Ep. 198 Should We Prevent the Rich from Living Longer?

26 July 2019     |     Tom Woods     |     17

In an “op-ed from the future,” Krugman speculates about a world in which “the rich” have access to life-extending technology. Should they be allowed to have it if not everyone can afford it? This episode gets to the heart of the left-liberal worldview.

Krugman Column

Billionaires Shouldn’t Live Forever” (July 15, 2019)

Book Mentioned

Chaos Theory, by Bob Murphy

Related Articles

Snopes article on Krugman’s internet prediction.
Shocking quotations from Thomas Piketty.

Need More Episodes?

Tom and Bob have their own podcasts! Check out the Tom Woods Show, the Bob Murphy Show, and the Lara-Murphy Report.

Audio Production by:
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  • martinbrock

    Former Presidents, retired generals and other state employees also live longer than most, because they never run out of health care financing provided by taxpayers (and other rent payers). Should we entitle these people to live longer?

    • pbehnke

      we never had any debt except on our first modest house, we paid it off in 16 years….Debt is a wealth killer.

    • lambchowder

      It was illegal for a 13th century villein to wear flashy clothes. He lived in thatched hut. His ‘betters’, a designation you’d agree with, lived in manorial fortresses like
      Kenilworth Castle.

      The rich blue bloods owned the actual countries they lived in outright. Their children inherited them.

      Everything that was his was his lords.
      Tenement house apts were slightly shabby, rat infested slums in laissez faire societies.
      People in Hong Kong live in laundry rooms and cubicle sized dormitories. Theirs is a society that was run under one of the most permissive and economically liberal of regimes.

      Bank balance begets lifestyle.

      Wealth is more concentrated in a laissez faire society.

      • martinbrock

        I’m not your straw man, and the relationship between a feudal lord and his serf is hardly laissez faire.

  • Milton James

    The rich have always lived healthier lives than the poor, usually only because of luck in being born into advantageous positions in unequal societies. Keep calling out the truth Paul; the rich argue against stuff like this because they just can’t admit their own truth.

    • Chris

      Right, check the Forbes 400 and over two thirds of them are self-made. More like time for Paul to start telling the truth.

      • Milton James

        Puh lease. The vast majority of wealth is generational. It’s not something one can even have an honest debate about.

        • Chris

          lol… Well let’s see, liberals are always complaining that “the top 14 billionaires own half the world’s wealth.”

          Well since two-thirds of the richest 400 are self-made, the majority of wealth can’t be generational. Unless you can’t do math. Can you?

          Time to deal with facts and not feelings and empty slogans.

          • martinbrock

            Chelsea Clinton’s doing well in a “non-Communist/hard socialist” country, and Elon Musk “makes himself”, as we speak, by selling heavily subsidized luxury sports sedans at a loss to highly paid state employees in California. In reality, Venezuela is not more “hard socialist” than China. We can talk about the reasons for hyperinflation and other economic maladies in Venezuela, but the “hardness” of its socialism doesn’t explain it.

            That wealth isn’t solely or even primarily intergenerational in the United States doesn’t matter a wit to me. Hugo Chavez was also “self-made” in the sense that he didn’t inherit great wealth. So what? The issue for libertarians is how much coercion is involved in accumulating wealth. Americans love the military not least because “anyone can become a General”, so inherited wealth is no advantage, in theory, yet the military is the least libertarian organization imaginable.

          • lambchowder

            If a state is working hand in hand with oligarchs, they’re boosting their liberty and binding everyone else to the consequences. I don’t think that’s a false premise.

          • MDBurk

            The one- and ONLY- way the state is able to work “…hand in hand with oligarchs…” thereby boosting their “…liberty and binding everyone else to the consequences” is via the citizenry in voting market systems over to political systems thereby giving government- along w/its vested interests/oligarchs- “green light” after “green light” to enact more laws, rules, regulations, mandates, orders, programs, projects, agencies, departments, etc., etc., etc. to their benefit at the forced expense (financial and otherwise) of everyone else including those who voted for the (winning) politician in the first place.

            The “…rules…” everyone else- other than the politician/oligarch- is forced to “…play by…” are the ones the citizenry puts into place.

          • martinbrock

            States always work hand in hand with oligarchs.

          • lambchowder

            For one, letting Forbes define what constitutes self-made is a recipe for allowing the successful to indulge in their wildest vanities.

            Secondly, it doesn’t really make sense, as he says, to argue about this. Sure, the earnings are made day by day, but they’re all contingent on the initial source of capital both startup and human. Unless you compare those to those who aren’t on the list, you’re not exchanging anything of use.

        • MDBurk2754

          An honest debate requires an honest premise. If wealth is “…generational”- that is if it lasts/continues from generation to generation- how can it be/remain so unless those who own it continue to do things to make it grow which, when done in the private sector (i.e. minus government and its vested interests), can occur only by providing goods/services that individuals are willing to buy at prices they are willing to pay thereby allowing the wealth to be shared/experienced by everyone else?

          • lambchowder

            willing is a neutral way to say required.

            Yes, you provide our needs because we can’t provide our own.

            We play by your rules because we can’t afford a new game.

  • Dave Bartelmes

    Krugman’s prescription for humanity: an unironic reading of the lyrics to Rush’s ‘The Trees’!

  • alex

    Great talk. I’d say Krugman deals in the horror genre more than in sci-fi.
    As to Piketty, his ‘line of reasoning’ does not hold because taxation is theft.
    His entire ‘logic’ aims at brushing this fact under the rug. Then, everything goes. He throws in some hard fact no one would deny like : taxing is a way to appropriate money, and builds from there. By ignoring the theft problem, he can get ‘economy’ to legitimate any kind of ressource grab from the master(s) he’s serving, this isn’t economy anymore by the way, but propaganda.