How Paul Graham gets it wrong in “Economic Inequality”
Seth Bannon
9515

I think economic inequality might be the wrong metric to track because if I own a beat up reliable Honda and you own a Lamborghini, inequality doesn’t matter. We both have access to the same roads and access to technology that can give us the same amount of mobility. However, if conditions become so bad that now I only own a bicycle and my opportunities are limited because of my mobility, now the inequality matters. However, you could now own just a motorcycle instead of a Lamborghini and that would give you a huge advantage over me. So the amount of inequality doesn’t matter as much as the inequality in access to certain levels of tools and infrastructure.

Lets put this in terms of education since you mentioned it. Since higher education is so costly now, I would argue we have priced the poor out of that system, effectively locking them out of opportunities richer people would have.

So I think economic inequality is not the best metric but a way to measure inequality to the different levels of society might be a better way to think about it. I don’t know how you would measure that, so maybe economic inequality is the best measurement we have.

And if we did have some way to measure this access, it would be interesting to see if someone like Bill Gates was only able to do what he did because of his available access. And would someone at a lower level would have the ability to do the same?

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