The 1%

a simulation

Rob Landers

3 minute read

My brother is a data scientist. In his free time he comes up with some interesting things. One thing that was pretty interesting was a simulation of the economy.

It was nothing more than a simple actor model simulation. It consisted of “actors” which moved around randomly and collected money. You can find the source on github.

wiggleton in action

He created this little simulation to model the USA’s free market. It turns out that this simple model did an incredibly good job at it. So good, that 1% of the agents owned 90% or more of the total economy.

So, we started messing with the parameters to determine a point at which it seemed fair; where there was no poverty and wealth was distributed normaly.

It turns out that this point required a heavy taxation and a minimum salary. If I remember correctly it took a minimum salary of 40K a year and any amount over this took a taxation of 60%. That’s pretty brutal.

It took a few years to think on it, a few margaritas and a tropical sunset to write about it. Our culture isn’t ready for it.

As a culture, we feel entitled to the money we earn and we dislike the people who don’t work and get tons of benefits. I literally can’t afford to have another kid, but if I were to quit my job and go on welfare, I’d have it covered by the American Tax Payers Society.

Here’s the thing though: The #1 American job is going away. There will be swaths of people filing for unemployment over the next 15-20 years. That job is the truck driver. If technology were driving the truck that pulled in front of Joshua Browns car, it would have communicated that it wanted to turn long before it got there. Both vehicles would have been aware of each other and avoided a loss of property and life.

To really get there though, requires us to change our mindsets and our passions. The American people identify themselves with their jobs and this is not ok in the long run. We have to ensure that people get paid a certain amount and that they are only taxed for the excess they earn instead of taking away their free money altogether.

Sure, some of these people will turn into Netflix Junkies. That’s fine. Some of them will leave the country; that’s fine too. If we don’t do this nowish, our econonomy will tank. It’s only a matter of time.

The point is, over time a truely free capitalist state will stagnate. The people who own the economy will only do what is in the best interest for them and the rest can only do so much with limited resources. Every once in a great while will people come up with something that the rich can’t think of … like Uber or Facebook or Airbnb… This isn’t acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to you. Go be homeless if you are single. I did it for six months. It’s not fun, it’s hard … harder than being in Afghanistan, harder than being a father, and harder than being who you are now.

People deserve to live well. The one’s that don’t will die all on their own, eventually. Let’s make it easy to live well…

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