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It's Gotten Too Hard to Strike It Rich in America (bloomberg.com)
76 points by pseudolus 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments



I would argue that wealth in the last thirty years was driven by two primary methods:

1.) Automating basic and well known tasks using computers.

2.) Outsourcing not easily automatable tasks to foreign counties and importing cheap labor. Manufacturing, software engineering etc.

Things like getting wealthy in real estate and investments were off shoots of the above.

I would argue that the two above have reached their capacity to be of benefit to average Americans. Further development of the two will continue to destroy the middle class and the cultural fabric of America. People are increasingly aware of this, hence the tense political climate in this country


The difference is that the wealth from cost-cutting (automation/outsourcing) isn't shared with the middle class, but instead goes to the capital holders.

If you look at the rise of the middle class in America it was from new service businesses flourishing, where skilled laborers could gain wealth. As the wealth gap grows, debt encumbers more young families, and the middle class shrinks, there is less disposable income to spend on services.


> The difference is that the wealth from cost-cutting (automation/outsourcing) isn't shared with the middle class

As an engineer with equity in the company I work for, I benefit and I'm middle class.

I think there is also a misconception about how much the capital holders actually gain. A lot of automation is deflationary in the sense that it reduces the cost of production, which in turn allows a reduction in the price a product is sold at to capture market share. This allows the firm that is automating to capture a large piece of that market, but at the cost of making that market a lot smaller unless demand is pretty much unbounded.

You have to both automate and grow the market for what you've automated to truly make it big.


And hope the market has no natural bound or is at risk of getting obsolete.

Even where automation is not involved, you can get choked by lack of qualified manpower. This is already happening in the USA, stopping the brain drain from elsewhere. (Especially with the immigration policies.)

Outsourcing is essentially growing external competition by your own hand.


I think there is still quite a bit of growth in trade work (building/construction, etc). It's not easily outsourced and pays pretty well. Outside of that, I think we'll reach a point where Software Development as a craft is pushed down in terms of skills for those that don't keep up with ever changing trends.

A lot of the middle class is being pushed out, and their pay will go down relatively speaking as "minimum wage" legislation pushes into law, while businesses have been relatively rapidly increasing prices outpacing any wage increases.

As to TFAs mention of housing, while the market crash was a disruptive event, it mostly caught those who over-spent. For those who bought planning to stay at least 5-10 years, it didn't change too much. Although when your mortgage is 2x your neighbor who bought at the bottom it may sting. But if you bought at what you could afford, you should be fine.

Investment is generally a risk. People tend to want guarantees and it doesn't ever really work that way.


Yeap. And for average people, that leaves a hollowed-out middle-class and not-yet-automated/underpaid tasks like caregiving, teaching, nursing, police, retail sales, retail foodservice, Amazon warehouse stocking, TaskRabbit and Uber driving. People are rightly freaking-out because their existences are threatened while simultaneously others are discussing who's going to be the first trillionaire (much more of the wealth created is only going to the very rich). It seems rational to argue that incel and domestic terrorists, rising homelessness and opioid epidemics are indirectly influenced by the socioeconomic fall-out of rust-belt decay.

Infographic video of how bad it really is: https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM


Rich -- by it's nature -- is relative / subjective.

If it was easy to "strike it rich", everyone would be rich -- and then we'd just call that "middle class".

If we're just saying that social mobility is unusually low now, that's a different story.


People don’t do many things that are easy. Barring unusual health issues, your body makes it really easy to regularly get enough sleep and has several mechanisms to push you in that direction. Yet, most Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly.


Then, my friend, I'd argue it isn't as easy as you think. Maybe it's easy because you're not stressed out. If it was easy for the people who are sleep deprived, they'd probably sleep more.


Ray Dalio talks about this phenomenon in his free book Big Debt Crises. He shows data that debt bubbles are cyclical and exhibit the same characteristics each time. The debt bubble that played out from 1927-1940 also exhibited increasing wealth inequality which led to massive social and political volatility. In relation to that cycle we are around 1936.

