In other words, econ. equality impairs growth and GDP.
Sean Neville
21

Thank you for the engaging comments. For convenience-sake, I will address each of your points here.

  1. On the topic of aggregate vs. “separate gearings” efficiency, I do not dismiss the literature that argues the latter point. That’s why I specifically say “complete economic equality” to clarify that I am talking about an aggregate version of Option B. Of course, the world is a lot more complicated than simple country-wide aggregates, as you clearly point out.
  2. Regarding my descriptions of classical utilitarians and their views on economic inequality, I am echoing Amartya Sen and Bernard Williams’s Utilitarianism and Beyond (page 3ff) who do stress that inequality is not inherently immoral. This classical interpretation also does not factor in the marginal decline of wealth, making Option A the best choice. Your interpretation of the proper utilitarian approach is addressed in the literature under the name of “accidental egalitarianism.” This form of utilitarianism tends towards economic pies that support the poor, but not because the poor always deserve priority (i.e., the prioritarian approach), but because of the marginal value decline of wealth. Page 3 of an article by Edward Page expands on this concept. So there is a wide spectrum of different utilitarian approaches. I am simply taking the most stereotypical, classical one.
  3. Related to point 2, any comment by me that suggests that economic inequality is not always immoral is not me speaking for myself, but on behalf of strict practitioners of the philosophies I highlight.
  4. In my discussion of bipartisan consensus on equality, I do not state it as 100% truth. That’s why I say “if the previously mentioned Atlantic study is to be believed.”
  5. In response to your “…we don’t have only 4 options,” I never implied that we do. The four options are meant to introduce different philosophical approaches, not the totality of actual distribution possibilities. To lessen some of the confusion, I made an edit at footnote 3 addressing the misperception that I implied that greater inequality assures larger economic pies. I don’t support or imply this view, but to dwell on what the “optimum inequality distribution” is, which has as much to do with subjective views as economic facts, would be incredibly cumbersome and frankly irrelevant to my purposes.
  6. Finally, regarding your comments to my series of questions about inequality, I would clarify that I am not arguing one way or another. At most I provide recommendations for people who may hold a more pro-equality position. Otherwise, my objective here is to inform, not to annoy readers with my biased view of the “perfect society.” So I am not ignoring “the process of wealth creation in this country.” Instead I am allowing readers to make up their own minds on these questions so that we can all refine our principles of fairness through self-reflection and inquiry.
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