Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Links on Anarchism

It may sound bizarre, but it's interesting to note that many of the world's top intellectuals are anarchists. These include Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (see here). This has prompted me to look into it a tiny bit. I watched a series of YouTube clips called Anarchism 101 that is here. It introduces the concept and addresses common objections. Seems very reasonable to me. There are different strands, including anarcho capitalism and anarcho syndicalism. The former is regarded as a contradiction in terms by it's critics (see here) and is criticized in the Anarchism 101 series. Chomsky and Zinn regard themselves as anarcho syndicalists.

Which societies have adopted anarchism? According to my first wiki link some Native American societies would qualify, if imperfectly. David Friedman asks whether the Amish are anarchists here and concludes that they are. For a brief period Spain was anarchic (see here). Monty Python's annoying peasant was an anarcho syndicalist (see here). A city in Hong Kong was regarded by some as anarcho capitalist and there's a German documentary on it starting here. It has since been demolished. Noam Chomsky criticizes anarcho capitalism and discusses liberterianism here.


Chad said...

Blah - top change.

You've been a broken record about the top 1% owning 40% of the wealth - up 20% since 1980 and then more of a broken record for the poorest. My guess is that you have never really broken down who is part of the 1% and why they have 40% of the wealth otherwise I doubt yo would mention it.

Did you know that earning just $350,000/ year places you in the top 1%? Since 1980 do you know what groups of people have vaulted into the top 1%? Athletes, actors and musicians - not businessmen and Wall Street Execs.

After doing some investigation, your argument while true is very slanted since some of the most wealthy people controlling the money are in entertainment. Then to think that making just $350,000 per year puts a person in the top 1% further detracts from your argument - that is a healthy salary, but most definitely not outrageous.

About the poor - again I think your simply a regurgitation machine and haven't done enough research to support your arguement. The bottom 1/5th in this country are the poorest people, but they are the new poor. When surveying those at the bottom 10 years later only 18% of those people remain in the bottom - once they stop saying poor me and actually start working they move up the ladder.

Thought I'd share.

Chad said...

BTW - I think your a great researcher, I wasn't digging you on that I was saying that you haven't dug down deep enough into the baseline and the roots on both ends to see who these people are and why they are there. For the top 1% your arguements they now take a huge hit based on the fact that 50% or more of the 1% are in some form of entertainment. Understanding who makes up the 1 million people making $350,000 + I have to argue that the total wealth owned by actual business driven people have come down and the 1% which people apparently hate are the very people they love - ironic.

Jon said...

Well that's what this blog is for. If you think I'm missing some info, give it to me. But don't just say it. Give me a link.

So it's not Wall St Execs and businessmen. It's athletes, actors, and musicians. That's an interesting point if true. Give me a source. I'd love to know about the demographics of these income shifts. 50% in entertainment? Fine. Give me a source.

Same with income mobility. Only 18% of people in the bottom 1/5 are still there after 10 years. OK, where's your source? And more importantly what was mobility like prior to 1980? It's been true for a long time that people start poor after college, then collect earnings and move out of the ranks of the poor. Are they able to do that to a greater degree today than before? That's the question.

I know you hear it repeated over and over that OWS type people hate the rich. It's not true. I don't know leftists that hate the top 1%. What they hate is the fact that a lot of people get there by breaking the law. Or they get there not by innovating, but by using their power to leverage a greater share of the revenue. That's easier than working hard and creating value.

A baseball player didn't make his money by putting the whole system at risk to where state bail out was required. He didn't get rich by harming everyone else. So I have no problem with his millions. I do have a problem with GS. They sell a crappy product to an unsuspecting pension fund manager. They say "It's AAA, guaranteed investment." What they don't tell him is that the ratings agencies are paid for by GS. And when they sell him crap they laugh about it. Then they turn around and bet it will fail. That's illegal. They bet against it, make billions, then take a state bail out they don't need because their bets were so large they collapsed the industry. None of them are prosecuted because they've bought their way into Washington. They got rich by harming people. Pensions are gone. Baseball players don't do that.

So no, $350K isn't outrageous. I don't begrudge someone the ability to make money. But I look at the fact that 15% are getting by on $200/wk or less and I ask why. And how does that harm not just them but the rest as well (as described in the TED talk.) Partly it's because people broke the law, but they aren't held to account. In fact they keep their stolen goods.

Sheldon said...

Actaully there has been a study recently published that I have seen and discussed on a couple blogs and the:
June 25 show interview with Johh Bakija. Here is the link to the study (pdf):

From the abstract, they claim that there is also a large gap within the 1%, and that the top .1% which would be the super wealthy are made up of top executives, managers and financial professionals (probably hedge fund managers). They also state that they had 70% share of the to total increase in the total national income over the last 25 years. And as I recall, of that to .1%, sports and entertainment figures only comprise 3% of the .1%. So of the super rich, very few are in entertainment and sports. Stick that in you mouth and swallow it Chad.

Jon said...

Sheldon, I'm seeing the same thing. Here's what Chad wrote:

Since 1980 do you know what groups of people have vaulted into the top 1%? Athletes, actors and musicians - not businessmen and Wall Street Execs.

Chad, do you have a source? Here's Krugman discussing how really it's the top 0.1%, like Sheldon says. 2/3 of the gains that went to the top 1% went to the top 0.1%. And who are they? Athletes and actors? Nope. Here I quote from Krugman's column.

Who’s in that top 0.1 percent? Are they heroic entrepreneurs creating jobs? No, for the most part, they’re corporate executives. Recent research shows that around 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent either are executives in nonfinancial companies or make their money in finance, i.e., Wall Street broadly defined. Add in lawyers and people in real estate, and we’re talking about more than 70 percent of the lucky one-thousandth.