Saturday, 2 March 2019

My lifestyle relies on inequality

My lifestyle relies on inequality. It took me a while to realise this; libertarians particularly are resistant to admitting it. It took me a while to realise it because leftist arguments against inequality are so poor. But just because inequality is not a bad thing, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist and benefit me.

My income is several times the national average. This means that my lifestyle relies on several people effectively working solely for me. Some are in this country, some are abroad on much lower wages. It would be theoretically possible for me to have a high income without relying on other people, if I relied solely on capital -- imagine someone on a desert island, waited on by robots. But in the real world, my income is driven partly by labour; the labour of other people.

It may well be the case that these poor have higher incomes than they would if I didn't exist -- if I am directing production better than they could -- but that is not the point. It may well be the case that inequality is an engine of economic growth that will one day raise the incomes of these poor above even my income today. But the fact remains, that given the current level of technology, I am consuming a greater share.

I am not bemoaning this! But it is important to be clear.

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