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Billionaires shouldn't exist
2012
#21 Posted : Thursday, November 14, 2019 7:17:10 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 12/9/2009
Posts: 6,564
Location: Nairobi
tycho wrote:
2012 wrote:
In my opinion, billionaires should exist. There should be no limit set on human achievement. Granted, there are thieves and rogue elements in society but these people exist through all segments, the poor steal each others chicken while the reach rob each other of tenders, business and our taxes.
But I think the greatest achievers should be well rewarded else we will kill the concept of human endeavor for people who have the biggest dreams to aspire to, the likes of John D. Rockefeller and many others today.


There are always ethical, social and even temporal limits to human achievement. In this case let's consider the ethical limits. It is wrong for governments to favor a few people at the expense of the many who are deceived that they are the powers behind government.

Consider contexts where children are the pickpockets of choice, why do we not say that we shouldn't limit their expertise?


Ok, let's forget the crooks who get wealth they haven't worked for.

Now my believe is that for you to be extremely wealthy, self-made, then you either do it in one of two ways, you own a product or service that people really want or you manipulate the system ie find loopholes in the system and manipulate.

Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground. Rosa Parks
Fyatu
#22 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 8:14:13 AM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 1/20/2011
Posts: 1,664
Location: Nakuru
tycho wrote:
The sad thing is that we may have forgotten that all these billions happen in a political context that assumes equality of rights and sovereignty, and that is guided by 'the promise of politics' where diversity of interests finds a fair division of costs and benefits.

To state that I insist on strictly equal division of resources, is to misunderstand my position. My idea is more on fair division given truly autonomous choice. And by autonomous choice I mean all calculated options that a human may take to optimize between the unconscious and the conscious.

I am speaking as a humanist.

https://www.theguardian....e-capitalists-communism




Good article. However, the author conveniently ignores the fact that democratic socialism in Western Europe is/was only tenable when the British and French colonized Africa. The average British and French worker has always led an above-average lifestyle due to exploitation of Africa colonies and pseudo-colonies.

In his book titled "Animal Farm", George Orwell toys with the idea of an equitable society but also concedes that in social democratic systems there must exist a first among equals or if you like, there must exist a leader/leaders/ruling class/politics. The leaders must wield power to be able to lead and thus the hoarding and accumulation/control of capital.The hierarchical structure of human social systems and to greater extent Mammalia social systems ensures that there can never be equality. e.g., the Male lion will always eat first and will eat the choice parts of a Buffalo e.g., the liver, the tender loins etc.

Personally, i don't see a resolution in the near future to the problem you have raised in this thread. In my view, capitalism still has a long way to go before it evolves to something else. The concept of Matthew effect still holds.
Dumb money becomes dumb only when it listens to smart money
tycho
#23 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 11:55:01 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
@2012, I'd like to hazard the following assertion: It is impossible to be a billionaire by simply providing what people need at a price, and without taking advantage of loopholes in government and society.

On the other hand, I'd like you to share some names of billionaires who break this rule.
tycho
#24 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 12:09:33 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
Fyatu, I understand that elitist theories exist. In fact if you probe you'll find thinkers who say that these elites are either 'Lions' or 'Jackals'. These titles tell you the kind of attitudes exist regarding power and social relations. They are based on fear and cunning. Both of which are immoral if we are to consider each individual being at their best or optimal.

If we track the population growth of educated individuals per body politic over a span of say 100 years, will we arrive at the conclusion that the number of elites has been constant? The more the elites, the more systems are required to change. History is witness that the world wasn't born 'capitalist'.

Elitist theories also talk about different kinds of elites in a society. Not all elites are billionaires. By the Renaissance period, it was common knowledge that nobility wasn't even conferred by wealth, but rather by virtue.

In my opinion, what is happening is that most of us have never expected that the world can change so drastically while they are still alive. The sad news is that most of the knowledge we are carrying has already gone bad, stay with it longer, and you'll rot with it.
2012
#25 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 2:34:31 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 12/9/2009
Posts: 6,564
Location: Nairobi
tycho wrote:
@2012, I'd like to hazard the following assertion: It is impossible to be a billionaire by simply providing what people need at a price, and without taking advantage of loopholes in government and society.

On the other hand, I'd like you to share some names of billionaires who break this rule.


A few from the top of my head, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Kenyan: Narendra Raval, SK. Macharia.

All I'm saying is that the thought of us or our children believing that you cannot make your dreams come true through honest means would be sad.

Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground. Rosa Parks
tycho
#26 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 3:58:42 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
2012 wrote:
tycho wrote:
@2012, I'd like to hazard the following assertion: It is impossible to be a billionaire by simply providing what people need at a price, and without taking advantage of loopholes in government and society.

