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    See the report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/...ey/6901147.stm

    Is the growing gap between the "super-rich" and the rest of society sustainable?

    Do the wealthy have added responsibilities that go with their wealth?

    A couple of other articles:
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/busin...446120,00.html
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz...0417rogoff.htm
    http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/economist/19750

    Not the most objective bunch of articles I'll confess, but I'm coming from a standpoint of extreme inequalities being a bad thing. (Emphasis on the word "extreme".)

    It strikes me that we don't have as much of a culture of philanthropy as in the USA. The other thing is that given that the problem of offshore tax havens is an international one, what can international instutitions such as the EU and the UN do to deal with this growing phenomenon?
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    First thing to do is to adopt a fairer tax system, as was proposed by tehe Liberal Democrats in the run-up to the 2005 general elections. The current council tax system is ridiculous.
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    (Original post by Prince Rhyus)
    See the report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/...ey/6901147.stm

    Is the growing gap between the "super-rich" and the rest of society sustainable?

    Do the wealthy have added responsibilities that go with their wealth?

    A couple of other articles:
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/busin...446120,00.html
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz...0417rogoff.htm
    http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/economist/19750

    Not the most objective bunch of articles I'll confess, but I'm coming from a standpoint of extreme inequalities being a bad thing. (Emphasis on the word "extreme".)

    It strikes me that we don't have as much of a culture of philanthropy as in the USA. The other thing is that given that the problem of offshore tax havens is an international one, what can international instutitions such as the EU and the UN do to deal with this growing phenomenon?
    The wealth gap is massive and seemingly unstopable. As a smaller elite (although the number of millionaires/billionaires are increasing) controls and monopolises economies capitalism as a global power house will simply increase.

    Whilst conservative economics tend to talk of a 'trickle down' effect with extreme wealth, I believe this to be a fallacious account; wealth is hoarded, stored and locked away. This 'allows' the money to exist outside of regular tax laws and thus very little of the money will indeed 'trickle down' into social welfare, schools, smaller industry, healthcare (etc).

    General wealth is increasing, but at the lower end of the scale it is increasing at a much slower rate and not by any means in proportion to the cost of living. When important public sector workers are 'rewarded' with less than 2% pay rises (English nurses) but their CEOs are paid competative wages by the government to attract public sector talent to the private sphere, we will only see greater dissafection and economically motivated anxiety and tension lower down the wealth ladder.

    Even on the radio now (BBCR4) there is a report about a large sector of the British population living below a 'hidden' poverty line. This is inexcusable. You're right that philanthropy is rare thing these days, people are having to rely more and more on state handouts and charity; this can only weaken the economy whilst hedge fund money does nothing for anybody (oh, apart from gain interest for the super rich).
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    (Original post by Catsmeat)
    The wealth gap is massive and seemingly unstopable. As a smaller elite (although the number of millionaires/billionaires are increasing) controls and monopolises economies capitalism as a global power house will simply increase.
    ... So?

    Whilst conservative economics tend to talk of a 'trickle down' effect with extreme wealth, I believe this to be a fallacious account; wealth is hoarded, stored and locked away. This 'allows' the money to exist outside of regular tax laws and thus very little of the money will indeed 'trickle down' into social welfare, schools, smaller industry, healthcare (etc).
    That's not what the "trickle down" affect means. The trickle down affect is when business are super rich (and thus usually individuals at the top, too) and they have to pay their workers, as well as their suppliers etc etc "trickling" the wealth down. Without the rich, there'd be no business for people to be employed by, and we'd all be tradesman again. The trickle down affect has nothing to do with taxes whatsoever.

    And besides, it's liberal economists that say this, not conservative (little c) ones.

    General wealth is increasing, but at the lower end of the scale it is increasing at a much slower rate and not by any means in proportion to the cost of living.
    Rubbish. If this were true, then peoples quality of life at the bottom of the tree would be worse now than it was 40 years ago, since all the luxury goods - not to mention food - is apparently increasing in cost at a higher rate than their income. Yet the poor now are clearly better off. As long as general wealth is increasing, then who cares? When the poor of our society can afford tvs, mobile phones and cars, who cares how high the rich are? Beyond a minimum level quality of life (which is, in my opinion, below what they have now), the rest of the world doesn't owe them a living, and it's not right to artifically alter the markets to make it so.

    When important public sector workers are 'rewarded' with less than 2% pay rises (English nurses) but their CEOs are paid competative wages by the government to attract public sector talent to the private sphere, we will only see greater dissafection and economically motivated anxiety and tension lower down the wealth ladder.
    What would you rather have them do? Pay the nurses wages beyond what we can afford? Or employ people who aren't as good for the CEO position (which doesn't exist, btw)?

    Even on the radio now (BBCR4) there is a report about a large sector of the British population living below a 'hidden' poverty line. This is inexcusable.
    And how was this poverty line (that is conveniently hidden) measured? As I said, the vast, vast majority of people can afford luxires that, even 20 years ago, people in the lower classes could only dream of.

