The world cannot afford to have billionaires

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, January 30th, 2019 - 246 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, Economy, International, tax, us politics - Tags:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has achieved a great deal of prominence with her claim that it is immoral to have a world that allows for billionaires.

From Amanda Marcotte at Salon:

… Ocasio-Cortez attended a symposium where author Ta-Nehisi Coates asked her if it was moral to have “a world that allows for billionaires.” Ocasio-Cortez swiftly said it was not. She hastened to note that individual billionaires, such as Bill Gates, may well be good people. But “a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.”

AOC continued to hammer this point home later the same night on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, explaining (yet again) that her proposed 70 percent marginal income tax rate would only be on money made above the first $10 million a year — and that a similar marginal tax rate reached 90% when Dwight Eisenhower was president.

“Do we want to live in a city where billionaires have their own personal Uber helipads,” she asked, “in the same city and same society as people who are working 80-hour weeks and can’t feed their kids?”

And her call for a top marginal tax rate is getting traction and support.

Of course there is another reason that such obscene amounts of wealth should not be allowed to be accumulated. It incentivises the worst sort of consumption which is trashing our planet. Having 1500 private jets fly into Davos so that the obscenely wealthy can jawbone about sustainability is a particularly jarring example of this and shows the sort of behaviour that occurs from some when there is no effective limit on the amount of wealth that is available.

Ocasio-Cortez is a breath of fresh air in the staleness that is American politics. She is also the perfect foil to Donald Trump. It is refreshing to see such bravery in raising such supposedly contentious issues, tax increases, without fear, and seeing the debate start about how our current system is so broken.

And taking on a core theme of laissez faire capitalism, that greed is good, in the United States of America is such a brave thing to do. Let alone successfully.

246 comments on “The world cannot afford to have billionaires”

  1. Yes its wonderful to see such bravery from AOC.
    I just hope that she manages to have some significant influence on US politics before being brought down by the establishment that will fight tooth and nail to stop her.

    • soddenleaf 1.1

      It’s not just taxes rising on the wealthiest. It’s travel, once they get over 100 million should we let them travel? Lower your wealth or not travel, its about personal responsibility, super rich need to look at themselves harder, they are free loading off the system that made it possible for them to either jerk around the world or invest and grow humanity. I think they need to be made to choose, life very well off jetsetting or even stupidly richer but unable to leave the country.

    • McFlock 1.2

      She already has.

      And I think there are other, similar, life-long dems heading into prominance now. The election, especially the primaries, will be very interesting indeed.

  2. roy cartland 2

    Finally, a politician brave enough to say it. Someone here recommended this book, which I’ll do again:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23258500-why-we-can-t-afford-the-rich

    Get a copy – it puts and end to any ‘argument’ against.

  3. rata 3

    I made my first billion doing my paper round in 1967-70.
    I have always had my own vege patch
    in the back yard and saved 2- 3 billion that way.
    I walked to work and saved another billion on bus fares.
    I also busked on Saturdays and made my 6th billion on my wonderful voice.
    I am currently selling my fleet of Ford Prefect 100e
    and Humber 80’s which will fetch 500 mill all up.
    So heading for my 7 bill.
    Any one can do it. There really is no excuse.

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Chooks too? A self-made man like you is what a centrist Green party really needs. Interesting that there’s a market for them old British cars eh? Young dudes probably put V8s into them so they can blow off the opposition at the lights…

    • alwyn 3.2

      “So heading for my 7 bill.”.
      You are obviously living in either Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
      With the crazy inflation figures the Governments of those countries have managed to engender in the last few years you would need a million or so just to provide a Big Mac for each member of a small family.
      The price of a Big Mac in Caracas last week was 145,000 bolivars. With an inflation rated tipped to reach 1,000,000% this year it will probably be about twice that this week.
      A mere Billionaire is simply another name for a pauper.
      Zimbabwe is just as bad.

    • McFlock 3.3

      lol yeah – watch the pennies, the billions take care of themselves. It’s all about personal choices 🙂

    • Anno1701 3.4

      Something something bootstraps…

  4. joe90 4

    The bloke who reminded Micheal Dell that there once was a place where 70% tax rates worked.

  5. Andre 5

    Thing is, a high marginal tax rate on income by itself is only the start of tackling the problem. And if the high marginal income tax rate is the only thing implemented, it will further entrench a bigger problem: wealth inequality and the unearned income derived from wealth, both direct and indirect.

    We’re currently in a moment where unearned income is generally privileged over income derived from selling one’s labour. Consider, in New Zealand capital gains are untaxed, income from investments can be structured through PIEs that are taxed at a lower rate. Although the US does tax capital gains, it’s at a lower rate than income tax. Dividends and rents and other kinds of unearned income can be funnelled through various company structures to get lower rates, and/or take advantage of shit like carried interest deductions.

    So personally, while I support AOCs proposal, I’m much more interested in going hard on taxing unearned income. So that the smart driven creative people that are motivated to accumulate wealth are more inclined to try to follow the Elon Musk/Bill Gates/Peter Thiel (yes I’m trying to provoke a reaction) route to wealth by creating stuff people value, rather than the Wilbur Ross/Mitt Romney/Chumpanzee route of playing games of Big Boy’s Monopoly.

    https://www.salon.com/2019/01/21/aocs-symbolic-attack-on-the-legitimacy-of-wealth-accumulation-has-no-practical-effect/

    https://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2019/1/11/18178515/70-marginal-tax-rate-ocasio-cortez

    • patricia bremner 5.1

      Until we tax unearned income, nothing will change. And he is one of the “dangerous precariat” that the billionaires warn each other of.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        What is “unearned” income?

        • patricia bremner 5.1.1.1

          Sorry, missed this. Capital growth compounding interest inheritance
          and winnings..etc

          • Gosman 5.1.1.1.1

            Interest is taxed and so is capital growth if it is turned in to income which the recipient relies on. Good luck taxing gambling winnings.

            • patricia bremner 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Gosman, They are taxed when a bet is made.. 18% I think. Many countries tax winnings.
              Capital can be turned into an annuity which is taxed up front.
              To tax Capital growth at point of sale at a persons current tax rate, or like council rates at a low yearly rate of estimated value.

        • riffer 5.1.1.2

          I guess, rather than unearned income, passive income would be a better term, as in income that is not derived from actual productive work, but more from an investment return. I have no issue with people getting a return from investment; however, it should be taxed as income. And that’s why I support a capital gains tax on properties other than the family home, because they are almost exclusively only purchased as a means of wealth enrichment.

    • mickysavage 5.2

      Yeah we need a capital gains tax and an estate tax as well. Not easy asks …

      • Andre 5.2.1

        And Gift Taxes, to tackle evading estate taxes.

        Trusts have probably outlived their original legitimate purposes and are probably now mostly used to allow people to evade their responsibilities. I reckon they should either be eliminated or severely curtailed.

      • Adrian Thornton 5.2.2

        This is was a Left leader should sound like talking about tax…
        Senator Bernie Sanders 1/2/2019
        Sanders Proposes Tax Hike on Billionaires

  6. Wayne 6

    Very hard not to have billionaires in a globalised IT lead free market. Most IT billionaires don’t get their money through income, they get it through the rapid increase in value of their companies as their product becomes internationally popular.

    So AOC’s 70% tax on income over $10 million won’t stop that (is she really limiting it to incomes over $10 million?) The only thing that would “work” is a wealth tax, and given how rapidly many IT companies grow, it would have to be a pretty high rate.

    There is no chance of a significant wealth tax in the US. However a high top rate on very high incomes is quite possible.

    For instance, it would not be surprising if Labour in NZ proposed a 50% income tax rate on incomes of say above $400,000, but pushed up the 33% rate to say $100,000. It would be worth someone doing a tax neutral calculation on what the actual numbers would have to be.

    The current 30% rate kicks in way too low, as does the 33% rate. Lifting those significantly but putting in say a 40% rate on a higher level, say over $200,000 has got to have some appeal.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      True, and if you recall many years back when Cullen attempted to formally link tax thresholds with inflation, it got mocked by National as the ‘cup of coffee tax break’, or something similar.

      Sure it wasn’t going to be worth much in the first year, but over time it would have solved the problem you agree we now have. Pity the Nat’s of the time were not as foresighted as you Wayne.

    • infused 6.2

      I def think there should be a higher tax bracket at the 200k+. the 33% needs to move to atleast 90-100k.

    • Jess NZ 6.3

      True that an income tax wouldn’t capture those riches. But she has also recommended a significant increase to the minimum wage.

      Those companies would not increase in trading value so fast if more of the profits were returned as a living wage to the regular employees of the company instead of as sweeteners to shareholders and huge payouts to senior Ops – mindblowingly low wages also being a feature of the globalised free market.

      NZ’s new government is making small steps in the right direction on that front, but we still suffer from the usual myths about minimum wage increase fallout.

    • mickysavage 6.4

      Very hard not to have billionaires in a globalised IT lead free market. Most IT billionaires don’t get their money through income, they get it through the rapid increase in value of their companies as their product becomes internationally popular.

      Quite simple really. They can get as rich as they want up to a billion then they have to start to give it away. Some of them do this already.

      Or they could have more shareholders.

      And some of the billionaires eg Bezos have contributed nothing. Apart from online shopping he has added nothing to the collective intellect of humanity.

      • Bazza64 6.4.1

        Jeff Bezos business Amazon has a huge amount of its income coming from Amazon Web Services- this is leading edge cloud computing service that a huge number of businesses now use. It has provided massive improvements to so many businesses that flow through to the benefit of consumers. So I think he has contributed hugely to the betterment of society.

  7. Gosman 7

    The French tried this with their 75% High earners tax. It didn’t really work

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/31/france-drops-75percent-supertax

    Have you guy’s ever heard of the Laffer curve?

