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    it's only bad if gaddafi does it..., 2011-03-22 13:44:05 | Main | operation infinite forfeit..., 2011-03-28 21:15:32

    accumulating minor errors:

    Felix Salmon makes some observations about a wealth inequality survey, pointing out that the 92% of Americans who said they prefer "Swedish" wealth distribution were actually saying they prefer the wealth distribution of some sort of socialist utopia that does not exist anywhere, let alone Sweden. Then he makes an argument that, after looking at the data he had just presented on Sweden and the United State's actual wealth distributions, is nonsensical:

    Wealth is a form of insurance, and when insurance is nationalized, you need less wealth. As a result, people can enjoy the fruits of their money, instead of saving it up for emergencies or for retirement and only a small percentage of the population really spends a lot of effort in a successful attempt at accumulating more.

    The bottom 80% of Swedes have accumulated 11% more of Sweden's wealth than their counterparts in the US: if you were to measure "effort" by its outcomes the incentive to accumulate wealth seems to be significantly higher in Sweden.

    More directly, if you compare small business and self-employment statistics to get some read on "effort" the United States lags far behind countries with strong social safety nets.

    For the average American suckling at the tits of a nanny corporation, striking out to create wealth is actually physically dangerous, and even if you can afford health insurance on the individual market you end up paying astronomic rates that put you at a competitive disadvantage to established businesses. And because limited liability isn't going to protect your credit rating from medical bankruptcy, any health problems are likely to deal a serious blow to your finances for the better part of a decade, likely ending such entrepreneurial aspirations. Arguably you'd have to be an idiot, or already rich, to take risks like that. Maybe that explains why America has such a wealth of rich idiots.


:: posted by buermann @ 2011-03-25 19:29:02 CST | link





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