Elsewhere

We’ve thus got to make a decision. Do we wish to have less absolute poverty or would we like a more equal country? The rich nations have, today, made the decision that more equality is more important. Europe quite happily taxes the rich a lot, knowing that this reduces economic growth, in order to redistribute to the poorer.

But do note that Europe has none of that $1.90 a day absolute poverty, it has passed through that stage. Even in the absence of redistribution, it still wouldn’t exist.

Bangladesh isn’t in that position. Even with more redistribution, there would still be that poverty — a more equal Bangladesh would still have it. But we might still say that greater equality is more important than poverty abolition.

Which is what AMA Muhith is telling us here. That the strategy is to work for that economic growth, not for the redistribution. Specifically, poverty removal is the policy, not poverty alleviation.

Let’s have enough economic growth that there just isn’t any more poverty at all. After that we can, if we want to, work on the equality part, on the redistribution and relative poverty.

Which is the thing that I agree with. There are varied problems and evils in this world but when I list them, the idea that some have more than others comes very much further down my list than the problem of some having near nothing.

Thus, to me, the solution is to gain that economic growth, as fast as we can, so that all have something before we worry about how much. That is, for a poor country, growth is the imperative.

Or, as I sometimes put it, worrying about inequality is something that only a rich country can afford to do.

28 comments on “Elsewhere

  1. “Worrying about inequality is something only a rich country can afford to do.” True. But that’s where we are…and like as not, half the people will always be bitter and twisted about the fact the other half has more than they do. As with homeless druggies, I haven’t an answer.

  2. I’m not sure that’s true. Most people are content if they have enough and most people have modest enough requirements.

    It’s socialists who are constantly telling everyone how terribly unfair life is and how the only reason everyone hasn’t got loads more is some evil unfair conspiracy which they could end by taxing the bejesus out of everyone earning more than them.

    The socialists are the bitter people.

  3. That ‘some have more than others’ is not a problem. It is perfectly normal and natural.

    It is a CM appeal to envy. It is acceptance of their appeal that is the problem.

  4. Equality and fairness are not the same. If one person is lazy and there are people like that, then if they have the same house as some one who works we are being equal but not fair.

  5. Yes, all taxes lower economic growth. It might well be true that what we then spend the money on raises it again, perhaps by more, but the tax itself does reduce growth. So, we’d like to tax as little as we can while still doing the things we must do through government…

    Massive non sequitur there Tim. If transferring money from the rich to the poor gives a net increase in economic growth, which in many circumstances it does, then we’d like to do it.

    That is, ‘we’ meaning people who want the world to be a better place. Some of your plutolatrous commentators may disagree.

  6. Err, yes, that’s what I’ve just said. That net beneficial actions should – perhaps at least – be taken.

  7. @SJW

    A better world for who?

    And better by whose judgement? Yours?

    By “we” I guess you mean “people who agree with my vision”?

    Forgive my cynicism but so often the call for sacrifices to make the world a “better” place always seems to require sacrifices from someone other than those doing the calling and is based on a self belief that those doing the calling are possessed of a moral certainty and purity which only they have to judge what is better…

  8. AndrewC: spectacularly stupid guess there. It’s obvious from the context that I meant ‘we’ in exactly the same sense as Tim did.

  9. ‘If transferring money from the rich to the poor gives a net increase in economic growth, which in many circumstances it does, then we’d like to do it.

    That is, ‘we’ meaning people who want the world to be a better place. Some of your plutolatrous commentators may disagree.’

    A world where people can take your stuff and give it to other people is a “better place?”

    Eat shit and die.

  10. The original reason for desiring equality was to improve the plight of the poor who were deprived of a fair share of the good things of life (good food, decent accommodation, freedom to choose their work, leisure, good clothing …) because some rich people took far more than their fair share.
    Capitalism has improved the plight of the poor (except those who choose to reject what is offerred and a somewhat larger number suffering from bureaucrats) so much that all the original wants have been satisfied in those countries that have been capitalist for many generations.

  11. A world where people can take your stuff and give it to other people is a “better place?”

    We could have a world without government. It would be a pretty miserable place, and you’d have at most as much stuff as you could personally guard.

    Or we can have governments, which enforce rules. In a functioning democracy, those are rules which most people want. But the result of those rules is that successful people get arbitrarily rich – arbitrary in the sense that their wealth would be different under different rules. There’s therefore no exact amount of wealth which is rightfully yours.

    The problem with this concentration of wealth is that the marginal utility of an extra pound is much less for a very rich person than for a poor person. And, if like Tim you’re concerned with economic growth in poor countries, spending by a poor person there, on immediate needs in the local economy, often does more than spending by a very rich person, for example on keeping a luxury apartment in New York.

    So it makes the world better when governments redistribute wealth. Tim and I could probably have a sensible discussion about how much is best.

    In any case, I invite Gamecock to grow up a little and desist from offering childish dietary advice.

  12. Well he’s right that your gob is –in the classic John Cooper Clarke retort –full of shite SJW.

    That you and your vile cohorts never tire of the taste of your own ordure is the truly remarkable thing. The two-legged tin gods of socialism have been stealing from and handing out the results of the efforts of useful and productive people for a long time now.

