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The wealth inequality gap and why it's there

ClassicRobert
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1/5/2014 2:28:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Now, I think that we've all seen the graphics showing the growing wealth inequality gap that we've been experiencing, and it's true, that is unjust. With lots of negative externalities, like slowed upwards mobility, slowed spending, and increased class divisions, it's something that absolutely should be addressed. However, I think a lot of people are looking at it the wrong way.

You have people who are saying that this is a failure in capitalism and that it should be solved by increasing taxes on the wealthy and expanding the social safety net. However, that's just inefficient. That's adding government intervention when government intervention is the problem in the first place. Let me elaborate:

The wealthy are only able to become so wealthy because of government, be it through regulations, patents, corporate income tax, etc. All of these provide extra barriers to entry that wouldn't otherwise be there, and it keeps the large businesses from being challenged at a competitive level. If you remove the government involvement here, very few people would be able to get ultra wealthy, as there would be more competition to take away those economic profits, and those that do would be serving the people effectively by offering the goods at a low price and high quality that competitors couldn't beat. The best way to solve the wealth inequality gap is simply by removing government involvement and making entrepreneurship easy.

Now, many would argue that those regulations are necessary. That they are there for "consumer protection." I think that's ridiculous. It's not consumer protection to lower consumer choice, lower competition in the markets, and in doing so, increase the power of businesses. That's just corporatist. The only regulations that would truly offer consumer protection are the ones that would increase the quality and quantity of information so consumers could make better decisions about where to buy. After that, the best consumer protection is allowing the consumers to decide which firms stay in business.

Capitalism and markets aren't the problem. Government not allowing the markets to be free is the problem.
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

My Pet Fish is such a Douche- NiamC

It's an app to meet friends and stuff, sort of like an adult club penguin- Thett3, describing Tinder
Khaos_Mage
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1/5/2014 4:01:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I disagree.
I blame the greed of the poor.

Upward mobility is simple, if you sacrifice, which people do not want to do.
I can barely afford my house, but guess what, I have some wealth, and at the cost of going out...ever.

Let's look at the core problem of this inequality:
You make $10,000/yr for 10 yrs, and spend it all, like a teenager is likely to do.
I make $10,000/yr in wages as you did, however, I save $1,000 each year at zero interest.

Guess what, at the end of 10 years, I have more wealth than you.
Now, if I use that wealth to generate more, I obtain it quicker than you would, who is just starting out.

At best, the only thing one can complain about is the unequal starting point (trust fund babies vs. welfare babies), but the playing field is equal.
My work here is, finally, done.
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:23:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Wrong and dumb. Patents, for example, are to create division of power and are supposed to be enforced by a mediator for which there is no "expansion of profits," i.e., a government which is not like to a corporation. Without patents the greatest investor takes the idea every time, keeping the poor poor and making the rich richer. It is unarguably a failing of pure capitalism that the more powerful have greater powers of gaining more power. DUH.
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:27:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
This was pretty much just a really stupid assertion. If government wasn't there, things would be more competitive just because. Yeah, no.
Tophatdoc
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1/5/2014 4:42:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Capitalism has failed if we listen to those who specialize in an envious parlance that appeals to our emotions and not our thoughts. Wealth inequality has nothing to do with efficiency.

This is nothing short of a pseudo-religious plea echoed by the incapable. They just want what someone else has. That is called jealousy. Their proposals support for more crony capitalism to pick winners and losers. We should be more concerned about the conditions which poor people live in. Not how much money they have.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:48:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 4:42:36 PM, Tophatdoc wrote:
Capitalism has failed if we listen to those who specialize in an envious parlance that appeals to our emotions and not our thoughts. Wealth inequality has nothing to do with efficiency.

This is nothing short of a pseudo-religious plea echoed by the incapable. They just want what someone else has. That is called jealousy. Their proposals support for more crony capitalism to pick winners and losers. We should be more concerned about the conditions which poor people live in. Not how much money they have.

I was just reading your justification of being pro-capitalist right there actually, and found it incredibly small-minded. It's pretty much a prime example of not looking at the bigger picture.
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:51:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Also, there are two communists on this site, and both of us seem to have been touched by suicide in our families, those who actually committed suicide suffering huge mental turmoil prior to their suicides with every act of selfishness. It seems to me we're the only two truly rational individuals on this site, everyone else just playing nonsensical games of "God".
Tophatdoc
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1/5/2014 4:54:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 4:48:22 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:

I was just reading your justification of being pro-capitalist right there actually, and found it incredibly small-minded. It's pretty much a prime example of not looking at the bigger picture.
Thanks for the compliments and telling me something that will change my life forever.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:55:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 4:54:27 PM, Tophatdoc wrote:
At 1/5/2014 4:48:22 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:

I was just reading your justification of being pro-capitalist right there actually, and found it incredibly small-minded. It's pretty much a prime example of not looking at the bigger picture.
Thanks for the compliments and telling me something that will change my life forever.

u mad bro?
Tophatdoc
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1/5/2014 4:58:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 4:55:57 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
u mad bro?