Income inequality and political crisis will likely be very high in the coming years (even as it's already high as you can probably tell by recent events) and we might see some pretty stark changes in our economy and policies. Perhaps more social programs to lessen the damage of the gap such as free healthcare or universal basic income. The recurring bubbles do hurt but eventually they give way to the next cycle of debt inflation and exuberance.


As somebody having moved from a country with a good health care system (ie even if you are poor, going to the doctor is not a big issue), the us health care system is definitely one of the most shocking aspects of this country.

It is extremely weird how the USA feel like a mix of first and third world countries.


Always keep in mind: the US spends more per capita on public healthcare than any other country in the world, except Norway[1]

We pay for a single payer system, we just don't get it.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_hea...


> Always keep in mind: the US spends more per capita on public healthcare than any other country in the world, except Norway

Perhaps more important, the US spends a bit more as a share of GDP on public healthcare than most developed countries with a mainly-public universal system. (And on top spends even more on private healthcare, but the combination still isn't a universal system.)

Per capita costs are going to be higher just because incomes are higher. But that doesn't explain per GDP costs being so high.


Spends in paper. Getting billed 5000$ for an x-ray doesn't happen in most other countries.


No, the US government is actually #2 in handing money per person to healthcare companies. Though some of this is government employees or retirees.

We also subsidize the most expensive people, including the elderly and people with cancer and AIDS. Plus, we directly subsidize hospitals in rural areas etc. It’s a giant flood of money.


You started with 'no', but then wrote nothing to contradict me.


Spends in paper is perhaps more vague than I was assuming. What did you mean?

I am saying even if you ignore paperwork costs and crazy bills, it’s still a vast sums of money often sent with minimal overhead. The VA for example is quite expensive though somewhat less so than the rest of US healthcare.


You trade that capital for increased jobs and profit. There is a health admin layer that exists that creates roles strictly to deal with insurance. There are insurance divisions that couldn't exist if insurance wasn't required with each transaction.


Most countries with universal coverage operate on some kind of insurance model, many with private providers, yet don't spend as much as the US does. Insurance companies are a factor in American health care costs but they're not the sole reason.


The problem is that what we do have, we are restricted on negotiation. On the supply side its a bit borked too. I've repeated this a few times, imho what we need are as follows.

Non-profit insurance corporation that anyone can buy policies from. Shift existing medical systems over to the new one. Limit extension patents. Require dual-sourcing for FDA approval. Restrict charging more than 20% price difference between clients for the same medication/procedure. Require fiduciary efforts from insurance carriers in terms of negotiation.

It's a matter of a few legal shifts and some better policies allowing for more competition.


There is zero reason to believe a single payer system would cost us what it costs other countries. We have the same basic model as Europe for building infrastructure, and it costs us multiples what it costs Europe. For $6 billion, suburban Maryland is getting a light rail line that isn’t grade separated. For the same money, Copenhagen is getting a fully automatic new circle subway underneath downtown that’s almost twice as long. Why would we expect healthcare to be any different?


Surely it is possible to figure out why Copenhagen can get a better, longer system than Maryland can get the same money, and see if those reasons apply to health care systems?


I mean, there's evidence to unearth if you go look for it; for instance, the relative rate of procedures being provided on an outpatient basis in the US vs. Europe, and concomitant overprescription rates here, or the number of vacant hospital beds and general inefficiency of how we provision hospital chains. The provider side of US health care is a mess.


I'd argue corruption, USA has very high corruption compared to most western nations. Combine the high corruption with high wages in general and you get extremely high costs of government projects.


Bureaucracy and politics.


Since when is Copenhagen less bureaucratic? Or do you mean that more of that leads to lower costs?

And politics, do you mean US lobbying?


Yes, lobbying is a huge part of politics in the US. Also, don't underestimate US bureaucracy. Just because it's different doesn't mean it's less bad.


I wouldn't.

