May 7, 2014

Piketty and real inequality

Winston Churchill's birthplace, Blenheim Palace: now, that's inequality
From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
Like many pundits opining upon French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book about how the rich always get richer and something has to be done about it, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, I haven’t actually read it. 
But that’s not my fault: I blame capitalism! The capitalist system didn’t print up enough copies, and since nobody in the publishing industry seems to have ever heard of adjusting prices to balance supply and demand, the book has been on back order at Amazon and at my local Barnes & Noble. 
... Something I haven’t seen mentioned in all the discussion of Piketty: Near whom would you rather live, the rich or the poor? 
I’ve spent much of my life in narrow middle-class corridors between them. ... So, I’ve known rich and I’ve known poor, and when it comes to neighbors, I have to say, the rich have been cheaper for me.

Read the whole thing there.
      

51 comments:

2Degees said...

Nice to see a picture of Blenheim Palace. Though I am a Kiwi citizen now, I grew up near Chipping Norton and I'll always love the Cotswolds.

Totally off-topic, but I would appreciate you views and those of any Canadian commenters on this piece by that loathsome little man, Daniel Hannan, who is a conservative MEP. I really hope he is displaced by UKIP at the next election. It looks like he has found a reason for conservatives to love immigration.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10811119/General-election-2015-Look-whos-not-voting-Tory.html

dearieme said...

The daughter of a friend of mine danced in the morning of her 21st birthday in the Orangery at Blenheim. A club she belonged to had hired it. We live in democratic times.

Anonymous said...

Totally off-topic, but I would appreciate you views and those of any Canadian commenters on this piece by that loathsome little man, Daniel Hannan, who is a conservative MEP.

Here is an explanation:

http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2012/KellyTossutti.pdf

leftist conservative said...

how sad that the rich of england could not afford maintenance on their mansions. You're breaking my heart.

Actually, I don't agree with you that the rich of england were in general put into such desperate straits by labor supply and demand. It is just that the some of the most obvious and ostentatious examples of wealth from the past ran into trouble because of the inability of heirs to maintain the family fortunes. Yeah, sooner or later you get an heir who is unwilling or unable to ruthlessly exploit others to the degree necessary to maintain wealth. And as a consequence some mansions will fall into disrepair.

Meanwhile, new fortunes sprang up. What about the owners of those factories you mentioned? Surely they were wealthy? The books you read that gave you this information did not account for those, did they? And by the way you just know that the working conditions in those 17th century factories were superb, right?


Things are never as simple as the economics history books on the best seller list make them out to be. The purpose of those books is to entertain, not to unveil the real truth. The real truth is always more complicated. Complicating things is not entertaining.

And speaking of the complicated truth versus the simpler and more entertaining "readers digest" version of the truth, you fail to mention many other aspects of how the rich degrade the quality of our lives.

Anonymous said...

The Kindle version is on backorder, too?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Recent follower of your blog, and it is excellent (and humorous). Love your insights.

As to preferring living with the rich than the poor, I largely agree but one of the worst places I ever lived was in Palo Alto (not the wealthiest section of PA but near a lot of trust fund kids who inherited their million dollar homes). I built a home and my neighbor constantly harassed me about the design. They reported me to the city when I built a shed in my backyard without, god forbid, a permit. When the neighbor wanted to remodel his house, I objected to the planning board and city council just to get back at them - which delayed their plans by almost a year. (Turnabout is fair play.)

The whole neighborhood opposed me at the hearings, saying I was not "one of them" and didn't have "their values." Gag me. So I eventually moved to a more private section of Palo Alto at the end of a cul-de-sac and then left the state a couple years later.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

To follow-up on my previous post about Palo Alto, there was a real sense of entitlement among the white people there. Also, it was always white people - usually white women - who meddled in other peoples' affairs ("is that your parking spot?" on a public street, no else) or "do you have ten items or less" at the supermarket).

