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Praxeological case for redistributing wealth

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Buzz Killington posted on Sat, Dec 1 2012 3:04 PM

Libertarians and neoliberals often point out that redistributing wealth destroys wealth and thus makes us poorer.

This is true.

BUT, what matters for happiness is not so much absolute wealth as relative wealth. If I have 55,000 dollars, I'm not going to be particularly happy if all the people around me are frickin' millionares.

Therefore, redistribution.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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"BUT, what matters for happiness is not so much absolute wealth as relative wealth."

How do you know?

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Good for you.

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Just think about it, would you rather have 30k a year in a land of billionares, or 30k a year in a land of people making the same amount of money?

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Just think about it, would you rather have 30k a year in a land of billionares, or 30k a year in a land of people making the same amount of money?

Are you serious? The answer is not what you would expect.

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Though this applies to a society where people don't know their place, I think people are happy as long as they don't live in a society that holds to the doctrine of equality.

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Would you rather everyone go back to owning an equal amount of sticks and stones and sleep in trees or do you prefer to live in a society where the high productivity of a lot of people creates cheap technological marvels. Um... I'll take the poor person in rich world, please.

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The land of billionaires (so long as my REAL income is still the same) because that would mean that I'd live in society where everyone is so amazingly productive that they are billionaires. The external benefits I would receive would be absolutely off the chain... Like I'm talking chocolate fondue fountains on street corners. If people were that rich in real terms then petty donations could fund things like that.

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I guess it has to do with how people perceive the surveys. I guess that when a lot of people think of a world of billionares they subconsciously assume inflation, if you get what I'm saying.

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Though this study: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3315638/Relative-wealth-makes-you-happier.html studies it directly, not just people's answer to the survey.

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z1235 replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 4:27 PM

Buzz Killington:

Libertarians and neoliberals often point out that redistributing wealth destroys wealth and thus makes us poorer.

This is true.

BUT, what matters for happiness is not so much absolute wealth as relative wealth. If I have 55,000 dollars, I'm not going to be particularly happy if all the people around me are frickin' millionares.

Therefore, redistribution.

Even if the ridiculous (bolded) assertion was accepted a priori, how/why does redistribution necessarily follow? I mean, millionaires would be less happy if the alledged source of their happiness (relative wealth) was taken away from them, no?

 

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I suppose that's true, if they get their profits that they could have kept taken away.

 

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idol replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 5:36 PM

That is called the Easterlin Paradox. Here's a graph of a study that had the opposite result; per capita GDP correlated positively with happiness. 


 

Furthermore, would you rather live in a country with:

 

(A) 1.000.000 people and 500.000 poor (poverty rate = 50%)
or
(B) 2.000.000 people and 666.666 poor (poverty rate  =33%)
 
If you prefer (A), try country (C)
 
(C) 500.000 people and 499.999 poor.
 
People are generally better off in a wealthy country no matter what their wealth.
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