Poverty is a thing to be abolished. We should all rally around this central point. No one should go without food and water as long as it’s within our individual power to prevent it. This raises the immediate question of what is the most effective means of eliminating poverty.
The knee-jerk reaction of some is to take from the wealthy and give to the poor. I shall, for the purposes of philosophical charity, ascribe this motivation to them.
However, I have encountered another motive among the left, one far more disreputable, sinister, and abhorrent – that they simply wish to take from the wealthy, which is little more than hatred and jealousy.
Our reality is that inequality cures poverty.
Inequality has many causes, but primarily it’s due to supply and demand. If doctors didn’t economically outperform low-skilled workers, the supply of doctors would drastically diminish to the point that the scarcity of their professions would drive an increase in their wages.
Wages are a function of supply and demand.
This is why a skilled hockey player earns more than a nurse, even though nurses are more valuable to society – the supply of someone with the skills of Sidney Crosby is far less than those who have the capacity to become a nurse.
Based on my phenomenological appraisal, 10% of the people I know could perform a nurse’s tasks adequately while I know of no one as skilled as Crosby – one profession has a supply of millions of individuals while the other has the supply of one or two so even though the demand is much higher for nurses, the increased supply offsets this.
When supply and demand are discarded by policymakers the result is predictable – excesses and shortages.
If the wage for a teacher is artificially high, due to some regulation, we wind up with an excess of teachers, resulting in education students graduating without jobs.
If the wage of bankers is artificially low, due to some rally against inequality, the result is a shortage of bankers, which causes a lack of service and a greater lack of competition, giving rise to anti-consumer practices.
Government intervention produces poor service, unemployment, and shortages.
This is bad for banking but absolutely treacherous when it comes to agriculture, water management, housing construction, clothing, and medicine, then shortages can become deadly.
The left has no lack of advocates for the right to water, but as our patron saint, Thomas Sowell, urges – far superior to possessing a right to water is possessing actual water.
When societies take a communal, Marxist, equality approach to provide water the result is dehydration and famine, when societies take a supply and demand approach the result is gluttony and obesity.
Inequality isn’t desirous in and of itself but there is such a thing as natural inequality.
Some are born smarter than others. Some are raised with a higher work ethic. The result of each of these tends toward inequality. There are ignoble and natural causes of inequality as well; studies have shown 15% of wealth is inherited. Some have the fortune to be born in a resource-rich area while others are born in the likes of war-torn Myanmar.
When I was born over half of the world lived in extreme poverty. By 2010 this has been halved. Today, in 2018, this has been cut in half once again. Poverty is on a dramatic decline where the wealth gap rises. Our true concern ought not to be with inequality, it ought to be with ameliorating the life of those suffering.
If any individual proposes eliminating inequality when scientifically this can be shown to increase poverty we must look at the equalization advocate as the most wretchedly unethical person. They could investigate as to the true causes of the decline in suffering, but they allow their ideology to take root and ignore their studies.
Their opinions must win out over genuine reductions in suffering – there is nothing more heinously evil than that.
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