"Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#41  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 25, 2013 5:20 am

Loren Michael wrote:
Warren Dew wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:I said doctors and lawyers are as likely to put protections on their positions as the people on the top.

And I demonstrated that was not the case. But I see you've quit reading, so I'll quit writing.

...I id not say that people on the top would be reaching down to lend a hand, which is the strawman you addressed. The examples of doctors/nurses and how lawyers guard their profession show that it is the case that doctors and lawyers put protections on their positions.

...but I also said that if you're not interested in at least the veneer of an honest accounting of what is being said, I'm happy to point it out. So here we are again.

Just for sake of reference:

From: http://www.profilesdatabase.com/resourc ... ary-survey

    Specialty National 6 yrs Practicing Average Median Starting Range

    Allergy & Immunology $246,000 -- $190,000
    Anesthesiology $360,000 -- $265,000
    Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery $522,875 -- 360,000
    Cardiology $402,000 -- $272,000
    Colon & Rectal Surgery $389,700 -- $290,000
    Critical Care Medicine $258,750 -- $198,000.
    Dermatology $365,450 -- $234,000
    Diagnostic Radiology – Interventional $469,800 -- $335,000
    Diagnostic Radiology – Non-Interventional $444,850 -- $330,000.00
    Endocrinology $214,550 -- $165,000
    Family Medicine $199,850 -- $138,000
    Family Medicine – with Obstetrics $207,900 -- $142,000
    Gastroenterology $398,800 -- $272,000
    General Surgery $350,000 -- $225,000
    Gynecological Oncology $402,000 -- $300,000
    Gynecology $233,000 -- $210,000
    Gynecology & Obstetrics $279,750 -- $200,000
    Hematology & Medical Oncology $314,800 -- $222,000
    Hospitalist $210,950 -- $165,000
    Nephrology $252,000 -- $180,000
    Infectious Disease $225,000 -- $158,000
    Internal Medicine $208,790 -- $145,000
    Neonatology $275,400 -- $196,000
    Neurological Surgery $589,500 -- $395,000
    Neurology $237,000 -- $190,000
    Ophthalmology $248,000 -- $210,000
    Orthopedic Surgery $485,500 -- $315,000
    Orthopedic Surgery – Pediatrics $395,420 -- $318,000
    Orthopedic Surgery – Spine $625,000 -- $465,000
    Otolaryngology $350,000 -- $222,000
    Pediatric Cardiology $230,900 -- $189,000
    Pediatric Endocrinology $187,600 -- $170,000
    Pediatric Gastroenterology $230,500 -- $175,000
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology $210,000 -- $175,000
    Pediatric Infectious Disease $205,00 -- $173,000
    Pediatric Intensive Care $252,500 -- $195,000
    Pediatric Nephrology $196,000 -- $172,000
    Pediatric Neurology $218,200 -- $182,000
    Pediatric Pulmonary Disease $190,000 -- $162,000
    Pediatric Surgery $401,000 -- $295,000
    Pediatrics $202,500 -- $162,000
    Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation $233,300 -- $178,000
    Plastic Surgery $382,000 -- $273,000
    Psychiatry $211,000 -- $165,000
    Psychiatry – Child $218,300 -- $159,000
    Pulmonary Disease $298,000 -- $191,500
    Rheumatology $220,500 -- $163,500
    Trauma Surgery $400,000 -- $298,000
    Urgent Care $215,000 -- $142,000
    Urology $400,000 -- $250,000
    Vascular Surgery $405,000 -- $259,400
I dunno, looks like protections are well in place to me.

Keep in mind that anyone making $250,000 a year or more is in the top two percent of income earners, per http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_i ... _taxpayers

I guess my wife should consider herself fortunate, she had surgery on her spinal column last Fall, four hours under the knife. Cost to us zero dollahs. under the British Columbia Medical Insurance program. Whew!
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#42  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 25, 2013 5:27 am

A big part of what's driving up costs in American health care is the doctor cartel putting up regulations to drive more dollars to them at the expense of everyone else.

Allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses (as in many cases is done in other countries) would play a handsome role in reducing costs.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#43  Postby devogue » Mar 25, 2013 5:31 am

proudfootz wrote:
mrjonno wrote:If you can save anything you arent that poor, if you have stocks in anything you arent that poor, if you worry about taxes you arent that poor.

