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Debate about inequality, Yaron Brook vs James Galbraith

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Debate about inequality. Yaron Brook vs James Galbraith. 1:42:17

Could you provide a precis or abstract. One a three quarter hours is a lot of time. Give time marks to the high points and very interesting parts.

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THE DEBATE

Debate begins at 10 minutes.

Galbraith speaks first.

Brook starts at about 20 minutes. Brook says we are unequal in all kinds of ways except in one way, rights. The usual stuff. Government exists only to protect rights. Inequality doesn't matter. Brook is happy that Bill Gates is worth about 50,000 times as much as Brook is, because that's how much wealth Gates created and everybody benefits. Thumbs up productivity; thumbs down government interference with productivity.

Galbraith begins his first rebuttal at 31 minutes. I have difficulty understanding what he is trying to say. I suspect that he doesn't know what he is trying to say.

Brook begins his first rebuttal at 36 minutes. Property rights should be respected even after death. Bill Gates did more good by getting rich than by giving his money away. He says something about super rich families. They are not a problem.

Galbraith begins his 2nd rebuttal at 41 minutes. He gets into historical incidents that I don't see how they are relevant to the debate. He seems to not make a distnction between acquiring weath honestly and dishonestly.

Brook begins his 2nd rebuttal at 46 minutes. Any attempt to reduce inequality results in breaking legs. To reduce Michael Jordan's ability to play basketball to the level of Brook would require breaking Jordan's legs. If you want to help the poor, you can with your own money, but coercion is wrong.

The Q and A begins at 52 minutes. This I found boring. The questions were supposed to be 1 or 2 sentences but there was much speech making.

Brook says the productive value of finance is enormous, about 1 hour. He has a degree in finance.

Brook explains rights. Galbraith has a different understanding of rights.

Brook harps on rights. Government violates rights.

The moderator begins asking questions at 1 hour 16 minutes.

Brook says for the poor and needy and desperate, the options are force or charity, and force is wrong.

Blitz questions begin at 1 hour 23 minutes.

With Brook, the answer to every problem seems to be freedom.

In a free society, people are incredibly charitable (Brook).

Get government out of economics (Brook). Add this to the Constitution.

Closing statements begin at 1 hour 30 minutes with Galbraith.

I have difficulty figuring out what Galbraith's principles are.

Brook's closing statement begins at 1 hour 34 minutes. He is more understandable. Anything government does to solve inequality violates rights.

Moderator's closing statement begins at 1 hour 38 minutes.

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Bill Gates is worth about 76 billion dollars. One fifty-thousandth of that is 1.52 million dollars.

According to ARI's Form 990 filings, Mr. Brook’s total compensation for fiscal year ending September 30 was

2005 - $244,981 - 5.7% of ARI's expenses

2006 - $352,538 - 7% of ARI's expenses

2007 - $348,398 - 6% of ARI’s expenses

2008 - $413,750 - 6% of ARI's expenses

2009 - $420,162 - 7.2% of ARI's expenses

2010 - $248,001 - 2.8% of ARI's expenses

2011 - $472,610 - 5.5% of ARI’s expenses

2012 - $386,623 - 3.9% of ARI’s expenses

These figures don’t include amounts categorized as benefits, deferred compensation (e.g. retirement), expense account, or other, which for example totaled $21,639 in 2010.

He's been executive director of ARI since 2000, 14 years. He also owns half of an investment company he co-founded called BH Equity. Not that it matters to the point of his talk but it's a wonder that in money, stocks, real estate and other investments he's managed to save only 1.52 million dollars.

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Seeing the chart about how much Yaron makes, makes me wonder why did he say (near the end) that he choose to live a lower middle class life instead of working on wall street.

Also, and I don't care who doesn't agree, but I find the statement that Bill gates would do the world much more good to continue making money/software than his current charitable acts, to be completely absurd. How the he'll is it better for the world to provide relatively rich nations with OS upgrades than to eradicate malaria and polio and save lives.

Also like JTS, I had a hard time understanding where his opponent was coming from

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About time 25:17. The only difference phonetically between 50 and 15 is an N in the middle. It’s hard to tell if the N is there but if I had to bet on it I’d say yes. He asks rhetorically:

"Do I care that Bill Gates is about – I tried to calculate this – fifteen thousand times richer than I am?"

Bill Gates is worth about $76 billion, so that would make Brook worth about $5.07 million. This still seems way off even if he only invested conservatively.

Anyway, it’s amusing that in a talk he gave the end of March called "Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Semitism" he self-righteously says somewhere, I can’t remember why, "I’m not rich."

And now – as Derek points out – in "Inequality: Should We Care?" speaking of the choices people make, he says (time 1:37:00):

"They might choose to be a professor or teacher, like myself or Dr. Galbraith, and condemn themselves to a life of lower middleclass-hood. Or they might choose with a finance degree to go work in Wall Street and make a lot of money."

A very self-deceptive man. His little speeches about rights are more of the same, he doesn’t really mean it.

