Do the rich deserve their Wealth? Is there an alternative?

 

I was recently castigated for suggesting that the level of inequality in society was immoral. I was told that the rich deserved the money they had made. They worked hard and took risks.

 

I disagreed.

 

Some people do earn their money fairly. Some do work hard. Some do take risks. But too many gain their wealth through nepotism, privilege and having great wealth to start with - not through a meritocracy. The dice are heavily loaded. The wealthy want things to stay the same. They want the system to favour them - and it does.

 

But why does anyone assume that all this wealth is fairly earned?

 

I think a good portion of it is gained through ruthless exploitation, corruption, nepotism, privilege and immoral methodology. A lot of the wealth in Britain's aristocracy was based on slavery, exploiting and extracting wealth from the empire, running factories on starvation wages without regard to health and safety, child labour and swindling people. It was only the advent of trade unions and social legislation coupled with full voting rights that changed things. People wrested some of this power from the ruling class, overcame injustice and created a more moral society and fairer world. No rights have ever been given up lightly by the elite. It has had to be taken from them with blood and protest.

 

The same ruthless practices still exist today. The Third World is being exploited with sweat shops, low wages, long hours and poor health and safety. Automation is maximising profits for a few while putting multitudes out of work. The environment is being trashed for profit without thought for the future. Workers are still being paid low wages in the gig economy while profits increase for the few. Prices charged for concerts and goods are excessive and exploitative.

 

How moral is all this?

 

I would say not moral at all.

 

A good portion of the rich and powerful are ruthlessly exploiting the world, evading paying taxes and using repulsive means for gaining their wealth.

 

What is the answer for this huge inequality? I would suggest that we need legislation to stop people being exploited around the world and ensure a fair wage and good work conditions for their workforce and I would suggest that a progressive tax system (plugging all the tax evasion systems) would result in a fairer, happier society.

 

At present this system is run by the rich for the rich. They control the media and through that the minds of the population. Despite the fact that the system only works for the elite they persuade a good portion of the population that there is no alternative. The mantra is that what is good for the economy is good for the people.

 

It isn't.

 

What is good for the economy is good for the wealthy. They share as little of that wealth as they can get away with. They think they deserve it.

 

I think the level of this increasing inequality is obscene.

 

I believe that all political parties have supported the wealthy instead of the people because they are frightened that the wealthy will take their ill-gotten gains elsewhere and greatly damage the economy. It is a blackmail, coupled with degrees of corruption, that creates an unfair collusion.

 

I say that there is an alternative - it is called social democracy.

Comments

opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:01pm
How, on a national basis, to change this system is hard to fathom out. The government is terrified that the rich will simply withdraw their funding or move abroad taking their wealth with them. Then, of course, the politicians all too often walk straight into high paying jobs or consultancy work, or huge pay for books and speeches.
It smacks of corruption to me.
Tubularsock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:19pm
opher, you have Tubularsock’s support. And Tubularsock would settle just for democracy.
 
Social democracy would be fine but we haven’t had a democracy yet so maybe we need to practice that first.
 
This of course isn’t going to happen because in order to have a true democracy the citizens have to carry the responsibility of governing themselves and that is a full time job in itself.
 
That is why the “representative” form of democracy was created and true to form as it grew it distanced itself from the people because of the limos they travel in as they do the people’s business and that made it possible to outrun the people.
 
But now as the private jet with its new found tax deductions arrive, well “what people”?
 
EAT THE RICH ..........
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:22pm
Tub - thanks for your support. The only problem I can see with eating the rich is that there's not enough to go round.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:23pm
Fully agree, Oph.
George N Romey Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:27pm
Some do. They’ve worked their asses off and took risks. Moreover they provide others with well paying and secure jobs.
 
Some others simply were born into wealth or got lucky. They might be selfish and screw others at every turn.
 
The truth is we need the first type if there’s to be widespread prosperity.
 
Similarly there are poor that are lazy, sit on their ass waiting for government assistance. Others work their ass off working multiple jobs.
 
My issue is that our system no longer rewards in a proper sense. Too many rich just simply buy into wealth like some of Wall Street.
Michael B. Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:35pm
I'm reminded of some dialog from the 1953 movie Stalag 17:
 
Duke: Come on, Trader Horn, let's hear it. What'd you give the krauts for that egg?
 
Sefton: 45 cigarettes. Price has gone up.
 
Duke: They wouldn't be the cigarettes you took us for last night?
 
Sefton: What was I gonna do with them? I only smoke cigars.
 
Duke: Niiice guy. The krauts shoot Manfredi and Johnson last night, and today he's out trading with them.
 
Sefton: Look. This may be my last hot breakfast on account of they're going to take that stove out of here, so would you let me eat it in peace?
 
Animal: Now ain't that too bad? Tomorrow you'll have to suck a raw egg.
 
Shapiro: Oh, he don't have to worry. He can always trade the krauts for a six-burner gas range. Maybe a deep freeze, too.
 
Sefton: What's the beef, boys? So I'm trading. Everybody here is trading. So maybe I trade a little sharper. That make me a collaborator?
 
Duke: A lot sharper, Sefton. I'd like to have some of that loot you got in those footlockers.
 
