Monday, August 25, 2014

Here the famous Venezuelan/Nicolás Maduro method to eliminate income inequality among citizens.

For all of you who like Thomas Piketty are very concerned with income inequality, you can sleep like babies now. 

Venezuela´s president Nicolás Maduro has designed an easy 3 step method that will forever condemn to bad memories all inequality among citizens.

1. With expropriations, price and foreign exchange controls, and similar creative methods, you create a scarcity of many vital consumer products.

2. Then you introduce a rationing system which allows for limited purchases of some of the really scarce consumer products, and which requires you to present your right hand thumb at a machine, for fingerprint recognition.

3. Finally, you allow the poor to negotiate freely in the market the lease of their right hand thumb.

It is a beautiful method. The more severe the scarcity, the more are the rich prepared to pay in order to lease the right hand thumbs of the poor, and so the less the inequalities. It can´t go wrong… that is for as long as you are still alive!

PS. I guess they will try to make the thumb of the left hand work too! That way you can lease out two thumbs at the same time… and make the inequalities disappear much faster. Hurrah!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

My current list of prominent inequality drivers

I do not care about some having much more wealth than others, for instance having Picassos on their walls that if taken down only had to go up on somebody else’s wall… and I fret where all those jobs which are based on obnoxiously expensive manual procedures would be were it not for the insanely wealthy… and, if there were no accumulation of wealth where would all those savings that can be invested come from?... 

But I do care profoundly when wealth is acquired by ways of opportunities not accorded to everyone... and so here are some new non traditional inequality drivers of which I am currently most suspicious.

Intellectual property rights which give way to incredible fortunes… there should be some more explicit limits on these… like a maximum amount of profits covered … a fixed number of units produced protected… or at least that profits derived from intellectually protected activities should be taxed at a higher rate than profits derived from competing naked in the market.

Monopolies… profit derived from monopolies should perhaps be taxed at a higher rate than ordinary profits.

Market shares/globalization… profit derived from activities that have achieved especially large local or global market shares should perhaps be taxed at a higher rate than ordinary profits.

Financial returns produced by the fact that banks because of implicit government guarantees are able to hold less capital than other normal commercial entities should be taxed at a higher rate than ordinary on their profits… something which they could naturally avoid by simply keeping more capital. 

And then there are those regulatory inequity drivers like pushing quantitative easing flows through a banking system with risk-weighted capital requirements, which so much favoring what is perceived as absolutely safe so much discriminates against what is perceived as risky, and something which of course impedes that liquidity and credit gets to where it is needed the most. And had it not been for bail-outs and QEs Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century would not stand a chance to have seen the light as so much wealth would have been wiped out. 

And then there is the wealth tax, which if applied in a system where inequalities like those explained above persist, will only end up concentrating wealth more and more among fewer and fewer Plutocrats.

And, of course, perhaps foremost, all those other sources of discrimination that exist and hinders some from having the same opportunities as others... and all those resulting from the many existing inequalities at the start point.

And the list goes on, and the list goes on

And I also utterly dislike those who are only out to make a buck on the redistribution of wealth. If there is going to be redistribution do it through a system that guarantees that at least 99% goes where it was supposed to go… and that it all does not end in the hands of for equality fighting opportunists

But before ending let me pose the BIG Q.: Professor Thomas Piketty. What’s better, to live in your own inequality, or in somebody else’s equality?