Small-minded:"Characterized by pettiness or selfishness."
I wonder who this may be?
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 4:59:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 4:58:07 PM, Tophatdoc wrote:
At 1/5/2014 4:55:57 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
u mad bro?

Small-minded:"Characterized by pettiness or selfishness."
I wonder who this may be?

You.
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 5:03:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 5:02:49 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
It seems to me that only love trumps the abused becoming the abuser, a beautiful thing.

The love, this is. =)
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 5:10:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
To explain to you why your justification is small-minded, Tophatdoc, it's only to look at stages, not ideology. You put forward people moving to "capitalist countries" as justification of your "capitalism", but all your "capitalism" really is, is a more vigorous power struggle. You might look to countries you'd consider "more communistic" then as places where that power struggle has stagnated, ergo less production. I hear areas close to active volcanoes are very fertile bro.
EndarkenedRationalist
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1/5/2014 7:15:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Competition, competition, that's all advocates of the free market talk about, as the competition was some magic wand that makes everything affordble and treats everyone well. People never seem to realise that business is more a problem than government. The United States had unregulated business during the Gilded Age, and it was a massive disaster. Without regulations, businesses would exploit the workers left and right.

Do regulations hamper profit? Yes, absolutely, and for good reason. A business would build a children's orphanage out of arsenic if it could save a nickel.

So the government 100% has to regulate. The question is, how much regulation? There is a lot of excessive hoop-jumping and red tape.

Wealth inequality exists because the 1% control 25% of the nation's wealth and 50% of the stocks. Wealth inequality exists because the country continues favouring the wealthy and demonising the poor as "lazy slobs." Admittedly, some of them are. But too many people still buy into the American Dream - that hard work = success, which is entirely inaccurate. Hard work is certainly a factor in success, but it is not the reason for it.
ClassicRobert
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1/5/2014 7:29:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:15:09 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Competition, competition, that's all advocates of the free market talk about, as the competition was some magic wand that makes everything affordble and treats everyone well. People never seem to realise that business is more a problem than government. The United States had unregulated business during the Gilded Age, and it was a massive disaster. Without regulations, businesses would exploit the workers left and right.

That was not a free market. We had ridiculous quotas and tariffs preventing international trade and competition, and we also didn't have things like the internet to reduce information asymmetries. Back then, if there was another store selling the thing you wanted, but it was 10 miles away, how would you even know or get there?

Do regulations hamper profit? Yes, absolutely, and for good reason. A business would build a children's orphanage out of arsenic if it could save a nickel.

And when you reduce the corporations power by allowing competition to exist, the consumers can put those businesses out of business by buying from competing businesses.

So the government 100% has to regulate. The question is, how much regulation? There is a lot of excessive hoop-jumping and red tape.

Wealth inequality exists because the 1% control 25% of the nation's wealth and 50% of the stocks. Wealth inequality exists because the country continues favouring the wealthy and demonising the poor as "lazy slobs." Admittedly, some of them are. But too many people still buy into the American Dream - that hard work = success, which is entirely inaccurate. Hard work is certainly a factor in success, but it is not the reason for it.

And back to the OP, why are people even able to become so wealthy in the first place? It's because we have regulations and other legal barriers to entry which prevent small businesses from challenging the big corporation's authority, reducing their profits and reducing their market share. Regulations and government involvement in the market is exactly what favors the wealthy! What you just said was a description of the problem, not a cause for it.
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

My Pet Fish is such a Douche- NiamC

It's an app to meet friends and stuff, sort of like an adult club penguin- Thett3, describing Tinder
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 7:39:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Shut up. CR. You're arguing against pure sense. The more powerful will always be better positioned to gain more power, thus the gap between rich and poor will grow. There's no touching that, but with delusion.
dylancatlow
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1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.
EndarkenedRationalist
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1/5/2014 7:45:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:29:24 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
At 1/5/2014 7:15:09 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Competition, competition, that's all advocates of the free market talk about, as the competition was some magic wand that makes everything affordble and treats everyone well. People never seem to realise that business is more a problem than government. The United States had unregulated business during the Gilded Age, and it was a massive disaster. Without regulations, businesses would exploit the workers left and right.

That was not a free market. We had ridiculous quotas and tariffs preventing international trade and competition, and we also didn't have things like the internet to reduce information asymmetries. Back then, if there was another store selling the thing you wanted, but it was 10 miles away, how would you even know or get there?

Perhaps internationally, but within the states, and especially compared to today, businesses were free. And they formulated monopolies. In a free market, the consumers will not be able to prevent businesses from consolidating and making monopolies. One will overpower the others sooner or later.