Telling poor people to save more is just taking the piss,


Sometimes I wonder why I'm paying taxes at all - there are 'persons' in the US who earn far more and pay far less:

Million-Dollar Profits, Ten-Dollar Tax Bill
By Caitlin Lacy

The Oregon Center for Public Policy found new data showing that more than 5,000 profitable corporations operating in Oregon paid no more than $10 in corporate income tax for 2006. Among this group, 31 corporations each recorded profits of over $1 million.

OCPP policy analyst Michael Leachman emphasizes the need for the Oregon Department of Revenue to disclose the names of these corporations: “By shining light on the system, Oregonians can see which big, profitable companies are good corporate citizens and which are not.” We need to know, stresses Leachman, “Which ones are playing us for fools?”

When corporations get lower tax rates they are contributing less to the cost of public services, thereby shifting more of the burden onto individual taxpayers. The current share of income taxes collected from corporations operating in Oregon is projected to be around 6 percent during 2009 to 2011, compared to the 18.5 percent in the mid 1970’s.

Leachman notes that a larger number of corporations are paying more than the $10 minimum, but still less than the typical Oregon household. “The system has gone awry when a profitable corporation pays less in income taxes than a single mother working at a minimum wage job,” Leachman notes. “When corporations don’t pay their fair share, working families and small businesses are forced to pick up the slack”

http://clawback.org/2009/03/11/million- ... -tax-bill/


If only I were wealthy enough to buy some legislators I could have them figure out a way to force someone else to pay my share of the tax burden, too.


That reminds me of a recent Top Tip in Viz Magazine - it's UK related, buy you'll get the idea...brilliantly snarky:

"To avoid paying the bedroom tax, simply convert your spare bedroom into a Starbucks."
It's PETUNIAS TIME again, folks!!!

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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#44  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 25, 2013 5:40 am

devogue wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
mrjonno wrote:If you can save anything you arent that poor, if you have stocks in anything you arent that poor, if you worry about taxes you arent that poor.

Telling poor people to save more is just taking the piss,

Sometimes I wonder why I'm paying taxes at all - there are 'persons' in the US who earn far more and pay far less:

Million-Dollar Profits, Ten-Dollar Tax Bill
By Caitlin Lacy

The Oregon Center for Public Policy found new data showing that more than 5,000 profitable corporations operating in Oregon paid no more than $10 in corporate income tax for 2006. Among this group, 31 corporations each recorded profits of over $1 million.

OCPP policy analyst Michael Leachman emphasizes the need for the Oregon Department of Revenue to disclose the names of these corporations: “By shining light on the system, Oregonians can see which big, profitable companies are good corporate citizens and which are not.” We need to know, stresses Leachman, “Which ones are playing us for fools?”

When corporations get lower tax rates they are contributing less to the cost of public services, thereby shifting more of the burden onto individual taxpayers. The current share of income taxes collected from corporations operating in Oregon is projected to be around 6 percent during 2009 to 2011, compared to the 18.5 percent in the mid 1970’s.

Leachman notes that a larger number of corporations are paying more than the $10 minimum, but still less than the typical Oregon household. “The system has gone awry when a profitable corporation pays less in income taxes than a single mother working at a minimum wage job,” Leachman notes. “When corporations don’t pay their fair share, working families and small businesses are forced to pick up the slack”

http://clawback.org/2009/03/11/million- ... -tax-bill/

If only I were wealthy enough to buy some legislators I could have them figure out a way to force someone else to pay my share of the tax burden, too.


That reminds me of a recent Top Tip in Viz Magazine - it's UK related, buy you'll get the idea...brilliantly snarky:

"To avoid paying the bedroom tax, simply convert your spare bedroom into a Starbucks."

The word "fair" has been deleted from the American lexicon.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#45  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 25, 2013 5:42 am

Loren Michael wrote:A big part of what's driving up costs in American health care is the doctor cartel putting up regulations to drive more dollars to them at the expense of everyone else.

Allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses (as in many cases is done in other countries) would play a handsome role in reducing costs.

A national single payer system would represent a far better solution.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#46  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 25, 2013 5:56 am

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:A big part of what's driving up costs in American health care is the doctor cartel putting up regulations to drive more dollars to them at the expense of everyone else.

Allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses (as in many cases is done in other countries) would play a handsome role in reducing costs.

A national single payer system would represent a far better solution.


Oh, is it an either/or issue?
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#47  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 25, 2013 6:00 am

...and of course, single-payer doesn't really address the problem of rising health care costs. The funding mechanism may have some overlap, but I think you're confusing the issue of getting healthcare to people who don't have it with the issue of rising health care costs.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#48  Postby quixotecoyote » Mar 25, 2013 6:12 am

Loren Michael wrote:...and of course, single-payer doesn't really address the problem of rising health care costs. The funding mechanism may have some overlap, but I think you're confusing the issue of getting healthcare to people who don't have it with the issue of rising health care costs.


