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Superrich and us

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Archtronics, 15 Jan 2015.

  1. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    We seem to be at an impasse, you say "the nature of investing [is] that if you don't invest wisely, you will eventually run out of money"

    I say that's not strictly true, and the facts tend to backup my claim.
    ...
     
  2. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    But what's "too rich"? Net worth of £10m? £100m? 1bn+? Everyone able to read this forum is going to be "rich" enough that someone somewhere else is being deprived somewhere in the world - so the solution is some sort of global, socialist commune where everybody just gets along then, right?

    Based on my extensive research (i.e. 30 seconds thinking about it just right now), the vast majority of the "good" things on this earth have come to fruition through financial motivation as well, rather than just for the sake of doing good. Turns out, people are just generally dicks.


    Good question.

    Seems these terms like many others mean absolutely nothing and are used simply to be emotive. Perhaps this was created as a sister show to the one recently that portrayed people on benefits as all that's bad in society?

    That said, I've not watched the whole episode, but the show seems to be just as much about super expensive stuff as the "super rich"?
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2015
  3. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Too rich is when the next million does not in any way realistically improve your life.

    Don't mistake making a living for being a dick. It is one thing to be incentivised by money to do something productive; it's another thing to make another meaningless million for doing nothing special at the expense of a whole lot of people being paid a menial wage. At some point you have enough millions and can either afford to pay people more, or plough that money back into charities and public works.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2015
  4. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Improve your life like the sense of enjoyment of playing real life football manager with, and the glee when your team wins the premiership? How about adding a few more jets to the fleet, because it's becoming a pain to manage with just the one with the wife and kids wanting to use them all the time? Maybe it's just scoring points with your super rich mates? Last one to reach $10bn is a rotten tomato? Nobody wants to be a rotten tomato, right?

    I'm sure the path to super-rich-ville is full of points where a person has to justify to themselves what they are doing and drive themselves to accumulate more wealth, and each and every point the rationale gets more and more detached from what you or I call "reasonable".


    I'm not saying making a living is being a dick, I'm just saying that deep down, each and every one of us is a selfish dick to some extent, from a human nature point of view - the points you're making are all down to scale.

    I'm sure either of us could forfeit more of our take home pay than we are right now and dedicate it to charities and making the world a better place without putting us and our family out of house and home, but we're selfish.

    So, once someone is living above the poverty line where's the point where not dedicating swathes of one's income to charitable causes becomes socially unacceptable?

    I'm not suggesting I have the answers, just saying it's relative.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2015
  5. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    I ask because CNN is stating that the global mean income is $1,225 annually. That means if you make $34,000 a year, you are in the global elite 1%. Some families in the US are making that on welfare; poverty being defined as $23,850.
     
  6. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Quite - perhaps I was a bit too off the mark suggesting anyone able to read this forum is privileged, maybe more like anyone able to read full stop.

    Where is the line between $1225/year and "super rich" where it becomes socially unacceptable?
     
  7. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    I don't think it's a mater of X amount of money, it's more about extreme inequality.
    It's about the 0.7% of the world's people with assets more than $1m control 44% of all the world's wealth.

    I would suggest we need to move from an elitism based world to a egalitarian based one.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2015
  8. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Ahh, but if you reading this on a computer screen, chances are you're in the next 7.9%. Still part of that extreme inequality. Are willing to give it all up? I don't think so.

    When you start feeling like you have a right to tell that 0.7% what to do with their wealth, remember there are other 91% who want to tell you what to do with yours.
     
  9. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    And that's why i added that we need to move from an elitism based world to a egalitarian based one.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    I would happily give up my position if it meant I would fit into a genuinely fair model.

    Seriously. I would.

    But a fair model just isn't possible. Fairer maybe, but it'll never be fair. Someone will have opportunity combined with greed and selfishness.

    A fair system can only be truly fair if it's technically impossible for one person (or a company, especially one controlled by a small percentage of its workforce) to obtain more wealth than a 'fair share'.

    If the 'average' person has a net worth of X than anyone with X,000,000 should be made to use it in a way that distributes said wealth fairly.

    Aint. Ever. Gonna. Happen.
     
