Worrying About Income Inequality is Stupid

Imagine this: your boss comes to you with an offer. You can either make $100,000 or $50,000 per year. But if you take the $100,000, your CEO will be paid $2,000,000 — that’s 20x as much. And if you take $50,000, she will be paid $250,000 — that’s only 5x as much.

Which do you choose?

The $50,000 salary minimizes income inequality, but few of us would choose this option. Regardless of what our CEO is being paid, we would opt to take the highest pay possible.

Income inequality is simply a measure of how much one person is making in comparison to another. This relative measure has no effect on your spending power or lifestyle whatsoever.

If we could wave a magic wand and wipe out anyone’s net worth exceeding $1 billion, income inequality would be drastically reduced. But your life would not change at all. You would not be able to purchase anything tomorrow that you weren’t able to purchase today.

If you want to make more money, say so. Organize and rally behind that goal. Discussing income inequality is just a distraction — reducing income inequality does not make your life any better, it only changes what you have compared to someone else.

And if you spend your life focusing only on what you have compared to other people, you are never going to be happy.


Inspired by this Tweet. Originally published at zackkanter.com on January 3, 2016.

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