On the other hand, I'd like you to share some names of billionaires who break this rule.


A few from the top of my head, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Kenyan: Narendra Raval, SK. Macharia.

All I'm saying is that the thought of us or our children believing that you cannot make your dreams come true through honest means would be sad.


Please check out some from this list or else dispute Mazzucato's claim. But I want to simplify the evidence to this list. That will take some days, but no haste.
tycho
#27 Posted : Saturday, November 23, 2019 7:43:39 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
I am back, @2012smile

First, to my surprise, my odds of being a billionaire are higher than I expected. I was groomed since childhood, I passed adolescence with my script safe, by 25 I had laid the foundations of 'my greatness'. And I am in more agreement with my fathersmile There are only a few moves to go, and inshallah, I am likely to join the billionaires club.

But still on the other hand, I am convinced that being of an exclusive economic class and having more wealth than others is immoral and unethical. For this I will turn to Dienes's idea of 'Psychological wealth' and Plato's Republic as key evidence along with other aspects of reason and truth, and of course, the general trend in history.

Moreover, my assertion that billionairehood entails crookedness, of price and social responsibility stands.
tycho
#28 Posted : Saturday, November 23, 2019 8:37:06 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
My investigation has used the ULES - Unsupervised Learning and Exhaustive Search method. This is a method entailing following key words to find relevant text. Doing quantitative and qualitative analyses increases the chain of investigation through emergent questions and leads. This is repeated till the search is exhausted by going through all result pages, and both pro and anti positions are sufficiently presented.

I have also conducted interviews on entrepreneur friends - though probably not extensively enough.

Then the drudgery of tabulation, synthesis - Bloom's treatment - and then iterative application of the different thinking and experimentation styles. In this case mental experiments abound.

I started with Rowling, then went for Oprah. I then sought Vimal Shah and Tabitha Karanja. After that I went back to Zuckerberg ...

There is previous research by Jonathan Wai which saved me plenty of time. I then used the same method above for the great scientists. I looked at the chain from Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Schrödinger and Feynman among others. (I should check on the women too - I know Ada, and several ladies but I need to check again of course).

After processing using the formulae above I went back for the billionaires. I looked at Kenya, S.A, Egypt, Nigeria. Then Britain, Japan, and Jamaica. The rest were dealt with sufficiently by Wai.

In all this I was looking for several things, but of immediate relevance is if each of these individuals violated pricing and social justice.
tycho
#29 Posted : Saturday, November 23, 2019 9:55:10 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
The main argument given for the validity of the billionaire class is given by Gregory Mankiw, a Havard prof who wrote 'In defence of the 1%'.

In this paper, Mankiw posits that billionaires earn their money justly from their respective marginal productivity.

Firstly, marginal productivity isn't easily and objectively determined. For example a book written by Rowling under a pseudonym won't be priced the same way if the name Rowling is on the cover.

Besides, does marginal productivity increase or decrease with time? Do prices reflect expected change accordingly? In my estimation MP is supposed to decrease, other factors held constant.

Again, accumulation of wealth necessarily means the use of surplus value for capital investment. Where does surplus value arise if all are paid 'by their deserts?'

Some of the answers to these questions are given by Didier Jacobs of Oxfam, in his 'Extreme wealth is unmerited'. In this work we are shown the ladder that makes for the billionaire class. The ladder is made of crime, cronyism, inheritance, monopoly, globalization and technology. In this case, the higher you go, the more the crime is sanitized.

For instance, Mankiw alludes to the unequal distribution of wealth in the US since 1970 due to uneven skills development. But think of how these skills are researched on and distributed within a population. The rich take their children to elite schools and prescribe lesser education for the masses. Just like in our new CBC curriculum.

The social organization needed to prop the mythology of price and economics is steeped in falsehood and false promises.
mv_ufanisi
#30 Posted : Saturday, November 23, 2019 10:38:27 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 1/15/2010
Posts: 550
I expect to join the billionaire class sometime in my life by making something useful that a lot of people will enjoy.
I see no immorality in it. What's the difference between that and Eliud Kipchoge's record? Both involve a high discipline, lots of self sacrifice and creating a lot more value not just for yourself and others.
If you don't want to dream big, give the floor to those who are daring enough to go and make it happen.
masukuma
#31 Posted : Sunday, November 24, 2019 7:15:05 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 10/4/2006
Posts: 13,211
Location: Nairobi
mv_ufanisi wrote:
I expect to join the billionaire class sometime in my life by making something useful that a lot of people will enjoy.
I see no immorality in it. What's the difference between that and Eliud Kipchoge's record? Both involve a high discipline, lots of self sacrifice and creating a lot more value not just for yourself and others.
If you don't want to dream big, give the floor to those who are daring enough to go and make it happen.

