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    The New York Times Company | ALEX WILLIAMS | 10/17/19 | 14 min
    11 reads5 comments
    8.5
    The New York Times Company
    11 reads
    8.5
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    • bill
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
      7 months ago

      I never knew anyone in the 1% until my first day of college at Stanford, and then, quite suddenly, I was friends with dozens of them. Over the course of the last decade, I have developed a deep (and in some cases quite personal) understanding of this problem. It’s for real. Money is a really hard attachment to break, and most people, up and down the spectrum, are unable to be happy with what they have. It’s profoundly tragic, but also a story as old as time.

      Perhaps this is a step too far, but I believe that this escalating inequality crisis is actually causing the downfall of global order. Let us not forget that the Jazz Age immediately preceded WW2.

      Ray Dalio is 100% correct about the “self-reinforcing spirals.” The more I read about it, the more bearish I am on capitalism, although since we seem to be stuck with it in the short term, we might as well try to improve it. We have the wrong kind of momentum at the wrong end of the spectrum. An alternative model would make it harder for the wealthy to get wealthier and easier for the folks at the absolute bottom to get out of poverty.

      I enjoyed reading this whole thing, but I also wonder if the New York Times is actually written to be skimmed. The paragraphs are so short and much of the info is repeated. There’s not a good story arc here. It’s example after example after example.

      • jeff
        Reading streakScoutScribe
        7 months ago

        An alternative model would make it harder for the wealthy to get wealthier and easier for the folks at the absolute bottom to get out of poverty.

        Citation needed if ever there was one.

        What do you think capitalism is? What's the alternative model?

        • bill
          Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
          7 months ago

          OK, I admit that this is kinda lazy (first Google search result; it's an op-ed [I know!]) but here's a "citation" and launching point for further conversation:

          https://readup.com/read/-the-new-york-times-company/the-rich-really-do-pay-lower-taxes-than-you

          Question for you: Shouldn't the super-wealthy pay at least as much (%-wise) as the rest of us?

          What do you think capitalism is? I think that capitalism is a system in which money (capital) is put at the center of society. I think that's profane. Meanwhile, every religious/spiritual tradition in the history of the world emphasizes the same point: what really matters in life doesn't have a monetary value.

          What's the alternative model? There are many. Indigenous societies didn't have capitalism - they had gift economies which worked very well. To assume that we're not capable of upgrading to something newer and better is a failure of imagination! I don't claim to know how capitalism is going to evolve, but I can feel it coming and when it emerges (within the next century, I think) it will be beautiful.

          Another alternative model that I've been thinking a lot about has to do with resource stewardship and public good. There is a lot of talk about a "carbon tax" but an even more broad "waste tax" would make a lot of sense to me. Life on Earth is contracting. We're losing species and ecosystems - entire limbs of the tree of life - at a pace that's so alarming it boggles the mind. It could be a big step forward for humankind if we could figure out a way to "tax" people according to the way they use resources.

          • jeff
            Reading streakScoutScribe
            7 months ago

            I think that capitalism is a system in which money (capital) is put at the center of society.

            You're wrong. It's impossible to have a conversation unless you recognize that. The article you linked to had nothing to do with comparing capitalism to any other kind of economic system. Seriously, go to dictionary.com and look it up.

            Just because it's popular for the uninformed (or manipulative) to parrot the "capitalism = money = evil" meme doesn't make it true. Continuing to echo it is just a display of ignorance.

            To answer your question: percentage of what? I don't think we should be taxing anyone on their labor and I don't think a wealth tax makes sense for many reasons (not even the French could make it work). I'd like to see a national sales tax instead, which would have the effect of taxing those who consume the most rather than earn the most.

        • bill
          Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
          7 months ago

          PUT EVERYTHING ON THE BLOCKCHAIN :P

          jk, obv.