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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Measuring demand

Using a free market system to assess demand for something assumes that everyone has equal oppurtuninty to money. The fact that not everyone has equal oppurtunity to money is obivious. I have a couple of friends who have graduated from college. They worked much harder than me in college and got better grades. Yet I will earn a higher salary when I graduate. Not because I worked hard in school or any other aspect of life, but simply because of natural and enviromental differences.
So you will ask do I think money should be taken from me and given to my friends. In many cases I would say yes. What they are doing is more important. So when I start making the money will I give it to them? Partly. If you have read the "All Government Employees are Overpaid" post then you already know that I do a lot to try to distribute the benefits of my advantages. I will probably continue to give more of my time then of my money, because I think it more beneficial that way.



At 11:15 AM, Blogger Spencer M. Taylor said...

Unum, I'm flying McCarthy out for the weekend and he wants to talk to you.

While I agree that we all don't have the same salary, I would totally disagree about not having the same opportunity....WE ALL DO!!

This is America and we all have the opportunity to live the kind of lifestyle that we could ever imagine. It has been done and will be done time and time again. If I value time more than money, then I become an elementary school teacher. If I value money more than time then I live the American dream and start my own business and generate revenue and contribute to the parasitical lifestyles of those who teach through the redistribution of the huge amount of taxes that I pay every year. We can choose to drive, vacation, live, work, and golf where ever we want. A janitor is there because he wants to be there. A CEO is there because he wants to be there. What's the difference? The choices they made along the way. No one is good or bad, just different.

Unum, you can give all the money you want to your broke friends, but just thank the good lord above that Uncle Sam isn’t forcing you to do so. Bless your kind heart!

I hope nobody gives me a free handout. But if they did, I would stop being innovative with my vary scarce resources and start doing what those who are the patrons of perverse subsidies do-waist.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger unum said...

At times and in various markets the US government allows and encourages competition. In these cases I agree that many people have a chance at suceeding. The problem is that competition depends on the US government promoting it. Ted Turner points some of this stuff out very well in an article he wrote.

You and I seem to agree that the state should not be supporting monopolies by private companies. So will you join with me in getting USU to stop requiring students to learn Microsoft software as a requirement to graduate? As well in stopping teachers from requiring students to use Microsoft Software? Will you join with Pete Ashdown and me in telling Senator Hillyard to end the Comcast and Qwest monopolies? Will you join with Pete Ashdown and me in telling senator Hatch to stop introducing legislation that maintains the MPAA's and RIAA's monopolies?

Also do you intend to refund the tax payer money that subsidizes your education? Or are you like me and your parents payed more in than you have taken out? Even so you need to explain to me why free handouts from your parents are ok, and other free handouts will stop you from innovating.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the opportunity really is there for most people. Access to information is a limiting factor only if one does not know how to look for it. Its like the saying it takes money to make money... ok... it takes information to get information. Example Govt grants, scholarships etc... make college attendance easier, thus creating opportunity to earn money, but if I don't know how to get the info, and am unable to find out who knows about it, my opportunity seems more limited. The internet makes access to info much easier for people, thus reducing this problem thankfully. Also, the choices we make directly affects our ability to make money through normal channels. The example of the teacher v. the CEO is a good one. You value teaching more, thus you have chosen not to earn the money associated with CEO's, but you could still earn lots of money by starting a side business or eBay professionally etc... the options are only limited to your creativity. I have made the conscious decision not to become a doctor. So I bear the resposibility for not earning the wages of a doctor as well. No one but myself to blame, or thank for this choice. I choose or do not choose to have a child out of wedlock, and have support a family by quitting school etc... earning $5/hour at McDonalds. The children of such decisions could have less opportunity to the extent that they choose to be content with their circumstances. We no longer live in a bubble where all we know is our neighbors, access to self improvement is easily obtainable. The world is our oyster just waiting to be taken.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger unum said...

Several good points. We need to know how to gather the information, we also need to know that we don't have it. For instance I got a new job working for the polisci department last week. I could say that it's your own fault that you didn't get the job since you didn't apply, but seeing as you didn't know to appply.....

My decision not to be a CEO of a large company seems to have been made for different reasons than the rest of yours. I decided not to be a CEO of a fortune 500 company because I didn't think I could ever make it with out an Ivy Leauge degree. Because as I have learned with regards to my last five jobs it's who you know not what you know.

As for a doctor my whole family (except my mother) has a physical disposition where we get weak at the site of blood.

I'm glad you all had a wide range of options and are doing exactly what you want to be doing. Because I know many who have to find different career based on disablities.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Spencer M. Taylor said...

Unum, first, what does UNUM stand for. Is that some type of acramymn or something or a light chicken gravy?

1) I pay for my school all by myself. I pay out of state tuition, some, less than a third, is subsidized with WUE program. I have no other grants. I do not have to work and don't work during the school year. The only thing I get from my folks came to be growing up in the house of a successful business owner who taught me how to work hard.

