Home > inequality, Plutonomy, upward income redistribution > Trickle-down economics — total horseshit

Trickle-down economics — total horseshit

from Lars Syll


As we’ve been aware of lately there isn’t much trickle-down going on in the USA. Unfortunately we can also see the same pattern developing in many other countries. Take for example Sweden. The figure below shows how the distribution of mean income and wealth (expressed in year 2009 prices) for the top 0.1% and the bottom 90% has changed in Sweden for the last 30 years:

       Source: The World Top Incomes Database

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality (where a higher number signifies greater inequality) and for Sweden we have this for the disposable income distribution:

SwedenGini1980to2011            Source: Statistics Sweden and own calculations

What we see happen in the US and Sweden is deeply disturbing. The rising inequality is outrageous – not the least since it has to a large extent to do with income and wealth increasingly being concentrated in the hands of a very small and privileged elite.

Societies where we allow the inequality of incomes and wealth to increase without bounds, sooner or later implode. The cement that keeps us together erodes and in the end we are only left with people dipped in the ice cold water of egoism and greed. It’s high time to put an end to this the worst Juggernaut of our time!

  1. March 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Cautiously sharing your concern, I cannot agree with your diagnosis. It is clear that the economic stimulus in which we engaged has advantaged those in higher income brackets, but that’s a failure of the proposed “cure” not the underlying pathology. We bailed out banking institutions, not the mortgage holders, which though unsavory, would have changed your calculus. This wasn’t a trickle down strategy, but rather a prop-up strategy who’s results we see. The growth in that top 1% is precisely what “the experts” ordered, the only thing is that no one has the courage to admit it.

    • F. Beard
      March 3, 2014 at 10:53 pm

      We bailed out banking institutions, not the mortgage holders, which though unsavory, would have changed your calculus. tcoss

      Why unsavory? I’ll tell you why. A government-backed credit cartel DRIVES people into debt. But it also cheats non-debtors too so Steve Keen’s “A Modern Debt Jubilee” is the just solution, not just a bailout of debtors.

  2. March 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Trickle-down government works great! Just ask France, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. A leaky bucket is a leaky bucket.

  3. F. Beard
    March 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    What else can be expected from a government-backed usury for stolen purchasing power cartel since the rich are the most so-called credit worthy?

    Please note (if you’ve ever seen a balance sheet) that symbolic purchasing power can not only be created as liabilities but also as shares in Equity.

    But why share when one can legally steal via government privilege?

  4. BC
    March 4, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Precisely, F. Beard. The Fed’s principal job is to run political cover and intellectually rationalize the rentier criminal int’l banking syndicate’s license to steal labor product, profits, and gov’t receipts in perpetuity. One won’t find an establishment economist who will dare concede this publicly for obvious reasons, even though there are more than a few who well know and will say so privately or off the record.

    The top 0.01-0.1% owners of the thieving int’l banking syndicate effectively own principle and subordinate rentier claims on practically all wealth of the planet, as well as own the gov’ts and central banks, making them unaccountable and untouchable.

    Most of us do not know that “our money” is really the thieving banksters’ debt-money in the form of imputed cumulative compounding interest claims to all value-added output for eternity. We own nothing; therefore, as non-owners, we have no right to political representation in a hyper-financialized rentier capitalist society in which everything is for sale to the highest bidder, meaning only those who can afford to bid up the price of politicians and their votes can afford to buy the politicians and the votes.

    Everything that exists, or will ever exist, is already claimed by the rentiers in imputed compounding interest forever.

    From the perspective of its owners, the current system is working perfectly well, which means it is benefiting the top 0.01-0.1% at the cost to everyone else.

  5. BFWR
    March 4, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Concrete monetary grace as in the free gift/jubilee/universal dividend are the best policy solutions to the present, continuing and inevitable debt overhang.

    Theoretical monetary grace as in equilibrium as the actual solution, as opposed to palliatives or non-action, to the historical instability of “free” market theory.

    Symmetrical monetary grace as in reflection and balance is the policy solution to the asymmetrically powerful countervailing financial concept/paradigm of debt.

    Free and free flowing graceful thinking as in both a new idea in a new moment (philosophy) and each new and additional, continuing moment (policy) is the answer to the fruitless dual of competing, actually non-thinking economic orthodoxies.

    • F. Beard
      March 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      The definition of grace is “unmerited favor.” What the population DESERVES is restitution for systematic theft by the government backed banking cartel.

      • BFWR
        March 5, 2014 at 3:06 am

        Conceptually grace has many definitions and meanings. Is the Grace of God a gift? …or is it earned?

