At one time (mid 19th century I believe) there was a saying 'to be as rich as an Argentinean'. At that time Argentina currency was possibly the strongest in the world. This had much to do with their livestock exports and was supplanted with the growth of US livestock herds (many blood lines from Argentina).
There were hurdles to be addressed before this could happen. The US Congress addressed these hurdles. How to get people to migrate in droves? Make amendments to the original “Homestead Act of 1862”. What followed were the “Kinkaid Amendment of 1904”, “Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909”, and “The Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916”. Next hurdle those pesky humans that somehow thought they owned the land. Even more problematic__those pesky humans were nomadic (just would not stay in place). The US Congress referred to this as the “Indian Problem”. Sounds eerily similar to the #$%$ “Jewish Problem”.
Well we all know how those played out!
Before Argentina’s rise the strongest currency was Austria’s. It seems the declines go relatively unnoticed (by the masses) until the acceleration spiral is in full effect. I believe America is on the way. Properly handled the new technologies for energy extraction may slow the trend down. But the more our jealously/hatred towards the seemingly successful/prosperous becomes systematic the nation’s populace furthers the distance from what built the country into an economic superpower (as such). In economic terms what America seems to be tilting towards/experimenting with is reminiscent of what used to be called ‘Utopian Socialism’. In France there were at least two (Count Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier) written extensively about in books titled “Political Economies” etc. At one time in the US there were over 150 identified utopian communities. Most of these communities did not last long. Economic history books attribute that to those communities refusal to recognize basic economic laws and behavioral traits of humans.
I guess all this is my way of saying to you that all US citizens do not believe we are ‘elite’. This nation has (so far) just been blessed with enough resources (natural and developed) to outpace many others.
nicepost, but don't forget i can barely finish a paragraph. So you might be waisting your time ..i have hard enough time living Argentinas' present history.
I appreciate the second to last phrase but unfortunatly it does not apply to most sheeple thinking.
" But the more our jealously/hatred towards the seemingly successful/prosperous becomes systematic the nation’s populace furthers the distance from what built the country into an economic superpower.."
I was having a discussion with my son, last night, on this very theme. We were trying to pinpoint the timing for the incredible recent momentum behind this idea. I had never heard before 2008, the plethora of rhetoric to witt: "People just don't need that much money".
We have heard that idea before, leveled against J.D.Rockefeller and P.Getty, but not, in my remembrance, against a whole class of people...this 1% idea. I am not in the 1%, but I still fear for this wave that is sweeping the nation, with the angst leveled against the "evil" rich.
"What right do they have to have such palatial mansions?"
"Ridiculous that they should employ so many servants and consume so many resources with their 100,000 square foot homes".
"No one should be allowed to make that much money."
I encouraged my children to shoot for the stars. I encouraged this son to develop his own city, with complete infrastructures to support 10,000+ residents. If he got rich in the process...GREAT...the more the merrier...then make your next city of 20,000, etc., etc...never stop, keep going...shoot for the stars....
Now we hear, "How much does he need?...he has enough already"...defeatism at play...anti-capitalism...and the death of the American dream..
Flamers welcome, as I know YBF will allude to the "excluded middle" and a shout out to his "best friend in the whole world"...K.Marx...;-)
The US economy is not a zero sum game.
It is not a pie that some people get a bigger piece and some people get none at all.
There is enough wealth in this country for everyone and most of the limitations on you are put on by yourself.
My mother was Hispanic.
My father had no money for my college so I had to go to city university out of my own pocket.
I had to buy my own clothes by the age of 15.
I never see anyone complaining about Tom Cruise making $75 mm per movie.
or Beyonce and Jay-z making $78 mm per year.
Its the corporate CEO who is the bad guy. The one who went to 8 yrs. of college to get his MBA.
Worked his way up the corporate ladder of warped egos and office politics. Gotten stabbed in the back so many times he looks like Swiss cheese. Who the hell does he think he is?!!
I meant this thread to be a personal reach out to Arwen, because I was a little ‘raw’ to him.
”pinpoint the timing for the incredible recent momentum behind this idea”
This is a guess on my part (maybe educated—maybe not). I opine that five impulses have enjoined to result in this rise. 1) The incredible depth and global nature of the last recession. Not seen since the inflationary late seventies. 2) The expanse of Georgetown (DC) philosophies into many collegiate institutions (offering rhetorical scapegoats for #1). 3) The rise of untested/edited (for accuracy) informational media sites. 4) The election of a president who is very adept at speaking in high level platitudes that has furthered those Georgetown philosophies. 5) Growing voting blocks that align with cultural dimensions (Geert Hofstede) very different from our historical past.