2)Microsoft? I feel they are a natural momopoly and prefer them to other operatating systems. I have used other OSes and prefer micorsoft. Microsoft have hired good salesman, what can I say?

3)I will fight against other monoplies on campus. I think we should be able fire libartarian professors is they introduce new and logical ideas to our minds.

4) Society also benefits from me going to school, but I totally support the tuition hike. We should be paying for our own education, even though it leaves society better off when we graduate. We, the student, recieve more benefit than the community does. I do feel that we can trim the fat though.

5) Handouts from parents? There is a difference from licking up the crumbs off your papa's silver platter and getting unusual "help-outs" that will provide you with a way to become a better person.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger unum said...

Unum is latin for one. It reflects my interest in history and my belief in platonism.

1) The advantage of having family members who are succesful business members should not be over looked. It has been amazing for me to take classes in economics and tax policy and learn how little most people know because there parents had never ran a business. Half of my family run businesses , but I received almost of my traing from my parents. I would expect anyone who had not done so to be able to run a business.

2) I have spent about equal time on Linux boxes and widows boxes. Possibly more on windows boxes. Linux is easier to use configure and maintain. Maybe you should try using an other os for a good six months (maybe less depending on your usage) and then make a judgement. I haven't rebboted my machine since I moved it two months ago. In my job I have had to set up Linux machines to perform tasks my boss's Windows machines could not perform. Yet the only time I need to use Windows is when the University forces me to. Why don't you ask Dr. Simmon if MS's monopoly is artificialy reinforced. I can show you plenty of evidence if you want. Clinton tried to break it up, but Bush has continually reinforced it. My favorite is when the US ambassor in Peru should up in the Peruvian legislature and told them they shouldn't pass a bill requiring agencies to take bids on software, rather than just buying microsoft.

3) I'm guesing you are being sarcastic here, thinking I disagree with Dr. Simmons. I agree with him most of the time and have learned a lot. He is right, incentives do matter. I believe in a differnt level of government involvement in the market, but are disagreement is probably much smaller than it appears.

4) Wow, where to even begin on this one. You honesty believe society would be better off if made it more difficult for people to become better educated? I guess you would say society would be better off if people had to provide their own means to obtain education. Problem is again you are ignoring the benfits you have recieved from the parent you were born to. If everyone was born into the same circumstances that you and I were born it then I would agree. The parents will take care of it. How ever there are many cases where the parents are failing. Rather than waiting for those individuals born in to less fortunate circumstances to kill someone so we can then apply the death penalty, I think we should step in and educate them so they can become productive members of society.

Look at the stats. Yes, there are some people who start off relatively poor and move very far up. There are some people who start off rich and move down, but the vast majority of poor people stay poor. A lot of this is attitude and you may argue that welfare causes this attitude. Most of these people were poor before the great depression. We need to invest the money in educating and training these people to be productive. If we yanked social security away, they would still be poor. If gvie them the training that you and I had, things can change.

5) The unusual help-outs I will agree with you on. I would like to see those unusual help-outs shared. I don't feel like I should have advantages just because of who I was born to. I feel like everyone should have those help-outs. I got the help-out not for anything I did. I don't know how far back it goes in my family before it comes to someone who had to overcome hardships like exist for people who grow up in anacostia. But I know I didn't do anything to earn most of the advantage I have. So I don't be grudge the government for trying to spread out the help-outs.


At 7:48 PM, Blogger Prof Simmons said...

Markets tell you what demand is given the current distribution of income. If income were more evenly distributed then demand would change but we do not know by how much.

One of the more interesting studies ever done on the effects of a person's initial endowment of income was with siblings. Siblings have relatively the same initial endowment of income, education, upbringing, etc. but only about 19% of their lifetime income is explained by that initial endowment. That suggests that leveling the playing field so everyone has a relatively equal shot at wealth will not produce equal incomes. Humans are not equal--we have different desires, drives, willingness to sacrifice, risk preferences, and luck. Trying to equalize incomes does not recognize those differences. But that does not mean there should not bew some kind of safety net.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Prof Simmons said...

Markets tell you what demand is given the current distribution of income. If income were more evenly distributed then demand would change but we do not know by how much.

One of the more interesting studies ever done on the effects of a person's initial endowment of income was with siblings. Siblings have relatively the same initial endowment of income, education, upbringing, etc. but only about 19% of their lifetime income is explained by that initial endowment. That suggests that leveling the playing field so everyone has a relatively equal shot at wealth will not produce equal incomes. Humans are not equal--we have different desires, drives, willingness to sacrifice, risk preferences, and luck. Trying to equalize incomes does not recognize those differences. But that does not mean there should not bew some kind of safety net.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger unum said...

I would like to see this study on siblings. My observations have led me to believe that those who are born rich usually remain so and those who are born poor also usually remain so. While I know there are MANY cases where someone was born rich and became poor and vice versa the general trend is that people stay in the class they were born into. I just think everyone should have a more equal footing in the game. I believe government can play a role in that by making sure that there is good public education.


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