Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daniel Little — How much inequality?

How much inequality is too much? Answers range from Gracchus Babeuf (all inequalities are unjust) to Ayn Rand (there is no moral limit on the extent of inequalities a society can embody). Is there any reasoned basis for answering the question? What kinds of criteria might we use to try to answer this kind of question?
Read it at Understanding Society
How much inequality?
by Daniel Little | Chancellor, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Daniel Little summarizes several liberal arguments for greater equality in society and concludes that they are mutually supportive factors adduced from a variety of field from philosophy (John Rawls) to economics (Joseph Stiglitz, to public health, to utilitarianism. They are based on fairness and justice, human rights, institutionalism, social responsibility, social cohesion, and general welfare.

The conservative arguments that Little does not consider here are based on individual freedom, personal responsibility (parable of stewardship, Matthew 25:14-30), individual incentive, differences of individual ability, sanctity of property rights including the right of wealth transfer across generations, meritocracy, and traditional division of classes ("You will always have the poor with you...." Matthew 26:11). 

12 comments:

Trixie said...

This made my day: Catholic Nuns Kick Off Nine-State Bus Tour To Protest House Republican Budget Cuts.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/18/501408/catholic-nuns-kick-off-nine-state-bus-tour-to-protest-house-republican-budget-cuts/?mobile=nc

"The nuns’ bus tour is taking the issue a step farther, though, mere weeks after the Vatican called on American nuns to stop highlighting economic justice issues in order to focus more on other church priorities, including abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. And though the House GOP budget directly contradicts much of Catholic social teaching, the USCCB has remained far more outspoken on what it perceives as affronts to “religious liberty” than they have on the spending cuts."

Um, negative, says the Sisters. This will end with Paul Ryan getting an escort...by his earlobe. Nuns always win. Always.

Sing it Sistahs!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX31fJYHySI

Matt Franko said...

"an escort...by his earlobe."

Nuns have an ongoing and continuous knack for re-focusing attention towards what is really important. ;)

Unforgiven said...

Ah, yes! The blessed Nuns from Our Lady of Sectoral Balances!

"This will end with Paul Ryan getting an escort...by his earlobe."

I was kinda hoping for the ruler, myself. Applied so deftly and so VERY hard that he won't need a tape measure for the rest of his...impertinent...little...LLLIFE!!!!

Amen. Praise the Deficit. Class dismissed.

Tom Hickey said...

Yeah, those sistahs are nothing to mess with. Forget twisting earlobes. One day when I was in grammar school, our nun grabbed a girl who was acting up in class by one of her pigtails and yanked on it so hard it came out in her hand, with the girl screaming something fierce, of course. We all just sat there with our mouths open thinking "holy shit!"

Unforgiven said...

The Wrath of Maude!

Unforgiven said...

WRT the topic, segregation is by far the most effective way of "putting a load on the grandkids".

jrbarch said...

Fertile equity: whether you eat fish or caviar, the end product is the same ....

Mike Norman said...

Ryan will spin it the way all these debt hawks spin it; they will lie. They will say that it will NOT affect seniors and those who are needy. They will say that we MUST do this or people will really have nothing. It's how David Walker spins it. They are ideological sociopaths and they will lie through their teeth to get this done. And they WILL get it done, nuns or no nuns.

Tom Hickey said...

Mike "They are ideological sociopaths and they will lie through their teeth to get this done. And they WILL get it done, nuns or no nuns."

Right and as Philip Pilkington points out they are paving the road to socialism by doing so. Here's the link in case you missed it. I didn't post it here.

Philip Pilkington: Budget Hawk Socialism – Why Calls for Balanced Budgets Lay the Path for Socialism because you don't need economic analysis to realize this.

The next financial crisis, which will be the second leg down of this one, is going to be the Big One, and it will result in a New New Deal or fascism. In either case it will result in exactly the reaction that Marx predicted as the inevitable outcome of overreach by the acquisitive class, although passing through a fascistic phase may be in the cards, too. But that cannot last for the reasons that Marx gave can then when the monarchs and aristocracies were still dominate in Europe.

Ravi Batra analyzed this in The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism (1978, 2nd ed 1990). While hisstory is not a good predictor of the specifics of the future, it is not bad at finding patterns that repeat. Both Batra and Strauss & Howe see similar patterns operative that signal social and political shift in the crystal ball of historical and sociological analysis.

On thing seems clear, the present course toward domination by Grand Acquisitors (or Great Pirates) supported by their cronies and minions is unsustainable over time. History has a liberal bias toward greater freedom, fairness, and equality because these are evolutionary traits.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I was not impressed by Daniel Little's post and the comments it originated are, if anything, worse.

Tom Hickey said...

Anonymous: "Frankly, I was not impressed by Daniel Little's post and the comments it originated are, if anything, worse"

Well, why don't you share what you are thinking. It might take the comments in a new direction.

Bob said...

I am for a freedom to choose, and freedom to invent, and freedom to help those in need, and freedom to improve myself, and freedom to provide an enviroment where EVERYONE HAS A CHANCE AT THE AMERICAN DREAM, with no royalty or Monopolists to stifle or hold me slave to their whims. I am for supporting the military within reason to protect our borders, not protect bankers or industrialist interests overseas. I am for a zero cost fiat money that is controlled by elected officials not controlled by unelected officials, who are as Segall would say are "ABOVE THE LAW". I am for a balance of having just enough policing to keep the society as a whole on a safe field, notice I didnt say fair but safe for all to compete. I want a balance that will allow the american dream to flourish but to keep the big winners in check to avoid monopolies, Whatever you call this type of economics, I am for it.