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December 31, 2012

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Martin

I'd object to you lumping in Lionel Messi and Fred Goodwin together. Messi scored 91 goals in 2012, Goodwin ruined a bank.

aragon

Chris, contrasts copyright and banking, but both are extractive monopolies based on Government privilege. And ownership extraction of rent, is just as destructive by Warren Buffet or a Russian oligarch ?

The Wall Street journal article makes the same mistake, "Bill Gates, by contrast, enriches both himself and the U.S. because he can make money only by creating products that are better or more popular than those produced by rivals."

People have written books about Microsofts business practices.

http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf

"Microsoft’s conduct over the last two decades has demonstrated Microsoft’s willingness and ability to engage in unlawful conduct to protect and extend its core monopolies."

What matters is wealth distribution, as ditributed wealth means meeting the needs of the whole population not just of an elite, however formed.

More equal societies work best.

The Spirit Level, The cost of inequality etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level:_Why_More_Equal_Societies_Almost_Always_Do_Better
"The book argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption""

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jul/13/price-inequality-joseph-stiglitz-review

"The Price of Inequality is a powerful plea for the implementation of what Alexis de Tocqueville termed "self-interest properly understood". Stiglitz writes: "Paying attention to everyone else's self-interest – in other words to the common welfare – is in fact a precondition for one's own ultimate wellbeing… it isn't just good for the soul; it's good for business." Unfortunately, that's what those with hubris and pleonexia have never understood – and we are all paying the price."

http://www.economicthought.net/blog/?p=3477

Ellen1910

It's not unequal income/wealth; it's what the 1/10th of 1% do with that inequality that matters;

1978 -- "the Gallo wine amendment" sponsored by Sen. Cranston, who owed his reelection to the Gallos, is adopted over Sen Dole's objections.

1986 -- Sen. Dole's PAC receives $20,000 from Ernest, Julio and their wives in one day. Thereupon, the "Gallo exemption" is enacted.

1990s Ernest meets with Pres. Clinton in the White House; days later raises $100,000 for a Clinton fund raiser; Congress delays increasing Chilean wine imports and adds tax-payer money to the wine marketing program.

Cwhope

Martin, I read the sentence as contrasting Messi and Goodwin, not lumping them in together.
The article as a whole is a useful reminder that we need to look at the whole distribution, not just a couple of summary measures.

aragon

I agree with Chris about statistics and what can be hidden in aggregates. John Rentoul is wrong.

The argument is that if wealth and power where less concentrated, this would be better for society. Yes the top 1% or 0.1% exercise too much power (political and economic) and the system is corrupted.

But I don't subscribe to the Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet good consensus, associated with risk taking and entrepreneurs.

Casual assumptions about perfect markets and creative destruction are often wrong, and entrepreneurs are just as likely to be on the status quo side of the equation. What matters is the equality of outcome, and this is a metric is used to measure the quality of institutions. Not post market corrections of institutional failure.

For it is only when the outcomes are equal that everyone's needs and wants are been equally addressed, and by this standard the world is a pretty sorry place, even Europe is only good by comparison.

Keith

"If you would become wealthy get your self a monopoly.." Aristotle ON Politics.

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