11 May 2011

Laziness and Equality

From ASI:

Some say this is unfair because it offers the rich more options than the poor. But to stop people from being able to pay for places just to bring them down to the level of the poor is completely backwards – we should be trying to see how we can raise the poor up to that level. Equality for its own sake shouldn’t be the objective; what we want is to improve people’s lives. So how could we do this? Quite simply: by making sure that student loans are available to everybody with the grades needed for these places, and allowing universities to raise their fees to reflect the supply and demand for places.

Destroying wealth in the name of equality is the lazy man’s way of ensuring fairness because it is incredibly easy to destroy.   If one man makes $20,000 a year and another man makes $30,000 a year, it is easier to take $5,000 from the better-paid man and give it to the lesser-paid man.

The more moral thing to do, however, would be to help the lesser-paid man find a way to earn $30,000 a year.  Not only would there be equality, as was true with the prior scenario, but there would also be an increase in aggregate wealth.  Additionally, neither man would have his wealth destroyed or taken from him.  Of course, it is more difficult to help pull someone up than it is to push someone down, and so future attempts at ensuring equality will largely consist of destroying wealth instead of creating it.


  1. The other solution is to keep the current system in place but to raise the entry requirements to such a level that supply=demand.

    There is an assumption going on here that more students going to university is a good thing, something I'm not quite sure about. Less Womens Studies courses would not be such a bad thing.

  2. "There is an assumption going on here that more students going to university is a good thing"

    Vox Day and others have noted how the ROI on a college education has declined significantly over the last forty years. My personal experience tells me that most of what is taught in college is junk. Thus, I would say that more students going to university is a horrible idea, especially given the liberalisation of most university curricula.

  3. Why is helping the 20G man make 30G a moral thing to do? Why is that type of equality a moral issue?

  4. @The Bertholds- In order for a critique to be effective, one must accept the terms of the person being critiqued, or else one is simply attacking straw men. The reason why it I accept that it is moral to help the 20G man make 30G is to point out the laziness of those who purport to defend equality. You will also note that equality implies some type of sameness, which further implies that both men earn the same amount.