Thursday, 8 December 2016

This Is One Of The Most Bizarre Of All The Human Obsessions


Apart from for reasons of envy and insecurity, the obsession the left have with inequality is truly bizarre. We are more evolutionarily primed to keep up with the Joneses in the same socio-economic group as us than we are the Joneses in socio-economic groups high above us. If you're going for a job at Burger King it's more natural (not to mention sensible) to care about competition from other people going for the same job at Burger King than whether the Chief Executive of Burger King has two or three more cars than you do.

Everyone understands this when the example in question is a nightclub. If you go into a nightclub on the pull, the greater the number of attractive single males there are inside the less chance you have of pulling. Just like in evolutionary biology, men in nightclubs should be concerned about their status in comparison with other men, and women with other women. But they should not be concerned about all men equally, because those concerned about their status should be most concerned with other men in their selectability range - that is, those with pulling power similar to them.

If super handsome Charles increases his pulling power by an extra percentage point after having an even better hairstyle or a few extra sessions at the gym, that will disadvantage his nearest super handsome rivals more than it will disadvantage average Tony, who is more concerned about the pulling prowess of average Andy and average Darren. In the same way, if a low-skilled immigrant comes into the UK and joins the job market, he doesn't disadvantage Alan Sugar or Claude Littner; he disadvantages fellow migrants and low-skilled British people.

Seeing the regularity with which the champagne socialist social justice warriors blather and whinge about inequality, take to the streets with their placards, sit on debating panels and write their confused missives in left wing newspapers - I really do find it one of the most absurdly peculiar obsessions that humans have. The fact that a small proportion of society has made a lot of money by creating value in society for a large proportion of society (something very few people have the skill and ingenuity to do) should not be a reason for masses to get on their hobbyhorses and scoff at the 'horrid injustices' of inequality. The huge wealth gulf is precisely the kind of power law we should expect to see in a society of freely made commercial decisions.

It's an irony missed by so many, but the main way that less well off people ought to care about rich people is in the fact that they are often the investors and job creators who can give them a living (and in many cases lift them out of poverty). Suppose a corporation sets up factories in Mozambique and can afford to employ 3000 workers out of a possible 5000. If you're one of the 5000 in contention, you are going to care more about the other 4999 people in your own city than you are a millionaire in London or New York. But you also care about millionaires in London or New York because if you're one of the unfortunate 2000 that do not get taken on then one of those millionaires might just be the next investor who can put you and the remaining 1999 people to work.

There is an intelligent conversation to be had about possible problems that may occur if power and influence becomes heavily concentrated in the hands of a very few, to the extent that a tiny proportion of people in the world end up controlling the global economy, the media, the laws that govern us, and eventually our freedoms and liberties. But the trouble with that hypothesis is twofold:
 
Firstly, there is absolutely no evidence that that is happening or will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to think the opposite. And secondly, you really do get the impression that this future dystopia is not really a big factor in many people's thinking - they appear to be just bitter and envious about the rich because they live under a misapprehension that if the higher-skilled workers earned less it would somehow magically mean that lower-skilled workers suddenly earned more - an idea that just isn't based on reality, because wages are conditioned by the marginal product of labour not the fanciful whims of the populists, and because the economy is not a fixed pie, meaning just because someone has lots it does not mean they are taking your share.
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