  11. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Every time I hear that soundbite or one like it it irks me - the poorest few billion people on earth have literally sweet F-all and it's deplorable that there are billions of people on this planet living in conditions worse than I can even fathom. Yet one often hears condemnation of "the 1%" from individuals with a pretty damn comfortable life in the grand scheme of things, and get to the crux of it and they're pro wealth redistribution in any way that makes the individual in question less poor (and I don't mean you specifically here, I'm generalising why it irks me, I know a lot of academics who are more vocal than they should be)

    Without sugar coating this it sounds terrible, but I'm selfish: as far as I'm concerned, having a comfortable home, music, TV, internet, transportation, good food and drink is more important than the horrific poverty in which billions live. Does this make me a terrible person and part of the worlds problems? Probably, but I've found my way of living with it, as have that vast majority of the western world, not just the super rich.


    Global scale wealth redistribution? Never going to happen, but that's beside the point.

    Kind of moving off the topic of the "super rich" destroying the world for the rest of us, granted. But let's say everyone with a net worth >$1bn gives up everything in the name of wealth redistribution. Guess what, there's a new super rich - the bar is lower, and the third world is marginally better off, but the skew is still massive.

    Full time minimum wage in the UK is already well into the upper echelons of wealth - are you prepared to give up all of the creature comforts you hold dear? It's easy to point fingers at "the 1%" as some sort of elite puppet masters destroying the world, but as JJ points out, seems if you make more than ~£22k a year, you're one of them.
     
  12. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    And percentage-wise I probably contribute more to charity and fair trade than most multi-millionaires, so excuse me if I don't beat my chest all mea culpa style. Not to mention that someone earning £22k is likely to feel even a 5% drop in income, while the super-rich most likely won't even notice. Like, it's not going to stop them buying that private jet.

    So no, you and I are not "one of them". There is reasonable standard of living, there's comfortably well-off, and there's obscenely rich, and we all know where the difference lies without reaching for arbitrary statistical distributions.
     
  13. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Actually, having pondered it, I'm pretty sure I'd give it up if everyone else pinky-swore the fall in line. I tried not to think too hard about it though, as you rightly point out, it's largely irrelevant.

    You could be right there - always leaves me a little torn when you read a press release or the like that someone has donated $1m to some cause, which is great and all, only to do the maths and establish that relatively speaking that's like me donating the spare change I find in my sofa. And then go on to think, if they're so selfless and charitable, why did they publicise it? The whole water bucket nonsense last year made me sick - the cause was irrelevant, the charitable aspect was irrelevant, it was just a bunch of self-aggrandising celebs and everyone else following a trend.

    I'm not 100% convinced it's a fair generalisation, but then don't know any multi-millionaires well enough to ask to see their accounts to check (and being charitable brings tax breaks after all), so I'm not going to argue!

    My point is... I think - obscenely rich is all relative. Where I might see things like yachts and private aviation the reserve of the "obscenely rich" , another might put the bar at a 4 bed house of permanent construction or a privately owned car or two. What would a documentary like this made in Malawi or Liberia (TVs permitting) look like?

    Just because many of the billionaires of the world might not be doing their fair share of making the world a better place for everyone doesn't mean that there's not an element of culpability for Joe Bloggs and John Doe IMO. End of the day the grass is definitely greener on our side of the fence.

    I'm not fighting the corner of the super rich by the way (they can hire some cronies to fight it for them, after all), or the super poor for the matter. I'm not weighing on either side of the fence. I simply can't help myself but to be the devil's advocate at times.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2015
  14. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Granted I'm oversimplifying it, but my original statement was made in regard to the super rich in particular: they don't lose money or break even; they generate ever-flowing streams of income. The only way to do that consistently, and repeatably, is with careful investment and a hell of a good head on your shoulders (and, as Nexxo points out, probably some exploitation and questionable shortcuts along the way).

    I can point you to many sources which show people investing unwisely and losing massive quantities of money, and indeed people losing all their money, but of course it's not "strictly" true that all people who invest unwisely lose their money, because it's a generalisation and the reality is far more complicated than that. But in principle it is very simple: investment can go one of three ways, two of which will not make you super rich. There are investors out there who are very, very wealthy, but not super rich.

    Interestingly, the Guardian classifies super-rich as "those who have more than $1million in investable assets," but I'm inclined to disagree with that... that kind of wealth is far too common (millions upon millions of people worldwide).

    According to Forbes, there are currently 1,645 billionaires in the world. That, to me, is super rich - it's like having a thousand bank accounts, each with at least £1 million in credit. (The very thought of that makes me ill... keep one, and give the other 999 away LOL.)
     
  15. Ending Credits

    Ending Credits Bunned

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    Just a minor point since I'm sort on time, but the notion that you somehow make money by giving to charity through tax breaks is false, unless you are engaged in some very, very seedy activities.

