The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

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BRUTE
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by BRUTE »

Riggerjack wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:54 am
But I hear: consumptive.
more consumption per square foot maybe, but per capita? brute has read that cities consume less per capita than rural areas, because everything is closer together and greater efficiencies are possible. brute remembers riggerjack arguing about uncounted externalities, but doesn't remember if that was addressed in the study.

certainly there is a greater specialization/division of labor. that's probably one of the reasons that productivity is higher.

Jin+Guice
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Jin+Guice »

I just read the original article (made it to part 5 anyway) and the thread (made it to about page 7 before I skimmed my way to the end)... Interesting that this veered off into a left v. right political debate so quickly, though the education debate and minmax portions were interesting. The meandering forum discussion is also much more interesting than the original article.

Commenting on the article:

1. Jesus dude, we get it. You're rich, you feel bad about it, you've cooked up a moderately interesting theory about a new educated elite that basically already existed. Next time maybe you could keep it to a page or less unless you've got something to say.
2. Anecdotally, I have observed this phenomenon in many of my friends, where the Ivy League high achievers have doors open to them that others don't and obsessively make plans to pass this on to their (mostly) unborn children.
but,
3. From an ERE perspective (at least the version of it that exists in my head) the 9.9%ers have it the worst. Are these not the corporate lawyers working 80-100 hours a week and making in the low six figures, only to blow it all on over-educated nannies and McMansions in the Hamptons that we're basically always making fun of? Theoretically they have it better due to more opportunities/ higher income, but do they in practice?


In my extremely limited experience of sharing my ERE/ FIRE plans with others, the educational elite are the least receptive and the most married to the narrative of "no one in our generation can retire ever." (I am a Millennial or as I like to call it The Greatest Generation).

BRUTE
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by BRUTE »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:30 pm
The Greatest Generation
ERROR: Identifier already in use
> |

Riggerjack
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Riggerjack »

more consumption per square foot maybe, but per capita? brute has read that cities consume less per capita than rural areas, because everything is closer together and greater efficiencies are possible. brute remembers riggerjack arguing about uncounted externalities, but doesn't remember if that was addressed in the study
Ok. Step back. More money going to people in cities, yet similar average lifestyle, more or less. Equally little saving, is the point.

So where does the productivity go? COL in the form of more options, taxes and rent (or property values). If there's anything else city folk are doing with this increased productivity, I missed it.

Riggerjack
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Riggerjack »

I'm just using a model that looks like: productivity-(consumption+taxes+COL+rent+X)= social benefit

City folk have higher productivity. This is expressed as higher income. But they aren't saving it, so they are consuming more, but from the outside, quality of life is similar. Not the same by any stretch, but similar. So, if they aren't consuming more, where does the money go? Where does the productivity go? From here, it seems like city folk have simply spent it on not having to do anything but their specialized skill, in exchange for other people cooking for them, and lighting up the streets at night.

You tell me, what is the X that makes this equation balance out?

Is there some secret stash of productivity we keep stored in the city sewer for emergency? Or does it all go to rent, taxes and happy meals? From here, it looks like people are getting what they want, but it doesn't look like anything we should emulate. It looks like the opposite of what they say they want, but I am learning to let them have it, and try to stop objecting.

Besides, maybe I am just missing something.

BRUTE
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by BRUTE »

there sure are lots of ways to spend more money in cities than in the country. brute still thinks there is lots of money to be saved in cities, even with high rents.

brute has certain qualms with cities, namely that there are always sick humans around, happy to infect the entire room with their virus, many of the biggest cities (in the US at least) are dirty, lots of homelessness, decrepit buildings galore. sure feels like if there is wealth, it's not going around.

but there is certainly wealth.

maybe, unlike Riggerjack, city-dwellers are not optimizing for social benefit but for their own personal savings and hedonism.

jacob
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by jacob »

@Riggerjack - Cities actually are saving it. In the form of bricks, steel, ... in terms of stuff in - stuff out (e.g. in the form of products, garbage, and sewerage), cities are accreting material. (I forget where I read it, but the number of tonnes/year/capita is LARGE). Every time a new house gets built in the city, that stuff had to come from somewhere and on the net, it stays in the city. In other words, cities are getting heavier and heavier. Thinking in terms of stocks and flows (and preserved quantities), this means that the net material flow is inwards and it is getting stocked up.

