http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-rich-is-too-rich/


an excerpt:

"Conservatives view taxation as a species of theft—and to raise taxes, on anyone for any reason, is simply to steal more. Conservatives also believe that people become rich by creating value for others. Once rich, they cannot help but create more value by investing their wealth and spawning new jobs in the process. We should not punish our best and brightest for their success, and stealing their money is a form of punishment.

Of course, this is just an economic cartoon. We don’t have perfectly efficient markets, and many wealthy people don’t create much in the way of value for others. In fact, as our recent financial crisis has shown, it is possible for a few people to become extraordinarily rich by wrecking the global economy."


I am particularly interested in the creation of "an infrastructure bank", as Sam Harris calls for. A point I recently raised to a good friend of mine: How is it that, as the richest nation on Earth, we are in debt up to our eyeballs. We should be the lenders to the rest of the world, not the borrowers. Such a state of affairs means that we as a country would have a great amount of money invested in our own sustainable future, not to mention what good we could do for the rest of the world by having money to lend to them, as opposed to borrowing up so much money that in order for other countries to borrow, they must pay much higher interest rates (to the same super-rich bankers who have caused this vast wealth disparity).

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China is fulfilling that role. And they'll soon start fulfilling a whole bunch of your current roles, don't you worry.

And that is a major reason why they are becoming such a powerful and successful country. Are we going to wake up and start adapting before we become a second-rate country?

I'm pretty sure that watershed has been passed already though.

Do they though? I think you should prove that statement with the stats (They show the poor are more generous, but I'm not showing you the links because people remember things when they find out for themselves...threetwone go!).

 

Okay, don't look at me like that, I'll give you one link, but it won't be for your country. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/dec/21/voluntarysector.fundr...

Found it on America's end :) Took about one minute.
Too rich? Personal net worth greater than $42,550,021.65.
"How is it that, as the richest nation on Earth, we are in debt up to our eyeballs. We should be the lenders to the rest of the world, not the borrowers."

Yes, we are in debt up to our eyeballs. But we are also the nation that gives (donates) by far the largest amount of financial aid to other countries. This needs to cease and desist.

"In fact, as our recent financial crisis has shown, it is possible for a few people to become extraordinarily rich by wrecking the global economy."

The global economy was not wrecked by a 'few people.' It has been weakening and destabilizing for years, and we are now paying the price for not correcting the situation earlier.

" . . . many wealthy people don’t create much in the way of value for others."

This is a broad, sweeping statement. So what if wealthy people aren't creating wealth for others? Unless they inherited it (or stole it), how many years did it take to earn it? How many factories did they build during this time? How many people did they employ? What kind of products and services did they provide to make life easier for their customers? How much did they (and continue to) pay in taxes?

I like Sam Harris and I love his books, but he's a little off base with his 'economic cartoon' remark.

Every year I look at my tax burden and wonder: How many people could I employ with that? How many more products could I create? Like many companies willing to grow and therefore help the economy, I am being stymied by a parasitic government that has the fiscal responsibility of a doorknob.

I am a capitalist. If I didn't earn it fairly and honestly, I don't want it. I think most business owners are like that. If you're doing something illegal/immoral to earn your money, that's not capitalism. That's criminal. And there's no place in capitalism for a thief.
You do know what the word "many" means, right?  Once that word is used it is no longer a generalization, which you accused it of being.

Ha! Caught me!

 

I guess my question to Mr. Harris would be just how 'many' is many? Statistics and source? And again: why would it matter? The wealthy have no obligation to anyone to be altruistic; they give because they care, not because they're supposed to.

 

Regards-

I generally agree with you. Though there is some things that I find questionable.

 

"there's no place in capitalism for a thief."

For many businesses, Especially small businesses sense they supply most jobs, I'd say that this statement is true. Though I find doubt in the idea that no theft can occur in capitalism without repercussions. To my knowledge, derivatives allow people to make bets against anything. Regardless of repercussions. So long as money is made people can find ways t make money. Even if it hurts others. Don't take this to mean that I think that Capitalism is flawed but I do think it has flaws. So whether or not there should be a cap on wealth, Especially on a finite resource planet, is an open question.     

It's not the 'too rich' part. It's the not educated enough in sharing.
Or the benefits to sharing and not hoarding behind faith walls. that's something

These idiots.. look at what the guy said; 'i gotta pray more about that' no answer? really?

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