    • McFlock 7.1

      Yeah – the idea you get more from less.

      Thing about tax exiles is that if you close the door behind them, you’d probably be better off in the long term.

    • mickysavage 7.2

      I have worked at firms that made huge profits because of the laffer curve. We could give up and just say that some rich people should be allowed to become obscenely rich. Or we could do something to create a better society where everyone has enough to get by with.

      I know which world I would prefer to live in.

  8. Gosman 8

    What this fails to take in to account is that many of the Billionaires in the top ten list have made their wealth relatively quickly via the rapid growth of the tech companies they control. These tech businesses have provided Billions of people with services that they desire. Are you going to discourage people from doing this?

    • Andre 8.1

      The tax rates will make very little difference to their behaviour. To the extent that they’re driven by “mine’s bigger than yours” issues, who they’re comparing themselves against will be on the same playing field.

      But when you get into the realm of Gates, Jobs, Ellison etc, it’s not about having a bigger number on their net wealth sheet, it’s more about their creation being the biggest and strongest on their chosen playing field. What the tax rate is won’t affect that aspect at all.

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        No, they will just go to a Tax jurisdiction that won’t charge them 75 to 80% of their wealth and/or income.

        • Andre 8.1.1.1

          Most of those that are that way inclined have probably already done so.

          In any case, tackling tax evasion by people shifting money out of the jurisdiction of the proper authorities is yet another aspect of the problem that needs to be tackled. My preference would be to set Draco T Bastard loose on anyone moving money or other assets to places like the Caymans, on the grounds that the only rational reason to do so is to evade legitimate tax obligations.

        • patricia bremner 8.1.1.2

          So then they should be taxed on transfer values. Tax table in Aus makes for interesting comparisons.
          $18200.00 nil earn over $180 000.00 Pay 54.57 for each dollar over.
          Our highest tax is over $70 000.00 @ 33% 33.00 for each dollar over
          They do well. So could we.

        • Infused 8.1.1.3

          Aka ireland

    • Morrissey 8.2

      ….have made their wealth…

      They “made” their wealth, did they? Is this the same Bill Gates that has been fined billions of dollars for unethical business practices in Europe?

      Anyone who watched Larry Ellison’s press conferences during the Americas Cup in Auckland quickly realized that it wasn’t brain power that made him so rich.

      • Gosman 8.2.1

        Bill Gates was not fined. Microsoft may have but ultimately what happened as a result?

        • Morrissey 8.2.1.1

          Okay, the criminal was not Bill Gates. It was “Microsoft.”

          Got it.

          • Gosman 8.2.1.1.1

            It wasn’t a criminal act either as far as I know. It breached commercial law of the EU.

        • patricia bremner 8.2.1.2

          So your suggestion is Gosman?

          • Gosman 8.2.1.2.1

            What exactly is the problem that needs to be resolved l?

            Don’t state “inequality” or I will know you are as guilty of making twee and unthinking statements as the most “touchy-feely” politician on the Planet.

            • John Wigglesworth 8.2.1.2.1.1

              Tell me the problem, but don’t tell me the problem!

            • mickysavage 8.2.1.2.1.2

              How about you can knock your socks off and make a billion dollars, more than you would ever need. You can earn even more but we will take it for the common good because you already have enough.

    • patricia bremner 8.3

      Gos, Could you make a meaningful contribution as to how we improve inequality?

      Don’t use the word “Upskill” or we will know you think the status quo should stay.

      • Gosman 8.3.1

        What exactly is the problem that needs to be resolved l?

        Don’t state “inequality” or I will know you are as guilty of making twee and unthinking statements as the most “touchy-feely” politician on the Planet.

        • patricia bremner 8.3.1.1

          No, the greatest problem it is clearly carbon.
          However in this context it would be interesting to see what you thought would make a difference regarding levels of poverty. I should have known you would try to demean.

          • Gosman 8.3.1.1.1

            We aren’t discussing carbon here. The topic is billionaires. I want to know what the issue with Billionaires is.

            • patricia bremner 8.3.1.1.1.1

              Billionaires are the polar opposite of extreme poverty and add to the problems as they become more powerful than countries and have managed to create a fiefdom where they are the law and are hard to make accountable, while countries struggle with inequality climate change growing debt and diminishing assets.

              • Gosman

                I don’t see any Billionaires being more powerful than countries. Which ones do you mean?

      • Gosman 8.3.2

        What exactly is the problem that needs to be resolved ?

        • David Mac 8.3.2.1

          Joe Public’s diminishing buying power. My hard working Mum and Dad bought me a surfboard one birthday. If they were doing the jobs they were doing then today… $1000 for Dave’s birthday present is an impossible dream in too many homes.

          Just 30 years ago every family could afford to camp beside a river for a week once a year.

          I agree with you re: upping the tax on the wealthy. Avoiding the taxman is the home of loophole creation.

          Wealth equality will come about as a natural by-product of opportunity equality. I think 25% of Auckland Grammar’s roll should be boys selected by their Iwi elders.

          • Gosman 8.3.2.1.1

            Are you implying Surf boards are more expensive today comparatively than they were when you were younger?

            • David Mac 8.3.2.1.1.1

              yeah and leading a fulfilling and content life in general. A dedication to chasing dollars shouldn’t be the only ticket to a comfortable life.

        • patricia bremner 8.3.2.2

          832. Gosman, see above.

    • riffer 8.4

      Specious argument Gosman.

      Even if you were taxed at 50%, you’re still making an astronomical amount of money if you’re earning a billion dollars from a company that does extremely well.

    • Craig H 8.5

      Sure – if they “earn” $1 billion from an IPO, and the earnings above $10 million are taxed at 70%, they will be taxed $693 million on the other $990 million, and will still take home the other $297 million.

      Maybe that’s discouraging, but I doubt it.

  9. DJ Ward 9

    Irrational envy politics.
    Her tax plan is audited to potentially create $200 billion each year in tax revenue. Nowhere near the $4,000 billion per annum her plans require.

    The end result is the relocation of wealth. Also many NGOs will find themselves without donations. Many industries that cater to the rich will fail. Cashflow in Buisiness investment, innovation will dry up. Growth will stall, unemployment will rise, taxpayer burdens will rise. End result poverty, collapse of US currency, game over.

    There is no reason why some new tax brackets can’t be created, but it can’t be oppressive. A 10% higher rate over $10 million might have only small negative effect, but also raise very little tax income. The danger is psycological, as much as the the real world effects of global citizenship available to the rich. Tactics will include income splitting in marriages, increase in expenses, manipulation, transfer into untaxed areas.

    Envy politics is biased politics.
    The analysis of the global footprint of a rich person shows high numbers but it is minuscule in the whole society picture. What’s not counted is there investment in offsetting and technology that would not exist without them. We can’t get out of this Climate Change mess without those tech innovations, and there commercialisation and normalisation.

    AOC is a lunatic. Probably one of the most dangerous people presently alive today.
    However she is a great GOP donation generator. She could even win the election for Trump if the Starbucks dude who is pro Dems goes as an Independant, because of her and the other lunatic far left Dems.

    • Morrissey 9.1

      “Envy”? I, and most people, envy great musicians, and artists, and athletes. The feeling we have for these obscenely rich crooks—and that’s what they are—is one of contempt.

      Their earlier versions were contemptuously called “robber barons” in the United States. That name has faded away, but the problem of the unentitled rich remains. It’s up to us how we get rid of them.

      • DJ Ward 9.1.1

        Any reason why people shouldn’t get rid of you? Not like your Saint Morrissey without sin, or have any chance of miracles.

        What do you mean unentitled?
        Gates changed the world.
        Zuccerberg, founder of Fakebook changed the world, and fled the US due to high taxes.
        There are many rich just from financial trading, but nothing other than intelligence, and the ability to analyse risk and reward stopped you.
        Some are rich due to inheritance, not taxed in NZ.

        What if a person is genuinely ethically rich?
        A lotto jackpot winner?
        A person who slaves away to make there enterprise work while you sat on your keyboard like a parasite, wanting there money, to support you?

        Dear students of NZ. Don’t bother trying any more. Morrissey has a plan.

        • Morrissey 9.1.1.1

          Jesus, pass the Kool Aid, someone.

          • alwyn 9.1.1.1.1

            No Morrissey. We would never do that.
            That comment of yours is clearly an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to three years.
            You know, the offense you are trying to hang on Ms Dowie.
            I expect the Police will be around to visit you shortly.

        • Kevin 9.1.1.2

          “There are many rich just from financial trading, but nothing other than intelligence, and the ability to analyse risk and reward stopped you.”

          You are seriously having a laugh on that one.

        • patricia bremner 9.1.1.3

          DJ WARD, 911, That is attacking a person not the problem. Too personal.

      • Adrian Thornton 9.1.2

        One of the main problems is the rich and politicians have no respect and/or fear of the people.

        One and only one American candidate for 2020 will stand up to Wall st and the Billionaire class…Bernie Sanders

        imagine Bernie debating trump, now that would be something worth waiting up for.

        Sanders poised to announce presidential campaign: report
        https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/427071-sanders-to-announce-presidential-campaign-report

        Bernie 2020 the only choice for 2020.

        • shadrach 9.1.2.1

          Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez. And some of think Trump is a fruit loop.

          • lprent 9.1.2.1.1

            Who doesn’t think he is a fruit loop?

            As far as I can tell only those diminishing number of people who don’t know him at all. Every other supporter seems to be an opportunist seeing how far they can be dragged along to their own goals.

            Think of the religious conservatives in the US for instance. A lot are aware exactly of how much of an immoral dildo he is. But appear to not have difficulties not hypocritically salivating in their support of him in pursuit of their retrograde hate everyone else politics.

