(and littler wealth too)
///In support of the rich, some guy said something about a five to one ratio. (Yeah, I’m gonna be vague enough to force you to read a metric shit-ton of ink.)
///Generally, however, the rich are despised. They are seen as a great waste of luxury-stuff, and a parasitic strain on society.
///I, however, think I’ll set a historic moment: The first time anyone gave both sides of this story.
Note:I’ll go in assuming the reader’s have a fairly advanced understanding of economics, so I won’t go into the basics. If you’re confused, feel free to ask for clarification. I understand how difficult it is, and I’ll be glad to help.
///To start, I’ll let Fudd explain the pertinent basics. I’ll be talking about the video, so it’ll be easier to understand if you watch it. Plus, it’s Looney Tunes, err Merrie Melodies (as if there’s a difference)
///”…And he keeps the profit, right?” “Ha! No, that’s what a wot of people think.” This is both funny and to the point. Entrepreneurs don’t ‘really’ get to keep the money. They’re just managing it for everyone who works for the company. “Spend his profit on machinery!? When does it end?” “It never ends!” Despite the glaring logic sinkhole of ‘never ends,’ he has a point here, and to add to that, a subtext (can’t find that in many cartoons today! Well, it’s actually improving. Adventure Time, Regular Show, the new Looney Tunes, Phineas and Pherb, etc.). He’s hinting at the darker, more constricting nature of business ownership.
///I’ll explain that a bit. Sometimes a ‘cog’ in the machine can have more freedom and influence on a project than his boss. Because of expectations and the subtle web of control, managers often find themselves with infinite freedom to pick one option [I actually have a source to back me up this time!]. Anyway, back to my real point.
///That’s the ideal image of a businessman: a guy who society uses as a tool for growth. Not that it’s a raw deal, of course. I mean, these (largely) intelligent, talented stooges get a lot of benefits, and they’re generally doing it because they want to, and because it gives them a greater sense of satisfaction.
///As I see it, if a guy goes into a small, impoverished town, throws a bit of money and some innovation into the nearby factory, gives 5,000 people decent paying jobs, with health and housing, maybe even a little dental, lends his customers a better quality product for less, and spends enough money around the town to have a school named after him, who gives a shit if he wants a limo? The fucker has earned it, by working harder than most, and having a bigger impact than damn near anyone.
///On the other hand, if you’re distantly related to the guy above, live life in luxury, occasionally go out on a leisurely drive, and take your trophy wives to fancy dinners, fuck you.
///So, here’s my list of investments that actively hurt the economy (don’t you love non-sequitors?):
///1. Stocks: it doesn’t actually hurt the economy (much) putting money in stocks, it just doesn’t do anything for it. The vast bulk of the time, money spent on a stock goes to another investor, which is kind of a waste of time for the money that could be directing the economy. (though, maybe the stock market deflates money some? Not sure.). Stocks will forever set the bar for investments. As long as stocks remain an attractive option, less money goes to ‘real’ investing like loans and actual businesses. Note that there is one interesting exception called ‘IPO’
///2. Commodities: Now, investments here seriously hurt the economy, and continue to so. A general rule of thumb says that for every 10$ increase in oil (by barrel) will slow economic growth by .5%. Ignoring the non-accuracy of any rule of thumb, if we also assume that 30$ of the price in oil is due to speculation (a low estimate, I’m willing to bet), that’s 1.5% bi-annual growth that is going into the pockets of the already-rich. A serious, largely un-addressed issue (banking regulation goes up and down. Typically, they deregulate at the worst possible moment, right before a crash.)
///3. Stealing: I’m going to be very general about this. Stealing is the process of taking someone else’s stuff to provide oneself or one’s corporation with benefit. This is not beneficial to anyone, since you’re just moving the stuff around, but spending actual resources to do so. Examples include: skimming on a product to artificially lower price; poisoning an area to save costs; lobbying to lower taxes on a specific industry; killing some dumb bastard to keep a secret; etc.
///There’s an imbalance here that magnifies the problem. Usually they’re not stealing money. They steal security, livelihoods, health, lives, or the sanctity of the government. “You won’t never see an outlaw Drive a family from their home.” The really sad part about this, is that they’re shooting themselves in the foot often enough, but they need to do it to stay competitive/profitable.
///These problems could be partially addressed (you can only ever make a company follow so much regulation), if things were… better. It’s annoying to know that I’ve got a 90% sure solution to an existing problem, but no one would ever consider considering it -like my fairly clever take on campaign advertizing; more on that later.
///Then, there are the investments which actually help the economy:
///1. Loans and bonds: They help start/keep a business running. What’s not to love?
///2. Making a business: Well, it’s the archetypal thing, plus it’s noble and sexy.
///3.IPO: The moment that a company becomes a corporation, investors flood money into to it by buying stocks. This is a valuable investment, since it gets the company going. Later on, the stocks have no purpose in regards to the economy as a whole.
///4. Philanthropy: Generally speaking, donations shift money from investment to short-term consumption. However, it usually goes to the less fortunate, and a lot of charities do a lot of long-term good (I’d just like to say, the church counts too. The church has done so much for solidifying and improving our society. It’s like the European version of Confuciusanism, it brings everyone together for a common cause).
///5. Spending: Yup. It’s pompous to no ends, but that guy who spent a few million dollars to build a golden statue of himself? He just helped the economy.
///Last thing that the rich do for us: they make great role models. They show to everyone around what an ideal, yet flawed, human being is, and how attainable it can be. They also show that there is a place to climb to, one of the greater challenges in, say, communism. The American dream is not being rich, it’s fighting and sweating for years, and only then earning a cushy place to raise a family. If one assumes this as the ultimate existence, one realizes that we’re closer to Utopia than we should be, and getting a little further every year.
///In short, the rich have their place, and one can even see them as tools of a greater power. However, they’re definitely nowhere near this 5 to 1 ratio, not when you consider all the asthma and cancer they’ve caused. We should take a good long look at all these specific areas, and help wealth help us all, rather than just giving or taking money from them.