Billionaires are a "Code Smell" for economic systems.

If you're generating them, its a sign that something has gone deeply wrong in your architecture that needs to be fixed ASAP.

@natecull Perfect wealth equality means that your economic system can't incentivize anything via financial reward, not even providing essential products and services.

So short of a radically new economic system, you want some wealth inequality. And there are going to be outliers, more extreme with more population The median household net worth in the US is around $100k. About 9% are millionaires. How many households minimum before there should be one with a net worth over a billion dollars?


"Perfect wealth equality means that your economic system can't incentivize anything via financial reward, not even providing essential products and services."

That's a very strange claim, and markets seem to be based on the exact opposite idea (ie, that everyone should be able to trade the goods and services they can produce for the goods and services other people can produce; this doesn't require "financial incentive").

Can you explain why you hold this idea, and where you got it?

@natecull Imagine that everyone has equal wealth and I give you a haircut for $10. Now I have $10 more than everyone else, you have $10 less, and there is no longer perfect wealth equality.


What if you didn't check people's wealth instantly (which is quite reductionist and silly) but checked it, say, yearly?

Or dd a reset every 50 years, as in the ancient Jewish Jubilee?

@natecull The median single family house in the US is worth 3x as much as the median family net worth. If you periodically reset people's wealth, nobody could ever own their own house, even by taking a mortgage and paying it off over decades.


Once again, that's a very strange claim. How do you reason that?

Wouldn't you expect a well-run society to make provision for every person to be able to own their own house?

And that every person's wealth should include, at minimum, being educated, housed, fed and receiving healthcare, in exchange for doing a useful job?


I mean, the root of the problem is this:

"The median single family house in the US is worth 3x as much as the median family net worth"

It shouldn't be. Such a disparity in wealth is obviously immoral, unjust, inefficient, and terribly dangerous for society. It's clearly an indicator that the economic system has failed wildly.

@natecull I disagree.

Let's look at this another way: The median household income in the US is $70,000/yr. A typical cost to build a house is $250,000. So a family with the median income who wants a house wants society to allocate resources to them valued the same as three and a half years of their work.

Over the course of a lifetime, that median household income adds up to nearly $3 million. People who make that have the *option* of buying a house and paying it off.



Imagine two people each make $2 million over the course of their working lives. One buys a house and ends up with a net worth of $500,000 when they retire at 65. The other travels the world and ends up with a net worth of $50,000.

Is there really something unjust there? Should society provide a house to the person who chose not to allocate their resources for that?

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"Should society provide a house to the person"

Yes. No ifs or buts.


I mean, otherwise we're recreating Literal Medieval Feudalism Complete With Lords And Serfs.

I don't think we want that.

But we're getting that.

Unless we decide not to do that.


In NZ, we're now looking at a million dollars to buy a house, and most actual people's wages might be closer to $30,000. $70,000 can be a "median" wage only if we count an extreme minority of super-rich.

$250,000 to buy a house would be nice! That was ten years ago, before we went over the inflation waterfall.

We're in freefall into collapse and we're in denial about how much the fabric of our society is disintegrating like a wet paper bag.

No good things are going to come of this.


I admit, it wasn't until about 2014 that I realised everything was on fire.

Before then I was quite proud of New Zealand for escaping the house price apocalypse. We'd also avoided the 2008 housing crash, because we weren't overvalued.

I'm not proud of NZ any longer.


I don't know enough about the situation in NZ to comment much, but there are some cities in the US with absolutely crazy housing prices. If you want to live in those places with a low or even medium paying job, you need several roommates.

But that's actually pretty normal. And being in those cities can lead to higher paying jobs over time.

As far as I know no society has ever been able to afford to give every 20 year old their own house.


I don't think having some people not own their own detached single family home is Literal Medieval Feudalism. Some people chose to live in multi-family dwellings. I know at least one person who could buy a house in cash and chooses to rent.

There is certainly a level of wealth inequality which implies a level of land monopoly that results in feudalism just like you say. But there's a lot of space between that and perfect wealth equality.

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