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Public: Charity
Reverse Lottery   (+4, -10)  [vote for, against]
The Robin Hood of Gambling

Each year, the income tax authority places the top 1% of earners into a pool. Every month a name is drawn from the pool on live TV. The lucky "winner" has the entirety of his/her assets immediately seized, liquidated, and evenly distributed among the bottom 1% of earners. The winner is allowed to keep a small honorarium (say $20,000) to put food on their families.

This would place compensating pressure on rich-poor disparity, as no one would want to be within the top 1%. Plus, it would make for exciting television.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

Examples of over earners
[the porpoise, Dec 19 2013]

Socialism on Wikipedia
"There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them" [calum, Dec 20 2013]

Get that raise now
[theircompetitor, Dec 20 2013]

Work is bad.
[Voice, Dec 21 2013]

Guaranteed income https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Basic_income
Guaranteed basic income has been a resounding success in every real-world test. [Voice, Dec 21 2013]

I have no assets, I donated the ownership of my houses and luxury yacht and my collection of vintage Bentleys to a charitable trust based in the British Virgin Islands. The trust pays me a salary of just £2,000 a year in my role as housekeeper and custodian of its assets, which puts me in the bottom 1% of the nation's earners, and so I fully support this proposal.
-- pocmloc, Dec 19 2013

Don't worry, there would be a bonus number for the likes of you.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

Have you considered that the top 1% will have quite a large earning range between the topmost person and the bottom of the top?

If you reduced the range to the top 0.01% (still a lot of people in medium or larger sized countries) then the average amount seized would increase - assuming you could prevent cheating (that's quite a sizable assumption).

Anyway, there'd still be quite a bit of variation each year. I suppose you could have a target, and keep drawing until you reached it - with the excess rolled over to the next year.
I suppose the down-side of that is that the result would be forgone, so less exciting TV. The way to get around that would be to collect up all the entrants and interview them at various stages of the process.

I think you should probably have a rather less punitive win. If certain people won, they'd have less money than the people they were paying out to. For example, if Bill Gates won, with a net worth of 72 billion, and there were 300 million people in the USA he'd pay out $24000 to each of the bottom 1%. Actually, more to fewer people, because you probably wouldn't count children, pensioners etc for the windfall.
Suppose you took 50% of their net worth instead. That's a better normalising factor and you wouldn't immediately bankrupt anyone.

If this were a world-wide organisation then the rich wouldn't be able to off-shore. Companies are legally considered to be people, so the could play too.
Quite how you'd stop the ultra-rich from forming a mutually insuring consortium, with 1 percent's worth of sacrificial victims, all at the same earning (being $1 p.a. more than the rest of them), I don't know.
-- Loris, Dec 19 2013

This is unnecessarily complex. Why not simply have the government confiscate all the money of any rich people who decide to stay in the country after a certain date? To prevent legal challenges, the wealthy could simply be executed - this could be televised, and would probably get higher ratings than the lottery.

You could also execute, for every top-earner, a number of poor people with an equivalent aggregate income. That way, you get twice as much money to distribute, and pretty soon you have fewer poor people as well - it's win win.

Also, let's make this international. Global poverty needs a global solution. Imagine if the wealth of the US, UK, Europe and Australia were distributed fairly around the world! Can I sign you up, [porp]?

I love these ideas that give the government more power - this is long overdue, [porp].
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 19 2013

yes, it's too easy to hide income, you really gotta go for a wealth tax. If nothing else, it will spur a Mars colony, or at least the colonization of Antarctica, just as it's warming, so definitely a win, win.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

Max, the object is not to forcibly redistribute wealth. Just as regular lotteries create a few random millionaires in a poof of luck, thereby giving hope to all the schleps who buy tickets, the reverse lottery strikes fear in hearts of the greedy and over-earners and perhaps forces them to reconsider their hoarding instinct. The shifting of money is trivial. It's the spectacle of it that may change society's over-valuation of wealth. Once a sane level of rich-poor disparity is arrived at, the reverse lottery is suspended until a future time when it may again be needed. The sacrifice of a few random well-to-do types is a ritual that reminds us that luck is a huge factor in wealth and perhaps avoids a bloody revolution.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

over earners? Can you define that?

Read up on creative destruction.

As to protecting the well to do against the bloody revolution, have no fear, this is exactly why they are developing robots with lasers.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

/over earners/

CEOs who earn hundreds of times more than the regular employees [link]. Yes yes free market forces etc, but nobody actually needs that much money.