Now contrast this to living in more middle class Cupertino where my neighbors were mainly Chinese, Indian, or Korean. They would never have reported me to the city or stuck their nose into my business.

Unlike these minorities, white people like using the system to go after others. And that's what weak people do.

One other thing, I once walked into a town hall meeting in downtown Palo Alto a few years back. Democrat rep Anna Eshoo was speaking. I peaked in and guess what I saw? All white faces. Not a single Asian or other minority was present.

Anonymous said...

RE: American heiresses,

Francis Ellen Work (1857-1947), wife of James Burke Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy. They were the great-grandparents of actor Oliver Platt:

"Platt was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to American parents Sheila Maynard, a clinical social worker who worked in Islamabad,[3] and Nicholas Platt, a career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Zambia, and the Philippines.[4] He has an older brother, Adam Platt, a New York Magazine restaurant critic, and a younger brother, Nicholas Platt, Jr. His family moved back to the United States when Platt was three months old.[5]

Platt's paternal great-great-grandfather was diplomat and lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate. Platt's maternal great-grandparents were equestrian Arthur Scott Burden and socialite Cynthia Roche;[6] he is a second cousin once removed of Diana, Princess of Wales and of her brother Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, through his great-great-grandparents, MP James Roche and heiress Frances Work."

Further evidence that acting is now an elite occupation...

Anonymous said...

It seems that even the very rich can have unpleasant mothers:

"Born in New York City, she was the only daughter and eldest child of William Kissam Vanderbilt, a New York railroad millionaire, and his first wife, a Mobile, Alabama belle and budding suffragist, Alva Erskine Smith (1853–1933, later Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont). Her Spanish name was in honor of her godmother, Maria Consuelo Iznaga Clement (1858–1909), a half-Cuban, half-American socialite who created a social stir a year earlier when she married the fortune-hunting George Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, a union of Old World and New World that caused the groom's father, the 7th Duke of Manchester, to openly wonder if his son and heir had married a "Red Indian." (Consuelo, Duchess of Manchester was also the basis of the characters Conchita Closson and Annabel "Nan" St. George in Edith Wharton's unfinished novel The Buccaneers.)

Consuelo Vanderbilt was largely dominated by her mother, Alva, who was determined that Consuelo would make a great marriage like that of her famous namesake.

In her autobiography, Consuelo Vanderbilt later described how she was required to wear a steel rod, which ran down her spine and fastened around her waist and over her shoulders, to improve her posture.[1] She was educated entirely at home by governesses and tutors and learned foreign languages at an early age.[2] Her mother was a strict disciplinarian and whipped her with a riding crop for minor infractions.[3] When, as a teenager, Consuelo objected to the clothing her mother had selected for her, Alva Vanderbilt told her that "I do the thinking, you do as you are told."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

The power of beauty:

"Consuelo Vanderbilt was a great beauty, with a face compelling enough to cause the playwright Sir James Barrie, author of Peter Pan, to write, "I would stand all day in the street to see Consuelo Marlborough get into her carriage."[6] Oxford undergraduate Guy Fortescue later described how he and his friends were captivated by her "piquante oval face perched upon a long slender neck, her enormous dark eyes fringed with curling lashes, her dimples, and her tiny teeth when she smiled.[7] She came to embody the "slim, tight look" that was in vogue during the Edwardian era."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

You can't make this stuff up:

"Gladys Marie Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (née Deacon; 1881 – 1977), was a US socialite famous for her good looks. She was the mistress and later the second wife of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough.

