Binswanger: It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%

Writes Professor Harry Binswanger at  Forbes:

It is “the community” that should give back to the wealth-creators. It turns out that the 99% get far more benefit from the 1% than vice-versa. Ayn Rand developed the idea of “the pyramid of ability,” which John Galt sets forth in Atlas Shrugged:

When you live in a rational society, where men are free to trade, you receive an incalculable bonus: the material value of your work is determined not only by your effort, but by the effort of the best productive minds who exist in the world around you.

When you work in a modern factory, you are paid, not only for your labor, but for all the productive genius which has made that factory possible: for the work of the industrialist who built it, for the work of the investor who saved the money to risk on the untried and the new, for the work of the engineer who designed the machines of which you are pushing the levers, for the work of the inventor who created the product which you spend your time on making . . .

In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the ‘competition’ between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of ‘exploitation’ for which you have damned the strong.

For their enormous contributions to our standard of living, the high-earners should be thanked and publicly honored. We are in their debt.

Read the rest of Give Back? Yes, It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%.

  • Doug Ramerth

    How much shall we give the CEOs and innovators so that they will become creative again and revive the US economy?

    According to a 2010 UCSC study, the top 1% in the US own 35.4% of the total net worth, and 50.4% of the total investment assets.

    Let’s agree that CEOs and innovators deserve more wealth. Is it possible to be in agreement as to how much that will be rather than aribitrarily designate tax freedom for them? Let’s not waste time trying to figure out which of the top 1% are creative and simply give all of them a boost in hopes that added wealth will revive their creativity and jump start the economy.

    Is a 10% increase in total net worth sufficient? Probably not, because that can be achieved by a very good year in the stock market. Perhaps doubling their net worth is enough? That’s only 70.8 % of the total net worth in the US. If CEOs and innovators owned 90% of the total investment assets, certainly they would be interested in maintaining that wealth by hiring more people once their creative ideas start flowing again.

    Can anyone suggest how we may begin this transfer of wealth as soon as possible?

    • devilof76

      Perhaps simply eliminating the forced transfer of wealth would suffice.

    • Edson Mena

      I vote for not putting a gun to anyone’s head, not the CEO’s and not mine. Maybe it’s time we re-discover the concept of individual rights.