Which is why I view the situation as hopeless, but not serious.


> the US spends more per capita on public healthcare than any other country in the world,

When you're developing most of the world's medical innovations, it should not be a surprise that we are the top spenders. For example, treatments like Car T-Cell therapy aren't cheap to develop or administer. Over time, those innovations will diffuse and they will become more available to less well off Americans and will become available to those outside America once cheap enough.


What's not often discussed in the same conversation is how high your effective tax rate is. Most Americans think the idea of, for example, a 58-61% effective tax rate in Sweden is simply ridiculous.


Funny you would mention Sweden, it is on the top of the list of countries I plan to move to after spending some time in the USA :)


But don't you need to add in the employer+employee health insurance premium on top of the taxes for most Americans?


Yes, but compared to an effective tax rate of 2X.XX%, most Americans do not pay 40% of their gross income to health care, and they like it that way.

Everyone wants affordable healthcare in America, the question is a matter of where Americans spend on line items, but the debates in America revolve mostly around ideological concepts and not budget concerns directly.


The remaining question is: if you spent the extra 10%, would you get Canadian levels of healthcare or not, for everyone? Also why compare to Sweden, cherrypicking? Could pick any other EU country. Or Canada.

And it's not 40% towards healthcare. It's at most 27% of total tax (less because it's bracketed alongside education) - most of tax is other social spending, a lot of that being retired people.

So healthcare is 7-10% of Sweden's GDP, or so. And falling. This being one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the EU, if not the most expensive.

I guess you're trying to hide that your argument is invalid. Trying to justify US mismanagement or lack of health policies.

For your information, USA spend almost 18% of GDP on government funded healthcare. And still rising. And USA is 28% richer than Sweden per capita, PPP normalized. This ignores additional private costs, which are probably significant.

And getting very uneven access. Some in insurance and medical industry are striking it rich, who cares about social costs.

A) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Sweden

B) https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/sta...

C) https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Sweden/Uni...

Who cares about reality when there's a narrative waiting to be pushed.


> Who cares about reality when there's a narrative waiting to be pushed.

What narrative? These are hard numbers. There's no debate. If you took my income and compared it against American tax law and Swedish tax law, I'd be paying literally over double, nearly triple in taxes if I was Swedish versus if I was American. There's no "extra 10%," your math is just plain wrong.

What a perverse argument; I don't even try to justify anything in my original statements.


The thing is, the USA has subsidized everyone elses health care systems. All major health care innovations were invented here. So when your drug prices are cheap, its because your country has access to free USA drug innovation. What created modern health care (free market privatized drug companies and equipment manufacturers), also causes health care to be a broken system. Theres two sides to this coin


Since people were asking for citations, here's a couple, but they seem to contradict your assertion:

"US Pharmaceutical Innovation in an International Context," the American Journal of Public Health. "We explored whether the United States is responsible for the development of a disproportionate share of the New Molecular Entities (NMEs) produced worldwide. [...] The United States was responsible for the development of 43.7% of the NMEs. The United Kingdom, Switzerland, and a few other countries innovated proportionally more than their contribution to GDP or prescription drug spending, whereas Japan, South Korea, and a few other countries innovated less. Conclusion: Higher prescription drug spending in the United States does not disproportionately privilege domestic innovation, and many countries with drug price regulation were significant contributors to pharmaceutical innovation."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866602/

"Global Drug Discovery: Europe is Ahead," Health Affairs Vol. 28 Supplement 1. "It is widely believed that the United States has eclipsed Europe in pharmaceutical research productivity. Some leading analysts claim that although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important. Yet a comprehensive data set of all new chemical entities approved between 1982 and 2003 shows that the United States never overtook Europe in research productivity, and that Europe in fact is pulling ahead of U.S. productivity. Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs."

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.28.5....

The argument that the US "subsidizes" the rest of the world's health care is something that US pharmaceutical companies would very much like us to believe, but the evidence for it appears to be pretty shaky.