Anyway, if you read the idea carefully, you'll see that everyone who is gainfully employed would be able to recover quite quickly. It's assets that are redistributed, not income.

Insofar as the the reverse lottery would have any actual direct effect on the economy, the idea is to release pockets of cash currently tied up in van goghs, castles, trust funds, and other excesses, and inject it back into the economy where it's needed most.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

[porp], you and I are on the same page, but I'm using a bolder typeface. Of _course_ nobody needs a CEO's income. By the same token, when a significant percentage of the world's population live on less than a dollar a day, it's obvious that nobody needs a hundred times that much money.

A sales rep from Idaho is, ipso quan tetio petunia, as guilty as the CEO.

However, it would make more sense to conduct this exercise on nations, rather than on individuals. Take the wealth of the US and distribute uniformly across Mexico. The overall benefit to humanity will be immense, and it will teach other nations (UK, Germany, France, Japan...) that hoarding 95% of the world's wealth is just not on.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 19 2013

[the porpoise] I'm having trouble telling if you are simply envious or actually don't quite understand the meaning of money. Money only has value because it can be accumulated legal tender, so called "Stored Value". Without that ability, it is worthless.

Putting seized money into the economy is valueless, because once money cannot be accumulated to buy a van gogh, all value out of the economy escapes. Ask the North Koreans if you have any doubt.

Any measures to create ratios of pay will simply accelerate the destruction of low paying jobs, especially in areas that can eventually be automated. Further, if corporations distributed compensation solely through dividends, the treasury of most countries would actually collect LESS money since typically dividends get preferential treatment. The corporations would HAVE to distribute this excess money that didn't go into compensation somehow, to avoid the typically even higher corporate tax rate.

In any case, [marked-for-deletion] advocacy, cruelty, and widely known to be imagined
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

[comp], think of it as an extreme tax. The actual seizing of money is small. However, it would give pause to those drawn into the 1% pool. A person in that pool would have a very small chance of "winning", but the --irrational-- fear of being drawn may cause them to choose to refuse a pay raise or donate income to avoid being pulled into the pool.

Traditional lotteries are not a rational business plan to become rich. This is clear. However, lotteries are big income centers for governments.

Likewise, the reverse lottery is not a rational plan to seize and redistribute wealth. Rather, it's aim is to cause the 1% pool, and those near it, to behave --irrationally-- and voluntarily give up some of their wealth to the less fortunate.

Money can still be accumulated with almost near certainty, just as today. The "winner" serves as spectacle to cause the 1% pool to want to earn less. If they earn less, the money has to go somewhere. That is the crux of the idea.

I'm not envious. I'm troubled by how current culture places a high value on wealth. The fight over money brings out terrible characteristics in people, including myself. Yet there is more than enough wealth to go around. Even shifting the CEO:janitor ratio from 100:1 to 20:1 would be enough in the general interest of fairness and equity, without putting an appreciable dent in the motivation of would-be CEOs.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

[Max], perhaps then this idea applies to the world population, the top 1% of the world and the bottom 1%, regardless of location. If I found myself in the top 1%, so be it, I would be prepared to take an income adjustment or submit to the pool.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

The key is to value things not based on sentiment, but based on supply and demand (which can influence sentiment). Thus, the Van Gogh can be valued at hundreds of millions though it would be less valuable than a loaf of bred or a cup of water to someone wandering through Sahara.

I'm afraid we're too far apart in understanding of economics to continue this discussion. But I stand by the MFD
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

//Even shifting the CEO:janitor ratio from 100:1 to 20:1//

With all due respect, if the CEO is only earning 100x what the janitor earns, he's not a very good CEO.

A far better option would be to let the low-earners run the company. With luck, this would lead to the companies going bust and technology stagnating so as to give poorer countries time to catch up. Once the domination of countries like the US and UK has been eliminated, the world will be a much fairer place.

Also, I'd quibble with the idea that seizing rich people's money will act as a deterrent. What's needed, pour encourager les autres, is some sort of graphic capital punishment for a randomly-chosen well-off person. Now THAT would make brilliant TV. [porp], you're a genius.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 19 2013

This idea aims to curb bloodlust, Max, not feed it!!
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

//I'm afraid we're too far apart in understanding of economics to continue this discussion.//

Well I'm glad someone here understands economics.

