Sunday, April 29, 2007


I stumbled onto another interesting site while cruising the web. Well, at least I think it’s interesting. Maybe I’m just turning into an old fogey. Maybe it’s just that I have time to delve into other things besides ATC now. Or maybe, it’s just plain interesting.

Economist’s View

I know, I know. Economics is supposed to be duller than dirt. I remember taking an Economics class in college. I think I dropped it after the second day. Or maybe I just blocked out the memory of it. But for some reason, I now find it interesting.

Much of that interest is due solely to one person -- Paul Krugman. I’m fascinated that a man as smart as he is can bring such a boring subject down to a level that someone like me can understand. And make it interesting. Take this posting form the Economist’s View for example.

Paul Krugman: Gilded Once More

”Consider a head-to-head comparison. We know what John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in Gilded Age America, made in 1894, because ... he had to pay income taxes. ... His return declared an income of $1.25 million, almost 7,000 times the average per capita income ... at the time.

But that makes him a mere piker by modern standards. Last year, ... James Simons, a hedge fund manager, took home $1.7 billion, more than 38,000 times the average income..., and the top 25 combined made $14 billion. ...”

A billion dollars is a lot of money. And power. According to the biography on Wikipedia, John D. Rockefeller “...believed since he was a child that his purpose in life was to make as much money as possible, and then use it wisely to improve the lot of mankind.” That is, arguably, a noble thought. J.D. Rockefeller had many deeds to go with those thoughts. Many of his trusts are still in place, doing good things.

I wonder what Mr. Simons believes in ? Or the guy just below him in the pecking order. And the guy below him. I wonder what J. D. Rockefeller’s competitors -- the ones he drove out of business -- would have done with their fortunes ? Support their church ? Support democracy ? Support the Republican Party ? Support a “swiftboat” campaign in a Presidential race ?

Don Brown
April 29, 2007

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