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I question why any one person should have billions of dollars left to their whims in the first place. It's not simply the "natural way" of things. Our system is built to reward financiers, founders, and executives at vast disproportion to employees. Don't get me wrong, those first three groups are really important. I just think that when we talk about individuals having 11-figure sums of wealth, maybe something is kind of out of whack.

And some of them simply inherited that wealth, which is a whole other level of absurd.




To put it simply, the problem is that any possible cure is worse than the disease itself. Stopping people from having that much money creates at least as many problems as it solves.


Interesting. How so?

I mean, I suppose you could be right, but my point is that we take it for granted that the way things work in our society is just the natural state. It isn't. There are all sorts of policies in place that lead to compensation for various actors being what it is.


Because the devil is in the details. Let's say a guy gets rich. Do you put him in jail? If yes, for what crime? If not, you'll probably want to confiscate his wealth. What if it's not cash, but assets: cars, houses, gold bars. You (or the government) confiscate all of them, now you have to sell them; the simple act of selling them devalues them (depending on how many there are of them). So now the government either owns a bunch of useless (to them) assets, or a pile of cash that will be quickly spent.

Also, a much simpler explanation is: moving wealth from rich people to government just makes government rich. This doesn't change the underlying problem, it just shifts power into different hands.

Then there's the prevention approach. How do you even prevent people from owning stuff/having money? You'd have to completely discourage savings, and force people to spend everything they make.


I don't advocate criminalizing wealth. I'm not sure how you got that from my posts.

What I question is whether the method by which our system allocates wealth is optimal in any way. Yes, I think there are things we could do from a taxation standpoint to reallocate or put to public use, but that doesn't address the root issue, and it also gives people the impression that their gross earnings are naturally theirs in the first place.

Imagine for a Fake America with the same number of dollars, each with the same purchasing power as in the real America. Now imagine that the wealthiest American had, say, $250M, due to the norms of compensation in Fake America. What would society look like? Would anyone whose wealth in this Fake America is 1% of their wealth in Real America even know the difference?

Is this scenario possible? Who knows. Perhaps the specific scale of inequality in Real America is exactly optimal. Of course, we don't know whether this flatter distribution would reproduce the same level of enterprise we see in Real America. But I don't see why not. The 0.01% would have less resources to wield, but we'd also have way more people with resources far beyond their needs. If I never thought it would be conceivable to be a billionaire, the allure of the possibility of being a hundred-millionaire would still tempt me.

The tacit counterargument is that the only things that can possibly promote private enterprise on the scale that it exists in Real America are the ability to be at least ten thousand times richer than a person who'd already be considered quite rich, as well as the ability to establish dynasties that privilege your progeny long after your contributions to private enterprise. That could very well be true, but I'm not cynical enough to accept that without very strong argument.


I wish people would engage my argument instead of punishing it silently with a down vote...




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