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Is Income Inequality a Problem?

President Obama has named this the issue of our time. Should we care how rich our neighbor gets?

Walter Hudson


March 26, 2014 - 11:00 am

Here, Ayn Rand Institute executive director Yaron Brook addresses the campaign against income inequality. What are the philosophical roots of this concern?

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, and as president of the Minority Liberty Alliance. He hosts a daily podcast entitled Fightin Words, proudly hosted on Twin Cities Newstalk Podcast Network. Walter is a city council member in Albertville, MN. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

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Is Income Inequality a Problem?

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm at work and a 45-minute video would get me in Dutch.
Broadly speaking, though, income inequality is simply another name for envy.
In an economy with opportunity to earn dazzling sums of money, some people will do that. They will produce highly valuable goods and services, measured either per-use as some physicians and lawyers are or by volume like Bill Gates or Angelina Jolie.
Their work is worth what people will pay for it -- $10k for heart surgery, 200 times a year, or $7.50 each for millions who attend a movie.
If Bill Gates produces software and products that multiply wealth greatly and if people want to get the products from him, why does anyone envy him what he has achieved? Want to emulate it, maybe. Want to enjoy what he enjoys, maybe. But envy it? So that if you can't have it, he can't either? What is right or liberal or progressive about that?
At the other end of the scale, there are people who produce little of value. They may labor greatly, but cleaning hotel rooms is a low-value skill set and there are a lot of people who will do that rather than go on welfare. So it pays poorly. Okay as an entry-level job but lousy as a career.
In a liberty society, the combination of compassion and profit motive will produce low-cost goods and services for the low-income families and a range of goods to meet the wishes and needs of families at every income level. The best way to help low-income families is to reduce the costs of goods and services and the best thing governments can do in that direction is to reduce barriers to trade and production.
Adam Smith wrote the classical work on this and it's still the classical work because it is correct. The real world shows it empirically all the time.
Feh on income inequality. Feh indeed.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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