OT: The Price of Plutocracy

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Warning: Reactionaries DO NOT view these charts re: income inequality! Might open a crack in your, uh, minds...
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/10/price-plutocracy-0
Also follow the links to earlier charts.
(For those who still need a definition of "PLUTOcracy", a hint: It is not "DEMOcracy".
HB
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Interesting chart, but it disguises the problem that can be gleaned with a little analysis.
My take is not that the rich are getting richer, it's that the poor are getting poorer. I attribute the poor getting poorer to several factors: Incredibly bad schools over the past forty years. The breakdown of the family, particularily that of an absent father, also occurring during the past forty years. Plus a few other factors foisted on us by liberal governments.
These failures have deprived the poor of the ability to better themselves. Without the ability to spell, solve a differential equation, have a strong male role model, and other encumbrances, the poor will continue to fall farther and farther behind.
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And obviously the solution is to haqve less regulation, more crowded classrooms, more despair or indifference among the lower classes. Outsource work, import cheap labor to keep labor costs low, make sure there is little or no upward mobility from the lower 80%.
FWIW, it is too easy to reason either side if there is no empathy but only greed. Don't get me wrong, greed is good as incentive, but it isn't good if it leads to revolution.
--
Best regards
Han
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There is no correlation between classroom size and education. OYOH, there is a *strong* correlation between education and education unions.

Ah, another lefty who openly subscribes to the extortion theory of economics.
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** Give it up, baby - nice try. They would do well to read "Moral Politics" by Lakoff. Slowly, carefully, he builds the case for how each side got to think like they do. To oversimplify a bit, he calls the Left's drang "Nurturing Parent" and the Right's "Strict Father". It was a real eye-opener; being in the middle-to-Left, I always wondered how the Far Right can think like they do. Completely unaware and/oror uncaring about their fellow humans. Even those whose religion purportedly tells them how to live manage to ignore or rationalize its teachings. And for those who have no moral impulse, well -- we read the results every day not only in this NG but all over the corporate flack media. Thank whatever gods may be that there are still plenty of sources for seekers after facts, those pesky things.
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Higgs Boson wrote:

I've heard that before, generally in the form of "The Democrats are the mommy party, the Republicans are the daddy party." Sometimes it's formulated as "Democrats are like Santa Claus, Republicans are like a vengeful God."
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Han wrote:

Yes
more crowded classrooms,
Yes. There is ample evidence that when an entire elementary school - consisting of, say, 45 students - are taught by one teacher, the entire class benefits. Here's how: The teacher mostly teaches the older students. These older students teach the next younger ones, and so on. The younger students get exposed to more advanced concepts and the older students get their learning reinforced when they explain the subject to the younger ones.

No, more hope for a better life by not being imprisoned in an environment of no upward path.

Yes
I'm not so sure Herman Cain was right when he said (paraphrasing), "If you're poor, it's your own damn fault."
I think the government has put too many roadblocks in the path of upward mobility.

Empathy for what? Self-inflicted wounds such as not finishing high-school? getting married - or worse, having a baby - at age sixteen? using drugs?
One can feel sorry for those in the above straits, even pity them. But give them a job? Let one marry your sister? Trust them with your money, car, or garden tool?
No way, Jose.
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Name is Han
Gotcha <hehehe>
--
Best regards
Han
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Robert Green wrote:

All your figures demonstrate is that the rich grew in wealth faster than the poor. I agree that has happened. But you're looking at the EFFECT, not the CAUSE.
Communists, socialists, and progressives believe, in their heart-of-hearts that wealth a zero-sum game. Conservatives hold that wealth can be created, that is, it is possible for everybody's wealth to increase. If you accept that premise, it's no wonder that the rich are better off, what is troublesome is why the wealth of the poor has not increased proportionally.
Let's say that sometime back the total wealth of a community was, oh, $1 billion divided 70-30 between the rich and the poor. Further, let's say that today the wealth of that same community is $2 billion, divided 90-10.
Obviously the rich got richer. The poor probably got richer, too, but by not nearly as much. Liberals see this as a grievous wrong, but they don't see the obvious: The total wealth of the community DOUBLED but the poor did not get a similar percentage increase. Why?
The progressive would claim it's because the rich are doing something to hold back the disadvantaged. But the rich WANT the lower classes to create more wealth! The more wealth the poor create, the greater market for goods and services provided by the rich.
I hold that most government programs DESTROY wealth, particularily those programs that subsidize the poor. Food stamps, rent supplements, Medicaid, and the like remove wealth from the community and actually discard it on non-wealth-creating endeavors. Build a road, a drainage ditch, or an airport and you are taking wealth and using it to more efficiently facilitate more wealth creation. Pay someone's rent and you are flushing wealth down a hole. I further hold that, in the main, it is misguided government programs that keep the poor in their condition or, in fact, enlarge their numbers.
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harry wrote:

