Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where the Wealth Is, Part 1

One of the oldest lines of advice that has stuck with me, not really advice but admonishment, was by the late and great Robert Anton Wilson. He wrote, "it only takes twenty years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea."
Often times I wondered what would you become in twenty years if you were conservative to begin with?
I tuned into talk radio the other day, Glenn Beck as it were, and caught the tail end of one of his mocking sessions. I must admit two things when it comes to Glenn Beck. Of course I do think he is nuts and I infrequently listen to him. But when I catch him, along with his cohorts, mocking someone, I am usually amused and entertained.
Simpleton stuff for the most part, like what Huffington Post does to conservatives.
The other day, when I tuned in, he was mocking someone because the person said something to the affect that a certain Scandinavian country had a more equal distribution of wealth than the United States.
The specifics really aren't that important, but the admonishment by beck was that the average income here in the States is higher than over there in Europe. That's what Glenn was selling, and he probably is right.
However that does not prove the opinion on wealth distribution wrong.
Wealth and Income are two distinct measurements. While it is true that income averages are greater here, it is also true that in certain countries wealth distribution is more equal than here in the States.
Again I'm not trying to be specific, or even attempting to carry the argument that was started by the unidentified speaker.
During the Presidential election cycle we all were exposed to a new issue and a new vernacular: Wealth distribution and the 1%.
If the Conservatives, like Mr. Beck and his followers, have any desire to influence in the arena of ideas, specifically now I'm talking about wealth and income disparities and what is a good public policy a society should adopt in regards to these imbalances, they ought to take the time to understand the distinction between the two measurements.
Mocking is entertaining, but the people with a better understanding of the points being made by economist are going to have more influence in elections.
Additionally, and we've seen this in Health Care, if the Conservatives are going to take the approach that the whole "1%" theme is over blown and inconsequential then they may be eliminating themselves from the entire debate. Which could happen to our collective detriment.
Wealth, Income, and Capital distribution is a real concern, and one in which we all have to discuss. We will not be served well if the GOP decides again to let the Democrats carry the conversation alone, and only after decisions are made to get serious about it.
We can't afford that.
At some point though, and many Democrats think it is eminent, conservatives are going to be so far behind the curve that they will become inconsequential themselves and winning national elections a thing of the past.
Twenty years later, a conservative may very well have missed a lot of new ideas. They risk becoming the Amish of the political community.
I consider myself rather conservative, but I'm open to new ideas and learning what people are passionate about, what learned people have been studying.
The idea that because one party or side of the political spectrum is for something, therefore I must be inherently against it is anathema to me.
Below is a hugely influential book by a French economist on Wealth, Income, and Capital. It was published after our last presidential election, but unless Mr. Beck and his cohorts catch up
with the conversation, his side risks losing a lot more than an election.…" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

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