Saturday, May 31, 2014

Less Inequality, More Envy?

She's the dollars
She's my protection
Yeah she's a promise
In the year of election

Interesting proposition put forth here. The smaller the economic inequality, the greater the envy--and the more people will clamor for government to do something about it.

Counterintuitive at first blush. One would think that greater, not lesser, spreads in wealth would ignite envy.

The proposition here is that huge spreads in wealth, such as those that existed prior to the advent of capitalism, are deemed inactionable by the masses. As the gap decreases, however, people think that they can increase wealth by employing strong armed government agents to confiscate resources from those with more.

Envy rises because it becomes more actionable.

Peter Schiff argues that, in developed economies, living standards of the poor are generally closer to those of the rich than at most times in human history. As long as productivity improves, more wealth is created. Even if some benefit more than others, all generally benefit.

Rising production, of course, motivates a plausible rival proposition: the greater the pile of wealth, the greater the envy...

It may be difficult to disprove one in favor of the other. However, if either proposition is valid, then expect envy and the pathology of resentment to escalate as living standards advance.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.