Contents [hide]

Born in Paris, Gladys Marie Deacon was the daughter of Edward Deacon and his wife Florence, daughter of Admiral Charles H. Baldwin. She had three sisters and a brother who died in infancy. Her father was imprisoned after shooting her mother's lover to death in 1892 and the girl was sent to school at the Convent de l’Assomption at Auteuil.[1]

After Edward's release from prison, Florence abducted Gladys from the convent. The couple was divorced in 1893 and the custody of the three older children, including Gladys, was given to Edward. He took them to the United States, where Deacon remained for the next three years. Edward Deacon soon became mentally unstable and was hospitalised at McLean Hospital, dying there in 1901. Deacon and her sisters returned to France to live with their mother.[1]

Marcel Proust wrote of her: "I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

More on Gladys Marie Deacon:

"In the late 1890s, the Duke of Marlborough invited Deacon to Blenheim Palace and she became friends with his wife Consuelo.[2] In 1901, the Crown Prince of Prussia visited the palace and took a strong liking to her, giving her a ring that the Kaiser demanded to be returned.[1] At the age of 22, Deacon underwent a plastic surgery attempt in which she had her nose injected with paraffin wax; it slipped, destroying her famous good looks.[2][1] Deacon became the Duke's mistress soon after moving into the palace and the Duchess left him, but did not grant him a divorce until 1921. The couple got married in Paris later that year.[2]

Artistic and a keen gardener, the new Duchess of Marlborough had enlarged images of her startling blue-green eyes painted on the ceiling of the main portico of Blenheim Palace, where they remain today. Later in their unhappy, childless marriage, she kept a revolver in her bedroom to prevent her husband's entry.[3] As her behaviour became increasingly erratic, especially after the Duke converted to Roman Catholicism, the couple started drifting apart. The Duchess pursued a hobby of breeding Blenheim Spaniels, much to her husband's displeasure. He moved out of the palace and two years later evicted her, dying in 1934 before they could be divorced.[1]

Widowhood and death[edit]
The Dowager Duchess of Marlborough moved with her dogs first to north Oxfordshire and later to the Grange Farm at Chacombe. She started retreating from the world and eventually became a complete recluse. By 1962, she had become mentally ill, much like her father and paternal grandmother, and was forcibly moved to St Andrew's Hospital.[1] She died in the hospital aged 96."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

The links to your past VDare columns are all broken now.

Anonymous said...

"Winston Churchill's birthplace, Blenheim Palace: now, that's inequality"

The rich aren't important in themselves. What a healthy economy needs is a lot of people in the middle.

The problem with the current elite is they want get rid of the middle and that is destroying the entire western economy.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/opinion/only-minorities-need-apply.html?hp&rref=opinion


steve, perfect sailer bait.

sounds like somebody doesn't like freedom of association.

Grey Enlightenment said...

I'll read it as soon as they develop mental uploading like in The Matrix

Anonymous said...

Boomer lefties wanted allies to fight the Man/Establishment.

So, they denounced the Uncle Tom in favor of the Jungle Bomb.
They encouraged young whites to be rock n roll paganites than rock solid workers.

But then, Boomer liberal grew up and discovered they needed to hire people. But Jungle Bombs and R&R paganites didn't make good workers.

So, they look to Uncle Tomez and Uncle Tangs via immigration.

Simon in London said...

I don't think I want to live near either the seriously rich nor the poor, at least not in an urban environment or near the US rich. I might make an exception for charming noblesse oblige aristocrats such as the Earl of Mull, who once gave my family a car lift to his castle on a hot summer day - not even sure if he'd count as rich, though.

I'd say the ideal neighbours tend to be the solid middle class; upper working class with well tended front yards are also good, especially if they're of a similar ethny to your own. Underclass are the worst; but I'd hate to have Russian oligarchs for neighbours too.

Anonymous said...

"So, I’ve known rich and I’ve known poor, and when it comes to neighbors, I have to say, the rich have been cheaper for me. The children of movie stars don’t flood the local public schools, inducing me to ante up for private school tuition; they don’t spray graffiti on my street; and they don’t pack into emergency rooms for “free” medical care that gets added to my bill."

In a direct sense, this is true. It's better to live next to rich than next to poor.