    You're right that philanthropy is rare thing these days, people are having to rely more and more on state handouts and charity;
    Do you know what philanthropy is?

    this can only weaken the economy whilst hedge fund money does nothing for anybody (oh, apart from gain interest for the super rich).
    And provide investment for business that may well grow and grow to employ thousands more people than had they not been given the investment. I'm not saying that those who invest in hedge funds do so with good intentions for their economy, but that doesn't mean it doesn't HAVE good effects. Interest doesn't just appear out of no where.

    The "people" have no right to a higher wage. They have no right to a wage at all. They have the right to agree mutually consenting terms with an employer. If they are only "worth" so much to the market, then they need to learn some new skills.
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    (Original post by Catsmeat)
    Whilst conservative economics tend to talk of a 'trickle down' effect with extreme wealth, I believe this to be a fallacious account; wealth is hoarded, stored and locked away. This 'allows' the money to exist outside of regular tax laws and thus very little of the money will indeed 'trickle down' into social welfare, schools, smaller industry, healthcare (etc).
    As DG said, I don't think that's the trickle down effect. And to be fair, all that hoarded money is what provides liquidity, allowing people to take out loans (something which is generally quite important in fostering the growth of small business) and borrow. The money does have to sit somewhere, especially if people want interest, and generally banks are the places they do. So the idea that the money just sits there without providing any function is quite silly.

    You're right that philanthropy is rare thing these days, people are having to rely more and more on state handouts and charity; this can only weaken the economy whilst hedge fund money does nothing for anybody (oh, apart from gain interest for the super rich).
    In a country where something like over 40% of the income of those in higher tax brackets gets taken away (not counting VAT and all the other types of taxes) and half of your bonus gets taken from you I dno't really see why philanthropy should be expected to be high. Having such large chunks of your money taken away doesn't exactly encourage chairty, if anything it simply reenforces the mind set that philanthropic type things should come in the form of state hand outs. And I don't understand the idea that other peoples money should be 'doing' something for people, especially given the point I just made about the qunatity of income removed through taxation.
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    There is a similar discussion on the "Have Your Say" board from the BBC entitled "Is Britain becoming a more unequal society?". As has been mentioned here the entire question is wrong because it presupposes that inequality is inherently wrong and/or bad.

    The simple fact that the "poor" people today are far better off then the poor of 10 years ago (and certainly 10 years ago) means that we're fine.

    Surely only communists think that all and any inequality is a bad thing?
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    For me, the wealth gap is not a legitimate government concern, simple as that. The government should focus on equality of opportunity, and because people have different talents, entrepreneurial spirit and levels of willingness to work, outcomes will always be very unequal.
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    (Original post by Greyhound02)
    For me, the wealth gap is not a legitimate government concern, simple as that. The government should focus on equality of opportunity, and because people have different talents, entrepreneurial spirit and levels of willingness to work, outcomes will always be very unequal.
    Because different levels of income don't lead to inequality of opportunity at all? :rolleyes:

    My former State 6th form college has 1000 people in per year. Last year, we got 7 (!) people into Oxbridge. That's a whopping 0.7%. Eton gets nearly 50% into Oxbridge.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle2076271.ece

    Now, that doesn't make private schools bad, nor does it mean we should close them down. And, whilst it is true (as mentioned in the article) that government initiatives are exacerabating the problem, it does not follow from that that we should not be concerned about wealth inequality.
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    I'm not sure why this is a problem? Some people are smarter, work harder and earn more money. So what?
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    (Original post by Made in the USA)
    I'm not sure why this is a problem? Some people are smarter, work harder and earn more money. So what?
    The people who are sitting on £4million houses in London are all smarter and more hard working than those who don't?

    WOW!
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    The thing is how does someone define poor nowadays? The poor have been getting richer for over 100 years now, they have a car, TV, dvd player, fridge and enough food to eat.
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    (Original post by dan_man)
    The thing is how does someone define poor nowadays? The poor have been getting richer for over 100 years now, they have a car, TV, dvd player, fridge and enough food to eat.
    It is generally argued that being relatively poor denies you access to particular opportunities, not that prevents you from eating etc.

    Not sure if I agree with it, mind.
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    Because different levels of income don't lead to inequality of opportunity at all? :rolleyes:

    My former State 6th form college has 1000 people in per year. Last year, we got 7 (!) people into Oxbridge. That's a whopping 0.7%. Eton gets nearly 50% into Oxbridge.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle2076271.ece

    Now, that doesn't make private schools bad, nor does it mean we should close them down. And, whilst it is true (as mentioned in the article) that government initiatives are exacerabating the problem, it does not follow from that that we should not be concerned about wealth inequality.
    So basically, if a "poor" person wants to become rich he has to put in significantly more effort than for a rich person to stay rich. Shocking. A "poor" person has the same opportunity to go to university as a rich person. They can get funding for their tuition and all that is required is for them to achieve the grades and impress the selectors. The fact that they have to work harder to do that is irrelevant.
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    So basically, if a "poor" person wants to become rich he has to put in significantly more effort than for a rich person to stay rich. Shocking. A "poor" person has the same opportunity to go to university as a rich person. They can get funding for their tuition and all that is required is for them to achieve the grades and impress the selectors. The fact that they have to work harder to do that is irrelevant.
    What are you jabbering on about? If a poor person has to work harder (and remember, that's your premise, not mine), then there isn't equality of opportunity, is there?

