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Old 02-27-2011, 02:14 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SentraSE-R View Post
That's the widest gap on record, and the greatest disparity among western industrialized nations.
Why does this happen, though? I'm sure you'd like it to be a conspiracy of the evil plutocratic rich, but we don't all get what we want. Start with the obvious: wealth has a lower bound (zero), but no upper bound, so unless you have some mechanism redistributing new wealth as it's created, it's naturally going to take that distribution. It's just simple statistics.

Then think about wealth: is it a fixed quantity, so that the only way to get wealthy is to take from someone else? Or is it something that is created, so that when someone invents a microprocessor or cell phone network, or makes a Google or Facebook, and gets rich from it, they've created new wealth that didn't previously exist.

So there's why you have the greatest income disparity in the US: most of the inventions & innovations that create new wealth are created here. If you look at the Forbes list of the richest Americans, you'll find that the great majority of them became wealthy from the creation of something that didn't exist before they invented it.

Corresponding with that is the fact that the USA is the only wealthy democratic nation with no strong union presence. Private sector unions now represent less than 7% of private sector workers, compared to 1/3 in 1960.
And why? Because workers aren't that stupid. They could see that the union bosses were looting them to feather their own nests, and in the process killing the geese that laid the golden eggs by destroying American industry.

...public employees made up only 17% of union members nationwide in 1973 and now make up half of all union members in the USA. Public sector unions now represent 36% of public sector workers.
Because the union bosses could use their political clout to force public employees to belong to their unions, as a condition of employment.
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