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Investment Adviser Asks: Are The Wealthy Necessary?

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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:23 PM
Original message
Investment Adviser Asks: Are The Wealthy Necessary?
Interesting that this book would be written by an investment adviser of all people

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070915/bs_nm/businessbooks...

At a time when a CEO of a large U.S. company is likely to earn in one day what the average worker does in a year, an investment adviser takes the income-disparity controversy a few steps further in "Are the Rich Necessary?"

"Are the Rich Necessary?" offers no simple or even definitive statements on these complex issues. Instead, Lewis presents a cross-section of often divergent viewpoints, in keeping with the book's subtitle: "Great Economic Arguments and How They Reflect Our Personal Values." These are generally arguments with no clear winner.

On the question of whether the rich are necessary, for example, one school of thought considers them decadent parasites who reap the harvest sown by those less fortunate than themselves.

But another theory contends that any government seizure and redistribution of the fruits of that harvest would cause buyers to disappear and prices to plummet.


Much more at the link. Sounds like it would be an interesting book to read.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Answer is NO!
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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. LOL
Whistle, that'd make for an awfully short book. You may want to expound upon that :)
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. Some wealth is always necessary because
that is where seed money for new industry comes from.

Wealth only becomes parasitic when it exists as an end in itself, to be hoarded and passed on intact from generation to generation.

As for the customers of the harvest, the wealthy aren't very good customers.

Remember, no rich man ever handed out a job unless he had a poor man ready and able to buy the product.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Wealth yes, the wealthy no....money is not wealth, money is simply the
...medium which facilitates exchange of goods and services. Wealth is the sum total of what facilitates the production of goods and services which are needed and wanted by a society in order to survive, grow, prosper and perpetuate all that makes up that society.

The wealthy stake a claim and proprietary rights to all wealth both private wealth and public wealth and the wealthy define the conditions and terms under which others have access to that wealth. Needless to say, the wealthy put few conditions and virtually no restrictions on themselves as to how they manage the sum total of wealth.

So, given that characteristic of the wealthy, why would a society even consider they wealthy necessary? Are slave masters necessary? Only if slaves which to perpetuate their bondage and their misery.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I'm speaking of wealth concentrated into few hands
We were able to tolerate that quite well in the 50s and early 60s, while there was still a mechanism in place to keep it from passing to the next generation in its totality, and a mechanism to make it harder for wealth to concentrate. The few who possessed great wealth did provide seed money, it's how Gates was able to buy DOS and get Microshaft going. That's how the system works best.

However, when money stops moving, it stops working, as you pointed out. Without a disincentive to greed provided by a progressive income tax system and a disincentive to massive inheritance provided by a stiff inheritance tax, wealth has continued to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands and is now leaving the country to provide seed money elsewhere.

While this is nice for the third world, it is incredibly hard on this country and the people who must still live here.

Wealth can be either constructive or parasitic in nature. Due to the past 38 years of conservative fiscal policy from both parties, it has become the latter.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. Those wealthy few in the 1950s and 60s were all Americans, living in America and
...applying the bulk of their wealth to the creation of jobs, investments and production right here in America. They also carried their own load by paying a fair share of the taxes. The exceptions perhaps were the oil people who received all sorts of tax loop-holes and protections. That all changed with the election of Nixon in 1968 and his promise of a secret plan to end the Vietnam War, which of course he did not and by 1971 he was able to turn the entire monetary system of the United States over to private centralized banks. After that, wealth began to flow out of the country and control of real wealth moved into the hands of outside interests. We had the illusion of wealth created by massive debt. Now that debt, both private and public, must be repaid, or foreclosed upon.

So, I completely agree with your last statement: "Wealth can be either constructive or parasitic in nature. Due to the past 38 years of conservative fiscal policy from both parties, it has become the latter."
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'm Not Sure ANYONE Is Ever Truly Necessary. But If Someone's Rich So Be It. They're Entitled.
Not sure why the rich are so hated here. I could only hope to be rich one day, and still hope I attain that goal.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Greed and envy.
A match made in ... heaven? :rofl:

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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. ...
:evilgrin:
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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. That's how I see it OMC
Nobody is truly necessary, wealthy, poor, or in between. Wealth is a result of a capitalist system wherein people are allowed to determine what goods and services they can offer that they feel are of the most benefit, and therefore most lucrative, to society. There will always be wealthy people, and as long as they accumulate their wealth while playing by the rules and behaving in an ethical manner, I have no problem with it.
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warren pease Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
5. Well, for a balanced diet...
... you need a little blue blood every now and then. And they're awfully good roasted on a spit over a bed of coals with an apple in their mouth. Rich women tend to be a little tough, given various surgical procedures and/or neuroses that keep them scrawny.

But rich men, particularly the 5'9" / 220 lbs. variety, further bloated with smug self-satisfaction, are simply sublime. Just cook with a little garlic and serve with roasted potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, some greens and you've got yourself a meal for the ages.

They're great as leftovers, too. In fact, one rich guy will feed a family of four for a week, given a little kitchen creativity. Soups, casseroles, the infamous "rich guy surprise"... let your imagination run wild.

Rich kids are, of course, the best of all, but prying them out of their Porsches is tougher than popping an abalone out of its shell. Plus, their sense of entitlement makes it essential to eat them with silver spoons, which doesn't work real well unless they're roasted to perfection. Timing is everything.


Bon appetit,

wp
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. All things in moderation
Some wealth is necessary. Too much wealth is dangerous.

Everything must be moderated there just is not way around it. A little alcohol is good for you. It relaxes you and calms you after a shock. Too much and you become an alcoholic.