Nonsense. If I think of a more efficient way to do something, even as mundane as a different route for the letter carrier or a different layout for a commercial parking lot, I have created wealth. If I own $10,000 worth of stock in corporation "X" and corporation "X" announces a new product such that my stock is now worth $20,000, wealth has been created and I did absolutely nothing - except have the foresight to buy stock in "X".
If I'm just sitting around doodling and deduce a formula for turning corn into aluminum, in short order I'm probably the wealthiest man on the planet! No more mining bauxite in South Africa and shipping it to Costa Rica for pre-processing thence to smelters in the U.S., and I did no - or not much - work at all! And lest you think it's silly to contemplate turning corn into aluminum, the same thing was said not long ago about turning corn into gasoline...
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<stuff snipped>

Yes, but not on the side you think!

Bull. You have created a "potential" for wealth by increasing efficiency. If no one cares or buys your idea, that's all it is, the potential for wealth.

Jeez. Where did you go to school? Your stock would be worth twice as much only if people sold their shares in other companies to buy shares in the new one. Wealth hasn't been created. It's just been transferred from one company to another. That's what OWS is all about. The transfers of wealth that are occurring from the poor and middle class to the uber-wealthy. Especially since the DOJ has fallen completely asleep regarding anti-trust legislation and has refused to slow down or stop the concentration of near-monopolistic businesses with little or no "true" competition like CATV, broadband service, and wireless phone companies.

You didn't do "nothing" FWIW. You took a risk in buying "X" stock because it could have been Enron or some other stock that just vanished. Even in that case, wealth isn't "lost" - it has been transferred to someone else, namely the crooks running the crooked company. Just ask the stockholders who got "zeroed out" by the GM deal. Someone else got their money. It didn't just go poof.

In short order you'd been fighting corporate giants with endless pockets to pay legal titans you couldn't afford to hire to stall your royalty payments for ten or twenty years. That's what happened to the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper and 1,000's of other inventors. An idea isn't wealth. Putting an idea to work can create wealth, but it's an extremely complicated process, fraught with risk.
For example, voice recognition is an idea that's been around for a while, but it took Apple's marketing prowess to turn it into a product they can sell that makes money for them and their stockholders. VR certainly didn't make money for the legions of companies before Apple that did the hard work creating the algorithms and techniques to decode natural speech. Dragon Dictate, IIRC, was bought out by a company that went belly-up even though they had the same idea far earlier than Apple. The idea is nothing without the proper execution of it to create a marketable product at a time that people want to buy it.

OK. I see why you have so much trouble with this stuff. First of all, no one is turning corn into gasoline, which, AFAIK, is not possible. Corn produces the alcohol ethanol, which is mixed with gasoline derived from petroleum. All sorts of organic material can produce alcohol as well by fermentation a process known well before the Romans and even to monkeys. (-: The Russkies use potatoes, the West Indians use sugar cane, etc. No process I've ever heard of except for matter transmutation, alchemy or witchcraft is going to turn an organic substance like corn into a metal like aluminum.
All that said, wealth is created very slowly compared to how quickly it can be destroyed. Our experience with Katrina and Iraq show how fast the destruction of wealth occurs compared to how slowly the re-creation of lost wealth happens.
In almost any country, when the haves end up with so much more than the have nots that the latter have no stake in society to speak of, rioting and social unrest occurs and wealth is destroyed. In many cases like Russia and France the aristocrats not only lose their wealth, they lose their lives.
We've seen poor people riot before in the US and the rest of the world and we'll see it again, I am sure. How bad it gets depends on how bad things get for the lower "quintiles" and how many policemen are left to quell the disturbances. If you think you're going to hold off angry, armed mobs looking to do you harm with your small arsenal of weapons, then you've never seen a mob at work. You've only got two eyes and two hands. They have hundreds and can come at you from so many angles that even a .50 cal BAR isn't going to save your ass because you a) can only point it in one direction at a time and b) all guns eventually need reloading.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote:

Well, yeah, but that's immaterial. Wealth is that which has economic value, irrespective of whether that value is realized.