But in an indirect sense, the rich can be worse. Look how the rich used government to get huge bailouts in 2009. Look how the rich are pushing for open borders to bring in more poor people who live next to us, not to the rich.
Look how the rich can avoid paying taxes through all sorts of loopholes. Look how the rich gave us the Iraq War and Obama.
Poor folks didn't cause all that.

doombuggy said...

it was always white people - usually white women - who meddled in other peoples' affairs... Chinese, Indian, or Korean... They would never have reported me to the city or stuck their nose into my business. (Anon at 6:49)

Evil Whitey rears his head; expecting an orderly society; though these are no doubt the same who enforce political correctness.

Chinese, Indians, and Koreans are pretty good at voting in socialized conformity, so I'm not sure what you have gained in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Patriotic socialism may be more naturally rightist than capitalism.

Communism cannot be rightist since it pits the masses against the elites.
But capitalism tends to pit the upper classes against middle classes against lower classes. Economic divisions and class antagonism undermines racial, national, and ethnic harmony.

Why did, for a time at least, the Irish in America keep growing in power whereas the Anglos kept slipping? Because Anglo elites just sneered at the masses(including Anglo masses)whereas the Irish were all-in-the-family. Everyone was taken care of through business and government(though corruption was unpleasant). And Jews also gained because they emphasized not only success in business but group unity along leftist principles.

Though radical leftism is anti-rightist, certain aspects of leftism can be pro-rightist. By emphasizing some degree of sharing and equality, leftism can have the effect of unifying the people from top to bottom. FDR understood this, which is why the era of the New Deal was culturally rightist and conservative, indeed more so than the Jazz Age 20s when capitalism ran wild.
Eisenhower conservatism was made possible by the New Deal. It was because the masses felt they finally had a stake in America that conservatives of the 50s were able to maintain a sense of national unity.
Bismarck understood this, which is why he adopted some leftist measures. Hitler understood this, which is why he went with National Socialism. He messed up when he went for international imperialism, but national socialism at least within Germany had merit.
Patriotic socialism allows people to get rich and make more and etc. But the rich are also expected to pay higher taxes to fund programs and policies that are good for the people. Thus, the top, middle, and bottom feel as one people.
But the libertarian-capitalist model of American conservatism has a way of creating divisions among whites themselves. Lots of white working class may not be socially liberal but they go with Democrats because they see GOP as party of only the rich(who sucker social conservatives into voting for them while economically undercutting them). As the superrich are now mostly Lib Democrats, American conservatism must go into Patriotic Socialist mode. It must try to take over big government and run it better than to end it.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I don't agree with you that the rich of england were in general put into such desperate straits by labor supply and demand. It is just that the some of the most obvious and ostentatious examples of wealth from the past ran into trouble because of the inability of heirs to maintain the family fortunes."

As in rest of Europe, the bourgeoisie and Jews increasingly came to gain an upperhand over the traditional aristocracy who inherited their wealth.

But then, the British bourgeoisie were also undermined by free trade that came to favor Germany and the US(and even Japan) over UK.

Also, there was the thing with imperialism.

Aristocrats, like the samurai, were a warrior class/caste. As long as British were a fighting people, the aristocrats were held in high esteem, won many honors, were favored for privileges.

And boy oh boy, British were among the most fighting-est folks that ever lived. There was the Roman invasion, endless squabbles among various groups within the Isles, the problems with vikings, the Irish, then with France, the big fight with Spain over control of seas, fight France over Canada, fight with US in 1776 and 1812, fight with Napoleon, fight with China over opium trade, the Crimean War, the great game in Afghanistan, etc. UK got so used to fighting that it joined in WWI and WWII even though it could have avoided them. It was like the British had to be involved in every right. It was like a habit.

It could be UK got into so many fights cuz they controlled the seas and cuz they felt safe as an island nation. If UK had been adjoined to Europe, they might have been more careful about fighting since they could be invaded if their armies were defeated. But since Brits held the seas and controlled the oceans, even if their armies lost in other lands, there was no threat of England itself being invaded. It's like when Germans stormed into France during WWII, the French got invaded but British, though defeated, could retreat to safe English home.

