Sunday, October 28, 2018

Redistributing wealth is not as straightforward as redistribution profiteers want us to think.

I posted a thread with 8 tweets 

Louis XII could be the filthy rich who gave up main-street purchase power to commission Leonardo da Vinci to paint Salvator Mundi. 500 years later another filthy rich freezes $450 million of his own purchase capacity, hanging that painting on a wall. Bad or great? 

Why are just the "filthy rich", like Louis XII and the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi cursed? Why not Leonardo da Vinci, or the current vendor of Salvator Mundi? Could they‘ve not just as well used money they got from filthy rich for something “more worthwhile”?

Does it all boil down to that Louis XII should not have commissioned Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi and instead have bought food for the poor? I guess that would then depend on what the food suppliers did with that money, grow more food or drink more gin. Life isn’t easy

We can just pray that something of that main-street-purchasing-power comes into the hands of the few risk-taking entrepreneurs who, with luck, help catapult our world forward. Sadly, with risk weighted capital requirements for banks, regulators have made that less possible.

Yes, life isn’t easy. So let us all beware of all those redistribution profiteers out to make money or gain political power and who tell us “Let us just redistribute the wealth of the filthy rich, and you will all live in Nirvana. Venezuela, Nirvana? My …!!!

If Louis XX commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint Salvator Mundi, would it not make a beautiful novel to trace how that money flowed, perhaps to a Bill Gates, generating wealth so that someone could freeze $450 million on a wall, and keep the human development ball rolling? 

These ramblings about how the “filthy rich” convert their main-street-purchasing-power into assets and services, some that would never have existed without them started when seeing a totally useless shield in the Louvre in Paris.

Just in case, this is not a point blank defense of the “filthy rich”. It refers strictly to how their purchase power morphs into assets and services. Many “filthy rich” do become so in unjust and corrupt ways, quite often highly detrimental to development.

PS. This of course does not mean that I predicate inequality. I strongly believe in the need for an unconditional universal basic income, a Societal Dividend