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Rich And Poor

From the idiots claiming the gap between rich and poor increases. Yes that is correct, as the population grows, normal distribution sees that the range increases. The thing that is not said is the wealth difference between the "poor" now, and the poor 50 years ago, and the poor 100 years ago is vastly different, as is the definition of what poor is. Austerity. Even the rich 200 years ago had Austere lives.

Rich and poor are relative terms

“The notion of relative deprivation is significant, because it draws attention to the fact that peoples perception of their position is more important than their objective circumstances. What is crucial is how people evaluate their condition relative to the recent past, or to what other people have.”

   --  Andrew Heywood

Establishing who is rich and who is poor is no easy task.
  • Everybody but one person can point to a person who are richer than them
  • Everybody but one person can point to a person who is worse off than them
  • One who is poor in one country may be equivalent to a rich person in another country
  • One who is rich in cash may be poor in assets and vice versa
  • A person may appear rich from spending habits, but actually be poor, and vice versa
  • A person may be rich in monetary terms but poor in health, friends or family.
  • The poor of 200 years ago would not recognise the poor of today as poor. People feel poor because they compare themselves to their neighbours, rather than their ancestors.

The gap between rich and poor

Much is made of the gap between the rich and poor, but this is not a good comparison.
A common saying is the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is not a fact. 

Lets assume the poor have close to nothing. Lets approximate it by calling it nothing because they live on handouts. 
The poor, will never be able to get poorer, as they have nothing, so saying the poor get poorer makes no sense. Then saying the rich get richer, just means the economy grew, it is not at the poor's expense.

In any case the diagram below shows it is possible for the rich to get richer while making the poor get richer at the same time.

Rich richer poor richer

The other thing is people advocate redistribution to close the gap, but this goal is futile because:
  • Those that produce nothing will always have nothing
  • Those that are unskilled will always earn a fraction the salary of skilled work. When the unskilled work pays more, the skilled work will proportionally increase, as it takes several unskilled workers to match the output of a skilled worker.
The real gap is in productivity and not wealth. What they need is a job and not a handout.

Estimates of the distribution of wealth in society are often wrong. 
  • They conveniently count shares and landed property, while often neglecting the entitlements which constitute the main source of wealth for ordinary people. 
  • Pension rights are often treated as if they did not exist or had no value to them
  • Other estimates deliberately omit wealth vested in housing, which is most people's main item of value.

It should be nited that people do not have the same level of wealth throughout their lives. People who may be poor students, can end up being "Rich" later, or even jsut average. Point to a person and saying they are poor, may only be a snapshot of thier current state while at their worst position in life. Therefore not the right subject to use for a basis of lifetime policy, based on a single moment.

Those that criticise the rich are hypocrites

Comments from the London metro comments section April 17 2012
Metro reports that some of the richest people in Britain are paying a lower rate of tax than their cleaners. In this country it seems that everyone wants to be rich but, equally , anyone who actually is rich gets lambasted. Rather than celebrating success and wealth creation , the people driven by the lynch mob mentality of the media, deem it less socially acceptable to be wealthy than to be a benefits cheat. Articles such as this merely  sensationalise and encourage 'rich-hate'.
If the issue here is convoluted, arbitrary tax system that provides unlimited loopholes I am on board. However demonising wealthy law abiding individuals makes a fool out of everyone. The government should simplify tax to prevent avoidance and stop layering rules on top. The media meanwhile should stop stirring up 'Rich Hate' with ridiculous commentary.

Is it O.K to be wealthy?
Mohammed was remembered to have given sound investment advice. There is nothing wrong with wealth when a person is god fearing , but health is better than wealth for the god-fearing, and cheerfulness a blessing.

Is it something we should do something about?

Are we responsible for the poor?

No, that is absurd, how can you be responsible for something you had no part in. If someone somewhere in the world is born into poverty, in what way were you responsible for that? What action could you have taken to stop it? Unless your job is directly related to relieving poverty, or you directly put someone in poverty you are not responsible.