Jeeze! Where did YOU go to school? "Wealth" is not "money." If my shares double in value - for whatever reason - I can go to the bank and they'll loan me money on the increased value or I could engage in dozens of other financial transactions at the increased value I now own. And my shares are worth twice as much even if I don't sell or encumber them. My "wealth" has increased. "Wealth" is anything that has an economic value. Here's a trivial example:
A housewife goes to the farmer and buys a dozen eggs for a dollar. The farmer is better off because he values the dollar more than the eggs (of which he has more than he needs or wants). The housewife is better off in that the eggs are worth more to her than the dollar bill. If either party, in a free marketplace, doesn't feel he or she is better off, the exchange won't happen. If either party is equally well off, why bother with the trade. No, for both, once the exchange took place, wealth was created.
And, no, strangers need not sell what they have in order to buy my increased-value stock. That's the "zero-sum" thinking I was referring to as the touchstone of Communists, socialists, and progressives.

While it's off-topic, I suggest that free-market monopolies are GOOD. The poster boy for "evil" monopolies, Standard Oil, brought down the price of Kerosene from $3.00/gallon to five cents. In three years. Of course the people who supplied whale oil were put out of business, but for the rest of America, night became light. Where monopolies are BAD are when they are sponsored or controlled by government, as in the examples (CATV, broadband, and cell-phones) you mentioned.

Au contraire! Wealth can easily be destroyed. Some hold that virtually every dollar spent by government is a dollar of wealth destroyed. If I and my neighbors want street lights, we can pay to put them up. But, but, but, you say, what about the fire department? Pay attention to this factiod: Eighty percent of firefighters in this country are volunteers. Police? In my town, there are probably ten times the number of security guards as there are cops on the beat. And so on.

Yep, but that's the fault of the legal system and unethicals-a-dozen. The guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper eventually got paid, as do most who have ground-breaking ideas, products, or services. Even if they don't achieve any success, that's the fault of external constraints, not the concept of wealth creation.

You don't like my choice of words, so you concoct a straw man. Change "gasoline" to "fuel" and your vapid argument disappears. And just because you haven't heard of it - and I can think of at least one example, that of "wealth creation" - doesn't mean it doesn't or cannot exist.

Wait a minute! Now you are saying "wealth" is not constant, that it can be destroyed. If it can be destroyed, it almost stands to reason that it can be created. Which is it?

The poor do not riot or agitate for change. It is ALWAYS those that have much and want more that are the moving agents behind revolution.

Old wive's tale. It's never happened. In the history of the world. The poor are fixated on today and their next pitiful meal. They have no conception nor are they driven by a unicorn-plentiful, gossamery, future.

A "mob" is considerably different from an armed uprising. Looters are not the same thing as a rebellion. I do not fear an armed uprising, but you are right to posit concerns over mobs.
Oh, and there's no such thing as a .50 caliber BAR.
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As per the AHR newsgroup charter, I nominate that one sentence Idiotic Comment of the Month award. Do I hear a second?

Okay, this complicates things. There are two comments in one post from the same person up for the award this month - and it's only the 2nd! A historic day indeed. The AHR charter does not have provisions for retiring the Idiotic Comment of the Month Award, but I think it's clear there is a present need.
Bob, HeyRube, is getting bothered and simply spewing. It's his forte...or maybe too many 40s. In any event, he's spewing and there's no point in arguing his nonsense. He only learned the latter half of that "blind them with bullshit" saying. Once in a great while he makes a valid point, but attempting to counter his continuous calculated delusions and disinformation campaign is futile.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