Of course there's nothing wrong with spending millions on an oil painting while millions starve. I must have forgotten to take my meds. So very sorry.
-- the porpoise, Dec 19 2013

As I said, check with DPRK. No Van Gough, still starving
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

//This idea aims to curb bloodlust, Max, not feed it!!// I'm disappointed in you, [porp]. Tens of millions of people die every year, many of them through poverty. The public execution of people earning more than the average would help to curb this. By redistributing their wealth, everyone will be able to afford the plasma TVs and finest healthcare which will become widely available once we make sure everyone is equally downtrodden.

Let us take the tough decisions, confident in the knowledge that the world's poor will, eventually, meet the citizens of the US and UK somewhere in the late stone age. Poverty for all is the only way forward.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 19 2013, MB, I'm on a treadmill watching them eat cake
-- theircompetitor, Dec 19 2013

That's a coincidence - I'm on a roll and wondering how [porp] will get off his treadmill.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 19 2013

[Porp], to the ultra-rich, their assets are the source of their income. You think these folks -work- for a living? At that level, their assets, be it real estate pulling in rent or corporations producing profit, ARE their source of income. Take that away, and their income stops as well.

[theircompetitor] Ask the North Koreans? I think you should expect a response along the lines of "We love our wonderful supreme leader descended from the heaevns, our great protector and provider, his policies keep us warm, fed and protected. You ask how his policies have harmed us - I must say that I do not understand the question."
-- Freefall, Dec 19 2013

Why not go further? Let's form a new international organization that, once a year, seizes all the money in the world economy and divides it equally among all the people.

What could possibly go wrong?
-- Wrongfellow, Dec 20 2013

//...The actual seizing of money is small. However, it would give pause to those drawn into the 1% pool. A person in that pool would have a very small chance of "winning", but the --irrational-- fear of being drawn may cause them to choose to refuse a pay raise or donate income to avoid being pulled into the pool.//

Hey, wait. I thought your scheme was based on selecting from the top 1% of earners. How can giving money away get you off the hook?
-- Loris, Dec 20 2013

Isn't the war against the poor already being won with the splendidly thought out "Welfare Not Jobs" program?

Here's how socialism works:

1- Decide you don't want to get a job, have no talent, morals or redeeming qualities but want lots of money and power.

2- Decide you hate everybody and want to rule over the whole world. To cover this up talk a lot about how you're the only one around who has any basic human kindness. This will be your cover story.

3- Plunk yourself at the top of society grabbing all the money from the people who work (to keep them down) and giving it to people who are at the bottom rung of society (to keep them down). Tell them that work is bad and they have a right to lead horrible worthless, unfulfilling lives scrambling for the scraps you throw to them after you've taken your healthy cut of the swag you stole from the workers.

4- To further prevent those uppity poor from not knowing their place, getting jobs and actually bettering their lives on their own, you need to keep that evil bourgeois middle class from creating jobs. This is the fun part. Call them corporations and have a pipe organ play a minor cord every time you mention them. Then tax them into oblivion so the only job available is voting for you. This insures your permanent position at the top of society.

Then if somebody dares question your brilliant plan, simply say they want to starve babies and club baby seals.

Don't have the money to get started? Don't worry. Plenty of corporate welfare queens on Wall Street that will fund society's bobsled ride into hell with you at the controls.

The payoff? You can look down from your private jet as it flies over long lines of people waiting for food, transportation and basic necessities of life while you write an article for the Times about how too many poor people drive cars and pollute the Earth.

Ahh, so much still left to do.
-- doctorremulac3, Dec 20 2013

I agree 100% that this would make exciting television. There should also be follow up series shown on subsidiary channels following the travails of the recently liquidated, standing dazed in dollar/pound stores, struggling to fill in Job Seeker's Allowance application forms with a found bookies' pen, sitting awkwardly in provincial chain pubs drinking Bacardi Breezers and trying not to look to hard or too long at any one. The theme song would be Common People by Pulp.
-- calum, Dec 20 2013

well, [dr], people still fail to understand that the gap between the rich and the poor is much wider wherever income or wealth equality is enforced. It's just the NUMBER of rich that is much lower, typically limited to the ruling class.

People also have a completely misguided view of their own worth -- as much as this is true for someone like Miley Cyrus, it's a thousand times truer for someone in a middle class office job. 7% unemployment -- are you kidding -- most of these people don't really do anything and get salaries that would let them live like kings in a third world country. I was a relatively senior IT manager in the 90s for a major Wall St. firm, with billion dollar IT budgets. 99% of the people that worked there, typically at 6 figure salaries, would never be hired by any startup, they are useless. And guess what, 60% or 70% of the people that work in startups are completely useless, too.

