Sunday, April 27, 2014

Read of the Day

I'm indebted to Robb at Sharp as a Marble for setting me on the path to the read for the day.  Robb's piece was "Why I Love Capitalism", and includes a great pull quote from Protein Wisdom's "How to respond to Thomas Piketty’s inequality alarmism, revisited".  The subject is, of course, the leftists' current fascination with income inequality and its poorly-concealed core belief that all income should properly be given to the Glorious Motherland to distribute equally.  Once they take their cut off the top, of course.  The article quotes at length from a great piece by Kevin Williamson at National Review Online, "Welcome to the Paradise of the Real". 

As I usually do, let me drop a pull quote or two - different from Robb's - to whet your appetite to go and read the whole thing.
Measured by money, things look relatively grim for the American middle class and the poor. Men’s inflation-adjusted average wages peaked in 1973, and inflation-adjusted household incomes for much of the middle class have shown little or no growth in some time. The incomes of those at the top of the distribution (which is not composed of a stable group of individuals, political rhetoric notwithstanding) continue to pull away from those in the middle and those at the bottom. The difference between a CEO’s compensation and the average worker’s compensation continues to grow.

But much of that is written into the code. If, for example, you measure inequality by comparing the number of dollars it takes to land at a certain income percentile, with a hard floor on the low end (that being $0.00 per year in wages) but no ceiling on the top end, and if you have growth in the economy, then it is a mathematical inevitability that incomes at the top will continue to pull away from incomes at the bottom, for the same reason that any point on the surface of a balloon will get farther and farther away from the imaginary fixed point at its center as the balloon is inflated. This will be the case whether you have the public policies of Singapore or Sweden, and indeed it is the case in both Singapore and Sweden.

Purely symbolic systems are easy to manipulate, which is why any two economists can take the same set of well-documented economic data and derive from it diametrically opposed conclusions.
Williamson starts his piece with a wonderful parable involving second graders trading SweeTarts for Gummie Worms and their socialist teacher.  If you have time to read those few paragraphs, it's worth it as well.


  1. Chortled at this one:
    "[S]omebody discovered that the wars fought over dividing up the harvest could be prevented by making that harvest bigger — and then figuring out how to get that done."
    He wants to talk about reality and closes with that line? To me, that sort of hypothesis hearkens back to the unconstrained vision, which has us humans able to bootstrap our way into goodness and light if only we try the right technological solution.

  2. It's an odd phraseology, but an accurate summation. The way you make sure everyone has enough pie is not to take from some to give to others, like socialist/communists/obamanoids say, but to make the pie bigger - and make more pies. That's absolutely reality

  3. I would like that after humanity figured out how to not go to war over the harvest by making it bigger, we just figured out other things to go to war over, such as mineral resources, favorable trading locations, etc.

    Of course the left continues to focus on the harvest, only this time with the "Population Bomb" mythology. Sooner or later we won't be able to innovate ourselves out of a bad situation! at least according to every leftist I've talked to. It may not be an issue today, but if we don't radically change our lifestyle now, something bad may happen at some undefined point in the future!

  4. That's the point - there's never "enough" pie. The problem is deeper than the material level.