Should Billionaires Exist in the UK? Watch

Poll: Should billionaires exist in the UK?
Yes (68)
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No (30)
30.61%
frogglet
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
Billionaires and homelessness & poverty shouldn't exist in the same system (which was the actual claim), no question. It's fundamentally unethical to hoard wealth like a fairytale dragon while there are people living and dying without so much as even a roof over their heads.
what does the one have to do with the other? if anything billionaire businesses create thousands of jobs giving people the ability to make a living for themselves. if people want to work that hard to create that kind of wealth it's their choice. homelessness in this country is not a consequence of billionaires but a consequence of mental health problems and drug/alcohol addiction. getting rid of billionaires or millionaires doesn't solve it, and would likely make it worse (less jobs) unless those billionaires made their money from alcohol, drugs or gambling businesses.
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BasicMistake
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#22
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#22
I generally agree with the points made in this thread. Billionaires generate a hell of a lot of tax revenue and their businesses provide thousands of jobs. A lot of them have set up charitable organisations that (in my opinion) are efficient in how they direct funding. That said, there are a few things that I find interesting and are worth thinking about.

Billionaires are billionaires because that's how much the market values their assets, and in most cases the vast proportion of said assets is the stock of a single company that they probably founded. I'd argue that they have very little control over their own wealth. If their company is perceived to be performing well then their wealth skyrockets by billions and vice versa.

A consequence of this is that I think we talk about billionaires in the wrong way. We tend to say that Bill Gates is worth billions but it's not him that's worth billions but the stuff he owns. Maybe this makes no difference but it makes me somewhat sympathetic to the idea that in all likelihood no one 'deserves' to be a billionaire, they just happen to be one. If we think about labour, no single individual's effort is worth that much. Ideas definitely but labour almost certainly not. An online marketplace utilising years of consumer data is worth billions; Jeff Bezos' daily activities probably aren't. His compensation far exceeds his marginal product of labour. The question is how we ought to treat people's ideas, are they the sole property of the person who came up with them? To an extent we already socialise ideas with patent expiry. We grant temporary monopolies to incentivise innovation but after a certain period of time the idea is released to the public.

'Should billionaires exist' is only a worthwhile question if you agree with the idea that the only way they can exist is through exploitation of worker's labour. I believe that even if every worker in a billion dollar company was paid their marginal product, most of those companies would still be worth billions and the ownership would still be concentrated.
Last edited by BasicMistake; 2 weeks ago
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londonmyst
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#23
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#23
Yes.
The uk economy depends upon britain being perceived as attractive to the wealthiest of entrepreneurs, investors and sovereign wealth funds.
Billionaires invest in the uk, employ large numbers of workers, buy services, setup charitable foundations, purchase high value properties and their companies operating in the uk pay eye-watering sums in total taxation.

Rather than embracing envy politics, the uk should focus on encouraging entrepreneurial uk citizens to have similar drive and aspirations to that of successful billionaires.
Persuading billionaires to leave monaco, the channel islands, american tax havens, middle eastern and caribbean special enterprise zones.
Attracting billionaires and overseas business operations with billions in turnover to come base their businesses in the uk- has the potential to bring in a fortune in investment and tax revenue.
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DSilva
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#24
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#24
The comments on this thread are quite telling.

People shrug their shoulders when someone brings up the amount of homelessness, food hunger or child poverty in this country. Yet as soon as you say anything negative about those with huge amounts of wealth, people get up in arms.

Yeah think of the real victims in all this, the billionaires.
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DSilva
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#25
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#25
(Original post by frogglet)
what does the one have to do with the other? if anything billionaire businesses create thousands of jobs giving people the ability to make a living for themselves. if people want to work that hard to create that kind of wealth it's their choice. homelessness in this country is not a consequence of billionaires but a consequence of mental health problems and drug/alcohol addiction. getting rid of billionaires or millionaires doesn't solve it, and would likely make it worse (less jobs) unless those billionaires made their money from alcohol, drugs or gambling businesses.
If they paid their taxes, rather than funnelling their money to a tax haven, perhaps those problems wouldn't exist.
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Reality Check
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#26
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#26
(Original post by DSilva)
The comments on this thread are quite telling.

