Living in the U.K. at the bottom end of the earning spectrum you might be surprised to hear that I have always distrusted socialism. I have had the experience of working in a factory for minimum wage and being only £30 a week better of than the person claiming job seekers allowance or other state benefit. Also I have been ridiculed for doing overtime and been labelled greedy for doing so. I have grown to resent the entitlement attitude that fuels the fire on the left.
Recently I have become a fan of the works of Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and of course Ron Paul. Milton Friedman’s book Capitalism and Freedom states that income inequality is higher in the U.K. than in the United States and also higher in France than the U.K. This might have been true when the book was published but is certainly not true today. The U.S. has far less socialism than the U.K. and in turn the U.K. less than France.
We see less income inequality in the more socialist of the developed countries with Japan as the interesting exception.
Given statistical evidence that, among developed countries, societies that are more equal – with a smaller income gap between rich and poor -- are happier and healthier than societies with greater disparities in the distribution of wealth can a libertarian philosophy be reconciled with a belief that income inequality is bad for society?
I would be particularly interested to hear the point of view of anyone familiar with the economy of Japan.
Thanks for making this post. You're on the right track asking these types of questions and thinking hard.
I would say the current error in your thinking is something that Halffull hinted at. The error is accepting as a basic premise that statistics are a valid standard of value for determining how a government ought to be run and organized. This is going in full reverse -- from the top down -- thinking, and it will always lead to the wrong conclusion.
It's like trying to build a skyscraper from the top down. There is never a foundation to build on so it will always fall down (collapse) in the process.
Human beings are individuals, in mind, body, and rights. This is where you have to start to come to a rational, sound, reality based conclusion. Any statistics, of any kind, on any topic, are meaningless in this pursuit. They are not a valid substitute for individual human beings, and it is fundamentally flawed to use them as such.
(Translation: it doesn't matter what the statistics show, it's wrong to use them in the first place).
"At the dawn of their lives, no matter their fate, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential."
A lot of the statistical information does seem a bit suspect, i think i might have to read the book, "the spirt kevel" by the man who did the ted talk. One thing that might be of interest is Denmark also rates verry high on a measure of economic freedom but still has high taxes and high level of government spending. I don't think you can simply disregard statisics, they are verry important in economics and so therefore relevant in any political debate.