# Re: Two Types of Distributions Found In Nature

In our last episode,
talented Bret Cahill broadcast on alt.politics:

Here's why: unlike many variables (strength of carbon fibers, for example), income is *not* normally distributed. The mean is a useless (yes, meaningless) statistic.
--
Lars Eighner <http://larseighner.com/ <http://myspace.com/larseighner
Countdown: 447 days to go.
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Bret is, I think, referring to analyzing income distribution in any way, shape or form. Mean, median, standard deviation, plots, curves etc. The rich hate this. It makes them look, well, kinda greedy. Like they have just a little too big a piece of the pie, for the good of the rest of us. Gee, I wonder why.
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Before jumping to any conclusions about monied interests' corp. media propaganda, we need only focus on one issue:
Why there is only _one_ distribution in Nature where it is OK to discuss the median value but not the average mean value?
This is getting curiouser and curiouser.
Bret Cahill
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Well, I suppose the average American might be irritated to discover that his income is nowhere near the mean value because the distribution is so skewed to the right by the super-rich!
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You mean Median, not mean.
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On 10/30/2007 17:36:09 "pico" <pico.pico.pico> wrote:

I believe Jerry means "mean", just as he says. But math is hard.
--
Whether strength of body or of mind, or wisdom, or virtue,
are found in proportion to the power or wealth of a man is
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What's interesting is the number of rightards who'll enter a discussion without even bothering to look up the definitions of the words.

Even basic logic is hard for rightards. Just ask them if free speech is a precondition of free trade. They are too stupid/confused/ picobrained to even figure out it's a self evident truth.
Bret Cahill
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On Tue, 30 Oct 2007 17:53:18 -0400, Robert Vienneau

Indeed, his comment only makes sense if he means "mean." But math is hard -- especially when your IQ is not within striking distance of having three digits.
-- Roy L
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On Oct 30, 4:36 pm, "pico" <pico.pico.pico> wrote:

No, I mean the mean, not the median. The median is the representative value right in the middle of a distribution. Half above, half below. The mean is the average of all values, skewed by outliers.
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But the entire thing rests on an assumption that's so crazy even rightard economists will not vouch for it:
There is only _one_ distribution in Nature where the median value is meaningful but the average mean value is meaningless.
Who with any basic tech, math or science background is going to believe THAT one?
And the best part of it all is, it was done right out in the open just like Cheney's war crimes.
Bret Cahill
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Ummm...yes. This whole ridiculous discussion.
Either way, mean or median, the income - and the standard of living it provides - is fantastic in this country by any objective, absolute, historical standard. The middle class in this country - and for that matter in most of the industrial world - lives in many respects better than the aristocracy of a mere 100 or so years ago.
PBS has done a number of fascinating programs where people volunteer to go back and try and duplicate living in certain periods in history - the pioneers, Victorian England, etc. Everyone thinks the idea so romantic...until they have to endure what people in those eras had to. The romanticism quickly vanishes in the face of the hardships that even the moderately well-off experienced.
Your argument rests on the fallacious Marxist assumption that the rich are exploiting the rest of us. In fact we are the ones who *choose* of our own free will to make them rich by purchasing the products/ services they provide. Most honest people realize that they do not create the wealth at the level of the rich because they are probably unable to. In other cases they just may not want to. It does in fact take a lot of hard work, perseverance, creativity, and most especially a willingness to take risks to achieve great wealth. Relatively few of us have either the intelligence or drive to do it. Fortunately there are those who do.
Instead of looting from them, we should be grateful for their efforts. Without them our standard of living would be significantly lower than it is. The communists thought that if they got rid of the rich that it would create a worker's paradise. All that exploitation would be gone and the wealth would go to the supposedly true producers - the workers. Well, we saw what actually happened. Clearly there are a lot of you still engaged in a kind of self-induced blindness in regard to the issue.
Fred Weiss
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the lovely and talented Fred Weiss broadcast on alt.politics:

No fallacy about it. Rich people contribute nothing and maintain their useless existence by armed force.

