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Thanks! So this shouldn't be taken as a significant source of delays, but it isn't nothing, either. Good to know.

Thank you for the reply - it's a good point.

This series is, in part, an attempt to wrestle with the idea of wealth inequality, which many of my irl friends see as a large problem. I'm not unsympathetic to their view, but I believe that wealth source is extremely relevant to the discussion.

When one's wealth comes from creating value, wealth is inequal, yes, but society benefits; when one's wealth comes from extracting value, then there is room for accusations of injustice.

Money, almost uniquely, is not finite; wealth grows over time for society itself.

Whereas when we compete over things like a prospective partner's affections or status, those are fixed resources - there must be winners and losers there.

I'd like to persuade people to focus more on the positive sum, and less of the zero/negative-sum aspects, of the economy. If they feel that I'm trying to dupe them while I make off with a prize, I'm not sure what there is to be done about that.

While I don't feel capable of making a fully rigorous argument here, my sense is that value, when considered across all possible domains (monetary and non-monetary), is impossible to fully capture when created by any individual.

This includes spillover effects. If we imagine person A creates value and captures some percentage of it, the rest of the value goes to others. But then those others can't capture all the value flowing to them, either - not only will the original value still trickle outwards to the next degree of separation, but the increase in value will prompt other increases in value on their own, and then those increases in value propagate outwards, and so on.

Perhaps a more technically accurate way to put it would be "it's impossible to completely prevent value from accruing to any specific individual in the system."

Thanks; I'll give this some thought. The initial conversation involved someone else arguing that the people working in Amazon warehouses deserved to be getting the money from Amazon, as opposed to Jeff Bezos, and that didn't seem right to me, even though I couldn't refute that the warehouse workers were doing a large percentage of the actual day-to-day work.

By thinking about it this way, I can refute with the point that work is compensated by wages, while investment is compensated by shares. Even though the warehouse workers (or stonemasons building the bridge) are doing labor, they aren't bearing the risk of the enterprise, either monetarily (in investments that could become worthless) or personally (in years of their life "invested" in getting the enterprise started, or being the name in the headlines if it all fails).

I look forward to the follow-up post where it is actually feasible and useful to distinguish and label these things.  I'd argue that it's confusing at best, misleading at worst, to treat them as distinct and fundamental.

I'll do my best not to disappoint. Out of curiosity, would you mind briefly summarizing the argument that treating them as distinct is bad?

I should acknowledge that "deserve the credit" is a nonsense phrase to me.  It would require a LOT of discussion to unpack what it actually means in practical terms, and probably not work even then.  If that is a crux of your post, I should probably just step away.

The initial impetus for me to try to write about all of this were multiple discussions I've had with people IRL about billionaires. It seemed to me that not only were other people's thoughts on the issue muddled, I couldn't formulate an effective counterargument because my own thoughts were lacking coherence. This series is my attempt to put all of these thoughts straight and see if they survive outside my head. I do appreciate the feedback.

I suppose the point I'm gesturing towards is that the person with the combination of (idea + follow-through) is the one we associate with the credit for an endeavor, usually; that's a large part of their share of the reward and their incentive for completing the project. The people who do the work are compensated with wages, and the people who invest are compensated with shares.

Everything is both. The bridge-builder is taking advantage of exclusivity of good crossing locations, to the exclusion of competing bridges.  The troll keeps traffic down, making the bridge last longer.   On reasonable time scales, most creations are built on top of so many prior components that it's silly to think they wouldn't be made by someone else if the world were slightly different in such a way that prevented it happening the way it did.

While I agree to a certain extent that everything is both, it can still be very useful to distinguish and label these things. And just because someone else would have made something doesn't mean the person who actually did make it doesn't deserve the credit.

In the modern world of fractional share ownership, investment (capital), labor, and vision are entwined.  It's VERY easy for individuals to move between roles, and to hold multiple simultaneously.

I agree completely - I specifically mention that these roles can be held by the same person. Perhaps I didn't emphasize it enough.

This is better explained in the previous article here, but the "engineer" is just a character in a story used to think about concepts relating to value. I could have used "creator", "visionary", or some other title, but I liked "engineer"; it spoke to me of someone who saw an opportunity for a way the world could be more efficient/better, and had the technical skill to capitalize on that opportunity.

That this concept is related to my thoughts was on my mind the whole time I was reading. Thanks for linking!

More generally, I think I was trying to convey the subjective experience of a subset of sazen - specifically the pithy saying - and the frustration in both sides resulting from an inability to communicate.

It is plausible that congestion pricing could make the bridge more efficient; whether it's morally justifiable comes down to who the money goes to/how the money is used.

If the money gathered from the toll/congestion pricing goes to the Troll, it's bad, even if it makes the bridge more efficient. It encourages more trolls, and the fact that the Troll accidentally increased the utility of the bridge shouldn't count in its favor.

If the money goes to the engineer, her investors, or the towns themselves, then, rather than being extracted by an external entity, the value is captured by those within the system. People are incentivized to produce more good things (build more bridges, so to speak).

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