Sefton: Oh you would, would you? Listen, stupe. The first week I was in this joint, somebody stole my Red Cross package, my blanket, and my left shoe. Well, since then I've wised up. This ain't no Salvation Army - this is everybody for himself, dog eat dog.
 
Capitalism boiled down, LOL!
Wendy Skorupski Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:24pm
I agree with you, Opher. But the trouble is, I can't see human nature changing. To give an example, in a post-communist country such as Poland, which one would hope has improved since its dark communist days, the desire for wealth at whatever cost - even at the expense of the poor (who are now poorer) - has become the new God under the guise of democracy. 
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:29pm
Some people do earn their money fairly.
 
Wrong.
 
All people who earn money have done so fairly. That's what the meaning of "earn" connotes. "Earn" = "Fair."
 
Conversely, some people don't "earn" wealth at all; they acquire it in various non-earning ways, such as the following:
 
1) theft;
2) robbery;
3) fraud;
4) inheritance;
5) dole handouts, redistributed from those who had earned their wealth
 
So the question is: how many of those five are unfair, and to whom are they unfair?
 
I would claim that #4 is fair, since the wealth originally belonged to the original earners, and since they owned it, they should be able to dispose of it however they wished: they could put it in a pile and burn it; they could throw it from a helicopter and let it scatter; they could donate it all to charity; or they could give it to one or more family members.
 
#1, 2, 3, and 5 are unfair in various ways to various people who actually earned the wealth that's being taken from them, and for one salient reason: coercion, or the threat thereof, was involved in taking their wealth.
 
The reason the political left have a central kernel of evil inside each of their members is they sincerely believe — despite protestations to the contrary, Joan Baez records, Bob Dylan's multivolume biography, and VW bugs — that coercion is an excellent, efficient, and moral way of dealing with fellow human beings — so long as the coercion is applied for ends they approve of. 
 
Scratch any lefty anywhere in the world and you'll discover their basic operating moral premise: Might Makes Right.
George N Romey Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:35pm
Maybe Jones can enlighten us on what Paris Hilton has done to maintain her vast wealth.
Dino Manalis Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:59pm
Usually, the wealthy deserve their wealth unless they stole it.  Most people wish to be legal and ethical!
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:20pm
Cheers Stone.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:23pm
George - that is largely true. We do need the first type - the ones who work hard and take the risks. We just do not need them to be quite so well rewarded. We do not need the second type at all - the exploiters, arrogant users and overly privileged.
I also agree that there are some poor who deserve what they get through laziness and lack of control.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:25pm
Michael - yes that sums it up! Brilliant!
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:27pm
Wendy - I haven't been to Poland yet - but I will soon! Yes I agree - human nature can be very bad. But I also know that human nature is not set in concrete. There are situations that make people better and situations that make people worse. A leader or government can make a lot of difference. The world is not as barbarous as it was a few hundred years ago. Things can improve.
Cliff M. Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:28pm
Jones, I am not sure how your reply of creating demand by creating more supply would work. We already are strong on the supply side and still lack demand. How would more supply help?
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:30pm
A.Jones - a total knee-jerk stereotype as usual. I certainly do not believe coercion is right. I believe that a society is based on rules and a fair and equal society is based on fair rules.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:32pm
Dino - and many of the rich have stolen their money in one way or another, or used unscrupulous means to get it, or had privilege in order to get it. They rig the system.
Cliff M. Added Jan 7, 2018 - 4:23pm
What do you call it when the rich purchase fiscal policy with contributions? Some republican representatives have stated publicly that they were told if our agenda is not enacted there will be no more $money$. Is this good business or extortion?
George N Romey Added Jan 7, 2018 - 5:21pm
Opher the ones that tend to have worked hard, took risks and run good companies that provide good jobs aren’t the ones making obnoxious salaries. Read about the Wall Street crowd that made a killing last decade as they created financial instruments that crashed the financial sector. They were nothing but self indulgent in some cases lazy CEOs.
 
I agree average CEO pay of 375x average worker pay is obscene. Back in the 70s it was about 45x and no one is going to convince me today’s CEO is smarter or works harder than the CEO of yesteryear.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:09pm
Excellent point about the ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay, Mr. Romey. There is simply no objective standard by which the wealthy can demonstrate that they deserve their wealth. Yes, there are differences in human talent, but should a 1% advantage in intelligence translate into a 10,000% advantage in wealth? 
 
It's easy for us to sit around jawing about the justice of it all, but you cannot deny that most of the poor believe their situation to be unjust. 
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:13pm
We just do not need them to be quite so well rewarded.
 
But you don't get to decide how much reward someone else's risk is worth.
 
Scratch any lefty anywhere in the world and you'll find the same moral premise: Might Makes Right.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:15pm
Maybe Jones can enlighten us on what Paris Hilton has done to maintain her vast wealth.
 
Sure, no problem.
 
She inherited part of it as a member of the Hilton family, and earned another part of it as an entertainer and model. Which one of those methods do you object to?
George N Romey Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:30pm
Yes she worked so hard running to clubs drinking and drugging. Oh and her sex film. Real hard work I wonder how she did it.
 
