intelectual capital Re: [LINK] Re: OFF TOPIC Re: the rich and corporate parasites

Deus Ex Machina
Wed, 26 Feb 2003 17:33:49 +1100

Chris Maltby [] wrote:
> "Miracle" eh? I'm just saying that you can't ignore externalities
> when you consider any economic system. In the Irish case, the avoidance
> of taxes elsewhere in the world was a benefit to the Irish economy and
> to those of its citizens who found employment. But who can say what the
> effect of the reduction in tax receipts was on the economies and citizens
> in the countries from which the tax refugees came? Are they any less
> worthy of consideration?

agree that you can't ignore externalities, but I dont see that as the point.

companies and individuals are neither morally or otherwise required to prop up
ineficient and high taxing government. further companies pay tax but dont vote,
go to school or need hospitals.

and anyway I am pretty sure US companies pay tax on income earned overseas.

> >> In another version of the story it's called "the tragedy of the commons".
> > it cant be understressed that unemployment went from 16% to under 5%, I
> > dont see how that is a tragedy, further by investing in higher education
> > ireland has/is creating an infinite resource of intelectual capital.
> The "tragedy" referred to is the decline of overall wealth of people
> together to be replaced by an increase in wealth for a few of them.

there is no evidence that the overall wealth of ireland has decreased,
quite to to the contrary employment is up, 10% of the population actually
now have a job where before they where a burden on the welfare system.

GDP has doubled. there is far more money moving through the system,
and the government has a much larger coffer to spend.

I dont know the break down but the growth has been very much technology based,
even intel has a factory in ireland empolying over 3000 people. I think this kind
of hi-tech industry has little depletion on the environment.

> In other words, it's very unwise to consider economic "benefits" in
> isolation of the costs imposed elsewhere in the system, be those
> to government revenue, to personal wellbeing or to the environment.
> I doubt if the intellectual capital resource is truly "infinite"...

agreed, its of different class to enviromental resources which is
where the tragedy of the commons comes into play. there is no possible
tragedy of the commons in intelectual capital if the government can keep
the intelect in the country which ireland has done. 

> For example, the US economy has been in decline since the 1960s if you
> factor in the decline in the capital value of the natural systems it
> has exploited to make "economic" gains (or the cost of restoring those
> systems to their original state). People as a whole have lost out while
> a few have profitted hugely. Good for them, but it can't be sustained.

indeed and the number now reflect a change from environmental capital to
intelectual capital: (

1990 source of wealth top400 US individuals
20% manufacturing
16% finance
15% real estate
10% media
7% oil and gas 
1990 top400 total net worth $210b

1999 source of wealth  top400 US individuals
14% media
11% finance
9% technology
7% real estate
7% oil and gas

1999 top400 total net worth $1,063b
after nasdaq crash total net worth '02 is still $885b

thats still around $600b of wealth created in media, finance and technology.

intelectual capital is effectively an endless resource,
and in the US example it doesnt even require free tertiary education.

> > Contrast with australia with HECS and its mentality of being a farm
> > and a quarry. Our government is too busy proping up a ill functioning
> > health care system and subsidising private health insurance to worry
> > about creating free education.
> No issue with the farm/quarry concern, or with the private health
> subsidy. But you are trading off the wrong thing on the health/education
> front...

probably but there is not one good argument for australia not following irelands lead.