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I don't buy this, because we're not proposing to only tax Bezos until he has the exact same net worth as Joe Schmoe who collects POGs--this is a straw man. If we tax all the uber-rich 5% more, everyone would be in the exact same position on the leaderboard, just with slightly deflated numbers. We'd be having the conversation about breaking the $1T barrier 12 months down the line, BFD! It's just numbers to the rich, but it's life or death to the poor.

There's a story about a society of peacocks who grew their tails so big and beautiful it started interfering with survival. They'd get it stuck in branches, be too slow to run from predators, etc. No one peacock was willing defect and shorten his tail because he'd lose out on the mating game. If they could all just get together and agree to shorten their tails by 25%, they could keep the relative pecking order and also be agile enough to survive.

The problem with these game theory "let's just all work together" solutions is that they are not stable points. It is in everyone's best interest to undercut the cartel. Even if you did get all the peacocks to shorten their tail, if there is some advantage to having a larger tail, it is irrational to expect noone to try and grow it out again.

You don’t solve the prisoners dilemma by saying “fuck it let’s just all stab each other’s backs”. I’m arguing humanity should cooperate to achieve the better state, and punish defectors if needed to balance the incentives. This at least should be our aim.

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