Poll: Agree or disagree? Statistics don't lie -- an individual's lifetime earnings are strongly predicted by zipcode at birth and education level of parent(s) at birth, factors totally beyond the control o
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100% estate philanthropy
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15-05-2014, 10:18 PM
100% estate philanthropy
I'm Pierre, a computer scientist and system designer.

I have been thinking about a more purely meritocratic economic system. Yes, we are far from the meritocracy we conventionally think we have. It is well established that one's birth zipcode and parents' education at time of birth are strong statistical determiners of that individual's adult prosperity (or lack thereof). In other words, from the standpoint of babies born into our economic system, their lifelong economic opportunity depends on major factors outside their control. Because of family-based advantage / disadvantage, it is factually incorrect to claim that the U.S. is a beacon of individual meritocracy. We have a long way to go -- the measurable that would signify a golden era of meritocracy would be low correlation between factors outside the individual's control vs. lifelong prosperity (amassed wealth at death), and high correlation with factors under the individual's control (initiative, effort, discipline).

Lifetime wealth accumulation with 100% estate philanthropy

The idea I'd like to evaluate is a 21st century tax policy which allows individuals and couples to accumulate unlimited wealth during their lifetimes with low taxation, and after the last surviving spouse dies, obliging giving 100% of built-up wealth to "human development non-profits" (or else the government will take any estate residue as estate tax). The estate Administrator would be given 1 year to disburse the estate to non-profits, and the non-profits eligible to receive it would have to be delivering measurable-impact services domestically.

The idea is to grow a very robust, diverse, entrepreneurial non-profit service sector, able to present opportunities for human capital development widely throughout society, at affordable cost or free, uninterrupted by the ups and downs of local, regional, and national economic pace. The range of services is too large to enumerate, but major impacts areas would be education, pre-school, pre-parenting education, drug rehab, health care, mental health care, geriatric services, college education, vocational education, and all manner of new human development concepts yet to be thought of.

Here's my question:

What is the yearly sum total of estates processed in the U.S.? For married couples, I would like the estate only considered of the longer-living spouse, since the earlier-dying spouse leaves wealth to the surviving spouse, and I don't want the estate value counted twice.

This value is central in the 100% estate philanthropy concept. It signifies the economic resources available to be fedback into human development, widely distributed without regard to random circumstances of birth. It rewires a free, "winner take all" economy away from an intractible pattern of family-based advantage, to one where such factors matter much less. It preserves a strong culture of individual merit and merit-based earning.

(An exception to 100% estate philanthropy would be allowed where a business owned by a parent is being materially managed by a son / daughter -- in this case, the sustainability of the business with business control passed smoothly from parent to child(ren) would be an allowable exception.)
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16-05-2014, 02:04 AM
RE: 100% estate philanthropy
1. Welcome to the forum

2. Nice... a well thought though and thought-provoking first post.

3. Good luck with selling that idea!

4. Damned Commie!

5. I'm voting for you.

The idea assumes that humanity has determined that group survival, group endeavour and continually improving group well-being are globally agreed upon visions / goals.

Many societies are still very tribal.

Metrics are dangerous things as it is sometimes hard to model all potential outcomes.

Thinking this through, would this system lead towards a lower birth-rate as your own children would benefit no more or less than strangers' children.

Hmmm, OK, no downside.


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16-05-2014, 07:43 PM
RE: 100% estate philanthropy
Hello Pierre. Welcome to the forum!

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. ~Mark Twain
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16-05-2014, 07:47 PM
RE: 100% estate philanthropy
It's Friday night, and I'm afraid I'm just not going to think that hard right now. But interesting post and welcome to the forum!

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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