        Economically speaking, If the rate of flow of total prices exceeds the rate of flow of total individual incomes that is the picture of inherent systemic price inflation…..that makes monetary inflation NECESSARY…just to keep the economy from falling into a deflationary spiral….then monetary inflation is actually an effect of the deeper systemic price inflation…..not the other way around. If this inherent systemic scarcity of individual incomes in ratio to prices actually IS the stem’s deepest problem….then raising individual incomes….without incurring an additional cost….is the solution.

        And that can only be accomplished with a gift of money to the individual, that is monetary grace, the free/unearned gift.

      • F. Beard
        March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

        And that can only be accomplished with a gift of money to the individual, that is monetary grace, the free/unearned gift. bfwr

        You should be careful of that word “only” and also the fact that you, a non-believer, are expropriating and distorting Christian concepts.

  6. March 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    “From the perspective of its owners, the current system is working perfectly well, which means it is benefiting the top 0.01-0.1% at the cost to everyone else.” Yes BC, that is the whole idea behind the coup d’Etat that started in the 1980s. Now banksters are in control, leading civilization toward ‘apokalupsis’. Where were the people You ask!! There is a little light at the other end of the tunnel,i. e., the post autistic mouvement and RWERB. I am hoping that they will come up with antidote against ‘zombi-ism.

    • robert r locke
      March 4, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      I wish the RWERB would, but it is blogged down in Anglo-Saxon modes of thinking and the answers have to come from outside that orbit, from institutions that have to a large extent avoided the effects that the financialization revolution brought on American and Swedish top firms.

      • BFWR
        March 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        Right. The biggest and actual problem with economics is it is all theorizing based on….prior theory. Economists need theoretical lobotimization.

        If economists would just come into present time and look at the actual situations and circumstances…and then solve those situations and circumstances….progress would inevitably pursue.

        There’s way too much personal debt….pay it off as in a modern jubilee.

        Production, except under the extremely dangerous circumstance of war in an age of modern weaponry, NEVER produces the same amount of individual incomes as it does prices….so increase individual incomes in the only way that doesn’t create an additional cost….by giving individuals a sustaining/supplemental amount of money as in a continuous monthly dividend…and let production fulfill the freely chosen result of that equation of individual incomes and prices.

        As per the above, production and employment are NOT the MAJOR problems of a modern technologically advanced economy….Employment is fine and will take care of itself, if you look at the above situations and circumstances and then resolve the REAL problem of our advanced economies…..full Distribution of Production WITHIN the rational NEED for employment.

  7. March 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    The old idea of social credit seems to be in the background of the all the comments above. Yet there is no mention of the process by which wealth is concentrated through private appropriation of the rent of land, combined, in the case of Sweden, by very high taxes on products and the wages of labour. The latter means that gross labour costs are more than double the net purchasing power of wages. As a result, the Swedish economy is seriously gummed-up, with 8% unemployment (25% in the 16-25 age group), but work crying out to be done. It is very difficult to get hold of workmen to do simple tasks that are just beyond the ability of do-it-yourself handymen.

    • F. Beard
      March 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      See Leviticus 25 for an age old solution to both honest (100% private) usury and concentrated land ownership. See rest of the Bible for all the clues necessary for ethical purchasing power creation.

  8. March 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    You might be interested in a new study released by the Goddard Space Center of the NASA. Taking clues from civilizations that have disappeared, the study argues that, in every case, it was due to the blindness of a small elite in the mismanagement of natural resources, population explosion, and inequitable income distribution. For more, see the Elsevier Journal of Ecological Economics.

  9. August 22, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Good to see Henry Law still around, Steve Keen’s debt jubilee still on the agenda and F Beard sourcing it in Leviticus 25 before remembering the Good News – the ethic of love replacing the morality of justice – in the more recent part of the Bible. In fact I feel delightfully in tune with everyone here, except tcoss when he rejects a solution Lars Syll hasn’t offered. Of course the 1% have every reason to fear God’s justice, but whether Our Father is in heaven or on earth, their love even for prodigals is more gracious than that.

    In the parable at Luke 15:11-32 – a story offered as a paradigm – when the prodigal accepted responsibility for his predicament, the father didn’t merely feed him along with his brother but threw a party to welcome him home! The 1% can be allowed to save face by replacing bank debt with “honest money”: giving everyone only the credit they need, to spend down or give back from what they already have. “Everyone” includes those in the public sector, Henry, out-dating condemnation of thievery by taxation as well as usury and rent.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.