Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1% of 1% of 1%

English: Elon Musk at the panel Tribeca Talks:...
English: Elon Musk at the panel Tribeca Talks: Revenge of the Electric Car, for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There was that thing in Zuccoti Park. People rallied against the so-called 1%. That 1% supposedly has 40% of the wealth. Much of it is inherited.

And there is the Piketty book that drew a lot of attention. He says, if wealth will get an annual 10% return, but labor will see less than 3% annual growth, then the gap will never close, it will keep widening.

And then there is this: global companies are sitting on $7 trillion in cash. Just sitting. Not doing anything with it. This is not money on that 10% train. How about $18 trillion?

One, I think there is an economic case to be made that if the gulf between the top 1% and the bottom 10% is too wide, that society is not likely to be growing at its optimum. I am talking economic theory. As to how to go about remedying? That is a debate. I am for ordinary people owning equity stakes in many more companies, and not just post-IPO companies. Heck, I am not opposed to a slightly higher tax rate. And then there is choice, the Warren Buffett choice. He decided most of his wealth should not go to his children. It is bad for them. 90% of his wealth will not go to his children.

Two, a stagnant minimum wage is a bad policy choice. The minimum wage in America should be $10 right away, and in the big cities it should be $15. Urbanization is good for the environment. Go green.

Three, trillions sitting around is stupidity. $10 trillion will take care of a-l-l infrastructure needs across the Global South, and that investment will bring a guaranteed 10% annual return. Win-win. Heck, somebody put half a trillion in Elon Musk's internet access company.

But all that is wealth talk. I meant to talk entrepreneurship, especially high tech entrepreneurship. I once put out a blog post where I said, statistically speaking, being an entrepreneur is like being gay. It is about one out of 100. But then that is everyone. That is pizza store owners.

1% of that 1% might be in high tech. And 1% of that 1% of that 1% might be successful tech entrepreneurs. 1 out of 100 which is 1 out of 100 which is 1 out of 100. 1 out of 1,000,000. You are quite literally one in a million. In a country of 300 million, that would give us 300 such entrepreneurs. That is about right. Does this country have 300 self made billionaires? If not, there is something missing in the social/political/economic fabric. Maybe the 1% have too much wealth, maybe the minimum wage has been too stagnant for too long, maybe there are too many trillions just sitting around, having a negative gravity effect on overall growth and well being. Probably all of the above.

1% of 1% of 1%: self made billionaires are in august company.

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