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My conworlds’ attempts to “tame” inequality.
Posted: Posted September 11th, 2018 by chiarizio

Started in PMs to elemtilas.

For context, see the following threads;
http://conworlds.fun/cwbb/viewtopic.php?t=1516&highlight=poor+rich+wealth+inequality+distribution http://conworlds.fun/cwbb/viewtopic.php?t=1144&highlight=poor+rich+wealth+inequality+distribution

There are 7 Replies

In a recent post on another thread I proposed goals that, among other things, implied that the richest fifteenth of the people couldn’t control more than a fifth of the wealth, while the poorest fifth of the people had to control at least a fifteenth of the wealth. So the ratio between average wealth of someone in the richest fifteenth, to that of someone in the poorest fifth, couldn’t be more than nine to one.

My idea is that if inequality is worse than that, and is growing even worse, then taxes should go up; while if inequality is within those limits, or is shrinking, taxes should not go up. Under what circumstances taxes should actually decrease, I have not figured out.

There must be an upper limit to how high taxes can be. I don’t know what it is. I’ve heard one fifth and one quarter and one third and three-eighths. Americans seem not to like going higher than one-third, though some European countries have gone to three-eighths. When it comes to taxes on corporate profits, it’s gone as high as 48% in America. In wartime, or war-level emergencies, it might be higher, than in ordinary peacetime.

Most taxes in my current, not-necessarily-final scheme for my consocieties, are spent on a bald faced redistribution of wealth. Also, only people who are either in the top quarter, or have/earn twice as much as the median, have to pay any tax; and the tax is a minor (i.e. < 50%) fraction of the difference. And only people who either have/earn less than a third of the median, or less than half the lower tertile, or less than the lowest quintile, get the state handout; and that is a fraction not more than a third (or is it half?) of their shortfall.

So this redistribution scheme is not guaranteed to shrink the inequality, nor even stop it from growing. Maybe it will do that; but maybe it will only slow down the growth.

At least half (or two-thirds?) of the improvement of the condition of the poor, and all of the improvement of the middle class, will have to come from effort and ingenuity and diligence, on their own parts as well as on the part of the rest of society.
The diligence part will be in education and healthcare and infrastructure and justice and the many other things I’ve mentioned elsewhere.
The ingenuity part? One can only hope, I suppose. Policy wonks and actual politicians might help, for all I know.

Is that enough of an answer? Or can you chase down my other posts about such questions and glean the ideas you were hoping I had?

Thanks for your interest!

Posted September 11th, 2018 by chiarizio

It occurred to me in the last hour or so that, one way to recruit ingenuity to solving the problems of poverty, might be somewhat analogous to crowd-sourcing.

Since the rise of the Internet and the WorldWideWeb, a lot of problems have had a lot of ingenious ideas brought to them by crowd-sourcing.
The taxation-and-appropriations version of crowd-sourcing would be the kind of check-offs that were put on America’s Form 1040s sometime between 1970 and 1990 if i recall correctly, at first to allow election campaigns for Federal offices to be partly funded by taxes, to help moderate the undue influence money has on US political campaigns.

I thought maybe we could use the welfare-recipients and the taxpayers as the “crowd”.

Maybe not all the tax revenue spent on the poor should go to “the bald-faced redistribution of wealth”. Maybe it should be split between what the recipient wants to spend it on, what the taxpayer wants it spent on, and what the government decides it needs to be spent on.

I think the recipient is probably usually a good bet or good approximation to the best judge of what they need and where they can get it. So half or a bit more of it should just go directly to the recipient; this is what’s left of the “bfrdow” (bald faced re distribution of wealth).
I think the next best source of new ideas, and next best judge of which current ideas are working and how well, might very well be the taxpayers. So I propose that for a third (or at least a quarter) of the taxes, the taxpayers get to direct their taxes to the programs they think are working best and/or need it most.
Finally let’s admit the professionals may usually know something we don’t. Let’s spend a seventh of the tax revenue on various aid programs as allocated and appropriated by the government.
The remaining 1/42 to 3/28 should be spent on ordinary government duties, obligations, services, and functions.


Admittedly I once more just guessed on those numbers.
What do you think?

If you like them, should I put them on a thread somewhere?

If so, which thread, and how?


Thanks for reading!


Possibly those last two fractions should be swapped.

Maybe a third or a quarter of the budget ought to be spent by government aid agencies as the government and legislators see fit.

Maybe only a seventh ought to be spent as the taxpayers direct by checking off.

I still think the taxpayers are likelier better sources for innovations.

But maybe we don’t want to overcommit to innovations before we try them out.
Maybe, on average, the safer way to bet is, what’s already working sorta, probably will work better than the average random untested new idea.

Posted September 11th, 2018 by chiarizio

I used to code, maintain, and install, payroll programs for my employers’ clients’ companies.
I had to know about withholding federal income tax; withholding FICA (Social Security tax); withholding federal unemployment insurance tax; and withholding state unemployment insurance tax.

For the last three, only so much of the employees’ pay was subject to the tax.
To increase the revenue generated, the government(s) had another option than increasing the percentage of the taxable amount which could be taken as tax.
Instead, they could increase the limit on how much of the employees’ pay was taxable.

Reptigan and Adpihi can do the same.
So far, I’ve been saying that, anyone who owned/earned more than the 75th percentile had to pay a certain fraction (less than 25%, though in my opinion lots of high-earners would think 25% was confiscatory, or “penalized success”), of the excess.
And, anyone who owned/earned over twice the median, had to pay the same (<25%) fraction of that excess.

We could make more of their income taxable, and add to the rolls of people who pay taxes, by making it be the 60th %-tile instead of the 75th, and/or making it 1.5 times the median instead of 2 times.


In modern RL USAmerica, 53% of people owe federal income tax, while the other 47% do not.

Depending on what kind of assistance it is, either:
4%, or
7.5%, or
15%, or
Of USAmericans receive government aid.

See http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/09/romney_says_47_percent_of_americans_receive_direct_government_assistance_is_that_true_.html

In Reptigan and Adpihi we are working on assisting those who earn less than a third of the median, and/or less than half the 33%-tile, and/or less than the 20%-tile.

So my conworlds are taxing a smaller portion of their population, than the RL USA. And, if that high figure of 26% is taken as America’s share of who they’re assisting, my conworlds may be also assisting a smaller portion. (But the conworlds are helping at least 20%, which is more than the US’s second-highest figure of 15%. )

Posted September 11th, 2018 by chiarizio

Any reaction from anyone to any of this?

Posted December 23rd, 2018 by chiarizio

Any reaction from anyone to any of this?

I probably would if I were more of an arithmaturge! Your number magery goes right over my head!


Posted December 24th, 2018 by elemtilas

Any reaction from anyone to any of this?

I probably would if I were more of an arithmaturge! Your number magery goes right over my head!

If you remember Cerne, you remember that you are not the first person to say so.

The gist of it is; some of the better-off half of the population contribute some fraction (less than half) of the amount by which they are better off, to be given to some of the less-well-off people, to make up some part (less than half) of the amount by which they are less-well-off than the other half.

I know that’s a complicated sentence, but at least it’s only one sentence.

Everything else is variations in details.

Ask any questions you want to ask.
Or contribute any ideas you have for a society to limit the growth of a wealth-gap without limiting the growth of societal wealth.

And thank you for trying to understand! I appreciate your curiosity!

Posted December 24th, 2018 by chiarizio

I am still interested in any ideas anyone has, as I asked about in my Christmas Eve post to this thread 🧵, last year (2018).

Posted Yesterday Afternoon by chiarizio
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