And finally they don't understand that in fact the era of the employer employee relationship is over -- and good riddance. Oh, sure, it will take some time -- but if Walton and Ford made their money with millions of employees, Brin made it with just a few hundred -- and really without any - - and the average hedge fund has just a few dozen employees. Now that automation is fast reinvigorating manufacturing, the new equivalent of Ford -- Musk -- has just 3,000 employees in his car company, and < 4,000 employees in SpaceX, and is rich enough to consider building a Mars colony. The next Musk might not need any employees to build cars he designs.

Most people are neither smart enough, nor hard working enough, to deserve what they get now, much less what "the CEO" gets. Does this often include the CEO himself/herself? Oh, to be sure -- but the rules of primate communities come into play here, and you can no more repeal them in human society than you can in baboon society.

If your kids are giftless, educate them, from day one, as if you expect them to go to Wharton. If they are gifted, work them even harder. Stop expecting some law to fix things for you.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 20 2013

Hallelujah to that.

Socialism at it's core is based on envy and vengeance, not logic. A free market, a REAL free market is a place where useful and effective programs and products that actually benefit mankind survive while lousy ones shrivel and die on the vine. It's also the best way to pay for social programs and safety nets for the disadvantaged because, well, commerce is where real money comes from. When you get your money solely from a printing press or loans from Wall Street cronies it's worthless.

How about we take the top 1% of socialists, divvy up their billions and trillions and distribute it to the poor? Now THAT'S a TV show I'd watch, if only to see them cry about how unfair income re-distribution is.

Anyway, as noted it's all a moot point anyway. When we have a completely automated society with robots doing everything we'll all be sitting around looking for a reason to live. Some of us will reach for the skies and others will walk around in circles waiting to die. The evolution of the species will march onward, the roulette wheel of fate will continue to spin and we'll land where we land. Thankfully ice cream will still be available at designated locations.
-- doctorremulac3, Dec 20 2013

The title confuses me a bit. Wouldn't a 'reverse' lottery be a case where, from a group of entrants, everyone was selected save one?
-- tatterdemalion, Dec 20 2013

I think a reverse lottery would be an yrettol.
-- Wrongfellow, Dec 20 2013

Yrettol is a small village near Ebbw Vale.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 20 2013

//A free market, a REAL free market is a place where useful and effective programs and products that actually benefit mankind survive while lousy ones shrivel and die on the vine.//A truly free market is a place where those who can't get enough work to survive solve the problem by dying and taking themselves out of the market.

The idea is idiocy because there are too many ways to change one's apparent income. The idea is idiocy because it would punish the rich without effectively distributing wealth. The idea is idiocy because distributing wealth in this manner would tend to destroy more than it would create.

And each person posting here who believes the poor earned their positions as poor people are doubly idiots and heartless to boot. A pox on both your houses.
-- Voice, Dec 21 2013

//A free market, a REAL free market is a place where useful and effective programs and products that actually benefit mankind survive while lousy ones shrivel and die on the vine.///A truly free market is a place where those who can't get enough work to survive solve the problem by dying and taking themselves out of the market.//

I notices how you carefully stopped the cut paste at the beginning of the rest of my statement:

//It's also the best way to pay for social programs and safety nets for the disadvantaged because, well, commerce is where real money comes from.//

Didn't fit in with your simplistic little narrative that you are in possession of human qualities that those who disagree with you don't have, namely a brain and a heart. I'm waiting for you to show evidence you possess either. While you're gathering evidence of that, you can also show me all these people who are starving in America. Although to be fair, since the socialists have taken over the poverty rate here has gone up 16%.

//And each person posting here who believes the poor earned their positions as poor people are doubly idiots and heartless to boot. A pox on both your houses.//

Ok genius, do you have a better plan for the poor than giving them job opportunities, self respect and dignity while having a healthy economy that can more effectively provide social programs as needed for the disadvantaged? I think you couldn't care less about the poor. I'm guessing you're attitude is "Let them eat Plumpy'nut". I'm in favor of a livable wage and a healthy economy to provide that livable wage. A corrupt government printing money or taking out loans from their corporate cronies to cement the country's workers in permanent debt doesn't' lead to a healthy economy, it leads to ruin and more poverty, not less.