            And it seems like everyone who works even remotely closely with him feel this urge to write a book about him and his work space as soon as they become refugees. At least those who aren’t cooperating with the Mueller and other legal probes into his posterior history.

            Personally I don’t rate Sanders or AOC as possibilities. I don’t think that either of them have required skills (maybe ‘yet’ in AOC’s case).a

            • Shadrach 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Believe it or not I actually do know people who still rate Trump. It beggars belief, but there it is.

              • lprent

                I know some as well. But they seem to have problems reading anything that is long-form. In fact I’d swear that most of them can barely comprehend Fox News.

                Most seem to live on facebook forums and weird forums at the edge of the net. Pain in the arse when they wind up here. After you have hand-reared a kitten they seem kind of clawless and clueless.

                • Shadrach

                  I have observed a common thread, however. Trumpites are often people who sincerely mistrust establishment politics, and see Trump as someone capable of ‘draining the swamp’. Hillary’s close connection with Washington doomed her, just as Trumps disconnect seems to work for him. It is very hard to predict how the Trump presidency will end, but it won’t be pretty.

        • Wayne 9.1.2.2

          Sanders is way too old for 2020. There are already better choices in the race. Kamala Harris for instance.

          • Adrian Thornton 9.1.2.2.1

            Wrong.

          • patricia bremner 9.1.2.2.2

            What has age got to do with it?

            • Wayne 9.1.2.2.2.1

              Basically people who are nearly 80 are too old for the presidency. They don’t have the energy or concentration for such a job.

              The ideal age is between 45 and 65. Kamala Harris sits in the middle of that.

              It is also a generational matter.

              People in their late 70’s were in their early 20’s in the mid sixties. Much better to have someone who was in their early twenties in the mid eighties. They will have got the beginning of the popular IT revolution. Apple Macs and IBM desktops. They are not hankering for a “golden” age of the mid sixties and all of that.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 9.1.2.2.3

            Tulsi Gabbard can’t be any worse than the others ?

      • RedLogix 9.1.3

        but the problem of the unentitled rich remains

        True, but then exactly how do you tell the difference between the ‘entitled’ and ‘unentitled’?

        For example, an man digs a ditch by hand and get’s paid for the work. Marx would be highly approving of the value of this labour.

        Now another man comes along and digs a much better ditch with a machine he purchased and is paid substantially more. Is this extra wealth ‘unentitled’, and if not, why not?

        • Adrian Thornton 9.1.3.1

          The problem comes when your man has brought 50 diggers, has undercut all the manual diggers and their employees out of business, and then proceeds to employ them all at less money than they made working for themselves, or for each other, keeps all the extra money for himself and/or shareholders, because now of course the rates for getting that same digging done has gone up again, way up.

          If anyone else comes along to do digging work your man (now extremely wealthy and well connected) either makes sure through his connections that they don’t get good contracts, or uses his material advantage to undercut any opposition out of business.

          Take a look at the hire industry in NZ, they did pretty much just that.

          • RedLogix 9.1.3.1.1

            Good … I agree with your logic.

            So the next question is, exactly where along the progression, did a legitimate improvement in productivity from purchasing one digger, to owning hundreds, become problematic?

            There is no obvious answer, and simply putting an arbitrary upper limit on how many diggers can be ‘owned’, introduces more problems than it solves.

            As the Betrand Russell quote suggests, fools and fanatics will always have simple answers to this, but I remain genuinely intrigued as to the nature of what the real solution will be.

            In my mind I draw a parallel with the ancient problem of chattel slavery, for thousands of years it was a feature of all human economies. Clearly the lot of a slave was not a happy one, and many revolted. But until something entirely unexpected happened, the invention of the coal powered steam engine, the possibility of grasping the problem remained out of reach.

            I’m not suggesting there is ‘nothing we can do’ about gross inequality; but maybe we should be thinking about the problem differently.

            • JO 9.1.3.1.1.1

              So true, and maybe we can think about the problem differently, by looking back to see where we could be going instead of accepting the lazy idea that history is bunk, move on, never look back… This way worked for a very long time compared with our highway to wherever we’re going.

              Bronze age societies did not believe all debts should be paid

              https://delanceyplace.com/

              ‘Today’s selection — from And Forgive Them Their Debts by Michael Hudson. The jubilee — a period when ancient rulers forgave debt — was a regular occurrence in Bronze Age societies. Rulers benefited by freeing debtors from debt bondage so the peasantry was “free” to work on public works projects or in the military. People sold into debt-bondage were returned to their families. To our modern sensibilities the idea of blanket debt forgiveness by the state is alien. The Rosetta stone itself provides evidence of this practice. A second, perhaps more powerful reason for debt forgiveness was that it stripped power from the lenders, who were generally the aristocracy, and helped insure the primacy and power of the ruler against that aristocracy…’

              • RedLogix

                Steven Keen is one of the few modern economists to have openly advocated for debt jubilees’ much to the complete bafflement of his colleagues.

                You’re right, they an idea with a more subtle merit than we think, after all we forget that Bronze Age societies were remarkably stable for almost 2,000 years. They must have gotten some things right.

                • One Two

                  Debt Jubilees are no longer possible…

                  Globalisation and digitization has rendered that option…null…

                  Even if that is what was desired at the upper levels…it simply can’t be done without the entire house of cards collapsing…almost immediately…

                  Not saying it should/not …simply pointing out what would happen next…

                  • RedLogix

                    Yet somehow the Bronze Age managed just fine. I agree with you that the concept seems alien and impossible to us, but that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t worth thinking about to see what aspects of it might still be relevant to our world.

                    Why do debt jubilee’s work? Exactly why have we moved away from them? And what would need to change if we were to re-instate them?

                    • One Two

                      Not dismissing the history of jubilees, RL..

                      Just giving my commentary on why they are no longer possible…

                      That they were ever necessary serves only to illustrate how the debt system has been dominant for so long…

                      But as all weapons are developed they become increasingly complex, and in the case of the exotic and integrated debt instruments…the entire planet of nations are now tied together in an unimaginable mesh of debt obligations which can’t be devolved…

                      The Greek situation and the measures in place to seek to prevent contagion exist purely as evidence of the debt integration…becoming larger every second of every day…until…

                      One goes…they all go…

                      The system is beyond repair and unrecoverable…only parallel frameworks are a true option…but even then the transition …if the new frameworks become viable…will be incedibly frought…

                      Tweaking the knobs and can kicking time was over…decades ago…

            • Adrian Thornton 9.1.3.1.1.2

              Well I would have thought a just tax system that is fully embraced and endorsed by the population through lots of well done and smart propaganda would be the good starting point.

              Make it so that wealthy people and big business feel extreme social pressure to conform and pay their fair share, through and mixture fear of being ostracized from decent society, and of course the reward of being praised for being big contributors to the social and structural wellbeing of the country.

              This is one of the reasons why I am so down on philanthropy…but that is another conversation.

              • Gosman

                It would be easy enough to counter that unless you want to restrict freedom of speech. You wouldn’t want to do that would you Adrian?;-)

                • Adrian Thornton

                  You go ahead and counter it now.

                  In the style of copy for a newspaper add..lets see what you got.

                  • Gosman

                    I already have been.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      That’s funny I didn’t see anything that you wrote that would make me want to let the wealthy extract the life out of my community and country…must have missed that one.

              • RedLogix

                Make it so that wealthy people and big business feel extreme social pressure to conform and pay their fair share,

                Indeed this is exactly the approach socialism has taken to moderate capitalism over the course of the Second Industrial Revolution. But it ran into two limitations; one is that the scope of globalised capitalism outreached the limits of the nation state. The other is that increasingly wealth is not so obviously linked to capital per se, but to innovation, initiative, risk and investment.

                As the fundamental nature of our economy transformed with the quantum mechanical miracle that is the computer, the underlying relationship between work and capital has shifted in ways that make our old thinking less effective.

                • patricia bremner

                  Redlogix, So what is the solution to that new dynamic in regards to tax?

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Sorry have to disagree with you there, both Sanders and Corbyn have shown in no uncertain terms that the younger generation and the disenfranchised (and many others of all classes) are very open to the old ideas of Socialism, these people are hungry for something to believe in, something that add meaning to their lives.
                  You have no idea how many smart young people come into our bookshop looking for The Alchemist or some other piece of shit spiritual rubbish, you can see all they are really looking for is something bigger than themselves to believe in or think about, or work toward…exactly why Sander/Corbyn are so popular with young people, and sadly Jacinda is not.

                  This popularity allowed Sanders to basically publicly shame Bezos into upping his minimum wage to US $15 p/h, and that is exactly what I am talking about…make these fuckers embarrassed to go outside if that is what it takes to change their anti social behavior.
                  Complicating a very basic idea, one of a just and equal society for all citizens one of our main problems….keep it simple dummy is what I have been told more than once…I found it to be good advice.

                  Bernie Sanders declares war on Amazon’s CEO with BEZOS Act .
                  https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/ev8jbz/bernie-declares-war-on-amazons-ceo-with-bezos-act

                  Bernie Sanders praises Jeff Bezos on Amazon $15 minimum wage
                  https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/02/politics/bernie-sanders-jeff-bezos-minimum-wage/index.html

                  I do agree completely that the computer has absolutely changed everything, in ways so deep and complicated and profound that they have not even started to become apparent on the surface yet, I think in ways that none of us could have imagined, and unfortunately not all all of them positive.

                  • Molly

                    Taxation could be changed on business to reflect the focus particular businesses have on providing sustainable services, being part of the local community, and how they stack up in terms of environmental impact.

                    A higher business taxation rate should be imposed. At the same time an accreditation system could be implemented, so that businesses that have low externalities borne by others could be recognised.

                    A methodology rating such as that of the B-Corp, would be useful. Those with higher scorings pay less tax, because the externalities of their business have been assessed to be low, and also they will be rated on positive – non trading – benefits to their community.

