[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Feb 12 17:42:04 UTC 2008

Stathis writes

> Lee wrote:
>> "How can this possibly be equitable?", ask the socialists on this
>> list. For although admittedly everyone is doing very, very well
>> by early century standards, the top dog, after all, owns everything!
>> Everything, that is, but a mere insignificant one-millionth or so
>> of all the wealth.
> How did the top dog acquire all his wealth?

I don't know, and I doubt if it's really relevant. It's clear that
to you (as you say below) the resentment of what the rich
have is driven by a *moral* indictment. 

> Did he work a million times harder than the next person down?

Oh, by no means did he work any harder.  Did Bill Gates work
even ten times harder than the lowest ranked janitor at Microsoft?
It's doubtful.  What we reward are ideas, skills, and successful
entrepreneurial activity.  It's those things, after all, that create

> In that case, your moral position on work is not that a person
> should be rewarded in proportion to his effort, but that he
> should be rewarded in proportion to what the market will
> give for his effort.

Precisely.  I'm glad we're making progress.  You perhaps
embrace "from each according to his ability, to each according
to his needs".  (Sometimes Americans, when asked, think that
that line is in the constitution somewhere   :-)

> I disagree that this is a fair situation, but I don't really have an
> argument to present. It boils down to an irreducible value judgement.

Yes, it may be an irreducible value judgment.  But on the other
hand, it may simply be that you have to make an unpleasant choice.

Would in fact you be in favor of an "improvement" in technology
or in society that caused each person earning D dollars to rise
to wealth  e^D dollars?   True, everyone would be vastly richer, 
by my God, the gap between the rich and the poor would become
truly astronomical!  Could you stand it?


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