[FoRK] Income distribution changes over the last 30+ years

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Thu Nov 11 01:23:15 PST 2010

On Nov 11, 2010, at 12:20 AM, Reza B'Far wrote:
> I don't agree.  What I'm saying is that the problem is not that complex.  If you get lots of under-employed college grads, etc... folks with valuable skills who see the hours of their lives not being justifiably compensated, you have a problem.  It's funny that folks like Bill Oreily always talk about the "Deadweight".  This is not the core problem.  Core problem is equity:  Are you getting paid worth what you're contributing to society?  This is what the original discussion was.  

I would break this into two separate issues.

First, people that could be productive members of the economy in theory are not because the overhead imposed from a variety of sources exceeds their net productive value. This is a deadweight loss. (I do not know and do not care what Bill O'Reilly means; I do not even own a television, never mind cable service.)

Second, many of those people aren't nearly as valuable as you seem to be assuming they are.  Being a college grad is rightly worth very little by itself.  It in no way implies that someone is a productive member of society and far too many people with college degrees gained negligible value-enhancing capabilities from the process. 

> The problem is someone who say, invents something significant, versus someone who shuffles money around in some complex financial system have inequitable contribution/reward ratios.  

Virtually no one invents something significant. Our species is manifestly not the vanguard of awesomeness. 

Even if "money shufflers" do not deserve their income, it does not imply that the masses of nigh useless and eminently forgettable clock punchers are somehow more deserving of a piece of that income. 

Redistributing income to people that have actually done something to deserve it is definitely a recipe for income inequality.

> And you can make it as complex as you want and look at it from as many different perspectives as you want... at the end of the day, history shows that this is not a stable-match.  If you end up with what I would call "objective injustice" that is everywhere and prevalent (I don't think we're there yet), you have a fundamental problem in maintaining a stable system.

I have never been under any illusions that the current system is stable. Maintaining certain fictions are far more important than mere stability.

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