Income Inequality or Income Mobility: For What Should We Fight? | Anne Bradley
Learn Liberty

Excellent article, applaud its thesis.

Bill Gates is a poor example for capitalism. He “played the game to win” in his heyday, within the law but acting more like a robber baron than a real capitalist. He’s a great philanthropist now, and we should focus there. As capitalists, I’d cite Jeff Bezos (Amazon) or Sam Walton (retail) as capitalists who drove efficiency in the marketplace (ie the creative destruction of capitalism, which does inflict pain on both existing businesses and on their people) without being predatory.

Gaming the system (which in computer games we call “exploiting”, which is doing something for gain which was clearly unintended when the rules were established, but which goes undetected or against which no rule is enforced) is perhaps more important than the “crony capitalism” of generations past. Examples abound (wall street, addictive foods, addictive tech).

My grandfather, who was a CEO of a publicly traded company, railed at the dinner table about the level of taxes and the New Deal. But he paid his taxes, in full, no games. What I read in the book “Dark Money” describes a generation of people far wealthier, taking a long view to game the political system, to undo the basic social contract about wealth put in place in this country after the robber barons 100–150 years ago. I believe the combination of gaming the system, and the exploits described in that book, are at the root of the radical shift of power (and incomes) from labor to capital over the last few decades, all but eliminating upward mobility for the majority of Americans including my now adult children.

Worthy debate!

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Steve Chalmers’s story.