you are... just define the currency
All Mushrooms are edible! Some Mushroom are only edible ONCE!
masukuma
#32 Posted : Sunday, November 24, 2019 7:22:20 AM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 10/4/2006
Posts: 13,211
Location: Nairobi
I think it's stupid to believe that billionaires should not exist... they add value to people's lives and in return people reciprocate. it's bullshit to think that just because they used something public that everyone else had access to and failed to capitalize they owe it to the creator of that public thing. it's a very stupid mentality. We need to understand that most of their wealth is actually stocks in companies that employ thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. In the end it's a simple calculus
if you created X value for Humanity, you should be allowed to capture some of that X for yourself.
All Mushrooms are edible! Some Mushroom are only edible ONCE!
mv_ufanisi
#33 Posted : Sunday, November 24, 2019 12:19:06 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 1/15/2010
Posts: 550
Billionaires exist because of non-linear effects. If you don't understand that you'll miss the whole point. Non-linear effects work like this
- Two musicians compose a song using pretty much the same resources. One Song goes multi-platinum while the other doesn't even get played on the radio. The musician with the song that does super well could make even 100 Million USD from that one song while the other probably makes a loss coz of the production costs.
- Same thing for painters. Give two painters exactly the same materials. One can paint a masterpiece that becomes worth hundreds of millions while the other could end up with a painting in his basement.
- Two start ups work on different products. One goes global and achieves unicorn status while the other never gains traction.
Almost the same level of resources but very different outcomes. Technology and the internet has amplified these effects. Now you can build an app that in a short time has a billion users. In the old days that was just not possible. We have got into a situation with a lot of winner take all effects because of how interconnected the world is.
2012
#34 Posted : Sunday, November 24, 2019 8:07:45 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 12/9/2009
Posts: 6,564
Location: Nairobi
tycho wrote:
I am back, @2012smile

First, to my surprise, my odds of being a billionaire are higher than I expected. I was groomed since childhood, I passed adolescence with my script safe, by 25 I had laid the foundations of 'my greatness'. And I am in more agreement with my fathersmile There are only a few moves to go, and inshallah, I am likely to join the billionaires club.

But still on the other hand, I am convinced that being of an exclusive economic class and having more wealth than others is immoral and unethical. For this I will turn to Dienes's idea of 'Psychological wealth' and Plato's Republic as key evidence along with other aspects of reason and truth, and of course, the general trend in history.

Moreover, my assertion that billionairehood entails crookedness, of price and social responsibility stands.


Morality is something inbuilt in you. You have a conscience, you know the difference between right and wrong. If you owned a company like Apple or Amazon or Microsoft that people you've employed keep creating great products and your company's value keeps rising to where you are a multi-billionaire, what would be wrong with that? Or like Warren Buffet who invests low and the value gains, why not? I think there's room for all kinds of people in the world some even commit suicide with their accounts full like Robbin Williams and Avicii at 28 yrs. Money might not be everything but as long as they are not blocking circulation of money then it's good with me. Very good.

Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground. Rosa Parks
tycho
#35 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 1:57:28 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
masukuma wrote:
I think it's stupid to believe that billionaires should not exist... they add value to people's lives and in return people reciprocate. it's bullshit to think that just because they used something public that everyone else had access to and failed to capitalize they owe it to the creator of that public thing. it's a very stupid mentality. We need to understand that most of their wealth is actually stocks in companies that employ thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. In the end it's a simple calculus
if you created X value for Humanity, you should be allowed to capture some of that X for yourself.


Please give an example of such a thing that has been accessible to all equally but has been used by the few billionaires.

Not having billionaires doesn't mean that there are no returns for work. The argument given is that of marginal productivity being the just deserts. Do you have another model?


tycho
#36 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 2:03:24 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
mv_ufanisi wrote:
I expect to join the billionaire class sometime in my life by making something useful that a lot of people will enjoy.
I see no immorality in it. What's the difference between that and Eliud Kipchoge's record? Both involve a high discipline, lots of self sacrifice and creating a lot more value not just for yourself and others.
If you don't want to dream big, give the floor to those who are daring enough to go and make it happen.


1. There is nothing immoral by making useful things. Immorality creeps in when your accumulation of wealth creates a distortion of both economic and moral value in a context.