It seems to me the question is whether the US market fuels investment in research in other countries.


How do you propose to measure this?

If it's by revenue to the much maligned Big Pharma, then I think not. R&D is a big cost, but not nearly as big in percentage as shown by the pharma companies, so were they all to contract due to sudden existence failure of the USA, they'd still make big profits if they kept the costs the same. The smaller companies would evaporate.

I'm basing this on comparing Teva USA vs Teva Global R&D spending data. That is 10% everywhere, 15% in the US (dropping faster) and falling regardless of the USA or not, which is pumping in more money into this company every day.

I picked Teva because they're representative and one of global market leaders.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/272544/expenditure-on-re...

Solid: https://articles2.marketrealist.com/2018/01/whats-teva-pharm...

(Yes, you can also read their quarterlies for USA branch and other ones. I checked a few.)

Decent write-up, if a bit old: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20170307.05903...


> We collected data on NMEs approved between 1992 and 2004 and assigned each NME to an inventor country.

I'm curious why they chose that time period. It was published in 2010. This omits 6 years between publication date of the article and the end of the range they chose and omitted all data prior to 1992. How would the data differ if you didn't choose this 12 year period?

> although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important.

> Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs.

These two statements contradict one another and the second one sounds awfully like moving the goal posts because the data doesn't support the conclusions.


> These two statements contradict one another and the second one sounds awfully like moving the goal posts because the data doesn't support the conclusions.

The abstract I quoted reads: "Some leading analysts claim that although fewer drugs have been discovered worldwide over the past decade, most are therapeutically important. Yet a comprehensive data set of all new chemical entities approved between 1982 and 2003 shows that the United States never overtook Europe in research productivity, and that Europe in fact is pulling ahead of U.S. productivity. Other large studies show that most new drugs add few if any clinical benefits over previously discovered drugs."

The first snippet you pulled out is prefaced by Some leading analysts claim. This study's meta-analysis concludes that those analysts are incorrect.


Right, I mean, aside from Roche, Novartis, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Teva, Takeda, Merck, NovoNordisk, the synthesis of antibiotics and vaccines and modern surgery, what have the non-Americans ever contributed?!?!?!?!!!!!!

> All major health care innovations were invented here

To quote Rage Against the Machine: whoever told you that is your enemy


>The thing is, the USA has subsidized everyone elses health care systems. All major health care innovations were invented here. So when your drug prices are cheap, its because your country has access to free USA drug innovation.

Sorry, what?

My country doesn't have any "free access" to drug innovation, it pays mucho dinero to buy drugs, and American companies hold and enforce all kinds of patents on them.

It's also not some "one way" innovation street. Tons of medical/drug innovation, especially all the major "low hanging fruits" (which make up for most of modern health benefits) up to the mid-20th century came from outside the USA.

And that's not counting all the major European etc drug companies GlaxoSmithKline (British), La Roche (Swiss), Novartis (Swiss), Sanofi-Aventis (French), Bayer (German), Boehringer Ingelheim (German), etc.

Of the top 5 grossing drug companies, only 1 is American (#1 Pfizer). And the revenues of #1 are close to the revenues of #2 and #3, (45 vs 40 and 38 billion) so it's not like some great disparity where Pfizer takes all.

Not to mention that a lot of "USA innovations" were created by immigrants, whose country of origin paid for their raising, education, etc, even up to their undergraduate degree, and then they went to the USA and innovated as researchers...

Slow down with the chauvinism...


Once the patents expire, your country gets the free access.

If you didn't develop a drug or pay for its development, but get access to it one day at only the cost of manufacture, then you're getting the R&D for free.

All of the drug companies you mentioned, while not founded in America, do most of their R&D in America.

You're right about many immigrants developing those drugs, but they came to America to do so. You should ask yourself "why?"

For the record, I'm an immigrant to the US.


>Once the patents expire, your country gets the free access.

Everybody gets the free access (including other American companies). Like you get free access to European drugs, once the patents expire. But all this is played into the cost of the drug while the patent holds. Nobody sells drugs at a cost, so there's that...

