Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
I don't think you're reading the definition of decreasing marginal utility correctly.  It deals with goods, not money.  Example: "I own a new Jaguar.  I've wanted to all my life.  I could buy another, if I wished to do so, but I already have one.  A second isn't worth the money to me, and I'd rather have a mansion on the coast of France (which will provide a higher level of utility than the second Jaguar)."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Money is just a fungible good and does have decreasing marginal utility. After the jaguar, the mansion, and so on and so forth, just being able to buy more stuff doesn't add to your utility.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on what else the person wants.  You might also get a huge gain from a condo on Manhattan, or from owning a yacht that you take off the coast of Italy.  I'm just saying that more and more money doesn't imply that the utility from using that money is decreasing at the margins.  It may or may not.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At some point, you can just derive utility from your Forbes magazine ranking, but even then you need exponentially increasing wealth increments to advance in the ranking.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps.  I, personally, wouldn't give a damn about such a ranking if I were rich, except to the extent that it would allow me to pour money into causes that I like.  (Give me Bill Gates's money, and I'll bankrupt the oil business within a decade.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your paypal account? :)


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you just use the e-mail address for that?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 02:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After the millions have been made it's all about the power. My first job out of college was in investment banking so I have intimate experience with this particular psychosis.
by CalItal on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 12:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might also get a huge gain from a condo on Manhattan  

Including Manhattan real estate isn't fair, it skews the 'how much money would I need to live a dream life' question far too much.

by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not how I meant it. With the kind of money these people make they can have both a mansion on the sea and half a dozen jaguars.

What good is any more money? What can they buy with it? A yacht? They already have one. A small pacific island nation? Yes, that might be something. <snark>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Island Nation example is not so far-fetched.  Look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  (Be nice to Buffet, though.  He's on our side.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These particular people don't technically own pacific island nations, but can nuke pacific ocean atols as if they owned them.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Bush family couldn't own an island nation even if it wanted to.  Neil Bush keeps blowing the family wealth on Asian hookers, and Dubya's entire fortune comes from insider trading, and from convincing the people of Texas to build, and then give to he and his colleagues, a stadium.  (The baseball team wasn't worth anything, due to the fact that the Rangers have always been, and will always be, a terrible team.  The stadium, however, was worth millions.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... I was thinking about the French head honcho and Mururoa.

Bush doesn't own Middle Eastern countries either, but he are going to nuke one as if he owned it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:00:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, politicians in France are not supposed to be mega rich, unless they inherited or were successful businessmen. Their salaries are reasonable, their perks somewhat reasonable.

More often than not these scandals have to do with ensuring a political advantage, securing an electorate, that kind of thing, or so it seems.

But I suppose the "low" salaries that politicians get could be seen as an incentive to get richer by other means.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your definition of mega-rich?

Swedish parliamentarians earn €4000 per month and ministers earn €8000. At least the minister's pay is mega-rich in my book.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to be €7800 euros for ministers, but a budgetary law in 2002 (a law that was meant to limit budgetary wastes of money) has made that go up to €13300.

Let me just translate that into, oh, I see, over one million French francs per year, ok yep, you're right, they're mega-rich.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's limit budgetary waste by doubling ministers' salaries.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to decide what salary to give them as French right-wing politicians are priceless.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lol!!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:02:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Why let our budgetary money go to waste? Let's give it to our beloved ministers"
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh and incidentally it's one of the first laws passed by the right-wing government that was elected in 2002.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:43:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish parliamentarians earn €4000 per month and ministers earn €8000. At least the minister's pay is mega-rich in my book.

You're kidding, right? A family of four earning 8,000 Euros per month, pre tax, is right on the borderline of qualifying for apartments specially reserved for moderate income families here in NYC or its inner suburbs, i.e at roughly 120% of the median.  Housing and taxes are that much lower low in Sweden?

by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're kidding, right? The median household income in NYC (1999) was under $40,000 (actually %3191 per month). (source)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I am not kidding. Note that I was speaking of a family of four, not a 'household' and today, not 1999. I can't find current figures broken down by family size for the city, but in 2004, in 2004 dollars, median family of four income in New York state was $67,564, in New Jersey it was $88,401, in Connecticut $88,276. census figures  So yes, I was off - 8,000 Euros is between a 1.3 and 1.9 median family of four income in the New York area, though searching more shows that in some cases families with up to 150% of local median size adjusted household income qualify for 'moderate income' status housing.  In any case I stand by the statement that it is absurd to consider 8,000 euros a month to be 'mega rich'. It's not even plain 'rich' around here, just standard upper middle class, which is nice but not quite the same thing.
by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:31:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what the PPP conversion would be between Stockholm and NYC.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What? €8000 per month is great pay even if it was the combined pay for the household. €8000 per month is €96.000 per year, more than $100.000 per year for a single person! The Swedish GDP per capita is about $25.000-30.000 so a minister makes about four times as much as the average worker. Is that great pay or what!

