Thomas Piketty is a covetous man

There is 1 leftist strain of thought which still piques my interest: is wealth inequality bad? I have always shelved the question, because I could not answer it satisfactory. But I’ve done some thinking.

The idea at its core is leftist, extensively described by Marx: a small rich elite enjoys a life of abundance at the expense of the lower classes. But even if all socialist corrections fail horribly, the moral question remains: is it fair that the top 10% of the population controls 50% of its wealth?

The best modern day advocate for redistribution policies is Thomas Piketty, whose argument is ‘wealth inequality is bad, government needs to redistribute’, as described in his way-too-long-will-never-read book ‘das Kapital in the 21st century’. Naturally, I disagree.

Now, truth be told, I don’t mind the rich elite having some enemies. After all, I am not the rich elite, and I know some of the rich elite, and I find some of them to be genuine assholes whom I would not at all mind at all, as we say in Holland, to sing a tune lower. Nonetheless, Piketty spouts bullshit.

I believe his data: that a large portion of wealth is in the hands of a minor portion of the population. Apparently not even that disproportional — 10% pop has 50% wealth is much less skewed than the 1% pop 99% wealth I had in mind. But still, disproportional.

Piketty’s solution is a non-solution. You cannot stop the poor from being poor by giving them money. I’ve come to believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch, that that which is not earned is never owned. If your sugar daddy gives you a free iPhone, you will not take care of that iPhone, you are prone to break it, because in your mind it was never really yours. Same with lottery winners; the money they won was never really theirs, they have no clue what to do with it. Same with the poor: give them money and they’ll spend it on exactly the same things they normally spend it on: tobacco, alcohol, drugs. Wealth redistribution doesn’t work, works only to create chaos.

But still, Piketty will insist, it is our moral duty to do something! No, it is not. Ostensibly Piketty talks about moral duty, but in truth he talks about justifying covetousness: that he wants what the rich have, that it is morally just to want what others have, what is not yours. That is not a moral principle, that is a sin.

I’m not saying every rich guy on earth deserves his wealth. Pretty sure there’s a significant amount of cheating scum with loads of money. But whatever way they earned their money, it is their money, not yours. Envy is never sexy.

… Which will not stop Piketty and associated leftists from promoting wealth redistribution. In fact, we have loads and loads of government sanctioned wealth distribution in the West. But we should call these schemes for what they are: jealous, covetous, envious.

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17 thoughts on “Thomas Piketty is a covetous man

  1. >The best modern day advocate for redistribution policies is Thomas Piketty, whose argument is ‘wealth inequality is bad, government needs to redistribute’, as described in his way-too-long-will-never-read book ‘das Kapital in the 21st century’. Naturally, I disagree.

    Naturally, you’re wrong.

    (And unlike you, I actually read the book.)

    Gargantuan globo(homo)corporations exist in (very) large part because of government action. In the absence of government action, the population of very rich would dwindle dramatically, organically solving the wealth inequality problem. And it is a problem.

    The final stage in the lifecycle of any apex corporation is political rent-seeking. No exceptions. The poor really are having the fruits of their labor unjustly redistributed away. The rich really are, to put it unkindly, stealing from the poor.

    And of course, if you take a step back and look at the falsely dichotomous political “debate” cunningly designed to entrap your thinking and enslave your mind, you can notice that Team Red defends the megacorps as bastions of political freedom, the anointed winners of the gladiatorial economic showdown, who deserve what they get and how dare you imply otherwise, while TeamBlue loudly proclaims its loyalty to the common working man, who so desperately needs a helping hand, while strangely every redistributionist intervention inexplicably seems to impoverish the working and middle classes, and oh yeah here come pose with me for my campaign photo op while with purely metaphorical swinging brass balls I shamelessly wear a $3,500 pantsuit as I LARP as a fellow working-class joe.

    And Team Libertarian is allowed to exist in political purgatory just to catch any remaining discontents.

    The choice is simple: we can choose the future with the enormously wealthy and increasingly racially divergent aristocracy deliberately impoverishing the ever-expanding pleb class (visual), which is what the American South had and has since resurrected itself into the current year, being pretty much what we already have and are getting more of all the time.

    Or we can choose the future with the hardy nation of shopkeepers and independent yeomen as once existed in old England and the industrial Northern part of the manifestly destined youthful, vigorous, and unbelievably vital young America.

    1. Or we can choose the future with the hardy nation of shopkeepers and independent yeomen as once existed in old England and the industrial Northern part of the manifestly destined youthful, vigorous, and unbelievably vital young America.

      does not seem at all what Piketty proposes. Piketty proposes even bigger government with hefty taxes, tax money which the government will surely spend on hardy shopkeepers and independent yeomen /sarcasm.

      If the government taxes rich corporations 80%, this will only increase the necessity of corporations to do political rent-seeking.