>All of the drug companies you mentioned, while not founded in America, do most of their R&D in America.

That's just wrong.

>You're right about many immigrants developing those drugs, but they came to America to do so. You should ask yourself "why?"

More cushioned life, compared to a place like China (at least of yore), and opportunities to make it big in business.


What is the source of this all meds are created in the USA? Plenty of strong European companies out there, now of course all companies are global. I'm trying to get some strong arguments since i hear this all the time.

Also, by that thinking, all the suckers and losers in the market subsidize others.


Enough Americans believe this myth to perpetuate the insane costs and poor service that we endure here


Roche and Novartis are Swiss. GlaxoSmithKline is British. AstraZeneca is British/Swedish. Sanofi is French. Novo Nordisk is Danish. Bayer is German. Takeda and Daiichi Sanyko are Japanese. Teva is Israeli.


> All major health care innovations were invented here.

Citation needed.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO_Model_List_of_Essential_Me...

I never went through the whole list because it took a super long time, but when I tried sampling where most of these ~300 drugs were developed, it was like 80% developed in the US. I got through like 50-60 of them before I gave up. 50-60 should be good enough to be representative of the 300 or so. Feel free to go through them yourself if you don't believe me.


> Feel free to go through them yourself if you don't believe me.

I didn't so I did.

I checked the first thirty listed in the Wikipedia article. Of those, only 8 have been developed in the USA including one developed by the American branch of a Swiss company.

That's merely 26%. Not insignificant but quite far from 80%. After a quick sampling of the rest I would be surprised if the exact proportion is above a third.


I just went through the first 24 and you couldn't possibly have gone through the first 30 since I hit 8 drugs developed in the US in the first 20. So you're clearly lying about fact checking my statement. 11 were developed in the US and one more was introduced to western medicine by an American traveling. And if you only include drugs developed in the last 100 years, of which there are 14, 10 were developed in the United States, so 71%. What has the rest of the World been doing for the last century?

Halothane - England (1956)

Isoflurane - United States (1979)

Nitrous Oxide - England (1772)

Oxygen - N/A

Ketamine - United States (1966)

Propofol - United States (1989)

Bupivacaine - Sweden (1957)

Lidocaine - Sweden (1885)

Ephedrine - China (?, introduced to western medicine by an American traveling to China)

Atropine - Germany (1833)

Midazolam - United States (1976)

Morphine - Germany (1803)

Aspirin - France (1853)

Ibuprofen England (1953)

Paracetamol - United States (1877)

Codeine - France (1832)

Fentanyl - United States (1960)

Methadone - Germany (1937)

Amitriptyline - United States (1960)

Cyclizine - United States (1947)

Dexamethasone - United States (1957)

Diazepam - United States (1959)

Docusate - ???

Fluoxetine - United States (1972)

It's ridiculous how hard it is to figure out where most of these were developed.

When I first went through the WHO list, I did so in reverse by year of discovery:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_drugs_by_year_of_disco...


Except Propofol was discovered by a Scot working for a British pharma in the 70s and Fentanyl was discovered by a Belgian working for a Belgian pharma.

I stopped checking again at this point. As a reminder your first claim was 80% of the list. I think your reliability has clearly been established at this point.


~80% in reverse chronological order by year of discovery. Just went through the list of drugs developed in the 21st century:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_drugs_by_year_of_disco...

Except for Alectinib, which was developed in Japan, 13 of the 14 drugs developed in the 21st century for example have been developed in the United States:

That's 93%. Again what has the rest of the World been doing?

So 9 by the 24th in the list not 30, so your reliability has also been established.


I think this is a very commonly told story in the US. I would like to see the data backing it up.


There is no data. Everything in the US medical system is opaque. It’s the same story with hospitals. They say they have to overcharge everybody to compensate for the people who don’t pay. But there are no real numbers to demonstrate that.


