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Thread: There is no such thing as unearned income

      
   
  1. #51
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    I do not understand the last sentence.
    Mine would only be a false dichotomy if a meaningful third alternative were shown between private and government ownership, and it would only be meaningful if it did not involve some element of " unearned income".
    My insurance comes through a "meaningful third alternative": it is not a capitalist business, and it is not government. It is a fraternal benefit insurance company for church members and their families.

    I also used to shop at a store that wasn't capitalistic and wasn't government, it was a true co-op.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  2. #52

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    My insurance comes through a "meaningful third alternative": it is not a capitalist business, and it is not government. It is a fraternal benefit insurance company for church members and their families.

    I also used to shop at a store that wasn't capitalistic and wasn't government, it was a true co-op.
    I have been a member of a fraternal benefit insurance company for many years and my brother was a VP until retirement. They are exempt from federal taxes, but they invest premium income in bonds, mortgages, etc and own an building and rent office space. They pay dividends in the form of additional paid up insurance. So yes, they are a capitalist company and are deeply involved in investing for and collecting unearned income. If they could not invest in collect interest, they could not provide the insurance they do, since operating expenses would eat into the premiums collected.
    Co-ops are corporations which sell stock to members and pay premiums in the form of credits on purchases. Part of the credits come from sales to non members.
    More importantly, nothing is stopping anyone from using these forms for other businesses. But there is no incentive for anyone to start such a business. Without the unearned income you decry, there is little incentive for anyone to do anything other than a 9 to 5 job.

  3. #53
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Proposition: any time wealth is created, it was created by someone's effort; wealth cannot come into existence without such effort.
    Perhaps it may be helpful to further explore the idea of wealth …

    I think wealth involves the possession of something that other people consider valuable. If I own a field and leave it idle long enough, trees will eventually take root and grow to a sufficient size that the wood of which they are primarily composed becomes useful for making or building things.

    I imagine the field itself also has an intrinsic value that can be associated with its usefulness, but the wood becomes an added value that came about without the addition of someone’s effort. Because the trees are part of the field and because I own the field, my wealth has effectively increased.


    (Note: The concept of private property is not essential to this illustration, though ownership (or possession, or control) may well be significant to a discussion of wealth.)

  4. #54

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Perhaps it may be helpful to further explore the idea of wealth …

    I think wealth involves the possession of something that other people consider valuable. If I own a field and leave it idle long enough, trees will eventually take root and grow to a sufficient size that the wood of which they are primarily composed becomes useful for making or building things.

    I imagine the field itself also has an intrinsic value that can be associated with its usefulness, but the wood becomes an added value that came about without the addition of someone’s effort. Because the trees are part of the field and because I own the field, my wealth has effectively increased.


    (Note: The concept of private property is not essential to this illustration, though ownership (or possession, or control) may well be significant to a discussion of wealth.)
    I think Marx's answer would be that others would work to get the wood, or more likely, pay money which, in turn
    resulted from someone's labor.

  5. #55
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    I think Marx's answer would be that others would work to get the wood, or more likely, pay money which, in turn resulted from someone's labor.
    The point I'm attempting to make is that wealth creation does not necessarily involve labor. In my example, harvesting the resources of the field would certainly require labor/effort, but the added value represented by the wood came about without an element of labor and constitutes wealth – whether consumed or held in reserve.

  6. #56

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    I agree that not all wealth is created.

  7. #57
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    I agree that not all wealth is created.
    Cool. Maybe we are making progress. (I will be interested to learn if Kulindahr will concede that same point.)


    Now let’s revisit Return On Investment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Operating a business involves labor by the person(s) doing the operating, which by most definitions is a source of earned income.
    Yes, but part of the profit is a return on invested capital.
    How much ROI will I derive by investing in a widget-producing machine if I store it idle in my garage?

    What is the most important influence on ROI between using the machine (capital investment) in a business enterprise and holding it in reserve?

    And more importantly, is it reasonable to regard the widget-producing machine itself (e.g. resource) as a form of wealth?


    Howard Roark laughed.

    He stood naked at the edge of a cliff …

    He looked at the granite. To be cut, he thought, and made into walls. He looked at a tree. To be split and made into rafters. He looked at a streak of rust on the stone and thought of iron ore under the ground. To be melted and to emerge as girders against the sky.

    These rocks, he thought, are here for me; waiting for the drill, the dynamite and my voice; waiting to be split, ripped, pounded, reborn; waiting for the shape my hands will give them.

    [Ayn Rand Institute]

  8. #58

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Cool. Maybe we are making progress. (I will be interested to learn if Kulindahr will concede that same point.)


    Now let’s revisit Return On Investment.



    How much ROI will I derive by investing in a widget-producing machine if I store it idle in my garage?

    What is the most important influence on ROI between using the machine (capital investment) in a business enterprise and holding it in reserve?