    And for what it's worth, in my experience, a good proportion of super-rich people I know of do contribute a good chunk of their assets to charity, but then as Nexxo pointed out, 50% of 100mil is still 50mil so it's not quite the same thing (although just imagine asking anyone to give away 50% of their stuff and you'll see it's not quite so straightforwards).
     
  16. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    You certainly can't make money from it, but you can absolutely reduce your tax liability, both in the US and UK.
     
  17. Ending Credits

    Ending Credits Bunned

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    You can only reduce your tax liability by a fraction of what you give the charity though. It's just the equivalent of knocking the charitable donations off of your taxable income. That's my understanding of it anyway.
     
  18. d_stilgar

    d_stilgar Old School Modder

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    I'll be speaking from a U.S. perspective, since I'm an American living in the U.S.

    There are a few good books that are worth reading on becoming rich. One is called The Millionaire Next Door, the other is its companion, The Millionaire Mind. If you are only going to read one, then make it The Millionaire Next Door. It's the better of the two and much less dry.

    One of the biggest things it says is that most millionaires in the U.S. made all their money in their own lifetime. This holds true for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Gabe Newell. I have a really hard time seeing how Bill Gates made his millions off the impoverished slave labor of others. He created millions of jobs both in Microsoft itself and in all the industry around it. This isn't a zero sum game when you invent a new market.

    Most children who did not earn money, but inherited it, will lose it. This isn't always true, but that money (& its associated power) seems to go if its value (the work it took to earn it) isn't appreciated.

    Now, it's incredibly hard to get out of poverty because you are brought up in a home where your parents don't know what to do with money, and there's often so little that it's a debate between which of your needs will be met this month. There's an associated lack of opportunity because of this. So the poor tend to stay poor.

    At the same time, if you are rich you spend your time with other rich people. You talk about business ventures and often times opportunities are presented to you because of who you associate with. And so the rich stay rich.

    Still, if Notch creates a game that turns him into a billionaire, I don't see how anyone should feel entitled to a share of that money just because, "well, a billion is too much for anyone. I should have some of that." Again, Minecraft isn't some zero sum economy where Notch becoming a billionaire somehow made a whole country of people in Africa die of starvation. It's a game, and if he created it and people like it and he's gotten rich as a result, I have a really hard time saying he doesn't deserve it.

    Many of these super-rich also got rich taking large risks. Watch The Queen of Versailles if you want to see the story about a man who turns a small orange orchard into one of the world's largest time-share property companies, then more or less loses it all. It's a strange, sad, movie. You don't really feel bad for the things that happen to these people because they aren't very likable, but you also see how human they really are, and how close to the edge they live, even though they are making thousands of dollars a day. (It's surreal).

    I also watched some documentary where politicians were polled for what they thought was a an ideal distribution of wealth. It doesn't really matter what they said because these are politicians, not economists. What is "fair" and what actually works are two very different things. Try really hard to imagine an economy where the absolute richest made 4x more than the absolute poorest. It doesn't work. Not unless it's communist. I'm okay with the richest people making more than 1000x my salary. Most of these people earned their money in their own lifetime, which means I might be able to do it too. The opportunities are still there. Also, when you run a company with 1000s of employees, I have a hard time thinking that it would be right for you to manage something that big without a compensation commensurate to the size of the organization you are running.
     
  19. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Careful, they don't like that sort of talk here.

    On a more personal note, we are at the point in our lives where our combined assets will likely break a million dollars in the next five to six years, making us part of that 0.7%. We didn't do anything wrong, except make the right choices with what we earned.

    The idea that simply being successful makes us inherently bad people is one I flat out reject.
     
  20. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    This highlights an interesting reasoning: that if your immense wealth is deserved, you have no moral obligation to share it with the poor. I think it's particularly interesting that this attitude is prevalent in a country that proclaims itself staunchly Christian (just sayin').

    This is not about entitlement or whether you worked hard enough for your wealth. This is about whether you choose to be a decent human being to your fellow human beings. Nobody is proposing that billionaires give it all away; just that if they have more money than they can reasonably spend in their lifetime, couldn't they extend some of those resources and creative vision to something that benefits humanity as a whole? Could they give up just one of their ten cars or three jets so that a few ten thousand kids in the Third World could get some vaccinations? Bill Gates apparently can.

    Success doesn't make you a bad person but what you do with your success might. In any case I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about people who could lose a few million today --and frequently do just due to some random stock fluctuation-- and literally not notice it in any appreciable way.
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2015

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