Do we have a duty to help the poor?

This is not absurd, but wrong. You do not have a duty to help the poor. Duties are the other side of the coin to rights
If you have a duty to help the poor, then they have a right or claim over you. Do they have first say over how you use your time or money, when did you give them this right? Do you then have a claim over their time and money and can tell them what to do with their lives? Obviously not, there is no justification for this.

What should we do about the poor then?

No-one chooses to be poor. The poor are poor because they lack choices. 
  • If you can't get a job - you will be poor
  • If you only have one choice of employer you will have a low wage - you will be poor
  • If you have a choice between lots of jobs and job types - it is unlikely you will be poor
So in order to solve poverty, you need to get jobs to the poor. Almost every job in the world requires investment. Jobs are a result of investment. 
Where does investment come from? The "rich".

If the poor want to have more choices they need to remove barriers to investment in their area, even if the first set of investment is on unfavourable terms, the second and third will have to improve on it until the poor will eventually be in charge of the terms.
They need investment to come in to train their area for the jobs the area can produce, and investment to utilise the resources and labour in the area.

Envy is cheap

Those who are paid for managing the poor

People who managing the poor are basically pimps and eating up most of the money intended for the poor.

The so called poor are rich

Poor are not poor, they get free healthcare, education and pension that they did not contribute to. If they had to save up for an equivalent pension they would need ???? and if they had to save the costs of healthcare and education they would need ????.

Punishing the rich does not work

Quote 993

“Poor people might do better if the rich are permitted to get even richer, thereby increasing the total wealth available.”

   --  Masden Pirie

You can't punish rich people, you end up punishing the people who work for them, or sell them their goods.

The problem is idleness, not wealth

Idle rich, idle poor.  Which is better/worse for society?


Upper class
Middle class
Lower class
Non-working class.

All rich are not equal

Some rich get more scorn than others. In a contradiction public complains about the rich,
But they don't complain about the footballers and music stars making money in the same way that they complain about bankers. So it appears that money is not the only issue about the rich.

Can you have too much?

1) "Some people have too much" implies there was something wrong. What would too much look like?
So here is the list of the people who have everything. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/012715/5-richest-people-world.asp
Warren Buffett. Still lives in the same average home he has for decades, and drives a cheap car and lives a modest life. 
For most of his life he has lived, about the same level as most Americans. The money he has, is not spent but invested. He has helped many pensioners save for their retirement, saved some companies from bankruptcy, and indirectly employs millions. Taking money away from him, I can see would only harm people.
He has pledged his fortune to the Gates foundation when he dies.

Bill gates, he lives a nicer lifestyle, but again, spends almost nothing of his wealth, he is responsible for millions of jobs for those who use Microsoft tools at work, and many peoples lives easier. He has also made many many goods cheaper and cut waste, due to office automation.
He has pledged his wealth to charity through the gates foundation.

I could go on and on, about the other 3 on the list, but its the same principles, the wealth they have, is not spent on luxury, but investing in making society better. I am not sure why having "everything" in this instance is a bad thing?

Don't get me wrong there are bad rich people, but I can't see how having a lot of money is a bad thing in itself. I would even argue concentrations of capital are necessary for some progress and counterbalance to unrestrained Government power. 

Elon Musk using his wealth to popularise electric vehicles, in a timely piece , is now going to own less possessions than the average person. 

2) The relationship between those that have much and those that have not.
The sentence "implies" that the ones who have everything are somehow responsible or even connected for the ones who can barely exist. I am not sure that this is a proven relationship.
There are only two circumstances where I can think this can happen.
A) Where there is a finite amount produced, so the only question is who gets the goods and services. But we have seen worldwide production increase year on year for many millennia. 
B) Where people have been robbed. But in this instance the problem is not the wealthy as a class, but in the failure of law. Also if someone never had any productive capacity, and therefore anything to steal, then that would rule this option out.
Quite often as presumed above, people who make lives better get richer.



Subpages (2): Poverty Redistribution