Bound to you, even. You have a few options. But both of those options demand a lot from you.
August This essay is derived from a talk at Defcon Suppose you wanted to get rid of economic inequality. There are two ways to do it: But they amount to the same thing, because if you want to give money to the poor, you have to get it from somewhere.
You have to get it from the rich. There is of course a way to make the poor richer without simply shifting money from the rich.
You could help the poor What makes a relationship work essay more productive-- for example, by improving access to education. Instead of taking money from engineers and giving it to checkout clerks, you could enable people who would have become checkout clerks to become engineers. This is an excellent strategy for making the poor richer.
If there are more engineers, then there are more opportunities to hire them and to sell them things.
What if one of your newly minted engineers gets ambitious and goes on to become another Bill Gates? Economic inequality will be as bad as ever.
If you actually want to compress the gap between rich and poor, you have to push down on the top as well as pushing up on the bottom. How do you push down on the top? You could try to decrease the productivity of the people who make the most money: But this approach is hard to implement.
The only practical solution is to let people do the best work they can, and then either by taxation or by limiting what they can charge to confiscate whatever you deem to be surplus.
It is identical with taking money from the rich. When you transform a mathematical expression into another form, you often notice new things. So it is in this case. Taking money from the rich turns out to have consequences one might not foresee when one phrases the same idea in terms of "reducing inequality.
Transposing into our original expression, we get: There are whole classes of risks that are no longer worth taking if the maximum return is decreased. One reason high tax rates are disastrous is that this class of risks includes starting new companies.
Investors Startups are intrinsically risky. A startup is like a small boat in the open sea. A competing product, a downturn in the economy, a delay in getting funding or regulatory approval, a patent suit, changing technical standards, the departure of a key employee, the loss of a big accountany one of these can destroy you overnight.
It seems only about 1 in 10 startups succeeds. Which meant, with current US tax rates, that it made sense to invest in us if we had better than a 1 in 24 chance of succeeding.
That sounds about right. That might be ok if there were other sources of capital for new companies. Why not just have the government, or some large almost-government organization like Fannie Mae, do the venture investing instead of private funds?
As anyone who has worked for the government knows, the important thing is not to make the right choices, but to make choices that can be justified later if they fail. But that is exactly the wrong way to do venture investing. The nature of the business means that you want to make terribly risky choices, if the upside looks good enough.
VCs are currently paid in a way that makes them focus on the upside: And that helps overcome their understandable fear of investing in a company run by nerds who look like and perhaps are college students.
What they invest is their time and ideas. Like many startup founders, I did it to get rich. But not because I wanted to buy expensive things. What I wanted was security. Instead of busting my ass in a startup, I would have tried to get a nice, low-stress job at a big research lab, or tenure at a university.1 YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.
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