Tag Archives: Equality

Can’t We All Just Have A Utopian Style Economy?

Some time back I told a group of ten year olds that I had hidden a bag of candy.  I passed out maps that I assured them would lead to the treasure, but I purposely withheld the beginning point.  They began walking around, turning this way and that, counting their steps, as they each dutifully followed the map .  Not one of them asked for that key piece of information that would have unlocked it.  This surprised me for some reason.  In the end no one found the candy. So I ate it myself… In front of them.

There is a lesson here in economics.  Where one begins in the study of economics will determine where he ends up.

When most hear the word “economy” they think of the availability of jobs, money and so on.  But the starting point of economics is man, namely, answering the question, how will he act, good or not so great, under given circumstances?  With this answer in hand it then attempts to answer another question, how do we enlist our fellow man to participate in our own benefit?

While capitalism begins with the more negative view that man is only interested in himself, and from selfish motives will work, improvise, innovate, trade, think, risk, explore and other things that make for a good economy, communism is based on an assumption that man is more altruistic. It assumes he will do these same things with the same zeal in return for his fair share of resources, however much some wealthy, innately-benevolent leader decides that is.

That this hasn’t ever worked is a testament to the faultiness of communism’s premise.  That it will ever be attempted  is a testament to the validity of capitalism’s premise regarding man’s condition… well, that and his resilience to the truth regarding that sad condition.


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Filed under Economic Science, Economics, Equality, fairness, Harsh Reality, Human Nature, Morality, Work, Worldview

America Has An Unfair Economy

Rule number one in economics:

All economies are unfair.

This rule, as with most economic rules, falls under the “reality is harsh” heading.  Much blood has flowed in attempts to break this rule, and it’s obvious that we’re not anywhere near done.  Yet, after all the blood letting, there stands all those unfair economies.  So what’s going on here?

The one problem I’ll discuss here is undefined terms. In this case, the term is “fair”.  Consider a kitchen table.  If someone looks at it and asks, “What’s that”, and another answers,” Well, it’s certainly not a chair”,  the question wasn’t answered satisfactorily.  Yet, still, the answer was true.  The fact remains that one could possibly go on for days saying what the table isn’t, all the while speaking true answers, yet never answering.

The truth is that a table is a table, and a chair is not a table.  This truth is not subject to opinion.  Fair, on the other hand, is very much subjective.  We have a president claiming that some are not paying their fair share in taxes.  But he is not pointing to some objective standard as to what anyone’s fair share is. He’s only saying what he thinks it’s not.

Others say that it’s not fair that that person over there has so much more than I do.  Again, this is an appeal  to what is not fair while giving no indication as to what is fair.  But even if “fair” is specified, those specifications can only be based on subjectivity.  While a table will always be a table, what is fair for one is not always fair for another.

This is not to say that there exists no objective standard for fair in which, like a table is a table, fair is fair.  It is to say that that standard is found outside of the self.  It is in the self that such “standards” are confused with self-interest.

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Filed under Economics, Equality, fairness, taxation, Worldview

There Are Many Ways Of Achieving Equality… Sort Of

We’ve all heard, I hope, of the economic law of supply and demand. This law speaks of a relationship between the supply and the demand of resources, but this relationship can be misleading. There is a third and silent factor in this equation: “price”. Imagine, if you will, a see-saw. On one side is demand and the other is supply. Price is the center on which these two find balance… or at least should!

Consider mansions. It’s safe to say that we all want to live in a fine mansion, except that very few of us can afford to. The “demand” for mansions, therefore, is relatively low, because of price. But it’s obviously not fair that some people get to live in mansions while others don’t. Enter compassionate politician. As one such politician put it, “[mansion owners] have won life’s lottery”, and we know that’s not fair!

So the well-intentioned politician enacts price controls so that everyone can afford a mansion. Nice guy, he.

But then, without any changes in the supply of mansions, demand skyrockets. And guess what else. What was once an adequate supply of mansions is now a limited supply; a shortage in fact. Since all can now afford mansions, they are now “demanding” mansions. To further aggravate the situation, the supply begins to decline because there is no longer any incentive to build mansions because there’s no profit to be made.

Since bad law begets bad law, “No problem”says the compassionate politician. So a new law is legislated to deal with the mansion crisis. A lottery is instituted to determine who gets to live in the limited supply of remaining mansions. Now, everyone is equal because no one is living in a mansion because of “life’s” so called lottery, but rather, because of a government lottery. There, problem solved. Feel better now?


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Filed under Economic Science, Economics, Equality, fairness, Government, Human Nature, Politics, Supply And Demand, Uncategorized, Worldview