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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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Income Inequality Worldwide



  • Right, it simply must be an effort thing. Why hasn't anyone thought of that!

    So weak. Y'all need to get to know hardworking poor.
  • edited November 2016
    @Dan Did you see the graph and table I posted that showed real inflation-adjusted pay for workers peaked in the year 2000. It has not been "flat from the 1970s." And those later graphs aren't just for "CEO pay" but all Americans. And this attitude you have that nothing can be done is frankly ridiculous. You can see in the graph I posted that large arrow pointing to the 1970s with the caption that reads "Faster income growth for the bottom fifth is largely the result of Affirmative Action, minimum wage laws, etc." What gets measured gets managed and analyzing the inequality is important to understanding the problem and addressing it. There is no progress without understanding the scope of a problem. And saying oh nothing can be done about it assures that nothing is done about it. I feel like you're the guy who tells Columbus the earth is flat so why bother before the trip.
  • @ Lewis & MFO's" Here's how we solve the problem. Let's take the total population of the world, 7.4 Billion, and the total amount of money, 60 Trillion M2, and divide it up equally, now let's close this thread !
  • I order you offa my forum!

    No, wait.
  • @Ted:
    1. There is a lot more than $60 trillion worldwide.
    2. This is not a binary--either share everything or winner take all--situation. There is room for both inequality, i.e., greed to motivate people and sharing so everybody else doesn't starve. It's a matter of degrees, a pendulum in which we've swung too far in one direction.
    3. Please see davidrmoran's comment above.
  • @Lewis:: You never to old to learn something !
    How much money exists on Earth? It's a simple question with a bunch of complicated answers.
    Simply, the answer dependson how you define "money". For the narrowest definition, or what's called "M0", that includes only physical money, paper bills and metal coins that constitute currency. That figure is around 5 trillion dollars. The next step up is M1, which includes all the physical money, plus quickly accessed money like that in checking accounts, and comes in at $25 trillion. M2 includes M0 and M1, but also pulls in stuff like savings accounts and CDs under $100,000. That figure is around $60 trillion. And the last figure, the $75 trillion M3, is much more abstract and not often cited in official figures. It includes institutional money market funds, long term deposits, and other stuff rich people possess that can somehow be spent but confuses the rest of us.

  • MJG
    edited November 2016
    Hi Guys,

    Ted, I agree completely. Enough is enough already.

    This topic offers the potential for endless debate as demonstrated by these postings. There is a plethora of data available and multiple interpretations of the data that contribute to the tsunami. I will end my participation with this post.

    I agree that CEO pay is out of control as is the pay scale enjoyed by sport heroes. The free marketplace and CEOs decided that scale. The CEOs run their companies to make a profit, and survival depends on protecting that profit. That translates into controlling costs like wages to achieve that goal. We may not like that, but that is the nature of a capitalistic system. Winners and losers always exist in its competitive environment.

    But that doesn't mean that worker wages have been stagnant. They have not been over the sweep of decades. Here is a Link to a data set that illustrates worker wage history:

    Worker wage and benefits compensation have increased although at a slower pace than the wages of the average CEO. Inflation compromises the value of the raw wage data. That's a separate and important discussion. Regardless, it's always good to be the boss.

    The diversity of opinion represented by these informed submittals is reminiscent of the three hunter story. The first hunter fires at an animal and misses by 3 inches to the right, The second hunter fires and misses 3 inches to the left of the target, The third hunter raises his arms in celebration saying that they hit their target, on average.

    I now gladly end my post on this subject. On average, we have hit our target, but there has been much misunderstanding and misinterpretation integrated into individual posts. That happens here. Too bad!

    Best Wishes.
  • @MJG It's good that that you feel elevated enough as a poster to determine definitively where we have "hit our target" and where there has been "misunderstanding and misinterpretation integrated into individual posts" and when a conversation must end. I guess god's job slot was open and you being the most qualified stepped right in. Would the misunderstanding and misinterpretation you described include your posting a link to nominal non-inflation adjusted hourly wages which are virtually meaningless to this discussion? Or would it be Ted suggesting the entirety of the wealth to assess inequality is just the paper money supply as opposed to assets including stocks, bonds, funds, real estate etc which in the U.S. alone is currently $86.8 trillion?
  • edited November 2016

    And this attitude you have that nothing can be done is frankly ridiculous.

    I didn't say that. Simply - your focus on CEO pay is a distraction from the real causes of worker's financial problems. It serves no function except for avoiding identifying and addressing the real issues.

    Take away all the CEO pay and give it to the workers and it will do nothing for the worker.

