Plotting Wealth

Wiki > Chapter 2: Tyranny > Plotting Wealth

Even though we’ve decided on using net income as the indicator of our wealth, we still need to decide on how to compare ourselves to one another. (For example, on the wealth/power graphs below, this number would determine where on the x-axis each of us would be placed, which then can be used with a formula to calculate our specific vote sizes.) At the extreme ends of the vote sizing placement debate are two basic ways of charting values – specific wealth and wealth positioning – with a variety of averaging methods landing us somewhere in between.

  • Specific Wealth

Using each of our specific wealth values in the formula, my net income might be exactly $45,100, Bill Gates’ $45,100,000 − which would give a 1,000 times difference in the number used to calculate the size of our votes. This method gives the most advantage to the poorest of people, while encouraging the wealthiest to close the income gap. The problem with this kind of measurement is that if the wealthiest person in society is so far ahead of everyone else, then everyone else ends up with a sizable vote, including those whom we would still consider incredibly wealthy.

  • Ranking – Wealth Position

By ignoring the exact wealth of individuals and instead assigning them incremental values based on their relationship to each other (it would be as if we stood everyone shoulder-to-shoulder by increasing income and then assigned them values of 1-2-3-4-etc; so in a population of 100,000,000 I may be counted as number 70,000,000, while Bill Gates is counted at 100,000,000 − providing me with less than a 2 times difference in the number used to calculate the size of our votes), we could avoid a situation where people are obsessed with how much others have, instead focusing on how society functions as a whole, made up of people with different priorities. On the other hand, this kind of wealth indication doesn’t address the size of the gap between the richest and poorest and remains the same over time regardless even of extreme economic reforms (which might be a good thing).

  • Averaging Wealth

This way of calculating a person’s placement on the wealth axis tries to take into account both the actual values of people’s incomes and their relationship to each other. Some ways to analyze these statistics are to consider using averaging, mean averages, medians, standard deviations, etc.

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