                    An openly, accessible way for governments to review taxation without using a blunt sledgehammer approach.

            • Blazer 9.1.3.1.1.3

              There is this answer.
              Yes Mr Priveleged upbringing who knows the right people…we can finance your purchase of 50 diggers…you have the credentials..as for you wee Tommy….sorry..you need more security.

          • patricia bremner 9.1.3.1.2

            Spot on Adrian. +1

      • Gosman 9.1.4

        How is someone like Gates, Zuckerberg, or Ellison not entitled to the wealth they have accumulated?

        • Morrissey 9.1.4.1

          How is someone like Gates, Zuckerberg, or Ellison not entitled to the wealth they have accumulated?

          Of course they’re not. They have accumulated those absurd sums not through hard work, but through the kind of dishonesty most of us would never contemplate. Eric Watson and “Sir” Robert Jones would, maybe, but not the vast majority of us.

          Ellison presented as a really obnoxious but not particularly insightful narcissist when he gave his talks in Auckland during the Americas Cup. Zuckerberg is a dim and poorly informed fellow, as well as a menace to democracy. And Gates is infamous for his deliberate and systematic undermining of the education system in the United States. His banal and sub-sophomoric “11 rules of life” shows the quality of his mind.

          • Gosman 9.1.4.1.1

            It’s kind of sweet you think Bill Gates actually made a speech or wrote about the “11 rules of life”. I presume you think every second quote on the internet is attributed to either Albert Einstein or Mark Twain as well.

          • Wayne 9.1.4.1.2

            They did not accumulate their wealth through dishonesty. They did so because they produced products/services that literally billions of people wanted.

            Not many people produce a Facebook, but for the people who do they gain enormous wealth. Globalisation has generated the tremendous wealth they have. For instance people all over the world want Facebook. I imagine most people commenting on this item would have a Facebook account or use Facebook.

            No credible system of taxation can really prevent these enormous accumulations of wealth, basically it is all contained in the shares in the companies they have established. Even a wealth tax will only take some of it, realistically 25% in aggregate.

            Wealth taxes have very low annual percentages because they ask people to pay on their wealth whether or not it is in cash. Not many societies have them. Basically the right will always repeal them, when they win elections. Good taxation systems have bipartisan support..

            • Morrissey 9.1.4.1.2.1

              The internet was developed with public money, by public servants.

              No surprise to hear an ex-National cabinet member trying to ignore that fact.

              • Wayne

                Morrissey,

                Who invented the internet is not really relevant to my point. The reality is that Zuckerberg invented/commercialised Facebook. His enormous wealth comes from the fact that billions of people use it.

                There is no credible way to prevent an entrepreneur inventing/commercialising Facebook. Nor would it be desirable to do so.

                Many have tried to emulate him. Only a very few succeed on a global scale. Though there must be hundreds of thousands of people who get a good living from providing IT services. All the people who write Apple Apps, many of which have hundreds of thousands of users. I know quite a few people in Auckland who have very successful businesses on the web. They are successful because their services meet a business or a consumer need.

                But you already know that.

                The growth of IT businesses is unstoppable by any likely New Zealand govt, and neither would they want to. The most they can do is tax the revenue.

                • lprent

                  The most they can do is tax the revenue.

                  Which is an international effort and one that is slowly heading towards a general agreements with a number of tax treaties.

                  What is interesting about most of the internet companies is that their actual profit per user is pretty small. The only thing that makes it worth while is the accumulation across the hundreds millions of the world population.

                  There is one exception to that is probably Amazon Web Services and its imitators. That is a seriously powerful profit centre.

            • Incognito 9.1.4.1.2.2

              Basically the right will always repeal them, when they win elections.

              That’s incorrect.

        • Rae 9.1.4.2

          Because THEY know they are not

    • WeTheBleeple 9.2

      Sometimes I think you can’t possibly put more nonsense statements together in one post, but you always manage to outdo yourself on the subject of American politics.

      “AOC is a lunatic. Probably one of the most dangerous people presently alive today.”

      Whereas you are merely one of the most ignorant.

    • Adrian Thornton 9.3

      @DJ Ward
      “AOC is a lunatic. Probably one of the most dangerous people presently alive today.” ….wow you really are a full on nutter…holy camoly.

      • roy cartland 9.3.1

        It’s ok, DJ is just scared. She is very dangerous. Remember, DJ can only see things from his/her own POV. In this respect, she’s catastrophic. Good.

      • DJ Ward 9.3.2

        If she got her way in the US she very well could be.

        Maybe we should look at her credibility.

        Said she went around cleaning toilets with her mother. Poor apparently. The truth is she was raised in a house that had maids. Damn rich folks. Bet they were illegals as well.

        • arkie 9.3.2.1

          You have evidence for these maids?

          I heard she grew up in a HOUSE, for shame!

          • greywarshark 9.3.2.1.1

            Oh why should we take notice of information and an image that John Cardillo puts up – is he a relative, close friend, politician for the area? He appears white, in a suit and tie, possibly bald. That’s his image. Is that to be believed or not?

            If she lived in that house, how long? Overnight, one month, one year? Was Cardillo her family’s landlord? Did it go with a parent’s job?

            Put-downs against progressives who are concerned about their fellow human beings’ wellbeing are being mass produced as we speak. snakes~~~~>

            • arkie 9.3.2.1.1.1

              Look at the replies to this tweet. Cardillo was owned haha

            • DJ Ward 9.3.2.1.1.2

              She got exposed lying.

              It’s in public records that that’s where she lived.
              Hence she changed her Bio.

              But let’s not get worked up over some fibs.

              How about being censured at her work after a complaint by the waitress. They got $530 in tips but she only gave the waitress $50 and kept the rest. They had to put in a rule to give $100 to the waitress. So much for her socialist principles of equality.

        • Adrian Thornton 9.3.2.2

          Link the this claim please.

          • Morrissey 9.3.2.2.1

            Dopey Ward obviously bought in to Reagan’s “Cadillac-driving black welfare queens” fantasy as well.

        • Siobhan 9.3.2.3

          Sooo..if she’s a sneaky richo with illegals cleaning the toilet.. wouldn’t that make her Socialist agenda suspect?? Surely, if that’s the case, its the Left who should be worried that she’s some sort of distraction/trojan horse? Because no one from money really wants to see their own dragged down, property seized and thrown into the gulags.

          Mixing countries here…but If Corbyn can induce such mass fear from the Rich, which then becomes warning headlines telling the Brits that their ‘finest’ will leave en masse should he gain power, you have to wonder at the comparative calm around Cortez on both sides of the Atlantic. They just don’t seem that threatened…apart from you ofcourse…no dirty Commie’s ever going to catch DJ Ward unawares…

        • Drowsy M. Kram 9.3.2.4

          An intelligent, progressive politician – young and (objectively) quite good looking.

          She even had a ‘heavenly body’ named after her.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez

          Are you the same DJ Ward who formulated the notion that the recent Gillette ad campaign must be the ‘work’ of “the matriarch”?

          Well done Gillette

          Any links to back up your trash-talk? Cut AOC some slack and take a crack at Golriz Ghahraman or Chlöe Swarbrick instead.

          • DJ Ward 9.3.2.4.1

            I don’t have to much problem with pointing out things men can do to improve things. Just don’t bullshit about what those things are. I do have a problem with the endless bigotry that men are dictated to but women are presented as faultless oppressed victims, and princesses. They are just different in how evil and toxic they are. The endless services they get vs next to nothing for males.

            • McFlock 9.3.2.4.1.1

              It must really suck to be you, constantly looking at the world through shit-tinted lenses.

              • DJ Ward

                Reality sucks at times.
                So Re the head of marketing for Gillette, she gets the job using a women in leadership pressure group and the first thing she does is a men are bad parents add. Fantastic considering virtually all males that fail in society, prison etc were raised by women. Even worse stats for women only raised males.

                It’s like a cycle of abuse. Make dads look bad. Remove dads from kids lives. Resulting males are bad. Make dads look bad…….very cleaver from the man haters. At current rates of segregation, in 50 years fatherhood will be extinct.

                Ocasio Cortez will advocate 70% alimony. Other people’s money.

                • McFlock

                  lol

                  I’m amazed you’re tolerated by the totalitarian gynocracy, exposing their generations-long plot like this. Truly, you are a brave soldier in the fight for truth and penises.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 9.3.2.4.1.2

              You had me at “bullshit” – the rest of your comment is just gravy.

    • patricia bremner 9.4

      ”envy Politics” oh wow, don’t expect a share of the pie. or we are envious.

      No , we are terrified. We are in the 6th extinction caused by us so change has to happen.

      These greedy powerful people have built their fortunes on creating a “throw away” society to the point where those tactics are imperilling the planet.

      They state quite openly that globalisation must continue with light taxes, and people in comfortable employment could be dangerous.

      Not because of envy, but because they have enough leisure to think question and organise.

      Envy doesn’t drive them, realisation of our overall peril does.

      Work in an American chicken packers, wear a diaper(no toilet breaks) work 80 hours a week and hope to eat… leaves not a great deal of time to question the system.

      Many billionaires had sweated labour somewhere in their past.

      As in France, when wealth outruns sense the precariat have a way of protecting themselves.

      Collective Intelligence

    • That_guy 9.5

      Can you explain why it’s irrational to replicate policies that produced excellent levels of broad-based economic growth in the USA in the 50’s and which are currently in play in the happiest, healthiest and least corrupt society on the planet?

      Denmark’s top marginal effective income tax rate is 60.4 percent.

      Genuine question.

    • mickysavage 9.6

      Irrational envy politics

      How many billions do you think someone should own before their tax rate increases?

      • DJ Ward 9.6.1

        Earnings.
        As you see in my post on Simons tax plan I agree with high income tax brackets but not at ridiculous rates.

