I'm going to come right out and say that at some point, maybe we should re-evaluate communism. Of course it's going to need a massive rebranding, and we'll need to figure out how to prevent all the recurring themes of corruption and "making people disappear".
My colleague highly recommends Capital in the Twenty-First Century , which I'm looking forward to reading.
Economics 101 is a vary limited model of how real world economy's work. In the real world ultra rich people tend to cause a lot of long term economic harm because there goals tend to be vary different from most people.
PS: Bill Gates sending aid money to developing areas may be a 'good' thing but it's not investing in the way your thinking.
Some have argued that it is good that rich people often get their way, because the alternative is far worse.
There's a nifty way around this: if Joe self-funds, he need not worry about his own principal agent problem. What kind of economies encourage self-funding? Those that provide employment opportunities sufficient for the purposes of saving and serving as a safety-net. NOT economies that systematically de-leverage the bulk of the working population.
*actually becomes the bottleneck for the transfer function between consumers and producers we call markets...
Throw in that governments have lousy track records at actual redistribution... it's much harder than it looks. You have to have government-levels of instrumentation of the processes, and that's expensive. This isn't just governments, either - public charities can run into this problem as well.
Megan McArdle has, I think, a fine treatise on how the globalization of capital killed off the equilibrium that made even organized labor possible:
In the world described by JK Galbraith's "Modern Industrial State", organized labor sorta made sense. Now? Not so much.
Hayek and Milton Friedman ( generally considered economists of the Right, although that has problems ) have both espoused a basic income/negative tax. That's quite distinct from Communism.
I think we should start by re-evaluating capitalism (at some point in the next 500 years or so when we run out of steam on the current system), and then see what needs fixing rather than to throw caution to the wind and have a re-run of the 20th century.
It will also have a negative effect on innovation and technology. Some of the greatest technologies we have today is a result of fierce competition in the marketplace.
I run my own business now (it took many years of working for many terrible bosses and managers). I have many freedoms. Why would I want to take away the chance for anyone to ever have the chance to also achieve this freedom?
The answer is to invest more in education and bring more people to a level where they can make a living. Not to completely destroy the current system and bring everyone down to nothing.
I hope I'm not still around ever see this happen.
Suppose that you could snap your fingers and give every person in the United States a college education. Not just a degree, but the knowledge that comes with a degree (a high-quality degree for the sake of argument). What do you think would happen?
1. Employers would use the increased leverage to play members of the new labor force off one another until none of them were earning more than minimum wage, if that. By "employers" I mean to include venture capitalists because supply and demand still applies in VCistan -- a flood of entrepreneurs fleeing a crummy labor market means that VCs have all the leverage and can impose similarly crummy terms.
2. Enough new positions would appear (either through companies growing their staff or through investment in new companies) that everyone could earn a decent salary.
I'm 90% sure the answer is #1 and that your "solution" would have the effect of "bringing everyone down to nothing."
The supply of labor is fixed (everyone needs to eat) but the demand for it is not (and lower every day in aggregate). It's that simple. The game is rigged. In low-growth sectors of the economy, capital concentrates no matter how educated the players are (see: non-CS, non-petrol engineers). Just because we can run fast enough to win a slice in our sector (which is high-growth right now but won't be forever) doesn't mean that teaching others how to run fast is a strategy that leads to asymptotic success in the limit of teaching everyone how to run.
You don't have to implement a communist system to shut down the mechanism that rigs the game. BI/MI will suffice. So would some kind of total-employment system. But I see no reason to believe that the supply/demand gap for "average" labor would close for any realistic definition of "average" in a "free" market (I put scare quotes around "free" because Maslow's hierarchy ensures that no BI/MI-less market system is ever "free"). If it somehow did happen it would certainly go against the historical trend. Do you have a narrative to explain why the post-educational-revolution employment landscape would be fundamentally different from today or is it all wishful thinking?
What? No! Communism doesn't even have a state, let alone a powerful central government.
This differs from all the existing and previous Communist states. You can't just "no true Scotsman" your way round the problems of government under communism.
Meanwhile, intellectuals who dream about the next coming of Communist Paradise on Earth will do nothing. Dreaming is cheap after all.
Things are going to change very soon. I've yet to meet anyone in a currently stable industry that I couldn't replace with a robot in the next 20-30 years.
Hell, programming has gotten SO tremendously easy now that _almost_ anyone can do it. We're quickly approaching an age where learning how to code is the equivalent of knowing how to read.
So once we've automated everything. and everyone knows how to program things. Where do we go?
The thing you're forgetting is that development involves a lot of abstract thinking and years of understanding how "A" fits into "B". People with basic knowledge of a programming language can bang out easily conceptualized tasks like plotting their car's monthly gas mileage but ask them to write a simple Twitter clone and you're likely to receive blank stares. A seasoned developer could knock that out in an afternoon though (not at real Twitter scale of course!) because they have years of experience knowing how dozens of loosely-related systems and libraries can be assembled to create the bigger picture.
Saying that knowing how to "code" means anyone can create anything is like saying that anyone can paint the Mona Lisa given a canvas, paint, and a six week bootcamp session.
We can easily change that with computers and diplomatic voting... and much MUCH better transparency.