Anyway, as long as the British Empire was going great and Brits were mostly kicking butt among pushovers in the non-Western world, British aristocrats were held in high esteem as the toughest fighting men in the world. They were men of honor and privilege. But once the empire began to be challenged with rise of American power, German power, and especially the fiasco of WWI which bust the British financial system--and then WWII finished off the empire--, the traditional British aristocrats were finished.

Warrior castes are great as long as they win wars and dominate others. But once the nation is exhausted and can no longer finance the empire, the warrior castes are not only useless but embarrassing. The sight of a British aristocrat warrior made the Brits feel proud in the 18th and 19th century. But by the 20th century, it was just an empty suit. Uniform without an empire.

pat said...

I've known some rich people too and I've always been struck with how innocuous they were. Marxists like to imagine that the concentrated political power that come with great wealth will be used for nefarious purposes. But in my experience rich people prefer to 'fritter'. They do not try to leverage their resources to bring about some great end.

I've been reading about Galton. He at twenty one had just finished medical school when his father died. He had promised his dad that he would practice medicine but - what the hell - the old man was dead. He dropped medicine and just goofed around all over Europe, Africa and the Near East.

My wife used to sing with Gordon Getty who was often called the richest man in America (I think however that was wrong). I knew Gordon a bit, We went to their parties and functions. He liked to 'fritter'. He was just about the worst singer possible. But he could always get a concert venue. He didn't have to audition.

I knew a guy named Harry in the Army whose family was very wealthy. Harry didn't do anything. He was a 'rail fan'. He just traveled around the country on public transportation.

There are some guys, I'm sure, who actually use their wealth to advance their personal political agendas but most seem to just buy a yacht and troll for broads at St. Tropez like Frederick Lowe.

Pat Boyle

Anonymous said...

the western future: readers vs breeders.

DR said...

"It is just that the some of the most obvious and ostentatious examples of wealth from the past ran into trouble because of the inability of heirs to maintain the family fortunes."

There are broad historical reasons why English country estates fell into disrepair from 1900-1960. And it's not just that all of a sudden the English lords simply became less ruthless. According to Wikipedia:

Loss of income from the estate: the agricultural depression of the 1870s changed the viability of estates in general.

Loss of political power: The Third Reform Act of 1885 widened the number of males eligible to vote to 60% of the population... The ruling class was slowly ceasing to rule. In 1888 the creation of local elected authorities eroded their immediate local power too. The final blow, the reform of the House of Lords in 1911, proved to be the beginning of the end for the country house lifestyle which had been enjoyed in a similar way for generations of the upper classes.

Loss of wealth through taxation: Throughout the 19th century, tax thresholds remained high, permitting the wealthy to live comfortably while paying minimal tax; until in 1907, Herbert Asquith introduced 'differentiation', a tax designed to be more punitive to those with investments rather than an earned income, which directly hit the aristocracy and gentry. Two years later, Lloyd George in his People’s Budget of 1909 announced plans for a super-tax for the rich, but the bill introducing the tax was defeated in the House of Lords... The bill's defeat led to the 1911 Parliament Act which removed the Lords' power of veto... Death duties, however, slowly increased and became a serious problem for the country estate throughout the first half of the 20th century, reaching a zenith when assisting in the funding of World War II.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destruction_of_country_houses_in_20th-century_Britain

Populists often complain about oligarchs and plutocrats always manipulating politics. But history has shown a clear lesson. When it comes to masses, when you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. The middle and lower classes don't just want the rich to pay their fair share, they want to utterly ruin them. The rich have to keep a firm grip on power.

Sean said...

Yes, but organised labour was a very big factor in the creation of what is called in America the middle class. In Britain too the beginnings of immigration coincided with the summit of organised labour.

Capitalists don't like competing with each other for workers.

"it's much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than radical change in capitalism." Žižek!