        I would also like to see a Capital Gains, but joined with income tax, allowing income splitting, and spread out over years to a limit. Not affecting WFF.

        I would also like to see an inheritance tax above a threshold like $1 million at 10%.

    • Craig H 9.7

      Very few will leave the USA. If the country is as amazing as they all say it is, there’s no way they will actually leave, no matter how much they say they will.

  10. jcuknz 10

    AOC is a complete twat from what I have read about her.
    If people cannot be rewarded for effort the world would become a morass of conformity and stagnation.
    Left is no different to the right that a select few reap the rewards of the contented masses.

    • Morrissey 10.1

      …from what I have read about her.

      How much is that? Nothing, I’d bet.

    • mac1 10.2

      There is a certain quantum leap from being “rewarded for effort” to appropriation of most of the world’s resources. “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population, says Oxfam” reads a headline.

      Secondly, I’d like to see your scale of effort versus reward, jcuknz.

      Perhaps it’s to be found in the old song, “There’ll be Pie in the Sky when you Die.”
      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pie_in_the_sky

      Good old Joe Hill. I often dream of him…………

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        There is a certain quantum leap from being “rewarded for effort” to appropriation of most of the world’s resources.

        Nicely put.

        In the decade I’ve been writing here I’ve returned to the theme of gross inequality many, many times. Yet it’s also obvious to me that the left struggles to disentangle a legitimate protest on this, and a fat underbelly streak of resentment toward anyone who is richer and more successful than they are.

        Clearly global inequality falls towards one extreme at present, and it’s obvious which direction we need to move in. But exactly how? Traditionally socialism has depended on progressive redistribution and social programs, but these have their limits.

        Bloviating that we ‘cannot afford the rich’ really doesn’t tell us anything about ‘how rich’. Sure we could get rid of the top 1% globally (that’s 70m people to be dealt to) but what next … start on the next top 1% remaining? And so on until we are all equally impoverished, languishing in economies where every initiative and innovation gets instantly punished? Clearly not.

        Inequality is a much harder problem that the left likes to think; the roots of it lie much deeper than economics and money.

        • Gosman 10.2.1.1

          Serious question for you RedLogix. Someone like Bill Gates has made a commitment to spend as much of his wealth as he can on charitable causes and has already made a significant difference in parts of the World through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. If his wealth was to be grabbed by the State that he resides in (i.e. the US) there doesn’t seem to be much incentive on the US government to spend this money in a similar manner. Won’t you be hurting some of the poorest people on the Planet if you take his money and redistribute it in the country he lives in?

          • Brutus Iscariot 10.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, it would all get spent on pumping up the military, foolish wars and interventions around the world. Most of the Democratic candidates still want that, not sure about AOC.

          • RedLogix 10.2.1.1.2

            Yes. That is a serious question. As much as the left has always been suspicious of philanthropy, I’ve always felt that something like this was going to be part of the solution.

            After all the problem of wealth is not so much how it was accumulated, but also what purposes it is put to.

            Imagine if the philanthropic impulse was not just the domain of a few uber rich, high profile people like Gates, but universal at all levels of human attainment.

            • Gosman 10.2.1.1.2.1

              Some people would argue the very concept of the Welfare state has diminished this philanthropic impulse from many because many people think the ‘State’ will solve the problems of inequality.

              • RedLogix

                I can understand that argument; essentially the welfare state can be thought of as a mode of enforced, collectivised philanthropy. Under those conditions the individual (apart from those with far more money than they could ever need personally) have little motivation toward individual action.

                At the same time relying on the good will of most people to reinvest their wealth back into their communities, to voluntarily share on a universal basis, seems wildly unrealistic. Too many would cheat; it’s as if we’re simply not ethically capable enough as a society to do this just yet.

                • patricia bremner

                  Redlogix, yet that was not the case in my childhood, everyone was thankful there was a safety net, but hopeful they wouldn’t have to use it.

                  We never visited empty handed, always some fruit or garden produce or a few flowers. We volunteered for all sorts of causes and cared.

                  Now we don’t even look at people in the same room as us, as we fiddle with the latest device. I always thought they were well named de vice.

                  • RedLogix

                    everyone was thankful there was a safety net, but hopeful they wouldn’t have to use it.

                    Indeed took considerable damned pride in not ever using it. Yes there was a right to help, but there was also a sense of responsibility not to.

                    Just as a tangent, the tramping/hunting community has been having a similar debate this past decade since the availability of Personal Locator Beacons. Everyone agrees they save lives, and even the old traditionalists who grew up without them, probably have one now.

                    At the same time there is a lot of concern around a small minority of people, often newcomers, who seem to believe they have a right to pull the pin and a magic kerosine budgie will come and get them out of whatever inconvenience they’ve gotten themselves into.

                    As a result we’ve pushed back hard on this attitude, making it clear that while you should have a PLB (it usually makes a necessary rescue far cheaper, faster and less risky); you had better damned well taken every responsibility to avoid using it in the first place.

                    My mother’s father was both a freezing worker and a great gardener; Mum used to say that during the Depression between what he pinched from the works, and what he grew in the backyard, he could and did feed most of the street. His exact actions don’t translate into our world very well, but they do point to what some people call ‘the sharing economy’ and what part it might play.

                    • Craig H

                      Some excellent points there, but quite difficult now if we keep pushing for apartments and small sections to have serious gardens in nearly every property as in the past.

              • AB

                “Some people would argue the very concept of the Welfare state has diminished this philanthropic impulse”

                Some people would, but:
                a.) they would do so disingenuously because they know philanthropy (charity) is a complete crock that contains within it the assumption that the existing maldistribution of wealth is justified but can be moderated through “good works”
                b.) they would seldom be net recipients of social welfare assistance.

                Put a.) and b.) together and you realise that the “some people” who would argue this are self-serving, intellectually dishonest assholes who deserve contempt.

                • mpledger

                  Giving by charity means that the money isn’t spread around fairly, it goes to those who the giver feels deserves it or suits their political agenda or will buy them greater social status. That’s why Harvard University has billions of dollars of gifted money and the local polytech (i.e. community college) gets bugger all.

                  • RedLogix

                    I donate a bit of dosh to various causes I’m fond of; are you telling me this is a bad thing? OK so they’re modest sums of money no-one cares about … but what then is the threshold number? At what point does my choice of good cause become a bad thing?

                    You touch on one of the fundamental problems with this issue; that success naturally generates more success in a very non-linear fashion. No matter what field of endeavour, anyone who achieves just a little beyond the average, will always attract more opportunity. Often it happens so fast you have more opportunity than you know what to do with.

                    It’s why relatively small differences in talent, skill, hard work and good timing and good luck can generate such disproportionate outcomes. It isn’t necessarily because these people are greedy, or uncaring, but rather them doing more of what they’re already proven good at.

                    It’s why Harvard gets so much more money than your local polytech; their alumni are more successful, they return more money, and in turn this helps Harvard remain successful. It’s a vicious or virtuous feedback loop depending on your point of view on success.

                    • McFlock

                      I donate a bit of dosh to various causes I’m fond of

                      The fundamental problem with private charity is that private charity is always insufficient.

                      The other main problem with private charity is that it plays favourites. The act itself might be noble, but all to often the focus is on cuteness or deservingness rather than need – a child, a veteran, a whatever. While the smelly homeless person without a gimmick is ignored.

                      The World Wildlife fund has a panda logo for a reason – most of the endangered insects are pretty darn ugly, and don’t bring in the cash.

                    • RedLogix

                      The fundamental problem with private charity is that private charity is always insufficient.

                      Why? And can you imagine a world where charity was more than enough?

                      I’m not trying to be utopian here, just exploring …

                  • patricia bremner

                    You have summed up why they need to pay more tax along their growth path. mpledger. Largesse needs even division based on need.

              • McFlock

                Those people really need to read Dickens.

      • greywarshark 10.2.2

        Another tick for the Bertrand Russell quote. Most appropriate after reading DJWard who confidently has strode into the blog To Put Us Right About Everything from where he and jcuknz sit in their bunkers and look out from the narrow viewing gap.

        The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
        Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bertrand_russell_121392

        • Blazer 10.2.2.1

          one more..

          ‘Every ambitious would-be empire, clarions it abroad that she is conquering the world to bring it peace, security and freedom, and it is sacrificing her sons only for the most noble and humanitarian purposes. That is a lie; and it is an ancient lie, yet generations still rise and believe it.

          -Taylor Caldwell, Testimony of Two Men, 1968

    • AB 10.3

      “If people cannot be rewarded for effort the world would become a morass of conformity ”
      Gah!
      What we have now is the opposite of what you seem to think it is.
      Right now:
      – people are rewarded for no effort through the ownership of assets that produce streams of unearned income. That’s how they get rich, that’s why middle NZ has the habit of buying rentals and feasting on the unearned capital gain
      – many people are not adequately rewarded for actually working really hard – stuck in the rat hole of low wages and stress-fueled economic competition against similarly desperate serfs – all exacerbated by National Party-forced high immigration

      Effort has virtually nothing to do with it.
      Fact is – someone’s wealth or income bears very little correlation to how hard they work, the degree of difficulty of what they do, or the social value of their outputs.

      It really is time to end the gross economic injustice of the status quo. AOC is actually very moderate in this respect.
      Won’t happen though – the holders of wealth will be totally vicious in their defense of it and of their right to keep growing it by dispossessing everyone else.

      • greywarshark 10.3.1

        Following from quote in AB comment.
        Coming to this blog and arguing for a better approach to everything we do and control is a change from conformity to the know-nothing, money-and individual – first large lumpen groupen. It is hard Work and unappreciated Effort.