"For no revolution, no matter how wide it may have opened the gates to the masses of the poor, was ever started by them, just as no revolution, no matter how widespread discontent and even conspiracy may have been in a given country, was ever the result of sedition." "On Revolution" by Hannah Arendt
"Although started by the privileged, control of the [French] Revolution rapidly passed to the middle classes and then, for a time, to the sans-culottes in Paris who were poor and extreme." "Encyclopedia Britannica Concise Edition - French Revolution"
"Revolutions are invariable started by those who have much and want more..." "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer
And dozens of of other scholarly treatises. I'd be interested in either seeing your counter examples or an apology for asserting my statements were foolish.
Heck, even the Tea Party Revolution was instigated by the upper middle-class!
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That is not a quote by Hoffer. You mashed/made up the quote to say what you wanted to say. Wot a surprise. Hoffer actually said, "Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing."
Gee, that really does put a different spin on things, doesn't it? This may help you understand Hoffer. http://xrdarabia.org/2010/04/11/translating-eric-hoffer /
Hoffer was a master of the sound bite, though - I just wish you had exercised more care in making up one of his quotes. His real quotes were pips, such as: A soul that is reluctant to share does not as a rule have much of its own. Miserliness is here a symptom of meagerness. or We used to think that revolutions are the cause of change. Actually it is the other way around change prepares the ground for revolution. or this "Even in the freest society power is charged with the impulse to turn men into precise, predictable automata. When watching men of power in action it must be always kept in mind that, whether they know it or not, their main purpose is the elimination or neutralization of the independent individual - the independent voter, consumer, worker, owner, thinker - and that every device they employ aims at turning man into a manipulatable 'animated instrument,' which is Aristotle's definition of a slave."

Counter examples? When you can't even get your own examples straight? Please.
I cannot help pointing out the foolishness in your statements. It's one of my weaknesses.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

You're sorta right. My memory is admittedly porous and when I submitted the original quote I couldn't find my copy of his book (again, the porous memory). (I'll renew my quest and offer up the next paragraph.) The tenor of the exact quote you found does, however, support my point that revolutions are started and maintained by those who have something already substantial and want more.
As for not getting my own examples straight, I notice you snipped the two exact quotes of the post with which you find so much wrong. So far, I'm batting 66% while you're still at zero. Again, if you can offer a popular uprising started and consisting of the poor and downtrodden, I'd be happy to hear of it (the slave rebellion by Spartacus doesn't count).
To reprise: The poor are not the impetus nor the sustaining force (usually) behind revolutions. I say "usually" because they may be recruited by the elites to help in the work. Here, I'm thinking of the Indian quest for independence (Ghandi, et al). While the poor certainly contributed to the multitudes, they weren't fed by two fishes and five loaves of bread. The powerful actually bankrolled the non-violent agitation.
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In the period he's talking about, when the Reagan tax cuts went into effect, Paul Volcker was the FED chairman. And money was not incredibly easy, it was exactly the opposite. Volcker halted the mad money growth that had lead to high inflation prior to Reagan taking office.
No doubt that over the longer term advances in computing played an important role too. But the effects of Reaganomics was clear from 1983 on and the PC clearly had nothing to do with it in those early years. Maybe by the end of Reagan's administration you could argue that it was having a significant effect and it certainly had an effect in the 90s.
I have long called the expansion during the

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wrote in message news:D5mdnS-

Gack! Tell that fairytale to the millions of people whose house is "underwater." If things were as you claim no one could possibly owe more on something than it's worth. And yet they do.
Adam Smith said wealth was "the annual produce of the land and labour of the society". Wealth is owning or controlling an abundance of items of economic value such as money, real estate, cars, boats, planes, and other forms of property. To be considered wealthy usually means one has accumulated substantial wealth relative to others in their society. Owning a patent that no one is willing to pay to use is not wealth. To be considered wealth, other people value it and want to have it. Who would want a process for turning gold into lead even if you invented it? Or even lead into gold if it cost more to make gold than mine it?

Ah, I see how the crashes of 1929 and 2008 happened so easily with this kind of thinking. The only time you can make money is by selling your shares to someone else that wants them. The bank, if it were prudent, might lend you 20% of the value of your stock. When it's imprudent and lets you leverage and buy even more stock than your alleged original stock is worth, you can still both wake up and find yourself with no value or very little value in the new stock (if you bought Enron or BoA at the peak).
You'll be in worse shape because you'll owe the bank the value of what you were loaned and doubtless have to surrender the original stock as collateral. And you'll have a whopping debt. This is precisely what happened in both crashes. People borrowing/overleveraging and taking out loans using collateral that would turn worthless.
As the real estate market so perfectly proved, a bank lending you $500,000 for an asset in no way guarantees that asset will ever trade at such a high price again. A wrong figure was assigned and agreed to as to the "value" of that asset. Its value depends almost exclusively on what others say it is by their willingness to buy it at price X.
Another good example is the "Antique Roadshow Effect." Early in their program, they came across Disney cels they appraised at very high prices because they had seen so few in their professional careers. After that show was televised people would appear at subsequent events with hundreds of original Disney cels. The appraised prices plummeted like a stone because they were found to no longer be scarce. Scarcity is often an intrinsic part of wealth. Water is plentiful - we can't live without it - but it's cheap. The same weight of the much scarcer gold is incredibly more valuable.
Take BoA or Netflix. Both made colossal marketing errors lately and their net capitalization has dropped. They lost money, but the wealth that was "lost" to them by the stock selloff simply went elsewhere. Into the seller's bank account, into other stocks or into some other form of investment. The wealth is "lost" to Netflix or BoA but the reality is that it was transferred elsewhere to assets that the previous owners thought might be more valuable in the long run.
Wealth is incredibly relative. You wouldn't be wealthy in the US or Canada with a net worth of $10K but take that money to the third world and you'd be among the wealthiest people there.