What flows out of cities are services, industrial products, high tech products, administration, ...

What flows into cities is food, water, fuels, raw resources, low tech products, commodities, ...

So it's not much different from the relationship between the first world (high GDP/capita) and the third world (low GDP/capita).
Which are more "productive" here? That's probably not the right question as it should be: "Who is getting paid?"(*)

However, it's clear that we quickly have to move to vector-flows if we are to describe all these different flows. (This can lead to annoying debate if one flow will be deemed more relevant than the other, etc. etc.) We do know that money is used to value all of them but that just gives us a first order approximation.

(*) Is a 9.9% plastic surgeon who makes $250k/year more or less productive than an apple picker who makes $8k/year? Does it make a difference if the plastic surgeon has a savings rate of 0% while the apple picker saves 50%?

What you're asking is not whether cities are more productive but whether they add net value. That's a complex question.

Riggerjack
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Riggerjack »

No. What I am asking, is what value you (Jacob) place on this productivity.

As near as I can tell, it has no value. Increased productivity results in increased per capita income. There is no more saving going on in cities than in the sticks. So the vast majority of this excess is consumed.

Consumed as taxes. As rent. As fruitful opportunities to squander wealth. I don't object to that (or at least I am trying), I am trying to find what you find appealing in this. It seems quite anti Jacobian, so I assume I am missing something.

I'm not trying to approach this from an economic perspective. I'm trying to understand the appeal of cities, so I am asking people who can articulate such things in terms I can understand.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Riggerjack wrote:I'm not trying to approach this from an economic perspective. I'm trying to understand the appeal of cities, so I am asking people who can articulate such things in terms I can understand.
Symphony orchestra.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Riggerjack wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:12 am
I'm trying to understand the appeal of cities, so I am asking people who can articulate such things in terms I can understand.
A high concentration of beautiful women.

Riggerjack
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Riggerjack »

Yes, we have one of those in Seattle. We tax people who have no interest in symphony, so the rich folks who go to symphonies, don't have to cover the costs.

This seems like an urban solution to commoners with recorded music. More expensive, more status signaling, more taxes.

The trifecta of urbanism. If only we could use it to raise the rent...

7Wannabe5
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jacob" wrote:(*) Is a 9.9% plastic surgeon who makes $250k/year more or less productive than an apple picker who makes $8k/year? Does it make a difference if the plastic surgeon has a savings rate of 0% while the apple picker saves 50%?
What about the young second wife of the plastic surgeon who spends her mornings at the yoga studio, then has lunch and does a bit of shopping, before volunteering for a couple hours at the art museum? What about the heir to the estate of the scientific breeder who held intellectual property rights to variety of apple being picked?

Riggerjack
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Riggerjack »

A high concentration of beautiful women.
Eh. Women are everywhere, beauty is comparative, but in approximately equal distribution. If you need them grouped together like fish in a barrel, maybe that just says something about your approach... 8-)

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

It’s a numbers game for most, Riggerjack.

I would also say that the the financially self-destructive tendencies in modern society owes a lot to women who want to live expensive and unsustainable lifestyles, and the men who run around catering to them.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y2I0JlwBaBs

7Wannabe5
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Riggerjack wrote:Yes, we have one of those in Seattle. We tax people who have no interest in symphony, so the rich folks who go to symphonies, don't have to cover the costs.

This seems like an urban solution to commoners with recorded music. More expensive, more status signaling, more taxes.
Whether or not a symphony orchestra is partially funded by taxes, it obviously requires a certain population to support, and even in a rural area, such as the county in which I resided when my children were young, the symphony will be found performing in whatever constitutes the city center of a largely rural area. The fact that most people most of the time listen to recorded music does not negate the fact that the music must first be composed and performed before it is recorded. Skilled individuals working in proximity are more likely to be inventive. Of course, access to books, the internet, etc. does allow people in rural locales greater level of ability to interact with creative others.