Jones have you noticed not one person on WB agrees with you?
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:45pm
Yes she worked so hard running to clubs drinking and drugging. Oh and her sex film. Real hard work I wonder how she did it.
 
You didn't answer the question. Once more:
 
Which one of those methods (inheritance or getting paid as an entertainer and a fashion model) do you object to?
 
Don't be such a coward. Answer the question.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:49pm
Extortion.
Was Trump threatening the UN delegates with cutting off money - threat or good policy?
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:51pm
George - that is correct. Nobody begrudges a fair pay for hard work, ability and risk. But what is happening now is beyond the pale. 45X is about right I would imagine.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:52pm
Chris - and it is that sense of injustice that is fuelling the division, hopelessness and hatred. No good will come of it.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:55pm
A.Jones - no. Totally daft.
Scratch any leftie and you'll find a thirst for fairness and justice. It seems that it is many on the right who think that greed, avarice, selfishness and gluttony are the natural order and that the rich deserve all the rewards no matter how ruthless and vicious they have been in getting it.
opher goodwin Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:57pm
A.Jones - I think I object to both really. Her inheritance should have been taxed more and she got the breaks for her career out of privilege.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:10pm
Scratch any leftie and you'll find a thirst for fairness and justice.
 
Scratch any lefty and you'll discover that only his opinions of what's fair and just are valid, and should therefore be imposed on everyone else by coercion.
 
Open-mindedness and tolerance have never been the hallmark of the left, which is the main reason they're always bragging about how open-minded and tolerant they are. They're not informing us; they're repeating it to themselves, like a mantra.
 
Her inheritance should have been taxed more
 
See what I mean regarding coercion?
 
and she got the breaks for her career out of privilege.
 
A person might get breaks in his or her career out of privilege, but careers cannot be sustained out of privilege. At some point, they have to have the public's endorsement, especially in entertainment.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:20pm
It seems that it is many on the right who think that greed, avarice, selfishness and gluttony are the natural order
 
Actually, no. It's everyone on the left who believes that people are naturally greedy, avaricious, and selfish (except themselves, of course), which is the reason they demand government step in and dictate to others the "true meaning" (that is, their meaning) of "fair" and "just." That's precisely why you insist on government intervention in every area of economic life.
 
and that the rich deserve all the rewards no matter how ruthless and vicious they have been in getting it.
 
John D. Rockefeller was ruthless and vicious toward his competitors in the oil business. Result? He drove the retail price of oil so far down that it could be easily afforded by even the poorest people, allowing them to buy with their newfound surplus cash something they could never afford previously under the higher fuel prices of Rockefeller's competitors: shoes.
 
And John D. Rockefeller's ruthlessness and viciousness toward his competitors unintentionally caused another positive externality: he literally saved the whales. Prior to Standard Oil, the only cheap fuel that wouldn't smoke you out of your home was whale oil. Once Standard Oil's process of producing smokeless kerosene was perfected, it drove whale hunters out of business almost immediately.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:22pm
Was Trump threatening the UN delegates with cutting off money - threat or good policy?
 
The UN is known for its waste of huge amounts of money. It doesn't need 4 or 5 billion dollars to operate. That's an immense budget for an organization that does very little.
George N Romey Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:40pm
Jones she’s not an entertainer in my book unless you consider porn entertainment. Model? Please.
 
You are the only person I’ve ever met that thinks Paris Hilton works hard. Oh I must say your on her intelligence level.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:40pm
I was recently castigated for suggesting that the level of inequality in society was immoral.
 
Talk about pulling your punches!
 
What level of inequality would you find moral?
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 7, 2018 - 8:42pm
Opher G., I agree to a point.  Government has created a social class system with barriers to changing to another class, and that is a two way barrier.  We have business TO BIG TO FAIL.  which means we have quasi government regulated monopolies.  The laws are in effect different depending which class you are in.  Carrying a gun for self protection is different depending on one's class.  Regulations create skewed market favoring the large companies.
 
We know the problem but this nation was not always such.  Anti-trust laws are anti competition laws today.  We need to return to a free market system and end the government regulation favoring the upper class capital market.   
 
What we need is for the value of man's property which includes labor to be based on the performance of the individual.  Inherited wealth need to loose it's protections.  We know that on average the wealth handed down is lost within about three generations.  Government now skewed the system to slow down the lose by bad management of the inheritors. 
 
Government puts barriers for an individual to best use his gifts of labor by regulations that are supposed to protect the community but instead prevent competition and prevent innovation.
 
Government should protect us by requiring full disclosure.  Law suits need to be required to meet some standard for suing and professional organization should not be protect its members from prosecution by prejudging or risking a whistleblower jobs.  
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 8:49pm
Jones she’s not an entertainer in my book
 
But your book isn't the only book. Everyone has his or her own book. I'll bet you didn't know that.
 
unless you consider porn entertainment.
 
Of course porn is entertainment. That's why people watch it.
  
You are the only person I’ve ever met that thinks Paris Hilton works hard.
 
