Prabhudesai, in a comment to the recent post on inequality, wrote that envy motivates the concern for inequality; otherwise, to demonstrate their commitment to equality, people would give away that portion of their wealth that exceeds the average wealth of the society (or the world at large, if they are really sincere.) I agree.
People who are exercised about what they consider to be an “unfair distribution” of wealth insist that the wealth of the super-rich should be confiscated and distributed “fairly” to all. Bezos, Musk and other multi-billionaires come in for special censure. Why, the cry goes out, should they have billions when there are starving millions? They have more than they could possibly consume while there are people who are starving. It’s immoral and sinful. The government must do something about that.
I disagree for various reasons. First, I present a consequentialist argument why the wealth of the super-rich should not be redistributed by government edict. As I am not a utilitarian, I reject this argument for a much stronger claim. Continue reading