Anonymous said...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/07/watch-a-student-go-absolutely-berserk-on-a-man-displaying-an-anti-gay-sign-on-arizona-campus/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZXoNKBi3bQ

Fruitkin turns into nutkin.

Anonymous said...

pussyboy riot

Anonymous said...

"When the neighbor wanted to remodel his house, I objected to the planning board and city council just to get back at them - which delayed their plans by almost a year. (Turnabout is fair play.)"

In all fairness, you kind of sound like a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Re Palo Alto: I lived there until I was 13. We left in 1962, which they tell me is a long time ago. It was paradise: clean, crime-free, no blacks except, literally, on the other (and very wrong) side of the tracks; quiet too, even sleepy. Stanford beckoned on the weekend, for concerts and meandering bicycle trips during the long hot summer days. There was even a lake to swim in - I wonder if that is still allowed?
When I was back there a few years ago it seemed amazingly unchanged. The stretch of Hamilton Avenue we had lived on was closed off to traffic for a block party. Everybody was still white; I gazed up at the redwood I had planted in our yard, now well over 100 feet tall, and thought: maybe we should never have left.

Oh, and another thing - the Marlboroughs were never as rich as the real ducal grandees. Blenheim was always a burden. Their estates were too small to support it; compare their 23,000 acres in 1883 (worth £36,000 a year) to the 198,000 of the Devonshires (£180,000), the 183,000 of the Portlands (£88,000), or the 86,000 (£141,000) of the Bedfords. Looking even higher we see the Sutherlands, with a mind-bogling 1,358,000 acres (£141,000), and finally the richest of all, the Buccleuchs, with 460,000 acres worth £217,000 a year.
Now THERE is inequality, and very fine it was too.



Cail Corishev said...

There are some guys, I'm sure, who actually use their wealth to advance their personal political agendas but most seem to just buy a yacht and troll for broads at St. Tropez like Frederick Lowe.

I've had the same thought. Even guys like Ross Perot and Steve Forbes, who care enough about politics to run for office and put themselves out there to be savaged by the media, still only put up a small amount of their fortunes for it. Or you get the guys like Sterling who buy a few cars for a mistress. Sure, they own expensive houses and spend more on clothes than I do on cars, but they seem to have little imagination beyond that. Trump is known for his ostentation, but beyond buying gaudy stuff, what does he do with it, really?

Why don't you ever hear about a tycoon spending $1B to have his favorite book filmed with his favorite actors as leads? Or buying the entire slate of Super Bowl ads one year to promote his kid's garage band? Or bribing all the entrants in one of the Kentucky Derby races to try to throw it? Why do I have to think of these things?

dearieme said...

"we see the Sutherlands, with a mind-bogling 1,358,000 acres": aye, but much of it is miles and miles of bugger all.

Luke Lea said...

"There are broad historical reasons why English country estates fell into disrepair from 1900-1960."

Don't forget the repeal of the corn laws. That switch to free trade with America triggered (or sealed) a class revolution in England just as the switch to free trade with China is doing something similar in America today. In the first wealth (and power) were shifted from the land-owning classes to those who derived their incomes from capital, in the second from the laboring classes to, again, capital. Who, Whom indeed!

Anonymous said...

I also grew up in Palo Alto and evirons. No sense of community even then unless you were part of the local elite. It is much worse now. It is only for rich people. People only live in the area to make their fortunes and impose their PC social engineering schemes on their neighbors. Old Palo Alto is still sketchy as the criminals enter from East PA as they always have. Very few of my childhood peers stayed in town. I moved away and only go back to visit my mom. We moved into an affluent neighborhood in flyover country. No po' neighbors for me.

As for Cupertino, my very chinese-american friends wouldn't move there saying, "it's too chinese."

Anonymous said...

The rich won't outbid you for servants, and might generously lend a few of theirs out. The aspiring double-income-1.4kids UMC sure will, though.

Anonymous said...