All things in moderation and wealth must also be moderated. Humans have a tendency to form habits and addictions. Some people have become addicted to wealth and they need to weaned off of it.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Agreed!
:thumbsup:
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
10. That depends on how much they're costing the rest of us
Edited on Sat Sep-15-07 06:28 PM by pscot
If their expense becomes to much of a burden, we'll take their shit away from them and make them work for a living like everyone else. So far, most Americans don't seem to find Paris and her ilk an undue burden. If hard times come, that could change pretty quickly.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
11. seizure of fruits of the harvest???
puleeeeeze.

harvest, as in the rich plowed the field, planted the grain, harvested it? -- or did the rich use migrant workers paid a substandard wage and then deny them any share of the profit because the land had been passed down to that rich person who never did a thing in his life to earn it?

it's ridulous to say that raising wages is "redistribution" when you look at how the rich have "redistributed" wealth to themselves by their failure to pay decent wages and offer decent benefits, etc. etc. etc.

after a while, the rich don't spend so much money because they are relatively sated, so they gamble among themselves on the stock market, according to a biz woman who wrote The Divine Right of Capital.

when wages and salaries are most equitably allocated, more money is put into the economy because more people need big ticket items like refriges, etc. because they're not living in a freaking homeless shelter because they choose to work as a schoolteacher (c.f. the woman who cannot afford to live in the city where she teaches -- that is just sick, a sick, sick society acts this way.)

the pov of that writer jumped the shark a long time ago. Reagan had to raise taxes in his second term b/c he fucked up the economy so badly with "trickle down" economics. David Stockton said it was a faiure at the time. why do will still have to have a discussion about this shit when we SEE right now with Bush Jr. that such economic practices make a nation worse off???

in ref. to europe and social democracies (again, as on other threads) -- poor people can survive on their salaries. housing is subsidized so that people can be homeowners, even tho the home may be small. at the same time, the middle class exists and can afford a time-share or whatever. The rich (and yes, there are rich people in social democracies... to say there isn't is a lie so grevious I could spit) anyway, the rich can have a nice home or two.. and all can take vacations and send their kids to decent schools.

what is so hard for Americans to get about this? why are Americans so brainwashed??

rather than this guy's book, try reading "The United States of Europe," or "The Next Superpower," and also "The Divine Right of Capital," -- why is capital still treated as tho it's endowed with special power and privileges? the value of a particular job is not "inherent" in that job. that value is ascertained by the society in which that job exists, by those with the power to make that assessment.

sorry for the rant, but I am so sick of Reaganomics and Bush League crony capitalism.


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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. I think you're misundertanding the book
Edited on Sun Sep-16-07 12:22 AM by Rage for Order
Or maybe I am. I haven't read the book, but based on what I gathered from the article, the book is a collection of arguments and theories arguing both pro and con in relation to the subject matter, but not promoting either view. It puts the information from both sides out there and lets the readers draw their own conclusions.

On edit, from the linked article:

Are the Rich Necessary?" offers no simple or even definitive statements on these complex issues. Instead, Lewis presents a cross-section of often divergent viewpoints, in keeping with the book's subtitle: "Great Economic Arguments and How They Reflect Our Personal Values." These are generally arguments with no clear winner.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Yes, I'm sure I have
And as I said, I was ranting a bit.

However, a guy from Princeton did a study (I'll have to look for the link later, but I saw the study online) about economics and political parties over a fifty year span. The democrats, who by no means are "social democrats," but who don't generally implement the crony capitalism in extremis of the republicans while calling it "Friedmanism" or something... soo, back to... the democrats outperformed the republicans, even when allowing for the old republican ruse of claiming their policies kick in after a democrat is in office. They outperformed in 3 out of every 4 years. The only time that republicans had better economic numbers was in an election year in which a republican had office. Then, in those years, they threw everyone else a bone to get re-elected.

If such studies are available to show that one sort of economic policy performs better than another, I suppose I don't see how the arguments have no clear winner.

ah, here's a link via an article by Kevin Drum to the study by Bartels (at Princeton.)

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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. Most of the wealthy cronies surrounding BushCo ARE parasites...

what would Ayn Rand say about that?
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
14. They are an emergency reserve food source. nt
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
15. If "necessary" = "needed", maybe, maybe not. If "necessary" = "inevitable", then yes.
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-15-07 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
17. Ah, NO!
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
21. As long as they don't keep it under a mattress, it is out there
doing something and providing someone with a market - once there was a protest on higher taxes on yachts because lo and behold, some people work for the yachting industry.

People think of the economy as a static thing - and it is not and never has been.

No matter what you do to make things better for yourself, you are harming those who were making $$ in that market.

As a lawyer I recall nhow no fault laws were supposed to put the trial lawyers out of business. Wouldn't you know it that people who worked for trial lawyers (secretaries, paralegals, process servers, investigators) suddenly saw the lower insurance premiums that would allegedly come about from no fault laws weren't all that necessary.

In short, nobody loses by someone else having $$ or getting a break by getting a job, etc. Sell them something or get them to capitalize a business.

People who work for banks and investment companies need the rich. People who work for yacht companies or who sell luxury cars need the rich.

Anyone who has ever had the existence of their job threatened by any proposed law understands this. Even right wingers whined about military cutbacks, for the sole reason that they worked in a military town and the base closure threatened their livelihood.

In short, we are rich enough to be more flexible. We shouldn't legislate away other people's opportunities because it might preserver ours. That puts us all against each other, and we don't have to be.

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