15 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Those wanting more equality can find it in places where wages are generally lower. They want everyone to be poor.

  2. How much of these effects are just a matter of rather arbitrary boundaries? F’rinstance, if you drew a loop around Manhattan, or southern Connecticut, or DC and its ‘burbs, would they show similar effects?

    Anyway, how about Paris vs La France profonde?

  3. Aah, so affluence is a problem according to them. Margaret was right : they really do want everybody to be poorer so long as the rich are not so rich.

    Lampposts for all of them.

  4. This demonstrates what has become one of my great frustrations surrounding Picketty’s work. The debate has been based nearly entirely around his data and his methodology and whether his fundamental finding, a rising wealth inequality that is extrapolated to show it rising further, is itself correct. this ignores the far more important question: does it matter? Some people, Mark Carney for example, have offered their thoughts on this without providing much, if any, analysis.

    So, whilst I am personally inclined to see inequality beyond a certain point as a bad thing – economically, culturally, morally – I am left underwhelmed by Picketty – “therefore we must tax, non?” – and the response to Picketty.

  5. “inclined to see inequality beyond a certain point as a bad thing – economically, culturally, morally –”.

    Where does it follow that the state should intervene though?

  6. monoi

    I didn’t actually say it follows. However:-

    1. As Tim’s ASI article shows, the State does intervene, everywhere, and it does reduce inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient.

    2. The IMF report, seized upon by Richtie to be ritually mauled by Tim, shows that some mild redistribution does help to increase economic growth (and the UK is at the outer reaches of what would be considered acceptable, which Ritchie didn’t understand).

    So I suppose it does follow…to a degree!

  7. I take the view that inequality can be a sign that there is something wrong. I don’t care that a bunch of people in London have way more money than me, but it bothers me a little if that money has been extracted from the rest of us by rent-seeking behaviour, supported by the political elites they went to school with.

    The role of the state in this should not be to try and correct for the inequality which it caused.. it should be to stop causing it in the first place. If all those lawyers and bankers can become much richer than me in a market that’s not rigged in their favour, then fair enough.

  8. @ Ironman

    Re. what the state does (in a use file sense), wouldn’t it be right to say that reducing inequality is an inevitable side-effect of a tax/welfare system, not, in any way, the intention.

    In doing all of that, our intention in so to ensure basic living standards and decent life opportunities for all. These are good things (I think) and they benefit us all. We don’t care about their impact on inequality.. and the people who chart inequality don’t care either, because if they did then they’d be recognising the non-financial value of all these things in their sums.

  9. TTG – Yes, I go along with that.

    I was wondering also what is this problem with inherited wealth Piketty has. If it is just wealth rather than class that is inherited why is this a bad thing?(genuine question)

    So if we suddenly went to Edwardian taxation and created a boom in Bertie Wooster types 20 years later, but did not get the class system of that era. What would the actual problem be? My first thought is, lots of folk gadding about town who can support them selves in style and what’s intrinsically wrong with that.
    Maybe we reach an affable but useless tipping point that is ultimately harmful because no body knows how to do anything and nothing gets done. I’m not sure, but it seems another fundamental thing which is intrinsically assumed to be a bad thing.

  10. “So if we suddenly went to Edwardian taxation and created a boom in Bertie Wooster types 20 years later….”

    But weren’t death duties harsher then?
    (I base my question on Downton Abbey scripts!)

  11. Why would anyone object to a boom in Bertie Wooster types? He wasn’t the brightest, his Scripture Essay prize notwithstanding, but he had other qualities coming out of his ears.

    Talking of the less sharp, what does Piketty say about inherited intelligence? Should couples of child-bearing age be restricted to a combined IQ between x and y?

    In their younger days, Richie and Mary Beard for example.

  12. As Tim’s ASI article shows, the State does intervene, everywhere, and it does reduce inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient.

    Even those States which are African (or other) kleptocracies?

  13. Hallowed Be – “So if we suddenly went to Edwardian taxation and created a boom in Bertie Wooster types 20 years later, but did not get the class system of that era. What would the actual problem be? My first thought is, lots of folk gadding about town who can support them selves in style and what’s intrinsically wrong with that.”

    The newly rich are crass. Look at Donald Trump. Or even worse, anything in Russia or China these days. They need the declining Old Money people to teach them how to spend in style.

    So we need the class system too.

  14. Dearieme: You and that Fellowes fellow are probably right. My guess is duties are still a higher take now, i.e. they catch more in the net but there was likely a particularly painful point back then if wealth was in land and forced to sell it during the depression. (q.v. Mr Worstall on one off wealth taxes not being the winningest of ideas)

    Jack C – no issue with Bertram Wooster. Just a simple thought experiment. Is a surfeit of Berties good, bad or indifferent from the point of view of us all (i.e. the Non-Berties and the Berties).

    So Much for Subtlety : So your point is basically if class did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. But we wouldn’t want to invent the Edwardian class system if we were starting from scratch.

    So if a growing proportion of individuals can look after themselves comfortably on income derived from inherited wealth (without relying on a class system that was anti-meritocratic to perpetuate itself) what is the downside? Would it lead to a poorer economy?

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