Archive for April 13, 2010

The Necessity of Progressive Taxation: 01

April 13, 2010 2 comments

Many CONservative idiots, and their ilk, oppose progressive taxation. I am going to dissect their arguments in this series of posts.

First let us define progressive taxation:

Progressive taxation is a method of determining tax rates based on the income of taxpayers, such that those who earn more pay more.

CONservatives and libertarians are usually strongly opposed to progressive taxation. I have to say that seeing a stupid tool give his tormentor the biggest dildo available is somewhat amusing.

Ironically it was Adam Smith (“invisible hand of market” guy) who wrote:

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

One of the most popular myths against progressive taxation is that only the rich create jobs, and that we should therefore give them more money.

My counter-question is: jobs doing what and for whom?

The rich constitute the majority of economic activity only in feudal and neo-feudal systems. Such systems are fairly unstable and in our current world untenable beyond a generation or so. Most economic activity in developed countries is between average people, and almost all jobs are meant to satisfy their needs, wants and desires.

How many of you have jobs that create products or perform services exclusively for the rich?

To keep this circulatory system of money going, it is necessary to prevent money leakage or concentration (or even increase it as necessary). The rich will always try to monopolize and concentrate money even if it is to their own ultimate detriment.

Let me explain with an example:

Consider two roughly equivalent systems:

In system 1, the state tries to tax the bottom 95% to within an inch of their existence while pretending to tax the rich 5%.

In system 2, the state does not tax the bottom 95%, but collects reasonably high taxes from the top 5%.

Which system will last longer?

CONservatives and libertarians would suggest that system 1 would fail before system 2. They would advance the specious argument that the rich will just do business elsewhere. My answer is: let them try!

You see, return on non-financial investment for almost any business in our world depends on the ability of consumers to buy items/ services. If the consumers has no money or credit, businesses cannot survive let alone make profits or grow. Since ww1, and especially after ww2, the average middle class person is the biggest consumer in developed countries.

If you remove non-debt-based money from the average consumer through layoffs, “cost-cutting”, “smart management”, off-shoring, growing inequality, excessive credit- you are destroying the very circulation that keeps the world going. Most people are however oblivious to this fact, because they have been suckered by the false money created through financialism in the last 30 years.

Money created through financialism cannot support a real economy for long. It is not real in that it cannot buy more than a fraction of its paper value in goods and services. Such money is notional, and requires to made real through selling the financial instrument for fiat currency. You can however extract some value out of notional money as long as there are bigger fools to buy your financial instrument. But watch out when everyone runs for the exit!

Saving and hoarding excessive money also take it out of the real economy and put it in a useless place- a.k.a a bank. You might think that banks loan money against their savings, but that is simply not true. Reserve requirements are for all practical purposes fictional, and have always been so (even in the days of the gold standard).

Banks have ALWAYS created money out of thin air, and then expected you to pay it back with real products and services.

Ultimately it is the average person’s spending that keeps our world going. The more they spend, the better everyone is- especially the rich. Therefore progressive taxes should be seen as a way to balance the flow of money in our economy by keeping its velocity and rate of flow high enough to prevent significant leakage or stagnation.

If you give a taxbreak to an average person, he/she will spend it and thereby create more jobs. If you give a tax break to the rich they will take that money out of the real economy and either invest it in a financial ponzi schemes or store it in a hole in the ground. The rich never invest in productive endeavours unless they are forced to, because making money off money is much easier.

More in my next post in this series.

Rationing Sex is Now Futile and Counterproductive: 01

April 13, 2010 15 comments

A lot of blogs suggest that women ration sex because they hate “beta” men. There is no doubt that women prefer to create an artificial and chronic shortage of sex. However the motivation is far more likely to be about maintaining leverage over men. Think about it.. most women can never get the most “desirable” men. They are pretty much stuck with average men, and prior to the 1980s had to make do with them.

Leveraging an artificial scarcity of sex to obtain maximal material gain is a far more straightforward explanation for the behavior of women that evo-pysch vodoo. While this strategy might have worked for a long time, the world that we now live in has certain features that make such behavior counterproductive. Before explaining why such behavior is now counterproductive, let us recap the conditions under which such behavior was not counterproductive.

