We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I just finished reading "The Big Short" with great enjoyment. I love the explanation in the movie clip about side bets on side bets, which is more sensible than about 99% of financial writing on the subject. I also just finished watching "Margin Call" last night on Hulu, terrific movie. A little vague about what was going on financially, but a more realistic view of investment bankers than I usually see, from a director who doesn't fundamentally hate capitalism. Oddly enough, I was inclined to see Jeremy Irons as more of a hero than Kevin Spacey.
Rightism: That unmitigated, intractable, obstinate myopia where, in this example, systemic phenomenon exposed in film can't occur in real life. In this case, that all criticism of the wealthy is "zero-summing" in a system we seem to be slowly concluding is inherently fraudulent and therefore hasn't to do with zero-summing at all.
Ergo, see the post a couple above this one entitled "You didn't build that" and the bald-faced absurdity of the entire second paragraph.
That being the case, and the fact that this particular instance cannot constitute all legal frauds or all systemic hazards, whatever you call them, it's reasonable to conclude that wealth may be captured by something other than "theft, fraud, or taxation", as your colleague formulated it. Say, a scheme, inherent arithmetic, or an entire system.
This being the case - as passively as I can lead you to it - then how is it that charging observers of such problems with zero-summing is such a popular choice for the rightist rhetorician? Because not only is that self-evidently not true, as its ongoing fallacy it's actually destructive to the right.
Rightism: What's mine is inherently just and stable, as are our systems.
Leftism: You have too much. What's yours is mine to tax.
Realism: You're both very wrong.
Heck of a film although Margin Call gets it closer to the mark. The right should connect their dots, ASAP. Quaint, vague reliance on politicized cartoons of Adam Smith or the Austrian School have dead-ended.