      1. I’m fully aware that what I propose is the exact opposite of what Picketty proposes. In fact, I arrived at what I propose in large part by accepting Piketty’s analysis of the wealth phenomenon as pretty much 100% correct and his solution as pretty much 100% wrong.

      2. The existence of rich corporations capable of being taxed at 80% and surviving indicates that something is already rotten in the state of Denmark.

        First, fix the “something rotten”. Then the 80% will be entirely unnecessary.

      1. I would apologize, but it’s a known problem in some versions of WordPress. Remove the final quotation mark, or fix your software somehow. It’s probably a broken regex. Try grepping your WordPress installation directory.

  2. Redistribution is covetousness, covetousness is evil, evil people in power do evil things. This theory is massively confirmed by events time after time.

    Even if the rich got rich like the Normans, by simply killing the previous owners and taking their stuff, redistribution to correct this wrong is going to fail, fail horribly, because based on sin and sinfulness. Been tried.

    We should stop further Norman style operations, not attempt to compensate for previous such operations.

    If todays rich are rich because of government connections, we need to stop further transfer through government connections, not use this as justification for taking their stuff.

    Past crimes are not grounds for redistribution, unless you have a specific identifiable victim of a specific identifiable victimizer and a specific act of indentifiable victimization by that victimizer against that victim.

    1. You say that redistribution is covetousness, but taxation is redistribution, and thus by your definition of covetousness inherently wicked and evil, a position of pure undiluted Molyneux-tier libertarianism.

      Naturally, I disagree. Taxation is normal and natural, and the word “protection” should have the double meaning it in fact does.

      Redistribution works perfectly well if the redistributor is an honest and honorable man and expects to share, perhaps disproportionately, in the resulting general civilizational prosperity. If, on the other hand, the redistributor is evil, with selfish and short-sighted intent, then the redistribution will be evil.

      What is the purpose of a good redistribution? Chiefly, the obliteration of unnatural and unproductive monopolies. For example, if a landholder is hoarding vast tracts of land for no reason other than as a store of wealth (pre-existing capital), then his estate should be coercively sliced up and distributed to small-time farmers interested in its cultivation. Thereby can an independent yeomanry of hardy stock be formed, and the wealth and prosperity of the country increased. In this I cite Isegoria citing Alan Beattie.

      If today’s rich are rich because of corruption and graft, we should evaluate whether their assets are being maximally productive. If they are not, as they will invariably be, they should be subjected to the time-tested method of maximally unrestricted competition.

      In other cases, such as in the interest of a strong and vital nation, we must set an upper limit to the scale of agricultural concerns so that a competent man is capable of making a comfortable living doing such. We can do this partly by noticing that Big Agriculture, though strictly more productive than any one individual farmer, has massive unpriced externalities, such as for example the physiobiological enervation of the breeding population long adapted to agricultural modes of life, or for example the long-tail risk of massively increased agricultural fragility inherent to highly centralized food production, including but not limited to Monsanto’s insidious monocultural genetic abominations and implicit reliance on GPS.

      The forms of redistribution you’re thinking of are not redistribution, not really — except, to reiterate, from poor to rich. The Dalits don’t save a dime of their government checks; the blood, sweat, and tears go directly from Vaisya (dwindling) -> Dalit (expanding) -> the Waltons and their comrades-in-arms (as prosperous as ever).

      The market is good, but will never be perfect, and human discretion is king.

      1. You say that redistribution is covetousness, but taxation is redistribution

        Taxation is when person A is forced to pay money to person B.

        Redistribution is when person A is forced to pay money to person B who gives it to person C.

        Redistribution works perfectly well if the redistributor is an honest and honorable man and expects to share, perhaps disproportionately, in the resulting general civilizational prosperity. If, on the other hand, the redistributor is evil, with selfish and short-sighted intent, then the redistribution will be evil.

        If the redistributor were an honest and honorable man he would not be redistributing in the first place, because he’d see that giving the poor money makes the money magically disappear, makes the poor swarm him like zombie, and that taking away the money from the rich makes the rich resentful whom our man, being honest and honorable, likes as much as the poor.

        1. >Taxation vs. redistribution.

          Per your description, a distinction without a difference, “taxation” just being the coercive reallocation of wealth you regard as legitimate, as opposed to the “redistributive” coercive of wealth you regard as illegitimate. Consider that your “taxation” involves taking money from the sheeple and giving it to policemen, firefighters, government bureaucrats, and the like (the better to farm the sheeple with), whereas your “redistribution” involves shearing the herd in order to purchase votes (the better to farm the sheeple with). That’s a moral distinction, and not a very good one.

          Furthermore, and admittedly I may be reading too much into this, but it seems to me that you’re missing the many reallocations that are far more subtle than any tax. Any industry even vaguely resembling on oligopoly is populated by companies highly interested in maintaining the status quo, and though they may occasionally squabble amongst themselves, they will reflexively lock shields at the first hint of intrusion. In general, the only way you can get around these fat and highly centralized parasites is by skirting the bounds of legality in hot pursuit of at least an order of magnitude greater centralization, e.g. Uber and the taxi racket.

