Image: Edge Funders Alliance
In the modern era, “equality” is often promoted as an unexamined pseudo-religion by a number of political factions. Whether it be equality of outcome or opportunity, it tends to be preached but not practiced. Despite the unsuccessful track record, institutional ignoramuses continue to push such policies increasingly.
The economic measurement, known as the Gini Coefficient (or Gini Index), measures economic inequality and wealth distribution among a population. This was developed in 1912 by the Italian statistician, Corrado Gini, to measure the distribution of family income. It is a reputable way to gauge how state policies affect inequality.
When you compare inequality between states dominated by opposing ideologies, such as Utah vs. New York, the results revolt against the popularly promoted reality. New York is consistently ranked as the state with the highest inequality in the nation, while the state with the lowest is Utah. California ranked only a few spots above New York with their inequality only growing at the second fastest rate in the nation. Utah has the highest social mobility rivaling Denmark but without big government.
Is there a difference in the government intervention when comparing their economies? Very much so. High taxes, regulations, and social programs propagated to “fight inequality” only exacerbate it. At best, they bring about the downfall of an economy and achieve equal amounts of nothing.
What Causes Inequality?
At best, inequality arises from freedom of choice and an individual’s abilities. This can be demonstrated by Pareto’s Principle in economics. At worst, inequality arises from arbitrary and artificial barriers put in place by government leviathans with too much power. There is nothing inherently wrong with inequality as long as it is the result of competition. Inequality can be fair, and equality can be unfair, depending on the circumstances.
The pursuit of legislated economic equality in any degree is counterproductive. In an attempt to subsidize college to make it more affordable, the government made it less affordable. When government subsidizes anything from college to cheese, it ruins the relationship between supply and demand. This puts more people in debt to their government and more feel coerced into a state of dependency. It may sound shocking, but the government proclaiming that everyone shall have access to a product or service doesn’t make it magically appear on a silver platter in every household.
The best way to secure prosperity is for the government to not meddle in the economy. Make it easier for people to help one another and themselves rather than trusting a malevolent middleman to fix everything. The best way to achieve equality is not through legislation, but personal avocation and action. Which requires the vibrant flames of freedom. Let people compete and you we will see more people like Henry Ford.
In conclusion, the American Dream cannot be expressed in a cage of cronyism. This people must be free to truly choose or not to choose for it finally flourish.
Freedom or Equality?
Both of these words can inspire strong passion in their advocates, as they represent an ideal human state. If man is free they will be inherently unequal to a degree. If man is molded to be equal then they cannot be free as long as the government’s gloved hands hold them in place. Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman, taught the following on the subject:
“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
In light of the reality of present times, it is more important than ever to recognize that truth. Through freedom comes fortune to all who are willing to work and serve society. In the past, many groups were unjustly penalized by the system, but now that those barriers are lifted, they do not need any government help. This is because those groups are just as capable, if not more capable, of achieving success over time as anyone else. It is unethical to buy into the racism or sexism of low expectations.
We cannot very well ensure equality of opportunity either; except for removing the artificial and arbitrary obstacles placed by government. Roads lined with red tape that can never compensate for the corruption inherent within bureaucracy. Yet people still find the ideal of government mandated “equality” alluring. Why?
“I do not think that equality is one of those things (like wisdom or happiness) which are good simply in themselves and for their own sake. I think it is in the same class as medicine, which is good because we are ill, or clothes which are good because we are no longer innocent.”
“When equality is treated not as a medicine or a safety-gadget but as an ideal we begin to breed that stunted and envious sort of mind which hates all superiority. That mind is the special disease of democracy, as cruelty and servility are the special diseases of privileged societies. It will kill us all if it grows unchecked,” Lewis goes on to explain.
We should not seek “equality” as an ideal, nor shun the inherent natural inequality that comes about in a well ordered society. Instead, we should fight for the freedom of everyone to pursue what is best for their lives.