I never said she works hard. Hard work doesn't guarantee a person earns great wealth. "Joe Blow" from another thread worked hard on singing and dancing. Alas, no one liked his performances, so he made very little money as an entertainer.
EXPAT Added Jan 7, 2018 - 9:50pm
All this idiocy about who deserves what, means nothing! In the real world the person who is most talented gets the greater reward.
Pissing and moaning about it being unfair, or wanting a Yellow Submarine is the dream of incompetents.
The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, the flamboyant minister better known as the Reverend Ike, said the best way to help the poor, is not be one of them.
Grow up and take charge of your life, and stop whining about what others have.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 7, 2018 - 9:53pm
I'm certainly not whining -- I'm not poor. But don't forget that Marie Antoinette had similar notions ("Let them eat cake") and ended up losing her head. Dismiss the poor too much and you end up dead. 
Mike Haluska Added Jan 7, 2018 - 10:06pm
opher and his ilk are simply parasites that aren't able to function in society without being able to stick their snouts into the public trough.  They are also the stingiest people on Earth - insisting that everyone else be taxed to pay for their pet government "projects".
 
Their "collectivist" ideology is immoral, evil and always results in the decay of any society that implements it.
EXPAT Added Jan 7, 2018 - 10:48pm
 
CC. Barbarians have destroyed Civilizations throughout history. Controlling the masses who want cake without work is not easy, but the Internet is a great help in keeping them pacified. As long as you are posting, you are not acting!
Jeffry Gilbert Added Jan 7, 2018 - 11:04pm
Behind every great fortune lies at least one great crime. - Balzac
Chris Crawford Added Jan 7, 2018 - 11:59pm
Mr. Haluska writes: They are also the stingiest people on Earth - insisting that everyone else be taxed to pay for their pet government "projects".
 
I agree! Let's slash the military budget in half for starters. That'll save us $300 billion per year. We don't need the security of being able to invade any small country that crosses us. Those selfish people who spend MY tax dollars on that crap must be stopped!
 
Right?
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 12:00am
Mr. EXPAT writes: Controlling the masses who want cake without work is not easy.
 
Could you please identify these "masses who want cake without work"? Don't be shy. Name names.
EXPAT Added Jan 8, 2018 - 1:08am
CC. In a single term PROGRESSIVES. In a name CRIS CRAWFORD and Bill H, and opher. Want more? 
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 4:58am
A.Jones - of course they are my opinions - based on experience. What are your pontifications if not your acerbic opinions?
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:29am
Thomas - thanks for that. More transparency would certainly be a step forward.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:31am
EXPAT - if only it was true that the most talented get the rewards.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:35am
Mike - so teaching is parasitism? Wow!! That is typical of what is wrong with the right. Money is all that matters. The greed, selfishness and immorality is gross. Compassion, respect, the environment, workers rights, health and safety, people - nothing matters. Anyone not making huge sums of money is a failure. Anybody who hasn't got their snout in the greedy trough of capitalism isn't worth a jot.
Sheer obnoxiousness.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:36am
Jeffry - Behind every great fortune lies at least one great crime. - Balzac 
A great quote.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:36am
EXPAT - seems to me that you are the Barbarians.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:38am
EXPAT - this vilification of those on welfare is a typical stereotyping. It stops one having to think of them as people.
EXPAT Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:45am
No intelligent response opher? only cynicism without base. Life is not fair, it is the result of what we produce. Some times what we produce is taken form us by the more clever and greedy. But that too is a talent.
Who said, You can't cheat an honest man? Billions go to an Internet that returns nothing but Narcissism.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:58am
EXPAT - I believe there is enough intelligence in the post and the thread to warrant a clear response. Greed and selfish are not human traits that I would glorify in the way that you do. I prefer superior traits - artistic endeavor, compassionate work, education, healthcare - pursuits that are from the more pleasant side of human nature.
I also think the internet provides a great deal more than narcissism. It enables this level of communication for starters. It is also a tool to organise and share. It reveals the atrocities done by people. It enables people to share. The narcissistic aspect is just one of the many negative aspects. The internet is certainly a mixed blessing.
George N Romey Added Jan 8, 2018 - 8:03am
Paris Hilton works hard? Your too funny Jones. She is the poster child for stupidity, narcissistic behavior, laziness and greed. The only difference between her and gang bangers is that she was brought up in privilege.
 
If the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was enforced we’d wouldn’t have issues with too little competition and too few good jobs. We also wouldn’t have large corporations that could take down our economy in the event of failure.
Leroy Added Jan 8, 2018 - 8:13am
"Jones have you noticed not one person on WB agrees with you?"
 
I agree with him.  Whether Paris was a twit or a genius we may never know, but she was able to use her inherited fame and fortunate to become famous (and presumably rich) in her own right.  And, we, you, bought into it.  Madonna did it.  It is the same with the Kardashians(?) of today.  Why they are famous I have no idea.  But, apparently, the world hinges on everything they do.  They have been successful in marketing themselves.  If I could market myself to make a fortune by pretending to be the world's biggest idiot, I would do it and laugh on the way to the bank.  Unfortunately, I don't have the talent.
George N Romey Added Jan 8, 2018 - 8:56am
The difference is that Madonna had no name and no money to finance her beginnings. She lived in NYC for several years in a run down tenant apartment while she tried to get clubs to play her tapes. She then went about building a brand. She worked tirelessly to make herself a star in what was still a man oriented management environment. 
 
