doctor paradox

Showing all posts tagged inequality:

Some people like to argue that more economic inequality is a good thing, because it is a "natural" byproduct of capitalism in a world of "makers and takers," "winners and losers," "wolves and sheep," [insert your favorite Manichaean metaphor here]. However, too much inequality is deleterious for both economics and politics -- for reasons that are intertwined. Those who amass exorbitant wealth often increasingly use a portion of their gains to capture politics. While the mythological promise of trickle-down economics is that we must not have progressive taxation, because giving more money to the already wealthy is the only way to spur economic investment and innovation and create jobs -- in actual fact the majority of tax cut windfalls go to stock buybacks, offshore tax havens, regulatory capture, political lobbying, and campaign donations. All this is a runaway amplifying feedback loop that tilts the playing field further away from equal opportunity, social mobility, and democratic...
Money's value is as an exchange medium. The more concentrated the money becomes, the less it is being exchanged. When less money is being exchanged, the economy grows more stagnant. If the economy continues to grow more stagnant, recessions typically take hold -- and deflationary pressures begin to realize the underlying devaluation of the currency and reflect that by lowering real purchasing power. Thought experiment: Suppose one person manages to hoard all the money (essentially this is the condition of Gini Coefficient = 1). Then, money is worthless. It ceases to have any exchange value. Sadly this thought experiment isn't as extremist or far-fetched as one might think, considering the stats: The three wealthiest individuals in America own more than 50% of the domestic populationThe eight wealthiest individuals in the world own as much as half the entire planetAnd this doesn't even begin to broach the topic of how overly concentrated money affects political power...
It's part of a broader misconception on the part of the techno-utopian set that the purpose of tech innovation is to replace human beings instead of augment us. We are being replaced now at a rate greater than ever before, as a result of the rise of machine learning. Underlying that assumption is the dark, Orwellian belief that at its core, humanity is fundamentally hopeless, irrational, and must be controlled by some force: typically a small cadre of wise (and very rich!) men (...usually white) who are irrevocably convinced they know more about humanity than other people. Or perhaps a single, highly-authoritarian entity... not like anyone we know who is currently running for el presidente... To wit: another presidential candidate you probably haven't heard about: Zoltan Istvan of the Transhumanist Party. I'mma let him speak for himself: But the Anti-Enlightment period was the greatest philosophical era OF ALL TIME!: This has been a fantasy since the Enlightenment, but despite...