And remember the ministers spouse will also have a wage to add to the household income. But even if the spouse is unemployed it equals two working parents earning €4000 each, two great wages in their own right.

I don't know what rents are in NYC, but if you earn more than about €3000 your income tax is about 50 % in Sweden.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a minister makes about four times as much as the average worker. Is that great pay or what!

If I am not mistaken, Sweden's top/bottom quintile ratio is around 4, one of the lowest in the developed world. Ministers getting four times average wage will earn shrugs elsewhere.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here I am, the most right-wing person on the entire ET, sounding like a damn commie. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 09:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, are travel expenses part of the €8000?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the state pays that. Our minister of sports used the government jet to go some place and watch football. By the way, the man (Bosse Ringholm) is retarded. He was named minister of Finance in spite of failing his high school math.

Sweden has the worst educated government in the world.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 09:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might sound like a free market prophet, but this and the 4000-8000 E/month salary might be related. About how big is the revenue (salary + bonuses) in the upper management of a big company? Or in a consultancy firm?
by Deni on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 12:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This just shows how salaries have been skewed.

In the UK I'd consider middle class starts at around £30k/year, upper middle at around £80-£100k/year, and rich at £1M/year. MPs here get paid £50k (it may have gone up since the last time I looked) plus some expenses.

Very rich would be anyone worth over a billion, because that's the level at which you can buy absolutely anything for your own personal use.

But - these people amuse themselves by buying and selling companies, not everyday things. The difference between one billion and ten billion is the difference between a small and a medium sized corporation.

At that level it probably still rankles that no matter how rich someone is, they still can't afford to buy Microsoft, Exxon or Google in their entirety.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 06:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
declared a fortune of about EUR 4 Million at the time of the last election (the law now forces the candidates to make a full declaration of their wealth, and at least that of the two runners up to the second round is published)

He has been a civil servant all his life.

(His wife comes from money, but that's kept separate, supposedly)

In the 70s, he bought a ruin in Corrèze (Chateau de Bity), got his very own government to declare it a "Monument Historique", and, presto, all renovation work was paid for by the State.

Then he got the Croix Rouge or some similar organsation to buy the land around it (supposedly to build a retirement house) and keep it unbuilt so that his view would not be spoilt.

Despite having access to fond secrets (government cash, used to pay for secret services in untraceable ways, but also used as petty cahs to improve the pay of minister and their assistants), he has taken the habit of ultra luxurious holidays in Maldives, Morocco etc paid by people like Hariri (the billionaire former prime minister of Lebanon, killed last year in a bombing) or the King of Morocco or various corporate friends.

And that's of course on top of all the kickbacks from compnaies to finance political parties, and of the use of Paris's massive tax wealth when he was mayor to pay for lots and lots of goodies, including plenty of jobs and free appartments to friends and their kids, lovers, and obligés.

It's all documented, proven. Just read Le Canard Enchainé every week. Sometimes, it forces them to give up an appartment, or some of the shadier deals. But the good life goes on.

(And it's not everybody. De Gaulle is famous for paying himself for pastires when he brought his grandkids to the Elysée on week-ends)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesus. And we had one of our ministers fired for buying a piece of Toblerone chocolate with the government credit card.

And she was the damn crown princess for the social democrat party and the most likely next pm.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyway, it seems France need some doberman prosecutors who hate the government (or the mafia really, but what's the difference in Berlusconiland?), like in Italy.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We did get them in the 90s, and things HAVE been cleaned up to a pretty good extent.

  • Pretty strignent (and effective) party financing laws have been passed;

  • a number of politicians have been sentenced (including senior ones like Alain Juppé, former PM and Chirac's right hand man, Alain Carignon, Michel Noir (both ministers of Chirac and mayors of large cities), Henri Emmanuelli (socialist Treasurer);

  • and they have gotten pretty close to Chirac (who may yet be prosecuted when he no longer is president);

  • cash handouts to ministers (fonds secrets) have been banned, etc...

So it's not all hopeless.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and Alain Carignon did actually serve time in the slammer for embezzlement; so did Michel Noir, if I'm not mistaken I wasn't living in France at the time).

Now out of jail, Alain Carignon got recently re-elected as chairman of the local branch of UMP (France's ruling party), here in the fair city of Grenoble, and probably intends to run for mayor... again.
Who wrote that line about the first time as a tragedy and the second time as a farce?

by Bernard on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"including plenty of jobs to friends"

And including plenty of fake jobs too, as it would be quite cruel to make your friends actually work.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series