This old saw. The only one "creating" any wealth in this scenario is the chicken, who took water, feed and time and produced an egg. The farmer then takes all her eggs, gives her chickenfeed in return and then eventually kills her when she's too old to produce anymore. Yes, a perfect microcosm of capitalism, except not the way you'd like us to think about it.

And most economists, who would argue, as I did, that wealth is easy to destroy (Katrina, Iraq, Sendai) but takes a long, long time to rebuild, as we've seen. What you don't seem to realize is that accounting tricks create only the appearance of wealth, not real wealth. None of your stock examples have created real wealth, they have transferred it around. The banker who lends you the money to buy more stock didn't create the money. He transferred it to you from depositor's accounts in the hopes of actually *making* wealth which would be the money you pay in interest, above and beyond the principal.

Jeez, when I hear people spouting this I wonder who sets these canards in motion from some deep,dark propaganda pit. When the Feds finally got Standard Oil to court in 1907, Standard Oil's market share had been declining for a decade. It was no longer a monoply. Standard's share of petroleum refining was approximately 64% in 1907. Moreover, there were nearly 150 other domestic oil-refining competitors in the market - and some of these were large, vertically integrated firms such as Texaco, Gulf Oil, and Sun.
Standard Oil lowered and kept lowering the price on its kerosene not out of the goodness of its hard but to try to drive out all those little competitors, thinking they were not so rich that they could afford to undersell Big Standard. Kerosene outputs had expanded enormously because DEMAND had exploded. Not because "monopolies are good for us." Prices dropped because Standard was trying to force out competition so that it could "name its tune" for kerosene once it had driven all other refiners into bankruptcy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil

Jeez. We're back to "all things good are free market" and "all things bad are government." If local governments hadn't awarded and monitored cable franchises we would be paying whatever they said we should, which, according to my cable bills, they're doing anyway. What a surprise that in my market, where there finally is CATV competition (after 30+ years), the Comcast and FIOS prices are within dollars of each other? That's because only two entities competing is scarcely real competition. Just add a few more players, as in the big banks in America, and when one or two make a bonehead move (like debit fees) there are plenty of competitors around to welcome the customers the bonehead banks shed.

I never said anything like that. I pointed out how quickly it can be destroyed by war or natural disaster. Twice. In the example above, wealth got transferred, not created as you claim. In Katrina, wealth was most certainly lost and lost quickly. Two very different processes.

Oh yeah, long term capital investments that benefit all those who drive on public roads? The reason government *had* to do was because people would put it off. And off. And off. The Founding Fathers wisely included "for the general welfare" to ward off people just like you who strangely enough, existed back then. Two more book ideas I could create wealth with: Heybubbnomics and Josiah Heybub, the Revolutionary tale of an adminstrative aide to Andrew Hamilton.

We've had this tired discussion before. VFDs are especially suited to volunteer work because it's very little actual work and long periods of guys hanging out doing stuff away from their wives. It works because getting away is an incredibly powerful motivating force. Reservists are known to say promotions are proportional to the problems at home. Guys who hated their wives overachieved and got promoted.

But you haven't abandoned your police force and likely never will. While many in private security are competent and professional, it's a low paying job that often attracts rejects from police departments and ex-cons. What you're proposing is a return to near feudalism where every merchant had a small band of headbangers (can't recall the Italian name) to protect their homes, businesses and family. You don't seem to be familiar with the birth and death cycle of neighborhood watches. It appears to uncannily follow a certain trajectory that always seems to end:
"We need to form a neighborhood watch!"
"Again?"
The so-ons get thinner and thinner because there are just things that government SHOULD do, including acting as honest brokers between businesses and citizens. I *want* the FDA inspecting my food and medicine. I *want* the border patrol to be coordinated at the national level. I want FDIC insurance on my bank deposits. I want as uniform a code of criminal and civil justice across the states as is practical so I know my responsibilities and rights. Private guards, Blackwater to be specific, created such a furor with their massacre of Iraqis that we lost a key provision in negotiations - the right of immunity for our remaining soldiers.

