Main Page Contact Register Log In

I see what you mean, but in theory, trade is supposed to make both parties better off, or else the transaction wouldn't occur (if the price is too high, the buyers would rather keep their money; if too low, the sellers would keep their products). Unless some people are systematically forced into accepting bad bargains, trade shouldn't necessarily lead to unfair outcomes.

Besides, like I said, I'm looking for arguments in favour of enthusiastic support of wealth inequality, rather than arguments for its inevitability.

Focusing on enthusiastic support for wealth inequality: It supplies an avenue for micro punishments and micro rewards that moreover can be implemented in an egalitarian rather than authoritarian manner. If someone does something really Wong you can use punishments like sipping or throwing them in jail. But there are certain bad thinks that formal punishment just seems massive overkill: things like being rude and unpleasant to others, being careless and inattentive to your work, and not keeping promises. Loss of business opportunities and in egregious cases fines and monetary civil judgments provide and good middle grounds between ignoring bad behavior and draconian punishment. It also allows for more participation from the everyday people in direct contact with the offender. But if everyone is mandated to have about the same amount of wealth tense types of punishments loose effect as they can have no actual consequences.

On the reward side the possibility of significant wrath can be an important motivating factor. Knowing you could get first choice of where to live, or get access to rare goods, to get to consume a high level or services, or even just the you could get to have an impact by donating a large amount of money to a charity you think is especially important are all things that can inspire people to strive. Knowing the concentrations of wealth are out there, that they are possible is an important motivating factor in getting people to work extra hard, to take risks, to try to do something that will get you the big pay out. The fact the most new businesses fail means we need a really big reward if we want people to keep poring their heart into new businesses.

Now if people were all perfect and we already had all the inventions and new businesses we would ever need, then I don't there would be an intrinsic use for wealth inequality. But until we reach that state I do think looking around and seeing wealth inequality can have salutary effects.

Also on "trade shouldn't lead to unfair outcomes" the argument against wealth inequality seems to be based on the moral premise that even if two people have a voluntary trade and each of them is better off afterwards, it is still an unfair trade if one party is more "better off" than the other as a result of the trade.
Replies (0)