That, of course, is not how rich people get rich. Exploitation occurs at the punch-in clock, not at the cash register.

That's right. No individual can honestly produce the amounts that rich people rip off.

Nonsense. All it takes is the will to exploit others.

Relatively few of us are unscrupulous bastards.

No, it is not fortunate. It is tragic that the bloodsuckers manage to enrich themselves at the expense of those who do the real work and take the real risks.

Bullshit. The rich contribute nothing.

Nonsense. Without the bloodsuckers, most of us would live well.

There have never been any communists.

What we saw was that it is impossible to transform feudalism into industrial democracy in one generation.
--
Lars Eighner <http://larseighner.com/ <http://myspace.com/larseighner
Countdown: 447 days to go.
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I don't know about the "lovely" part, but thanks for the thought.

Then, when they are eliminated in communist countries and their property is confiscated why do those countries immediately sink into poverty and millions try to escape? And that's not even counting the mass famine caused by Stalin and Mao by eliminating those "rich people (who) contribute nothing".
Now in contrast, why is it that when countries introduce incentives for people to get rich that their economies explode and the overall standard of living improves substantially? There are many recent examples of just that but there is no excuse in not knowing the history of the US in that regard. It's why 10's of millions of people came to the US - many to seek that very wealth which you condemn and in the process of seeking it transformed a wilderness into an industrial powerhouse (with millions still wanting to get in).

You mean of the workers whose standard of living is now greater in many respects than the aristocracy of 100-200 years ago? That exploitation? The "exploitation" which gave these workers abundant and inexpensive food, railroads, electricity, automobiles, air travel, an array of modern conveniences and entertainment? That exploitation?

Uh, huh. I got news for you, there will also never be any communists because every time it fails the communists will claim that it was not "true" communism. True communism, you see, is the delusional fantasy of communists which cannot be implemented in reality.
Fred Weiss
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Sorry, your credibility just flew out the window with hyperbolic comments like this. Here is a short list of things that rich people contribute:
-- hospitals -- schools -- jobs -- useful products -- technological innovation -- capital that allows for technological innovation -- charitable contributions -- etc. etc.
And all possessions, whether by rich or poor, are maintained by the threat of force.

So everyone is a victim, eh? The unfortunate thing is that the victim mentality does not good for the "victim".

(laugh) So everyone who has ever achieved wealth has done so by unscrupulous means? So unscrupulous behaviour is a necessary condition for obtaining wealth?
Wow, you have drunk the kool-aid and gone back for seconds and thirds.

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On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 11:49:11 -0700, ta wrote:

In actual fact, none of these things are contributed by rich people. Such things may, indeed, be _produced_ or _supplied_ by _SOME_ people who are attempting to become rich or by people as they attempt to remain rich. But being rich contributes NOTHING in and of itself.

That also is a lie. For the most part, the existence of private ownership in earned property is a moral principal that is universally recognized by the American people. For the most part the enforcement of such recognized "rights" by force or the threat of force is unnecessary. Only when the distribution of ownership in UNEARNED wealth becomes extreme is the use of or threat of force needed at all.

Not until that victimization can be defined and illustrated as it is by Henry George. Not until it is recognized that natural resources are naturally occurring thus unearned and separate and distinct from the earned "capital" means of production is it possible to illustrate the rip off in very clear terms. The distinction between "earned" and "unearned" is difficult. But it is not impossible and it lies at the heart of economic justice and thence at the heart of justice et al. The argument is not based on altruism or even on utilitarianism (though the latter would suffice). It is based very easily on simple justice.
http://www.henrygeorge.org /

Of course not. That is the moonbat position.

Agreed! That is the moonbat koolaid. But let us not close our eyes to the rightard koolaid (that rashly assumes that all wealth is earned or awarded by the luck of the draw) either.