Ah, now we're talking about creating wealth in a vacuum without real-world constraints. In that case, the chicken and not the farmer creates the wealth. He can stuff as much grain and water into a cat as he wants to, but no eggs will come out. Just cat poop. The chicken is the miracle wealth creator that changes, ironically, corn into another food product, eggs.

Me? Concoct a straw man? *You're* the one turning corn into aluminum over in your magic shop. (-:

Where does the corned aluminum go?

Corn into aluminum? Not until this very thread, no.

Don't keep it secret, tell us.

You're fixated on an erroneous assumption you created, that I claim wealth is a steady state proposition, something you fancifully connect with commies, Trotskyites and other non-capitalists. I have *never* said that is true. I've said, repeatedly "wealth can be destroyed quickly, but is rebuilt much more slowly." What seems to be confusing you is that I've continually called *you* out when you erroneously call a "wealth transfer" (like getting a loan from the bank for your stock) "wealth creation." There's a very big difference in the two processes.
The chicken lays the egg - wealth is created from corn and water and a little DNA factory called a chicken. Wealth is transferred when the farmer takes the eggs from the chicken. He acquires the chicken's wealth in an exchange for food, shelter and water. His chicken represents two different kinds of wealth. An asset that produces wealth and a terminal asset, as in chicken dinner.
The farmer may even realize wealth in other ways. Like the recent dust-up over dairy farmers, he can slaughter some of his asset producing animals along with other 'chickenistas' to create scarcity and drive up the price of the eggs or milk produced by the remaining animals. Wealth moves in many directions on the farm and today's successful farmers are organizational and financial wizards and have to have a good understanding of computer-controlled systems and mechanicals. As much mastery as they may have over their wealth creation engine, any of dozens of external events or wrong guesses can turn wealth into mounds of rotting vegetables.
You also seem to get the same sort of mistaken impression on the other side of the equation when you call government spending "lost wealth." Giving the poor welfare is a wealth transfer that often, ironically, goes right back into the hand of rich landlords and wealthy business owners whose taxes made those welfare payments possible. The government excels at wealth transfers. Not so much in wealth creation.

I know what you are trying to say, but as always through the BubbaLens(tm) that distorts the underlying premise so much as to be unrecognizable. Revolutions are often led by disaffected members of the middle and upper class, like Patty Hearst and the SLA to use a current example. In Pakistan and other Arab countries young people who have been quite well-educated but are unable to find work turn their considerable intellectual effort towards organizing and leading revolutions. However, make no mistake, the killing is done by the poor who feel any change is good change. The agitators and leaders tend to stay away from the front lines.

Ouch. There's no arguing with someone so far off into the Twilight zone. In your model the poor are smart enough to con bankers into giving them huge mortgages but too stupid to think about anything but their next meal. It's not that simplistic.
Leaders who emerge from the usually well-educated classes are like that patent you mentioned - worthless in and of themselves. It's not until the idea of revolution meets the "means of production" - the revolutionaries that take to the street - that the revolution moves forward and begins (usually) destroying and transferring wealth. Looting is a wealth transfer, burning down a store is wealth destruction. Both are bad outcomes for the original owner of the assets.

It's hard to build a safe room that's invulnerable to sustained gasoline fire attack (whose gasoline source is likely to be your own overturned car). The lesson of Obama reserving a lot of new powers developed under Bush's adminstration tells me that armed rebellion would be met very forcibly by our now very experienced in counter-insurgency National Guard troops. So would mobs. Why are you so unconcerned about an armed uprising? Are you so certain they're going to be your friends? (-:

Ya got me. I meant the much more capable .50 cal M2 Browning Machine Gun (BMG) with a belt feed. The BAR's small capacity magazine and much lighter round would require reloading before the first wave of the mob finished overrunning your position.
-- Bobby G.
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Nonsense. Any broker (investment bank) will lend you 50% of the value in a heartbeat. Yes, they will hold the stock as collateral, but the interest rates are really good. --Doug
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wrote:

...as long as you can keep the 50% margin.
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