        When are those who hold up the hopeful vision of responsible and reasonably ethical people co-operating for a better future going to be rewarded.? I want my pay-off Now. So bloody well come across with the dosh or something kind
        in-kind.

      • RedLogix 10.3.2

        If you’re going to define ‘effort’ is a strictly the Marxian sense as the ‘sweat of one’s brow’, then in an modern world where most new wealth is generated by innovation, risk and long term investment … then I’m not sure if your ideology is going to align much with reality.

        Also you might want to consider exactly how to solve the problem that many people struggle to find paid work much past the age of 50, yet these days quite frequently live into their 90’s. Exactly what ‘effort’ can they exert to make this last 40 years of their life worth living if not through some kind of investment?

        • AB 10.3.2.1

          RL
          To be fair, I didn’t really say that. I consider the sweat of one’s mind to be ‘work’ too. But most streams of unearned income have little to do with innovation or creativity, or even thought. Many are passive access to rents.

          There’s also the question of proportionality – at what point does Bezos’s billions become absurdly disproportionate to the actual innovation he might have contributed back at the start? What about the economic harm Bezos’s initial innovation may have done to the owners of (say) bookstores? How much of his wealth comes down to dispossessing those others? Should finding new ways of doing economic harm to others really be called ‘innovation’?
          Personally, I think there is a mountain of self-justifying crap talked about innovation.

          As for retirement investment – I have no problem with people getting a return on saved income from work. And there should be a cost to others of borrowing that money, or else it gets used stupidly.

          • RedLogix 10.3.2.1.1

            Should finding new ways of doing economic harm to others really be called ‘innovation’?

            Yet Amazon remains hugely successful simply because it offers a convenience the old brick and mortar model struggled to emulate. One portal, one simple search, detailed product descriptions, similar items, user reviews, and usually convenient shipping. Plus an enormous buying power the individual can never hope to match. (Or at least this is what is says on the tin.)

            Innovation doesn’t always come in terms of products or features, often it’s about making it easy for the customer to select and buy. Every retailer knows this; and it’s what Bezos did better than anyone else; at least for a time.

            Personally I don’t particularly care for the trend in retail for big chains and massive online resellers to push out the traditional diversity of small family owned businesses … but that scarcely matters if people collectively prefer to give their money to Amazon.

            at what point does Bezos’s billions become absurdly disproportionate to the actual innovation he might have contributed back at the start?

            That’s a very good question. Diagnosing the problem is pretty easy; thinking of cures that aren’t worse than the disease is much harder. That’s the point I’m trying to convey; the left needs to think about this question in much more depth than it usually does.

            • David Mac 10.3.2.1.1.1

              Amazon are innovators. They aim to break even on every sale and often lose money on a product. They generally run at a loss and any profit years, it’s minuscule.

              This is their innovation. They make no profit and aim to do so. All of the value is in the share price and it surfs on half the world turning to them when needing a book made of paper.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    I agree with the principle she’s advocating, have done so most of my life, but this looks like another fake leftist solution to the problem. High marginal tax rates have a levelling effect, which is good, and have been proven historically to do so, but I’ve never seen evidence that they eliminate billionaires.

    To be credible, she has to front with such evidence. Otherwise it’s all just yet more leftist blather designed to impress the half of the electorate with below-average intelligence.

    • Gosman 11.1

      Why do you want to eliminate Billionaires?

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        They seem like parasites. I do agree that those who deploy their wealth in philanthropy provide a positive alternative. However I’d prefer society to do better than that. Intelligent design ought to be used to create an option.

        Leftists would prefer any such scheme to be state-administered. However their propensity for employing losers to get them off the streets has historically produced dysfunctional bureaucracies, and voters have consequently been alienated by the traditional leftist political praxis.

        If I was a benevolent dictator, I’d command the state to merely register all billionaires, and divert any excess wealth they create over the threshold to a public-service fund. I’d leave it to consensus-politics to brainstorm the design of fund administration and allocation. I would simply issue instructions to parliament along these lines: use stakeholder-design principles, ensure that consensus of stakeholders is reached at each decision-making stage, and be guided by the ethos that the operation work to the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.

        I’d also direct the billionaires to form an association to act as an advisory group to the process, and direct parliament to include that as integral to the process. I’d mull over whether to make the priorities climate-change mitigation, regional development and resilience, and reduction of inequality, compulsory or advisory.

        • Gosman 11.1.1.1

          The major issues here are what is defined as “excess wealth” and how do you collect it.

          • Brutus Iscariot 11.1.1.1.1

            The definition of excess wealth is the same across all people, on all incomes, and at every level of society.

            “Someone who has got more than twice as much as me”.

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. Which is why schemes to tackle inequality based on arbitrary numbers alone are so innately fraught.

              We know inequality beyond a certain threshold is a real problem, but we don’t have a good understanding of what that threshold is and why, and we don’t even have a good understanding of the psychological factors which drive it. We can’t even agree on our definition of what ‘rich’ is. At least not in any measurable sense.

              It’s not even clear that money is directly relevant. It’s an obvious symptom that we tend to use as a proxy (eg GINI measures), but even then on reading The Spirit Level it’s clear there is more to the data than is immediately apparent.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.2

          Yes … whether your ‘benevolent’ scheme would work or not is beside the point. The left expends much emotion bitterly decrying great ‘unearned’ wealth, when a more useful question is … to what purposes is it put?

          • patricia bremner 11.1.1.2.1

            “Unearned wealth”Put makes it sound as if it could be retrieved. The truth is it is risked betting on one idea or innovation against another.
            Sometimes the excess wealth is used to buy all means of communication or corner a needed commodity to control the price. Excess wealth means power.
            Power in the hands of a few.

            • David Mac 11.1.1.2.1.1

              I think the term ‘unearned wealth’ is fundamentally flawed Patricia. A fisherman can be filling his cray-pots whilst partying with his mates. A kid with a bit of a utube following is earning petrol money whilst netflixing with his mates.

              Are they evil and greedy? I struggle to see it.

              • Andre

                That $400M the Queens Loofah-Faced Shitgibbon got from his daddy looks unearned to me.

              • patricia bremner

                Unearned wealth….If their actions are clearly skewing the resources, harming anyone, or robbing people of their elected representatives. Power corrupts etc.

                The crayfish analogy…. could be cornering/endangering a scarce resource
                Ignoring the laws? Taking crays that are too small because “No one knows

                Where did we ever say small gains for personal use is wrong? NZ taxes the first dollar of earnings… so you are honest or you are part of the black economy. However I don’t see the relationship to extreme wealth and extreme poverty.

      • Rae 11.1.2

        Because they have way and beyond their fair share. Other people need resources (money to access resources) as well. There is no such thing as growing the pie nonsense, the billionaires still get more than their share. There is no such thing as a rising tide lifting all boats, some are at anchor.

  12. Siobhan 12

    I’m loving how some of main stream commentators and bloggers feel safe quoting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while she’s not actually running for President.
    Sure, her message makes them nervous, but at least, for now, she’s one step removed from actually enacting her dastardly plans. And it makes them look like they are seriously considering her ideas.

    Unlike Bernie, who’s been saying this stuff since last election, gained massive traction in town halls all across America and amongst quite a range of voters, despite all efforts to sideline his exact same message.

    It will be interesting to see, if and when Ocasio-Cortez actually runs for office, how the main stream media will manage to weaken or throw doubt at her Socialist agenda.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/14/power-billionaires-bernie-sanders-poverty-life-expectancy-climate-change

    http://time.com/5388596/billionaires-welfare-bernie-sanders/

    • Siobhan 12.1

      Top Guardian story about Ocasio-Cortez today is her beauty regime. Ha! In Fact I can’t even find their coverage of the Billionaire speech.

      “Another busy week for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: she won a seat on the powerful House oversight committee and a documentary about her election premiered at the Sundance film festival.

      But she still made time to keep up her skincare routine. “How does she do it?” wondered many.”…The Guardian..keeping it classy ..

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/29/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-skincare-routine-k-beauty-instagram

      • Kevin 12.1.1

        Looking forward to the Trump skincare article on how he manages to keep that orange glow. Not holding my breath though…

      • greywarshark 12.1.2

        The Guardian – both keeping it commercial for their cosmetics advertisers and satirical as that is a cliche comment for all women who attain some high position.

    • Bewildered 12.2

      She will never run for office, she is to stupid and would be found out under the microscope of real scrutiny, now she just gets a free run as a celebrity

      • Jess NZ 12.2.1

        She won 2nd prize in Intel’s international SciEng contest with her microbiology project in high school, had an asteroid named after her, and graduated cum laude from university…as well as being the youngest ever woman to run for office and win a seat in Congress.

        So Bewildered, you’ve rarely posted anything quite so bewildered.

  13. greywarshark 13

    Response from billionaires and their running dogs –
    Hah Hah. I’ve, We’ve; Got the right money trail and you haven’t. F.O.
    (Remembering that money is a system of credits and promises, and at the base of everything we exchange – cash or paper or ideograms or pictograms on a screen – is this system of agreements between lead groups that oversee the whole kaboodle.)

    • WeTheBleeple 14.1

      Perfect.

    • DJ Ward 14.2

      So your picture has very little to do with reality then.

      https://goo.gl/images/7juWtt

      So can you comment on each group and why they should be banned, or whatever else you wish to do with them?

      • Morrissey 14.2.1

        Well, it’s a cartoon. I don’t think that rich prick Donald Trump actually stole fish. He had bigger fish to fry, like the poor old taxpayer….

        https://prospect.org/article/trump%E2%80%99s-housing-hypocrisy

        • greywarshark 14.2.1.1

          Trouble with DJWard – he has no sense of humour or understanding of analogy or satire. You may as well be debating with a cheap computer. Have you no pride! Don’t forget to talk nicely to your car when you want it to start on a cold morning. You never know – it might be listening.