BTW most economic histories script Karl Marx as one of the world’s great economist. He is generally defined as a classical economist dealing with ‘positive economics’ That is not for what he espoused but for his thorough understanding of classical economists (Smith, Malthus, Ricardo etc.). They all agreed about the concepts of ‘natural laws (forces)’ of economics that they observed. They arrived at different conclusions about the ultimate outcome. Marx and his colleague, Engels, of course, had very different methods for influencing/altering the ‘natural laws’.
I do not read much of what YBF posts. I mostly agree with Katy (waste of bandwidth) and his posts belong on the govt&politics board. However, I would be surprised if YBF agreed with Marx and Engels calls for violent revolution. But I assume he may be very much in agreement with Marx’s pure economic dissertations.
Then, maybe YBF has it right. The hypothetical quotes you make are probably accurate of what people say, but it is their lack of insight and lack of skill with language that is the problem with those quotes.
It's not that the rich shouldn't have so much; it's that they shouldn't be so far ahead of the other 99%. I think that is the perception: the rich are getting too far ahead, and are often doing so with little benefit to society. Tiger Woods is worth a billion dollars ... what value has he contributed? Etc. Etc. We can afford a Tiger Woods, but not if others have to take a pay cut to afford him. At some point, the rich can simply stack the deck in their favor, and it's no longer a level playing field. I think that's the impression. Maybe it's not right. Maybe the rich-poor gap is not getting wider, but people think it is. I would love to see some data.
"I guess all this is my way of saying to you that all US citizens do not believe we are ‘elite’. This nation has (so far) just been blessed with enough resources (natural and developed) to outpace many others."
I got lost ... you're saying that our success is not due to resources? It's due to our economic system? To the rich people being so productive? Not sure where you came down on that.
I think our success is: not due to our people; only a little due to our economic system vs. others like in Europe; and mostly due to an abundance of resources and a lack of wars fought on our land. I think Europe does very well considering that their countryside and towns have been pulverized by wars every couple of decades for centuries [millenniums, actually]. I think a lot of Americans are more than a little arrogant about how wonderful we are. Now, I'll move to another country as some of you are already thinking. No point in trying to improve this country ... we're already perfect. Where's my gun?
A businessman can take no more out of an economy than the people who buy his product will allow him to take. If he charges too much profit then they will stop buying his product unless he has a monopoly. Even the union is susceptible to this law of economics. When labor cost of US car manufacturers went up because of union demands they lost market share to foreign car manufacturers. However a businessman would never take so much out of his business so that he loses market share. He will come to his senses and take less because he realizes that a loss of market share is the start of a decline that eventually leads to bankruptcy. But unions don’t seem to show the same amount of sensibility in controlling their greed. They seem to ignore economic factors as if they do not understand them and when management tries to explain it to them they act as if management is trying to trick them and they refuse to relent. It is their lack of understanding of economic issues that leads them to be unreasonable and eventually causes them to go down a path of self destruction. Eventually, after enough layoffs, they finally get it that the management was not trying to trick them but then the company is much smaller than it once was and they no longer employ as many workers. Also these union tendencies has motivated companies to try to figure out how to get the job done with more automated means thus making unnecessary to hire more people who demand more than you can reasonably pay and remain competitive. The long term effect is a mind set to eliminate as much labor as one can. Not because they hate having people working for them, but because labor issues have driven them to adopt this as a solution to a major problem, a problem they are being forced to address.
The lesson to be learned is whenever you try to force someone to do something you can benefit from it in the short term. But eventually people always figure out a way to solve the problem you have created. And obviously that solution is to get the same amount of work done with fewer workers. This is going to happen with or without unions. But if a company is unionized it makes them all that more motivated. If you want a job in the future just keep in mind that robots need to be programmed.
Rarely has a businessman ever taken so much profit out of a company that it causes his company to lose market share. He may lose market share for other reasons, like mismanagement, but he will always reduce profits to save the company if that is what is causing him to lose market share. But unions have been the demise of companies many times in the past. Thus if you want to look for who hurts the general welfare of the economy, you need not look to the businessman as I think you are looking in the wrong direction. I think the businessman can be trusted to do whatever it takes to grow his company and in so doing create jobs to be benefit of society. It is normally not the greed of the business to which one can point a finger at when a company becomes uncompetitive.
But do have a problem with one thing. It’s all these CEOs and board members that give themselves ridiculous salaries and benefits without the approval of their share holders. They need to change the laws so that compensation packages for all high level employees are approved by a share holder vote and these packages need to have comparative benchmarks so that shareholders can see if they are out of line. If you want to be paid a ridiculous amount of money then see if you can find a private company who will be so dumb. I doubt that you will.