I've been poor. I was born in the ghetto and I get pretty tired of listening to silver spooners telling me how they'd fight poverty. I know what's helped me out of the mire and what's held me back. It's opportunity, not government cheese.

Love how you show off your big heart by wishing disease upon those you disagree with. Socialists always slip up and show their real motivation: arrogance and hatred. Maybe a nice series of re-education gulags are called for eh comrade?

Ok, that was too nasty. I don't wish a pox on your house but I do disagree with your solutions. We probably have the same goal in mind which is people being better off. I need to be thicker skinned about name calling. Doing the same back doesn't get anybody anywhere.
-- doctorremulac3, Dec 21 2013

// the poor earned their positions //

No one controls where and how they are born. But there has not been a civilization in history that spent more on its children, including, in some cases, aggressive interference with parents, to change that outcome. Given sufficient wealth & resources, hunger can certainly be ameliorated, as it has been, but to assume that a statistical distribution can be changed to a straight line that parallels the X axis is idiocy.

Economies that are primarily commodity driven -- the oil states, for instance, or for that matter, Alaska -- can certainly "distribute" national wealth for a while -- but they are typically grossly inefficient when compared to privatized exploitation of similar resources, and when the resources run low, or the commodity drops in price, watch out. Political control of resources, as in Venezuela, quite typically drives poverty higher, quite rapidly, too.

The simplest reason why wealth re-distribution schemes cannot succeed is that wealth is stored value, and once it can be "dicked with", it loses it's stored value. This is why the Russians and the Chinese wealthy try to store their money in Western banks, why gold originally took off during the last crisis, why anyone even pays attention to Bitcoin. The thing anyone that has amassed anything wants to know is that it cannot be taken away through theft or a protection racket, be it government sanctioned or not.

Welfare states like to pretend that national wealth is a commodity that is constantly rising in value -- and given a sufficiently and consistently rising GDP -- they can be. But they quickly discover -- and even the wealthiest, the US is discovering, less than 100 years in (a speck in historical terms) -- that such a view cannot be sustained easily.

The state is then left with three choices:

1. significantly raise taxes, which causes capital to flee and reduces GDP growth, so -- doesn't work.

2. significantly reduce benefits, which the 50%+ of the population do not want. Worse, a significant amount of the GDP is now dependent on the spending of those who receive benefits, so the argument goes that this can can also reduce GDP (this is the argument that "minimum" wages, unemployment benefits "work")

3. Borrow. This works really well while someone is willing to lend, but it is fairly obvious that this is not sustainable either, especially as the world's largest lenders can easily swing to be the world's largest borrowers as demographics continue to change towards distributing benefits, as has already happened in Japan and America, and as the signs of which are starting to emerge in China.

The only thing that works to help the poor -- the ONLY thing -- is growing GDP at a VERY rapid pace, such a rapid pace that helping the poor, which will still be poor but now have cars, cable, internet and iPhones -- is inconsequential in the scheme of things.

This is basically what the States had in the Gilded Age, in the 40s through the 60s, and again from the 80s through the 90s. One would hope starting in right about 2017 we will again start earning enough to afford our largess.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 21 2013

So, exponential growth is the only long term sustainable solution?
-- pocmloc, Dec 21 2013

Probably. That's why we need wars, plagues and meteorites.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 21 2013

That or space colonies.

In the meantime birth control might be a more pleasant option. Unfortunately, that only works for the people who practice it. Then you have a planet mostly populated by people who were too dumb to practice birth control. It's always something.

Robots and space colonies: only solution, final answer. And if that's not the solution I'm out of ideas.
-- doctorremulac3, Dec 21 2013

Not exponential, [pocmloc]. Just real growth unimpeded by headwinds from governments. 4% on a consistent basis would actually be sufficient if governments use a modicum of restraint.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 21 2013

So keep the exponential growth low enough that no-one will notice too much in the short term and it will only crash after our term of office?
-- pocmloc, Dec 22 2013

bubbles are like supernovas, and cannot be prevented -- but it is an oversimplification to assume that growth causes them. In any case, growth with bubbles and even depressions is preferable to sitting around the campfire for the next million years.
-- theircompetitor, Dec 22 2013

//And each person posting here who believes the poor earned their positions as poor people are doubly idiots and heartless to boot.//

I could easily say the same about the inherent presumption that "rich" people have become so by screwing over "poor" people. It's just not true in the majority of cases, unless you apply a very strange definition to the term “screwing over”. This obsession with demonising “rich” people baffles me.