Paris Hilton on the other hand had everything handed to her yet she was constantly in trouble with the law. She is nothing more than a parasite that feasts on the stupidity of others.
Leroy Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:14am
"She is nothing more than a parasite that feasts on the stupidity of others."
 
The billion dollar supplement market is based on the stupidity of others.  Why single out Paris Hilton?  It's all about marketing and finding a bigger sucker.  She created a bad girl image to promote herself.  Would you even know who she was if she had not done so?  The Clintons left the Whitehouse flat broke.  They were able to amass a fortune by pedaling influence using their fame.  You don't see any progressives complaining.
George N Romey Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:40am
Leroy these are examples of what Opher is talking about. The rich that get rich in scummy or illegal ways. Madonna had nothing handed to her. Maybe you like her music maybe not but the billions she made wasn’t because she had family billions to open doors.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:41am
Leroy - don't you just hate these silly labels? Progressives and liberals and this and that. At the end of the day we're all people. I agree with some things and disagree with others.
I think it is obscene that Paris Hilton, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Madonna, the Clintons and Trump are all exploiting parasites. Even if I like what some of them do I know they are exploiting me.
George N Romey Added Jan 8, 2018 - 10:42am
Opher maybe you like their music, maybe you don't.  But the McCartneys and Jagger (and others) work their buns off recording and touring.  Moreover, if they don't bring in enough revenue to cover their explosive salaries they won't be renewed by a record label (albeit the really rich ones have been able to produce under their own label).  Whether someone thinks Madonna is worth $200 a ticket is subjective.
 
The Clinton are nothing more than parasites that have founds ways to take advantage of the system.  Ditto to a certain extent for Trump. 
 
Paris Hilton's biggest claim to fame was a sex tape and repeatedly arrested for drunk driving and the legal circus that ensued.  At least Trump built a brand and the Clintons did give some public service.  If Paris Hilton was some bimbo from the hills know one would have given a damn about her sex tape or her DWI arrests.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 11:02am
George - I do like their music greatly. But they are incredibly lazy. They certainly do not exert themselves too much touring and recording like they did in their early days. The Stones have release 5 studio albums since 1989!
When I first saw the Stones it was free - now you pay a fortune to see them half a mile away.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 11:24am
Mr. Goodwin, I'll defend musicians in general and music stars in particular. Nobody becomes a music star without a great deal of talent. Regardless of how hard they work, they make a huge contribution to society. Even today, fifty years after his labor, I am enjoying music by Mr. McCartney. I paid a few dollars for songs that have provided me without countless hours of pleasure over the years. Surely Mr. McCartney richly deserves those few dollars, does he not?
George N Romey Added Jan 8, 2018 - 11:41am
Opher by the late 80s the Stones were about 50. Touring is hard. They made their fortunes and quiet honestly their lifestyle was catching up with them. I’d have retired at age 50 too if I had their wealth.
Cliff M. Added Jan 8, 2018 - 11:50am
I saw that Stones in the early 2000's at Madison Square Garden. One of the best shows I ever saw. They played about 3 hours. Heard just about everything you wanted to hear.After about 10 songs Keith Richard says I got a little bad news and good news. The boys are going to take a break so I'm going to play a few of my tunes for you.I had horrible seats but the show was still great. Fiona Apple was the opening act.Probably the best musical entertainer's I've ever seen.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 12:32pm
Chris - I love the Beatles, Stones and hundreds more. They are all great. I certainly do not begrudge them a good living. As long as we have fair ticket pricing, fair album pricing and a fair progressive tax system I don't have any problem.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 12:37pm
George - I'm not so sure that touring is that hard! Not for these guys. I went backstage to see CSN@Ys coaches. Those coaches were luxury. They had proper luxury bedrooms and luxury dining rooms. But they don't even live in them too much. They booked into the top suites in the best hotels. They have private luxury jets. They live far better on the road than 98% of the population live normally. They are hardly churning up and down the motorways in an old beat-up transit van.
Besides, a lack of touring could result in more time in the studio or song writing.
No. I don't feel sorry for them.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 12:38pm
Cliff - I've seen the Stones a number of times and they are quite amazing.
Leroy Added Jan 8, 2018 - 3:24pm
It seems we have disagreements about who deserves wealth and how much.  Sounds like we need a government clearing house to make the determination.  For example, if you don't believe in climate change, you are taxed at 100% of what you own.
Cliff M. Added Jan 8, 2018 - 4:00pm
Leroy, Climate change is factual. The causes are debatable.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 4:02pm
Leroy - it seems we do. yes a government initiated determination would be good. We need to do something to stop this exploitative, greedy, selfish people breaking everyone. Not sure what climate deniers have to do with it though. But I'd go along with that too. Might knock a bit of sense into them.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 4:17pm
Leroy, Climate change is factual. The causes are debatable.
 
We can go well further than that. Global average surface temperatures are definitely rising, and human emissions of CO2 are the dominant cause of this warming. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 8, 2018 - 5:21pm
I think it is time to bring reality into the climate change discussion from science.   The question we need to ask.  Do those promoting a catastrophe, Chicken Littles, have an alternative motive of increasing their wealth and power?   the earth has dealt with large swings of the green house gases before we arrived at our present climate.  That is the conclusion made from actual data for sufficient length of time well beyond the time constant of the atmosphere, ocean, and land.
 