I think there's enough overlap to make it significant. How much of healthcare costs go into actually providing the services versus duplicated processes across competing systems, markups, the entire field of consumer healthcare bill collection, advertising, etc?

I don't know, but I see a lot of unnecessary expense based on the existing funding systems.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#49  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 25, 2013 6:21 am

quixotecoyote wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:...and of course, single-payer doesn't really address the problem of rising health care costs. The funding mechanism may have some overlap, but I think you're confusing the issue of getting healthcare to people who don't have it with the issue of rising health care costs.


I think there's enough overlap to make it significant. How much of healthcare costs go into actually providing the services versus duplicated processes across competing systems, markups, the entire field of consumer healthcare bill collection, advertising, etc?

I don't know, but I see a lot of unnecessary expense based on the existing funding systems.


That may be, I'm not sure. Certainly a payment mechanism can be incredibly wasteful in and of itself.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#50  Postby Nicko » Mar 25, 2013 7:14 am

Loren Michael wrote:...and of course, single-payer doesn't really address the problem of rising health care costs. The funding mechanism may have some overlap, but I think you're confusing the issue of getting healthcare to people who don't have it with the issue of rising health care costs.


It's definitely an issue often overlooked. The debate in the US seems to be who should pay, when surely a major area of concern is that healthcare in the US is around twice as expensive as other developed nations. And you guys aren't getting twice the results.

I think you may have put your finger on it by describing the behaviour in the industry as a cartel. Although, "cartel-like" (cartelesque?) behaviour might be more accurate. It's not like people sit down in smoke filled back rooms and plan this shit. Contrary to the opinion of certain political ideologies, it is quite possible to have noncompetitive behaviour in a profit-driven environment.

Take the US health "insurance" racket industry. All it would really take is one company to actually provide something somewhat resembling real insurance and they'd wipe the floor with their competition. It doesn't happen because - in the short term - they'd post less profits, their stock price would fall and they'd get taken over by their competition. Catch-22.

Healthcare really - IMHO - needs a state-backed system to provide a baseline and drive prices down by the huge negotiating power available to an entity that large. Turn the seller's market into a buyer's market. There'd still be a place for a private system. It would still be profitable. Just not obscenely so.

In Oz, for example, we have a taxpayer-funded Medicare system and private health funds that provide increased levels of service for those who can afford it. These are profitable companies that provide substantial benefits for their members. You don't get this absolute travesty we see in the US where "insurance" companies basically have their customers over a barrel.

Basic healthcare - ie. lifesaving procedures - is not really a capitalist thing. People can't make free choices because they don't choose to get sick. By having the private system compete to provide more than the taxpayer-funded "baseline", heathcare "customers" maintain the ability to utter that phrase which is essential to any functional capitalist system:

"Your fucking product fucking sucks, so I'm not fucking going to fucking buy it."
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#51  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 25, 2013 7:28 am

I basically agree with all of that.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#52  Postby UtilityMonster » Mar 25, 2013 8:24 pm

Higher taxes on the rich through means such as reducing the tax deductions they can take and taxing capital gains at a higher rate would work wonders in solving the problem. Of course, if we raise capital gains rates we must also allow capital losses to reduce tax burdens more than they currently do. This may not raise much in taxes, but it will reduce inequality.

Just because a few people are filthy rich does not mean that a society has huge problems. What matters is how well off people are at various levels in the in the economic distribution and how well effort and intellect correspond to success.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#53  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 25, 2013 10:02 pm

Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:A big part of what's driving up costs in American health care is the doctor cartel putting up regulations to drive more dollars to them at the expense of everyone else.

Allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses (as in many cases is done in other countries) would play a handsome role in reducing costs.

A national single payer system would represent a far better solution.


Oh, is it an either/or issue?

Yes, apparently it is. It appears to have been quite impossible for governments to regulate for-profit healthcare in a manner that keeps costs to consumers within some reasonable realm, whereas costs in single-payer systems have been much easier to manage and control and keep in line with a society's ability to pay.

The choice may not be purely an either/or situation because other factors are in play, the morality of making money from people's health problems or misfortunes, for example, or relying upon the "allocative" effects of market economics to determine the rate of access to healthcare services.