Do regulations hamper profit? Yes, absolutely, and for good reason. A business would build a children's orphanage out of arsenic if it could save a nickel.

And when you reduce the corporations power by allowing competition to exist, the consumers can put those businesses out of business by buying from competing businesses.

Entirely too much faith in consumers and - again - the magic wand of competition.

So the government 100% has to regulate. The question is, how much regulation? There is a lot of excessive hoop-jumping and red tape.

Wealth inequality exists because the 1% control 25% of the nation's wealth and 50% of the stocks. Wealth inequality exists because the country continues favouring the wealthy and demonising the poor as "lazy slobs." Admittedly, some of them are. But too many people still buy into the American Dream - that hard work = success, which is entirely inaccurate. Hard work is certainly a factor in success, but it is not the reason for it.

And back to the OP, why are people even able to become so wealthy in the first place? It's because we have regulations and other legal barriers to entry which prevent small businesses from challenging the big corporation's authority, reducing their profits and reducing their market share. Regulations and government involvement in the market is exactly what favors the wealthy! What you just said was a description of the problem, not a cause for it.

People become wealthy through a few avenues, such as:

Hard work
Innovative ideas
Birth into wealth
Tax loopholes
Outsourcing/using foreign banks
Exploitation

Regulation favours the working class. Or should we really return to the days of the Triangle Shirtwaste Factory and the days of child labour and the days where business could pay the workers literally pennies to maximize their own profits?
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 7:50:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.

Yes, and everyone since I made my point is arguing around it. dylan and Tophatdoc go another route, while Robert must stick to his guns. What about the starving Africans, though, dylan? It's all well and good for you, who is living considerably cosily. What about this poor kid: http://i0.wp.com... Sure, it's a grand thing indeed that multinational corporations suck dry this kid's homeland of resources.
dylancatlow
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1/5/2014 8:11:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:50:16 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
At 1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.

Yes, and everyone since I made my point is arguing around it. dylan and Tophatdoc go another route, while Robert must stick to his guns. What about the starving Africans, though, dylan? It's all well and good for you, who is living considerably cosily. What about this poor kid: http://i0.wp.com... Sure, it's a grand thing indeed that multinational corporations suck dry this kid's homeland of resources.

Inequality is defined by relative, not absolute terms, and I see no relevance in the former. The notion that it would be somehow good to bring everyone closer to that child's plight is beyond disgusting. Wealth inequality can only be considered relevant within a zero-sum context, and I don't think that applies. Reducing wealth inequality for the sake of doing so is clearly irrational.
TheHitchslap
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1/5/2014 8:34:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 2:28:41 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
Now, I think that we've all seen the graphics showing the growing wealth inequality gap that we've been experiencing, and it's true, that is unjust. With lots of negative externalities, like slowed upwards mobility, slowed spending, and increased class divisions, it's something that absolutely should be addressed. However, I think a lot of people are looking at it the wrong way.

You have people who are saying that this is a failure in capitalism and that it should be solved by increasing taxes on the wealthy and expanding the social safety net. However, that's just inefficient. That's adding government intervention when government intervention is the problem in the first place. Let me elaborate:

The wealthy are only able to become so wealthy because of government, be it through regulations, patents, corporate income tax, etc. All of these provide extra barriers to entry that wouldn't otherwise be there, and it keeps the large businesses from being challenged at a competitive level. If you remove the government involvement here, very few people would be able to get ultra wealthy, as there would be more competition to take away those economic profits, and those that do would be serving the people effectively by offering the goods at a low price and high quality that competitors couldn't beat. The best way to solve the wealth inequality gap is simply by removing government involvement and making entrepreneurship easy.

Now, many would argue that those regulations are necessary. That they are there for "consumer protection." I think that's ridiculous. It's not consumer protection to lower consumer choice, lower competition in the markets, and in doing so, increase the power of businesses. That's just corporatist. The only regulations that would truly offer consumer protection are the ones that would increase the quality and quantity of information so consumers could make better decisions about where to buy. After that, the best consumer protection is allowing the consumers to decide which firms stay in business.

Capitalism and markets aren't the problem. Government not allowing the markets to be free is the problem.

Dear Milton Friedman,

1) You are dead....stay that way
2) You're only the second best economist of all time. The first is John Keynes, who was in fact a conservative but saw the falls in capitalism and addressed them
3) This is not based on any objective facts, but rather a republican ideologue developed in the Reagan years, the objective facts run contrary to these claims above.

Sincerely,

anyone with half a brain.
Thank you for voting!
AnDoctuir
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1/5/2014 9:14:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 8:11:33 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 1/5/2014 7:50:16 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
At 1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.

