1996-11-23 - Re: wealth and property rights

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From: Rabid Wombat <wombat@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
To: Jim Wise <jim@santafe.arch.columbia.edu>
Message Hash: f2678c87999144a3c0b0a73c8ec1eb7da285f08dc006af04d457acb3299f103a
Message ID: <Pine.BSF.3.91.961123124906.6152C-100000@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
Reply To: <Pine.NEB.3.94.961123040742.14111A-100000@localhost>
UTC Datetime: 1996-11-23 19:06:29 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 11:06:29 -0800 (PST)

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From: Rabid Wombat <wombat@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 11:06:29 -0800 (PST)
To: Jim Wise <jim@santafe.arch.columbia.edu>
Subject: Re: wealth and property rights
In-Reply-To: <Pine.NEB.3.94.961123040742.14111A-100000@localhost>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.3.91.961123124906.6152C-100000@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
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On Sat, 23 Nov 1996, Jim Wise wrote:

> On Fri, 22 Nov 1996, `Jon Galt' wrote:
> > What an interesting topic for this list.  I really must point out that most
> > wealth in this country is first generation wealth - in other words, most
> > wealth is EARNED, not "handed down".
> Please back this statement up.  The fact is, contrary to our grand self-image,
> America has one of the lowest rates of class mobility in the world.  Just shy
> of forty percent of the wealth (in land and capital) in the U.S. is possessed
> by one percent of the  population.  This far outstrips, for example, 
> Great Britain, where the top one percent of society holds 18% of the nation's
> wealth.  Continuing down the line, the top 20% of the us population hold more
> than 80% of the nation's wealth.  [Source New York Times, April 17. 1995, p.1]

Yup. I agree with you here - every year Forbes puts out its list of the 
richest people in America. I'm too lazy to go digging under the coffee 
table to find the issue, but as I recall, a good number of the people on 
the list made their money the old-fasioned way - they inherited it.

Also - most people inthis country do not have true "wealth" - most are
fairly leveraged with mortgages and other loans, so their true net worth
is not all that high.

The "coupon-clipping" class is mostly "old money."