Canadians spend half what their American counterparts spend for healthcare per capita (about $3K/annum versus $6K/annum) and get better outcomes. The choice then between one approach and the other is a no brainer.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#54  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 26, 2013 1:52 am

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:A big part of what's driving up costs in American health care is the doctor cartel putting up regulations to drive more dollars to them at the expense of everyone else.

Allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses (as in many cases is done in other countries) would play a handsome role in reducing costs.

A national single payer system would represent a far better solution.


Oh, is it an either/or issue?

Yes, apparently it is.


The rest of your post doesn't justify that statement.

It appears to have been quite impossible for governments to regulate for-profit healthcare in a manner that keeps costs to consumers within some reasonable realm, whereas costs in single-payer systems have been much easier to manage and control and keep in line with a society's ability to pay.

The choice may not be purely an either/or situation because other factors are in play, the morality of making money from people's health problems or misfortunes, for example, or relying upon the "allocative" effects of market economics to determine the rate of access to healthcare services.

Canadians spend half what their American counterparts spend for healthcare per capita (about $3K/annum versus $6K/annum) and get better outcomes. The choice then between one approach and the other is a no brainer.


None of that suggets that the choice is EITHER single payer OR allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#55  Postby epete » Mar 26, 2013 2:11 am

UtilityMonster wrote:Higher taxes on the rich through means such as reducing the tax deductions they can take and taxing capital gains at a higher rate would work wonders in solving the problem. Of course, if we raise capital gains rates we must also allow capital losses to reduce tax burdens more than they currently do. This may not raise much in taxes, but it will reduce inequality.


You need to qualify your statements with regards to which country you are talking about. As far as I understand it, there are some significant differences with the way places like UK, USA and Australia (where I am from) variously handle capital gains. Here, you only pay capital gains tax on 50% of your gains at your nominal tax rate (as long as you hold the asset for more than 1 year). But you can deduct 100% of the loss at your nominal tax rate.

Anyway, I agree that upping capital gains taxation, at least here in Australia, would be a good step to address some inequality. It would also serve to cool the crazy housing market we have here. The fact that housing is no longer affordable for poor people, in terms of purchasing AND renting, is partly the fault of a capital gains tax regime that encourages speculative investment.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#56  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 26, 2013 6:43 am

Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
A national single payer system would represent a far better solution.

Oh, is it an either/or issue?

Yes, apparently it is.

The rest of your post doesn't justify that statement.

It appears to have been quite impossible for governments to regulate for-profit healthcare in a manner that keeps costs to consumers within some reasonable realm, whereas costs in single-payer systems have been much easier to manage and control and keep in line with a society's ability to pay.

The choice may not be purely an either/or situation because other factors are in play, the morality of making money from people's health problems or misfortunes, for example, or relying upon the "allocative" effects of market economics to determine the rate of access to healthcare services.

Canadians spend half what their American counterparts spend for healthcare per capita (about $3K/annum versus $6K/annum) and get better outcomes. The choice then between one approach and the other is a no brainer.


None of that suggets that the choice is EITHER single payer OR allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses.

Obviously, I did not take this to be your meaning, which you should have apprehended no later than six sentences into my post.

All you said was, "Oh, is it an either/or issue?" And that was in response to a comment by me in which I refered to single-payer healthcare. You could have been a bit clearer. You have a bad habit of being less than clear because you think it gives you wiggle room to genuflect and alter course if things dont work out to your liking.

There's no doubt that allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses would lower the costs of healthcare. However, by what degree or to what extent we don't know, and I expect it wouldn't be significant in the bigger picture.

And trying to get such a change made is probably little more than dreaming. The medical profession has worked hard to get protections in place regarding who does what and they won't surrender them easily. In fact, I'd presume they'd fight any such proposition to the death.

So where does that leave you?

I'd say just about nowhere, that's where, although the truth you posited remains standing.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#57  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 26, 2013 9:00 am

FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
FACT-MAN-2 wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
Oh, is it an either/or issue?

Yes, apparently it is.

The rest of your post doesn't justify that statement.

It appears to have been quite impossible for governments to regulate for-profit healthcare in a manner that keeps costs to consumers within some reasonable realm, whereas costs in single-payer systems have been much easier to manage and control and keep in line with a society's ability to pay.

The choice may not be purely an either/or situation because other factors are in play, the morality of making money from people's health problems or misfortunes, for example, or relying upon the "allocative" effects of market economics to determine the rate of access to healthcare services.

Canadians spend half what their American counterparts spend for healthcare per capita (about $3K/annum versus $6K/annum) and get better outcomes. The choice then between one approach and the other is a no brainer.


