“Inequality Can Be a Wonderful Force for Innovation”

Richard Epstein on Inequality from LibertyPen.  Via Robert Wenzel at TargetLiberty.com

Show notes:

Epstein’s main point is that income inequality provides us with a lot of opportunities.  Opporunities allow for everyone’s economic circumstances to rise.  The inequality gap means nothing.  To make everyone equal does not work.  Period.

So, my dear Social Justice friends, give it up.  Surrender.  Your faith in

Minimum wage laws make it harder for unskilled workers to get their first job, which makes it impossible for them to get their second job.

Strong unionization gives wage increases to a select group but shuts out a large group of people.

Anti-discrimination law makes it harder to higher minority people because it is more difficult for somebody to fire them.

He says what needs to be done is to completely deregulate the labor markets.  In a competitive market as productivity increases, wages will start to increase and that will be sustainable because the persons paying the money will get something that’s worth it.  Are there going to be excessive returns to capital?  No, beacuse of the competitive process.

Do we mind about inequality in the abstract?  For egalitarians, yes.

Incentives change the value of egalitarianism.  Are we better off in a world without Steve Jobs or an early Bill Gates?  The answer is no.

The least privilege only make progress in an open market.

Wage stagnation is not a result of the new normal, but fundamentally is a result of intentional government policies which have made matters worse, not better.

They trying to protect workers and they limit their options.  It doesn’t work.

globalizaiton means unionization can no longer work for the benefit of the members or the unions.  If you’re going to get goods from all sorts of places there are no firms today, unlike 50 or 60 years ago, that are going to be protected from government protection or oligopolistic formation.  If you unionize a competitive firm and you try to get a monopoly rent you drive the firm out of business.

McDonald’s Chief Officer was let go.   The General Counsel of the Labor Board puts McDonald’s franchise model in jeopardy.  Middle class get their first proprietary type interest.

Success can be measured by which direction the transfer payments flow.

20% of the income has 40% of the tax burdens.





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