    All they have done is retard real progress and make matters worse by promoting the existence of ever-larger groups of fakers and takers and ever shrinking groups of makers remaining to keep things going.

    You are a waste of space and oxygen.

  13. Well said John77.

    @SJW. Funny how you can climb on the high horse of calling Gamecock ‘childish’ within moments of insulting my guess.

    I guess we’re back to it being different for the left, because reasons.

  14. “We could have a world without government.”

    Eat shit and die. No one said a fucking thing about anarchy.

    But before you say anything else, explain “Black Sea Dacha.” Taking stuff from people and giving it to others quickly degrades to taking stuff from people. And then they have to kill the people to take their stuff.

    SJW, your cause is evil.

  15. @Gamecock, December 24, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    But before you say anything else, explain “Black Sea Dacha.” Taking stuff from people and giving it to others quickly degrades to taking stuff from people. And then they have to kill the people to take their stuff.

    SJW, your cause is evil.

    +1

    Socialism is for suckers

    Since socialists are unwilling or unable to look at what their philosophy does to people, Firewall host Bill Whittle shows us what it is doing to the animals, and asks how the richest person in Venezuela just happens to be the daughter of the socialist former President of that starving country.

  16. If only there were some middle ground between Stalin and Pinochet.

    In my world, there is.

    Merry Christmas

  17. SJW,

    I haughty lefties believed the outcome justified the means.?

    How many Stalinists have handed over a functioning economy to a democracy?

  18. Social Justice Warrior – “But the result of those rules is that successful people get arbitrarily rich – arbitrary in the sense that their wealth would be different under different rules. There’s therefore no exact amount of wealth which is rightfully yours.”

    Sorry but that is not a valid definition of “arbitrary”, nor does the conclusion follow from the premise. A lottery is arbitrary. Italian football is not. There are rules. The players follow those rules. Someone wins. That is a result of luck, skill, talent – and perhaps a brown envelop to the right man at the right time. By definition that is not arbitrary.

    Furthermore if someone plays by the rules and wins, then the victory is rightfully theirs. That is also by definition. We as a society have rules. Some people have followed those rules – perhaps, like Italian football not exactly fairly or honestly, but still more or less within the rules – and they have become rich. They have every right to that money.

    Now it may be true under other rules they would have a different amount of wealth. We could have a rule saying that women were not allowed to control their own money for instance. But that does not mean that Kylie Minogue, under the set of rules we have, did not lawfully earn every penny of her fortune under those rules and hence is entitled to rightfully own it.

    “The problem with this concentration of wealth is that the marginal utility of an extra pound is much less for a very rich person than for a poor person.”

    How is that a problem? It could just as easily be argued that it is a benefit. It means that rich people are more likely to invest. Which is precisely what a lot of economies need if they are to grow. China is much more unequal now than it was – and as a consequence it is growing much faster.

    “And, if like Tim you’re concerned with economic growth in poor countries, spending by a poor person there, on immediate needs in the local economy, often does more than spending by a very rich person, for example on keeping a luxury apartment in New York.”

    Yes what Bangladesh really needs is more spending and consumption by poor people. This may or may not be true but it is irrelevant as you are not taking money to give to poor people. You are taking money to give to lesbian bereavement counsellors.

    “So it makes the world better when governments redistribute wealth.”

    It does not follow that this is a factual claim. You are making it but you have not shown it. Taxation does reduce investment and lower economic growth. Welfare spending can easily create more problems than it solves – look at single mothers. You again use the word “better” in a way that suits yourself. You would have to defend the idea that more spending on trainers by urban welfare dependent trash makes anyone better off.

  19. Social Justice Warrior – “If only there were some middle ground between Stalin and Pinochet. In my world, there is.”

    That is just what Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot said. Before they came to power.

    I don’t believe you either.

  20. In the West purchasing power is money.

    In Socialist systems it moves to connections. Removing inequality in money doesn’t, in practice, remove inequality.

    Kruschev’s children did not live the same lifestyle as a Donets coal miner’s did. That they had the same “income” is wildly misleading.

    Excessive equality is self-defeating.

    There are better ways to proceed than one based on equality of income. I would rather the work was put into making sure what was centrally provided was efficient, in the sense tha police worked on solving real crimes in every neighbourhood, teachers on teaching real subjects to high standards even to the poor and the like. That benefits everyone and is better for equality than any cash transfer.

  21. This preoccupation with equality etc. overlooks the more robust activity of theft , cheating and corruption. All universally active and o a large degree supported.

    greed and envy do not lead to a desire for equality but to a practical self supporting action. Gangs etc especially support this.

  22. Poverty is an odd concept. On the radio yesterday’s female teacher going on about the deprivation some of her pupils had, no food type stuff. Then … “They’ve got mobile phones …. They have to have those”. …. No, they don’t. Poverty of something here, but not money.

  23. ‘If transferring money from the rich to the poor gives a net increase in economic growth, which in many circumstances it does, then we’d like to do it.’

    Taking property from people is evil. SJW believes that if they do something nice with it, it isn’t evil. SJW talks about wonderful things that can be done with the property. Which never cures the initial evil of taking the property.

  24. Nobody in the UK has to live in poverty in 2017. You can live on benefits now better than my mum, dad and us five kids did on my dad’s warehouseman wage in the 1960s and 1970s.

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