49 thoughts on “Let’s Play a Game

  1. Looks like the residue of good choices and good parenting over a span of generations.

    Perhaps the other players should emulate the behavior of the current winner for the sake of their progeny.


    1. “Looks like the residue of good choices and good parenting over a span of generations.”

      So when we’re talking about wealth and resource accumulation, a kid is a product of and responsible for the position he is born into. But when we’re talking about some of the awful ways that wealth was accumulated, that has nothing to do with the modern generation and we shouldn’t even mention it. Is that correct?

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I just typed “richest family in Virginia” into a search engine. Apparently Jacqueline Mars of the candy company lives here and has a net worth of $31.3B. I know this is being intentionally overshadowed by how sexy the green M&M is allowed to be, but the Mars corporation is facing a child slavery lawsuit brought by several people from its West African plantations. Does that meet your criteria for awful?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Don’t know. Does Mars operate the plantations or do they just buy the products on the open market?

            Who brought the suit? Does it have merit? What are the other alternatives for the people there?


          2. Oh I’m sure everything is contracted and subcontracted to limit their liability. Their is no “open market” that is Mars and Nestle just buying up everything. Assuming they know everything about their supply chains, would you consider knowingly profiting from slave labor bad?

            Who? Former plantation workers.
            Merit? It is being heard in court and this is not the first such case.
            Alternatives? Not being enslaved.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. OK, so I looked it up.

            It’s not Mars specifically, it’s all of the purchasers of Cocoa from the Ivory coast, so if you bought a hot chocolate, you’re as guilty as Mars.

            The suit was brought by adults who claimed they were hired from Mali as teenagers and then not paid.

            The buyers are being sued because the actual plantation owners can’t be sued in the US.


          4. If that’s enough plausible deniability for you, I guess that’s your business.

            The people you routinely debase yourself groveling for would throw you and your family in a wood chipper if it would save them a nickel, and wouldn’t give it a second thought.


          5. Well, aren’t we self-righteous today.

            What is it you think Mars should have done?

            Ivory Coast supplies almost half the world supply of Cocoa. Should Mars refuse to buy from them, and go out of business?

            If they did succeed in shutting down the Cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, what happens to the workers? Whether the claims of not being paid are true or not, they were at least being fed, a lot of people from Mali are not, which is why teenagers there seek work far from home.

            So, based on your limited knowledge of the claims, who do you think is going to keep those people alive?


          6. I think Mars should use it’s considerable leverage as a large, multinational with billions in revenue to monitor every inch of their supply chain to ensure workers are paid well, treated well, and have safe working conditions. I also think they should be spending large sums to help develop vital infrastructure in the countries from which they extract resources. Hospitals, schools, etc.

            These things are not difficult to do, it would just mean that the various Mars heirs might have only half or so of the wealth the never lifted a finger to earn.

            Liked by 2 people

          7. Why would the largest producers of cocoa shut down their farms if they had to pay higher wages and not employ children?

            Suppose Mars did decide to setup fair trade farms. They would still buy the cocoa and being a giant in the industry, they can put pressure on other buyers and farms.

            We are so dependent upon illegal labor at home and near slave and child labor abroad to sustain our lifestyle. Is that a good thing? Is that market pricing or extortion?

            Liked by 3 people

          8. How many people in Mali and the Ivory Coast will starve while Mars play chicken with the plantation owners? Assuming of course that the other cocoa buyers will go along. and Mars isn’t just committing corporate suicide.

            How many lives is your idealism worth?


          9. Paying people a living wage and treating them with basic dignity is “idealism” but slavery is a necessary part of doing business.

            Says a lot about your beloved economic system.

            Liked by 2 people

          10. Does our Constitution apply to the Ivory Coast?

            We could refuse the import of cocoa from Ivory Coast, but again, what happens to the workers who will be laid off? They don’t have food stamps there.


          11. You really are something. Why would anyone starve? Plantation owners would raise their prices and cocoa would still be sold.

            Do you think the growers would just pack up and close their operations? High quality cocoa isn’t availability just anywhere.

            Liked by 2 people

          12. Cocoa is farmed primarily by about 10,000 individual farming families. They need child labor to exist because they have little or no bargaining power, so prices are rock bottom due to a huge imbalance in power.

            So long as we don’t care, why would anything change for the farmers? Or their children who forgo education to work without complaint in dangerous conditions.

            To me, this is a corollary to the Tragedy of the Commons. “If I raise my price, my neighbor will sell more than me.” The net result is a generation of children who are uneducated and will determine the future of their nation.

            Or, the pond is now devoid of fish because no one wants the others to get an advantage.


            Liked by 2 people

          13. Refuse to buy. How about paying a bit more. I’ll try to find the link but the number I saw was 2.8% more to farmers would be plenty to avert the need for child labor.

            Liked by 2 people

          14. No, they’re not.

            The people suing were recruited in Mali to work in the Ivory Coast.

            Mali has little to offer its population and exports cheap labor.

            If we make them stop, they starve.


          15. “How many lives is your idealism worth?”

            And millions will die if we improve the gas mileage of our vehicle fleet.

            Seems ANY change from the status quo is going to cost lives – lots of lives. You have worn this one out.

            Liked by 1 person

          16. Interesting virtue signaling

            What do you plan to do? Send in the Marines to seize the plantations and run them right?

            Cocoa is fungible. Once it’s been shipped through a few intermediaries, you don’t know where it came from.

            And while you’re taking over another country to force your idealism on them, how many people starve to death?

            It’s easy to be morally superior with a full belly and 5000 miles of separation.