I don't think noting that an individual who performs in a large city orchestra is likely to be more skilled or gifted at art/craft than somebody who performs in a small town orchestra is simply a matter of "status signaling." More like just doing the math.

Anyways, my preference would be to spend roughly half my time in a lively city, and half my time in the country. IMO, the suburbs, whether working class or uber affluent, suck relative to both of these alternatives.

Jin+Guice
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Jin+Guice »

+1 for citites.

Living in a higher population dense area is just a different way of life than living in a low population density area. I'm not sure we can capture the entire picture in a purely economic sense. Having a higher population density makes certain things (walking everywhere as well as meeting and talking to strangers frequently) easier. Lower population density areas make other things (growing your own food and being left alone) easier.

Is it also not possible that cities are both more consumptive and more productive than rural counterparts but the productivity increase is greater than the consumptive increase? This would seem to encapsulate both arguments, but it's just and off the cuff theory....

Jin+Guice
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Jin+Guice »

@7w5:

-1 for suburbs...

In my experience the large city orchestra players are much better than the small town players. I think this is a combo of the extremely high competition for paid orchestra positions and the level at which leading orchestra players are expected to consistently perform. It's almost as stark as the difference between professional and amateur sports. Is this indicative of cities vs. rural populations in general or simply a quirk of the modern orchestra? Only the forums have the power to decide.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

If only the forums had the power to decide!

7Wannabe5
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Mister Imperceptible wrote:I would also say that the the financially self-destructive tendencies in modern society owes a lot to women who want to live expensive and unsustainable lifestyles, and the men who run around catering to them.
The author of "A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late Life Adventures in Sex and Romance", Jane Juska, notes that women who do not want to have sex with their husbands are the bedrock of middle-class society. Many years ago I belonged to a book group largely comprised of women who were older, wealthier, and more Republican than me. The frequency with which the conversation would take a turn towards "...and Bob just insisted that I order the granite counter-top." was rather irksome. A more positive take on the matter would be that, of course, females of any species with long period of infancy, will seek mates capable of providing economic support to nest. For instance, when I successfully seek men who will provide me with symphony tickets, so I can afford to tutor low-income children, I am being good at being a woman, and saving other people some tax dollars to boot!

jacob
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Re: The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

Post by jacob »

@Riggerjack - Other than being quantitatively larger (something I don't care for), the consumption in cities is also qualitatively different (something I care a lot for). This is because rarer institutions, businesses, interests, ... require a certain population density to support as noted by 7wb5.

There's an geographical law (I forget the name) describing how great the population density has to be before it makes sense to add a certain business or service. For example, you need a city of ~5000 people to have enough customers to run a storefront(*) jewelry business. It's bad business sense to run a jewelry business unless the foot traffic exceeds a certain number X. This is also why jewelry businesses are located downtown.

At the first level (other than nothing), you'll typically find a church/cemetery, a bar/hangout/hall, and a gas station or bus stop(+) Adding more people in, there might be a small supermarket and a mechanic on top of that. Adding yet more people, and now it makes sense to run a daycare center, expand the supermarket, and maybe there will be a baker as well. Moving up, you now have access to a doctor and maybe a dentist and a barber and the city is creating a small library and opening a post office.

(+) Which exactly describes the place, population 75-100, where I grew up.

And so on ...

So as the the city grows larger it becomes possible to produce and consume things of increasing complexity. This is what accounts for the GDP/capital scaling. There are jewelry jobs in a medium sized city. There are none in a small town.

(*) Internet acreage is similar but also different. The internet is definitely a game changer, but there's still many things that Amazon Prime hasn't solved yet.

Ahh.. but what about cars another solution to the distance problem? I grew up in the sticks and so the nearest school was 5km away; the nearest highschool 15km away, and the nearest university was 25km away. To translate that into American units, since this transport was done by school and regional bus respectively, the distances were 40mins, 100mins, and 120mins respectively. When I finally moved out and close to the university, I got an extra 2 hours worth of "productivity"/"consumption" per day.

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