Think Data

Here is Seth telling it how it is.

“presenting information […] in a way that allows people to hear and see and think, is one of the most powerful tools available to people who’d like to make change.

It’s far more powerful than yelling.”

He is talking about this fantastic video.

Promise yourself you will watch at least up to 1’10”. If you’re here, you must have some interest in this sort of thing so you won’t  be disappointed.

Seth says:

Giving people the appearance of choice, “if you could organize this, how would you?” is a significantly better question than, “what’s fair?

By reminding people that they actually do have a voice, you open the discussion wider.

This is the most important thing you will read today. On this blog anyway.

Asking people opens them up and they bring their head into the game.

As you’ll have seen in the video, these 3 questions invite someone inwards into it, and remind them they are part of it too.

They are asked

  1. Ideally, if you could organise it, how would wealth be distributed?
  2. How do you think it really is distributed?
  3. What is the actual distribution of wealth?

With the surprising results below.


Like Seth said, if you ask what is fair then people will think differently from when asked what would YOU do.

When you answer that one you are saying something that is your subjective ideal. Not what objectively you think is fair. Being objective, or pretending to be, invites a callous Pontius Pilate washing of hands of the harder nastier ramifications of your fairness.

But saying what YOU feel is ideal means that you can’t hide behind pretending you’re making some hard but fair decisions in the good of all. You’re saying what YOU think.


A commenter has advised of an identical video for UK data.
Below, with added top-hats, marmite and Cheryl Cole.



This entry was posted in plausible, questions, systems thinking, thinking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Think Data

  1. Charles Beauregard says:

    There is a UK version available too:

    The results are almost exactly the same 😦


  2. ISOwatcher says:

    Wealth distribution is governed by the 80:20 law:
    “It was first discovered by economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1897. It has been studied for decades. No one knows why it operates, but it does.
    The 20-80 distribution is scaled upward. Therefore:
    Level 1. 20-80 Level 2. 4-64 (.2 x 20% = 4; .8 x 80% = 64%) Level 3. 0.8-51 (.2 x 4% = .8%; .8 x 64% = 51%)
    So, Pareto’s law tells us that about .8% of the population should own about 51% of the wealth. But we are told by the headline that the actual distribution is slightly more equal than what Pareto’s law would indicate. A larger percentage, 1%, owns less than 51%.
    “…The author is unaware that nothing has changed since 1897. He thinks this is something new. It isn’t. The 20-80 rule prevailed in Western Europe two decades before the welfare state’s programs captured the West.
    Fact: The welfare state has not changed wealth redistribution. It has only changed who has gotten to the top, and by what rules. The defenders of the welfare state never admit this. The outcomes of their reform programs have conformed to Pareto’s law.”
    More people should know this.


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