - to avoid or put off paying debts.

The most immoral thing in the world is to consider the worth of any person simply as being the amount of wealth they have or can have. If the only "job" a person is capable of doing is in retail or food service, do they not have the right to be worth the simple dignity of a roof over their family's head, food, education to improve their lives, medical service, security for their old age, and access to all the benefits of citizenship? Or are they simply animals that outlive their usefulness when they can no longer work?

Therein lies the true question. As for the morality of taxing the rich, think of it this way - the wealthier one is, the more he or she interacts in the world and the more common infrastructure - including security and regulatory infrastructure - provided by the government he or she uses. While a poor person using government assistance may cost the government close to $100,000 to provide that assistance, the wealthy use far more expensive infrastructures - both physical (roads, health, rescue, and police services, local government institutions) and regulatory to keep their standard of living, wealth and property safe and to be able to move freely - especially when you include the costs of the employees and departments that support and secure the activities of the wealthy and the subsidies most of their businesses are entitled to so as to stay in business or keep other citizens "employed".
The charity or philanthropy doesn't even make a dent in what it would cost if they were to purchase or hire these services for themselves, so they get a real bargain for what they pay to the federal government - far more than that poor person who may be receiving food stamps, Medicaid, Pell grants and subsidized housing gets.

Therefore, asking the wealthy to pay a higher rate of taxes, and scaling their capital gains rates so that a realized capital gain of $1 million might have a 2 or 3% higher tax rate than a capital gain of $500K does for the use of that infrastructure that helped them make even more money is perfectly legitimate.

Just as one would pay more for insurance on more expensive property, or for having something that has more inherent risk.

Haele



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Response to haele (Reply #67)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:10 PM

100. +1000 nt

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:37 PM

69. No but it's immoral to have your boot on the neck of people

to keep them down because you don't want them to have the same opportunities that you had.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:37 AM

72. No, but having great wealth and doing nothing to benefit the less fortunate is contemptible. nt

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:45 AM

73. My what an incredibly subjective question you asked there.


I wonder why that is?

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:13 AM

75. The drive to accumulate more than we could ever use,

Is a poor foundation for a sustainable economic model, at this point in our history. It's more a matter of logic than moral legitimacy.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:14 AM

76. you damn well know the answer to that

so why are you asking? Simple question.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:44 AM

78. Not at all.

As long as it isn't generated from nefarious or ecosystem destroying practices. If you can make good money without adversely affecting the environment I say more power to you. Basically as long as you aren't profiting from Wall St or a corporation of any kind your on the right track. Otherwise your just a sponsor of terrorism against nature and a harsh life for every future living thing. Those that survive that is.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:07 AM

82. In and of itself? Nnnnnnope.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:40 AM

83. Yes it is immoral

We are not all equal, and some people are worth far more than others. What they produce proves this.

Some athletes, actors, and writers have special talents and draw more fans. Some engineer and inventor may make a special product that sells really well. These people are worth much more than average.

But the problem is that a large amount of wealth is acquired by playing the system, and not by having any special talent or producing anything good for society. In fact, these super wealthy do much harm to the rest of us. By acquiring so much wealth they slow down the economy and prevent the average citizen from using the wealth for their own quality of life.

Government economic policy can prevent unfair or economically damaging practices from hurting the economy. No commie lynch mobs are needed.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:32 AM

84. It depends on how one accumulated that wealth.

Should people that run heroin disribution networks be praised for their ruthless efficiency and markup percentage?

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:02 PM

86. no, Mitt

don't worry about it, and enjoy your retirement.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:19 PM

88. Look at how the money was made...

Do people deserve to make millions on the backs of others?

And then if all you Richie Rich do is buy giant houses, 12 cars, 4 boats, jewelry and furs, take fabulous vacations, leave big piles to your children--for example-- and you do nothing to give back a dime to the society that created your wealth--

--then (sorry) you are the scum of the earth.

And all too many rich people do exactly that.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)


Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:24 PM

103. NO, not at all.

 

It is a myth that people on the left hate wealth. It is about how the wealth is created and how it is distributed.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:36 PM

104. No.

But is it immoral to make millions and millions from a business, while your employees struggle without a living wage or healthcare, not being able to provide their families with the essentials, while you fly around the world on your private jet to your many mansions and have your money hidden in offshore tax shelters while your employees rely on government subsidies to survive. Yes, that is extremely immoral.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 01:35 PM

105. The capitalist system is immoral

In my opinion massive hoards of wealth (like billions of dollars) can only be accumulated by stealing from other people, by stealing the value other people produce through their work.

Stealing is wrong, so massive accumulation of wealth is wrong.

But our whole system is set up to work that way, so people must participate in it if they wish to get anything done.

People are forced to exploit each other in this system. The system is immoral.

If you're a billionaire and you have a guilty conscience, you should. You should use your wealth to help end this system and bring about a better system where people are not forced to step on each other to get ahead.

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Response to BrentWil (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:55 PM

109. Yes.

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