Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In Defense of Inequality

In Congress on the defense of inequality -- 
"This is not the proper occasion, but, if it were, it would not be difficult to trace the various devices by which the wealth of all civilized communities has been so unequally divided, and to show by what means so small a share has been allotted to those by whose labor it was produced, and so large a share given to the non-producing classes. The devices are almost innumerable, from the brute force and gross superstition of ancient times, to the subtle and artful fiscal contrivances of modern." ~Senator John Calhoun on the legitimacy of slavery, 1837
The senator's argument in favor of slavery is much like the current arguments in favor of unregulated business, unregulated wages, and unregulated trade.  Ethically, they're identical.  We've changed some laws since 1837, of course, but not the problem.  Nothing trickled down below the top 10%, and the rising tide only lifted the rich merchant ships.  Inequality continues in the developed world at the insistence of the privileged.  One wonders if we see what's in front of us.

In the world's richest country, why would 20% of the children live in poverty?