Every now and then we see this sort of stuff and it is good. But how does his _BEING_ rich in and of itself do anything? What if all of his dough was distributed differently? What proof is there that the dough would not end up doing something as good or better?. I am speaking economics here, not religion, or altruism. Why does the disparity exist in the first place? Are we to believe that Mr. Buffett actually earned and paid taxes on his accumulated wealth? If we assume that Mr. Buffett would have paid a lot more in taxes then must we also assume that Mr. Bush or some other prancing authoritarian pig would have just created more wars? Do we fall in the trap of assuming that it is better for the world that Mr. Bush and Mr. Buffet are around doing the things they do? While Mr. Buffett may set a fine example, that does not lead me away from the pursuit of simple justice or from the knowing that too much power in the hands of a few individuals is a threat to the existence of freedom and liberty for the many. Nowhere is there a better example of this rent in the fabric of justice than in latter day America.

Oh, that's not true, and there still are some. But then, there are all sorts of people. Not good to let too much more be vested in just a few of them.

--
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers
of society but the people themselves; and
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There's no need to obfuscate the point -- it's rather simple. The OP said "rich people contribute nothing". Is this not a "contribution"? Is this "nothing"?
"Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago announces \$100 million gift from philanthropist Ann Lurie
Children's Memorial Hospital announced today that philanthropist Ann Lurie has pledged \$100 million to help fund the new facility planned for Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. This gift is the largest given by an individual to a children's hospital in the United States."
http://www.childrensmemorial.org/newsroom/release09052007.asp
If venture capitalists fund a group of entrepreneurs who develop a new medical device that saves lives, is that not a "contribution" to the betterment of mankind?
Just be honest -- to say that rich people "contribute nothing" is a foolish thing to say.

Straw man. Did I say anything about whether force was necessary or whether the wealth was earned or unearned? Please re-read my very simple sentence.
If someone breaks into an apartment in a housing project to steal a TV, he does so under the threat of force. Period.

Straw man.

Understatement. The fact is that these types of things are under- reported (it's too easy and too popular to hate rich people).

What if the moon were made of swiss cheese? I'm just debunking the myth that all rich people are greedy bastards who hide in their basements counting their dough all day.
The reality is, there are wealthy people, and they do good things. To deny that fact is to be unfair.
If you want to start a thread on how rich people cause poverty, be my guest.

That is up for debate -- start a thread.

Of course -- why would we believe otherwise.

Huh?
Please explain how Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey having billions of dollars poses a threat to freedom and liberty for the many.

You'll have to take that up with the poster who actually wrote that. It wasn't me.

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I appreciate your motivation in citing this article, but I think it's a mistake to justify the wealth achieved by businessmen based on their charitable or philanthropic efforts. While it's true that they do it in vast amounts and at least some of it is actually of value (though I don't think the Gates Foundation is one of them), the real value of businessmen is their productive achievements - and that far outweighs by an order of magnitude anything they may give away to charities.
JD Rockefeller did far, far more for the people of this country by lowering the price of oil 90%, standardizing and vastly increasing its production, and making it widely available all over the world, than anything ever achieved by his philanthropic efforts. His efforts laid the foundation for the automobile and airline industries. (He earned every penny of the fortune he made).
Buffett made many thousands of people very wealthy who trusted his judgment and who invested in his company (Berkshire Hathaway). He continually claims that he was just lucky. Well, you don't achieve that kind of wealth as a result of shrewd investment over that span of time by luck.
Fred Weiss
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Don't get me wrong. I'm mindful that you have also cited their productive achievements.
Fred Weiss
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Especially during the high tax Clinton economic boom.
It's not too surprising Buffet contributes to Hillary's campaigns.
Bret Cahill
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Clinton's era was far from high tax. The data show a lot people got tax cuts under Clinton and that the wealthy didn't pay much more than they did under George H. Bush. There is nothing high tax about the Clinton years. The Clinton tax being the highest ever was PURE REPUBLICAN SPIN. This was nothing like the Roosevelt tax hike that made a recession into a great depression. Tax rates on the wealthiest were still half or less what they were in 1979 under Clinton.
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