Friday, April 20, 2012

Eschaton: Fine, Galtian Overlords, Make Us Poor, But...

Eschaton: Fine, Galtian Overlords, Make Us Poor, But...: you have to make people suffer so? It's one thing to take an income hit, it's another thing to spend an entire life with high degrees of income insecurity. It isn't just stagnant or declining incomes that's the problem, it's that most people face a daily nontrivial probability that they're going to be completely fucked.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious -- or what should be obvious, at least -- one thing is a means to the other.

The only uses for financial wealth are "ownership" and "insurance" (I am using quotes to indicate that I am using the term in a broad, economic sense to mean something more than auto insurance or life insurance), and the only way to obtain high returns to financial wealth, is lots of volatility, which has the effect of separating poorer people from their wealth, or ownership claims, making them desperate enough to buy "insurance" at usurious rates and at risky terms, which will result in many of them, say, experiencing medical bankruptcy or the foreclosure on a home.

Atrios -- Duncan Black -- it will be noted was a Ph.D. economist in another life.

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