Tuesday, May 24, 2005

economic equality

Via Will Wilkinson’s Fly Bottle:
"To the extent that people are preoccupied with equality for its own sake, their readiness to be satisfied with any particular level of income or wealth is guided not by their own interests and needs but just by the magnitude of the economic benefits at the disposal of others. In this way egalitarianism distracts people from measuring the requirements to which their individual natures and their personal circumstances give rise. It encourages them instead to insist upon a level of economic support that is determined by a calculation in which the particular features of their own lives are irrelevant. How sizable the economic assets of others are has nothing much to do, after all, with what kind of person someone is. A concern for economic equality, construed as desirable in itself, tends to divert a person's attention away from endeavoring to discover--within his experience of himself and his life--what he himself really cares about and what will actually satisfy him, although this is the most basic and the most decisive task upon which an intelligent selection of economic goals depends. Exaggerating the moral importance of economic equality is harmful, in other words, because it is alienating."

Harry Frankfurt, "Equality as a Moral Ideal," Ethics, Oct. 1987.
And this gem from it’s comment thread, via ‘monkeyboy’ (sorry, no blog): Silly poor people, yearning for medical care, decent schools for their children and not having to eat dog food in their old age.
Pay no attention to the rich people behind the curtain, look inside yourselves instead...maybe there's an organ you could sell!

It's like I always say…why argue with logic and reason when high emotionalism is so damn convenient!