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At what point in the world's history has wealth not been concentrated? What, therefore, is your argument or evidence that wealth inequity isn't natural? Even in video games with an online economy and trade that resets periodically, within a week of a reset you'll see massive disparity in wealth between the top and everyone else that only grows over time. And I mean massive.

You should read "Wealth, Poverty, and Politics." It really is illuminating to learn at an academic level how wealth has been produced throughout history and some reasons why it is distributed unevenly.

Capitalism has nothing to do with it.

What most people fail to understand is that inequality is a constant. There will always be inequality of some kind.

Historically, all major civilizations have reset inequality in either one of two ways.

1) forced wealth redistribution (war)

2) voluntary wealth redistribution (taxation, public education, free healthcare, food, etc).

I recommend reading Will & Ariel Durant, Thomas Sowell & Jared Diamond though there are other authors who have wrote on the subjects of inequality.




dmix · 2020-02-11 · Original thread
This big question has to both be whether this has the efficacy to make legitimate change in the industry and also doesn't squeeze out he competition who offer a better replacement for the existing industry.

Few people are accepting the fact that Boeing's sweetheart relationship with FAA is a result of the fact they are largely one of the fee only players in the game.

There's no competitive pressure for Boeing to change behaviour iwth the politicians and regulators in their pocket they have little to fear by going forward with business ss usual.

The fact they are managing to push Boeing to adopt more stringent training is good. I just hope it doesn't just add to the long list of things excluding any entrepreneur from honestly competing with him (just look at Virgin Airlines which was one of the most enjoyable flight experiences getting squeezed out).

Every major regulation in history has had unintended side-effects which frequently offset the benefits of the original plan (because of course they were designed for the entrenched mega-coprp interests of today with little thought of the wider long term effects on the industry).

Thomas Sowell wrote two good books which highlight a hundred examples how these well-intentioned regulations have contributed to the wealth inequality and consumer monopolies both [1] and Basic Economics [2].

Its not a simple as anti-regulation or pro-regulation, but getting the right kind of regulation based on data and with foresight into the unintended implications.



dmix · 2019-02-26 · Original thread
You sound like a smart guy and it'd take me pages to properly respond to everything. I try to avoid online political debates because I haven't found much ROI in investing in them. But I'm sure Sowell would be highly critical of the mainstream economic policies of both parties in recent eras. He's far more preferential towards earlier US economics.

I will say that there's a big myth that the US has been on some big market-oriented supply-side binge since the 1980s which is a giant myth in itself. The size of western governments, everywhere, has exploded since the 1970s... even if the tax rate hasn't.

Sowell would be just as critical of any policy directly benefiting the wealthy as well. He sees the far bigger problem as the countless "well-intentioned policies" intended (or at least sold) to help the poor/middle class that back fire, do nothing, or more often creates highly inefficient systems where only the politically connected get social benefits.

I highly recommend his book "Wealth, poverty, and politics" [1]. It'd do a 100x better job than me at explaining his general worldview, which is closest to mine. And it's hardly just lower taxes for upper/middle and keep the rest of the political machine the same (which is probably worst of both worlds IMO).


dmix · 2018-11-27 · Original thread
Sadly most interventions that western governments keep making in the name of the little guy keep benefiting the megacorps, whether by unintended side effects or from flaws in the policy-writing process (ie, countless small political-favours, lobbying, etc).

Thomas Sowell wrote a great book about this:

There have been countless policies since the 1950s intended to offset wealth disparity that have backfired and hurt the poor. For example, the rent control and other "tenant friendly" laws in Toronto and NYC in the 1970s resulted in decrepit urban ghettos littered with arsoned apartment buildings, because the only way a landlord could "renovate" was burn down their own building. Just look at pictures of Harlem in late 1970/1980s...

It also created a massive disincentive to invest in new low-income property, as the developers knew they'd make less money targeting the poor. So development went towards upper/middle class housing (resulting in an even worse lack of low-income housing in NYC and to a lesser extant Toronto by the 1990s).

Modern rent control laws have attempted to factor these "unintended side-effects" but there are a hundred similar examples in that book. It keeps happening and happening with every clever scheme concoted to help the poor.

The only winners of the massive growth in the US gov since the 1970s were consistently large firms, who had their competition wiped out or huge barriers of entry created in their markets in the name of 'progress'. And countless well-meaning socially conscious economic policies usually works for a small group while hurting a much larger group in the process, or works at the beginning then as the side-effects build up it becomes a net-negative...where it would have been better off to let the market function as is.

dmix · 2018-06-16 · Original thread
> it is the cultural norm and everybody's expectation. To a lot of people you may as well be a Martian to defy it.

Incentives play a major role in defining such a culture. It doesn't have to be a positive seemingly self-selected incentive to want to live in the suburbs, but negative ones play a major role as well, such as the insanely high costs to own property... due to severe limitations on developing high density multistory buildings in cities, which is why modern cities are exclusively full of either a mega skyscrapers or a single family homes. Or the ease of an automobile-first lifestyle - which is almost always a reaction to poorly developed mixed density urban areas, causing urban sprawl, not a cause of it.

Just because a lot of people have responded to opting the easiest options given to them doesn't mean the easiest option was the result of market/personal choices. Rather it was ultimately a result of the intention, or more often unintentional, side effects of government policy, not a prolonged series of personal choice.

This is hardly limited to just urban sprawl and land development. Thomas Sowell has a brilliant book on how this same cycle has been applied across US culture/politics/economics for decades after WW2 - well beyond just real estate - to nearly every major sector which influences modern US lives:

If one considers government economic and social policy by their results, not simply their good intentions, this pattern can be seen in countless places. Yet the popular reaction by the media and political parties is so often to blame personal choice and 'unrestrained' markets for the output.

dmix · 2017-09-29 · Original thread
Thomas Sowell is brilliant at highlighting the unexpected nature of many parts of economics as well as the countless government policies initiated in the name of helping the poor or lower class that end up either doing little to help or, more often, ultimately helping the upper-middle class and above the most.

He helped me grow beyond a cliche idealistic libertarian worldview into something much more practical and based in real world policy.

I highly recommend his 'Wealth, Poverty and Politics':

Or for something more lightweight see his book 'Basic Economics': --- Despite it's name it's not an economics 101 guide, it basically a teaching-through-example guide by listing policy after policy that were implemented in the realworld, for ex:

- rent control in NYC/Toronto in the 1970s which severely reduced access to affordable housing, disincentivized building maintenance, incentivized arson, and gave countless upper/middle class residents cheap rent for beautiful properties

- various industry licensing pushed by market incumbents not protecting consumers, such as interior designers requiring 4yr bachelors degree to choose the colorscheme of an apartment

- etc, etc

He digs into their good intentions but unintentional self-defeating side-effects. Many of which have countless analogies to today (see Uber vs Black cabs in London).

After reading it I'm hardly surprised Japan's economy has stagnated, to the point where it's almost so obvious it saddens me. They are one of the worst proponents of the type of heavy handed economic-intervention he critiques.

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