At times NobodyisFlyingthePlane will be a diatribe about the current state of affairs in the US and the world at large, at other times it will be an evidentiary discussion of the problem, and most of the time it will just be a collection of links I wanted to share.
The conversation doesn’t have to be rich vs. poor, capitalism or communism, equality over freedom.
E.A.: Extreme wealth inequality also leads to the de facto control of government by the rich (plutocracy), and so is incompatible with democracy. For this reason we need to disperse concentrated wealth through property and inheritance taxes, or even better, revise rules that allow excessive concentrations of wealth to build up in the first place. For example, stronger anti-trust regulations, particularly for banks, are probably worth investigating.
G.G.: Granting that equality is important, it would seem that freedom is at least as important. But aren’t the two in tension, since maintaining equality requires taking from those who have more and giving to those who have less? What do you say to those who think this way?
E.A.: Of course, taxes on income and wealth limit the freedom of those who would otherwise acquire huge shares. Still, that is only one side of the coin. The objection is like opposing stoplights on the grounds that they limit the freedom of movement of people in cars at red lights. Sure, but what about the people on the cross-streets, who can move more freely because cars have to stop? If we’re worried about how limiting wealth will affect freedom, we have to take account of how the freedom of people generally, across all social positions, will be affected by the limitations. More egalitarian distributions of wealth spread opportunity and hence freedom more widely and fully than systems in which wealth is concentrated in a tiny self-perpetuating class.
G.G.: Does this mean that you favor eliminating the capitalist economic system, which seems to be a main source of economic inequalities?
E.A.: No, I take for granted that private property and extensive markets will play indispensable roles in any modern free society of equals. This will generate some distributive inequality. Complete equality would require a command economy, which is incompatible not just with freedom, but also with equality. State Communism, for example, is a social hierarchy of domination and subordination based on party membership.
What’s Wrong With Inequality? http://nyti.ms/1JwZBKj
Mr. Lynch gets to the heart of the matter when he says,
“We end up blindly subsidizing profitable corporations instead of properly compensating ordinary folks who work for us.
It’s disingenuous for politicians (or the Star-Ledger) to speak of pension reform without also discussing the massive tax breaks that created this crisis. If tax cuts for businesses and people who don’t need it were rescinded, there would be plenty of revenue to fund the pensions.”
Originally posted on Data Driven Viewpoints:
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
What follows is a letter I wrote to New Jersey’s principal newspaper, which is constantly trying to convince us that the huge pension deficits created by bad public policy decisions (or perhaps by intentional public union busting strategies) can’t be fixed without dismantling the whole system and starting over. All options to do this create great sacrifices by hard working servants of the people who were promised pensions in exchange for lower lifetime wages than the private sector would be paid for comparable work.
“Taxing the rich won’t solve pension problems” claims the Star-Ledger in its editorial. Their point is that the “millionaire’s tax”…
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“Its hard to think of another profession that pays less attention to leadership”
Telling quote regarding teaching. The problems cant all be the teachers fault. Lets cultivate excellence in principals and other leaders and administrators.
Want Reform? Principals Matter, Too http://nyti.ms/1b93I4H
I can’t agree with the author’s conclusion that Cop Cams are necessary. I do agree with the concerns he has about the negative impact of using them.
One figure is telling. Less than 1% of police citizen interactions involve force. So we want to record all police citizen interactions to deal with the perceived problem of less than less than 1% of interaction in which for is used inappropriately.
Just because the technology to record these interactions exist doesn’t mean we should use it. There are other better ways to improve interactions between police and citizens.
The Lost Language of Privacy http://nyti.ms/1NBoaMD
We’ve got our priorities wrong. GDP, the DOW, and military strength are the wrong things to look at when we measure our success as a country. The Social Progress Index is a much better indicator. Here we’re only #16, not #1.
If we focus on the euro gmpriorotues we’ll get the wrong outcome.
NYTimes: Enjoying the Low Life?
Its always refreshing to hear a CEO pledge to do more than just pursue profits. Its extraordinary when a CEO actually does something about it. Its exemplary when a CEO leads others to do the same.
“We are a country based on capitalism, but we should just have a more compassionate capitalism,” he says. “It shouldn’t be just about shareholders but, more broadly, stakeholders, from your customers to the environment.
The staff here is not usually a fan of legal action as means to problem solving, but this fella seems to be on to something.
The abysmal state of consumer rights and especially the right to privacy when it comes to personal data screams for a solution. Government is too interested in pleasing corporations before the electorate to solve this one.
Enter the dreaded class action lawsuit. A Chicago firm has specialized for years in bringing class action suits to force companies to change their data gathering practices and respect personal data. Its obviously financially motivated and for the most part the tactics it uses are not admirable methods of change, but they seem to be effective. This firm is following the Silicon Valley M.O. of the moment: disruption. They’re disrupting the Silicon Valley practice trading personal data for piles of cash. Silicon Valley should laud them for their creativity.
Everyone loves Uber and the taxi industry needed reform and disruption, but they’re a negative disruption which will ultimately be seen as a vehicle for indentured servitude and low quality service. They may ultimately be lauded for bringing about positive change, but their methods will be looked down upon. Ditto for these lawyers. We need disruption in the data gathering biz, especially disruption favoring consumers and privacy. We may not like the method, but we will be appreciative of the results.