It's also true that by and large, "rich" people get that way and stay that way by working harder, and more importantly, smarter, than "poor" people do. An entrepreneur, executive or highly paid professional would in most cases, work much harder, at infinitely higher stress level, doing something that took years and years of training and experience to become competent at, and which not very many other people could do. Why would that not be valued? Why should hard, smart work be punished? Why do we presume the blame fully lies with the rich, rather than equitably distribute the blame across everyone? Why is this more about punishment for the rich, rather than enabling the poor?

I’m firmly middle class, trained for years to do what I do, and I get pretty good compensation for it. In fact, I get exactly “what the market will bear” so to speak. I can easily imagine someone who trained harder, has more talent, and works harder than me, earning much more. I have no problem with that whatsoever – the choice is mine. Whenever I make the mistake of talking to people about my job, I commonly get told that I “push pencils” for a living, that it must be “nice to sit in the aircon all day looking at a computer”, and that “I must be on the big bucks”. My salary is maybe 50% more than a colleague who has next to no training, bears zero stress whatsoever, who works strictly from a start time to a finish time, would never come in after hours or on days off to deal with emergencies, etc. This society does not value hard work, and looks with suspicion on anyone “doing better”, without considering why those people might be doing so. Back before I was a professional, I worked for years in several different industries, from customer service through to straight manual labour. The universal truth is that most people will do the bare minimum to retain employment. Anyone who goes beyond that experiences two things. 1) better wages and opportunities. 2) derision, disrespect and outright hostility from the rest of the workforce. Draw your own conclusions from that. If this was an idea to realistically influence income disparity, then I’d be all for it. However I haven’t come across any idea on how to reduce income disparity, that also takes into consideration effort disparity. Most people don’t want to work, and especially don’t want to work hard. Therefore, most people won’t ever do well. It’s as simple as that. All we can aim for, is for most people to be able to “do okay”, which is a lofty enough goal for society, I think.
-- Custardguts, Dec 22 2013

I'm with [oobleckintestines] on this one. Aspiring to do better is a loftier goal than wanting others to do worse.

[theporpoise] has, if I may say so, missed the point of humanity and human effort.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 22 2013

[Max] - I hadn't heard than one before. Nice.

Then again, I get the feeling you're rich. So choke and die, would you?
-- Custardguts, Dec 22 2013

The Buchanan estate is indeed satisfyingly wealthy, and there are those who would say that a great deal of this wealth is gloriously undeserved.

On the other hand, a close personal friend of mine is a molecular biologist who could only be described as upper-middle-income. He is a lot better off than many others, and has the good fortune to be doing a job that he loves (until someone tells him he can't). On the other hand, he works about 70-80 hours a week one way and another; and spent several years earning nothing while he learnt his trade, so fair dos to him I say.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 22 2013

He doesn't sound humble enough. I don't know what a molecular biologist does, although it does sound a lot like "book learning", so I can only presume that it involves somehow sequestering wealth form poor people and giving it to rich people. Maybe even torturing or hurting people in the process. Based on this presumption, I now hate your "friend" with the fury of a thousand suns.
-- Custardguts, Dec 22 2013

Count me with [MB] on this one. I see 'Lifting the Poor' as a noble and worthwhile aspiration, whereas 'Pulling down the Rich' springing from baser motivations.
-- AusCan531, Dec 22 2013

The worst of it is, [custard], I believe he owns a colour TV.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 22 2013

Well then he's implicated by his own bourgeois excesses, isn't he?
-- Custardguts, Dec 22 2013

I like the idea not for the literal idea, but the message it sends about richness. The lottery says "support minority wealth through majority _____" this lottery says the opposite, except I'm not sure what the blank is. I guess majority complacency to the wealth distribution scheme, or irrational economic decisions would be suitable.

Obviously my own vote goes towards minimum standard of living for all. Some people are afraid to let the population of low income people grow unconstrained by starvation and homelessness. Although I see the reason to constrain human population through price controls, for example supply shortage of low rent units and necessities of life, I also see a reason for balls out population growth to push humanity to a true scarcity crisis where any little inequality of ownership will be neutralized by mass sanctioning. Equality achieved through unregulated fucking and birthing should be the maxim!
-- rcarty, Dec 23 2013

random, halfbakery