None of that suggets that the choice is EITHER single payer OR allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses.

Obviously, I did not take this to be your meaning, which you should have apprehended no later than six sentences into my post.

All you said was, "Oh, is it an either/or issue?" And that was in response to a comment by me in which I refered to single-payer healthcare. You could have been a bit clearer. You have a bad habit of being less than clear because you think it gives you wiggle room to genuflect and alter course if things dont work out to your liking.

There's no doubt that allowing more routine procedures to be performed by nurses would lower the costs of healthcare. However, by what degree or to what extent we don't know, and I expect it wouldn't be significant in the bigger picture.


It was a response to you saying that "A national single payer system would represent a far better solution". You not getting that either/or means either/or is... well, what am I supposed to do except keep pointing it out to you? It wasn't an oblique reference in the first place.

And trying to get such a change made is probably little more than dreaming. The medical profession has worked hard to get protections in place regarding who does what and they won't surrender them easily. In fact, I'd presume they'd fight any such proposition to the death.

So where does that leave you?


With the public good on the opposite side of an entrenched interest group. Same as pretty much anyone else trying to make the system better.

I think this is an issue to have a lot of hope around though, particularly given that it's a state-by-state problem; it's not a problem that's everywhere in America.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#58  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 26, 2013 3:46 pm

Loren Michael wrote:
I think this is an issue to have a lot of hope around though, particularly given that it's a state-by-state problem; it's not a problem that's everywhere in America.

Special interests operate at the State level just as well as they do on the Federal level and in those States where the medicos have entrenched their protections they'll fight hard to sustain them by keeping their rigging in place. These sorts of things can be very diffuclt to alter once they've been put in place. We can just imagine how doctors groups would play on consumer fears in such a situation, "Do you want a nurse setting your fractured arm?" Health services consumers in America, where Doctors have been elevated to God status, are quite vulnerable to such preaching.
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#59  Postby Panderos » Apr 02, 2013 3:37 pm

Loren Michael wrote:@Panderos I don't agree with everything this guy says, but I do think he has some decent ideas/complaints about "income".

That guy sure has some beef with income. But I'm not sure why his complaints are relevant. He says capital income shouldn't be classified (taxed) along with regular income. So what. What I'm trying to look at in that fourth graph is the correlation between how well off people in a country are (using GDP/capita as a measure, or income if you will) and the inequality of that country. How they earn their money - through labour, or investment or through diamond heists isn't really relevant. My point was they don't correlate well enough to explain the correlation between inequality and crime. Unless I'm missing something here?

Loren Michael wrote:Regarding crime, I think there are too many variables present at the country level. In a country, you'll find crime goes hand-in-hand with impoverished areas, and particularly violent crime.

Sure.. but do what extent does 'jealousy' and an inability to satisfy that wealth difference through legal means motivate social problems and hence crime?
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Re: "Wealth Inequality Is a Problem...

#60  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 03, 2013 2:07 am

Panderos wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:@Panderos I don't agree with everything this guy says, but I do think he has some decent ideas/complaints about "income".

That guy sure has some beef with income. But I'm not sure why his complaints are relevant. He says capital income shouldn't be classified (taxed) along with regular income. So what. What I'm trying to look at in that fourth graph is the correlation between how well off people in a country are (using GDP/capita as a measure, or income if you will) and the inequality of that country. How they earn their money - through labour, or investment or through diamond heists isn't really relevant. My point was they don't correlate well enough to explain the correlation between inequality and crime. Unless I'm missing something here?


He says that income is a "meaningless, misleading, and pernicious concept". In some respects I'm inclined to agree. It's poorly defined much of the time, which is relevant for the use of measurements that consider income as a factor, like income inequality.

Loren Michael wrote:Regarding crime, I think there are too many variables present at the country level. In a country, you'll find crime goes hand-in-hand with impoverished areas, and particularly violent crime.

Sure.. but do what extent does 'jealousy' and an inability to satisfy that wealth difference through legal means motivate social problems and hence crime?


I doubt it is particularly significant. I think factors like debt and financial instability lead people to make rash and risky decisions, leads people to self-medicate with alcohol and leads to stress that blows up in the form of violence, domestic or otherwise. To the extent that there is some sort of jealousy factor I think it's likely only particularly relevant in the minds of people who are already financially stressed. People with little or no debt, people who aren't in risky financial situations, they don't tend to do crime, even if they read articles about Carlos Slim or Bill Gates.
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Loren Michael
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