"Blenheim Palace, the 300,000-square-foot monument that John and Sarah Churchill, the first Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, erected to themselves in Oxfordshire in the early 1700s. "

But it was paid for by the taxes of a grateful nation, though Sarah overspent after her husband's death.

"Dwight Eisenhower was roughly as successful a general and politician as John Churchill had been"

More successful as a politician, surely not a general in the same class. Marlborough as a general was pretty impressive.

"the farm Eisenhower retired to in Gettysburg doesn’t look anything like Blenheim"

Different age. Montgomery, probably the UKs best WW2 general, lived post-war in a pleasant mill house, while Alanbrooke, Churchill's Chief of Staff, was so straitened after the war that he ended up living in the gardeners cottage of his former home.

Anonymous said...

"When it comes to masses, when you give them an inch, they'll take a mile."

And vice-versa, mind you. I'm told there are as many domestic servants in the UK now as before the first world war.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a lot of the Silicon Valley burbs are Asian, but the younger ones are totally white-Americanized. I was just in a fauxBritish pub in Cupertino, and a bunch of 20 somethings came in to drink and play darts. Usual banter and stuff. 6 of the 8 were Asian, though by their total lack of accent they were at least 2nd generation.

IA said...

Steve, you ought to compare a photo of Gates' place compared to Blenheim and see which adds or subtracts to western civ.

Lucius Somesuch said...

@ dearieme: "The daughter of a friend of mine danced in the morning of her 21st birthday in the Orangery at Blenheim."

--This line is instinct with poetry. I think of Eliot: but is this "Burnt Norton" or "The Waste Land"?

Was this Blue Danube Waltz-type dancing or My Humps-type dancing?

Harry Baldwin said...

There are some guys, I'm sure, who actually use their wealth to advance their personal political agendas but most seem to just buy a yacht and troll for broads at St. Tropez like Frederick Lowe.

Well, on the right (sort of) we have the Koch brothers, bêtes noires of Harry Reed.

However, it's on the left where the real action is. We have George Soros, whom I heard an NPR host describe non-ironically as "the currency speculator with a heart of gold." We have mini-mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wants to singlehandedly match the warchest of the NRA in opposition to gun rights. We have Tom Steyer, who is bribing the DNC with $100 million as long as they continue to block the Keystone pipeline, an odd obsession of his. We have David Gelbaum, who has given the Sierra Club $200 million, predicated on them dropping their concern about the effect of immigration-driven population growth on the American environment. Ted Turner pledged a billion dollars to the United Nations. Peter Lewis, the billionaire owner of the aptly named Progressive insurance, donates exclusively to liberal causes. The so-called Gang of Four--Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, Tim Gill, and Rutt Bridges--put their wealth to such concentrated purpose in Colorado that they helped elect a Democratic majority in that states house and senate. Of course Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and a number of other billionaires are spending great sums to promote amnesty.

Anonymous said...

I raised the original comment about my experiences living near entitled Palo Alto neighbors who inherited their money and harassed me when I built my home and reported me to the city. After that I tried to get even with them.

I'm not a jerk, but I'm not a pussy either. If someone mistreats me or interferes with my livelihood I retaliate. I fight fire with fire. I never forget. Okay?

Before that I lived in mostly Chinese Cupertino with Indians/Pakistanis and some Koreans troo. All educated engineers. I visit often to check on my parents who live in little Indian or "Sunnyvale".

There was a comment about someone's Chinese American friends who avoid Cupertino for being too Chinese. There is some truth to that. I knew a Chinese man who owned a store in Cupertino but lived in Palo Alto. When I asked him why he didn't live in Cupertino, his response was that he wanted to live somewhere where the Chinese mafia of Cupertino could not track him down and rob him. A lot of these Chinese store owners keep their money literally under their mattresses, and there is a problem with Chinese gangs demanding "protection money". Plus, the Chinese can't run to the cops to help them.