 
 
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34297/
Abstract:
Ice-core records show that climate changes in the past have been large, rapid, and synchronous over broad areas extending into low latitudes, with less variability over historical times. These ice-core records come from high mountain glaciers and the polar regions, including small ice caps and the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
 
As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades. Such abrupt changes have been absent during the few key millennia when agriculture and industry have arisen. The speed, size, and extent of these abrupt changes required a reappraisal of climate stability. Records of these changes are especially clear in high-resolution ice cores. Ice cores can preserve histories of local climate (snowfall, temperature), regional (wind-blown dust, sea salt, etc.), and broader (trace gases in the air) conditions, on a common time scale, demonstrating synchrony of climate changes over broad regions. 
Insight
One abrupt century-long cold event ≈8,200 years ago is prominent in Greenland and other records and affected methane significantly. Temperatures before and after this event in Greenland and many other regions were slightly higher than recently, showing that warmth is not a guarantee of climate stability. Abrupt changes have been especially large when atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration, insolation, and other important climatic variables were changing rapidly, with possible implications for general behavior of the climate system.
opher goodwin Added Jan 8, 2018 - 6:49pm
Thomas - yep - the temperature is rising, sea levels are rising, CO2 is rising - it's time we did something about it before things get much worse. The alternative is dire.
Leroy Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:12pm
"Leroy, Climate change is factual. The causes are debatable."
 
So is Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. 
 
Yeah.  Sure.  The climate changes.  No one argues against that.  But, we all know that it is just a euphemism for Global Warming.  No one knows if the earth is in a warming or cooling trend.  It is, simply, a hoax to suggest we know otherwise.  It is even a greater hoax that wealth distribution can solve the supposed problem.
 
 
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:15pm
Mr. Sutrina, every relevant scientific association in the world has published a statement endorsing AGW theory. 
Do you consider yourself to be smarter than all those people?
Jeffry Gilbert Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:23pm
At least you recognize it's a theory rather than a fact. Good on ya.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:29pm
EVERYTHING in science is a theory. The only facts are the observations. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 8, 2018 - 9:57pm
Chris C. Ice cores data is factual not theory.  So we know the climate facts that are stored in ice.  There is theory to suggest why the data shows changes.   Simple conclusions can be drawn Chris.  1) Man has only had about a century with the capacity to burn a lot of carbon fuels.  Thus the large changes were not caused by man.  2) What caused large changes before can cause larges changes today. 
 
Since as you tell us Chris we are just guessing what caused these large changes.  Chris we have no idea if those causes are causing the present change.  Without knowing what caused the those change ten we can not separate man's effect out.   The effect of man is thus an even bigger guess since we have not core big change that can be identified by burning carbon based fuels removed from storage in the earth. 
Chris Crawford Added Jan 8, 2018 - 10:54pm
Mr. Sutrina, I repeat: every relevant scientific association in the world has published a statement endorsing AGW theory. 
Do you consider yourself to be smarter than all those people?
Leroy Added Jan 8, 2018 - 10:57pm
I'm reminded of the class warfare started under Stalin.  The rich didn't deserve what they had.  It was made legitimate to raid the wealthy farm owners.  Raiding parties would form.  It eventually became so bad that while one party was out raiding the assets of the rich, their assets were being raided by another party who considered them rich.  It came down to anyone with a cow was considered rich. 
 
So, here we are.  Some people don't deserve their wealth and the government should plunder the undeserving ones.  Yet, as we plunder their wealth, there are those who consider us wealthy and wish to plunder our wealth.  And those who would plunder us are wealthy compared to some.  If this mentality continues, we will all be equal one day--equally poor.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:05am
Leroy - I think we do know that it is warming. We have the data to prove it. We do know that sea levels are rising. It is documented. We do know that CO2 levels are rising and we do know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:12am
Thomas - climate changes in the past were natural events - and pretty cataclysmic. It is only now that we have the ability to affect the climate. The CO2 output from human actions has altered things.
Before the industrial revolution we were probably heading for a global cooling and another ice-age. That has, thankfully been reversed.
We do not need either cooling or warming. Both would be incredibly disruptive. We should do all in our power to prevent either. Fortunately we are in a position to do so.
Surely what we need to do is monitor the situation carefully and take appropriate action on a global scale to prevent a catastrophe.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:17am
Leroy - I'm reminded of that too. If there hadn't have been such enormous disparity in Russia and France they wouldn't have had their terrible revolutions. The poor were starving while the rich held sumptuous banquets and lived a life of decadent luxury. 'The poor have no bread' - 'Let them eat cake'.
I think we are seeing a very similar situation in the West. The rich are accruing more and more wealth while the poor are going to the wall. Why do you think I am suggesting that, unless something is done, we shall have violence?
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:20am
Leroy - violence and revolution is, as you point out, to nobodies benefit. We shall all be the poorer. It is exploited by tyrannical monsters like Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini and Mao. I would suggest that it makes sense to perfect a system that prevents such inequality and injustice before it flares up into violence.
Leroy Added Jan 9, 2018 - 7:00am
Opher, I won't argue the numbers but Stalin starved death nearly 50 million people with his policies.  It seems you want to go down the same path.  He was successful in bringing about equality for most people.  Of course, there was the ruling elite.  It seems history has never gotten around that problem.  The US Constitution is the best model put forth yet, based on English law.  Nevertheless, it has been corrupted by folks who mean well.  I would prefer that we move back towards something that worked reasonably well at one point.  Maybe the US Constitution isn't great, but it is better than all the rest so far.
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 7:08am
Opher: In this article, you are right and not right in about equal measure.
 