People shrug their shoulders when someone brings up the amount of homelessness, food hunger or child poverty in this country. Yet as soon as you say anything negative about those with huge amounts of wealth, people get up in arms.

Yeah think of the real victims in all this, the billionaires.
There will always been homelessness and poverty. It's called life. Whether or not there should be billionaires or not is an entirely separate matter.
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DSilva
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#27
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#27
(Original post by Reality Check)
There will always been homelessness and poverty. It's called life. Whether or not there should be billionaires or not is an entirely separate matter.
Not in Finland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46891392

There's definitely an attempt to persuade people that solvable problems are just 'a way of life'.

If those with such wealth paid their taxes, we would have more money to tackle these problems. I'm not necessarily saying billionaires shouldn't exist, i'm just remarking on how people seem to care far more about hurting their feelings, than they do about preventable poverty.
Last edited by DSilva; 2 weeks ago
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Reality Check
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#28
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#28
(Original post by DSilva)
Not in Finland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46891392

There's definitely an attempt to persuade people that solvable problems are just 'a way of life'.

If those with such wealth paid their taxes, we would have more money to tackle these problems. I'm not necessarily saying billionaires shouldn't exist, i'm just remarking on how people seem to care far more about hurting their feelings, than they do about preventable poverty.
Finland is a very different country from the UK, with a much smaller, much more homogenous population. I'd certainly not choose it over the UK.

I agree that billionaires should pay their taxes, but I don't think anyone's particularly bothered about hurting a billionaire's feelings. After all, to quote Liberace, they'd 'cry all the way to the bank'.
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Stiff Little Fingers
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#29
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#29
(Original post by frogglet)
what does the one have to do with the other? if anything billionaire businesses create thousands of jobs giving people the ability to make a living for themselves. if people want to work that hard to create that kind of wealth it's their choice. homelessness in this country is not a consequence of billionaires but a consequence of mental health problems and drug/alcohol addiction. getting rid of billionaires or millionaires doesn't solve it, and would likely make it worse (less jobs) unless those billionaires made their money from alcohol, drugs or gambling businesses.
Well, given we allegedly don't have the money to fix homelessness, and poverty includes in-work poverty which is a direct result of billionaires failing to pay people properly for the value they create, and billionaires are skipping out on paying their fair share (strange how quick the Panama papers are forgotten), there's a pretty clear connection

(Original post by Reality Check)
There will always been homelessness and poverty. It's called life. Whether or not there should be billionaires or not is an entirely separate matter.
There doesn't have to be, it's not a fact of life we can't change, it's a failing of the current capitalist system that values the ability to hoard wealth you couldn't feasibly spent in 1000 lifetimes over the ability to achieve a minimum quality of life.
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BasicMistake
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#30
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#30
(Original post by DSilva)
Not in Finland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46891392

There's definitely an attempt to persuade people that solvable problems are just 'a way of life'.

If those with such wealth paid their taxes, we would have more money to tackle these problems. I'm not necessarily saying billionaires shouldn't exist, i'm just remarking on how people seem to care far more about hurting their feelings, than they do about preventable poverty.
People were answering the question. I haven't seen an answer that suggests people are feeling sorry for billionaires or that they don't care about poverty.
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DSilva
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#31
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#31
(Original post by Reality Check)
Finland is a very different country from the UK, with a much smaller, much more homogenous population. I'd certainly not choose it over the UK.

I agree that billionaires should pay their taxes, but I don't think anyone's particularly bothered about hurting a billionaire's feelings. After all, to quote Liberace, they'd 'cry all the way to the bank'.
Finland has a higher GDP-per capita, a lower deficit, no homelesness, was ranked the world's happiest country in the world etc. Sounds an awful place to live.

The idea that homelessness is an unsolvable problem is patently untrue, when there are examples of it being solved.

Well people seem to get far more animated in defending billionaires, then they are about poverty.
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Reality Check
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
There doesn't have to be, it's not a fact of life we can't change, it's a failing of the current capitalist system that values the ability to hoard wealth you couldn't feasibly spent in 1000 lifetimes over the ability to achieve a minimum quality of life.
Given that Jesus, describing the world as it was then, said in John 12:8 that 'You will always have the poor among you...', I'm not convinced that it is actually something that we can change.

