Equal Opportunity

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Is insufficient to reduce inequality, and often used as a distraction. Everybody has equal opportunity in a lottery, but the end result is one rich person and many others who are poorer. We shouldn't manage society to concentrate wealth, but rather to spread it.

I invite libertarians to play the Equal Opportunity Game. It is just like musical chairs, except that it has roughly a half million players. The winner gets to be a billionaire! What fabulous opportunity! What libertarian could object to that?

But wait: what about the losers? It doesn't matter how hard they've trained, all but one of the half million will be losers. Obviously that makes them lazy and worthless, so their payoff will be a life of poverty. What libertarian could object to that?

Now, let's make the game mandatory and call it capitalism. Sure, everybody is coerced into playing it to make a living, but it's capitalism! What libertarian could object to that?

Anybody who suggests changing the payoffs, even to make the results a thousand millionaires instead, is obviously a socialist redistributionist. Suggesting that there should be a middle class is obviously absurd and worthy of contempt because the market is always right.

Links

Greg Mankiw Loves the One Percent, Doesn’t Know Why [More...]
Jonathan Chait ridicules Greg Mankiw's ideas of equal opportunity: "Mankiw really doesn’t know what he’s talking about here. He’s a brilliant economist, but he’s exposing a moral sensibility based on pseudo-facts and illogic."
How Clones Can Experience Unequal Economic Outcomes [More...]
"[...] the earnings of workers with near-clone similarity in attributes diverged so much by the place they worked that rising inequality in pay among employers has become the major factor in the trend rise in inequality."
Liberty, Equality, Efficiency (2 links)
Inequality of outcome is a drag on economic growth according to recent studies by the IMF. "In short, what’s good for the 1 percent isn’t good for America. And we don’t have to keep living in a new Gilded Age if we don’t want to."
The case against equality of opportunity [More...]
Equality of opportunity is a distraction. It takes our eyes off the prize: equality of outcomes.
What’s so Great about Equality of Opportunity? [More...]
"In practice a sincere effort to provide equality of opportunity, must involve assistance to the poor until there are no more poor."

Quotations

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