The level of inequality in society was [is] immoral. Great start! Of course it’s wrong that some should have the power to make wars, or to make laws that harm innocent people. Or to tax some people and re-distribute the proceeds to others (particularly themselves). Or to get their own interests favoured, by fraud or force, at the expense of others. But you don’t even discuss political inequality – the real problem!
 
Too many gain their wealth through nepotism, privilege and having great wealth to start with. Indeed so; that’s exactly what the monarchs of England (and Britain) have done to us for centuries. Nepotism: the position is hereditary. Privilege: it claims rights to make laws, wars and taxes. Great wealth to start with: stolen from good people through said taxes, wars and bad laws. You’re not a closet monarchist, are you, Opher?
 
It may not have escaped your notice that the UK taxation system, of which you have such a high opinion, is administered by “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.” A silly rich old woman called Lizzie claims a right to tax you – and me – as she and her cohorts please! Is that not privilege? You reject privilege, no? So why should we not reject all forms of taxation? Taxation is privilege. Taxation is inequality. (Taxation is theft, too; but that’s another story).
 
Some people do earn their money fairly. Right you are, again. So why do you not distinguish between these people, and those that have gotten rich through theft, fraud, or sucking up to the ruling class? Instead, you want to take wealth away from all those you consider “rich,” even if they either (1) earned it all fairly, and/or (2) aren’t rich at all.
 
At present this system is run by the rich for the rich. They control the media and through that the minds of the population. Yo, another hit! But why can’t you seem to understand that it is political inequality which creates injustice? That’s what we need to change.
 
I believe that all political parties have supported the wealthy instead of the people. Your perspicacity, Opher, never ceases to amaze me. Yes, the political class all support the political class, and their rich cronies! Against us human beings.
 
I say that there is an alternative - it is called social democracy. And it doesn’t work. If it did, we wouldn’t be having these discussions. As long as governments are political, and thus there is political and moral inequality, no system can work for good people. That’s the problem we all need to address.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 7:51am
Leroy - Stalin was an undemocratic tyrannical madman. Why would I want to go down some totalitarian road? What I want is greater fairness not absolute equality.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 7:59am
Neil - come on! The Monarch is there in title only and should be booted right out. She doesn't collect the taxes. They all go to the government. The nepotism starts with the aristocracy and wealthy and heads on through politicians to all branches of society. It needs stamping out. We should have a meritocracy.
I want a progressive tax system that distributes wealth more fairly and enables a social structure that give ordinary people better quality services and levels the playing field. If you have an idea on how we could clobber the exploitative more I'd be interested.
I am not sure what you mean by political inequality. It seems to me that it is more a mixture of corruption and fear. They have to suck up to money so that they don't take their wealth off to another country and hit the economy.
It does work and it is working. Go and visit Denmark and see the quality of life. It is far superior. Indeed most of Europe does better than us.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 9, 2018 - 8:23am
Chris scientific association supported eugenics.  And Hitler acted on that theory to justify the genocide of jews and other groups like gypsies.  So you telling me that just because a portion of scientist that formed a group agree, "I repeat: every relevant scientific association in the world has published a statement endorsing AGW theory."  I say so what.  Disagreement is part of the process of science and it will continue on the subject for I bet more then a century.  
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 10:13am
Thomas - the theory of eugenics is sound. It has been the basis of selective breeding that has been successfully used to breed all manner of agricultural plants and animals. It was misused by politicians - mainly Hitler - to make artificial non-scientific decisions based on prejudice. There is no superior race.
One could however select characteristics to breed with to create more intelligence, more athleticism or whatever. But that would not be ethical, moral or desirable.
Chris Crawford Added Jan 9, 2018 - 11:18am
Mr. Sutrina, you argue that "scientific associations supported eugenics." So what? Thomas Jefferson owned slaves; does that mean that we should denounce the Declaration of Independence? Why should the sins of the past arguments against the present? Martin Luther was grossly anti-semitic; is Lutheranism therefore anti-Semitic today? Copernicus believed that the planets moved in perfect circles; does that mean that heliocentric model of the solar system is wrong? I could go on and on at great length about the many sins and mistakes of the past, none of which discredit the present. 
 
Mr. Goodwin offers a great argument pointing out the difference between a sound scientific theory that was misused by nonscientists. If Mr. Kim Jong Un uses a nuclear weapon to wipe out New York City, does that mean that Einstein was somehow bad or wrong to conclude that E = mc^2? 
 
You are in denial about the magnitude of the scientific consensus over climate change. There have been numerous studies all demonstrating that the VAST majority of scientists strongly support the AGW hypothesis. The amount of evidence supporting it has now grown to monumental proportions. 
 