          17. Once these threads get past a certain number of comments it’s hart to tell which posts are being replied to, so I’ll do my best to make this apply to whichever.

            I’m not “virtue signaling.” I believe what I’m saying. That’s one of the benefits of advocating for human rights–no moral hangups 😉

            I’m not suggesting the Marines do anything. You asked what I thought Mars should do. There is no reason a company as large as Mars couldn’t purchase or directly oversee their growing, roasting, (whatever else goes into making chocolate) operations to ensure the people making the company billions are well compensated. A Snickers bar might cost a few extra cents and the various heirs and heiresses might be slightly less wealthy. They just don’t want to, because the logics of capitalism demand the highest possible profits, and if that means enslaving some people in faraway countries, so be it. I’m sure they’ve done the math and decided having to quietly settle a few lawsuits every few years is fiscally preferable to paying workers.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. What awful ways?
          Uh, that is an easy one. Grotesque under-taxation of the uber wealthy.

          A significantly higher tax on the income and wealth of people who would not even notice in order to finance a far more generous EITC and/or Child Credit for those who make the economy viable.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “And we would need them because of all the unemployment that would bring.”

            Uh, how does the EITC or Child Credit lead to unemployment? I don’t think you have thought that through and are simply offering your doctrinaire, kneejerk response. If enacted, EITC would give the market much freer rein to put a market value on human labor without mechanisms such as minimum wages that distort it.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. RE: “Looks like the residue of good choices and good parenting over a span of generations.”

      That’s the healthiest way to look at it. I don’t see much point in complaining about the stratification of wealth. It seems to be a natural pattern. I’d be skeptical of snake oil salesmen who claim to have a cure for it.


      1. The thing is that who is in that top 1% is not fixed. When I was born. Sam Walton owned one 5 and dime in Arkansas.

        We don’t have a hereditary nobility, people can, and do, build and dissipate wealth.

        How many athletes who earned hundreds of milllions over their careers are selling cars?


        1. “We don’t have a hereditary nobility”

          Yeah, tell that to these people. (from Forbes)

          “Here are the 15 oldest fortunes on FORBES’ list of America’s 200 Richest Families, with the date the fortune was launched:

          • 1802: Du Pont family, $14.5 billion
          • 1841: Mellon family, $11.5 billion
          • 1858: Rockefeller family, $11 billion
          • 1864: Donnelley family, $1.6 billion
          • 1865: Cargill /MacMillan family, $45 billion
          • 1865: Milliken family, $4.4 billion
          • 1865: De Young family, $2.5 billion
          • 1870: Brown family, $12.8 billion
          • 1873: Coors family, $4 billion
          • 1873: Haas family, $3.7 billion
          • 1876: Busch family, $13.5 billion (beer)
          • 1878: E.W. Scripps family, $7.2 billion
          • 1878: Pulitzer family, $1.6 billion
          • 1881: Shea family, $2.5 billion
          • 1882: Dorrance family, $13.6 billion”

          These are from the 19th century. Seems pretty hereditary to me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. “Looks like the residue of good choices and good parenting over a span of generations.”

    Of course, that is what it looks like to you. You see NOTHING out of whack when the Walton family has more wealth than about half the population combined and yet they still cannot pay living wages and they rely on you and me to subsidize their work force. Perfect. Yeah, right.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “They pay the wages the market allows.”
        So, perfect. Right?

        As for your first claim, I will let it pass. It would be pointless to discuss with you the many ways the opposite view could be defended. You think cratering millions of small businesses, moving most sourcing and manufacturing to low wage foreign countries and paying people as little as possible are all good things because the market says so. And the collateral damage that people have suffered is their own fault.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My sister’s ex-husband’s father ran a paint store that went through boom and bust for years. He gave great service and had loyal customers, but when times were hard he barely hung on

          Then Walmart came to town. He of course, could not compete. WalMart hired him to manage the paint dept. He then had a stable income, a 401K and no boom and bust. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Last I heard he was managing the store.

          Change can be hard, but overall, if dictated by the market and not government, it is overall good,


          1. Nice story and some people do well when they have to cope. But anecdotes are a very poor form of evidence.

            It may be “overall good” but that is NOT to say that it could not be better. For example, would a minimum wage that had kept up with inflation all these years have put Walmart out of business? Or helped their business with more people able to buy stuff?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I guess if the Waltons wanted K-Mart to survive and WalMart to go bankrupt they could have done that. But WalMart pays competitive wages for its industry.


          3. Costco has 180,000 employees with an average of 9 years employment. WalMart has 2.3 million many of whom have no experience. Comparing the work forces isn’t really helpful.


  3. Seeing as how it is a game of fantasy, I prefer Risk and world dominance to be honest. Let us know if you ever want to discuss reality.

    Some food for thought since you are obviously financially handicapped ..er..challenged:
    Assets minus liabilities = net worth.

    Net worth has largely remained unchanged for 30+ years where the top 10% own 70% of net wealth.

    Consumers love to spend, not save. Debt decreases net worth and wasteful spending is not a factor of equality in wealth due to personal choices to go in debt for frivolous spending.

    The top 20% of household earners pay almost 90% of federal income taxes

    I know. I know, these FACTS have been given to you numerous times in the past to refute your lies but as a good liberal you think repeating lies make them true.


        1. I was referring to the fact that you think representing lies makes them true. YOU do the same damned thing all of the time.

          Don’t go get all high and mighty because once in your miserable existence you found some pertinent facts to back your argument.

          All I was doing was pointing out that you have done for several years, that which you accuse Paul of doing.

          Liked by 1 person

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