The first is that you shouldn’t look down on other people (1) because their
parents weren’t as rich as yours, or (2) because they aren’t as smart as you, or
even (3) because they don’t work as hard as you. I think most people agree with
(1); I think you should agree with (2) and (3), too.
The second is that the moral argument should be on the side of
redistribution. I am willing to listen to utilitarian arguments against
redistribution (e.g., high marginal tax rates reduce the incentive to work, blah
blah blah blah blah); I may not agree with them, but they are a plausible
position. However, I have little patience for the idea that rich people deserve
what they have because they worked for it. It’s just a question of how far back
you are willing to acknowledge that chance enters the equation. If you are
willing to acknowledge that chance determines who you are to begin with, then it
becomes obvious (to me at least) that public policy cannot simply seek to level
the playing field, because that will just endorse a system that produces good
outcomes for the lucky (the smart and hard-working) and bad outcomes for the
unlucky. Instead, fairness dictates that policy should attempt to improve
outcomes for the unlucky, even if that requires hurting outcomes for the lucky.
But given that society is controlled by the lucky, I’m not holding my
By James Kwak
Now, This is economic justice I can get behind. Go here to read the rest.