Next, I will inquire into your own ability to evaluate the scientific issues. For example, can you answer this simple question: if solar power output were to increase by 1%, by what percentage would the average surface temperature increase, to first order? 
 
If you cannot answer that question, then you don't even know the basic, entry-level scientific principles at work in climate change. How then can you rationally justify your elevating your own judgement over that of the vast majority of scientists? 
George N Romey Added Jan 9, 2018 - 12:48pm
Revolutions rarely bring about anyyhing good. The US was the rare exception.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jan 9, 2018 - 2:19pm
When I'm rich, I say I deserve it. When I'm poor, I say, others don't deserve it.
 
The art of life is to be happy without being jealous of other people's "wealth". We all end in the same box LOL
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 6:24pm
Stone - it is not a personal thing. I am content with what I have. I am not envious of the rich or their lifestyle. It disgusts me what they are doing because the result is destroying the planet, causing war, poverty and human misery.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2018 - 6:25pm
George - and that depends on your perspective! Perhaps the French one ended up OK.
Neil Lock Added Jan 10, 2018 - 6:00am
Opher: By "political inequality" I mean that some are allowed to do things others are not; like make taxes. Even if Silly Lizzie doesn't personally profit from the taxes (but she does - it's called the Civil List), the "authority" under which those taxes are taken comes from her as the "sovereign."
opher goodwin Added Jan 10, 2018 - 6:47pm
Oh yes - the inequality is rampant. Some get away with murder.
The Queen is nothing more than an outdated figurehead - and expensive at that. She might appear as a sovereign but Neil that is titular.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 10, 2018 - 9:04pm
Chris, "Mr. Sutrina, you argue that "scientific associations supported eugenics." So what?"  The So What is the that group that are supported by government, funded by government, often tell government what it wants to hear.   This is the answer to these words of yours, "every relevant scientific association in the world has published a statement endorsing AGW theory." 
Mike Haluska Added Jan 10, 2018 - 9:16pm
opher  -
 
Let's just cut to the chase - I challenge you to answer a simple question with a simple answer:
 
"If the rich don't deserve the wealth they earned honestly, then who does deserve it - someone who didn't earn it?"
 
 I'm sure you'll avoid a simple direct answer because parasites couldn't care less whether wealth is earned and deserved.  All that matters to perverted parasites is that someone else has something they are too lazy to earn themselves and they want it.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 11, 2018 - 7:52am
Mike H. I agree with you, I do.  What is honestly earned?  Honest is not committing a crime many would say.  Hillary and the Clinton cabal have not committed crimes.  They were given immunity, not charged, evidence lost or destroyed, and a different standard a special standard applied.   The government skewed the regulations so they could hire people to get around the laws.  The cost of fighting them in court was beyond the means. 
 
So Mike H. defining honest is also needed. 
Cliff M. Added Jan 11, 2018 - 9:49am
Thomas, Do you believe purchasing political influence should be considered a crime? Do you believe 1 hour speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars don't have strings attached?
opher goodwin Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:39am
Mike - I think anyone who earns their money honestly without exploiting others, destroying the environment, and after contributing to all the institutions that enabled them to earn that money, deserves to have it.
opher goodwin Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:43am
Mike - I've never been a parasite and I am not rude enough to talk about other people that way, to judge the benefit of what they do and arrogantly state that what you or I do is better. Most people do important, essential work and should be valued for it. The tiny minority who do not want to work usually have their reasons and are to be pitied more than judged.
I myself have worked for over forty years, regularly in excess of seventy hours a week, and have contributed greatly to society in many ways.
I'm now retired and enjoying the benefits of my hard work.
opher goodwin Added Jan 11, 2018 - 11:46am
Thomas - I would agree that honestly is a bit of a spaghetti mix to unravel. My case is that most of the rich have got there dishonestly - either by exploiting others or various other crimes.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jan 11, 2018 - 1:20pm
Cliff M., I think the rules for separating campaign funding and receiving something for the payment are very lacks and should be much tighter. For example a congressman receives nothing from a group and then when he gets on the committee responsible for an industry his next campaign is fully funded by them. Pelosi's husband purchase real estate that a few years latter happen to be on the government funded commuter line next to a major station. They purchased something from the congressmen, that is a crime.
 
Opher G., the free market sets the value of most thing. What the free market can not set is the value of clean water, air, etc. because it is so abundant and distributed. Government has the responsibility to define a value to pollution these things. The free market then will find the solutions to deal with this added cost placed on clean water, air, etc.. This is how you keep the free market honest and the wealthy honest.
 
Opher G., the majority of one's initial wealth is not I believed dishonestly obtained.  However, when the wealth get super rich, enough to purchase influence they do not change there goal in business of beating the competition.  But the new tools available to them is where dishonesty enter in. Crony Capitalism is using political tools to get an unfair advantage. This is dishonest.
 
opher goodwin Added Jan 12, 2018 - 5:57am
Thomas - creating monopolies and exploiting people by charging too much is dishonest. Using psychological advertising to create needs in susceptible people is dishonest. Using money (through direct or indirect corruption, backhanders, promises and lobbying) to buy off politicians is dishonest.