Inequality Matters

Forbes Online - 30.10.2014

There are two familiar responses to the problem of human need. Conservatives say that the problem is poverty, and the answer is to create wealth.

Liberals say that the problem is inequality, and that the answer is to confiscate wealth. Conservatives say that by confiscating wealth, socialist and communist systems of government throughout the 20th century raised no one out of poverty, but lowered quite a lot of people into it. Liberals retort that wealth-creation always benefits the owners of capital more than it benefits those who live from wages, and therefore the long-term effect of the free economy is to transfer property from the poor to the rich. How, they ask, can this be a benefit to the poor, and in any case how are we to persuade the poor to accept it?

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