It's less subsidizing as what a controlled market allows. Dual sourcing requirements and limiting extension patents would go a long way. Combined with a fiduciary responsibility for insurance (and more so medicare) negotiations on behalf of clients.


I came from Zimbabwe, and the US is simply a rich third world country. oppression is the same, biased media as well which is polarized along political lines.


“In relation to that cycle we are around 1936.”

Let’s hope we don’t need a big war to get the country back on track ....


Yeah, I'm trying to avoid 1939.


So in this view, 1929 corresponds to 2008?

But I'm not sure that it's going to play out the same, because the Fed took unprecedented action to keep 2011 from looking like 1932. They were not at all the same - we never hit 35% unemployment, nor anything like it, even if you take "discouraged workers" into account.


Dalio is an interesting (and controversial) guy.

I'll be very interested to see how his All Weather Portfolio (as told by Tony Robbins) does over the next decade.


The housing bubble part of this as yet another way that the economy is failing... well for everyone that isn't wealthy is probably a far larger and more nuanced part of the problem than the article realizes.

It was at least true when I was a kid that the 'American Dream' included owning your own home and trying to build up wealth that way. However, as an American 'teen' I found getting a job in the suburbs pretty much impossible: I didn't have a car and I had no reliable / safe way to get outside of the small local malls which already had hundreds of other students competing for work.

It might have also been that most of the less complex, safe to hand off to any random teen/adult, jobs had already been outsourced or made obsolete.

-

Today housing prices in the middle of nowhere, where there aren't jobs, are somewhat reasonable... Trying to get a place that is your own near jobs? There seem to be far too few places relative to the number of jobs; thus competition fails to reward places that are planned and built well and favors sellers that use every loophole and cut every corner they're not legally required to fulfill.


Another short, controversial news article with plenty of possibly good points but no actual data. For instance, home ownership is down? Okay, tell me how much and in what areas. Is it mostly densely populated areas that are running out of space? Or is it everywhere? Are there other explanations (like older first-age of childbirth?



Research I did while homeless:

The research I have done also suggests that humans have only found about 5 percent of the gold on the planet and that gold is in high demand as a material used in our fancy modern electronics. This demand is likely to go up, not down.

Because the environment is a hot topic and sensitive issue, from what I gather, this is a job not likely to be taken over by automation any time soon. It appears that they are cracking down on automated processes for dredging streams for gold because it has too much negative impact on the environment. So, this is likely to remain an opportunity for small time operators for many years to come. [1]

The spot price for gold is currently higher than it was when I did the research. It's around $1500/oz.[2] It was "above $1200" per ounce when I did the research.

Get rich quick schemes have always been dicey at best. What we imagine ought to be easy now because we have computers, such as house flipping, was tough back in the day. It's still tough, just for different reasons, like market saturation and fierce competition.

That isn't intended to dismiss the idea that we have systemic issues. I'm well aware that we have systemic issues. I'm just saying that if you think getting rich used to be easy, I doubt I would agree with you.

As always, you need to find the non-obvious opportunities that are being overlooked by other people and then work hard. Occasionally, people just get lucky.

Luck is always a factor. But there is no sure thing formula for wealth creation. There never has been.

[1] https://sandiegohomelesssurvivalguide.blogspot.com/2016/11/h...

[2] https://goldprice.org/gold-price-charts/1-day-gold-price-per...


Maybe the USA was historically "fertile" because the original inhabitants were exterminated, leaving behind a wealth of material resources available for the taking.

One could contend that the notion of "frontier" was the land until the 20th century, it was "the rest of the world" in the 20th century, and now there is none because the system is in temporary equilibrium without any huge wars or natural disasters.


The USA has the largest network of navigable rivers through arable land with the Mississippi. Water transport is still the cheapest form around, and that free capital (in the form of transportation infrastructure) would make any nation that commands it a dominant economic power. In the hypothetical world where the Columbian Exchange happened with technological parity and no colonization, the nation controlling the current US territory would still end up the richest in the world.


