Why Decry the Wealth Gap?

Ken Hanly khanly at mb.sympatico.ca
Mon Jan 24 17:26:33 PST 2000

But this whole farce is premised upon the trickle-down theory or perhaps its theological counterpart in economics Pareto Optimality. Rational poor people would accept a million dollar increase per year in the income of the top 10 percent of income earners if this generated a one dollar increase per year in their own.

So in order for the working bloke to get a dollar raise the bosses must get ten. What sort of shit is that? If you earn ten bucks for me, I'll give a buck back but in the future for every ten bucks you will only get 5o cents but there will be a hell of a lot more production because I am so happy about ripping you off even more than in the past. Brave New World. Ancient Shit. Increased production under capitalism is founded on increased rate of workers being screwed resulting in a more skewed income distribution. Why read this as argument rather than ideology. Why not deconstruct it or at least uncover the shit right below the thin tissue of logic.

CHeers, Ken Hanly

Brett Knowlton wrote:

> Let me say right up front that I think income inequality is a bad thing,
> and I'd love nothing more than a transformation of society from a
> capitalist to a socialist one.
> Still, I want to know more about inequality measures controlled for
> immigration (if such statistics are even kept). A Business Week article I
> read a while back claimed that individuals were actually better off in
> almost all cases, but the addition of workers on the low end of the income
> spectrum via immigration accounted for nearly the entire rise in inequality
> measures. I wondered about this aloud on the list and didn't get very
> satisfying replies. And now Cox and Alm are using the same argument.
> > Another non-nefarious cause of increasing income disparity may be
> > our ever-higher immigration rates. Immigrants tend to cluster in
> > low- and high-income groups. Thus it is no surprise that in the
> > seven most unequal states -- New York, Arizona, New Mexico,
> > Louisiana, California, Rhode Island and Texas -- about 13 percent
> > of the population is foreign-born (in California, it's 25 percent).
> > Among the seven states with the smallest income disparities, the
> > immigrant population is only 3.8 percent.
> The logic is sound (its easy to construct an example where an entire
> original population is better off income wise than it was in an earlier
> period, but due to the addition of new people at the bottom end of the
> income scale overall inequality at the end of the period is worse than it
> was originally). And inequality measures, in themselves, will not shed any
> light on this issue.
> So, I'm going to ask again. Does anyone know whether these guys are simply
> cooking the numbers, or do they have a point? Are they on solid ground or
> are they taking a weak effect and overemphasizing it to score political
> points? I'm wondering because most people on the left (including myself)
> have claimed that working individuals have lost ground economically over
> the last 10 or 20 years. But if this immigration argument is correct, this
> story might be at least partially misleading.
> Again, I'm not trying to defend wealth or income inequality. I simply want
> a straight answer, if possible.
> Brett

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