It's a trite quotation, I accept. But the point remains. There have always been poor people, throughout history. And the reasons for their poverty are usually much more complicated and nuanced than a greedy capitalist system not sharing wealth out equally or fairly.
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DSilva
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#33
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#33
(Original post by BasicMistake)
People were answering the question. I haven't seen an answer that suggests people are feeling sorry for billionaires or that they don't care about poverty.
It's telling that in the same country you have billionaires and people living on the streets.
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Snufkin
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#34
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#34
(Original post by It's****ingWOODY)
They should, but with much higher tax percentages so they're contributing their basically unneeded millions back into their country.
I agree with this. Nothing wrong with extremely rich individuals so long as they pay a fair rate of tax, like they do in Scandinavia.
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BasicMistake
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#35
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#35
(Original post by DSilva)
It's telling that in the same country you have billionaires and people living on the streets.
Finland has billionaires.
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FakeNewsEditor
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#36
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#36
The problem is not the existence of billionaires, if they were taxed appropriately. But they aren't cos of tax havens.

The even more worrying trend is this retreat to nationalism at a time when capital is hypermobile. Part of the reason why I despise Trump, Orban, etc is 'cos they push for retarded policies like protectionism and economic nationalism when they ought to think far more seriously about global arrangements to make sure industrialists actually pay the tax rates imposed by the country they operate in.

So yes billionaires ought to exist given that private property will at least sometimes churn them out. But if billionaires can so easily dodge taxes, many people will stop supporting this system of private property which imo at least is beneficial for all not just for them.
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LiberOfLondon
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#37
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#37
(Original post by DSilva)
The comments on this thread are quite telling.

People shrug their shoulders when someone brings up the amount of homelessness, food hunger or child poverty in this country. Yet as soon as you say anything negative about those with huge amounts of wealth, people get up in arms.

Yeah think of the real victims in all this, the billionaires.
Because there is no such thing as poverty in the Socialist paradise of North Korea.
(Original post by DSilva)
Not in Finland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46891392

There's definitely an attempt to persuade people that solvable problems are just 'a way of life'.

If those with such wealth paid their taxes, we would have more money to tackle these problems. I'm not necessarily saying billionaires shouldn't exist, i'm just remarking on how people seem to care far more about hurting their feelings, than they do about preventable poverty.
Hei - älä sotki kotimaani sisään tämä väitelly*.

As an actual, real Finnish bloke, the reason we can afford to do these things is because we have both a history of state-run things to an extent that never happened in England and a lot of empty land in Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) and Kainuu (Kajanaland). You don't have thosre here and so cant do those things.

* Oi - don't drag my country into this debate
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DSilva
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#38
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#38
(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
Because there is no such thing as poverty in the Socialist paradise of North Korea.
I never said that was the case. What a bizarre comment.
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Stiff Little Fingers
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#39
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#39
(Original post by Reality Check)
Given that Jesus, describing the world as it was then, said in John 12:8 that 'You will always have the poor among you...', I'm not convinced that it is actually something that we can change.

It's a trite quotation, I accept. But the point remains. There have always been poor people, throughout history. And the reasons for their poverty are usually much more complicated and nuanced than a greedy capitalist system not sharing wealth out equally or fairly.
There will always be those who are poorer than others, but that is not the same as those who cannot survive on the fruits of their labour because the system is rigged to keep them poor (and contrary to the impression people might get from this thread, boot has no nutritional value).

Genuinely, I'd suggest reading this: https://novaramedia.com/2019/11/01/w...-billionaires/ - everything said in this thread in defence of billionaires starts from a failure to understand what a billionaire is
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BasicMistake
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#40
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#40
A point that I alluded to but I want to state explicitly is that wealth does not equal welfare (in an economic sense).

People can liquidate their wealth and exchange assets for money. That money can then be spent on goods or services.

Wealth that 'sits there' does not benefit its owner (at the fundamental level). This is why we tax capital gains. Once someone decides to actually use their wealth for something, we can then tax it and redistribute those gains.
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