The Internet has been the frontier for the last 25 years. That's where most new fortunes were made: providing services or access to it.

Perhaps the Internet is now full, or perhaps there's lots more territory.

Other frontiers include biotech and space. Both seem like we've only explored 1% of the potential.


With the internet some uni student could build something and become rich. To just get started on space or medical stuff takes more money than most whole corporations have.


Here are 61 companies that got started on biomedical stuff, most with just $150k, in the last few years: https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/?vertical=Biomedical and https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/?vertical=Biotech

Not all will succeed, but some will. You can absolutely start with nothing but some knowledge and ambition.


Well, it is always hard to strike rich using something that was already exploited for decades. People who got rich trading real estate used to do it back when it was risky. Now people are becoming rich by doing other risky things, e.g. cryptocurrencies. Of course, there are many ways to fail, but there were never a risk-free way of becoming rich on one's own.


I stopped reading at the date ranges. It’s comparing the decade 1983-93 (start at recovery from long recession, measure across famous economic boom with only short 1990 downturn) versus 2003-2013. (Oldish data anyway and measures across the famously deep 2008 recession which had an unusually slow recovery.) and you want to make a point about economic mobility and inequality in 2019 with this? We may have problems with economic mobility but this is a very bad version of that argument.


Where is it easier to strike it rich?


Europe according to this guy: https://www.ted.com/talks/harald_eia_where_in_the_world_is_i...

The theory makes sense, a better safety net means it's easier to take risks, 'celebrate failure' and all that


There is no such thing as "celebrate failure" culture in Europe. Not in France, not in Netherlands, not in Germany. Safety net is not free (it limits the top achievement), and is not available for everyone (e.g. as an immigrant, I am not allowed to use most of the social services; the same will apply for you).

US culture is much more preferable for the entrepreneurs.


China maybe? But my guess is no where, which is why populists are on the march globally.


America 30 years ago, which is the point


Maybe closer to 35-45 years ago? Put another way, sometime in the late 1970s through mid 80s? Or did you mean specifically the late 1980s? I vaguely recall the adults mentioning something about a 'recession' in the early 90s, but I don't think it was anything near as bad as the last roughly 10 years.


The data in the article was comparing more modern stats with other stats starting in mid 80s which is why I gave 30 years. You could probably expand it as far back as the 50s and probably still be accurate




Not China, unless you're Chinese. Right now you want to go to less developed economies.


Asia - China, India, Vietnam


China.

"Although the U.S. will remain a world leader in the number of millionaires, reaching as many as 20.5 million over the next five years, Credit Suisse forecasts that China will mint new seven-figure fortunes at more than three times the rate over the same period."

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-18/u-s-to-re...


But, with China having 4x the U.S. population, wouldn't "odds of becoming a (b/m)illionaire" still be higher in the States, even if raw amount of new millionaires is higher in China?


This is another oddly plucked stat from another Bloomberg clickbait article. Their internal rate of new millionaires is increasing, because they have fewer millionaires and more people. They’re still creating net less new millionaires than the US per year.


That makes sense given that China has ~4x the population of the United States.


well only if your chinese. chinese tend to not work well with non chinese.


I'd encourage you to read this book, it certainly made me think differently about China: Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower by Henry M. Paulson

https://www.amazon.com/Dealing-China-Insider-Economic-Superp...


I'd rather take economic and business advice from the hobo outside my bus stop screaming at pigeons than take advice from Hank Paulson.


It's not a self help book it's a story


Are you Chinese yourself? I have a number of really great native-born Chinese colleagues.


PHGamer's comment could have been phrased better. But I suspect the actual point is this: It might be hard for a non-Chinese to become rich in China - harder, say, than for a non-US-citizen to become rich in the US.


Exactly the opposite of what can be found elsewhere.

"Number of U.S. Millionaires Grows in 2018, for 10th Straight Year"

https://www.barrons.com/articles/number-of-u-s-millionaires-...




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