This is the Ah, money! footnote we removed from Diary of an Adamant Seducer.
We mean to tinker with it here.
*[Ah, money! The freedom to speak your mind without fear of reprisal is one thing. The freedom to pay to pummel everyone with your propaganda is not necessarily fundamental to freedom of speech.
Ah, money! If a large wealth gap harms civil community and democracy, we should consider redistributing more wealth from the top down. Attention should be paid to not de-incentivizing innovation and productive risk-taking; but allowing wealth to concentrate overmuch at the top can do exactly this: it can help the already-established use their influence to alter the rules of the game in their favor, and incline them towards resting on their laurels/super-yachts. Furthermore, the wealth generated within a system is to a large extent dependent upon the system itself. It is therefore both reasonable and just for the system to redistribute wealth if that redistribution is likely to help maintain the integrity of the system. This is not to say: tax all the money out of the rich, but was the US economy more sluggish, risk-adverse, lacking in innovation, or generally less productive in eras with comparatively low disparities between household net worths (in for example 1945-1975) than nowadays*??
We could implement a wealth tax and invest the money in green public works projects and incentives for investments in green energy and technology. That would reduce income disparity, create interesting and fulfilling jobs, and help us to jump into a more sustainable future.
*(In the United States of America:
In 1973, the real [adjusted for inflation] family income growth since 1947 was roughly equivalent in the 95th, median, and 20th percentiles. 2018, the 95th percentile’s real family income gain since 1947 was 180% the 1973 level; the median’s real family income was around around 130% of the 1973 level; and the 20% percentile’s real family income was around 20% of the 1973 level.
In 1913, the top 1% of household’s held 44% of the household wealth; the top .5% held 40% of the household wealth (that’s a total of 44% — not a total of 84%). By the mid-1920s, those numbers fell to about 36% (for the top 1%) and 28% (for the top .5%) of household wealth. But then the numbers rise steeply until 1929: 51% and 42%. Then there’s the stock market collapse and the share of wealth of the top 1 and .5% of households drops steadily and fairly precipitously until the end of the 1940s: 29% and 21%. And then the share of wealth of the top 1 and .5% of households continues to drop steadily but now pretty gradually until the end of the 1970s, when the top 1% of households owns 25% of the total household wealth, and the top .5% owns 18% of the total household wealth. And then the numbers head steadily upwards until by 2012, the top 1% owns 34% of the household wealth and the top .5% owns 41%.
See the graphs we estimated into the above sketches at:
This graph shows the wealth distribution in the first quarter of 2023
The top 10% of earners held 69% of the total household wealth; the top 1% held 31.3% of the total household wealth; the top .1% held 12.8% of the total household wealth. The bottom 50% held 2.4% of the total household wealth.]