2. In the case of Kipchoge for example, Kipchoge was a pawn for the legitimization of a fossil fuel exploiter who may need such PR. It may be immoral to support someone who is doing something harmful just because you're going to get a billion.

3. Getting a billion doesn't appear to be about simply creating value. One thing I know for sure is that markets are controlled by the use of soft and hard power.
tycho
#37 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 2:06:20 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
2012 wrote:
tycho wrote:
I am back, @2012smile

First, to my surprise, my odds of being a billionaire are higher than I expected. I was groomed since childhood, I passed adolescence with my script safe, by 25 I had laid the foundations of 'my greatness'. And I am in more agreement with my fathersmile There are only a few moves to go, and inshallah, I am likely to join the billionaires club.

But still on the other hand, I am convinced that being of an exclusive economic class and having more wealth than others is immoral and unethical. For this I will turn to Dienes's idea of 'Psychological wealth' and Plato's Republic as key evidence along with other aspects of reason and truth, and of course, the general trend in history.

Moreover, my assertion that billionairehood entails crookedness, of price and social responsibility stands.


Morality is something inbuilt in you. You have a conscience, you know the difference between right and wrong. If you owned a company like Apple or Amazon or Microsoft that people you've employed keep creating great products and your company's value keeps rising to where you are a multi-billionaire, what would be wrong with that? Or like Warren Buffet who invests low and the value gains, why not? I think there's room for all kinds of people in the world some even commit suicide with their accounts full like Robbin Williams and Avicii at 28 yrs. Money might not be everything but as long as they are not blocking circulation of money then it's good with me. Very good.


If proof for this statement is the presence of a 'conscience' then we can also say that classical or operant conditioning is responsible for conscience. This is inimical to your assertion.
Swenani
#38 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 5:07:10 PM
Rank: User


Joined: 8/15/2013
Posts: 13,042
Location: Vacuum
tycho wrote:
How are billionaires made? One Mariana Mazzucato believes that billionaires are made by their respective governments. For example Zuckerberg or Apple guys owe it to government based and government sponsored research.

I believe the same applies in our country. Name a billionaire, and there is very likely to be government support behind.

So why should governments create a few very wealthy people who have to do philanthropy - in many cases a form of misanthropy - instead of redistributing wealth to as many people as possible?


This thread would be more approproate if it was titled "poverty shouldn't exist"

Isn't the work of government to create a conducive environment for people to prosper? @Tycho, do you want a government which creates a conducive environment for poverty to spread? You could have made sense if you argued for equitable creation of billionaires
Poverty is the root of all evil
tycho
#39 Posted : Thursday, November 28, 2019 6:06:33 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 7/1/2011
Posts: 8,580
Location: Nairobi
Swenani wrote:
tycho wrote:
How are billionaires made? One Mariana Mazzucato believes that billionaires are made by their respective governments. For example Zuckerberg or Apple guys owe it to government based and government sponsored research.

I believe the same applies in our country. Name a billionaire, and there is very likely to be government support behind.

So why should governments create a few very wealthy people who have to do philanthropy - in many cases a form of misanthropy - instead of redistributing wealth to as many people as possible?


This thread would be more approproate if it was titled "poverty shouldn't exist"

Isn't the work of government to create a conducive environment for people to prosper? @Tycho, do you want a government which creates a conducive environment for poverty to spread? You could have made sense if you argued for equitable creation of billionaires


The role of government is to help people 'come out of the cave' as Socrates put it. This 'cave' describes a kind of political economy that must be transcended. Talk, encouragement of 'billionaire' thinking is a kind of thinking that keeps humanity in the cave. It does so primarily by reliance on perceived and tangible objects.

If, our ethic and aspiration is directed at the tangible object and we have non Pareto conditions - where we can only get better at the expense of others - then the more an individual makes, the more he/she must make others worse off.

So I can say the title you are proposing is a soft version of the one I put. But they are equivalent in fact. Or are very likely to be equivalent - treasury could decide to borrow heavily for welfare while the sharks feast.

I know we love toys, but this hasn't always been so, especially here in Africa. The colonizers found civilizations that had a different world view. And it was working well. What happened during the colonization was treachery against a philosophy that was so different from the one we think is necessary or the sweetest that can be.

Metaur
#40 Posted : Friday, November 29, 2019 11:47:57 PM
Rank: New-farer


Joined: 2/12/2019
Posts: 57
I understand that people grudge billionaires, as they understand that they don't need so much money. Frankly, a lot of billionaires made their fortunes with dirty, from the law point, methods. But you need to fight not with billionaires, but with law gaps that allow them to make such fortunes. If a billionaire made money with own skills, then this is excellent.
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