    If to be a "great mountaineer" a poor person has to climb K2, and a rich person has to climb Snowdon, then it is absurd to say that the rich and poor have "equal opportunity" to become great mountaineers.

    It's anything but irrelevent, if we're discussing equality of opportunity.
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    What are you jabbering on about? If a poor person has to work harder (and remember, that's your premise, not mine), then there isn't equality of opportunity, is there?

    If to be a "great mountaineer" a poor person has to climb K2, and a rich person has to climb Snowdon, then it is absurd to say that the rich and poor have "equal opportunity" to become great mountaineers.

    It's anything but irrelevent, if we're discussing equality of opportunity.
    Even in your analogy both people have the same opportunity. They both have the opportunity to climb the relevant mountains, don't they? If the requirement was to climb Everest and the poor person wasn't allowed to do so, then he wouldn't have the same opportunity.

    You are confusing "opportunity" with "effort". Equal opportunity means that everyone can ahieve the same thing but it doesn't mean they have to all work the same amount. Otherwise you might as well say that a really clever person has more opportunity then a not quite as clever person because he requires less effort to be as good.
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    The clever person does have more opportunities - that's clear. In my mountain analogy, they both have AN opportunity. But AN opportunity is not the same as an equal opportunity, is it?

    Are you seriously saying that if I advertised for a job and said "a male applicant must have 2 GCSEs. A female applicant must have a D.Phil in mathematics from Oxford" then there'd be "equal opportunity"? That'd absurd.
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    The clever person does have more opportunities - that's clear. In my mountain analogy, they both have AN opportunity. But AN opportunity is not the same as an equal opportunity, is it?

    Are you seriously saying that if I advertised for a job and said "a male applicant must have 2 GCSEs. A female applicant must have a D.Phil in mathematics from Oxford" then there'd be "equal opportunity"? That'd absurd.
    The entry requirement for any university are the same for all people, right? And the requirements to get the grades are the same for all people, right? So, they all have equal opportunities to get the grades and get into university, right?

    The only difference is that if you're poor it would be harder to get those grades, why? Not because you lack the opportunity to get them, but because your teachers aren't as good, and your equipment isn't as good, so you have to work harder. But does the poor person have to achieve more than the rich person, no.

    The difference between what I said and what you said is that you are giving a difference between requirements. If the entry requirements for a job or position are different for different people, then that isn't an equal opportunity. But, it the entry requirements are the same and the difference is how much someone had to work to achieve those requirements, then they have equal opportunity.

    According to you, though, an extremely clever poor person who can get full marks in any exam without any effort has more opportunity to get into a university then a rich person who has to work hard to get good marks. Isn't that absurd?
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    The entry requirement for any university are the same for all people, right? And the requirements to get the grades are the same for all people, right? So, they all have equal opportunities to get the grades and get into university, right?

    The only difference is that if you're poor it would be harder to get those grades, why? Not because you lack the opportunity to get them, but because your teachers aren't as good, and your equipment isn't as good, so you have to work harder. But does the poor person have to achieve more than the rich person, no.

    The difference between what I said and what you said is that you are giving a difference between requirements. If the entry requirements for a job or position are different for different people, then that isn't an equal opportunity. But, it the entry requirements are the same and the difference is how much someone had to work to achieve those requirements, then they have equal opportunity.

    According to you, though, an extremely clever poor person who can get full marks in any exam without any effort has more opportunity to get into a university then a rich person who has to work hard to get good marks. Isn't that absurd?
    The actual grade threshold set by a university doesn't differ between students, no. However, a state schooled child generally suffers from poorer facilities, equipment and teaching quality than a private or publicly schooled child does. There isn't equality of opportunity, as the opportunity for children to achieve the same grades from different schools clearly isn't comparable- state schooled children have to overcome such disadvantages just to be put on an even footing with those whose parents pay more for their education.
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    "wealth is hoarded, stored and locked away."

    Absolute nonsense. Despite the small percentage of weirdos who keep their money stuffed under their bed, all money held in shares, banks and so forth is contributing to the economy.
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    (Original post by dan_man)
    The thing is how does someone define poor nowadays? The poor have been getting richer for over 100 years now, they have a car, TV, dvd player, fridge and enough food to eat.
    There is no poor nowadays.

    The only people who are truly in the economic doldrums are those with social problems which exclude them from society. Perhaps we should be doing more to help them (and by this I mean the homeless, drug addicts etc) however that does not make the mainsteam British working class 'poor' by any manner of means.
 
 
 
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