Mark

www.ARIwatch.com

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Derek,

I think worldwide the tens (if not hundreds) of millions of people who are exponentially more productive because of the tools made for the open microsoft pc systems would agree Bill Gates contributions to the productivity of others in his lifetime is more valuable to "the world's good" than his haphazard efforts at charity. There is no contest in my mind. Definitely not worth arguing about of course, you couldn't possibly be mistaken...

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"...to eradicate malaria ...and save lives."

Just for the record, malaria was virtually eradicated until the asshole director of the EPA, an ex-Republican Governor, overruled a deccision condemning millions of children and adults world wide to die from the disease.

I can get you the precise section from Liberty and Tyranny if you need it.

A...

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Selene, I would like that reference...

Mikee, so if you were dying of a curable/preventable disease, you should feel great solace in knowing that someone else is more productive while using a device that you may never see (you'll be dead number 1 and you are too poor number 2 and what the hell do you care about a PC anyway when you are struggling to feed your family number 3) That, again, is absurd

Now if you simply dont care about those people, well thats a personal position that you may take and I will respect and accept it

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Selene, I would like that reference...

Mikee, so if you were dying of a curable/preventable disease, you should feel great solace in knowing that someone else is more productive while using a device that you may never see (you'll be dead number 1 and you are too poor number 2 and what the hell do you care about a PC anyway when you are struggling to feed your family number 3) That, again, is absurd

Now if you simply dont care about those people, well thats a personal position that you may take and I will respect and accept it

Derek,

Given your example, of course, if I'm a man whose clothes are on fire I'd rather meet the man with a bucket of water than the man who invented fire proof clothing. It's easy to thank the man who saves a man on fire. Hard to thank the man who invented the clothes which prevented ten thousand men from catching fire in the first place. Not hard to see what's motivating Bill Gates, he's trying to do something people will thank him for.

I've been working in the technology industry since about 1978. I learned something about electronics in the Navy. The tools available now on the PC (Microsoft's open OS's) make the workday so much more productive than when I started there is no comparison. Spreadsheets that can do statistical analysis and graphing, simulation programs (the evaluation versions are free and you can use them indefinitely) make understanding and debugging new circuits easily a hundred times faster. Text editors with linking, spelling and grammar checking, sharing and collaboration tools, calendar and scheduling tools, photo editing. Many of the tools are freely available from the internet. And being able to search for information, free classes and forums on line, you can ask questions about virtually anything and get somebody knowledgeable who will answer your question. Productivity in the technology world is way up and getting better everyday. It dwarfs the comparison of the man with a shovel and the giant earth mover. It is technology in the first place that makes diseases curable or preventable. In the last couple of years I've had two procedures called RF ablation on my heart. They take me in the OR and it looks like NASA, multiple high definition screens which map the heart and the progress of the multiple catheters and record the whole procedure for future study. Without the technology which would have not been developed without the PC (and I do mean the open system PC's made possible by MS) the procedure to fix my afib would have been impossible. I would be retired or dead and my productivity would be zero.

The intimation that I simply "don't care about people" is beneath you Derek. Same old liberal vs conservative argument that conservatives don't care about people but only their own bank account. I hope you've gotten past that. I grew up in a blue collar household with an uncle who didn't get past the eight grade. I didn't know what an engineer was or what classical music was until I was in my twenties. Please don't tell me I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and don't care about people.

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to be honest with you, I only made that statement of "if you don't care" to show that I am open to all possibilities. Im am in fact saying that if you didn't, then I can understand that. I was NOT saying that you didn't... merely making the point that I am objective and respect others views (almost) no matter what there are. THis clip from Seinfeld is analogous to how I feel

But back to the matter at hand. Yes technology allows for the cure, but once you have the cure then someone has to administer it. Gates at this time is administering it. You could stay in the lab for centuries developing new things but it is when they see the light of day and make a difference in people's lives that they are productive in the world. Your example of the burn victim and the fireproof clothes is not apt. they are completely related- fires and the invention of fire proof clothing. Windows and Mosquito nets are pretty disconnected, I mean there is a connection, but its nowhere like your fire example.

Anyways, if you have a mass of people who can either, be productive on a PC or die before they even get to try out the new OS then I think that it would be more productive to actually have live people who can use software

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Bill Gates spent a lot of years putting his considerable talents to use advancing technology, and he made a fortune doing so. His legacy continues, his company is thriving, and there are great minds still churning out technology. He, on the other hand, freely chooses to give of his own time and money to charity. I am always confused by these debates over whether he ought to be still in the thick of work or out and about doing charitable works. He has done one, and now he's doing the other. That is his choice. As long as he is not making the choice for others, leave the man be.

(Yes, I would much rather he have left his nose out of education.)

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I thought the discussion was about where Bill Gates did the most good for humanity. I have no problem with him doing whatever he wants to do, he earned it. But as to what has done or will do to benefit humankind the most it's no contest in my mind, objectively speaking.

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Mike, I see, and I agree. However, I don't see that Gates has forsaken one for the other. Microsoft is still a powerhouse with loads and loads of talent carrying on. Perhaps I'm being too literal, but I don't think he's the best person to use for making this particular point.

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