          >because he’d see that giving the poor money makes the money magically disappear

          That’s a strawman, I’m afraid. I’m using quite a different definition of “poor”, one under all we working men fall, and as I stated previously, it is undesirable that an endless tap of free money be given to the indolent and spendthrifty, unless one’s goal is explicitly to enrich the megacorps and drug gangs at the expense of the common sheeperson.

          The goal of any honest redistributor is decentralization so as to improve the general welfare, and also to increase his country’s resilience in the face of the long-tail unexpected. That will mean a big, fat, steel-toed, jack-booted kick in the teeth to more than a few Monsantos of the world.

          Did you know that with the advent of JIT (just-in-time) logistics, America is never more than 7 days of “business as unusual” away from food supply: zero?

          These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night.

          1. Taxation is when person A is forced to pay person B and person B uses that money to pay for stuff. Firemen, bureaucrats, policemen are paid by taxation, even if the size of bureaucrats and taxation has bloated beyond the Laffer limit.

            Redistribution is when person A is forced to pay person B and person B gives that money away to person C. Obamaphones, social housing, many government allowances are forms of redistribution.

            Your definition of the poor is misleading. The poor are the poor. The middle class is the middle class, and I assume that when you refer to working men you are referring to the middle class. Your earlier picture implies people living in favelas, implies poor, not working men.

            Same principle applies for working men: what is given, not rightfully earned, will be treated as disposable.

          2. No government in the history of government has ever “given money away”.

            You’re missing what they’re buying, my friend: power; security; votes; the mandate of “the people”.

            I would like to elaborate a bit on my earlier point, “unless one’s goal is explicitly to enrich the megacorps and drug gangs”:

            I don’t know how it is in the Nederland, but in America, since around the 1970s, much of the clandestine services’ black budgets have come from drugs. This is colloquial knowledge, well-known and well-accepted to that point that mainstream movies starring megastars have been made about it. (See.) How much of that drug money would you like to bet started its life as a welfare check?

            Look, the simple fact is that we are all poor: the working poor. Economically speaking — ignoring culture for a moment, though there’s a very strong correlation —, the middle class begins, as per Mitt Romney, at 250kUSD/yr. The legitimate upper class starts with self-made centimillionaires at the low end, remnant royalty in the middle, and international financier-types at the high end. The Rothschild dynasty possessing $2 trillion is not a crazy hypothesis. Above them there is… something, but the particulars are shadowy and vague.

            The favela-dwellers are livestock.

            In general, the world is not as it seems.

          3. >Your story is the evil bourgeoisie oppressing the poor proletariat. I have heard it before.

            Everyone seeks advantage.

            The “evil bourgeoisie” (where they exist) seek to use “corporate bargaining” power (i.e. very smart attorneys) to part the “poor proletariat” from the fruits of their labor; the “poor proletariat” (where they exist) seek to use “collective bargaining” (i.e. unions) to internalize as much of their produced value as possible (and, where possible, internalize even more than they have produced); the aristocratic landholding nobility (where they exist) seek to enrich themselves at the expense of both. (I dispute the use of such Marxist terms, poorly suited to the present millennium, but whatever.)

            In the current year, a parasitic class of religious zealots cleverly disguised as interminably boring government paper-pushers threatens to suck the remaining oxygen from the room, and Mr. Trump is all that stands in their way.

            And if you think that this is not the case, that everyone does not in fact seek advantage, “non-aggression principle” be damned, then you are a fool, for the Natural Laws are eternal, and by Darwinian necessity that which can continue to grow will continue to grow.

            Profit-seeking corporate entities are totalizing economic agents: they use their superior scale, employed humans’ talents, and proximity to regulatory forces to crush potential competitors to the greatest extent permitted by their socioculturoeconomic environment. Naturally, the softest targets are individuals. The right of the individual is the right of the patriarch, and so if these soulless corporate entities (a mere outgrowth of the regulatory state, I would remind you) — or, for that matter, useless paper-pushers in pointless corners of bureaucratic labyrinths — are free to trod on the individual at will, the end result is exactly our present sorry state: nations of psychobiologically castrated “men” begging for scraps from the inhuman government-corporate economic-regulatory complex so very much bigger than themselves… so gargantuan, in fact, that the complex does not even notice when it crushes the life out of them, like a mammoth crushing an ant.

            And for pointing out such simple and obvious truths, you imply me a commie? The outrage!

            What is the natural order, I demand of you: man on top, or man on bottom! Choose, and choose well!

  3. Remove the quotation mark at the end of the links. They show typical (((LIEversity))) stock photo scene and lux condos overlooking endless barrio.

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