  • @DH, you got anything concrete?
    @LB, just ignore the oldies; there is no providing data or logic to them.
  • edited November 2016
    MJG said:
    That is not adjusted for inflation. It also does not take into account benefits lost since the '70 - defined pension plans, health benefits etc.

    For most workers, real wages have barely budged for decades

  • edited November 2016
    To sum up:
    -Focus on CEO pay a distraction from the real issues.
    -Worker compensation has been stagnant since the '70.
    -If you take into account health benefits, defined pension plans etc lost, total worker compensation has declined since the '70s.

    To change that you first need to identify the causes.
  • My suggestion for MFO is to set up another category," David and Lewis" so these two can post their instigating and insulting comments and the rest of us can stick to $$.

    My last comment on this thread as well.
  • I'm still unclear so let me see if I can sum it up from where I sit:
    -CEO pay going ballistic (in addition to the company paying for their homes, vehicles, meals, private planes and so on and so forth) has nothing whatsoever to do with workers pay remaining stagnant (at best), loss of health benefits, loss of defined pension plans along with, in some cases, their promised pension payments and/or reduced payments etc.

    Yup, sounds totally unrelated to me. I guess I need to get out of my igloo once and awhile.
  • edited November 2016

    >> Lame stream Media is under the heat lamp at the moment. I'll take it easy on ya.

    'Instigating', lolz, funny.

    >> the rest of us can stick to $$.

    as if inequality is not about that.

    Did you ever find out the facts about California and IRAs?
  • edited November 2016
    JC: good question. I came up with48 % planning to stay at least a year & for those, the average stay as thought as 11.2 years as / the 48 %.
  • edited November 2016
    Guys stop feeding the wrong people and wealth will be distributed more equally. Don't watch some reality tv shows - you know which ones!

    Eliminate some active managed funds for index funds. Don't say you are long term investor and then buy active fund when you KNOW over long term index will win and especially after taxes.

    Stop buying $100 shirts. And $2100 Macbooks. Yes $2100 WT Effing F! If you don't have money chasing nonsense prices will come down and you will need less money to live and that will make you wealthy. Also wise. Or maybe that's other way round.

    Kids, stop drinking $4 latte's. Idiots. Yes IDIOTS. A Latte is not a health food! And especially not when your parents are paying your college tuition. And also not when government has loaned you money for getting your stupid degree while you are trying to "discover" yourself.

    PS - Discovered mold in the house so I'm pissed I'm going to slide down the income inequality ladder getting it fixed, so please excuse me.
  • edited November 2016
    Re: "Stop buying $100 shirts. And $2100 Macbooks. Yes $2100 WT Effing F!"

    Just purchased a used MacBook Pro for under $600. It's a 2012 model which will replace our aging 2009 model. Hope that meets your test of sanity VF.:)

    Geez - This discussion's getting long. My money's on Lewis & David. But, as I think Bob Dylan observed, "There are those who will not see."
  • @hank,
    Just purchased a used MacBook Pro for under $600.
    Be careful used electronic equipments (even Macs) have their tradeoff especially the usage history is unknown. Instead of used I prefer "previous year's model" or even "refurbished". My 2015 Macbook pro required servicing on the solid state drive within one year of purchase, while the 10 years old Macbook was no longer able to run the lastest OS. For the money the 10 years life on this Mac is excellent compared to PC laptop I use at work which typically last less than 3 years max.

  • edited November 2016

    Thanks. Buyer beware for sure. Went with a highly rated seller. He claims there's several months of Apple Care left on the computer (warranty protection & tech support). Will call Apple when it arrives to confirm coverage.

    Dated unit for sure - but this model's still selling new for $900-$1000. Our needs are occasional. Can't justify buying anything better. iPads are great for most stuff. But not for tax-prep, word processing, printing, copying & uploading CD music files to Match and working with online reservation services (for example: selecting seats at Ticketmaster).

    PS - Sorry, didn't mean to kill the Inequality thread. Fellas ... feel free to continue sparring !!!
  • edited November 2016
    nothin' more to say :)
    yay for savvy shopping, for sure
  • edited November 2016
    For dependable and guaranteed used Macs you can't beat PowerMax, up in Oregon. Apple authorized, also. Because I still need to use a few ancient OS9 apps I've gotten a number of used G5s from them over the years. I had a problem with one, and they handled it quickly with no quibbles.

    Recently got a new Mac Mini from them also. Good people to work with, and very helpful if you have problems or questions.
  • This is a very interesting discussion. The only comments that I feel should have been reconsidered for posting are those attacking other posters. I get the impression these posters believe they are above the fray and believe they are 'the adult in the room'. I feel, except for these posters the conversation has been congenial. Then there were those that made a comment and included that this was there last post in this thread. I will never understand why these people make such a post. Are they afraid to defend their position?