          Carrying on discussing with the growing number of right wing loons puts me in mind of the old lunatic asylum of Bedlam where people with no interest in a society with respect and care for others used to pass a pleasant hour watching the antics of the imprisoned under the influence of their disjointed or tormented minds. The callous can never change and show real empathy, though they know how to simulate it. So watch this blog doesn’t turn into Bedlam as times get harder. It will be so amusing for the anomic and amoral as people try to explain their moral position and turn them from their dark side!

        • DJ Ward 14.2.1.2

          Well I didn’t think it was funny. It’s a serous criticism and sometimes real look at the rich. It reminded me of Meduro.

          • Professor Longhair 14.2.1.2.1

            I am sure that I am not the only one to notice that the horse’s arse DJ Ward lacks the wherewithal to spell the surname of Nicolás Maduro.

            His opinions are of the calibre of his orthography: dodgy, even worthless.

            • DJ Ward 14.2.1.2.1.1

              Your not the first not notice my spelling is crap. Or my grammar. Oh well I will have to bow to your superior wisdom. Not that the two are arbitrarily related. First in class in maths, crap at English. Can you add?

              You should see the versions and misspelled Trump stuff I see here. There is also endemic orange people racism.

              • Only the saddest commenters are bothered with spelling mistakes, DJ. Such people are usual incapable of debating ideas and rarely contribute anything of worth. In my day job, I often advise people who can barely read, let alone write. I don’t think any less of them for that because I’m not a pedantic, snidey twat.

                So carry on, have your say, and never mind the bollocks.

              • veutoviper

                Well said, DJ. And I totally second what TRP has said.

                I don’t necessarily agree with some of what you advocate, but I admire you for saying it and, for the most part, ignoring some of the ignorant, disgusting personal attacks you have been subjected to by a number of commenters here who should know better.

                In fact, if they actually read the rules for this blog in the Policy section (link above) they – not you – are the ones who are actually in breach of those rules. Mind you, there is a difference between reading – and understanding. But as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

                The Rules I am referring to in particular are:

                We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views. But this site run for reasonably rational debate between dissenting viewpoints and we intend to keep it operating that way
                .
                What we’re not prepared to accept are pointless personal attacks, or tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. “

                Kia kaha

                • WeTheBleeple

                  While y’all sitting on your high horses. DJ started this with an attack on a woman he’s never met.

                  • Correct. And it is that aspect of the comment that should have been addressed, not the accuracy of the grammar.

                    I grew up with a dyslexic sibling, while excelling at language use myself. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always disliked the behaviour of people who look down on others for struggling with words. It’s a contemptible trait and a sure sign of a lack of human empathy.

                    It’s also a class issue, as most working class Kiwis do not get far enough in the education system to fully develop their language skills. I have a feeling that’s been made worse under various Tory governments (and the First Act govt), who saw working class Kiwis as nothing more than factory fodder; drones to be exploited, not educated.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      Fair enough my brother’s dyslexic. DJ is strong in math – my Achilles heel.

                      Key made it real tough for working class in education for those who make it to post grad. Never been so broke if I didn’t have a garden and people I probably wouldn’t have pulled it off.

                      The justification was that we’d earn more so could take the hit while studying… the reality was rich people could do it easy, while poor people loaned $50 pw less than the dole to survive on and came out considerably more in debt.

                      We don’t want nasty poor people getting ahead now, do we. Imagine if they got a seat at the table – preposterous!

                    • patricia bremner

                      te reo putake, I had a dyslexsic son who has high emotional and social intelligence, while his brother is mathematical analytical with a prodigious memory. They are chalk and cheese. Together they are genius LOl LOL My older boy often “tongue whipped” anyone who laughed at his brother’s spelling. He would quote the bastardy of English, the looseness of early spelling, how type setters used “f” in place” s” because they failed to have enough “S” pieces in their block. An aside.

                  • veutoviper

                    It really doesn’t matter who started it, WTB.

                    The problem is that several people then attacked him on a personal level, as opposed to addressing the issue they disagreed with. The same people and others have been doing this not only to DJW (this is certainly not the first time for him) but also to a lot of other commenters here over recent months – and the more it happens, the more others join in.

                    For example, go look at the comments under the recent “Venezuala Coup” post where Gosman was the subject of a much bigger pile on from quite a number of commenters right throughout the over 200 comments, making up a large number of those overall comments.

                    Those of us who have been here on TS for many years have seen this happen time and time again over the years, usually sparked by a small number of people, some of whom do it as part of their persona (or personae).

                    Others then join in or see personal attacks, snide remarks etc as acceptable behaviour and start behaving the same way. Before you know it, the atmosphere has become toxic and then things usually escalate to the point that heavy moderation, including bans, is needed to get things back to a tolerable level. Personally I have lost count of the number of times some people has been banned over the years.

                    This sort of behaviour covers not just blatant personal attacks (eg calling people idiots etc), but less blatant things such as:

                    — telling other individual commenters to go away, they are not welcome here (for any numbers of reasons or none at all);

                    — saying the subject of someone’s comment, or their viewpoints on a subject are not in line with the purpose of the site (and citing a narrow purpose that bears not relation to anything in the About or the Policy sections but is what that person personally thinks should be the site’s purpose*)

                    — calls for the admins/moderators to ban people because they are “trolls” , RWs, etc,

                    (* what I call Shining Cuckoo behaviour, LOL)

                    Those are just a few examples of behaviours seen here recently. I could go on with more but won’t.

                    Various levels of moderation have been tried over the years from really heavy to light – as is being used currently with self-moderation encouraged, Personally I would like to see things stay ‘as is’ in that regard; but people have to co-operate and respect the rules as well as other commenters for that to happen.

                    ADD – now seen TRP’s comment and your reply. As you can see, TRP and I have addressed your comment from quite different perspectives, viewpoints. An example of diverse views as per the Rules, would you agree?

                    Actually not really “diverse” as I support TRP’s perspective and hope he does mine! LOL

                    • RedLogix

                      Excellent and thoughtful. What I’ve been quietly aiming at, is to reduce the amount of shouting and improve the quality of the conversation. The content of the conversation is less important than how we conduct it.

                      The turning point for me was the results falling out of research that clearly shows how our core political leanings are largely determined from aspects of personality that are fixed over our life. In other words conservative and progressive people can be thought of as human categories, akin to race, height, appearance, intelligence, etc.

                      Which rather radically implies that abusing people who are politically different to us is something similar to the kind of bigotry which motivates racism, sexism, etc.

                      This doesn’t mean we have to unconditionally accept the intolerable, but it does mean we have to think the issues through rather than reflexively resort to attack mode everytime.

                    • Anne

                      @ vv and Redlogix:

                      Redlogix says:
                      This doesn’t mean we have to unconditionally accept the intolerable, but it does mean we have to think the issues through rather than reflexively resort to attack mode everytime.

                      I have used the word “Idiot” to describe another commenter, and may have told one or two to “go away” or in more colloquial terms to “piss off”. I don’t do so lightly. They must have knowingly told blatant lies or have maliciously maligned someone for no valid reason.

                      There can be instances when that level of “attack” is appropriate, and when backed up by others often leads to the perpetrator withdrawing rather rapidly from the discussion.

                      Don’t let us get too ‘pc’ about the conundrum and lose some of the vibrant personalities which pervade TS.

                      However I concede there are times when contributors go too far, in which case the moderators will deal with them.

                    • veutoviper

                      To Anne

                      I’ve done it again. I certainly was not thinking of you, Anne when I used “idiot” as an example. It is actually a mild one, but it came to mind because someone else, ,not you, has used it a lot over the last week or so and in a very intentional, provocative manner.

                      I am guilty of being pretty strong worded myself sometimes, but am trying to apply some self-moderation. I now often (but not always!) draft a reactive response, then walk away or copy it to a Word doc and come back to it later and reconsider – or not!

                      But I certainly have noticed recently a build-up of personal attacks rather than people robustly addressing the viewpoint or issue that has caused dissent.

                      I agree that there are occasional situations when a level of “attack” of calling someone out personally is appropriate, and that as you say, “when backed up by others often leads to the perpetrator withdrawing rather rapidly from the discussion”.

                      IMO such action is/may be appropriate when the person being called out is in fact attacking, denigrating other people personally – but should not be used when it is actually the message or viewpoint that is at issue, not the person themselves or their behaviour.

                      It is a much wider issue that just being PC, again IMO. I certainly do not want to see some of the vibrant personalities disappear – but I also don’t want to see others who may not be as vibrant but have well thought out viewpoints (even if they are dissenting ones to the majority of views here) turned off commenting here because of the behaviours of others, including that of some of those ‘vibrant’ personalities.

                      It is a tightrope walk to get the right balance – as is moderation. I irregularly help with moderation and administration of another blog site – of a totally different type, subject etc to TS.

                      Each situation is unique in terms of finding the right balance and applying the right form and level of moderation and acceptable behaviours, but the interaction of these two aspects is one of the things I find interesting – almost as much as the actual discussions of issues/viewpoints.

                    • RedLogix

                      Two things to feed into this; the separation of the ego from the idea. The best conversations happen when everyone can leave their ego (or sense of self worth) aside and pay attention to the ideas themselves. And this opens the real possibility of recognising error and moving position.

                      It’s very noticeable how our politicians are simply not allowed to have this kind of discussion in public.

                      The other is mobbing; that special case of bullying where a conformist group think takes over and one person becomes the scapegoat. I’ve seen that way too often here over the years.

                    • Anne

                      It’s ok vv. @1147am
                      I didn’t take it that way at all. I was expressing a point of view along the lines… sometimes an eye for an eye etc. is ok.

                      @ RedLogix

                      The best conversations happen when everyone can leave their ego (or sense of self worth) aside and pay attention to the ideas themselves. And this opens the real possibility of recognising error and moving position.