Yes, and everyone since I made my point is arguing around it. dylan and Tophatdoc go another route, while Robert must stick to his guns. What about the starving Africans, though, dylan? It's all well and good for you, who is living considerably cosily. What about this poor kid: http://i0.wp.com... Sure, it's a grand thing indeed that multinational corporations suck dry this kid's homeland of resources.

Inequality is defined by relative, not absolute terms, and I see no relevance in the former. The notion that it would be somehow good to bring everyone closer to that child's plight is beyond disgusting. Wealth inequality can only be considered relevant within a zero-sum context, and I don't think that applies. Reducing wealth inequality for the sake of doing so is clearly irrational.

The general idea behind reducing wealth inequality is to cut down on extravagance/poor management and to bring that poor child's plight to an end dumbass. I refer you once again to multinational corporations who are draining this child's environment, but provide the furtherance of argument that it's so you can watch a new f*cking television every year. Equal power only means better management, in the belief that this world can sustain us all. Capitalist efficiency then is a farce, builds mansions where people are starving.
ClassicRobert
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1/5/2014 10:00:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.

When wealth inequality is as extreme as it is now, it serves to greatly increase the stratification of price levels for goods, making upwards mobility significantly more difficult. You can think of it like a ladder- when you increase the size of the gap, you increase the space between the rungs, making it more difficult to escalate than it should be, and we do not want people to die in a lower class just because they were born in one.

Additionally, when the wealth inequality gap at its levels is caused by the reduction of freedom and consumer choice, it is clearly unjust.
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

My Pet Fish is such a Douche- NiamC

It's an app to meet friends and stuff, sort of like an adult club penguin- Thett3, describing Tinder
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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1/5/2014 10:33:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:15:09 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Competition, competition, that's all advocates of the free market talk about, as the competition was some magic wand that makes everything affordble and treats everyone well. People never seem to realise that business is more a problem than government. The United States had unregulated business during the Gilded Age, and it was a massive disaster. Without regulations, businesses would exploit the workers left and right.

Do regulations hamper profit? Yes, absolutely, and for good reason. A business would build a children's orphanage out of arsenic if it could save a nickel.

So the government 100% has to regulate. The question is, how much regulation? There is a lot of excessive hoop-jumping and red tape.

Wealth inequality exists because the 1% control 25% of the nation's wealth and 50% of the stocks. Wealth inequality exists because the country continues favouring the wealthy and demonising the poor as "lazy slobs." Admittedly, some of them are. But too many people still buy into the American Dream - that hard work = success, which is entirely inaccurate. Hard work is certainly a factor in success, but it is not the reason for it.

I don't know anyone who equates the poor as lazy slobs.
However, people like me, do acknowledge that while there are avenues for wealth (as you described), there are many avenues to poverty as well. Choices, my friend, are what cause most people to fail at generating wealth.
My work here is, finally, done.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/5/2014 10:41:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 7:42:54 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't think wealth inequality is a problem in and of itself, and fail to see any coherent perspective in which it could be considered one.

and why is that?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
EndarkenedRationalist
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1/5/2014 10:48:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 10:33:40 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 1/5/2014 7:15:09 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Competition, competition, that's all advocates of the free market talk about, as the competition was some magic wand that makes everything affordble and treats everyone well. People never seem to realise that business is more a problem than government. The United States had unregulated business during the Gilded Age, and it was a massive disaster. Without regulations, businesses would exploit the workers left and right.

Do regulations hamper profit? Yes, absolutely, and for good reason. A business would build a children's orphanage out of arsenic if it could save a nickel.

So the government 100% has to regulate. The question is, how much regulation? There is a lot of excessive hoop-jumping and red tape.

Wealth inequality exists because the 1% control 25% of the nation's wealth and 50% of the stocks. Wealth inequality exists because the country continues favouring the wealthy and demonising the poor as "lazy slobs." Admittedly, some of them are. But too many people still buy into the American Dream - that hard work = success, which is entirely inaccurate. Hard work is certainly a factor in success, but it is not the reason for it.

I don't know anyone who equates the poor as lazy slobs.
However, people like me, do acknowledge that while there are avenues for wealth (as you described), there are many avenues to poverty as well. Choices, my friend, are what cause most people to fail at generating wealth.

Admittedly so - there are indeed many ways to poverty as well. But many people seem unable or unwilling to recognise the roles of chance and circumstance in avenues to both poverty and wealth.
Khaos_Mage
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1/5/2014 10:56:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 10:48:43 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:


Admittedly so - there are indeed many ways to poverty as well. But many people seem unable or unwilling to recognise the roles of chance and circumstance in avenues to both poverty and wealth.

True, but as a matter of choice, more people choose things to become poor than be rich. Why? It is easier or more fun. (i.e. children, booze, drugs, XBOX, etc.)
My work here is, finally, done.