I've lived next to Filipinos in San Jose, Chinese in Cupertino, white trash in Sunnyvale before it was overtaken by Indians, and mostly elite white liberals in Palo Alto. I'm a live-and-let- live libertarian. The people that annoyed me the most were the pussy white Palo Alto types who used the system to attack me and complained and left nasty notes on my car for parking too close to the sidewalk - shit like that and because they had a lot of time on their hands. Again, they inherited their homes and had easy jobs...unlike the Asian engineers who worked long hours.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not a jerk, but I'm not a pussy either. If someone mistreats me or interferes with my livelihood I retaliate. I fight fire with fire. I never forget. Okay?"

But don't you think that that's kind of being a jerk? What about turning the other cheek? It seems like you could have found a more civilized way to let the Palo Alto people know that they made you unhappy. However, I can understand why you would have been annoyed at them.

Anonymous said...

The thing with living with the rich, is that most of the advantages of living alongside them would also exist if they weren't the bloody rich.

They'd still probably be energetic, organised, enterprising, psychologically well balanced, open minded, compared to the average.

Sure they do pretty things with their money (I guess its more beautiful to spend money on the ballet or fine houses or what have you than welfare), but those aren't really what makes them nice to live alongside.

On the other hand, most of the problems with living with the poor would be offset if they simply had more abundance to help compensate for their myriad flaws.

So that still leaves us on the side of moving as much from the rich to the people in general, as can be tolerated, functionally, within a healthy economic order. and this is the real dispute - what can be tolerated - not any libertarian flimflam about the wrongness of wealth transfers .

Anonymous said...

Monsieur Piketty is almost famous for thinking that he was involved in a lesbian relationship but as a leftie it is not noticed.

doombuggy said...

The people that annoyed me the most were the pussy white Palo Alto types who used the system to attack me and complained and left nasty notes on my car for parking too close to the sidewalk - shit like that and because they had a lot of time on their hands. Again, they inherited their homes and had easy jobs...unlike the Asian engineers who worked long hours.

But the long-working Asian engineers will soon spawn the Asian mafia you mentioned, plus other pathologies. So it is a matter of picking your poison, I suppose, but a few notes on your windshield hardly seems a reason to condemn the community vs. the alternative...Shanghai?

Born in Stable said...

These officers were all Ango-Irish ascendancy. They lost their estates when the Irish Republic was set up.

Born in Stable said...

Who and whom?

A newly Minted Baroness is Baroness Because her aspiring Astronaught son was stabbed by some local white gangsters. She's now Labour pre-candidate for Mayor of London.

Baroness Lawrence.

It's disgusting alright.

Hepp said...

"So that still leaves us on the side of moving as much from the rich to the people in general, as can be tolerated, functionally, within a healthy economic order. and this is the real dispute - what can be tolerated - not any libertarian flimflam about the wrongness of wealth transfers ."

Sir, that's the best case for socialism I've ever heard.

But once people accepted your worldview, that the poor are hopeless and we just need to make things livable, doesn't that just as easily imply segregation or sterilization as the answer?

pat said...

The castle is nice I guess but the real beauty of Blenheim is here:

http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/breedinformation/toy/ckcs.html

My dog Charlie is maybe a little cuter than this one, if not so well groomed.

There are a lot of stories about The Blenheim version of the King Charles. Supposedly the white spot on their head was caused by Lady Marlborough pressing her thumb on the mother bitch's forehead when the pups were being delivered.

All the Blenheim's ever since have had this spot. Must be epigenetics. I'll have to check this out with Greg Cochran.

Pat Boyle

Anonymous said...

In addition to emigration to the Americas and Antipodes, there was the productivity of American and Canadian farms which was far better than British/Irish ones. Moynihan argued that it was the fact that North American farmers could produce cheaper food for Brits than their own aristocratic lords could that undermined the economic foundations of the old feudal economy. There is a modern day analogy, Britain buys a lot of the coal they use from Australia, which is 10,000 miles away, but Australian mining is so much more efficient than British mining that even with the cost of transport it is still cheaper.