Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fickle Finger of Fate

Some food for thought, on the subject of why social security nets are for everyone, not just the poor. (See also: Filthy Lucre [which has an unfortunate subtitle, but is worth reading even if you think you love capitalism])

Paul Krugman, in his post about the decreasing value of higher education:
but remember, the Luddites weren’t the poorest of the poor, they were skilled artisans whose skills had suddenly been devalued by new technology.

If you think you are so rich and powerful that you don’t need such insurance, consider this. The stock market collapse of 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression wiped out substantial quantities of wealth. The typical stock was worth only one sixth its pre-crash value once the bottom was reached. Whatever insurance existed in the stock market evaporated as the crash unfolded.

It wasn’t the poor jumping out of windows on Wall street. If you think it can’t happen to you, think again.

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