    And more importantly, is it reasonable to regard the widget-producing machine itself (e.g. resource) as a form of wealth?
    1. No return on the investment in the machine.
    2. Using it will raise the total return on total investment in the business assuming the machine is not the total. But letting it sit idle eliminates that portion of the return and reduces the percentage of return of investment of the entire firm. So the biggest difference in percentage of return results from it being idle.
    3. Yes the machine is wealth.

  9. #59
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Perhaps it may be helpful to further explore the idea of wealth …

    I think wealth involves the possession of something that other people consider valuable. If I own a field and leave it idle long enough, trees will eventually take root and grow to a sufficient size that the wood of which they are primarily composed becomes useful for making or building things.

    I imagine the field itself also has an intrinsic value that can be associated with its usefulness, but the wood becomes an added value that came about without the addition of someone’s effort. Because the trees are part of the field and because I own the field, my wealth has effectively increased.


    (Note: The concept of private property is not essential to this illustration, though ownership (or possession, or control) may well be significant to a discussion of wealth.)
    Under some systems of private property, by leaving the land sitting unused you lose ownership, so I think the concept of private property is core to this illustration -- or at least the concept of private real estate.

    Even so, it's an interesting proposition. The same concept would hold if I had an office building with a natural roof, and trees began growing on it. The building is unquestionably mine, so the trees would be unquestionably mine. There may be a reasonable comparison to investment there; I'm going to have to ponder it.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  10. #60
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    I think Marx's answer would be that others would work to get the wood, or more likely, pay money which, in turn
    resulted from someone's labor.
    But that labor isn't necessary to the change in wealth -- the mere presence of the trees has changed the value of the land parcel. As I said, it's an interesting proposition.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  11. #61
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Now let’s revisit Return On Investment.



    How much ROI will I derive by investing in a widget-producing machine if I store it idle in my garage?

    What is the most important influence on ROI between using the machine (capital investment) in a business enterprise and holding it in reserve?

    And more importantly, is it reasonable to regard the widget-producing machine itself (e.g. resource) as a form of wealth?
    Whether you get a ROI merely by buying the machine will depend on market conditions. In general, merely by having it you will get no return, but if it's a new machine and suddenly lots of people want them, you may be able to sell at a profit -- but conversely, if suddenly the machines aren't as useful because widgets have dropped in popularity, you'll actually have lost money.

    If you only bought one, then an idle machine brings you zero return, while using it will bring you whatever the value of widgets is. OTOH, if you bought a dozen and are using eleven, if one breaks down the idle one can step in and save your production.

    The machine is definitely a form of wealth, though its value is dependent on the demand for widgets.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  12. #62

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    The value of the machine depends on the market value of the machine itself, which will not be directly dependent on demand for the widgets.

  13. #63

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Anyone who saves money to start a business, employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn, and yes, he is profiting from the work of others. But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.
    Anyone who saves money is abdicating consumption in the present. Doesn't that require an effort? Just because it is not a tangible effort, does not mean that it is less worthy. Furthermore, the workers are only able to produce because that person saved money in order to own the capital. So he is profiting from the work of others, and the others are profiting from his capital.

    (Of course, if we talk about inheritance that's a whole other issue.)

  14. #64

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    No, there is really no difference in a manager reporting to the shareholders through their appointed Board, or a bureaucrat reporting to the electorate through their appointed Government. Bureaucrats, like managers, contribute something of value in exchange for their paycheques.
    Yes there is. The electorate has much less control than the shareholders. Even in nowadays' world with companies owned by a lot of agents, there is usually some bigger shareholders who have a bigger and more direct influence than any electorate will have on a Government.

    Furthermore, there is a time constraint in the Goverment - it cannot be fired so often. Even more so, a Government is usually a whole package, you can fire a manager from firm 1, and keep the manager from firm 2,3,4 etc., but if the Government controls both firms you have to either keep them all (re-elect them) or fire them all (not re-elect them). So a Government ownership centralizes the process in such a way that it creates many more constraints preventing its proper efficiency.

  15. #65
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by ruivinho View Post
    Yes there is. The electorate has much less control than the shareholders. Even in nowadays' world with companies owned by a lot of agents, there is usually some bigger shareholders who have a bigger and more direct influence than any electorate will have on a Government.

    Furthermore, there is a time constraint in the Goverment - it cannot be fired so often. Even more so, a Government is usually a whole package, you can fire a manager from firm 1, and keep the manager from firm 2,3,4 etc., but if the Government controls both firms you have to either keep them all (re-elect them) or fire them all (not re-elect them). So a Government ownership centralizes the process in such a way that it creates many more constraints preventing its proper efficiency.
    Interesting. Also, I'd throw in with this and say that the pressure, even if it requires doing things that may be unsustainable or even counterproductive long-term, is greater with corporate leadership to show short term (quarterly) profit. If a particular CEO or board is under pressure to constantly show maintained or increased profitability, they're not going to do something like have corporate offices all install solar panels at a large initial investment which would provide lower costs and more profit within 20 years.

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