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Political Talk
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 325seeeye
Can you explain to me how income inequality harms our economy?
There is a lot of study into the economic notion that severe income inequality can seriously hamper economic growth. There's a bunch of studies on it by all kinds of places....IMF, OECD, universities, etc.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:32 PM   #22
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There is a lot of study into the economic notion that severe income inequality can seriously hamper economic growth. There's a bunch of studies on it by all kinds of places....IMF, OECD, universities, etc.
Yeah, but there's so much evidence that the unwashed masses are pissing their money away instead of saving and investing it. If the rich are the only people who save, and thus are the only people to benefit from capital accumulation, then it is what it is.

I'd argue that wealth inequality is bad for society, but the forcible redistribution of wealth would be even worse. And it would trigger a huge rush to capture economic rent from whichever authority redistributes all of that expropriated wealth.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:01 PM   #23
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There is a lot of study into the economic notion that severe income inequality can seriously hamper economic growth. There's a bunch of studies on it by all kinds of places....IMF, OECD, universities, etc.
Small scale studies and theories can only predict so much. Again too many variables here that are too large to make these statements.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:07 PM   #24
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Small scale studies and theories can only predict so much. Again too many variables here that are too large to make these statements.
Studies conducted by the IMF, OECD, and even some university's departments of governments studies could hardly be considered "small scale". Years of research, testing, analysis, and peer review are required. At least certainly more than any of NFRS2000nyc's posts.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:55 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
Yeah, but there's so much evidence that the unwashed masses are pissing their money away instead of saving and investing it. If the rich are the only people who save, and thus are the only people to benefit from capital accumulation, then it is what it is.
I agree, I too have seen where the 47% (70%, 90%?) are frittering away their hard-earned money on such frivolities as food, clothing, rent/mortgages, transportation, health care costs, insurance, children, utilities, communications (phone/internet access) and, well, heck, just throwing away their money irresponsibly. Geez, just the other day, I saw some spendthrift repair man buy new tires for some old truck of his! Think if he invested that money in some stock derivatives or something useful as I'm sure any 1%er would have had one of his staff do for him.

Thanks God for the rich, who are flush with such levels of discretionary income that they need not bother themselves with more mundane worries such as day to day living expenses and can usefully and responsibly save and invest their burden of wealth. Perhaps if they were richer yet, they could save and invest more and keep that money out of that pit of wasteful profligacy, the lower and middle classes.

Perhaps a fully regressive tax code is actually what is needed.

Or...

Perhaps if the lower and middle classes were able to make more than subsistence-level wages -- rather than funneling and ever-greater level of our national earnings and wealth to the highest of economic elites -- they too would be able to save and invest in far greater numbers and amounts.

I've wondered if these economic elites have considered ahead that if the middle-class gets increasingly gutted in terms of (discretionary) income and thus, spending potential, just who is going to buy all those products they produce and sell and support the consumer economy in and off which they thrive? I think this ever increasing economic disparity is undermining the very foundation upon which they themselves have built their own vast wealth. Indeed, decreasing economic disparity would be, in the long term, a wise and self-serving goal even for a sustainable upper class.

Indeed, some of the greatest periods of robust economic growth in our society went hand-in-hand with an expansion of the middle class (earnings and wealth) and a decrease in economic disparities. I fear that the current opposite trend could end up being essentially a short term but unsustainable money grab by the monied and powerful elites of today that will end up undermining their very own long term status and stability.

I think post-Gilded Age economic elites came to a similar conclusion early in the 20th century and often supported various social programs of the day for those very reasons -- to create a stable, durable economy the benefited all in the long-term, including themselves.

PBS's Downton Abby makes for a great and entertaining British soap opera of the very highest production standards, but I don't really see it as an economic model for our society.

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:06 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
Yeah, but there's so much evidence that the unwashed masses are pissing their money away instead of saving and investing it. If the rich are the only people who save, and thus are the only people to benefit from capital accumulation, then it is what it is.

I'd argue that wealth inequality is bad for society, but the forcible redistribution of wealth would be even worse. And it would trigger a huge rush to capture economic rent from whichever authority redistributes all of that expropriated wealth.
There's also a ton of evidence that if the largest consuming block in the country earns less and suffers economically, GDP growth is going to suffer.

I'm not advocating for a forcible redistribution, either. It's not the right thing to do, nor would it go very well.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:08 AM   #27
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Small scale studies and theories can only predict so much. Again too many variables here that are too large to make these statements.
Go research them if you're interested.....they aren't small scale studies. A lot of them cover decades of data, in various countries under a whole breadth of economic climates with millions of dollars of funding. It's not just some nerdbomber economist with a blue book and a calculator hypothesizing.
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