    I agree with @Mark that the CEO pay issue is a non issue when it comes to worker pay. It is a correlation without causation argument. No matter what link you post the facts are that workers compensation is flat (pay) to lower (when you include other benefits) then in the past. No one can deny that even since The Great Recession the nature of worker's compensation has changed, for the worst. Yet it appears that there are some who hold tightly onto the ancient (if not quaint) bromides of 'us vs them' sloganeering. Such talk only serves those who want to exploit workers.

    We have other examples in our past - the Jim Crow laws. Those who saw this as a racial issue measured success by eliminating that system. But, the reason for those laws was to keep both blacks and poor whites poor and a pool of cheap labor. It pitted poor whites against blacks. What people don't discuss is that poll taxes and literacy tests disenfranchised poor whites. This is the failure of the 'them vs us' point of view (e.g. CEO pay), eliminating it does not address the core issues.
  • "I agree with @Mark that the CEO pay issue is a non issue when it comes to worker pay."

    Evidently you failed to note that Mark's comments were derisive.
  • Jeez. Actually, no about the 'nonissue' assertion; moreover, no one has argued causation, have they? (That correlation cliche is becoming a new default defense stance.)

    Worker wage stagnation problems certainly preceded 2007.

    The article linked below is thorough, debunks Kaplan and Mankiw with substantiation, and makes one want to read Mishel further ("what the executives earned was not available for broader-based wage growth for other workers").

    It sure is puzzling why anyone would insist upon severability (much less want to), and believe it all really has to do with exploitation.
  • From David's article link:

    "It is sometimes argued that rising CEO compensation is a symbolic issue with no consequences for the vast majority. However, the escalation of CEO compensation and executive compensation more generally has fueled the growth of top 1 percent incomes."

    "We have argued... that high CEO pay reflects rents, concessions CEOs can draw from the economy not by virtue of their contribution to economic output but by virtue of their position. Consequently, CEO pay could be reduced and the economy would not suffer any loss of output. Another implication of rising executive pay is that it reflects income that otherwise would have accrued to others: what the executives earned was not available for broader-based wage growth for other workers."

    (Emphasis added)
  • edited November 2016

    Jeez. Actually, no about the 'nonissue' assertion; moreover, no one has argued causation, have they?

    Then why write/post about CEO and worker pay it here?

  • The article linked below is thorough, debunks Kaplan and Mankiw with substantiation, and makes one want to read Mishel further ("what the executives earned was not available for broader-based wage growth for other workers").

    Take away the amount of CEO pay/benefits that you don't think is appropriate and divide it by the number of workers. What is that number? I'm guessing it is immaterial. And it is easily argued that if the CEO pay/benefits were reduced the money would go to dividends and not workers.
  • edited November 2016
    Har --- again, you didn't even read the article (and the link within), did you?

    Fortune magazine (gasp), of all places, thought this was worth quoting from Mishel:

    'The escalation in CEO pay was not accompanied by a corresponding increase in output. They didn’t make the pie bigger but they are taking a bigger piece of it. What that means is that everyone else has a smaller piece.'

    So do guess away at the immateriality.

    I would suppose that morale, tone, culture, mindset, things like that do not matter to your thinking, but it's hard to know, since you never have anything to offer in a contributory or constructive fashion, as to policy or remedy or even furthering of diagnoses. If I am mistaken, check out the last three paragraphs:

    Oh, and don't try and put this on me; it's not I who think it's not appropriate (gentle way of putting it); it's the whole moral world, excluding the very top collegial cronies, plus the usual free-market extremists.
  • I posted the CEO relative to worker pay charts and tables as symptomatic of the larger inequality problem not as the thing encompassing the entirety of the inequality problem. The entirety of the problem was first posted in the pyramid graphic that started this thread and then subsequently in the graph entitled Real Mean Household Income Cumulative Growth By Quintile and Top 5 Percent and the table Real Household Income Declines from Peak Year. Yet Dan comfortably chose to ignore those posts and claim that it was all a big distraction. Of course, the CEO pay/worker pay data matters, too. It is the canary in the coalmine, illustrating the larger problem through time and helping to explain it in part. I don't think the dates when CEO pay/worker pay exploded starting in the late 1980s/early 1990s are by any means an accident, but are directly connected to the globalization trend, increases in labor productivity via technology and expanding corporate profits at the expense of labor itself. CEOs and shareholders benefited from those trends while workers did not. They were intentionally left behind.
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