Rationing sex to increase its apparent value worked in a world where:

1. The majority of men had limited intra-country geographical mobility.

2. Society was not anonymous, and public persona/face was important.

3. Opportunities for international travel/ relocation were very limited.

4. Porn and prostitution were discouraged/punished by effective socio-legal mechanisms.

5. Women were given the benefit of doubt for all their misdeeds.

6. Freedom of speech and expression was tightly regulated and opportunities to communicate with like-minded individuals are limited/ expensive.

For most of history, women exploited the above stated conditions to ration sex and extract maximal resources from men. However there have been a few changes over the last 30 years..

Rationing sex is a viable strategy only as long as men believe they have a good chance at a half decent sex life. Once they lose hope, become cynical, have no emotional attachment or simply do not or cannot care..the gig is up.

A previously workable strategy suddenly becomes counterproductive, and induces negative feedback in the system

A. While geographical mobility increased substantially in post-ww2 western countries, most men quickly “settled” down with one woman or a series of women. Dysfunctional or serial monogamy was therefore the norm for most of the past 60-70 years. Ever wonder how badly dressed/ geeky/ plain-looking guys in previous eras got laid and were having kids by their mid- to late- 20s? If you don’t believe me, look at pictures of couples from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Now ask yourself- why is that no longer the norm and what are it’s downstream effects?.

Men who have poor experiences with women in their 20s are unlikely to settle down or follow the conventional life trajectory expected out of them. You cannot obtain resources from men through rationing sex if they do not believe a fair deal is possible.

B. Anonymous urban/ suburban living did not start with the development of suburbs or “greater metropolitan areas”. Most people prior to the 1980s were well engaged in communities that they lived in, even if they moved around a lot. It was the gradual loss of job security that created anonymous urban/ suburban living. Nobody wants to contribute to an enterprise that rapes them. A dog-eat-dog society creates adversarialism with little attachment or empathy for such a society.

Enforcing the rationing of sex through reputation/ face/ shaming only works if men have something to lose socially..

C. Prior to the late 1980s, people were pretty much stuck in the countries they were born in. People who interacted and worked with people from other countries were the exception, not the rule. Most people got their country stereotypes from the mainstream media.Then cheap foreign travel and job opportunities happened. Nowadays, living in non-western countries and large cities does not necessitate giving up almost any of the trappings, conveniences or advantages of living in the west.

It is hard to enforce rationing sex if men can live/ work or visit other countries, where they could get a better deal.

D. There have been major changes in attitudes towards porn and it’s availability since the 1980s. The quality of available content and performers now often exceeds mainstream entertainment. Every obscure fetish and preference is now catered to, at competitive rates. A lot of high quality content is now free or peer-generated. You can enjoy any type of porn at a location and time of your choice. I have often entertained myself at airports by watching porn on my iPhone or laptop.

Rationing sex is unworkable if the quality, access and “fit” of available porn exceeds the services provided by an average woman.

E. Men born after 1970 have grown up in a world where they saw the assumptions of older generations of men turn to dust. They have seen the death of lifetime jobs, stable marriages, decent career paths and have therefore rightly become cynical about the old ways. This extreme cynicism extends to their views about women. Unlike previous generations, a significant percentage of men no longer treat women well by default. The use of widely understood words such as mangina, doormat, pushover, white-knighting etc is a signal of larger mindset shift.

Most men born after 1970 have no significant mental connection to their kids, or often.. have no kids. They have far less investment in keeping the peace with women and accepting BS, unlike previous generations. Did I mention that women past their late 20s have a fraction of the sexual bargaining power of their younger selves.

F. Widespread availability of the internet and net based services have changed the nature of public discourse, in ways that were never anticipated. Consider the effects of forwarding webpages, video clips, animations, articles to your acquaintances. Bulletin boards, blogs and social media have had a far larger impact on public discourse than most people realize. These effects are only going to accelerate in the future, partly due to the loss of credibility by the main stream median and press.Cheap computers, net access and AV equipment have removed old cost barriers to promoting various alternative viewpoints..

More in the next part of this series.