                      Sighs heavily. So true but oh dear, human frailty and all that… to which I’m just as vulnerable as anyone else. Happy to admit though I’ve moved my position as a result of someone else’s patient response. Even Wayne has taught me a thing or two. 😉

                    • Anne

                      rata @ 6.2 over on today’s Open Mike represents a good example of a comment deserving of a strong response. It was a childish attempt to undermine ianmac’s perfectly reasonable link to an interesting article. Now it looks like we have lost ianmac.

                      I value ianmac’s contributions and TS is the loser imo.

                      Edit: Not a reply specific to you vv but you’re the last commenter to have a reply function.

                    • patricia bremner

                      Well said VW. I have to try harder, though one contributor rattles my cage Cheers.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      Appreciate the time you took to reply. Shame we’re not all going to read it…

                      Did you start in written press? Remember back in the day the toughest thing to deal with was letters to the editor, and making those interminably boring country women’s institute updates the slightest bit interesting.

                      Ah poetic licence. I had a ball!

                      I had one grievance, phoned in. She didn’t like how I’d parodied real estate sales as the advertisers paid me good money. I pointed out the main advertiser was my own brother, a real estate agent, problem solved…

                      Other papers and a comic started copying some of my ideas. Advertorials before the word was penned, comedy premises… I was turning local business history into stories just to make it interesting, but you know industry… no ideas lots of thieves.

                      They tried to buy me out, instead I went on a massive drinking jag and quit. Like a real artist. 😀

  14. patricia bremner 15

    It isn’t the billionaires as such, it is why and how they came to be that way.

    Was it as blameless upright and worthy as their new status would indicate?

    Or was it dog eat dog wheeling and dealing amalgamating smaller competitors on the way? Was it through shell companies and dodged taxes as their new wealth paved the way?

    Did they change people’s perceptions of a want into a need, and tell us “Greed is good?

    Did they pass laws with their lobbying that caused workers to lose rights, so a worker wears a nappy as breaks are called a cost?

    When they finally look round them like Ozymandias before, philanthropy is their saviour? The key to the Kingdom’s door?

    Fearful none will grieve their passing they form a philantropic foundation, ” lead me to your poor.”

    And like Ozymandias “boundless and bare” they leave the Earth behind them dying.

    Can we afford them? I fear not.

    • Gosman 15.1

      How many workers of Microsoft, Facebook and Oracle are suffering as a result of what Gates, Zuckerberg, and Ellison did to grow the company?

      • mpledger 15.1.1

        Find out about “stack ranking” – “it has long been a controversial practice due to its negative effects on employee morale and potential for bias and discrimination.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitality_curve

        Simply put companies would fire the “bottom” x% of people. Which lead to a brutal work environment.
        “Since the 2000s, Microsoft used a stack ranking similar to the vitality curve. Many Microsoft executives noted that company “superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings”. It has been said that stack ranking stifled innovation, as employees were more concerned about making sure that their peers or rival projects failed than of proposing new inventions. Overall turning the company into a collection of non-cooperating fiefdoms, unable to catch on to many technology trends. The stack ranking system was relatively secretive for a long time at Microsoft. Non-manager employees were supposed to pretend they did not know about it.”

        • andrew 15.1.1.1

          “stack ranking” was used at Microsoft in in the Steve Ballmer years. Everyone hated it and it produced terrible results. Employees used to go out of their way to shaft other employees.

          The company under Satya Nadella has been completely reborn into a company that people love working for again. I have been there for 5 years now, and can tell you that the company has never been in a better place than it is now.

    • WeTheBleeple 15.2

      If you go to a ‘how to be a winner’ seminar the theme is often philanthropy after you are rich. How can you help people if you are not rich first?

      Then… you know. Those philanthropists trickle down.

      It’s a golden shower.

  15. Jess NZ 16

    Any graph on real wage increases over the past decades shows how billionaires ‘earned’ their piles – by suppressing wages compared with inflation on the powerless but conveniently numerous masses and raking off the extra value (and suppressing unions, just to be sure). Hoards from the hordes, if you will.

    It’s not a skill I admire, and it’s one society needs to rectify before the masses with nothing left to lose come after the houses without armed guards and walls (yes, that’s the middle class, not the billionaires)

    Here’s an article with one from the US. https://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

    And one from NZ https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/02/14/real-wages-the-brutal-truth/

    And brilliant graphical representation of how many people soon have nothing to lose by Toby Manhire https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/31-07-2018/the-side-eye-inequality-tower-2018/

    • Drowsy M. Kram 16.1

      Great comment and links.

      Regarding Manhire’s ‘twin towers’ cartoon (2015 vs 2018):

      In 2015 an average one-percenter owned about 148 times that of an average ‘poorest fifty-percenter’.

      In 2018 an average one-percenter owned about 550 times that of an average ‘poorest fifty-percenter’.

      (Land)lords and serfs – are we there yet?

  16. Chris T 17

    Is she the one who thinks the world is going to end in 12 years?

    • Jess NZ 17.1

      She’s the one who won 2nd prize in Intel’s international SciEng contest with her microbiology project in high school, had an asteroid named after her, and graduated cum laude from university…so she’s smarter than most, neh?

      Also smart enough to get right on message with her political purpose and get media coverage.

      The 12 year figure comes from the widely publicised message from the scientific community that ‘we have 12 years to change our ways in or kiss our existence on earth bye bye.’

      I have no nit to pick with that message. Plenty of scientists would say we don’t even have 12 months.

  17. CHCOff 18

    Zero problem with democracy being co-governed by billionaires, some mechanism has to do it with democracy for it to function properly & not just collapse…

    BIllionaires should be an asset to society. Billionaires that grow out of political economy rather than dynamic demand and supply are the problem & the issue is to the empowering of demand and supply that is dynamic via democratic mechanisms that are expressive of self-government.

    It will destroy New Zealand’s quality as a place and societal people if it continually becomes a haven for billionaire interests that have drained their own societies, setting up shop here.

  18. Ad 19

    I like her more than Sanders.
    Less preachy and more amiable on tv.

  19. Jess NZ 20

    About tech billionaires and their ‘ethical’ piles of dosh from companies underpaying, overworking, simply not paying workers for hours worked, straining antitrust laws past the limit or externalising environmental costs…

    “Working evenings and weekends is just expected of you here,” says one Microsoft supervisor. “Everyone else does it, so you have to as well, just to keep up.” Asked about hobbies or outside interests, the typical response of a Microsoft employee is to name a certain activity such as painting, mountain climbing, sailing or whatever, followed by: “But I don’t have much time for it anymore.” Sixty-hour work weeks without overtime are common. ‘

    https://archive.is/20120629191556/http://www.krsaborio.net/research/1980s/89/890423.htm#selection-85.0-85.449

    ‘…a large part of Microsoft’s labor pool exists outside this privileged class. This includes the use of permatemp employees (employees employed for years as “temporary,” and therefore without medical benefits), use of forced retention tactics, where departing employees would be sued to prevent departure, as well as more traditional cost-saving measures, ranging from cutting medical benefits, to not providing towels in company locker rooms…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft#Labor_practices

    ‘- Workers are hired as “work study students” as young as 16 years of age
    – They work extremely long shifts, typically “from 7:45 a.m. to 10:55 p.m”, for $US0.65/hr, less food deductions. (Actual wage: $US0.52/hr.)’

    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/04/microsoft-supplier-factory-workers-live-like-prisoners/

    ‘These alleged champions of progressive innovation have taken advantage of every lax labor law, every questionable manufacturing regulation, and every compliant regime to build as many devices as possible at the lowest cost.

    https://tech.co/news/honest-look-working-conditions-tech-2018-11

    It’s impossible to gather that much money without a bunch of other people getting screwed. Don’t get me started on Lotto winners.

    Popular authors like JK Rowling benefit from cost cuts in book production etc, and she donated her way out of billionaire status, unlike the others.

  20. SPC 21

    1. Put in a backdated CGT so that any future CG is taxed regardless of when the asset was purchased.

    2. Restore the estate tax above a theshold that meant it applied to only a few (thus those families would be on a IRD watchlist for associated gift duty liability).

    • Pat 21.1

      regardless of the tax regime there will be little impact without strict enforcement and an absence of loopholes…..and those writing the and implementing the law have an interest in being somewhat tardy shall we say

  21. Morrissey 22

    …..individual billionaires, such as Bill Gates, may well be good people.

    ????

    Gates is an ideologically driven enemy of public education. He’s a leading proponent of “charter schools”, with their low-paid, isolated, unaccountable, unqualified “teachers.”

    A good person?

    He’s also a glib and shallow thinker on social issues—his talking is larded with faux “optimism” just like the two-minute specials of our own Mike Hosking—and a tax delinquent….

  22. Bazza64 23

    I hear one of the Kardashians is a billionaire, maybe if they start with her you would get most of the voters on side….

  23. Bazza64 24

    Come to think of it, Andrew Lloyd Webber is worth a few pennies & probably deserves to lose a few of these due to crimes against humanity e.g. Cats

  24. mac1 25

    Here’s another US politician on taxing the rich. Found it on facebook from the Marginal Mennonites Society who favour soaking the rich as that is what Jesus would have done.

    The politician in question happens to be Muslim, btw.

    https://news.yahoo.com/rep-ilhan-omar-supports-taxing-wealthiest-americans-90-135004259.html?ncid=facebook_yahoonewsf_akfmevaatca&fbclid=IwAR2OuARMDr5ZHfuVotVcy0LxFk–lXx4JxrzFr34V1Jh7qMyaO2_vkOKBmk

  25. Ocasio-Cortez: “A society that allows billionaires to exist is wrong.”
    Once upon a time there was a man named Adolph who thought a society that allowed Jews to exist was wrong.

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