Monday, October 31, 2011

Armstrong vs. The Ivy League: "The Justice of Income Inequality Under Capitalism"

I very much enjoyed Ari Armstrong's blog post on The Objective Standard titled "The Justice of Income Inequality Under Capitalism."

He makes a crucial distinction not between the rich and poor or the "1% and 99%" but between "producers and looters."  That is, he distinguishes between those who work hard and produce or earn their wealth and those who do not, i.e., those who attempt to steal or seize other people's wealth.

This critical difference allows him to support OWS protesters and others who oppose forcible transfers of wealth between say taxpayers and banks, but also, for the same reason, it allows him to oppose forcible transfers of wealth between productive individuals and those seeking handouts from taxpayers for everything from housing, to student loans, to mortgage support.     

In this great formulation he writes:
Looters win (in their own short-sighted view) at the expense of others. Producers win as they help others win. At worst, a looter takes your life; at best, he steals what you produce. At worse, a producer leaves you alone; at best—and most typically—he greatly enriches and expands our lives.
His post is a great example of why objectively defining and analyzing concepts is so critical to fundamentally understanding reality - a principle completely lost on modern intellectuals. 

Contrast Ari's post with this video debate between two prominent Ivy League professors, Jeffrey Sachs (left) and Niall Ferguson (right).  Neither reason nor argue in terms of essentials so the debate is utterly devoid of any meaningful insight as the premise of the morality of income equality is taken for granted by both.

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